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from "Apocalypse Explained", by E. Swedenborg.
The Holiness of the Word
The Lord is the Word
Influx and Correspondence
The Three Senses in the Word
Conjunction by the Word
The Sense of the Letter
The Holiness of the Word
It was said of old that the Word is from God, Divinely inspired, and thus holy; and yet it has not been known heretofore where in the Word the Divine is. For the Word appears in the letter like a common writing in a strange style, not so sublime or so lucid as appears in the writings of the present age. For this reason a man who worships nature more than God, or in place of God, and thus thinks from himself and what is his own (proprium), and not from the Lord out of heaven, can easily fall into error respecting the Word, and into contempt for it, saying in his heart when he reads it, What is this, what is that? Is this Divine? Can God who has infinite wisdom speak in this manner? Where is its holiness, and from what source, unless from the religious persuasion whose ministers it serves? and other like things. But that they may know that the Word is Divine, not only in every sentence but also in every expression, its internal sense, which is spiritual, and which is in its external sense, which is natural, as a soul in its body, has now been revealed. This sense can bear witness to the Divinity and consequent holiness of the Word; and can convince even the natural man that the Word is Divine if he is willing to be convinced.
In a summary: The Word is Divine truth itself, which gives wisdom to angels and enlightens men. As Divine truth proceeds from the Lord, and as what proceeds is Himself out of Himself, the same as light and heat proceed from the sun and are the sun, that is, are of the sun out of it, and as the Word is the Divine truth, it is also the Lord, as it is called in (John 1:1-3, 14). Inasmuch as the Divine truth, which is the Word, in its descent into the world from the Lord, has passed through the three heavens, it has become accommodated to each heaven, and lastly to men also in the world. This is why there are in the Word four senses, one outside of the other from the highest heaven down to the world, or one within the other from the world up to the highest heaven. These four senses are called the celestial, the spiritual, the natural from the celestial and the spiritual, and the merely natural. This last is for the world, the next for the lowest heaven, the spiritual for the second heaven, and the celestial for the third. These four senses differ so greatly from one another that when one is exhibited beside the other no connection can be recognized; and yet they make one when one follows the other; for one follows from the other as an effect from a cause, or as what is posterior from what is prior; consequently as an effect represents its cause and corresponds to its cause, so the posterior sense corresponds to the prior; and thus it is that all four senses make one through correspondences.
From all this these truths follow. The ultimate sense of the Word, which is the sense of its letter, and the fourth in order, contains in itself the three interior senses, which are for the three heavens when a man on the earth is reverently reading the Word. Therefore the sense of the letter of the Word is that from which and through which there is communication with the heavens, also from which and through which man has conjunction with the heavens. The sense of the letter of the Word is the basis of Divine truth in the heavens, and without such a basis the Divine truth would be like a house without a foundation; and without such a basis the wisdom of the angels would be like a house in the air. It is the sense of the letter of the Word in which the power of Divine truth consists. It is the sense of the letter of the Word through which man is enlightened by the Lord and through which he receives answers when he wishes to be enlightened. It is the sense of the letter of the Word by which everything of doctrine on the earth must be confirmed. In the sense of the letter of the Word is the Divine truth in its fulness. In the sense of the letter of the Word the Divine truth is in its holiness.
That the Word is the Divine truth itself, which gives wisdom to angels and enlightens men, can be apperceived or seen only by a man enlightened. For to a worldly man, whose mind has not been raised above the sensual sphere, the Word in the sense of the letter appears so simple that scarcely anything could he more simple; and yet the Divine truth, such as it is in the heavens, and from which angels have their wisdom, lies concealed in it as in its sanctuary. For the Word in the letter is like the adytum in the midst of a temple covered with a veil, within which lie deposited arcana of heavenly wisdom such as no ear hath beard. For in the Word and in every particular of it there is a spiritual sense, and in that a Divine celestial sense, which regarded in itself is the Divine truth itself, which is in the heavens and which gives wisdom to angels and enlightens men. The Divine truth in the heavens is light proceeding from the Lord as a Sun, which is the Divine love. And as the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is the light of heaven, so it is the Divine wisdom. This illuminates both the minds and the eyes of angels, and also enlightens the minds of men, but not their eyes, and enables them to understand truth and also to perceive good when man reads the Word from the Lord and not from self; for he is then in consort with angels, and interiorly has a perception like the spiritual perception of angels; and that spiritual perception which the man-angel has flows into his natural perception, which is his own while in the world, and enlightens it. Consequently the man who reads the Word from the affection of truth has enlightenment through heaven from the Lord. (AE 1065-1067)
The Lord is the Word
Since the Word is the Divine truth, and this proceeds from the Lord’s Divine Being (Esse) as light proceeds from the sun, it follows as a consequence that the Lord is the Word because He is the Divine truth. The Lord is the Word, because He is the Divine truth, and this proceeds from His Divine Being (Esse), which is the Divine love, because the Divine love was in Him when He was in the world as the soul is in its body; and as the Divine truth proceeds from the Divine love as light proceeds from the sun, as has been said, therefore the Lord‘s Human in the world was the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine love that was in Him. That the Divine Itself, which is called "Jehovah" and the "Father," and which is the Divine love, was in the Lord from conception, is evident in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew from these words:--
When Mary the mother of Jesus had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And the angel said to Joseph in a dream, Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. This came to pass that it might be fulfilled which was said of the Lord by the prophet, Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. And Joseph knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called His name Jesus (Matt. 1:18-25).
