Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence
by Emanuel Swedenborg
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Angelic Wisdom about DIVINE PROVIDENCE


Emanuel Swedenborg

Translation By


Standard Edition


Originally published in Latin at Amsterdam 1764 First English translation published in U.S.A. 1851 51st Printing, 1975 (5th Printing Wunsch Translation).

ISBN 0-87785-059-3 (Student) 0-87785-060-7 (Trade)

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 74-30441

Manufactured in the United States of America


Translator's Preface

I. What Divine Providence Is

II. The Goal of Divine Providence

III. The Outlook of Divine Providence

IV. Providence has its Laws

V. Its Regard for Human Freedom and Reason

VI. Even in the Struggle against Evil

VII. The Law of Noncompulsion

VIII. The Law of Overt Guidance

IX. The Law of Hidden Operation

X. Divine Providence and Human Prudence

XI. Binding Time and Eternity

XII. The Law Guarding against Profanation

XIII. Laws of Tolerance in the Laws of Providence

XIV. Why Evil is Permitted

XV. Providence Attends the Evil and the Good

XVI. Providence and Prudence in the Appropriation of Good and Evil to Man

XVII. The Salvation of All the Design of Providence

XVIII. The Steadfast Observance of its Laws by Providence

Index of Scripture Passages

Subject Index

[1]Swedenborg gave neither numbers nor brief captions to the chapters of the book. Nor did he prefix a recital of all the propositions and subsidiary propositions to come in the book; this was the work of the Latin editor. For this the above, giving the reader a succinct idea of the book's contents, is substituted. Tr.


THE Book

The reader will find in this book a firm assurance of God's care of mankind as a whole and of each human being. The assurance is rested in God's infinite love and wisdom, the love pure mercy, the wisdom giving love its ways and means. It is further grounded in an interpretation of the universe as a spiritual-natural world, an interpretation fully set forth in the earlier book, Divine Love and Wisdom, on which the present work draws heavily. As there is a world of the spirit, no view of providence can be adequate which does not take that world into account. For in that world must be channels for the outreach of God's care to the human spirit. There also any eternal goal—such as a heaven from the human race—must exist. A view of providence limited to the horizons of the passing existence can hardly resemble the care which the eternal God takes of men and women who, besides possessing perishable bodies, are themselves creatures of the spirit and immortal. The full title of the book, Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence, implies that its author, in an other-world experience, had at hand the knowledge which men and women in heaven have of God's care. Who should know the divine guidance if not the men and women in heaven who have obviously enjoyed it? "The laws of divine providence, hitherto hidden with angels in their wisdom, are to be revealed now" (n. 70).

As it is presented in this book, providence seeks to engage man in its purposes, and to enlist all his faculties, his freedom and reason, his will and understanding, his prudence and enterprise. It acts first of all on his volitions and thinking, to align them with itself. That it falls directly on history, its events and our circumstances, is a superficial view. It is man's inner life which first feels the omnipresent divine influence and must do so. If we cannot be lifted to our best selves and if our aims and outlook cannot be modified for the better, how shall the world be bettered which we affect to handle? Paramount in God's presence with all men, if only in their possibilities, is His providential care.

This care, to which man's inner life is open, is alert every moment, not occasional. It is gentle and not tyrannical, constantly respecting man's freedom and reason, otherwise losing him as a human being. It has set this and other laws for itself which it pursues undeviatingly. The larger part of the book is an exposition of these laws in the conviction that by them the nature of providence is best seen. Is it not to be expected in a universe which has its laws, and in which impersonal forces are governed by laws, that the Creator of all should pursue laws in His concern with the lives of conscious beings? To fit a world of laws must not the divine care have its laws, too? Adjustment of thought about divine providence to scientific thought is not the overriding necessity, for scientific thought must keep adjusting to laws which it discerns in the physical world. In consonance, religious thought seeks to learn the lawful order in the guidance of the human spirit.

Do not each and all things in tree or shrub proceed constantly and wonderfully from purpose to purpose according to the laws of their order of things? Why should not the supreme purpose, a heaven from the human race, proceed in similar fashion? Can there be anything in its progress which does not proceed with all constancy according to the laws of divine providence? (n 332)

Respecting the laws of providence, it is to be noted that there are more laws than those, five in number, which are stated at the heads of as many chapters in the book. Further laws are embodied in other chapters. At n. 249(2) we are told that further laws were presented in nn. 191-213, 214-220, and 221-233. In fact, at n. 243. there is a reference to laws which follow in even later chapters. In nn. 191-213 the law, partly stated in the heading over the chapter, comes to full sight particularly at n. 210(2), namely, that providence, in engaging human response, shall align human prudence with itself, so that providence becomes one's prudence (n. 311e). In nn. 214-220 the law is that providence employ the temporal goals of distinction and wealth towards its eternal goals, and perpetuate standing and wealth in a higher form, for a man will then have sought them not for themselves and handled them for the use they can be. To keep a person from premature spiritual experience, nn. 221-233, is obviously a law of providence, guarding against relapse and consequent profanation of what had become sacred to him.

The paradox of divine foreknowledge and human freedom, regularly discussed in studies of providence, receives an explanation which becomes more and more enlightening in the course of the book. The paradox, probably nowhere else discussed, of man's thinking and willing to all appearance all by himself, and of the fact that volition and thought come to him from beyond him, receives a similar, cumulative answer. The tension between the divine will and human self-will is a subject that pervades the book; to that subject the profoundest insights into the hidden activity of providence and into human nature are brought. On the question, "Is providence only general or also detailed?" the emphatic answer is that it cannot be general unless it takes note of the least things. On miracle and on chance conclusions unusual in religious thought meet the reader. The inequalities, injustices and tragedies in life which raise doubts of the divine care are faced in a long chapter after the concept of providence has been spread before the reader. What would be the point in considering them before what providence is has been considered? Against what manner of providence are the arguments valid? A chapter such as this, on doubts of providence and on the mentality which cherishes them, becomes a monograph on the subject, as the chapter on premature spiritual experience, with the risk of relapse and profanation, becomes a monograph on kinds of profanation.

Coming by revelation and by a lengthy other-world experience on Swedenborg's part (in which he learned of the incorrectness of some of his own beliefs, nn. 279(2), 290) the book, like others of his, nevertheless has for an outstanding feature a steady address to the reason. The profoundest truths of the spiritual life, among them the nature of God and the laws and ways of providence, are not beyond grasp by the reason. Sound reason Swedenborg credits with lofty insights.

Divine Providence is a book to be studied, and not merely read, and studied slowly. By its own way of proceeding, it extends an invitation to read, not straight through, but something like a chapter at a time. In a new chapter Swedenborg will recall for the reader what was said in the preceding chapter, as though the reader had mean-while laid the book down. The revelator proceeds at a measured pace, carries along the whole body of his thought, and places each new point in this larger context, where it receives its precise significance and its full force. It is an accumulation of thought and not a repetition of statements merely that one meets. "What has been written earlier cannot be as closely connected with what is written later as it will be if the same things are recalled and placed with both in view" (n. 193 (1)).


This volume has been translated afresh from the Latin; it is not a revision of any earlier edition. Greater readableness has been striven for. In the past, it is generally recognized, Latin sentence structure and word order were clung to unnecessarily. "The defects in previous translations of Swedenborg have arisen mainly from too close an adherence to cognate words and to the Latin order of words and phrases." So wrote the Rev. John C. Ager in 1899 in his translator's note in the Library Edition of Divine Providence. Why, indeed, should English not be allowed its own sentence structure and word order? In addition, in this translation, long sentences, readily followed in an inflected language like Latin, have been broken up into short ones. English also uses fewer particles of logical relation than are at home in Latin. There is more paragraphing, aiding the eye, which both British and American translators have been doing for some years. Latin has neither a definite article nor an indefinite article, and a translator into English must decide when to use either or neither. The definite article, the present translator thinks, has been overused, perhaps in a dogmatic tendency to be as precise as can be. When, for instance, one is admitted into "truths of faith" he is certainly not admitted into "the truths of faith," as though he could comprehend them all. The very title of the book changes the impression which it makes as the definite article is inserted or omitted in it. "The divine providence" seems to single out a theological concept; "divine providence" seems more likely to lead the thought to God's actual care.

