Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations


PREVIOUS PAGES

INDEX

 

1

DE HEMELSCHE LEER

 

         A MONTHLY MAGAZINE DEVOTED TO THE DOCTRINE OF GENUINE TRUTH

  OUT OF THE LATIN WORD REVEALED FROM THE LORD

 

ORGAN OF THE FIRST DUTCH SOCIETY OF THE' GENERAL CHURCH OF THE NEW JERUSALEM

 

EXTRACTS FROM THE ISSUES AUGUST 1932 TO MARCH 1934 (ENGLISH TRANSLATION AND ENGLISH ORIGINALS)

 

FIFTH FASCICLE

 

     s-GBAVENHAGE SWEDENBORG GENOOTSCHAP LAAN VAN MEERDERVOORT 229

1934

 2

LEADING THESES PROPOUNDED IN "DE HEMELSCHE LEER"

 

  1.   The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are the Third Testament of the Word of the Lord. The DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE must be applied to the three Testaments alike.

  2.   The Latin Word without Doctrine is as a candlestick without light, and those who read the Latin Word without Doctrine, or who do not acquire for themselves a Doctrine from the Latin Word, are in darkness as to all truth (cf. S.S. 50-61).

  3.   The genuine Doctrine of the Church is spiritual out of celestial origin, but not out of rational origin. The Lord is that  Doctrine itself  (cf. A.C. 2496,  2497,  2510  2516 2533, 2859; A.E. 19).

 

DE HEMELSCHE LEER

EXTRACTS FROM THE ISSUE FOR AUG.-SEPT -19.12

 

    THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD

 

ADDRESS BY THE REVEREND ERNST PFEIFFER BEFORE THE NEW CHURCH CLUB, LONDON, JULY 29TH, 1932.

 

  The understanding of the Word ought to be. seen in the Church as a problem of primary importance. For we read that "the Church is out of the Word, and that it is such as is its understanding of the Word" (S.S. 7679). We even read in the same place that "it is not the Word which makes the Church, but the understanding of it, and that the Church is of such a character as is the understanding of the Word among those who are in the Church. . . . The Word is the Word according to the understanding of it with man, that is, as it is understood. If it is not understood, the Word is indeed called the Word, but with the man it is not. The Word is the truth according to the understanding of it; for the Word may be not the truth, for it can be falsified. The Word is spirit and life according to the understanding of it; for the letter without the understanding of it, is dead".

  If the question is asked whether this teaching must be applied not only to the Old and to the New Testament but also  to  the  Third Testament, and if this question is answered in the affirmative, it will be seen that this must lead to a conclusion of far-reaching importance. That also the Third Testament may be the object of even intense study while at the same time its genuine meaning is not understood, and that therefore, though in itself it is the Word and it is called the Word, with the man it may not be the Word; and that it may be not the truth because it is falsified; and that it may be a dead letter, lacking spirit and life, does not admit of doubt. For the law that the meaning of a thing may be misunderstood has a universal application. So also the Third Testament as a whole and as to all its particulars may be misunderstood, and

 

4                REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

even by those who are convinced that their understanding of it is true. That mistaken opinions with regard to the significance of the Third Testament and with regard to many of its particular teachings, have played and still play a part in the history of the Church, is evident.

  Though, if the question is asked in this simple way, it is thus plain that nobody can deny that also the Third Testament may be misunderstood, it is nevertheless the general belief in the Church that there can be no question about the true understanding of it. It is generally believed that the understanding of the Word has been destroyed and lost in the old church, that it has been restored by the Lord Himself in the revelation of the Third Testament, and that thus the true understanding of the Word has there been Divinely given. That this is the general belief appears from the position which is held that the Doctrine of genuine truth can be gathered "by a simple reading of the Writings", and from the statements which during the last years we have repeatedly seen made, namely, that "the Doctrines freely yield the spiritual light to the earnest reader", that "Swedenborg was at pains to set forth the arcana of spiritual wisdom with all possible clarity", that "devout men, when they read the rationally ordered language of the Writings, see nothing else than spiritual and angelic truths", that "in the Writings the doctrine of genuine truth, as to many of its particulars, is expounded at length, and with the greatest possible clarity of expression", and accordingly that a man has "a fairly wide knowledge of what is said in the Writings", or that a man is  "well  informed  in  their contents".  Such statements clearly indicate the established opinion that the Word of the Third Testament is of such a nature that there can be no serious difficulty with regard to its genuine understanding, and that such an understanding is given as soon as a man has gathered a fairly wide knowledge of its letter, so that it may be said that he is well informed in its contents. There is no doubt that these statements have been made in good faith, but it seems evident that this could only happen in a moment when there was no realization of the infinity of the Word, of which it is said that "Nobody, unless he knows the quality of the Word, can conceive with some idea that in the singular things of it

 

5                 THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD      

 

there is an infinity, that is, that it contains innumerable things, which even the Angels cannot exhaust. Everything there can be compared with a seed, that out of the ground can grow up into a great tree and produce an abundance of seeds, out of which there come again similar trees, which together make a garden, and out of the seeds thereof again gardens, and so on to infinity. Such is the Word of the Lord in its singular things" (T.C.R. 290). And such is also the Latin Word. Our concept of the Latin Word remains natural as long as this infinity of it is not seen; and a realization of this infinity is only possible if the difference is seen between the Latin Word as the Word in itself and man's understanding of it. The Latin Word contains all the series and degrees of truth for the Church to all eternity, but man can only come into these truths and see them there in the measure in which his understanding is  developed  and  opened  by regeneration as  to  all  the degrees of his mind. The excellency of the Third Testament by which it transcends the former Revelations does therefore not lie in this that in it all rational and spiritual truths themselves have Divinely and openly been given so as simply to be taken up by direct cognizance, which, as being contrary to the order of discrete degrees, is entirely impossible; but herein that in it all the seeds of truth have been given in such a way that if they are Divinely received in the soil of the human mind they may there germinate and spring up into a garden of gardens, which is the paradise into which man comes after death.

  The application of the teaching that "the Word is the Word according to the understanding of it with man" to the Latin Word, leads to a conclusion of great importance. For the understanding of man involves the whole intellectual part of his mind and the intellectual part involves also the voluntary part, and thus it is plain that the teaching involves the whole man. Accordingly it must be said that the Latin Word in itself is indeed the Word, but that as soon as it is received in man it is no longer the Word, unless the reception is in that in man which is of the Lord alone, unless therefore the reception is orderly, genuine, pure, and holy, in one word, Divine. For the Lord with a man can dwell only in what 'is His Own, and the Divine must be in what is Divine (cf. A.C. 9338).

 

6                REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

  The truth that the Lord can dwell with man only in what is His Own, has been known in the Church from the beginning; but the idea evidently was, that the Divine of the Latin Word in itself could be transferred from outside of man to within man in such a way as to become there the Lord's Own in which He could dwell. For, although also the law that all influx is according to reception in a general way was known, nevertheless it apparently was not realized that such a transfer cannot take place without all the human faculties as to will and understanding in free cooperation being involved, and that thus the Divine of the Latin Word in itself is not sufficient for such a transfer, but that there must be at the same time the Divine from the Lord in the receiving man, which is only possible by his regeneration. For the old proprium of man, which is infernal, cannot receive the Lord; it cannot cooperate with Him; it cannot understand the Word; from which it follows that also the Latin Word is the Word with man only if the reception and understanding of it is from the Lord alone and thus Divine. It is true that also before regeneration there must be the possibility of a certain genuine understanding; for otherwise regeneration could never make a beginning. This understanding is from remains, which also are of the Lord alone.

  The genuine understanding of the Word is represented by the white horse. From the preceding considerations it may be plain that in the New Church the white horse especially signifies the genuine understanding of the Third Testament. The signification of the white horse is given in the APOCALYPSE REVEALED, n. 298, as follows: "By a horse is signified the understanding of the Word, and by the white horse the understanding of truth out of the Word". And in the APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED, n. 355: "That the white horse signifies the understanding of truth out of the Word, is plain from the signification of horse, being the intellectual, and from the signification of white, in that it is said of truth. . . . The understanding of truth out of the Word and its quality with the men of- the Church, is here described by horses. Whether you say that this understanding is described or those who are in it, it is the same; for men, spirits, and Angels are the subjects in which it is". There are two things which may be seen from

 

  7                  THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD       

 

these quotations. First: That the white horse, if applied to man, does not mean the Word itself, but man's understanding of the Word. There is indeed a sense in which the white horse signifies the Word itself, namely where it represents the infinite Divine Understanding of the Lord Himself. This is the sense in which the signification of the white horse with regard to the Third Testament thus far has generally been understood. But whereas the Third Testament is the Word itself and since the white horse, if applied to man, signifies the understanding of truth out of the Word, it is plain that it signifies man's genuine understanding of the Third Testament. From the fact that man's understanding of the Third Testament may be not-genuine, and especially from the fact that a not-genuine understanding of the Third Testament has already played such a great part in the history of the New Church as to seriously delay its progress, it appears of what great importance this truth is. Secondly: From the quotation from the APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED it appears that the genuine understanding of the Latin Word which is signified by the white horse, and of which it may be said that it is the Lord's with man, perfectly orderly, pure, and holy, and thus Divine, cannot be thought of as something apart from the receiving human mind itself, including all its faculties involved in free cooperation as of itself. For it is said: "Whether you say the understanding of truth out of the Word or those who are in it, it is the same; for men, spirits, and Angels are the subjects in which it is". And in n. 4380 of the ARCANA COELESTIA it is said: "Good and truth cannot be predicated without a subject which is man". If seen in this light this indeed appears to be a self-evident truth, and it may be thought that it is unnecessary to state it. But the position has been advanced that the genuine Doctrine of the Church, of which it was admitted that it ought to be distinguished from the Latin Word itself, and which is the same as man's genuine understanding of the truth out of the Latin Word signified by the white horse, is Divine, and even that "in a very real sense it is the Coming of the Lord to the Church and to the individual man of the Church", while at the same time it is held that man's understanding of it is not Divine but always imperfect and mixed with falsities. That this

 

8                REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

position cannot be maintained because it is in contradiction to itself, is plain from the passage quoted.

