Page images

exercise of his thoughts, which proceed from love; for what a man loves, he retains in remembrance.

"This is the description of the inner man, which is actually in heaven and in intercourse with heavenly spirits, even while his earthly life continues. This last is to a certain degree no proper life, for the true man only begins to live, according to the testimony of the ancients, after his death.

"The spiritual receives the influence of God; the bodily, on the contrary, is perishable by hereditary law, which we have inherited with our bodies from our fathers. The spiritual bases itself on our love to God and to our neighbour; the natural, on the contrary, on the love to itself and to earthly things.


They who permit themselves to be overcome by sensual appetites resemble the animals, and continue in that grade, while there are two higher ones which they close against themselves. He, therefore, is merely an animal, when the understanding is subjected to the will and to the senses. This outward man has frequently only outward thoughts; he ponders and judges with ardour and cunning, because his thoughts are very near to his speech, and are chiefly contained in it. His understanding rests wholly on his sensations and his memory. This man may be learned, because knowledge and science are contained in his natural grade; but if he do not direct his faculties towards heaven, and if his science have not God for its object, the other grades remain closed against him, and the learned man, proud man as he is, judging according to his senses, only resembles the animals, and does not possess the truth nor know the good. All this is testified by the examples of many learned men, who, with all their science, are the greatest enemies of God and their own souls.

"The outward is usually false and hypocritical, because, in the true meaning of the word, he is double, and has the two parts of his being separate. The spiritual man is necessarily upright and true, because he is simple and single; in him the spiritual has drawn towards it the natural, and appropriated it.

"The learned man, who regards everything in reference to

[blocks in formation]

himself and to the senses, makes himself like the animal, and has light only in the animal instinct. The outward is sufficient for human wisdom, but not for that of God, as that which comes alone from Him. This last is the only higher science which in the eyes of God has any value; but it alone is of true value to man. What advantage to him are physics, or the eloquence of other men? None. The happiness of life consists in this, that we love God and our neighbour. The rude but religious man is often more enlightened than the most celebrated academicians of Europe, because he is an inner and spiritual man. He possesses love and faith, which alone ennoble the earth; he possesses the good and the true, in which is contained the sum of God and of all created beings."

How man is the beginning and topstone of creation Swedenborg expresses in this manner :- "Man has, besides this, something which the angels have not; as he is not only in the spiritual world through his inward nature, but in the physical world through his outward nature. This outward world of nature expresses all that lies in the region of thought and imagination, which are outward and according to nature, in general knowledge and science, with their joys and attractions, so far as they belong to the world, and then, also, the farther enjoyment which belongs to the sensuous system of his body, and, beyond this, sense itself, speech and action; all these complete the last in which divine influence encloses itself; for this does not stand still in a half career, but penetrates to the last. Thus there lies in man the terminating line of the divine plan, and because he is the terminating line he is also the foundation, and fundamentally firm; and as there is nothing free from bonds, so it follows that there is such a bond between heaven and the human race; that the one determines itself through the other, and that the human race without the heaven is a chain without a hook, but the heaven without the human race would be a house without a foundation. It is man to which the whole divine plan refers, and from the creation to this time he is the divine plan in exposition. In the degree, however, in which man lives according to the divine plan, he appears in another life a more perfect and also a more beautiful being."


"Faith consists in the conviction that we shall be happy through faith and good works. We receive this when we turn to the Lord; when we study the truth of the Holy Scriptures, and order our lives according to them. Faith without love is no faith; and love without faith is no love. If you do good, you believe; if you do evil, you doubt, or believe nothing at all.

"The Lord, faith, and love, are one; as are the will, the understanding, and the life in man; if you separate them, they fall and are annihilated, as a broken pearl talls into the dust. The Lord infuses faith and love into the understanding and will of man: thus faith and love are the Lord: how could he divide himself?

