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Spiritual Life and the Word of God Emanuel Swedenborg

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Spiritual Life and the Word of God

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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III. The Lord's Words Spirit and Life

That the Word is holy and Divine from inmosts to outermosts is not evident to the man who leads himself, but is evident to the man whom the Lord leads. For the man who leads himself sees only the external of the Word, and forms his opinion of it from its style; but the man whom the Lord leads forms his opinion of the external of the Word from the holiness that is in it.

The Word is like a garden, that may be called a heavenly paradise, in which are delicacies and charms of every kind, delicacies from the fruits, and charms from the flowers; and in the middle of it trees of life, and near them fountains of living water, and round about trees of the forest, and near them rivers. The man who leads himself forms his opinion of that paradise, which is the Word, from its circumference, where the trees of the forest are; but the man whom the Lord leads forms his opinion of it from the middle of it, where the trees of life are. The man whom the Lord leads is actually in the middle of it, and looks to the Lord; but the man who leads himself actually sits down at the circumference, and looks away from it to the world.

Again, the Word is like fruit within which there is a nutritious pulp, and in the middle of it seed vessels, in which inmostly is a living germ that germinates in good soil. Again, the Word is also like a most beautiful infant, about which, except the face, there are wrappings upon wrappings; the infant itself is in the inmost heaven, the wrappings are in the lower heavens, and the general covering of the wrappings is on the earth. As the Word is such it is holy and Divine from inmosts to outermosts. (A.E., n. 1072.)

The Word is such because in its origin it is the Divine itself that goes forth from the Lord, and is called Divine truth; and when this descended to men in the world it passed through the heavens in their order according to their degrees, which are three; and in each heaven it was recorded in accommodation to the wisdom and intelligence of the angels there. Finally it was brought down from the Lord through the heavens to men, and there it was recorded and made known in adaptation to man's understanding and apprehension. This, therefore, is the sense of its letter, and in this lies Divine truth such as it is in the three heavens, stored up in distinct order.

From this it is clear that the entire wisdom of the angels in the three heavens has been imparted by the Lord to our Word, and in its inmost there is the wisdom of the angels of the third heaven, which is incomprehensible and ineffable to man, because full of mysteries and treasures of Divine verities. These lie stored up in each particular and in all the particulars of our Word. And as Divine truth is the Lord in the heavens, so the Lord Himself is present, and may be said to dwell in all the particulars and each particular of His Word, as He does in His heavens; and in the same way as He has said of the ark of the covenant, in which were deposited only the Ten Commandments written on the two tables, the first-fruits of the Word, for He said that He would speak there with Moses and Aaron, that He would be present there, that He would dwell there, and that it was His holy of holies, and His dwelling place as in heaven. (A.E., n., 1073.)

As the Divine truth, in passing from the Lord Himself through the three heavens down to men in the world, is recorded and becomes the Word in each heaven, so the Word is a bond of union of the heavens with each other, and a bond of union of the heavens with the church in the world. For the Word is the same everywhere, differing only in perfection of glory and wisdom according to the degrees in which the heavens are; consequently the holy Divine from the Lord flows in through the heavens into the man in the world who acknowledges the Lord's Divine and the holiness of the Word whenever he reads the Word; and so far as such a man loves wisdom he can be instructed and can imbibe wisdom from the Word as from the Lord Himself, or from heaven itself, and can thus be nourished with the food with which the angels themselves are nourished, and in which there is life; according to these words of the Lord:

"The words that I speak unto you are spirit and are life" (John vi. 63). "The water that I will give you shall become . . . a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life" (John iv. 14). "Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. iv. 4). "Work . . . for the meat that abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you" (John vi. 27).

Such is the Word. (A.E., n. 1074.)