  The fact that the human understanding is involved if it is said that the Latin Word is the Word not only in itself but also with man, is of such great importance that it  must  enter into  every orderly  thought regarding the Lord, the Word, the Church, in one word into all things of theology and religion. The teaching that the Latin Word is the Word and the truth only according to man's understanding of it, and that the Latin Word may be not the truth because it can be misunderstood and falsified, plainly involves this truth that the Latin Word is not the Word with man unless man's understanding of it is of the Lord alone and thus Divine. And so also it is true that the Latin Word is spirit and life according to the understanding of it; the Latin Word in itself has indeed its own Spirit and Life, but this is the infinite Spirit and Life of. the Lord Himself. This Spirit and Life itself cannot be imparted to any Angel or man. If the Latin Word is to be spirit and life with man, this spirit and life have to be born from the Lord with every individual man from within, which, as to the different degrees of this spirit and life, can only happen by regeneration as to all those degrees. We will come back further on to these different degrees of the spirit of the Latin Word, which involve three different discrete degrees of truth into which the Church will gradually enter. Let me at this place only point out that whereas the Latin Word with man is not the Word unless the understanding of it with man, either from remains or by regeneration, is of the Lord alone, and whereas the whole Word in the respective sense in all its particulars treats of the regeneration of man, it may be said that the first purpose of the whole Word is nothing else than to teach man the laws by which the Latin Word with him may actually become the Word. From this it fully appears what would be the disastrous result of a confirmed denial of the Divine origin and essence of the genuine understanding of the Word, or, what is the same, of the genuine Doctrine of the Church. For there is no regeneration except through the Word, and the Word is not the Word with man except in the measure in which by regeneration it has become so. This may appear as para-

 

9                    THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD     

 

doxical; but the first condition for every progress in regeneration unquestionably is that the Word with man first be the Word; for genuine Doctrine always must precede genuine life. The very first genuine understanding, however, before the actual beginning of regeneration, is from remains.

  The truth is revealed that "all in all things of the Church is from the Lord" and that "the Church is not Church out of the proprium of men, but out of the Divine of the Lord" (A.E. 23). This truth is also given in the following passages: "It is the Divine of the Lord that with man makes the Church; for there is nothing which can be considered to be the Church but that which is the proprium of the Lord" (A.C. 2966). "The Divine things which proceed from the Lord make the Church, and nothing whatever of man" (A.C. 10282). And in n. 215 of the ANGELIC WISDOM- CONCERNING THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE we read the explicit words "the Divine things of the Church". The Divine of the Lord in the Church from which the church is Church is described in many places of the APOCALYPSE, where the description of the New Jerusalem is given. The Church of the New Jerusalem. is described as "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" which signifies that "that Church is conjoined with the Lord through the Word" (A.R. 881, 895); it is further described as "the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out  of Heaven  from God", by which is signified that Church with regard to its Doctrine, in which is the good of love and which is holy out of the Divine truths out of the Word, and which is of a celestial origin (cf. A.R. 896). Of this Church it is said that "it has the glory of God", by which is signified that "in it the Word will be understood" (n. 897); of this Church it is said that "its length is as much as the breadth", by which is signified that "good and truth make one in that Church as essence and form" (n. 906); of this Church it is said that "the length and the breadth and the height of it are equal", by which is signified that "all things of it are out of the good of love" (n. 907); of this Church it is said that "its measure is the measure of a man which is that of an Angel", which signifies  that  "that  Church  makes one with Heaven" (n. 910); of this Church it is said that "it is pure gold like

 

10              REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

auto pure glass" by which is signified that "the all of that Church is the good of love flowing in together with the light out  of  Heaven from the Lord" (n. 912); of this Church it is said that "there shall not enter into it anything unclean", by which is signified that "nobody who adulterates the goods and falsifies the truths of the Word shall be received in it" (n. 924); of that Church it is further said that "there shall be no curse in it, and the throne of God and of tho Lamb shall be in it, and that His servants shall serve Him", by which is signified that "in it there shall be none separated from the Lord, because the Lord Himself shall rule there, and those who are in truths through the Word from Him and do His commandments. shall be with Him because conjoined"; and further that "they shall see His Face, and His Name shall be in their foreheads", by which is signified that "they will turn themselves to the Lord and the Lord Himself to them, because they are conjoined through love" (n. 938); and it is said that "there shall be no night there and they need no lantern neither light of the sun; for the Lord G-od illustrates them", by which is signified that "in the New Church there will be not any falsity of faith, and that men shall be there in the cognitions regarding God not out of natural lumen which is out of self-intelligence and out of glory arising out of conceit, but they will be in spiritual light out of the Word from the Only Lord" (n. 940).

  These are remarkable descriptions of the Church of which, by the Sacrament of Baptism, we have become members. It is said that "in it the Word is understood"; that "in it good and truth make one as essence and form", that "all things of it are out of the good of love"; that "it makes one with Heaven"; that "the all of it is the good of love flowing in together with the light out of Heaven from the Lord"; that "nothing unclean will be received in it"; that "none in it shall be separated from the Lord but all conjoined with Him"; that "there will be not any falsity of faith in it"; and it is said that, with regard to its Doctrine, "the good of love is in it and that it is holy out of the Divine truths out of the Word, and that it is of a celestial origin". If one compares the state of the visible New Church, the history of which abounds with testimonies to its many

 

11                 THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD      

 

human weaknesses and shortcomings, with these descriptions, one may be in doubt as to their exact significance. Are they applicable in any sense to the actual state of the New Church in the past and in the present, or do they only refer to some ideal  state in the far future?  And  yet we read that here a description is given of "the New Church which after the last Judgment was to exist in the lands" (A.R. ch. XXI, Contents); and that "this Church is  called  Bride  while it is  being  established,  and  Wife when it is established" (A.R. 896). There can thus be no doubt that the description of those purely Divine qualities actually refers to the historical New Church from its very beginning. It seems, however, that it has never been realized that then the description must refer to things which are called holy and Divine after having passed through actual reception in the minds of the members of the Church, thus to things which are born in the Church. This seems evident from the fact that when it was pointed out for the first time that the genuine Doctrine of the Church is Divine. this position met with an almost general refusal. The idea with regard to these revealed Divine qualities of the New Church always seems to have been that they are to be sought for exclusively in the Divine Revelation itself given to the Church, and by no means in the men themselves which constitute the Church. It is not surprising that this should have been the idea with regard to what is said about the Divine essence of this Church as to its Doctrine, namely, that "the good of love is in it and that it is holy out of the Divine truths out of the Word, and that it is out of a celestial origin"; and thus that "the Word in it is understood", and that "there will be not any falsity of faith in it"; for it is according to order that the Church in its beginning should identify the literal sense of the Revelation given to it with its Doctrine. And so also did the New Church. The words that "in it the Word will be understood" were simply taken to mean that in the "Writings" the "Word" is understood; and similarly the words that "there will be not any falsity of faith in it", that the "Writings" are free of falsities. But the Divine essence  which  in  those  descriptions is ascribed to the New Church extends not only to its Doctrine, but to all and everything of it. and it is said of it in the most general

 

12                REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

way that "there shall not enter into it anything unclean".

  If the Church is seen from the Lord it may appear in the form of one Man, which consists of all the members of the Church as to their regenerated celestial and angelic proprium which they have from the Lord (cf. A.C. 252). It is this greater Man, which as to its origin and essence is of the Lord alone and thus Divine, and this Man alone, which before the Lord is called the Church. And it is this very real and very actual greater Man which is called the Bride and the Wife of the Lamb, and which is described in those passages quoted from the APOCALYPSE REVEALED. So in ARCANA COELESTIA, n. 253, we read: "Out of the celestial and angelic proprium the Church in the Word is called Woman, and also Wife, Bride, Virgin, Daughter". Though this greater Man, which is the proper Church, .cannot appear before the bodily eyes of man, nevertheless man can form an abstract and rational understanding of all  its  essential  qualities.  So  a  concept  can be  formed concerning what constitutes the soul of that Man, its body, and its spirit. That Man which is the Church proper, and indeed not only if the Church is seen as a whole but also with regard to the individual men, is conceived from the Lord alone (cf. A.C. 1438); and it is conceived in and born from the affection of the Latin Word. Its soul is the genuine love of truth, its body is the good of life in the genuine things of the Church in the natural, and its spirit is the genuine Doctrine proceeding from that soul through that body. It may therefore be evident that only those things with the members of the Church, which belong to its genuine soul, spirit, and body, belong also to the Church proper which is signified by the New Jerusalem. And it is plain that where the affection of the Latin Word as the very and proper Word itself of the New Church is lacking, there that Church proper in man which is to be the Bride and the Wife of the Lord, has not even been born as yet. From this it appears in full light how far beyond the borders of that Holy City which is described in the APOCALYPSE, are those who are confirmed in a ratiocinated denial of the Divine Human as present in the Latin Word. And it is also plain that in a mind where the ruling love is not the love of truth, which in the Church is  nothing  else  than  the  desire  that  the  Lord  and  His

 

13                 THE UNDERSTANDING. OF THE WORD     

 

Church should become all in all things and that the proprium should be reduced to nothing, in a mind thus which with its heart is engaged in the pursuits of the world, there can be no growth as to those things which make the spirit and the body of the living Church. If the New Church is seen in this way it is no longer difficult to understand why it is said of it that "there shall not enter into it anything unclean", and why it is described in those passages quoted as being of a Divine origin and essence. There will indeed always adhere to the Church the things of the old proprium of the members of the Church, which is  infernal.  But  these  evils  and  falsities  are  altogether extraneous to the texture of those things which constitute the Church proper; just as there always are impurities adhering to the corporeal body, without and within, which nevertheless remain extraneous to its texture, as long as the body is in a healthy state.

  There is the teaching that "all in all things of the Church is from the Lord" (A.E. 23); there is the teaching that "all influx is according to reception"  (A.C. 5118; H.H. 569); and there is the teaching that "good and truth cannot be predicated without a subject which is man" (A.C. 4380; cf. A.E. 355); and if these teachings are seen harmonized together it can be seen that there is no Church unless the Divine of the Lord is also Divinely received by man, as of himself, but nevertheless from the Lord; and then it becomes clear what is meant by the teaching that "the Lord can dwell with man only in what is His Own; for the Divine cannot dwell in what is of man's proprium but only in what is Divine" (A.C. 9338). The realization of this truth opens the way to the greatest and profoundest experience a man can have; it introduces him for the first time into genuine spiritual light, whereby he for the first time begins to see and view the Divine realities of religion not outside himself but within himself, and thus begins to see things not from without but from within; and far from this making him self-conscious and self-satisfied, he is led into a realization of his own nothingness and the necessity of regeneration in such a degree as was never possible before. A rather frequent use has of late been made of the words "to see from within"; but nobody can see the Divine things within himself and thus see things from within unless

 

14               REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

by virtue of the Divine in him, which must inflow with him from the Lord from within; for it is said that "to see something within one's self is to see out of Heaven" (A.C. 10675).