"Love and faith are also in good works. Love is the desire of good; good works are the completion of the good; and this completion has its foundation in the object which agrees with love and wisdom, or with faith. Without good works, faith and love are a cobweb of the brain, while the man consisting of the three grades is a whole, and in all that he does must be as a whole, otherwise he does nothing well. If the conduct be not according to religion, then a man's religion is not pure; the good and true do not dwell in his will and understanding, consequently he has neither the love nor the faith which flow from them; he is not in the church, and has no religion.

"Faith and love are necessary to the doing of good. Love alone brings forth no good work; and still less faith alone. There is but one true and upright faith, of which we have spoken; there is a spurious faith, which departs from the truth through sin, pride, and heresy; and a hypocritical faith, which is nothing at all, because the hypocrite is merely an outward, sensual, and fleshly man. His propensities are that which he is himself; the good which he appears to do comes not from love, and is not genuine goodness."



"The universe is an image of God, and was made for use. Providence is the government of the Lord in heaven and on earth. It extends itself over all things, because there is only one fountain of life, namely, the Lord, whose power supports all that exists.

"The influence of the Lord is according to a plan, and is invisible, as is Providence, by which men are not constrained to believe, and thus to lose their freedom. The influence of the Lord passes over from the spiritual to the natural, and from the inward to the outward. The Lord confers his influence on the good and the bad, but the latter converts the good into evil, and the true into the false; for so is the creature or its will fashioned.

"In order to comprehend the origin and progress of this influence, we must first know that that which proceeds from the Lord is the divine sphere which surrounds us, and fills the spiritual and natural world. All that proceeds from an object, and surrounds and clothes it, is called its sphere.

"As all that is spiritual knows neither time nor space, it therefore follows that the general sphere or the divine one has extended itself from the first moment of creation to the last. This divine emanation, which passed over from the spiritual to the natural, penetrates actively and rapidly through the whole created world, to the last grade of it, where it is yet to be found, and produces and maintains all that is animal, vegetable, and mineral. Man is continually surrounded by a sphere of his favourite propensities; these unite themselves to the natural sphere of his body, so that together they form one. The natural sphere surrounds every body of nature, and all the objects of the three kingdoms. Thus it allies itself to the spiritual world. This is the foundation of sympathy and antipathy, of union and separation, according to which there are amongst spirits presence and absence.

"The angel said to me that the sphere surrounded men

more lightly on the back than on the breast, where it was thicker and stronger. This sphere of influence, peculiar to man, operates also in general and in particular around him by means of the will, the understanding, and the practice.

"The sphere proceeding from God, which surrounds man and constitutes his strength, while it thereby opcrates on his neighbour and on the whole creation, is a sphere of peace and innocence; for the Lord is peace and innocence. Then only is man consequently able to make his influence effectual on his fellow man, when peace and innocence rule in his heart, and he himself is in union with heaven. This spiritual union is connected with the natural by a benevolent man through the touch and the laying on of hands, by which the influence of the inner man is quickened, prepared, and imparted. The body communicates with others which are about it through the body, and the spiritual influence diffuses itself chiefly through the hands, because these are the most outward or ultimum of man; and through him, as in the whole of nature, the first is contained in the last, as the cause in the effect. The whole soul and the whole body are contained in the hands as a medium of influence. Thus our Lord healed the sick by laying on of hands, on which account so many were healed by the touch; and thence from the remotest times the consecration of priests and of all holy things was effected by laying on of hands. According to the etymology of the word, hands denote power. Man believes that his thoughts and his will proceed from within him, whereas all this flows into him. If he considered things in their true form, he would ascribe evil to hell, and good to the Lord; he would by the Lord's grace recognise good and evil within himself, and be happy. Pride alone has denied the influence of God, and destroyed the human race.

In the work "Heaven and Hell," Swedenborg speaks of influences and reciprocities-Correspondences. "The action of correspondence is perceptible in a man's countenance. In a countenance that has not learned hypocrisy, all emotions are represented naturally according to their true form; whence the face is called the mirror of the soul. In the same way, what belongs to the understanding is represented in the speech, and what belongs to the will in the movements. Every expression in the face, in the speech, in

« PreviousContinue »