It has been said that the Divine truth goes forth from the Lord, and that the Word is from that, and that through the Word angels and men have wisdom. But so long as it is unknown how Divine truth goes forth from the Lord, this may be said but it cannot be understood. Divine truth, which is the same as Divine wisdom, goes forth from the Lord as light and heat do from the sun. The Lord is Divine love itself, and love appears in the heavens from correspondence as fire, and the Lord's Divine love as a sun, glowing and resplendent like the sun of the world. From that sun, which is high above the heavens where the angels are, and which is Divine love, heat and light go forth; the heat therefrom is Divine good, and the light therefrom is Divine truth. The heat is Divine good, because all heat of life going forth from love is felt as good, for it is spiritual heat; and the light is Divine truth because all light going forth from love is felt as truth, for it is spiritual light; consequently it is from that light that the understanding sees truths, and it is from that heat that the will is sensible of goods; and this is why in the Word love is meant by heavenly fire and wisdom by heavenly light.

It is the same with a man and with an angel. Every angel and man is his own love, and a sphere flowing out from his love encompasses every man and angel. That sphere consists of the good of his love and of the truth of his love, for love gives forth both, as fire gives forth both heat and light; from the will of a man or angel it gives forth good, and from his understanding it gives forth truth. This sphere, when the man or angel is good, has an extension into the heavens in every direction according to the character and amount of the love, and into the hells in every direction when the man or angel is evil. But the sphere of the love of a man or an angel has a finite extension into a few societies only of heaven or hell, while the sphere of the Lord's love, being Divine, has an infinite extension, and creates the heavens themselves. (A.E., n. 1076.)

The Word of the Lord is wonderful in this respect, that in every particular of it there is a reciprocal union of good and truth, which testifies that the Word is the Divine that goes forth from the Lord, which is Divine good and Divine truth reciprocally united; and also testifies that in the Word there is a marriage of the Lord with heaven and the church, which also is reciprocal. There is a marriage of good and truth, also of truth and good, in every particular of the Word, in order that it may be a source of wisdom to angels and of intelligence to men, for from good alone no wisdom or intelligence is born, neither from truth alone, but from their marriage when the love is reciprocal. This reciprocal love the Lord sets forth in John:

"He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him" (vi. 56).

In the same,

"In that day ye shall know, that . . . ye are in Me and I in you. He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; . . . and I will love him" (xiv. 20, 21).

The reciprocality is that such are in the Lord and the Lord is in them, also that whoever loves the Lord, the Lord also will love him. "To have His commandments" is to be in truths, and "to do them" is to be in good.

Reciprocality is also described by the Lord in His union with the Father, in these words,

"Philip, . . . How sayest thou, Show us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? . . . Believe Me, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me" (John xiv. 9-11).

From this reciprocal union of the Divine and the Human in the Lord the reciprocal union of Divine good and Divine truth goes forth; and this goes forth from the Lord's Divine love; and the same is true of the Lord's reciprocal union with heaven and the church, and in general the reciprocal union of good and truth in an angel of heaven and in a man of the church. And as good is of charity and truth is of faith, and as charity and faith make the church, it follows that the church is in a man when there is a reciprocal union of charity and faith in him. Again, as good is of the will and truth is of the understanding, and as the will and understanding make man, it follows that a man is a man according to the union of the will and all things belonging to it with the understanding and all things belonging to it, and this reciprocally. This union is what is called marriage, which from creation is in every particular of heaven and in every particular of the world; and from this is the production and the generation of all things. That in every particular of the Word there is such a marriage that good loves truth and truth loves good, thus mutually and in turn, is disclosed in the spiritual sense of the Word; and it is from this marriage that good and truth are one and not two, and are one when good is of truth and truth is of good. (A.E., n. 1077).

The Word in the sense of the letter appears very simple, and yet there is stored up in it the wisdom of the three heavens, for each least particular of it contains interior and more interior senses; an interior sense such as exists in the first heaven, a still more interior sense such as exists in the second heaven, and an inmost sense such as exists in the third heaven. These senses are in the sense of the letter, one within the other, and are evolved therefrom one after the other, each from its own heaven, when the Word is read by a man who is led by the Lord. These interior senses differ in a degree of light and wisdom according to the heavens, and yet they make one by influx, and thus by correspondences. How they thus make one shall be told in what follows. All this makes clear how the Word was inspired by the Divine, and that it was written from an inspiration to which nothing else in the world can in anywise be compared. The mysteries of wisdom of the three heavens contained in it are the mystical things of which many have spoken. (A.E., n. 1079.) New Thought Radio helps us have happy days.

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