Swedenborg has his carefully chosen terms, of course, like "proprium," which are best kept, although in the present translation that term is sometimes rendered by an explanatory word and one which, in the particular context, is an equivalent. The verb "appropriate" presents a difficulty, but has been kept, partly because of the noun "proprium." One could translate rather wordily "make"—something good or evil—"one's own." The English word now means "take exclusive possession of," which one can hardly do of good or evil. Assimilation is the thought and the act, and with that in mind the verb "appropriate" and the noun "appropriation" can be retained. The unusual locution "affection of truth" or "of good," which Mr. Ager abandoned, translating "for truth" and "for good," has been returned to. Much is implied in that phrase which is not to be found in the other wording, namely, that we are affected by truth and by good, and that there is an influx of these into the human spirit. Similarly meaningful is another unusual way of speaking in English, of a person's being "in" faith or "in" charity, where we say that he has faith or exercises charity. The thought is that faith and charity, truth and goodness beckon to us, to be welcomed and entered into.

Latin sometimes has a number of words for an idea or an entity, and the English has not, but when English has the richer vocabulary, why not avail oneself of the variety possible? The Latin word "finis," for example, used in so many connections, can be rendered by one word in one connection and by another in another connection. The "goal" or the "object" of providence is plainer than the "end" of providence. The "close" of life is common speech. "Meritorious" has been kept in our translations, for in a restricted field of traditional theology it does mean that virtue, for example, earns a reward. To most readers the word will be misleading, for they will understand it in its usual meaning, that some act is well-deserving. The former is Swedenborg's meaning, which is that an act is done to earn merit, or is considered to have earned merit. We translate variously according to context to make that meaning clear (nn. 321(11), 326(8), 90).

As it is what Swedenborg has written that is to be translated, the Scripture passages which he quotes are translated without an effort to follow the Authorized Version, which he did not know. This is also done when he refers to the book which stands last in our Bibles; the name he knew it by, the Apocalypse, is retained.


The rewording in this translation would have necessitated revision of the index long used in editions of Divine Providence, which goes back to an index in French done by M. Le Boys des Guays. The opportunity was seized to compile a subject instead of a word index. It is based on an analysis of the contents of the book, and can serve as a reading guide. It does not usually quote the text, but sends the reader to it. Definitions of a number of terms are embodied in it.

The appearance that man thinks, wills, speaks and acts all of his own doing is the subject of much of the book, and this the index shows. The "life's love" deserves to be a separate entry, for little of a psychological nature in the book becomes more prominent than the love which forms in the way one actually lives, and which embodies one's actual belief and thought. Single words which have been scattered entries in the index long used—usually Scripture words of which the correspondential meaning is given—are assembled alphabetically under the entry "Correspondences."

A signal feature of Swedenborg's thought is the unities he perceives. Of love and wisdom he says that they can only be perceived as one (4(5)). So good and truth do not exist apart, nor charity and faith, nor affection and thought. These and other pairs of terms are therefore entered in the index; after references on the two together, references follow on each term alone.

The index, it is hoped, will do more than introduce the reader to statements made in the book, but will carry him into its stream of thought.


Angelic Wisdom about DIVINE PROVIDENCE



1. To understand what divine providence is—namely, government by the Lord's divine love and wisdom—one needs to know what was said and shown earlier about divine love and wisdom in the treatise about them: "In the Lord divine love is of divine wisdom, and divine wisdom of divine love" (nn. 34-39); "Divine love and wisdom cannot but be in, and be manifested in, all else, created by them" (nn. 47-51); "All things in the universe were created by them" (nn. 52, 53, 151-156); "All are recipients of that love and wisdom" (nn. 55-60); "The Lord appears before the angels as a sun, the heat proceeding from it being love, and the light wisdom" (nn. 83-88, 89-92, 93-98, 296-301); "Divine love and wisdom, proceeding from the Lord, make one" (nn. 99-102); "The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, created the universe and everything in it from Himself, and not from nothing" (nn. 282-284, 290-295). This is to be found in the treatise entitled Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom.

2. Putting with these propositions the description of creation in that treatise, one may indeed see that what is called divine providence is government by the Lord's divine love and wisdom. In that treatise, however, creation was the subject, and not the preservation of the state of things after creation—yet this is the Lord's government. We now treat of this, therefore, and in the present chapter, of the preservation of the union of divine love and wisdom or of divine good and truth in what was created, which will be done in the following order:

i. The universe, with each and all things in it, was created from divine love by divine wisdom. ii Divine love and wisdom proceed as one from the Lord. iii. This one is in some image in every created thing. iv. It is of the divine providence that every created thing, as a whole and in part, should be such a one, and if it is not, should become such a one. v. Good of love is good only so far as it is united to truth of wisdom, and truth of wisdom truth only so far as it is united to good of love. vi. Good of love not united to truth of wisdom is not good in itself but seeming good, and truth of wisdom not united to good of love is not truth in itself but seeming truth. vii. The Lord does not suffer anything to be divided; therefore it must be either in good and at the same time in truth, or in evil and at the same time in falsity. viii. That which is in good and at the same time in truth is something; that which is in evil and at the same time in falsity is not anything. ix. The Lord's divine providence causes evil and the attendant falsity to serve for equilibrium, contrast, and purification, and so for the conjunction of good and truth in others.

3. (i) The universe, with each and all things in it, was created from divine love by divine wisdom. In the work Divine Love and Wisdom we showed that the Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, is in essence divine love and wisdom, and that He created the universe and all things in it from Himself. It follows that the universe, with each and all things in it, was created from divine love by means of divine wisdom. We also showed in that treatise that love can do nothing without wisdom, and wisdom nothing without love. For love apart from wisdom, or the will apart from understanding, cannot think anything, indeed cannot see, feel or say anything, so cannot do anything. Likewise, wisdom apart from love, or understanding apart from will, cannot think, see, feel, or speak, therefore cannot do, anything. For if love is removed from wisdom or understanding, there is no willing and thus no doing. If this is true of man, for him to do anything, it was much more true of God—who is love itself and wisdom itself—when He created and made the world and all that it contains.

[2] That the universe, with each and all things in it, was created from divine love by divine wisdom may also be established from objects to be seen in the world. Take a particular object, examine it with some wisdom, and you will be convinced. Take the seed, fruit, flower or leaf of a tree, muster your wisdom, examine the object with a strong microscope, and you will see marvels. Even more wonderful are the more interior things which you do not see. Note the unfolding order in the growth of a tree from seed to new seed; reflect on the continuous effort in all stages after self-propagation—the end to which it moves is seed in which its reproductive power arises anew. If then you will think spiritually, as you can if you will, will you not see wisdom in all this? Furthermore, if you can think spiritually enough, you will see that this energy does not come from the seed, nor from the sun of the world, which is only fire, but is in the seed from God the Creator whose wisdom is infinite, and is from Him not only at the moment of creation but ever after, too. For maintenance is perpetual creation, as continuance is perpetual coming to be. Else it is quite as work ceases when you withdraw will from action, or as utterance fails when you remove thought from speech, or as motion ceases when you remove impetus; in a word, as an effect perishes when you remove the cause.

[3] Every created thing is endowed with energy, indeed, but this does nothing of itself but from Him who implanted it. Examine any other earthly object, like a silkworm, bee or other small creature. View it first naturally, then rationally, and at length spiritually, and if you can think deeply, you will be astounded at all you see. Let wisdom speak in you, and you will exclaim in astonishment, "Who does not see the divine in such things? They are all of divine wisdom." Still more will you exclaim, if you note the uses of all created things, how they mount in regular order even to the human being, and from man to the Creator whence they are, and that the connection, and if you will acknowledge it, the preservation also of them all, depend on the conjunction of the Creator with man. That divine love created all things, but nothing apart from the divine wisdom, will be seen in what follows.

4. (ii) Divine love and wisdom proceed as one from the Lord. This, too, is plain from what was shown in the work Divine Love and Wisdom, especially in the propositions: "Esse and existere are distinguishably one in the Lord" (nn. 14-17); "Infinite things are distinguishably one in Him" (nn. 17-22); "Divine love is of divine wisdom, and divine wisdom of divine love" (nn. 34-39); "Love not married to wisdom cannot effect anything" (nn. 401-403); "Love does nothing except in union with wisdom" (nn. 409, 410); "Spiritual heat and light, proceeding from the Lord as a sun, make one as divine love and wisdom make one in Him" (nn. 99-102). The truth of the present proposition is plain from these propositions, demonstrated in that treatise. But as it is not known how two distinct things can act as one, I wish now to show that there is no "one" apart from form, and that the form itself makes it a unit; then, that a form makes a "one" the more perfectly as the elements entering into it are distinctly different and yet united.

[2] There is no "one" apart from form, and the form itself makes it a unit. Everyone who brings his mind to bear on the matter can see clearly that there is no "one" apart from form, and if a thing exists at all, it is a form. For what exists at all derives from form what is known as its character and its predicates, its changes of state, also its relevance, and so on. A thing without form has no way of affecting us, and what has no power of affecting, has no reality. It is form which enables to all this. And as all things have a form, then if the form is perfect, all things in it regard each other mutually, as link does link in a chain. It follows that it is form which makes a thing a unit and thus an entity of which character, state, affection or anything else can be predicated; each is predicated of it according to the perfection of the form.