And in Luke from these words:--
The angel said to Mary, Behold thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus; He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. But Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? The angel answered her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also the Holy One that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:30-35).
It was because He was conceived of Jehovah that He is so frequently called in the’ Word "the Son of God," and Jehovah is called His "Father." Jehovah as to His Being (Esse) is the Divine love, and as to His Existing (Existere) He is the Divine good united to the Divine truth.
From this it can be seen what is meant by:--
The Word that was with God and that was God, and also was the light that enlighteneth every man (John 1:1-10),
namely, that it was the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, thus the Lord as to His Existing (Existere). That the Lord as to His Existing (Existere) was Divine truth, and that this was His Divine Human, because this existed from His Divine Being (Esse) as the body from its soul, these words in John clearly certify:--
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father (John 1:14).
"The Word" is the Divine truth, which also is "glory;" "flesh" means the Divine Human, "the only-begotten of the Father" means that which exists or proceeds from the Divine Esse in Him.
But as the world does not know how the words in (John 1:1, 2, 14) that the Lord is the Word, are to be understood, this shall be further explained. It is known in the church that God is good itself and truth itself, and thus that all the good that an angel has and that a man has is from God, and likewise all truth. Now since the Lord is God, He is also the Divine good and the Divine truth; and this is what is meant by "the Word, that was with God, and was God," and also was "the light that enlighteneth every man," and that also "became flesh," that is, Man in the world. That when the Lord was in the world He was the Divine truth, which is the Word, He Himself teaches in many passages where He calls Himself "the Light," also where He calls Himself "the Way, the Truth, and the Life;" and where He says that "the Spirit of truth" proceeds from Him. "The Spirit of truth" is the Divine truth. When the Lord was transfigured He represented the Word, "His face that shone as the sun" represented its Divine good; and "His garments, which were bright as the light" and "white as snow," represented its Divine truth. "Moses and Elijah," who then talked with the Lord, also signified the Word, "Moses" the historical Word, and "Elijah" the prophetic Word. Moreover, all things of the Lord‘s passion represented the kind of violence that the Jewish nation offered to the Word. Again, the Lord from Divine truth, which He is, is called " God," "King," and "Angel," and is meant by "the rock in Horeb," and "the rock" where Peter is spoken of. All this makes clear that the Lord is the Word, because He is the Divine truth. The Word in the letter, which is with us, is the Divine truth in ultimates.
As it cannot but transcend the comprehension that the Lord in relation to His Human in the world was the Word, that is, the Divine truth, according to these words in John:--
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father (John 1:14),
it shall be again explained to the comprehension as far as possible. It can be said of every regenerate man that he is his own truth and his own good, since the thought which belongs to his understanding is from truths, and the affection which belongs to his will is from goods. Whether you say, therefore, that a man is his own understanding and his own will, or that a man is his own truth and his own good, it amounts to the same thing. The body is mere obedience; for it speaks that which man thinks from the understanding, and does that which he wills from affection. Thus these things and the body mutually correspond and make one, like an effect and its effecting cause; and these taken together constitute the human.