  We have said that it is not surprising that the Divine which in those passages quoted from the APOCALYPSE REVEALED is predicated of the New Jerusalem as to its Doctrine, should thus far always have been ascribed exclusively  to  the Third Testament  itself,  because it is according to  order that the Church  in the  beginning identifies the literal sense .of the Revelation given to it with its Doctrine.  Moreover the Church was strongly confirmed in this belief because the literal sense of its Revelation in several places styles itself "the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem". The Word has been doctrinal in all its Testaments (cf. A.C. 9780). And just as it may be said that the Old Testament was the Doctrine of the Jewish Church, and the  New Testament the Doctrine of the Christian Church, so it may be said that the Third Testament is the Doctrine of the New Church. The word Thorah, by which the Jews designated the five books of Moses which they in the strictest sense considered as their Word, in Hebrew means Doctrine. The Word is the infinite Doctrine itself from which a Church by the orderly means must draw its own finite Doctrine; and so the Latin Word is the infinite Divine Doctrine itself from which the New Church may draw its own Doctrine to eternity. But the infinite Doctrine itself and the Doctrine of the Church, although they make one, are not identical; just as genuine good and genuine truth, although they cannot exist unless in a celestial marriage they make one, are not identical. The "Marriage of the Lamb" (APOCALYPSE XIX : 7) refers to nothing else than to this celestial marriage of good and truth in the Church; the good being the Lord Himself and the truth being the genuine Doctrine which the Church has made for itself as of itself out of the Latin Word. It is of the greatest importance to realize that the "making of this Doctrine" (cf. A.C. 10548) does not consist in a simple direct reading or taking cognizance of the Latin Word, but that in it all the human intellectual faculties, including all the different discrete degrees of the rational, are involved. It ought to be evident that a man may "read" the

 

15                 THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD     

 

Latin Word to all eternity without understanding one single genuine truth, of it, if the interior faculties of his understanding have not been formed and opened from the Lord. It is plain that a reference to the teaching that man is  enlightened  when  he  reads  the  Word,  is  not  only meaningless but misleading, if it is not known what "to read" really means, namely "to understand out of illustration, thus to perceive" (A.E. 13).

 The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are the very Word of the Lord. Their true essence cannot be seen unless all  and  every  thing  which is revealed concerning the essence of the Word in the DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE is applied to them. Every effort to prove that the analogy with the other Testaments is not complete, and that the application should be made with differences and with reserves, if interiorly scrutinized will appear to detract from the Latin Testament one or other quality which is  essential  to  the  Word  and  inalienable.  "The  Latin Word is the Word according to the understanding of it  with  man,  that  is,  as  it  is  understood.  If it is not understood, the Latin Word is indeed called the Word, but with the man it is not. The Latin Word is the truth according to the understanding of it, for the Latin Word may be not the truth, for it can be falsified. The Latin Word is spirit and life according to the understanding of it; for the letter without the understanding of it is dead" (cf.  S.S.  7679).  And  this  truth  can  be  derived  from innumerable places in all the books of the Third Testament. A few quotations must here suffice. So we read in n.  1776 of the ARCANA COELESTIA:  "The Word of the Lord is a dead letter, but it is vivified from the Lord in the reader according to the faculty of each one; and it becomes living according to the life of his charity and the state of innocence, and this with innumerable variety". In n. 8456 we read: "No truth ... of the Word becomes truth with man before it has received life from the Divine". That this Divine is the Divine within man from the Lord is plain. In n. 10703: "It is said light in the external of the Word from its internal, but it is understood light in the external of man from his internal, when he reads it; for the Word does not give light out of itself except before

 

16                    REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

a.  man  who  is  in  light  from  the  internal;  without  this  the Word is only a letter"; and finally in n. 10707: "When it is  said  the  internal  of  the  Word,  the  internal  of  the Church ... is also understood; for the Church is there where the Word is, and it is out of the Word; ... hence it is that such as is man's understanding of the Word, such is the Church in him". In these and innumerable similar passages we may see exactly what is meant when the position is advanced that the genuine understanding of the Church and thus the genuine Doctrine must be Divine, namely, that otherwise the Word itself with man is not Divine. It is not the purpose to exalt the proprium of man above the Lord. Just the opposite is the purpose; for if we read that the Word, thus the Latin Word, is a dead letter unless it has become living according to the state of innocence with man, it ought to be plain that without this innocence in man the Latin Word with man is not the Word. Innocence is the inmost of the Divine Human which makes the Heavens and the Church. The Lord alone is Divine; the Lord alone has authority; and the Lord alone is infallible. It would be insane to ascribe the Divine, and authority, and infallibility, to the proprium of man. The teaching is that if the Word is not understood, and if it is not vivified by states of innocence, it is not the Word, and not the truth, and not Divine. It then has no authority and it then cannot be adduced as being infallible.  The Latin Word as it is in itself is indeed Divine, but with man its Divinity, its Authority, and its Infallibility are dependent on the presence of the Holy Spirit.

  The greatest danger which delays the progress of the New Church is the same which destroyed all the previous churches, namely, that the proprium of men should come to nestle and dwell in the letter of the Latin Testament which is not understood, and which thereby is separated from its genuine spirit. Concerning this we read: "The evil  [of  all  churches  from  the beginning which have perished] was that they do not believe the Lord or the Word, but themselves and their senses" (A.C. 231). A man who bases his life and his religion on a mere direct cognizance of the Latin Word, without making for himself a Doctrine according to all his genuine faculties, out of the

 

17                 THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD     

 

life of his charity and the state of his innocence from the Lord (cf. A.C. 1776); or a man who takes the scientifics he has taken up from the letter of the Latin Word for genuine truths before they have received life from the Divine which is within him (cf. A.C. 8456), does not believe the Word but himself and his own senses. It ought to be realized that these things cannot be remedied only by the admission that for the understanding also of the Third Testament there must be illustration from the Lord; for the Word cannot be opened by illustration alone; unless the degrees of the mind are opened, the Latin Word as to its interiors  remains closed.  It ought also to be  realized that the genuine understanding of the Word or the Doctrine of genuine truth cannot justly .be designated by the term "derivative doctrine". For this term involves the idea as if there were any original not-derived doctrine accessible to men, which alone is Divine and which alone should be considered as the true Divine Doctrine of the Church. It is plain that the not-derived Doctrine does exist in the Lord alone, and that it is therefore meaningless to introduce the distinction between not-derived and derived doctrine with man. Before the Word has entered man's understanding it is with him not the Word and all understanding is derived; there is no sense in speaking of an understanding which is not-derived. Neither can the term "interpretative doctrine" be admitted as suitable to designate  the  essence  of  the genuine Doctrine of the Church; for this term implies the idea of something which comes in between man and the Word or the Lord, while in reality the essential purpose of Doctrine is that man should come with his own understanding, as of himself, into contact and into conjunction with the very spirit of the Word and thus with the very Lord Himself; and that he should not remain in the unopened scientifics of the Latin Word, in which his proprium may come to dwell so as to form with the very scientifics of the Word something which will come in between him and the Lord and cause a separation. Of such it is said in n. 10641 of the ARCANA COELESTIA that with them there is " seduction in the Word itself".

  From what has been revealed in the Latin Testament concerning the essence of the Word, the following leading

 

18                    REV. ERNST PFEIFFER 

 

theses have been formulated: 1. The Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are the Third Testament of the Word of the Lord. The DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE must be applied to the three Testaments alike. 2. The Latin Word without Doctrine is as a candlestick without light, and those who read the Latin Word without Doctrine, or who do not acquire for themselves a Doctrine from the Latin Word, are in darkness as to all truth (cf. S.S. 5061).  3. The genuine Doctrine of the Church is spiritual out of celestial origin, but not out of rational origin. The Lord is that Doctrine itself (cf. A.C. 2496, 2497, 2510, 2516, 2533, 2859; A.E. 19; and innumerable other places). Time forbids to enter into an analysis of these theses. But they are in themselves sufficient to show that if the genuine Doctrine of the Church is claimed to be Divine, this does not mean that the Doctrine of the Church is exalted above the Word. And they also show why the position that "the Writings are the very Doctrine of the Church, Divinely given", proves to be contrary to the teaching of the Latin Word itself, if by this it is meant to say that no Doctrine born in man, ' which is spiritual out of celestial origin, is necessary to see the truth in the Latin Word.

  On the one side it is a revealed truth that the Word remains in darkness unless there is a genuine Doctrine out of the Word and confirmed by it; on the other side it is also a revealed truth that to make genuine Doctrine is impossible, unless it be drawn out of the letter and confirmed by it. The mere fact that the Doctrine must be confirmed by the letter of the Latin Word, is a proof that that Doctrine is not identical with that letter; for there is no sense in saying that the letter of the Word must be confirmed by the letter. And so the exact position the purpose of which is to establish the Divine essence of the genuine Doctrine of the Church may be expressed in the very words of the Latin Word itself, namely: "The Doctrine of the Church out of the sense of the letter and together with it has authority" (ON THE SACRED SCRIPTURE FROM EXPERIENCE, XVIII ).

  As regards the question whether there are discrete degrees of truth involved in the understanding of the

 

19            THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD

 

Latin Word, it ought to be seen that the key of this problem lies essentially in the doctrine concerning the discrete degrees of the human mind. If the actuality of these degrees which are the exterior natural, the interior natural, the exterior rational, and the interior rational (cf. A.C. 5145) is realized, it will appear that the Word in all its Testaments alike, thus also the Third Testament, by direct reading or direct cognizance can only yield truths of the first and second degree which are sensual scientifics and cognitions. If these are genuine they are from the Lord with man; the order according to which they become genuine is described by the journey of Abram in Egypt, and because the innocence of the spiritual childhood of man is the soul of them, they are even called "celestial truths" (A. C. 1402). As long as the Church considers the literal sense of its Word itself as its Doctrine and thus believes that it can gather that Doctrine by a direct reading, that is by the way of sensual cognizance, all its truths, though they are genuine truths, nevertheless are essentially of a natural-rational origin. They belong to the interior natural degree of the mind; and the essence of that which in this state makes the Church in man is obedience to these truths.