[3] Such a unit is every object which meets the eye in the world. Such, too, is everything not seen with the eye, whether in interior nature or in the spiritual world. The human being is such a unit, human society is, likewise the church, and in the Lord's view the whole angelic heaven, too; in short, all creation in general and in every particular. For each and all things to be forms, He who created all things must be form itself, and all things made must be from that form. This, therefore, was also demonstrated in the work Divine Love and Wisdom, as that "Divine love and wisdom are substance and form" (nn. 40-43); "Divine love and wisdom are form itself, thus the one Self and the single independent existence" (nn. 44-46); "Divine love and wisdom are one in the Lord" (nn. 14-17, 18-22), "and proceed as one from Him" (nn. 99-102, and elsewhere).

[4] A form makes a one the more perfectly as the elements entering into it are distinctly different and yet united. This hardly falls into a comprehension not elevated, for the appearance is that a form cannot make a one except as its elements are quite alike. I have spoken with angels often on the subject. They said that this is a secret perceived clearly by their wiser men, obscurely by the less wise. They said it is the truth that a form is the more perfect as its constituents are distinctly different and yet severally united. They established the fact from the societies which in the aggregate constitute the form of heaven, and from the angels of a society, for as these are different and free and love their associates from themselves and from their own affection, the form of the society is more perfect. They also illustrated the fact from the marriage of good and truth, in that the more distinguishably two these are, the more perfectly do they make a one; similarly, of love and wisdom. The indistinguishable is confusion, they said, whence comes imperfection of form.

[5] In various ways they went on to establish the manner in which perfectly distinct things are united and thus make a one, especially by what is in the human body, in which are innumerable things quite distinct and yet united, held distinct by coverings and united by ligaments. It is so with love, they said, and all its things, and wisdom and all its things, for love and wisdom are not perceived except as one. See further on the subject in Divine Love and Wisdom (nn. 14-22) and in the work Heaven and Hell (nn. 56 and 489). This has been adduced as part of angelic wisdom.

5. (iii) This "one" is in some image in every created thing. It can be seen from what was demonstrated throughout the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom and especially at nn. 47-51, 55-60, 282-284, 290-295, 313-318, 319-326, 349-357, that divine love and wisdom which are one in the Lord and proceed as one from Him, are in some image in each created thing. It was shown that the divine is in every created thing because God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, produced the sun of the spiritual world from Himself, and all things of the universe through that sun. That sun, which is from Him and in which He is, is therefore not only the first but the sole substance from which are all things. As this is the one substance, it is in everything made, but with endless variety in accord with uses.

[2] In the Lord, then, are divine love and wisdom, and in the sun from Him divine fire and radiance, and from the sun spiritual heat and light; and in each instance the two make one. It follows that this oneness is in every created thing. All things in the world are referable, therefore, to good and truth, in fact to the conjunction of them. Or, what is the same, they are referable to love and wisdom and to the union of these; for good is of love and truth of wisdom, love calling all its own, "good," and wisdom calling all its own, "truth." It will be seen in what follows that there is a conjunction of these in each created thing.

6. Many avow that there is a single substance which is also the first, from which are all things, but what that substance is, is not known. The belief is that it is so simple nothing is more so, and that it can be likened to a point without dimensions, and that dimensional forms arose out of an infinite number of such points. But this is a fallacy, springing from an idea of space. To such an idea there seems to be such a least thing. The truth is that the simpler and purer a thing is, the more replete it is and the more complete. This is why the more interiorly a thing is examined, the more wonderful, perfect, and well formed are the things seen in it, and in the first substance the most wonderful, perfect and fully formed of all. For the first substance is from the spiritual sun, which, as we said, is from the Lord and in which He is. That sun is therefore the sole substance and, not being in space, is all in all, and is in the greatest and least things of the created universe.

[2] As that sun is the first and sole substance from which all things are, it follows that in it are infinitely more things than can possibly appear in substances arising from it, called substantial and lastly material. This infinity cannot appear in derivative substances because these descend from that sun by degrees of two kinds in accord with which perfections decline. For that reason, as we said above, the more interiorly a thing is regarded, the more wonderful, perfect and well formed are the things seen. This has been said to establish the fact that the divine is in some image in every created thing, but is less and less manifest with the descent over degrees, and still less when a lower degree, parted from the higher by being closed, is also choked with earthy matter. These concepts cannot but seem obscure unless one has read and understood what was shown in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom about the spiritual sun (nn. 83-172), about degrees (nn. 173-281) and about the creation of the world (nn. 282-357).

7. (iv) It is of the divine providence that every created thing as a whole and in part should be such a one or should become such a one, or that there be in it something of the divine love and wisdom, or what is the same, that there be good and truth in it, or a union of them. (Inasmuch as good is of love and truth is of wisdom, as was said above (n. 5), in what follows we shall at times say good and truth instead of love and wisdom, and marriage of good and truth instead of union of love and wisdom.)

8. It is evident from the preceding proposition that divine love and wisdom, which are one in the Lord and proceed as one from Him, are in some image in everything created by Him. Something shall be said now specifically of the "one" or the union called the marriage of good and truth. 1. This marriage is in the Lord Himself—for, as we said, divine love and wisdom in Him are one. 2. This marriage is from Him, for in all that proceeds from Him love and wisdom are fully united. The two proceed from Him as a sun, divine love as heat, and divine wisdom as light. 3. These are received as two, indeed, by angels, likewise by men of the church, but are made one in them by the Lord. 4. In view of this influx of love and wisdom as one from the Lord with angels of heaven and men of the church, and in view of their reception of it, the Lord is spoken of in the Word as bridegroom and husband, and heaven and the church are called bride and wife. 5. An image and a likeness of the Lord are therefore to be found in heaven and in the church in general, and in an angel of heaven and a man of the church in particular, so far as they are in that union or in the marriage of good and truth. For good and truth in the Lord are one, indeed are the Lord. 6. Love and wisdom in heaven and in the church as a whole, and in an angel of heaven and a man of the church, are one when will and understanding, thus when good and truth, make one; or what is still the same, when doctrine from the Word and life according to doctrine make one. 7. How the two make one in man and in all that pertains to him was shown, moreover, in Part V of the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, where the creation of man, and especially the correspondence of will and understanding with heart and lungs, were treated of (nn. 358-432).

9. How good and truth, however, make one in what is below or outside man, in both the animal and the vegetable kingdom, shall be told from time to time in what follows. Three points are premised. First, in the universe and in each and all things of it as created by the Lord, there was a marriage of good and truth. Second, after creation this marriage was severed in man. Third, it is the work of divine providence to unite what was severed, and so to restore the marriage of good and truth. As all three points were established by many things in the work Divine Love and Wisdom, there is no need to substantiate them further. Anyone can see from reason, moreover, that if there was a marriage of good and truth in each created thing and later it was severed, the Lord must be working constantly to restore it, and that the restoration of it, and hence the conjunction of the created world with the Lord through man, are of divine providence.

10. (v) Good of love is good only so far as it is united to truth of wisdom, and truth of wisdom is truth only so far as it is united to good of love. Good and truth have this from their origin, the one and the other originating in the Lord, who is good itself and truth itself and in whom the two are one. Hence in angels in heaven and men on earth, good is not good basically except so far as it is joined to truth, and truth is not truth basically except so far as it is joined to good. Granted that all good and truth are from the Lord, then inasmuch as good makes one with truth and truth with good in Him, good to be good in itself and truth to be truth in itself must make one in the recipient, that is, the angel in heaven or the man on earth.

11. It is indeed known that all things in the world are referable to good and truth. For by good is meant what universally embraces and involves all things of love; and by truth what universally embraces and involves all things of wisdom. Still it is not known that good is nothing except when it is joined to truth, and truth nothing unless it is joined to good. Good apart from truth and truth apart from good still seem to be something; yet they are not. For love (to which all that is called good pertains) is the esse of a thing, and wisdom (to which all things called truths pertain) is a thing's existere from that esse (as was shown in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, nn. 14-16). Therefore, as esse is nothing apart from existere, or existere apart from esse, good is nothing apart from truth or truth from good. What, again, is good which has no relation to anything? Can it be called good if it is without affection and perception?