As it can be said of the regenerate man that he is his own truth and his own good, so it can be said of the Lord as Man, that He is the truth itself or the Divine truth, and good itself or the Divine good. All this makes evident the truth that the Lord as to His Human in the world was the Divine truth, that is, the Word; and that everything that He then spoke was the Divine truth, which is the Word; and that afterwards when He went to the Father, that is, became one with the Father, the Divine truth proceeding from Him is the Spirit of truth, which goes forth and proceeds from Him, and at the same time from the Father In Him. (AE 1069-1071)
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 judges from its style; but the man whom the Lord leads judges 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 dainties and delightful things of every kind, dainties from the fruits, and delightful things 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 judges of that paradise, which is the Word, from its circumference, where the trees of the forest are; but the man whom the Lord leads judges 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, which, except the face, is enveloped in 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 the externals.
The Word is such because in its origin it is the Divine itself that proceeds from the Lord, and is called the 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 written there in accommodation to the wisdom and intelligence of the angels. Finally it was brought down from the Lord through the heavens to men, and there it was written and promulgated in adaptation to man‘s understanding and apprehension. This, therefore, is the sense of its letter, and in this the Divine truth such as it is in the three heavens, lies stored up in distinct order. From this it is clear that all the 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 arcana and treasures of Divine verities. These lie stored up in each particular and in all the particulars of our Word. And as the 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 he present there, that He would dwell there, and that it was His holy of holies, and His dwelling place as in heaven.
As the Divine truth, when passed from the Lord Himself through the three heavens down to men in the world, was written and became the Word in each heaven, therefore the Word is the union of the heavens with each other, and the union of the heavens with the church in the world. For the Word is the same everywhere, differing only in the 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 with the man in the world who acknowledges the Lord‘s Divine and the holiness of the Word when he reads it; 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 6:63).
The water that I will give you shall become a fountain of water springing up unto eternal life (John 4:14).
Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Matthew. 4:4).
Work for the food that abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you (John 6:27).
Such is the Word.
It has been said that the Divine truth proceeds 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 the Divine truth proceeds from the Lord, this may be said but it cannot be understood. The Divine truth, which is the same as the Divine wisdom, proceeds from the Lord as light and heat do from the sun. The Lord is the 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 the Divine love, heat and light proceed; the heat therefrom is the Divine good, and the light therefrom is the Divine truth. The heat is the Divine good, because all the heat of life proceeding from love is felt as good, for it is spiritual heat; and the light is the Divine truth, because all the light proceeding 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 produces both, as fire produces both heat and light; from the will of a man or angel it produces good, and from his understanding it produces truth. This sphere, when the man or angel is good, has an extension into the heavens in every direction according to the quality and the 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, because it is Divine, has an infinite extension, and creates the heavens themselves.
The Word of the Lord is wonderful in this, that in every particular of it there is a reciprocal union of good and truth, which testifies that the Word is the Divine proceeding from the Lord, which is the Divine good and the 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 teaches in John:--
He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:56)
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 (John 14:20, 21).
The reciprocal is that they 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.
The reciprocal 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 14:9-11).
From this reciprocal union of the Divine and the Human in the Lord proceeds the reciprocal union of the Divine good and the Divine truth; and this proceeds 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 with an angel of heaven and with 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 man is 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, the spiritual sense of the Word reveals; 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.
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 a man who is led by the Lord reads the Word. These interior senses differ in the 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 such an inspiration to which nothing else in the world can in anywise be compared. The arcana of wisdom of the three heavens contained in it are the mystical things of which many have spoken. (AE 1072-1079)
Influx and Correspondence
It has been said that there is a Word in each heaven and that these Words are in our Word in their order, and that they thus make one by influx and consequent correspondences. Here, therefore, it shall be told what correspondence is and what influx is; otherwise it cannot be comprehended what the Word is inwardly in its bosom, thus as to its life from the Lord, which is its soul. But what correspondence is and what influx is shall be illustrated by examples. The changes of the face that are called the countenance correspond to the affections of the mind; consequently the face changes as to the countenance just as the affections of the mind change as to their states. These changes in the face are correspondences, as consequently the face itself is; and the action of the mind into it, that the correspondences may be exhibited, is called influx. The sight of man’s thought, which is called the understanding, corresponds to the sight of his eyes; and consequently the quality of the thought from the understanding is made evident from the light and flame of the eyes. The sight of the eye is a correspondence, as consequently the eye itself is; the action of the understanding into the eye, by which the correspondence is exhibited, is influx. The active thought, which belongs to the understanding, corresponds to speech, which belongs to the mouth. The speech is a correspondence, likewise the mouth and everything belonging to it, and the action of thought into speech and into the organs of speech is influx. The perception of the mind corresponds to the smell of the nostrils. The smell and the nostrils are correspondences, and the action is influx. For this reason a man who has interior perception is said to have a keen nose, and perceiving a thing is called scenting it out.