  It is only when the third degree of the mind, the exterior rational, is opened, that the rational begins to play an essential part in. the formation of the Doctrine of the Church. Only then it is realized that the Doctrine must be born in the Church from within; and only then it can be seen that the Word and the Doctrine are two distinct things,  while previously they were identified, and the literal  sense  itself  of  the  Word  was  seen  as  the  very Doctrine of the Church, and it was thought that the genuine Doctrine of the Church was nothing else than a true understanding of what the Word teaches in that sense. Although the law that the Doctrine must be drawn from the letter of the Latin Word and be confirmed by it, remains true also with regard to the spiritual Doctrine, nevertheless  this  Doctrine is  not the result  of  direct cognizance alone; it is a revelation by perception from the Lord (cf. A.C. 8694). In .this state for the first time man begins to see the Divine things of the Church not outside of himself but within himself (cf. A.C. 10675). The truths

 

20              REV. ERNST PFEIFFER

 

of the Church in this state in the Latin Word are called genuine spiritual truths; they are the genuine natural or external of the very spiritual truths themselves in which are the Angels of the second Heaven. Although these truths are not identical with the truths of the spiritual Angels themselves, because as long as man lives in this world he is not conscious above the natural degree of the mind, nevertheless they are discretely above the truths of the previous state; because the natural degree, though in itself it is continuous, by correspondence with the spiritual and celestial degrees if these are opened, becomes so distinctly divided into degrees that it fully appears as if it  were  in  itself  discrete  (D.L.W.  256).  The  spiritual Doctrine is the abstract system of truths concerning the Divine things of the spiritual Church. That it is unlimited and can never be brought to an end, is plain. The Latin Word in every least word in the spiritual sense treats of these concepts of good and truth which make the spiritual New Church. In the spiritual Doctrine all the natural and historical concepts of the letter of the Latin Word have been left behind. There is no relation between the truths of this spiritual Doctrine and those of the natural Doctrine but that of correspondence.

  It is only when the fourth or inmost degree of the mind, the interior rational, is opened, that man comes into the very rational itself. This is the celestial state of man, and therefore it is said: "A truly rational man is no one but he who is called the celestial man" (A.C. 6240). It is in this state that the celestial Doctrine of the Church is born, and although the law that the Doctrine must be drawn from the letter of the Latin Word and be confirmed by it, remains true also with regard to this inmost degree of Doctrine, nevertheless it is plain that, even much less than the spiritual Doctrine, it is not the result of direct cognizance of the letter. The celestial Doctrine is an immediate revelation by perception from the Lord (cf. A.C. 10270; CANONS: The Holy Spirit 3 : 2).

   Time forbids here to enter in detail upon these profound problems. They have been developed as to many essential particulars in the journal of the Church in Holland, which in its English edition is also accessible to the English reader. The main point of the present argument is to show

 

21                    THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WORD

 

that the problem whether there are discrete degrees of truth involved in the understanding of the Latin Word, and whether therefore the science of correspondences must be applied to that Word, can only be seen in the light of the doctrine concerning the discrete degrees of the human mind. Essential correspondences are between the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial; and thus between the natural truths in the Church, the spiritual truths in the Church, and the celestial truths in the Church. Natural truths are in generals; spiritual truths are in particulars; celestial  truths  are  in  singulars.  Natural  truths  are composite truths; spiritual truths are their components; and celestial truths are the components of these (cf. A.C. 4154). There is no relation between these degrees of truths but that of correspondence. It is here that the essential application of the science of correspondences lies. If this is realized it becomes plain that the theory that the Lord Himself has raised the truths from degree to degree in the successive Revelations, so that in the Third Testament they are "rational truths", which is the highest degree to which man can attain, will' not suffice to solve the problem of the discrete degrees of truth in the Latin Word. The problem of the relation between the three Testaments is far more intricate than it has there been surmised. The Old Testament was a Revelation of the Human Divine; the New Testament was a Revelation of the Divine Natural of the Divine Human; and the Third Testament is a Revelation of the Divine Rational of the Divine Human. The approach to all the three Testaments is the same, namely in the exterior natural, or in sensual cognizance; for the Word is Divine Truth in lasts, and also in the Third Testament the Divine Truth has been laid down in lasts. "Now it is allowed to enter intellectually" does not mean a direct cognizance of genuine rational truths, of which it  is  believed  that  they  are  there  lying  open  or  naked before our eyes; it is an exhortation to the man of the Church that he should suffer himself to be regenerated, whereby the interior degrees of his mind may be opened. and he may be "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white", as it is said of the Bride of the Lamb (Ap. XIX : 8), which signifies that he may be instructed in genuine and pure truths through the Latin Word from the Lord. We

 

22                     REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

read in the APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED, n. 1222, that "fine linen signifies  truth  out  of celestial origin";  and  in n.  1143:  "Truths out of celestial origin are the   truths with those who are in love to the Lord". The love to the Lord, and thus the essential love which makes the man of the Church to be a man and to be a Church, is therefore the love for such truths out of celestial origin.

  SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD AS ILLUSTRATED BY THE LAW OF THE FIRSTBORN

 

ADDRESS BY THE REVEREND THEODORE PITCAIRN BEFORE THE XXV. BRITISH ASSEMBLY, LONDON, AUGUST 1ST, 1932.

 

  In GENESIS there are three stories in which the subject is the right of the firstborn, and in which this right appears to be taken from. the elder son and to be given to the younger brother. These stories treat of the twin brothers Esau and Jacob; the twin brothers Zarah and Pharez, the sons of Judah by Tamar; and Manasseh and Ephraim, sons of Joseph. In each case the subject is the relation of good and truth, or charity and faith, in the natural, and the apparent primacy of truth and the actual primacy of good. In many respects there is a resemblance between the birth of the twin sons of Isaac and Judah, and between the blessing of Esau and Jacob, and Manasseh and Ephraim, so much so that the literal sense of the ARCANA CELESTIA presents the appearance as if the subject considered were the same, and it is only by means of seeing the series of GENESIS as a whole, that the essential difference can become manifest.

  As is well known, the seven days of creation, in the first chapters of GENESIS is a summary of the whole of the Word; thus it is a summary of the whole of the Glorification of the Lord, and therefore of the whole of the regeneration of man, and also of the whole history of the Church. This is according to the law that the first of a series is a summary of all that follows. This law is also manifest in the first verse of the Word: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". And it also applies

 

23            SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD

 

to the first book of the Word, namely GENESIS; for if the book of GENESIS is seen in a series, it becomes manifest that it treats of the complete Glorification of the Lord, and of the complete regeneration of man. It is according to this series that we will consider the subject.

  In the inmost sense, as has been said, GENESIS treats of the Glorification of the Lord, from Conception to His Ascension. In the inmost representative sense it treats of the regeneration of the celestial man whose regeneration is a likeness of the Glorification of the Lord; in the interior representative sense it treats of the regeneration of the spiritual man, the regeneration of whom is an image of the Glorification of the Lord. The reason the regeneration of the spiritual man is an image and not a likeness is because the spiritual man is not regenerated as to all the degrees of the mind, and he is therefore not fully a man. In a lower sense it treats of the regeneration of the spiritual natural man.

  The essential internal sense in relation to man is always in relation to the celestial man, the regeneration of whom is alone an image and likeness of the Glorification of the Lord. This internal sense is at present far in the distance like a mountain-range covered with clouds; nevertheless, of the Divine Mercy of the Lord, certain general, although incomplete outlines begin to become manifest. The Word is written in a Divine series, which series as it is in itself can be seen by the Lord alone, nevertheless there are indefinite series  which  can  become  visible  to  men.  All  genuine spiritual sight of men depends on being in one of these Divine series; if man is not in a Divine series he can see no genuine truth in any of the Testaments of the Word. If these series are not opened by the Lord to the man of the New Church, he remains in the literal sense of the Third Testament, in which case he can have no perception of the infinity of the Latin Word, although he may acknowledge its infinity from the general statements of Doctrine. That this however is not an internal acknowledgment, is evident from the fact that he imagines that he is in the full light of the spiritual Sun in reading the literal sense of the Latin Word, while in fact he is in a cloud and can hardly see that which is too far to touch with the hand.

  It is asked: But why emphasize the clouds of the literal

 

24              REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

sense of the Latin Word and not its Glory? This is not the question. The question is not what man should emphasize, but what is the truth. If man in first reading the Latin Word is in dense clouds, it is important that he should know it, lest he become as one of those of whom the Lord said: "If ye were blind ye should have no sin; but now ye say: We see; therefore your sin remaineth", JOHN 9 :41.

  It is obvious from Doctrine that the Latin Word is infinite and thus contains infinite Wisdom; yet this is contrary to the appearance of a man who is in' its literal sense, for the ideas contained appear to be limited in number, in fact so very limited, that a man who has spent the few years of his life on earth studying them, may easily come into the fantasy that he has a general knowledge of the contents of the Latin Word. Concerning the Word we read: "That such is the infinity of spiritual seed or of the truths of the Word, can be seen from angelic Wisdom, which is all from the Word. This increases in the Angels to eternity, and the wiser they become, the more clearly do they see that wisdom is without end, and perceive that they are only in the outer court, and cannot in the smallest particular attain to the Lord's Divine Wisdom, which they call a great deep. Since then the Word is from this great deep, because it is from the Lord, it is plain that there is a kind of infinity in every part", T.C.R. 290. Swedenborg at the entrance to the palace of Wisdom was told that the requirement for entrance was the acknowledgment that what one knew, compared to what one did not know, was as a drop of water to the ocean, which Swedenborg said he acknowledged more than others.

  The subject of the ARCANA CELESTIA in the internal sense is the regeneration of man, concerning which we read: "The arcana of regeneration are so innumerable that scarcely a ten-thousandth part of them can be known by the Angels, and those that they do know are what make their intelligence and wisdom", A.C. 5398. What then is known by man? From the above it is evident that the first of wisdom is to acknowledge that what we understand of the Latin Word is as nothing, and that we are in the densest cloud as to all internal and inmost things. But while this may be acknowledged with the mouth, if man has not been given some perception of where the infinite and to man

 

25               SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD    

 

indefinite regions or deeps of the Word, and especially the Latin Word, lie, in his heart he is apt to revert to the fantasy that he has a general acquaintance with the contents of the Latin Word, and this especially for the reason that such a conception flatters his self-intelligence.

  Swedenborg was once granted to see the occupied regions of Heaven and the regions still unoccupied, and he saw that those which were occupied were as nothing compared to those as yet unoccupied.

  It is the  internal  sense  of the Word  which  makes Heaven; in a spiritual idea the unoccupied regions of the Heavens is the internal of the Word which is yet to be opened and appropriated by Heaven and the Church. It is the purpose of this -paper to give some slight indication as to where certain unoccupied regions lie.

  In application to the regeneration of man, the first eleven chapters of GENESIS treat of the operation of the Lord before the actual rebirth of man. These chapters are said to be made historicals, while those which follow are real historicals.