[2] That which is associated with good, permitting it to affect and to be perceived and felt, is referable to truth, since it has relation to what is in the understanding. Tell someone, not that a given thing is good, but simply say "good"—is good anything? It becomes something from what is perceived along with it. This is united with good only in the understanding, and all understanding has relation to truth. It is the same with willing. Apart from knowing, perceiving and thinking what one wills, to will is nothing actual; together with them it becomes something. All volition is of love and is referable to good; and all knowing, perceiving and thinking is of the understanding, and is referable to truth. It is clear, then, that to will is nothing actual, but to will this or that means something.

[3] So also with a use, inasmuch as a use is a good. Unless a use is addressed to something which makes one with it, it is not a use, and thus not anything. A use derives its something from the understanding, and what is thence conjoined or adjoined to it, has relation to truth. So a use gets its character.

[4] From these few things it is plain that good is nothing apart from truth, nor truth anything apart from good. But if good together with truth and truth together with good are something, evil with falsity and falsity with evil are not, for the latter are opposite to the former and the opposition destroys—that is, destroys the something. But of this in what follows.

12. Marriage of good and truth may, however, be found either in a cause or from the cause in an effect. In a cause the marriage of good and truth is one of will and understanding, or of love and wisdom. Such a marriage is in all that a man wills and thinks and in all his ensuing determinations and purposes. This marriage enters into and in fact produces the effect. But in producing the effect, good and truth seem distinct, for then the simultaneous turns successive. When, for example, a man wills and thinks about food, clothing, shelter, business or employment, or about his relationship to others, first he wills and thinks or comes to his conclusions and intentions all at the same time; but when these are determined to effects, truth follows on good, though in will and thought they continue to make one. In the effects the uses pertain to love or good, and the ways of performing the uses pertain to understanding or truth. Anyone can confirm these general truths by particular instances provided he perceives what is referable respectively to good of love and to truth of wisdom, and also how differently it is referable in cause and in effect.

13. We have said often that love constitutes man's life. This does not mean, however, love separate from wisdom or good from truth in the cause, for love separate or good separate is not an actuality. The love which makes man's inmost life—the life he has from the Lord—is therefore love and wisdom together; neither is the love which makes his life as a recipient being separate in the cause, but only in the effect. For love cannot be understood except from its quality, which is wisdom; and the quality or wisdom can exist only from its own esse, which is love; thence it is that they are one; it is the same with good and truth. Since truth is from good as wisdom is from love, it is the two taken together that are called good or love. For love has wisdom for its form, and good for its form truth, and form is the source, and the one source, of quality. It is plain from all this that good is good only so far as it has become one with its truth, and truth truth only so far as it has become one with its good.

14. (vi) Good of love not united to truth of wisdom is not good in itself but seeming good; and truth of wisdom not conjoined with good of love is not truth in itself but seeming truth. The fact is that no good, in itself good, can exist unless joined with its truth, and no truth, in itself truth, can exist unless it has become joined with its good. And yet good separate from truth is possible, and truth separate from good. They are found in hypocrites and flatterers, in evil persons of every sort, and in such as are in natural but not spiritual good. These can all do well by church, country, society, fellow-citizens, the needy, the poor, and widows and orphans. They can also comprehend truths, from understanding think them, and from thought speak and teach them. But the goods and truths are not interiorly such, that is, basically goods and truths, but only outwardly and seemingly such. For such good and truth look to self and the world, not to good itself and truth itself; they are not from good and truth; they are of the mouth and body only, therefore, and not of the heart.

[2] They may be likened to gold or silver which is spread on dross, rotten wood or mire. When uttered the truths may be likened to a breath exhaled and gone, or to a delusive light which dies away, though they appear outwardly like genuine truths. They are seeming truths in those who utter them; to those hearing and assenting, and unaware of this, they may be altogether different. For everyone is affected by what is external according to his internal. A truth, by whomsoever uttered, enters another's hearing and is taken up by his mind in keeping with the state or character of his mind.

Of those in natural good by inheritance, but in no spiritual good, nearly the same is true as of those described above. The internal of every good or truth is spiritual. The spiritual dispels falsities and evils, but the natural left to itself favors them. To favor evil and falsity does not accord with doing good.

15. Good can be separated from truth, and truth from good, and then still appear as good or truth, for the reason that the human being has a capacity to act which is called liberty, and a capacity of understanding called rationality. By abuse of these powers a man can appear in externals other than he is in internals; an evil man can do good and speak truth, and a devil feign himself an angel of light. But on this see the following propositions in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom: "The origin of evil is in the abuse of faculties proper to man, called liberty and rationality" (nn. 246-270); "These two faculties are to be found with the evil as well as with the good" (n. 425); "Love not married to wisdom, and good not married to truth, can effect nothing" (n. 401); "Love does nothing except in conjunction with wisdom or understanding, and it brings wisdom or the understanding reciprocally into conjunction with itself" (nn. 410-412); "From power given it by love, wisdom or understanding can be elevated and can perceive and receive the things of light from heaven" (n. 413); "Love can be raised similarly to receive the things of heat from heaven if it loves its mate, wisdom, in that degree" (nn. 414, 415); "Else love pulls wisdom or the understanding down from its elevation to act at one with itself" (nn. 416-418); "If the two are elevated, love is purified in the understanding" (nn. 419-421); "Purified by wisdom in the understanding, love becomes spiritual and celestial, but defiled in the understanding it become sensuous and corporeal" (nn. 422-424); "What is true of love and wisdom and their union is true of charity and faith and their conjunction" (nn. 427-430). What charity in heaven is, see n. 431.

16. (vii) The Lord does not suffer anything to be divided; it must be either in good and at the same time in truth, or in evil and at the same time in falsity. The Lord's divine providence has for its goal, and to this end it labors, that man shall be in good and at the same time in truth. For then he is his own good and love and his own truth and wisdom; thereby the human being is human, for he is then an image of the Lord. But while he lives in the world he can be in good and at the same time in falsity, likewise in evil and at the same time in truth, indeed in evil and at the same time in good, and thus be double. As the cleavage destroys the Lord's image in him and thus the man, the Lord's divine providence takes care in every least act that this division shall not be. And as it is better for man to be in evil and at the same time in falsity than to be in good and at the same time in evil, the Lord permits it, not as one willing it, but as one unable to resist because of the end sought, which is salvation.

[2] A man can be simultaneously in evil and in truth and the Lord be unable to prevent it in view of the end, which is salvation, for the reason that man's understanding can be raised into the light of wisdom and see truths, or acknowledge them when he hears them, while his love remains below. Thus a man can be in heaven as to understanding, while as to his love he is in hell. This is not denied him, because the two faculties of liberty and rationality, by virtue of which he is a human being and distinguished from beasts and by which alone he can be regenerated and thus saved, cannot be taken away. By means of them, he can act according to wisdom and at the same time according to an unwise love. From wisdom above he can view the love below and also the thoughts, intentions and affections, therefore the evils and falsities as well as the goods and truths of his life and doctrine, without a knowledge and recognition of which he cannot be reformed. We spoke of the two faculties before and shall say more in what follows. What has been said explains how man can be simultaneously in good and truth, or in evil and falsity, or in mixtures of them.

17. In this world a man can hardly come into one or the other conjunction or union, that is, of good and truth or of evil and falsity, for during his life in the world he is kept in a state of reformation or regeneration. After death, however, every man comes into the one union or the other, because he can then no longer be reformed or regenerated. He remains such as his life was in the world, that is, such as his reigning love was. If therefore his was a life of an evil love, all the truth acquired by him in the world from teacher, pulpit or Word is taken away. On the removal of it, he absorbs the falsity agreeing with his evil as a sponge does water. On the other hand, if his was the life of a good love, all the falsity is removed which he may have picked up in the world by hearing or from reading but did not confirm in himself, and in its place truth congruous with his good is given him. This is meant by the Lord's words:

Take . . . the talent from him, and give it to him that has ten talents. For to everyone who has, shall be given until he abounds but from him who has not, even what he has shall be taken away (Mt 25:28, 29; 13:12; Mk 4:25; Lu 8:18; 19:24-26).

18. After death everyone must be either in good and at the same time in truth or in evil and at the same time in falsity, for the reason that good and evil cannot be united, nor can good and the falsity of evil, nor evil and the truth of good. For these are opposites, and opposites contend until one destroys the other. Those who are at the same time in evil and in good are meant in the Apocalypse in these words of the Lord to the church of the Laodiceans:

I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot; would that you were cold or hot; but because you are lukewarm, I will spue you out of my mouth (3:15, 16):

also in these words of the Lord:

No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or cleave to the one and not heed the other (Mt 6:24).