Hearkening, which is obedience, corresponds to the hearing of the ears; consequently both the hearing and the ears are correspondences, and the action of obedience into the hearing, that a man may raise his ears and attend, is influx; therefore hearkening and hearing are both significative, hearkening and giving ear to anyone being to obey, and hearkening and hearing anyone meaning to hear with the ears. The action of the body corresponds to the will, the action of the heart corresponds to the life of the love, the action of the lungs, which is called respiration, corresponds to the life of the faith, and the whole body as to all its members, viscera, and organs, corresponds to the soul as to all the functions and powers of its life. From these few examples it can be seen what correspondence is and what influx is; and that when the spiritual, which belongs to the life of man‘s understanding and will, flows into the acts which belong’ to his body, it exhibits itself in a natural effigy, and there is correspondence; also that thus the spiritual and the natural act as one by correspondences, like interior and exterior, or like prior and posterior, or like the effecting cause and the effect, or like the principal cause which belongs to man‘s thought and quill, and the instrumental cause which belongs to his speech and action. There is such a correspondence of natural things and spiritual not only in each and every thing of man, but also in each and every thing of the world; and the correspondences are produced by an influx of the spiritual world and all things of it into the natural world and all things of it. From all this it can be seen in some measure how our Word. as to the sense of the letter, which is natural, makes one by influx and correspondences with the Words in the heavens, the senses of which are spiritual.
What the Word is as to influx and correspondences can now be illustrated. It is said in John:--
He hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and understand with their heart, and should turn themselves and I should heal them (John 12:40).
The "eyes" that are blinded signify the understanding of truth and the belief in it; the "heart" that is hardened signifies the will and the love of good; and "to be healed" signifies to be reformed. They were not permitted "to turn themselves and be healed" lest they should commit profanation; for an evil man who is healed and who returns to his evil and falsity commits profanation; and so it would have been with the Jewish nation.
Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear (Matt. 13:16).
Here, too, the "eyes" signify the understanding of truth and the belief in it; so "to see" signifies to understand and believe, and the "ears" signify obedience, thus a life according to the truths of faith, and "to hear" signifies to obey and live. For no one is blessed because he sees and hears, but because he understands, believes, obeys, and lives.
In the same:--
The lamp of the body is the eye; if the eye be sound the whole body is lucid; if the eye be evil the whole body is darkened. If, therefore, the light (lumen) be darkness, how great is the darkness (Matt. 6:22, 23).
Here, again, the "eye" signifies the understanding of truth and the belief in it, which is called a lamp from the light of truth that man has from understanding and belief. And because a man becomes wise from understanding and believing in truth, it is said "if the eye be sound the whole body is lucid." The "body" means the man, and "to be lucid" means to be use. But it is the reverse with the "evil eye," that is, understanding and believing in falsity. "Darkness" means falsities, "if the light (lumen) be darkness" signifies if the truth be false or falsified, and because truth falsified is worse than any other falsity, it is said, "If the light (lumen) be darkness, how great is the darkness."
These few examples make clear what correspondence is and what influx is, namely, that the eye is a correspondence of the understanding and faith, the heart a correspondence of the will and love, the ears a correspondence of obedience, the lamp and light (lumen) correspondences of truth, add darkness a correspondence of falsity, and so on; and as the one is spiritual and the other natural, and the spiritual acts into the natural and forms it to an image of itself that it may appear before the eyes or before the world, therefore that action is influx. Such is the Word in each and every particular.
The spiritual by influx presents what is correspondent to itself in the natural, in order that the end may become a cause, and the cause become an effect, and thus the end through the cause may present itself in the effect as visible and sensible. This trine, namely, end, cause, and effect, is given from creation every heaven. The end is the good of love, the cause is truth from that good, and the effect is use. That which produces is love, and the product therefrom is of love from good by means of truth. The final products, which are in our world, are various, as numerous as the objects are in its three kingdoms of nature, animal, vegetable, and mineral. All products are correspondences.