  The difference between made historicals and real historicals is that the former are due entirely to influx from within, while the latter are based on experience from without. In relation to man this signifies that before the actual birth of the new man the Lord operates from within, preparing man for regeneration, but that after man is born anew, he cooperates as of himself and apparently from without, although this latter operation is equally the Lord's with man as was the former, as is indicated by the fact that the chapters before and after the eleventh chapter are equally in a Divine series. Before man has been born again he indeed appears to act as of himself, but it is an as of itself not yet in himself, as is clear from children who also have a kind of as of itself, which is not really theirs.

  In the twelfth chapter commences the story of Abram. Abram in the supreme sense represents the Lord and the states of His Glorification in infancy. Actual regeneration in man does not commence until adult life, wherefore in relation to man, Abram represents the infancy of the new man. For as it is said: "Man must be conceived anew, born anew, and educated anew", thus man of the second birth, or the regenerated man, has. like the man of the first birth.

 

26             REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

to pass in an orderly manner through the different ages of life. The man born again is first a spiritual infant, and as such he is held in celestial things from the Lord, but as to his actual life he is entirely in sensual things, the sensual in this story being represented by Lot. The sensual things are particularly the sensual things of the literal sense of the Word. It has been believed in the Church that the Old Testament teaches sensual truth, the New Testament natural truth, and the Third Testament rational truth, and there is indeed a series in which this is true. But in the first state after the rebirth of the man of the New Church, all three Testaments are seen sensually. That the Third Testament is at first seen sensually is evident from the fact that the first things which delight are the external appearances of the spiritual world, which are sensual appearances. Even the inmost statements of Doctrine concerning the Divine Human are at first sensual. For the delight remains in the appearance of the Lord in the Sun of Heaven, and as seen by the external eyes of Angels. thus it is in the sensual; nevertheless in the sensual of the new infancy the celestial is present.

  In the next state man is instructed in the scientifics of the Word. Scientifics are a degree of truth more interior than sensual truth; by means of these truths the natural mind is brought into order under ruling principles. This first ordering of the natural mind is described by the story of Abram in Egypt. If the subject being considered is to be understood, there must be some knowledge concerning the natural that is being treated of, for there are many persons in GENESIS which represent the natural, as for example the servant of Abraham, Esau and Jacob, Ephraim and Manasseh, the ten sons of Israel which came to Joseph, and the Pharaoh in the time of Joseph. Yet while all these are called the natural, it is evident that there is a very great difference as to the representation of these different persons, and in fact that it is entirely different naturals that are treated of. For example, the natural that is signified by Esau and Jacob is born from the celestial rational represented by Isaac, wherefore previous to the birth of Esau and Jacob, this natural does not exist. Joseph also signifies the rational and his sons Ephraim and Manasseh a natural from the rational. Nevertheless the

 

27                SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD

 

rational that Joseph represents is an entirely different rational from that which was represented by Isaac. For in the days of Isaac the rational that was represented by Joseph did not as yet exist. The rational represented by Isaac was born from the inmost represented by Abraham, while the rational that was represented by Joseph was born from the spiritual natural represented by Israel, that is, it  is  a  rational  raised  out  of  the regenerated  spiritual natural. If there is no distinct idea concerning the natural that is being considered, the subject remains in darkness; this is the reason that it is necessary to give certain outlines of GENESIS before entering upon the subject of the contention as to the birth-right. In the Word there are innumerable names which signify the celestial, the spiritual, the natural, the internal, the external, and so forth, and yet there are no. two names which signify exactly the same thing. Again the same name has often many significations, as for example Abram and Abraham have the following significations: Those who are in idolatry, the Lord in His infancy, the Divine itself, the Human of the Lord, the rational, the celestial, the good of the pure intellectory. Isaac represents the spiritual and also the celestial rational. Joseph represents the external of the rational, the celestial of the natural, the celestial of the spiritual, the internal celestial, and the Divine spiritual, besides several other representations. In fact the signification is always according to the series, wherefore a name can never occur twice with exactly the same representation; and a name in any particular place has a different signification according to the series which is being unfolded, which series are infinite, and in relation to man beyond number. Hence it is evident that unless a man is in a Divine series of the Word he can never see anything of the Word in a genuine sense.

  And as these series in the Word are infinite, it is manifest with what dense clouds the ARCANA CELESTIA is veiled, and that it is only by the Mercy of the Lord that a man can see any genuine internal truth.

  We will not consider here how the natural-, the spiritual-, and the celestial rational are formed, and how by influx into them the genuine Doctrine is formed. It is, however, important to know that the internal that is represented by Abraham and from which the rational is born, is above the

 

28                 REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

Heavens, thus above the consciousness of the celestial Heaven and the celestial Church, and that it only becomes manifest to the celestial in the interior or celestial rational represented by Isaac.

  That the Lord alone thought from intellectual truth, represented by Sarah, is taught in the ARCANA CELESTIA, n.  1904.  That the inmost  represented by  Abraham and Sarah does not come to the perception of man is taught in n. 1940. That this internal is only perceived by man or Angel when it flows into the rational is taught in n. 2093.

  That the spiritual, or those who are in the exterior rational, are represented by Ishmael, and the celestial, or those who are in the interior rational, are represented by Isaac, is taught in n. 2078 and further in n. 2661, from which the following is quoted: "The Lord did not come into the world to save the celestial but the spiritual. The Most Ancient Church, called man, was celestial. ... By Isaac is represented the Lord's Divine Rational, and by him are also signified the celestial who are called heirs; and by Ishmael is represented the Lord's merely human rational, and by him are also signified the spiritual who are called sons". From the above it is clear that there is no question of the existence of the natural that is represented by Esau and Jacob, before the birth of the celestial rational represented by Isaac, for these are born from this rational. If this is not known by the Church while reading of the inversion of state that takes place when Esau, representing good, becomes the lord of Jacob, representing truth, there is the danger that the Church might fall into the "celestial heresy", which in the past was so destructive of the genuine things of the Church, in spite of the fact that it appeared to be confirmed by many things from the literal sense of the Latin Word. In the natural that exists previous to the natural born from the celestial rational, there can be no such order as that signified by Esau as being the lord of Jacob.

  Previous to the regeneration of the celestial rational the Lord indeed has His natural in man, and it is in fact by this natural that the truth of the rational is united to the good of the rational, but this natural is the servant of the inmost represented by Abraham, and is called the servant, the elder of his house; see GENESIS, chapter 24. This

 

29            SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD

 

natural is the servant of the inmost and does its bidding, wherefore this natural is never attributed to man as his own.

  Although the natural that is represented by Esau and Jacob is born from the regenerated rational, the natural after this birth must also be regenerated. For at first it is only the internal of the natural that is from the rational; Esau signifies the good of the natural from the rational, and Jacob the truth of the natural from the rational. Although Esau was born first, a dispute arises as to the birth-right, and this for two reasons. First, because there is an appearance that the truth of faith precedes the good of life. And second, because before regeneration truth must be apparently in the first place. The reason truth must be apparently in the first place is because before the will is regenerated, nothing can proceed from it but evil and falsity, wherefore it has to be in apparent subjection to the truth of Doctrine. Nevertheless that even from birth the good of the natural is the first is evident from the fact that no truth can be received with acknowledgment except from delight; wherefore it is the delight or the good of the natural that introduces. But previous to regeneration, this good which introduced the truth does not manifest itself as the good of the natural; and as the only good which manifests itself is not as yet genuine, it sells its birth-right to truth. The birth-right was sold for a mass of pottage, by which is represented a chaotic mass of doctrinal things. All things of the mind must .be ordered by means of good from the Lord which flows in by an internal way. All things which enter from without, from the Word or from the Doctrine of the Church, are in the mind a chaotic mass of doctrinal things, until they have been so ordered from the Lord; and this in spite of the fact that to the man it appears as if he understood the Word and the Doctrine, and thus they appear to be in order in his mind; but this appearance is a fallacy, for truth is nothing but the form of good. Wherefore if it is not good which has ordered the mind the doctrinals with man are not alive and appear in the spiritual world as something material, fibrous, and closed up. Nevertheless a man must have this chaotic mass of doctrinals, for until they are present, there can be no establishment of order in his mind: wherefore Esau must

 

30                     REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

sell his birth-right for this pottage. But he did so, saying: "I am about to die", which signifies that good would rise again and .assume the priority.

  Since the beginning of the world there has been a dispute as to which has the priority, good or truth, or faith or charity. In the New Church this dispute centered about a belief that is known in the GENERAL CHURCH as the "celestial heresy". Those in this belief, which dominated the thought of the church in New 'England in the past generation, emphasized the oft repeated passages in the Writings that truth is out of good, and therefore that a minister should teach out of his goodness, and they minimized the importance of Doctrine, which minimization they were also able to confirm by passages from the Writings. At the same time they took Divine authority away from the Writings and attributed it to their own goodness, and thus destroyed the essentials of the Church.

  The ACADEMY rebuked these teachings by showing that good without truth is merely natural, and that if man were not in the truth he could never come into genuine good; at the same time bringing forth the teachings of the Writings concerning themselves, as being the Lord, and the presence of the Lord in the New Church. Thus it was shown that the placing of the authority of the goodness of man superior to the books in which the Lord had made his Second Coming, was profane; thus the genuine New Church was saved from a false doctrine, that, if unchecked, would have destroyed everything genuine. The ACADEMY, however, did not enter into and unfold the genuine meaning of the innumerable passages in the Latin Word which teach that all genuine truth is out of good and that truth is the form of good, and hence that good is the first of the Church and not truth. In fact, by placing the Writings above everything, they appeared to give to the truth of the Writings in the Church the right of primogeniture, and to make good secondary; and indeed this appearance was essential for the salvation of the Church, and led the Church through a necessary and therefore orderly state. But the danger arises that this appearance might be taken for the reality. Because of the perversion that took place in the past, men feared to enter into the passages in the Latin Word which had been perverted. and when any one

 

31                    SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD

 

touched upon them he was warned of the danger. However the Rev. E. S. Hyatt did treat concerning the subject in one of his sermons in exposition of the text concerning the house built upon a rock and the house built upon the sand, in which he showed that by the sand in the New Church is  signified  the  scientifics or appearances  of the  literal sense of the Writings, in the mind of the man of the New Church, which if they are not ordered from the Lord by means of good proceeding from Him, are merely sand, and being perverted by the things of man's proprium are not a basis upon which a house can stand in a storm. And that the rock is these same scientifics ordered and united into a one from the Lord by influx of good from within, and that thus in the New Church it is the Writings in the mind of the Church, so ordered by the Lord who alone is the rock, upon which the Church can be founded; and hence that it is the Divine good in the Church that is the primary and never the appearances of truth that a man draws from the literal sense of the Writings.