19. ( viii) That which is in good and at the same time in truth is something; that which is in evil and at the same time in falsity is not anything. See above (n. 11) that what is in good and at the same time in truth is something. It follows that what is at once evil and false is not anything. By not being anything is meant that it is without power and without spiritual life. Those at once in evil and in falsity (all of whom are in hell) have power indeed among themselves, for an evil man can do evil and does so in a thousand ways. Yet he can do evil to the evil only by reason of their evil; he cannot harm the good at all; if, as sometimes happens, he does, it is by conjunction with their evil.

[2] In this way temptations arise; they are infestations by evil spirits who are with a man; so combats ensue by which the good are freed from their evils. Since the wicked have no power, all hell in the Lord's sight is not only nothing, but nothing at all in point of power, as I have seen proved by much experience. But it is remarkable that the evil all deem themselves powerful, and the good all think themselves powerless. This is because the evil ascribe everything to their own power or shrewdness and malice, and nothing to the Lord; whereas the good ascribe nothing to their own prudence, but all to the Lord who is almighty. Evil and falsity together are not anything for the further reason that they have no spiritual life. The life of the infernals is therefore called death, not life. Since life holds everything, death has nothing.

20. Men in evil and at the same time in truths may be likened to eagles flying aloft which, deprived of their wings, fall. For after death, on becoming spirits, men do the like who have understood and spoken and taught truths and yet have not looked to God in their lives. By means of things of the understanding they raise themselves aloft and even enter heaven at times and feign themselves angels of light. But when they are deprived of truths and are cast out, they fall down to hell. Eagles also signify rapacious men with intellectual acumen, and wings signify spiritual truths. Such, we said, are those who have not looked to God in their lives. To look to God in life means simply to think that a given evil is a sin against God, and for that reason not to commit it.

21. (ix) The Lord's divine providence causes evil and its falsity to serve for equilibrium, contrast, and purification, and so for the conjunction of good and truth in others. It is obvious from the preceding that the Lord's divine providence continually operates in order that truth may be united in man with good and good with truth, because that union is the church and heaven. For that union is in the Lord and in all that proceeds from Him. From that union, heaven and the church are called a marriage, and the kingdom of God is likened in the Word to a marriage. Again, the Sabbath signified that union and was the holiest observance in the worship of the Israelitish Church. From that union also there is a marriage of good and truth in the Word and in each and all things of it (on this see Doctrine of the New Jerusalem about Sacred Scripture, nn. 80-90). The marriage of good and truth is from the marriage of the Lord with the church, and this in turn from the marriage of love and wisdom in Him, for good is of love, and truth of wisdom. It is plain, then, that it is the constant aim of divine providence to unite good to truth and truth to good in a man, for so he is united to the Lord.

22. But many have severed and do sever this marriage, especially by separating faith from charity (for faith is of truth and truth is of faith, and charity is of good and good is of charity), and in so doing they conjoin evil and falsity in themselves and thus come into and continue in the opposite to good and truth. The Lord therefore provides that they shall nevertheless serve for uniting good and truth in others, through equilibrium, contrast and purification.

23. Conjunction of good and truth in others is provided by the Lord through equilibrium between heaven and hell. From hell evil and at the same time falsity constantly exhale, and from heaven good and at the same time truth. In equilibrium between them, and so in freedom to think, will, speak and act in which he can be reformed, every man is kept while he lives in the world. On the spiritual equilibrium from which the human being has freedom, see the work Heaven and Hell, nn. 589-596, 597-603.

24. Conjunction of good and truth is provided by the Lord through contrast. For the nature of good is not known except by contrast with what is less good and by its contrariety to evil. All perceptiveness and sensitivity arise so; their quality is thence. All pleasantness is perceived and felt over against the less pleasant and the unpleasant; all the beautiful by reference to the less beautiful and the unbeautiful; similarly all good of love by reference to lesser good and to evil; all truth of wisdom by a sense of lesser truth and of falsity. Everything inevitably varies from greatest to least, and with the same variation in its opposite and with equilibrium between them, there is contrast degree by degree, and the perception and sensation of a thing increase or diminish. But be it known that an opposite may either lower or exalt perceptions and sensitivities. It lowers them when it mingles in and exalts them when it does not mingle in, for which reason the Lord separates good and evil with man that they shall not mingle, as exquisitely as He does heaven and hell.

25. Conjunction of good and truth in others is provided by the Lord through purification in two ways; one through temptations, and the other through fermentations. Spiritual temptations are nothing else than combats against the evils and falsities exhaled from hell and affecting man. By these combats a man is purified from evils and falsities, and good and truth are united in him. Spiritual fermentations take place in many ways, and in heaven as well as on earth; but in the world it is not known what they are or how they come about. For evils and their falsities, let into societies, act as ferments do in meal or in must, separating the heterogeneous and conjoining the homogeneous until there is clarity and purity. Such fermentations are meant in the Lord's words:

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened (Mt 13:33; Lu 12:21).

26. The Lord provides these uses through the united evil and falsity of those in hell. The Lord's kingdom, which extends over hell as well as over heaven, is a kingdom of uses. It is the Lord's providence that there shall be no creature and no thing whereby a use is not performed.


27. Heaven does not consist of angels created such to begin with, nor does hell come from any devil created an angel of light and cast down from heaven. Both heaven and hell are from mankind, heaven consisting of those in the love of good and consequent understanding of truth, and hell of those in the love of evil and consequent understanding of falsity. This has been made known and sure to me by long-continued intercourse with angels and spirits. See what was said on the subject in the work Heaven and Hell (nn. 311-316); also in the little work The Last Judgment (nn. 14-27), and in Continuation about the Last Judgment and the Spiritual World (throughout).

[2] As heaven is from mankind and is an abiding with the Lord to eternity, it must have been the Lord's purpose in creation; being the purpose in creation, it is the purpose of His providence. The Lord created the world not for His own sake but for the sake of those with whom He would be in heaven. Spiritual love by nature desires to give its own to another, and so far as it can do so is in its esse, peace, and blessedness. Spiritual love derives this from the Lord's divine love which is such infinitely. It follows that the divine love and hence divine providence has for its object a heaven consisting of human beings who have become or are becoming angels, on whom the Lord can bestow all the blessings and felicities of love and wisdom and do so from Himself in men. It must be in this way, for the Lord's image and likeness are in men from creation, the image in them wisdom and the likeness love. Furthermore, the Lord in them is love united to wisdom and wisdom united to love or (what is the same) is good united to truth and truth united to good (this union was treated of in the preceding chapter).

[3] What heaven is in general or with a number, and in particular or with an individual, is not known. Nor is it known what heaven is in the spiritual world and what it is in the natural world. Yet this knowledge is important, for heaven is the purpose of providence. I therefore desire to set the subject in some light in this order:

i. Heaven is conjunction with the Lord. ii. By creation the human being is such that he can be conjoined more and more closely to the Lord. iii. The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the wiser one becomes. iv. The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the happier one becomes. v. The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the more distinctly does he seem to himself to be his own, and the more plainly does he recognize that he is the Lord's.

28. (i) Heaven is conjunction with the Lord. Heaven is heaven, not from the angels but from the Lord. For the love and wisdom in which angels are and which make heaven are not theirs, but the Lord's, indeed are the Lord in them. And as love and wisdom are the Lord's, and are the Lord in heaven, and make the life of angels, it is plain that their life is the Lord's, indeed is the Lord. The angels themselves avow that they live from the Lord. Hence it is evident that heaven is conjunction with the Lord. But conjunction with Him is various and one man's heaven is not another's; therefore heaven is also according to the conjunction with the Lord. In the following proposition it will be seen that conjunction is more and more close or more and more remote.

[2] Here let something be said about how the conjunction takes place and what the nature of it is. It is a conjunction of the Lord with the angels and of the angels with Him, therefore is reciprocal. The Lord flows into the life's love of the angels, and they receive Him in wisdom, thus in turn conjoining themselves with Him. It must be said, however, that it seems to the angels that they conjoin themselves to the Lord by wisdom; actually the Lord conjoins them to Himself by their wisdom, for the wisdom is also from the Lord. It is the same thing if we say that the Lord conjoins Himself to the angels by good and they in turn conjoin themselves to the Lord by truth, for all good is of love, and truth, of wisdom.

[3] This reciprocal conjunction is an arcanum, however, which few can understand unless it is explained. I want therefore to unfold it so far as it can be done by things within one's grasp. We showed in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom (nn. 404, 405) how love unites itself with wisdom, namely, through affection for knowing from which comes an affection for truth, through affection for understanding from which comes perception of truth, and through affection for seeing what is known and understood, from which comes thought. Into all these affections the Lord flows, for they are all derivatives of one's life's love, and the angels receive the influx in perception of truth and in thought, for in these the influx becomes apparent to them, but not in the affections.