As this trine, namely, end, cause, and effect, exists in each heaven, there must be in each heaven products that are correspondences, and which in form and aspect are like the objects in the three kingdoms of our earth; from which it is clear that each heaven is like our earth in external appearance, differing only in excellence and beauty according to degrees. Now in order that the Word may be full, that is; may consist of effects in which are a cause and an end, or may consist of uses, in which truth is the cause and good is the end and love is that which produces, it must needs consist of correspondences; and from this it follows that the Word in each heaven is like the Word in our world, differing only in excellence and beauty according to degrees. What this difference is shall be told elsewhere. (AE 1080-1082)
The Three Senses in the Word
As there is a trine, one within another, in every least particular of the Word, and this trine is like that of effect, cause, and end, it follows that there are three senses in the Word, one within another, namely, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial; the natural for the world, the spiritual for the heavens of the Lord‘s spiritual kingdom, and the celestial for the heavens of His celestial kingdom. That all the heavens are divided into two kingdoms, the spiritual and the celestial, (HH n. 20-28). Now as there is one sense within another, the first which is the sense of the letter for the natural world, the second which is the internal sense for the spiritual kingdom, and the third which is the inmost for the celestial kingdom, it follows that the natural man draws from it his sense, the spiritual angel his sense, and the celestial angel his sense, thus everyone what is analogous to and in agreement with his own essence and nature. This takes place whenever a man who is led by the Lord is reading the Word.
But let this be illustrated by examples. When this commandment of the Decalogue is read, "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother," a man in the world understands by "father and mother" a father and mother on the earth, and also all who are or may be in the place of father or mother; and by "honoring" he understands to hold such in honor. But an angel of the spiritual kingdom understands by "father" the Divine good, and by "mother" the Divine truth, and by "honoring" loving; while an angel of the celestial kingdom understands by "father" the Lord, and by " mother" heaven and the church, and by "honoring" doing.
When the fifth commandment of the Decalogue, " Thou shalt not steal" is read, by "stealing" a man understands stealing, defrauding, and taking away under any pretense his neighbor’s goods. But an angel of the spiritual kingdom by "stealing" understands depriving another of his truths and goods by means of falsities and evils, while an angel of the celestial kingdom by "not to steal" understands not to attribute to himself the things that are the Lord‘s, as the good of love and the truth of faith; for thereby good becomes not good, and truth not truth, because they are from men.
When the sixth commandment,"Thou shalt not commit adultery," is read, a man by "committing adultery" understands committing adultery and whoredom, also thinking filthy thoughts, speaking lasciviously, and doing obscene things. But an angel of the spiritual kingdom by "committing adultery" understands falsifying the truths of the Word and adulterating its goods, while an angel of the celestial kingdom by" committing adultery" understands blaspheming against the Lord, heaven, and the church.
When the seventh commandment "Thou shalt not kill," is read, by "killing" a man understands hating and desiring revenge, even to murder. But an angel of the spiritual kingdom by "killing" understands the killing of a man’s soul by stumbling blocks to the life and by reasonings, whereby a man is led into spiritual death, while an angel of the celestial kingdom by "killing" understands seducing a man into believing that there is no God and no heaven and no hell, for thus man perishes as to eternal life.
When the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness," is read, a man by "false witness" understands lying and defamation. But an angel of the spiritual kingdom by "false witness" understands asserting, confirming, and persuading that falsity is truth and evil is good, or on the other hand that truth is falsity and good is evil, while an angel of the celestial kingdom by "false witness" understands every falsity against the Lord, and against heaven in favor of hell.
All this makes clear how a man draws and calls forth from the Word in the letter the natural sense, a spiritual angel the spiritual sense, and a celestial angel the celestial sense, much as the wood of a tree draws its sap, the leaf its sap, and the fruit its sap, from the same soil. And what is wonderful, this is done instantly, without the angel‘s knowing what the man thinks, or the man what the angel thinks, and yet their thoughts are one by correspondences, as end, cause, and effect are one. Moreover, ends are actually in the celestial kingdom, causes in the spiritual kingdom, and effects in the natural world. (AE 1083)
Conjunction by the Word
Since it is from creation that end, cause, and effect shall together make one, so it is from creation that the heavens shall make one with the church on the earth, but by means of the Word, when it is read by man from the love of truth and good. For the Word was given by the Lord to this end, that there might be a perpetual conjunction of the angels of heaven with men on the earth, and a perpetual communication according to conjunction. Without this medium there would not be any conjunction and communication with heaven on this earth. The conjunction and communication are instantaneous, and for the reason that all things of the Word in the sense of the letter are as effects, in which the cause and the end exist together, and the effects, which are in the Word, are called uses, their causes truths, and their ends goods; and the Divine love, which is the Lord, unites these three together in the man who is in the affection for uses from the Word. How a man draws and calls forth from the Word in the letter the natural sense, a spiritual angel the spiritual sense, and a celestial angel the celestial sense, and this instantly, from which there is communication and conjunction, shall be illustrated by comparisons; first by something in the animal kingdom, afterwards by something in the vegetable kingdom, and finally by something in the mineral kingdom.