  The relation of good and truth in the natural and how the order is inverted, is described as follows: "And he said: The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. This signifies that in this case the intellectual part is of truth which is within, but the will part is of good which is without, thus that they are of inverted order. . . . Where good is, there is truth, both being necessary in order that there may be anything; but the influx causes the truth therein to be such as it is. The influx takes place in this way: The good of the rational flows into the natural in two ways; through the shortest way into the good itself of the natural, thus immediately; and through the good of the natural into the truth there; this good and this truth is what is represented by Esau and his hunting. The good of the rational also flows into the good of the natural by a way less short, namely through the truth of the rational, and by this influx forms something like good, but it is truth. It is according to order that the good of the rational should flow into the good of the natural, and at the same time into its truth, immediately; and also through the truth of the rational into the good there, thus mediately; and in like manner into the truth of the natural both immediately and mediately; and when this is the case,

 

32                        REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

then the influx is according to order. Such influx exists with those who have been regenerated; but as before said, there is another influx before they have been regenerated, namely that the good of the rational does not inflow immediately into the good of the natural, but mediately through the truth of the rational, and thus presents something like good in the natural, but which is not genuine good, and consequently not genuine truth; but it is such that inmostly it really has good from the influx through the truth of the rational, but no further", A.C. 3563.

  It must be noted that the rational that is here signified by Isaac and Rebekah, is the rational that has been formed by the influx of both good and truth through the internal man. As we read: "With man also the first rational is conceived and born through the influx of the internal man into the life of the affection of scientifics of his external man; but his second rational out of the influx of the good and truth from the Lord through the internal man. This second rational he receives from the Lord, when he is being regenerated; for he is then sensible in his rational of what the good and truth of faith are", A.C. 2093. The first rational is formed from the Lord through the good which is above the Heavens (Abraham) as a father and is born out of the affection of the scientifics of the Word, or the scientifics of the Doctrine of the Church, -thus it is formed by the delight of a direct reading, of the text of the Word or of Doctrine, hence it appears as if the truth of the first rational entered from without. But both, the good -and the truth of the second rational enter manifestly from within, for they are born from the good and truth of the internal which is above the Heavens, a good and truth of which the Lord alone was conscious, represented by Abraham and Sarah. If there is not some perception of what this internal rational is, there can be no understanding of the natural born from this rational, nor of the influx into this natural, nor of the inversion of state that takes place in it.

  The nature of the influx of the good of the rational, signified by Isaac, into the truth of the rational, signified by Rebekah, and from this into the truth of the natural, signified by  Jacob,  and  thence  into the  good  of the natural, signified by Esau, previous to regeneration, in which case truth is within and good without, and the

 

33                    SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD

 

nature of the state after regeneration when there is an immediate influx of the good of the rational into the good of the natural and thence into its truth, which influx then becomes primary and the former influx secondary, is a subject which can with difficulty be explained on account of a lack of knowledge. Here we will confine ourselves to certain external illustrations by which some idea of the subject may be had.

  The most essential rational concept that has been given to the Church was expressed by the words: The Writings are the Word. The good of the rational from which this rational truth came, was the desire to be led by the Lord and not by one's own intelligence; if this love of being led by the Lord and not by self, had not been present in the Church, the Church could never have drawn this Doctrine out of the literal sense of the Latin Word, although when seen, there are many passages in the Latin Word which confirm it. This illustrates the influx of the good of the rational into the truth of the rational, and also the teaching that Doctrine is spiritual out of celestial origin.

  Again, in the early days of the ACADEMY, from a love of order, especially from a desire that the Lord's Divine order should prevail on earth, it was seen that goods and truths of the New Church in their true order were the means of the salvation of the New Church, and that the New Church was provided from the Lord for the salvation of the world.

  As in all things there should be a correspondence between the spiritual and the natural, it was seen that there should be a distinctive social life in the New Church and that internal friendship was only possible with those within the Church, for such association alone corresponds to the association of Angels with their goods and truths. This doctrine was put into practice and thus became the good of the natural in the various societies of the Church. Thus there was an influx from the good of the rational into the truth of the rational, and thence into the truth of the natural, and finally into the good of the natural. Bat later this order must be inverted, that is, within it there must be an influx of the good of the rational into the good of the natural, and thence into its truth. In reference to the above illustration, the good of the rational is the love of the orderly arrangement of the goods and truths of the

 

34            REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

Church; when this flows immediately into the good of the natural, it takes the form of the love of those who are in similar goods and truths. In this state a perception is given as to the goods and truths in the natural, and it is seen that because a man is called a New Churchman, or because he belongs to an organization of the New Church, he does not necessarily belong to the essential New Church, according to which the essentials of association take place. In. such a case the former influx becomes the external and the immediate influx the internal, and thus an inversion takes place in the natural. But before this inversion can take place in the natural, and good assumes its birth-right, many states must be passed through. These states are represented by Jacob's sojourn with Laban, where he acquired his wives, eleven of his sons, and his herds and flocks. His wives signify the external and the internal affections of truth, his sons the goods and truths of the Church in the natural, which are born from natural truth as a father and out of the affections of internal and of external truth as a mother; the flocks and herds signify the goods and truths of the Church in general which they possessed. Until these are possessed by the truth of the natural, or the Doctrine of truth in the natural, represented by Jacob, there can be no question of the inversion of state that is represented by Jacob submitting himself to Esau as his servant.                              

  When the inversion takes place, there is an influx of truth into the natural from within, from the interior man, which truth man could not observe before. These truths are represented by the four hundred men that came with Esau, see A.C. 4249. These truths are the result of the ordering of the good of the natural from the Lord, see A.C. 9337.

  When this inversion has taken place, the spiritual man is  regenerated;  for  the  natural  is  then regenerated and receives influx out of the rational, from the Lord. "For when the natural has been regenerated, the things which flow in from the Lord through Heaven, thus through the rational into the natural, are received because they agree. For the natural is nothing but a receptacle of good and truth out of the rational from the Lord. By the natural is meant the external man, and by the rational the internal man". A.C. 4612.

 

35                    SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD    

 

  But in the story of GENESIS, as soon as this order has been established, a new disorder arises in the natural, represented by the dreams of Joseph and his consequent rejection by his brothers, see GENESIS chapter 37, and the following chapter which treats of Judah and the women he took. That  these  two  chapters  are  closely  related,  is indicated by the opening words: "And it came to pass at this time", see A.C. 4814.

  Judah in this chapter signifies the evils and falsities in the natural, which are opposed to the celestial. With the regenerated spiritual man all things in man from the inmost to the natural are held in order from the Lord, but with him the evils and falsities opposed to the celestial, although quiescent, have not been conquered; wherefore if man is to become celestial, these evils and falsities must manifest themselves. Thus from the thirty-seventh to the last chapter of GENESIS, in their most essential sense in relation to man, the regeneration of man from being spiritual to becoming celestial, is treated of. As this subject is of such an interior nature, it can with difficulty be illustrated at the present time.

  It may be noted that from Lot and later from Eliezer of Damascus, through Ishmael to Isaac, there is an ascending series  which  finally  culminates  in  the  recognition  of Rebekah as Isaac's wife, in the twenty-sixth chapter of GENESIS. In this series Abram or Abraham, signifying the internal, is the essential which causes the ascent. Then there is a descending series, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, which culminates in the regenerated natural from within, Jacob being the son of Isaac, and Isaac the son of Abraham. If man, or the Church, is to become celestial on the basis of this regenerated natural, another ascending series must commence. This series is: Jacob, the natural; Israel, the spiritual from the natural, or the celestial spiritual of the natural, see A.C. 4570; Benjamin, the spiritual of the celestial, which is intermediate between the internal natural and the external of the rational; Joseph, the celestial of the spiritual, or the external of the rational, see A.C. 4570; and finally Joseph as the internal celestial. In the regenerated celestial man the rational is born in the regenerated natural; Joseph was the son of Jacob, or Israel; while the rational of the spiritual man, Ishmael, is born from the

 

36                REV. THEODORE PITCAIRN

 

internal represented by Abraham, and is not elevated from a regenerated natural which had been attributed to the man as his own.

  The celestial of the spiritual then establishes a new order in the natural, Joseph rules over Egypt, and the goods and truths of the Church in the natural submit themselves, Joseph's brethren bow down to Joseph. From the internal celestial, Joseph, are born a new will and understanding in the natural, Ephraim and Manasseh, into which the internal celestial flows, through the spiritual of the natural, Israel, see GENESIS, chapter 48, concerning the blessing of Manasseh and Ephraim by Israel. This last descending series culminates in the genuine will and understanding of the Word, in the natural of the celestial man or Church.

  In the beginning of the creation of the celestial man from the spiritual, a contention again arises as to which is  the  firstborn  of  the  natural,  good  or truth.  This  is represented by the birth of the twin sons of Judah by Tamar, Zarah and Pharez. The reason this contention again arises is because in every new state, truth again comes apparently in the first place. Zarah, signifying good, opened the womb with his hand, which signifies that the new birth takes place from the power of good, but that nevertheless truth manifests itself first, signified by Pharez coming forth first. Concerning which we read as follows: "Unless there were light from good inwardly in man, he would never be able to see truths so as to acknowledge and believe them", A.C. 4930. When man first reads the Word, particularly the Latin Word, it appears to him as truth. It is only afterwards that a man can come to see that internally the Word is the good which is inwardly in man from the Lord, and that the truths of the Word which are apparently from without by means of the senses, are only genuine truths with the man in so far as they are a form of this good.

  The final doubt as to which is the firstborn in the natural, good or truth, arises in connection with the blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh. In the blessing Joseph, the internal of the celestial, accounts good, signified by Manasseh, as primary; but Israel, the spiritual from the natural, accounts truth, represented by Ephraim, as primary. Due to the influx of the internal of the celestial into the spiritual from

 

37                    SERIES AND DEGREES IN THE LATIN WORD

 

the natural, Joseph putting his hand on his father's, the spiritual does indeed acknowledge good as primary, but nevertheless Ephraim was given the primary blessing for the reason that truth is more manifest; and also for the reason that even with the celestial man and the celestial Church it is an eternal truth that "The Church is from the Word, and is such as its understanding of the Word", S.S. 76.