[4] As the perceptions and thoughts appear to the angels to be their own, although they arise from affections which are from the Lord, the appearance is that the angels reciprocally conjoin themselves to the Lord, when nevertheless the Lord conjoins them to Himself. The affection itself produces the perceptions and thoughts, for the affection, which is of love, is their soul. Apart from affection no one can perceive or think anything, and every one perceives and thinks according to his affection. It is evident that the reciprocal conjunction of the angels with the Lord is not from them, but as it were from them. Such, too, is the conjunction of the Lord with the church and of the church with Him, a union called celestial and spiritual marriage.

29. All conjunction in the spiritual world is effected by intent regard. When anyone there thinks of another with a desire to speak with him, the other is at once present, and the two come face to face. Likewise, when one thinks of another from an affection of love; by this affection, however, there is conjunction, but by the other only presence. This is peculiar to the spiritual world; for there all are spiritual beings. It is otherwise in the natural world where all are physical beings. In the natural world something similar takes place in the affections and thoughts of the spirit; but as there is space here, while in the spiritual world space is appearance only, what takes place here in one's spirit occurs outwardly there.

[2] We have said so much to make known how conjunction of the Lord with angels and their seemingly reciprocal conjunction with Him is effected. All angels turn the face to the Lord; He regards them in the forehead, and they regard Him with the eyes. The reason is that the forehead corresponds to love and its affections, and the eyes correspond to wisdom and its perceptions. Still the angels do not of themselves turn the face to the Lord, but He faces them toward Himself, doing so by influx into their life's love, by this entering the perceptions and thoughts, and so turning the angels to Him.

[3] There is such a circuit from love to thoughts and under love's impulse from thoughts to love in all the mind's activity. It may be called the circling of life. On these subjects see some things also in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom: as that "Angels constantly turn the face to the Lord as a sun" (nn. 129-134); "All the interiors of both the mind and the bodies of the angels are likewise turned to the Lord as a sun" (nn. 135-139); "Every spirit, whatever his character, turns himself likewise to his ruling love" (nn. 140-145); "Love conjoins itself to wisdom and causes wisdom to be conjoined reciprocally with it" (nn. 410-412); "Angels are in the Lord and He in them; and as the angels are only recipients, the Lord alone is heaven" (nn. 113-118).

30. The Lord's heaven in the natural world is called the church; an angel of this heaven is a man of the church who is conjoined to the Lord; on departure from this world he also becomes an angel of the spiritual heaven. What was said of the angelic heaven is evidently to be understood, then, of the human heaven also which is called the church. The reciprocal conjunction with the Lord which makes heaven in the human being is revealed by the Lord in these words in John:

Abide in Me, and I in you; ... he who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing (15:4, 5, 7).

31. It is plain from this that the Lord is heaven not only in general with all in heaven, but in particular with each one there. For each angel is a heaven in least form; of as many heavens as there are angels, does heaven in general consist. In substantiation see Heaven and Hell (nn. 51-58). Since this is so, let no one cherish the mistaken idea, which first visits the thought of so many, that the Lord dwells in heaven among the angels or is among them like a king in his kingdom. To the sight He is above them in the sun there; He is in them in their life of love and wisdom.

32. (ii) By creation the human being is such that he can be conjoined more and more closely to the Lord. This becomes evident from what was shown about degrees in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, Part III, especially in the propositions: "By creation there are three discrete degrees or degrees of height in the human being" (nn. 230-235); "These three degrees are in man from birth, and as they are opened, the man is in the Lord, and the Lord in him" (nn. 236-241); "All perfection increases and mounts with and according to the degrees" (nn. 199-204). Evidently, then, man is such by creation that he can be conjoined with the Lord more and more closely according to these degrees.

[2] But one must know well what degrees are and that there are two kinds —discrete degrees or degrees of height, and continuous degrees or degrees of breadth; also how they differ. It must be known, too, that every human being has by creation and hence from birth three discrete degrees or degrees of height, and that he comes at birth into the first degree, called natural, and can grow in this degree continuously until he becomes rational. He comes into the second degree, called spiritual, if he lives according to spiritual laws of order, which are divine truths. He can also come into the third degree, called celestial, if he lives according to the celestial laws of order, which are divine goods.

[3] These degrees are opened in a person by the Lord according to his life and actually opened in the world, but not perceptibly and sensibly until after his departure from the world. As they are opened and later perfected a man is conjoined to the Lord more and more closely. This conjunction can grow to eternity in nearness to God and does so with the angels. And yet no angel can attain or touch the first degree of the Lord's love and wisdom, for the Lord is infinite and an angel is finite, and between infinite and finite no ratio obtains. Man's state and the state of his elevation and nearness to the Lord cannot be understood without a knowledge of these degrees; they have been specifically treated of, therefore, in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, nn. 173-281, which see.

33. We shall say briefly how man can be more and more closely conjoined to the Lord, and then how the conjunction seems closer and closer. How man is more and more closely conjoined to the Lord: this is effected not by knowledge alone, nor by intelligence alone, nor even by wisdom alone, but by a life conjoined to them. A man's life is his love, and love is manifold. In general there are love of good and love of evil. Love of evil is love of committing adultery, taking revenge, defrauding, blaspheming, depriving others of their possessions. In thinking and doing such things the love of evil finds its pleasure and joy. Of this love there are as many derivatives, which are affections, as there are evils in which it can find expression. And there are as many perceptions and thoughts of this love as there are falsities favoring and confirming such evils. The falsities make one with the evils as understanding makes one with will; they are mutually inseparable; the one is of the other.

[2] Inasmuch as the Lord flows into one's life's love and by its affections into the perceptions and thoughts, and not the other way about, as we said above, it follows that the Lord can conjoin Himself more closely to a man only as the love of evil is removed along with its affections, which are lusts. These lusts reside in the natural man. What a man does from the natural man he feels that he does of himself. For his part, therefore, a man should remove the evils of that love; so far as he does, the Lord comes nearer and conjoins Himself to him. Anyone can see from reason that lusts with their pleasures block and close the door to the Lord and cannot be cast out by the Lord as long as the man himself keeps the door shut and presses and pushes from outside to keep it from being opened. It is plain from the Lord's words in the Apocalypse that a man must himself open the door:

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me (3:20).

[3] Plainly, then, so far as one shuns evils as diabolical and as obstacles to the Lord's entrance, he is more and more closely conjoined to the Lord, and he the most closely who abhors them as so many dusky and fiery devils. For evil and the devil are one and the same, and the falsity of evil and satan are one and the same. As the Lord's influx is into the love of good and into its affections and by these into the perceptions and thoughts, which have it from the good in which a man is that they are truths, so the influx of the devil, that is of hell, is into the love of evil and its affections, which are lusts, and by these into the perceptions and thoughts, which have it from the evil in which the man is that they are falsities.

[4] How the conjunction seems closer and closer. The more the evils in the natural man are removed by shunning and turning away from them, the more closely a man is conjoined to the Lord. Love and wisdom, which are the Lord Himself, are not in space, as affection which is of love, and thought which is of wisdom, have nothing in common with space. In the measure of the conjunction by love and wisdom, therefore, the Lord seems nearer; and, contrariwise, in the measure of the rejection of love and wisdom, more distant. There is no space in the spiritual world; distance and presence there are appearances according to similarity or dissimilarity of the affections. For, as we said, affections which are of love, and thoughts which are of wisdom, in themselves spiritual, are not in space (on this see what was shown in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, nn. 7-10, 69-72, and elsewhere).

[5] The Lord's conjunction with a man in whom evils have been put away is meant by the Lord's words:

The pure in heart shall see God (Mt 5:8);

and by the words:

He who has my commandments and does them . . . with him will I make an abode (Jn 14:21, 23).

"To have the commandments" is to know and "to do them" is to love, for it is also said: "he who does my commandments, he it is that loves Me."

34. (iii) The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the wiser one becomes. As there are three degrees of life in man by creation and so from birth (see just above, n. 32), there are specifically three degrees of wisdom in him. These degrees it is that are opened in man according to conjunction, that is, according to love, for love is conjunction itself. Love's ascent by degrees, however, is only obscurely perceived by man; but wisdom's ascent is clearly perceived by those who know and see what wisdom is. The degrees of wisdom are perceived because love by its affections enters the perceptions and thoughts, and these present themselves to the internal mental sight, which corresponds to the external bodily sight. Thus wisdom appears, but not the affection of love which produces it. It is the same with all a man's deeds; he is aware how the body does them, but not how the soul does them. So he perceives how he meditates, perceives and thinks, but not how the soul of these mental activities, which is an affection of good and truth, produces them.