From the Animal Kingdom:-From the food, when it has become chyle, the vessels draw and call forth their blood, the fibers of the nerves their fluid, and the substances that are the origins of fibers their spirit, which is called the animal spirit; and this is done through the vital heat, which in its essence is love. The vessels, the fibers, and the substances which are their origins, are distinct from each other, and yet they act as one throughout the body, and they act together and in an instant.
From the Vegetable Kingdom:--The tree, with its trunk and branches, leaves and fruits, stands upon its root, and from the soil where its root is draws and calls forth its sap, a coarser sap for the trunk and branches, a purer for the leaves, and a still purer and also nobler for the fruits and for the seeds in them; and this is done by means of heat from the sun. Here the branches, leaves, and fruit although they are distinct, yet they extract together and instantly and from the same soil foods of such different purity and nobleness.
From the Mineral Kingdom:-In the bosom of the earth in certain places there are minerals impregnated with gold, silver, copper, and iron. From vapors stored up in the earth the gold attracts its element, silver its element, copper and iron theirs, distinctly together and on the instant, and this by means of some power of unknown heat.
As it is allowable to illustrate spiritual things by means of comparisons drawn from natural things, these will serve to illustrate how interior things, which are spiritual and celestial, and by which a man of the church has communication and conjunction with the heavens, can be drawn and called forth and extracted and eliminated from the Word in its ultimates, which is, the sense of the letter. Comparisons can be made with these, because all things in the three kingdoms of nature, animal, vegetable, and mineral, correspond to the spiritual things that are the three heavens, as the food of the body, with which a comparison has been made, corresponds to the food of the soul, which is knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom; a tree, with which also a comparison has been made, corresponds to man, the tree to man himself, the wood to his good, the leaves to his truths, and the fruits to his uses; so, too, gold, silver, copper, and iron correspond to goods and truths, gold to celestial good, silver to spiritual truth, copper to natural good, and iron to natural truth. Moreover, these things have these significations in the Word. And what is wonderful, the purer are contained in the grosser and are drawn from them, as the animal spirit and the nerve fluid are contained in the blood from which the original substances and nerve fiber draw and extract their distinct portions. So, again, fruits and leaves draw theirs from the gross fluid that is brought up from the soil by the wood and its bark, and so on. Thus comparatively, as has been said, the purer senses of the Word are drawn and called forth from the sense of the letter. (AE 1084)
The Sense of the Letter
As there are three senses in the Word, the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, and as its natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, is a containant of the two senses, the spiritual and the celestial, it follows that the sense of the letter of the Word is the basis of those senses. And as the angels of the three heavens receive their wisdom from the Lord through the Word with them, and as their Words make one with our Ward by correspondences, it also follows that the sense of the letter of our Word is the basis, support, and foundation of the wisdom of the angels of heaven. For the heavens rest upon the human race as a house rests upon its foundation; so the wisdom of the angels of heaven rests in like manner upon the knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom of men from the sense of the letter of the Word; for as has been said above, communication and conjunction with the heavens are effected through the sense of the letter of the Word. Thence it is, that of the Lord’s Divine Providence it has come to pass, that the Word as to the sense of the letter from its first revelation has not been mutilated, not even as to an expression and letter in the original text, for every expression is a support, and in some measure the letters. From all this it is clear what a profanation it is to falsify the truths and adulterate the goods of the Word, and how infernal it is to deny or to weaken its holiness. As soon as that is done, for that man of the church heaven is closed. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which cannot be forgiven, is the blasphemy of the Word by those who deny its holiness. Since the Word is the basis of the heavens, and since the Word has been wholly falsified and adulterated by the Jewish nation by traditions and by applications of the sense of the letter to favor their evil loves, lest the heavens should be endangered and the wisdom of the angels there should become foolishness, it has pleased the Lord to come down from heaven and to put on the Human and to become the Word (John 1:14), and thus to restore the state of heaven.