  It is obvious that the foregoing is the briefest outline, and that if the subject were to be opened as to its particulars, it would fill innumerable volumes. It may also appear too difficult for many to comprehend. While it is not necessary that all should enter into the particulars, it is necessary that all should acknowledge that what they know of the contents of the Latin Word is but as a drop compared to the ocean; for it is an acknowledgment of this truth from the heart that introduces a man into the palace of wisdom. To the natural mind this cannot but appear as an exaggeration, for it is contrary to the appearance of the literal sense of the Latin Word as seen by men. This truth cannot be acknowledged rationally unless it is acknowledged that the Latin Word has an internal sense which does not appear in the letter, an acknowledgment at which the natural mind tends to rebel. For the following words have a universal application: "How greatly those deny the internal sense of the Word has also been given me to see from such persons in the other life, for when the existence of an internal sense of the Word that does not appear in its literal sense, and that treats of love to the Lord and the neighbor, is merely mentioned in their presence, there is perceived not only denial by them, but also aversion and even loathing. This is the primary cause of this denial", A.C. 3427.

  If it is perceived that a man does not know one ten-thousandth part of a ten-thousandth part of the things in the ARCANA CELESTIA concerning the regeneration of man, and that the internal things concerning the Glorification of the Lord are a thousand times still more deeply hidden, it is obvious that the description of the Glorification of the Lord, which is called the celestial sense, as it at first appears to man on the surface of the Latin Word, is only an outermost covering, and that the celestial things themselves as seen by the celestial Angels and also the spiritual things are hidden far within.

 

 

38           A LETTER FROM THE REV. DR. ALFRED ACTON

 

EXTRACT FROM THE ISSUE FOR JANUARY 1933

 

  The REV. PROF. DR. ALFRED ACTON requests the publication of the following:

 

To the Editor

   of DE HEMELSCHE LEER.

 

  On p. 184 of DE HEMELSCHE LEER for May, 1931, you refer to a letter received from me as saying "that for the acquiring of the internal sense of the Writings, there is . . . no need of 'genuine doctrine and illustration' ". Will you pardon me for saying that you must have misunderstood my letter. I have never thought, still less stated, that genuine doctrine and illustration are not necessary for the interior understanding of the Writings. Indeed, my belief is the exact opposite. It is universally held in the GENERAL CHURCH that what is called the Academy doctrine has been a guiding light in the understanding of the Writings; and that illustration from heaven is necessary, is too obvious to need demonstration.

                            ALFRED ACTON

 

DE HEMELSCHE LEER

EXTRACT FROM THE ISSUE FOR AUG.-SEPT. 1933

 

FROM THE TRANSACTIONS OF THE SWEDENBORG GEZELSCHAP

 

Extract from the Minutes of the Meeting of Saturday, May 7th, 1932.

 

  The memorandum, calling this meeting together, reads as follows: The address by Bishop George de Charms, The Interior Understanding of the Writings, NEW CHURCH LIFE, November 1931.

  The following gentlemen took part in the discussion: Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer, p. 39, Prof. Dr. Charles H. van 0s, p.  53,  Rev.  Theodore  Pitcairn,  p.  60,  N.  J.  Vellenga, p. 67, J. P. Verstraate, p. 71, H. D. G. Groeneveld, p. 76.

  REV. ERNST PFEIFFER. The basic principle of DE HEMELSCHE LEER is that the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg are the Third Testament of the Word of God, and that THE DOCTRINE OF THE NEW JERUSALEM CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE is also the Doctrine concerning the Third Testament, so that the essence of the Third Testament can only be understood in the light of that Doctrine. If the Writings of Swedenborg are the Word or the Sacred Scripture, then this is a self-evident truth; but if that Doctrine cannot; be applied to those Writings, then they are not the Word. It may however become the experience of every affirmative member of the Church, that this application in ever increasing particulars makes clear the true essence of those Writings as the Word.

  All attributes ascribed to the Word in THE DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE are Divine attributes, which in a characteristic way  show the Divine essence of the Word above the essence of ordinary books. This especially applies also to this attribute, that the Word in the natural world is clothed in a literal sense, accommodated to the thinking of simple men and of children,

 

40            FROM THE TRANSACTIONS

 

and to those who "prepare the way or open the door only to the last or natural degree", T.C.R. 34, of which sense it is also said "that it conjoins man with the first Heaven", A.C. 3476. The remark has been made that if the Writings of Swedenborg also contained interior senses, hidden behind the letter, and which by the Church may be brought to light, these Writings would not be the last and crowning Revelation. That this attribute, however, is a Divine attribute and in no way one which belittles the essence of the Word, as is surmised in the remark made, clearly appears from this, "that the Word in the sence of the letter is in its fullness and in its holiness and in its power", S.S. 37, and "that the celestial and the spiritual sense of the Word are simultaneously in the natural sense of it", S.S. 38, since "in the outermost or last things all interior or higher things are simultaneously", D.P.320. It is not the purpose of the Word to communicate to man directly the discrete degrees of truth; but it has been enjoined upon man as a task, to ascend according to order as if from himself through the letter where Divine Truth is in ultimates, to the interior degrees of truth. This is the task of the Doctrine which must be made in the Church. The Doctrine is the interior truth which can be drawn out of the letter from degree to degree. Thus it is clear that the remark mentioned rests on a confusion of the essence of the three successive literal senses with the essence of the three discrete degrees of truth, natural truth, spiritual truth, and celestial truth, or the natural Doctrine, the spiritual Doctrine, and the celestial Doctrine.

  It is a fundamental attribute of the Word in all its Testaments, without which the Word would not be the Word, that in the letter all discrete degrees of truth are simultaneously present, and that the natural man therein sees natural truth, the spiritual man spiritual truth, and the celestial man celestial truth. There is in this respect no essential difference between the three Testaments. This also is clearly taught in the Word, for we read: "The man of the Most Ancient and of the Ancient Church, if he lived at this day and would read the Word, would pay no attention to the sense of the letter, which he would account for nothing, but to the internal sense; they are much surprised that any one should perceive the Word

 

41            OF THE SWEDENBORG GEZELSCHAP

 

otherwise", A.C. 1540, cf. n. 1143. The cause why they would be able to do this is, that they are celestial and spiritual men. For the essence of the discrete degrees of truth lies in the difference between the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial. It is these that make the difference between the three Heavens, and therefore also the difference between the natural man, the spiritual man, and the celestial man. So too, it is clear that the natural man in the New Church, even in the Third Testament is never in a higher discrete degree than in the first; only the spiritual man is in the second degree or in spiritual truth, and only the celestial man is in the third degree or in celestial truth.

  That from creation It is man's essential end of life successively to come into the discrete degrees of good and truth, cannot be doubted by the man of the Church. For we read: "The human mind, out of which and according to which man is man, is formed into three regions according to three degrees. In the first degree it is celestial, in which are the Angels of the highest Heaven; in the second degree it is spiritual, in which are the Angels of the middle Heaven; and in the third degree it is natural, in which are the Angels of the lowest Heaven. The human mind, organized according to these three degrees, is a receptacle of the Divine influx; but still the Divine flows in only as far as the man prepares the way, or opens the door. If he does this to the highest or celestial degree, he then becomes truly an image of God, and, after death, an Angel of the highest Heaven; but if he prepares the way, or opens the door, only to the middle or spiritual degree, he then indeed becomes an image of God, but not in that perfection, and after death he becomes an Angel of the middle Heaven; but if he only prepares the way, or opens the door, to the ultimate or natural degree, then, if he acknowledges God and worships Him with actual piety, he becomes an image of God in the ultimate degree, and after death he becomes an Angel of the ultimate Heaven", T.C.R. 34. From this description of the difference between the celestial, the spiritual, and the  natural man it appears clearly that the coming into existence with man of the three discrete degrees of truth depends on the opening of the three discrete degrees of the mind. This is also con-

 

42                 FROM THE TRANSACTIONS

 

firmed by the fact that the human race from creation until the Coming of the Lord was successively in the discrete degrees of truth, between which there was no relation but that of correspondence, and that therefore they were successively celestial, spiritual, and natural men. From this it clearly appears that the conception of Bishop de Charms that the Lord Himself has raised the truth in the successive Revelations by means of correspondences from degree to degree, so that to the Writings "being addressed to the rational plane of the mind, is given the highest form of speech and writings with which it is possible to invest things Divine and heavenly as with an ultimate clothing", does not touch the essence of the discrete degrees and thus is not sufficient to explain the problem of the discrete degrees of truth in the Third Testament.

  It is indeed true that in the Old Testament the Divine Truth has been revealed in a form accommodated to the sensual thinking of man, that in the New Testament the Divine Truth has been revealed in a, form accommodated to the natural thinking of man, and that in the Third Testament the Divine Truth has been revealed in a form accommodated to the rational thinking of man, and it is also true that therefore the three literal senses in a certain way stand to each other in a relation of correspondence. But any one can see at once that these correspondences are not those of the essentially discrete degrees of truth into which man, by the opening of the degrees of the mind, may come, namely natural truth, spiritual truth, and celestial truth. For if this were true, then man, simply by direct cognizance of the literal senses of the Three Testaments would come into the respectively discrete degrees of truth, and thus the man who from love of truth reads the Old Testament, would be in natural truth, and the man who from love of truth reads the New Testament, would be in spiritual truth, and the man who from love of truth reads the Third Testament, would be in celestial truth. That this is not so, any one can clearly see.

  If one wishes to grasp the essence of the discrete degrees of truth into which man, by the opening of the interior degrees of the mind may come, one must see the difference between the series of these discrete degrees and the series

 

43                        OF THE SWEDENBORG GEZELSCHAP

 

of the three literal senses. He who is not able to distinguish between these, will never be able to free himself from the confusion that will entangle him when he wishes to think about these things.

 It is the marriage of good and truth that makes the three Heavens or the three discrete degrees; good as to essence and truth as to form. The good which makes the first degree is the celestial of the natural degree, the good which makes the second degree is the celestial of the spiritual degree, and the good which makes the third degree is the celestial of the celestial degree or the celestial itself. The truth which makes the first degree is the spiritual of the natural degree or the natural rational, the truth which makes the second degree is the spiritual of the spiritual degree or the spiritual rational, and the truth which makes the. third degree is the spiritual of the celestial  degree  or  the  celestial  rational.  Here  it  also appears that the truth of each degree is a Doctrine, spiritual out of celestial origin. The natural rational is the natural Doctrine, in its degree spiritual out of celestial origin; the spiritual rational is the spiritual Doctrine, in its degree spiritual out of celestial origin; and the celestial rational is  the  celestial  Doctrine,  in  its  degree  spiritual  out  of celestial origin.