[2] There are three degrees of wisdom: natural, spiritual, and celestial. Man is in the natural degree of wisdom during his life in the world. This degree can be perfected in him to its height, but even so cannot pass into the spiritual degree, for the latter is not continuous with it, but conjoined to it by correspondences. After death man is in the spiritual degree of wisdom. This degree also is such that it can be perfected to its height, and yet cannot pass into the celestial degree of wisdom, because neither is this continuous with the spiritual but conjoined to it by correspondences. Plainly, then, wisdom can be raised threefold, and in each degree can be perfected but only to its peak.

[3] One who understands the elevation and perfecting of these degrees can see to an extent why angelic wisdom is said to be ineffable. So ineffable, indeed, is it, that a thousand ideas in the thought of angels in their wisdom can present only a single idea in the thought of men in their wisdom, the other nine hundred and ninety-nine ideas being unutterable, because they are supernatural. Many a time have I been given to know this by living experience. But, as was said, no one can enter into the ineffable wisdom of the angels except by and according to conjunction with the Lord, for He alone opens spiritual and celestial degrees, and only in those who are wise from Him. Those are wise from the Lord who cast the devil, that is, evil, out of themselves.

35. But let no one believe that he has wisdom because he knows many things, perceives them in some light, and is able to talk intelligently about them, unless his wisdom is conjoined to love. For it is love that through its affections produces wisdom. Not conjoined to love, wisdom is like a meteor vanishing in the air and like a falling star. Wisdom united to love is like the abiding light of the sun and like a fixed star. A man has the love of wisdom when he is averse to the diabolical crew, that is, to the lusts of evil and falsity.

36. Wisdom that comes to perception is perception of truth from being affected by it, especially perception of spiritual truth. For there is civil, moral, and spiritual truth. Those who have some perception of spiritual truth from affection by it also have perceptions of moral and civil truth, for the affection of spiritual truth is the soul of those perceptions. I have spoken with angels at times about wisdom who said that wisdom is conjunction with the Lord because He is wisdom itself, and that the man who rejects hell comes into this conjunction and comes into it so far as he rejects hell. They said that they picture wisdom to themselves as a magnificent and highly ornate palace into which one mounts by twelve steps. No one arrives at even the first step, they said, except from the Lord by conjunction with Him; and according to the measure of conjunction one ascends; also as one ascends, one perceives that no man is wise from himself but from the Lord. Furthermore, they said that the things in which one is wise are to those in which one is not wise like a few drops of water to a large lake. By the twelve steps into the palace of wisdom are meant goods united to truths and truths united to goods.

37. (iv) The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the happier one becomes. The like can be said of degrees of happiness as was said (nn. 32 and 34) of degrees of life and of wisdom according to conjunction with the Lord. Happiness, that is, blessedness and joy, also are heightened as the higher degrees of the mind, called spiritual and celestial, are opened with man. After his life in the world these degrees grow to eternity.

38. No one who is in the pleasures of the lusts of evil can know anything of the joys of the affections of good in which the angelic heaven is. These pleasures and joys are opposites in internals and hence inwardly in externals, though superficially they may differ little. Every love has its enjoyments; the love of evil with those in lusts also has, such as the love of committing adultery, of taking revenge, of defrauding, of stealing, of acting cruelly, indeed, in the worst men, of blaspheming the holy things of the church and of inveighing against God. The fountainhead of those enjoyments is the love of ruling from self-love. They come of lusts which obsess the interiors of the mind, from these flow into the body, and excite uncleannesses there which titillate the fibers. The physical pleasure springs from the pleasure which the mind takes in lusts.

[2] After death everyone comes to know in the spiritual world what the uncleannesses are which titillate the body's fibers in such persons and comes to know the nature of them. In general they are things cadaverous, excrementitious, filthy, malodorous, and urinous; for their hells teem with such uncleannesses. These are correspondences, as may be seen in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom (nn. 422-424). After one has entered hell, however, these filthy delights are turned into wretchedness. This has been told in order that it may be understood what heaven's felicity is and its nature, of which we are now to speak; for a thing is known from its opposite.

39. It is impossible to describe in words the blessedness, satisfaction, joy and pleasure, in short, the felicity of heaven, so sensibly perceived there. What is perceived solely by feeling, cannot be described, for it does not fall into ideas of thought nor, therefore, into words. For the understanding sees only and sees what is of wisdom or truth, but not what is of love or good. Those felicities are therefore inexpressible, but still they ascend in like degree with wisdom. They are infinitely various, and each is ineffable. I have heard this, also perceived it.

[2] These felicities enter when a man, of himself and yet from the Lord, casts out the lusts of the love of evil and falsity. For these felicities are the happinesses of the affections of good and truth, the opposites of the lusts of the love of evil and falsity. Those happinesses begin from the Lord, thus from the inmost, diffuse themselves thence into things lower even to lowermost things, and thus fill the angel, making him a body of delight. Such happinesses are to be found in infinite variety in every affection of good and truth, and eminently in the affection of wisdom.

40. There is no comparing the joys of the lusts of evil and the joys of the affections of good. Inwardly in the former is the devil, in the latter the Lord. If comparisons are to be ventured, the pleasures of the lusts of evil can only be compared to the lewd pleasures of frogs in stagnant ponds or to those of snakes in filth, while the pleasures of the affections of good must be likened to the delights which the mind takes in gardens and flower beds. For things like those which affect frogs and snakes affect those in the hells who are in lusts of evil; and things like those which affect the mind in gardens and flower beds affect those in the heavens who are in affections of good. For, as was said above, corresponding uncleannesses affect the evil, and corresponding cleannesses the good.

41. Plainly, then, the more closely one is conjoined with the Lord the happier one is. This happiness rarely shows itself in the world, however; for man is then in a natural state, and the natural does not communicate with the spiritual by continuity, but by correspondence. The communication is felt only in a certain repose and peace of mind, especially after struggles against evil. But when a person puts off the natural state and enters the spiritual state, as he does on leaving the world, the happiness described above gradually manifests itself.

42. (v) The more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the more distinctly does he seem to himself to be his own, and the more plainly does he recognize that he is the Lord's. The appearance is that the more closely one is conjoined to the Lord the less one is one's own. This appearance prevails with all the evil. It also prevails with those who from religion believe that they are not under the yoke of the law and that no one can of himself do good. All these inevitably think that to be free only to do good and not to think and will evil is not to be one's own. Inasmuch as a man who is conjoined to the Lord does not will and cannot think or will evil, they conclude from the look that this is not to be one's own. Yet that is the opposite of the truth.

43. There is infernal freedom, and there is heavenly freedom. Thinking and willing evil and also speaking and doing it so far as civil and moral laws do not prevent, is from infernal freedom. But thinking and willing good and speaking and doing it so far as opportunity offers, is from heavenly freedom. A man perceives as his own what he thinks, wills, speaks and does in freedom. The freedom anyone has always comes from his love. The man in an evil love cannot but deem infernal freedom to be real freedom, and a man in love of the good perceives that heavenly freedom is real freedom; consequently each regards the opposite of his freedom as bondage. No one can deny that one or the other must be freedom, for two kinds of freedom opposed to each other cannot both be freedom. Furthermore it cannot be denied that to be led by good is freedom and to be led by evil is bondage. For to be led by good is to be led by the Lord, but to be led by evil is to be led by the devil.

[2] Inasmuch as all he does in freedom appears to a man to be his own, coming as it does from what he loves, and to act from one's love, as was said, is to act freely, it follows that conjunction with the Lord causes a man to seem free and also his own, and the more closely he is conjoined to the Lord, to seem so much freer and so much more his own. He seems the more distinctly his own because it is the nature of the divine love to want its own to be another's, that is, to be the angel's or the man's. All spiritual love is such, preeminently the Lord's. The Lord, moreover, never coerces anyone. For nothing to which one is coerced seems one's own, and what seems not one's own cannot be done from one's love or be appropriated to one as one's own. Man is always led in freedom by the Lord, therefore, and reformed and regenerated in freedom. On this much more will be said in what follows; also see some things above, n. 4.

44. The reason why the more distinctly a man seems to be his own the more plainly he sees that he is the Lord's, is that the more closely he is conjoined to the Lord the wiser he becomes (as was shown, nn. 34-36), and wisdom teaches and recognizes this. The angels of the third heaven, as the wisest angels, perceive this and call it freedom itself; but to be led by themselves they call bondage. They give as the reason for this that the Lord does not flow immediately into the perceptions and thoughts of wisdom, but into the affections of the love of good and by these into the former, and this influx they perceive in the affection by which they have wisdom. Hence, they say, all that they think from wisdom seems to be from themselves, thus seemingly their own, and this gives reciprocal conjunction.