There is successive order and there is simultaneous order. In successive order things pure and perfect appear above, and those less pure and perfect appear below. The three heavens are in successive order, one above another; and in the higher heavens all things are pure and perfect, while in the lower they are less pure and perfect. Simultaneous order exists in lower things, and fully in the lowest; for higher things let themselves down and place themselves in the order that is called simultaneous, in which the pure and perfect things, which were the higher, are in the middle or center, and the less pure and perfect, which were the lower, are in the circumferences. Therefore all things that have existed in successive order are together in ultimates in their order.
And as all higher things place themselves in what is lowest in simultaneous order, it follows that in the ultimates of the Word, which constitute the sense of its letter, are all things of the Divine truth and of the Divine good, even from their firsts. And as all things of the Divine truth and the Divine good are together in their ultimate, which is the sense of the letter of the Word, there evidently is the power of Divine truth, yea, the omnipotence of the Lord in saving man. For when the Lord operates He operates not from first things through mediates into ultimates, but from first things through ultimates and thus into mediates. This is why the Lord is called in the Word the First and the Last; and this is why the Lord assumed the Human, which in the world was the Divine truth or the Word, and glorified it even to the ultimates, which are the bones and the flesh, in order that He might operate from first things through ultimates, and not as before from man, but from Himself. This power in ultimates was represented by the hair with the Nazarites, as with Samson, for the hair corresponds to the ultimates of the Divine truth. And for this reason, to produce baldness was regarded in ancient times as disgraceful.
The boys who called Elisha "bald head" were torn in pieces by bears, because Elisha and Elijah represented the Word; and the Word without the sense of the letter, which is like a head without hair, is without any power, and thus is no longer the Word. "Bears" signify those that have strength from the ultimates of truth. The power of the Word in the sense of the letter is the power to open heaven, whereby communication and conjunction are effected, and also the power to fight against falsities and evils, thus against the bells. A man who is in genuine truths from the sense of the letter of the Word can disperse and scatter the whole diabolical crew and their devices in which they place their power, which are innumerable, and this in a moment, merely by a look and by an effort of the will. In brief, in the spiritual world nothing can resist genuine truths confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word.
Now since all interior things, that is, the spiritual and celestial things that are in the Words of the three heavens, are together in the ultimate sense of the Word, which is called the sense of the letter, (for in its inmosts there are the things that are in the Word with the angels of the third heaven, and in its middle parts the things that are in the Words of the angels of the lower heavens, and these are encompassed by such things as exist in the nature of our world and are included in these), so the sense of the letter of our Word is from all these. From this it can be seen that the Divine truth is in its fulness in the sense of the letter of our Word. That is said to be full which contains in itself all things prior, even from the first, or all things higher even from the highest; the ultimate is what includes these. The fulness of the Word is like a general vessel of marble, in which are countless lesser vessels of crystal, and in these still more numerous vessels of precious stones, in and about which are the most delightful things of heaven which are for those who perform noble uses from the Word. That the Word is such is not evident to man while he is in the world; but it is evident to him when he becomes an angel. Because the Word is such in ultimates it follows that it is not the Word until it is in that ultimate, that is, until it is in the sense of the letter. The Word not in that ultimate would be like a temple in the air and not on the earth, or like a man having flesh but without bones.
As the Divine truth is in its fulness and also in its power in its ultimate, for when it is in that it is in all things at once, therefore the Lord never works except from first things through ultimates, and thus in fulness. For He reforms and regenerates man only through truths in ultimates, which are natural. And this is why a man after his departure out of the world remains to eternity such as he has been in the world. For the same reason heaven and hell are from the human race, and angels are not created immediately; for in the world a man is in his fulness, consequently he can there be conceived and born, and afterwards be imbued with knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, and become an angel. To create angels in any other way is not given.
Because the Lord works all things from things first through ultimates, and is in His power and in His fulness in ultimates, therefore it pleased the Lord to take upon Him the Human and to become the Divine truth, that is, the Word, and thus from Himself to reduce to order all things of heaven and all things of hell, that is, to execute a Last Judgment. This the Lord could accomplish from the Divine in Himself, which was in things first, through His Human which was in ultimates, and not, as before, from His presence or abode in the men of the church; for these had wholly forsaken the truths and goods of the Word, in which the Lord had previously had His dwelling-place with men. This was the chief reason for the Lord‘s coming into the world, also for making His Human Divine; for by this He put Himself into the power of holding all things of heaven and all things of hell in order to eternity. This is meant by:--
Sitting at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).