45. As the Lord's divine providence has for its object a heaven from mankind, it has for its object the conjunction of the human race with Him (see nn. 28-31). It also has for its object that man should be more and more closely conjoined to Him (nn. 32, 33); for thus man possesses a more interior heaven. Further, it has for its object that by the conjunction man should become wiser (nn. 34-36) and happier (nn. 37-41), for he has heaven by and according to wisdom, and happiness by wisdom, too. Finally, providence has for its object that man shall seem more distinctly his own, yet recognize the more clearly that he is the Lord's (nn. 42-44). All these are of the Lord's divine providence, for all are heaven and heaven is its object.


46. Christendom knows that God is infinite and eternal. The doctrine of the Trinity which is named for Athanasius says that God the Father is infinite, eternal and omnipotent, so also God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and that nevertheless there are not three who are infinite, eternal and omnipotent, but One. As God is infinite and eternal, only what is infinite and eternal can be predicated of Him. What infinite and eternal are, finite man cannot comprehend and yet can comprehend. He cannot comprehend them because the finite is incapable of what is infinite; he can comprehend them because there are abstract ideas by which one can see that things are, though not what they are. Of the infinite such ideas are possible as that God or the Divine, being infinite, is esse itself, is essence and substance itself, wisdom and love themselves or good and truth themselves, thus is the one Self, indeed is veritable Man; there is such an idea, too, in speaking of the infinite as "all," as that infinite wisdom is omniscience and infinite power omnipotence.

[2] Still these ideas turn obscure to thought and may meet denial for not being comprehended, unless what one's thought gets from nature is removed from the idea, especially what it gets from the two properties of nature, space and time. For these are bound to restrict the ideas and to make abstract ideas seem to be nothing. But if such things can be removed in a man, as they are in an angel, what is infinite can be comprehended by the means just mentioned. Then also it will be grasped that the human being is something because he was created by infinite God who is all; also that he is a finite substance, having been created by infinite God who is substance itself; further that man is wisdom inasmuch as he was created by infinite God who is wisdom itself; and so on. For were infinite God not all, and were He not substance and wisdom themselves, man would not be anything actual, thus would either be nothing or exist only in idea, as those visionaries think who are called idealists.

[3] It is plain from what was shown in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom that the divine essence is love and wisdom (nn. 28-39); that divine love and wisdom are substance itself and form itself, the one Self and the sole underived being (nn. 40-46); and that God created the universe and its contents from Himself, and not from nothing (nn. 282-284 ). It follows that every creature and above all the human being and the love and wisdom in him, are real, and do not exist only in idea. For were God not infinite, the finite would not be; were the infinite not all, no particular thing would be; and had not God created all things from Himself, nothing whatever would be. In a word, we are because God is.

47. We are considering divine providence and at this point how it regards what is infinite and eternal in all that it does. This can be clearly told only in some order. Let this be the order:

i. The infinite and eternal in itself is the same as the Divine. ii. What is infinite and eternal in itself cannot but look to what is infinite and eternal from itself in finite things. iii. Divine providence looks to the infinite and eternal from itself in all that it does, especially in saving mankind. iv. An image of the infinite and eternal offers in an angelic heaven formed from a redeemed mankind. v. The heart of divine providence is to look to what is infinite and eternal by fashioning an angelic heaven, for it to be like one human being before the Lord, an image of Him.

48. (i) The infinite and eternal in itself is the same as the Divine. This is plain from what was shown in many places in the work Divine Love and Wisdom. The concept comes from the angelic idea. By the infinite, angels understand nothing else than the divine esse and by the eternal the divine existere. But men can see and cannot see that what is infinite and eternal in itself is the Divine. Those can see this who do not think of the infinite from space and of the eternal from time; those cannot see it who think of infinite and eternal in terms of space and time. Those, therefore, can see it who think at some elevation, that is, inwardly in the rational mind; those cannot who think in a lower, that is, more external way.

[2] Those by whom it can be seen reflect that a spatial infinite is an impossibility, so likewise a temporal eternity or an eternity from which the world has been. The infinite has no first or final limit or boundaries. They also reflect that there cannot be another infinite from it, for "from it" implies a boundary or beginning, or a prior source. They therefore think that it is meaningless to speak of an infinite and eternal from itself, for that is like talking of an esse from itself, which is a contradiction. An infinite from itself could only be an infinite from an infinite, and esse from itself only esse from esse. Such an infinite or esse would either be the same with the infinite or be finite. From these and like considerations, inwardly seen in the rational mind, it is plain that there is what is infinite in itself and eternal in itself, and that they are the Divine whence are all things.

49. I know that many will say to themselves, "How can anybody grasp anything inwardly and rationally apart from space and time, and think that it not only exists, but is also the all and the self from which are all things?" But think deeply whether love or any affection of love, or wisdom or any perception of wisdom, yes, whether thought is in space and time, and you will grasp the fact that they are not. The Divine, therefore, being love itself and wisdom itself, cannot be conceived of in space and time; neither, then, can the infinite. To see this more clearly ponder whether thought is in time and space. Suppose thought is sustained for ten or twelve hours; may not the length of time seem like one or two hours? May it not seem like one or two days? The seeming duration is according to the state of affection from which the thought springs. If the affection is a joyous one, in which time is not noticed, thought over ten or twelve hours seems as though it were one or two hours. The contrary is true if the affection is a sorrowful one, in which one watches the passage of time. It is evident from this that time is only an appearance according to the state of affection from which the thought springs. The same is true of one's thought of the distance on a walk or a journey.

50. Since angels and spirits are affections of love and thoughts thence they are not in space or time, either, but only in an appearance of them. Space and time appear to them in keeping with the states of their affections and their thoughts thence. When one of them, therefore, thinks with affection of another, intently desiring to see or speak with him, the other is at once present.

[2] Hence, too, present with every man are spirits who are in an affection like his—evil spirits with a man in an affection of similar evil, and good spirits with the man in an affection of similar good. They are as fully present as though he was one of their society. Space and time have nothing to do with their presence, for affection and thought therefrom are not in space and time, and spirits and angels are affections and thoughts therefrom.

[3] I have been given to know this by living experience over many years. For I have spoken with many on their death, some in different kingdoms of Europe, and some in different kingdoms of Asia and Africa, and all were near me. If space and time existed for them, a journey and time to make it would have intervened.

[4] Indeed, every man knows this by some instinct in him or in his mind, as has been verified to me by the fact that nobody has thought of distances when I have reported that I had spoken with some person who died in Asia, Africa or Europe, for example with Calvin, Luther, or Melancthon, or with some king, governor or priest in a far region. The thought occurred to no one, "How could he speak with those who had lived there, and how could they come and be present with him, when lands and seas lay between?" So it was plain to me that in thinking of those in the spiritual world a man does not think of space and time. For those there, however, there is an appearance of time and space; see the work Heaven and Hell, nn. 162-169, 191-199.

51. From these considerations it may now be plain that the infinite and eternal, thus the Lord, are to be thought of apart from space and time and can be so thought of; plain, likewise, that they are so thought of by those who think interiorly and rationally; and plain that the infinite and eternal are identical with the Divine. So think angels and spirits. In thought withdrawn from space and time, divine omnipresence is comprehended, and divine omnipotence, also the Divine from eternity, but these are not at all grasped by thought to which an idea of space and time adheres. Plain it is, then, that one can conceive of God from eternity, but never of nature from eternity. So one can think of the creation of the world by God, but never of its creation from nature, for space and time are proper to nature, but the Divine is apart from them. That the Divine is apart from space and time may be seen in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom (nn. 7-10, 69-72, 73-76, and other places).

52. (ii) What is infinite and eternal in itself cannot but look to what is infinite and eternal from itself in finite things. By what is infinite and eternal in itself the Divine itself is meant, as was shown in the preceding section. By finite things are meant all things created by the Lord, especially men, spirits, and angels. By looking to the infinite and eternal from itself is meant to look to the Divine, that is to Himself, in these, as a person beholds his image in a mirror. This was shown in several places in the treatise Divine Love and Wisdom, particularly where it was demonstrated that in the created universe there is an image of the human being and that this is an image of the infinite and eternal (nn. 317, 318), that is, of God the Creator, namely, the Lord from eternity. But be it known that the Divine-in-itself is in the Lord; whereas the divine-from-itself is the divine from the Lord in things created.

53. But for better comprehension let this be illustrated. The Divine can look only to the divine, and can do so only in what has been created by it. This is evident from the fact that no one can regard another except from what is his own in himself. One who loves another regards him from his own love; a wise man regards another from his own wisdom. He can note whether the other loves him or not, is wise or not; but this he does from the love and wisdom in himself. Therefore he unites himself with the other so far as the other loves him as he loves the other, or so far as the other is wise as he is wise; for thus they make one.

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