"The right hand of God" means the Divine omnipotence, and "to sit at the right hand of God" means to be in that omnipotence through the Human. That the Lord ascended into heaven with His Human glorified even to the ultimates He testifies in Luke:--
Jesus said to the disciples See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself, handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me have (Luke 24:39).
This the Lord said just before His resurrection. "Flesh and bones" are the ultimates of the human body, on which its strength depends.
The Divine truth is what is called holy, but only when it is in its ultimate, and its ultimate is the Word in the sense of the letter; therefore the Divine truth there is holy, and may be called a sanctuary, and for the reason that that sense contains and encloses all the holy things of heaven and the church. The appearance is that the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, are more holy than the Divine truths in the sense of the letter of the Word, which are natural; but the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, are comparatively like the lungs and heart man, which form the chest only when they are encompassed by ribs, and enclosed in the pleura and diaphragm; for without these integuments they could not perform their vital functions, and even unless connected with them by bonds. The spiritual things of the Word are like the breathing of the lungs, its celestial things are like the systole and diastole of the heart, and its natural things are like the pleura, the diaphragm, and the ribs, with the moving fibers attached, by which the motions are made reciprocal.
Again, the spiritual and celestial things of the Word are comparatively like the holy things of the tabernacle, which were the table upon which was the shew bread, the golden altar upon which was the incense, the perfumes and the censer, also the lampstand with the lamps, and still further within the cherubim, the mercy seat and the ark. All these were the holy things of the Jewish and Israelitish church; nevertheless they could not be called holy and the sanctuary until they had been covered by curtains and veils, for without those coverings they would have stood under the naked sky, exposed to showers and storms, to the birds of heaven and the wild beasts of the earth, and also to robbers that would violate, plunder, and scatter them. So would it be with the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, unless they were enclosed in natural truths, like the truths of the dense of the letter of the Word.
Natural truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, are not the very truths of heaven, but are appearances of them; and appearances of truth encompass, enclose, and contain the truths of heaven, which are genuine truths, and cause them to be in connection and order and to act together, like the cardiac and pulmonary organs with their coverings and ribs, as has been said above; and when these truths are held in connection and in order they are holy, and not till then. This the sense of the letter of our Word does by means of the appearances of truth of which its ultimate consists; and this is why that sense is the holy Divine Itself and the sanctuary.
But he is greatly mistaken who separates appearances of truth from genuine truths and calls these appearances holy by themselves and from themselves, and not the sense of the letter holy by genuine truths and from them and together with them. He separates these who sees only the sense of the letter and does not explore its meaning, as those do who do not read the Word from doctrine. The "cherubim" mean in the Word a guard and protection that the holy things of heaven be not violated, and that the Lord be approached only through love; consequently these signify the sense of the letter of the Word, because that is what guards and protects. It guards and protects in this manner that man can think and speak according to the appearances of truth so long as he is well disposed, simple, and as it were an infant; but he must take heed not to so confirm appearances as to destroy the genuine truths in the heavens.
It is an invariable truth that no one can understand the Word without doctrine; for he may be led away into any errors to which he may be inclined from some love, or to which he may be drawn from some principle, whereby his mind becomes unsettled and uncertain, and at length as it were destitute of truth. But he who reads the Word from doctrine sees all things that confirm it, and many things that are hidden from the eyes of others, and does not permit himself to be drawn away into strange things; and thus his mind becomes so settled as to see with certainty. The Word may be drawn away to confirm heresies unless it is read from doctrine, for the reason that the sense of its letter consists of mere correspondences, and these are in great part appearances of truth, and in part genuine truths, and unless there be doctrine for a lamp these cannot be seen and cannot be distinguished from each other.
But doctrine can be acquired from no other source than from the Word, and it can be acquired only by those who are in enlightenment from the Lord. Those are in enlightenment who love truths because they are truths and make them to be of their life. Moreover, all things of doctrine must be confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word, because the Divine truth is in its fulness and in its power in that sense, and through it man is in conjunction with the Lord and in consociation with the angels. In brief, he who loves truth because it is truth can inquire of the Lord, as it were, in doubtful matters of faith, and can receive answers from Him, but nowhere except in the Word, for the reason that the Lord is the Word. (AE 1085-1089)