  It is in the natural as on a basis that the celestial and the spiritual make the discrete degrees. This is the cause why man's natural is threefold, as we read: "It is to be known that man's natural is threefold, rational, natural, and sensual. The rational is the highest there, the sensual is the lowest there, and the natural is the middle", A.E. 1147. The basis for the first or the natural degree is in the sensual, the basis for the second or the spiritual degree is in the natural, and the basis for the third or the celestial degree is in the rational; for the thinking of the natural man moves in the external sensual things; the thinking of the spiritual man moves in that which is within the sensual, namely the natural, this being the order of social life out of charity; and the thinking of the celestial man moves in that which is within the natural, namely the rational, this being the order of truth itself which has relation to the Lord. This is confirmed by the consideration that according to the Word the characteristic essence

 

44                FROM THE TRANSACTIONS

 

of the human race before the Coming of the Lord, which was based on the sensual, was of a natural kind, they being only representative Churches; and that the characteristic essence of the man of the Christian Church, which was based on the natural New Testament, was of a spiritual kind; and that the characteristic essence of the man of the New Church, which is based on the rational Third Testament, is of a celestial kind. It may also be confirmed by the express teaching that "a truly rational man is only he who is called the celestial man", A.C. 6240.

  The essence of the opening of the Word which has been enjoined upon the Church as a task, is to arrive at the interior senses of the Word, the spiritual sense, and the celestial sense, that is, to the discrete degrees of truth. Here lies the use and the application of the science of correspondences. According to Bishop de Charms's conception, however, the purpose of the application of the science of correspondences would be to arrive from one literal sense to the other, from the sensual literal sense to the natural literal sense, and from the natural literal sense to the rational literal sense. That this is not so, clearly appears from the following passage in the Word: "Ultimate goods and truths, or those of the first degree, are such as are contained in the sense of the letter of the Word; for which reason those who remain in this sense and make thence the Doctrine according to which they live, are in ultimate goods and truths. . . . The goods and truths which they have drawn out of the sense of the letter of the Word, and which are with them, have in themselves interior goods and truths which are of the spiritual sense of the Word, for they correspond and make one by correspondence", A.E. 375. If Bishop de Charms's conception were correct, then the ultimate goods and truths that are spoken of here would not be in each of the literal senses of the Word, but only in the Old Testament. That the goods and truths of each literal sense belong to the ultimate Heaven appears from the following passages: "The literal sense of the Word unites man with the first Heaven", A.C. 3476, and: "There are three degrees of natural men in the ultimate Heaven; the ultimate ones are the sensual, the highest ones there are the rational", A.E. 1147, and in the same place: "As there are those two degrees, there is also an intermediate

 

45                OF THE SWEDENBORG GEZELSCHAP

 

one, which is called the natural". From this it clearly appears that also the rational literal sense of the Third Testament conjoins man only with the ultimate Heaven, and that therefore also the Third Testament contains a spiritual and a celestial sense, which stand in no relation to the literal sense and to each other but that of correspondence, and which can only be grasped by a spiritual rational or a celestial rational man.

  The mutual relation of the three literal senses of the Word, such as these have been successively given in the Old, the New, and the Third Testaments, is that of the sensual, the natural, and the rational. In the sensual Old Testament an orderly basis has been given from the Lord for the thinking of the human race in its natural age, for the basis of the thinking of the natural man is in the sensual, and the characteristic attribute of the human race in the Israelitish era, when the Old Testament was given, was the natural. In the natural New Testament an orderly basis has been given from the Lord for the thinking of the human race in its spiritual age, for the basis of the thinking of the spiritual man is in the natural, and the characteristic attribute of the human race in the Christian era, when the New Testament was given, was the spiritual. In the rational Third Testament an orderly basis has been given from the Lord for the thinking of the human race in its celestial age, for the basis of the thinking of the celestial man is in the rational, and the characteristic attribute of the human race in the era of the New Church, now the Third Testament has been given, is the celestial.

  The sensual, the natural, and the rational letter, in which the Old, the New, and the Third Testaments have successively been given are therefore nothing but Divine bases in lasts for the thinking. For in the letter of the Word the Divine Truth has been laid down in lasts; only in lasts has the Divine Truth its basis, its containant, and its firmament.  In these three therefore the essential discrete degrees do not lie; but they lie in the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, and the truth thereof is the natural rational or the natural Doctrine, the spiritual rational or the spiritual Doctrine, and the celestial rational or the celestial Doctrine.

  According to Bishop de Charms's conception the science

 

46                 FROM THE TRANSACTIONS

 

of correspondences does not apply to the Writings of Swedenborg, because "they are the last and crowning Revelation", and because they "with their rational statements of Doctrine appeal to the highest plane in the natural mind which can be addressed directly by a characteristic form of speech or writing". The application of the science of correspondences is thus limited to the three bases of truth in the natural, that is to the translation of the truth from a sensual basis to a natural basis, and from a natural basis to a rational basis. According to this conception the correspondences are seen only in the mutual relation of the three bases, while yet the Word teaches that essential discrete degrees of truth are between natural truth, spiritual truth, and celestial truth.  According to Bishop de Charms's conception the application of the science of correspondences lies in the translation of the truth from the form of speech and writing of the Old Testament into the form of speech and writing of the New Testament, and from the form of speech and writing of the New Testament into the form of speech and writing of the Writings of Swedenborg, while yet the Word teaches that the science of correspondences which has now been revealed, is one of the means of .arriving at the interior degrees  of  truth,  the spiritual  truth  and  the celestial  truth.  According  to  Bishop  de  Charms's  conception the application of the science of correspondences is  the task of the Lord alone,  by the giving of a  new Word, namely the New Testament after the Old. Testament, and the Writings of Swedenborg after the New Testament; man, however, according to this conception cannot apply the science of correspondences, except just this that after the examples given in those Writings, he may also transfer the things of the Old and of the New Testament that have not been directly unfolded in those Writings, into the form of speech and writing which the truth has in those Writings, while yet the Word teaches that the essential use of the given Word is to enable man to fulfill the essential task of his life, namely "to prepare the way or to open the door" to the interior degrees of his mind, by which he can successively from a dead man become a natural man, a spiritual man, and a celestial man, by which he successively enters into the discrete

 

47            OF THE SWEDENBORG GEZELSCHAP

 

degrees of truth, between which there exists no relation than that of correspondence. It seems that in Bishop de Charms's conception the essence of the discrete degrees of truth has been entirely lost sight of, since the essential and only application of the science of correspondences that is acknowledged, has reference to the three literal senses, the sensual, the natural, and the rational, and thus the essence of the discrete degrees of truth is placed in the relation of the sensual, the natural, and the rational, which however are only the bases for the thinking.

  Bishop de Charms indeed says: "We are well aware that correspondences have a broader application than is here implied. We are fully cognizant of the fact that truth seen in the spiritual heaven is discretely removed from that seen in the natural heaven; that truth seen in the celestial heaven is likewise discretely removed from that which is seen in the spiritual heaven; and that between these there is no communication save by correspondences. But to man on earth these differences are purely perceptive". Thus, in order to prove that the Writings of Swedenborg do not contain discrete degrees of truth, reference is here made to the difference between truth with man before and after the departure from this world. According to this conception in the other life the Angels of the various discrete Heavens are indeed in discrete degrees of truth, but men in this life are not, for them the differences of the discrete degrees of truth are "purely perceptive". It is, however, plain that here again two quite different things have been confused. It is indeed true that man only after death can come into the proper spiritual truth itself or into the proper celestial truth itself; but the natural degree of the mind by the opening of the interior degrees is divided, already in this life; into a series of as it were discrete degrees, D.L.W. 256, of which the truth is the natural rational, the spiritual rational, and the celestial rational respectively, and these are the essential discrete degrees of truth, into which man is to come by the opening of the Word according to the order of correspondences. However, he can only enter therein by regeneration, by the opening of the interior degrees of his mind, and this is what makes the difference between a natural man, a spiritual man, and a celestial

 

48                 FROM THE TRANSACTIONS

 

man, D.L.W. 256. This therefore is not that which makes the difference between truth with man before and after leaving this world. The real difference between the thinking before and after death is that man, as long as he lives in the natural world, for all his thinking remains bound to and is dependent on an external world, and that only after death he becomes conscious in his internal world, so that as long as he lives in this world he is only conscious in the external of the discrete degrees of truth, and only in the other life does he become conscious in the internal of the discrete degrees, or come into the proper spiritual truth or celestial- truth itself. Nevertheless the discrete degrees of truth are based on an as it were discrete difference in the natural degree, into which man must come even in this life. This appears clearly herefrom that the thinking of the Adamic man was discretely different from the thinking of the Noachic man, and this discretely different from the thinking of the later natural man; and also from this, that in many places of the Word the difference between celestial truth, spiritual truth, and natural truth is clearly expounded; and in many places it is spoken of a celestial Doctrine, a spiritual Doctrine, and a natural Doctrine. It is difficult therefore for us to understand  what  thought Bishop  de  Charms wished to convey by the words "to man these differences are purely perceptive", for everything that falls into the perception, falls also into the idea of the understanding, and may be clearly expressed. This is also clearly taught in the Word, for we read: "There are three degrees of wisdom with man. These are those which are opened with man according to the conjunction; they are opened according to the love, for love is conjunction itself. But the ascent of the love according to the degrees is not perceived by man except obscurely, but the ascent of the wisdom clearly with those who know and see what wisdom is" D.P. 34; and: "Men do not see the spiritual light except by the perception of the truth", D.L.W. 181. In this place the perception by man of the truth of the discrete degrees is clearly taught. That, however, the proper spiritual and celestial truth in which the Angels are, is entirely above the human understanding, and therefore not perceptive to man, appears from the following passage: "These degrees

 

49                OF THE SWEDENBORG GEZELSCHAP

 

are opened with man from the Lord according to his life, but not perceptibly or sensibly except after his departure from the world", D.P. 32.

  Divine Truth also in the Third Testament has been laid down in ultimates according to the order of discrete degrees; any other order according to which Divine Truth may descend to the man who is to be regenerated, does not exist. The Third Testament therefore contains all discrete degrees of the rational, the natural rational in the literal sense, the spiritual rational in the spiritual sense, and the celestial rational in the celestial sense. It is clear that Bishop de Charms in his argument did not take into account these essential discrete degrees of truth, and this is  the  cause  why  he  does  not  accept  the  existence  of discrete interior senses in the Third Testament, and will only allow of an "interior understanding of the Writings", which "interior understanding" is therefore always limited to the lowest degree, that is the natural rational. All that the Word teaches on the coming into existence of the discrete degrees of the rational, the natural rational, the Spiritual rational, and the celestial rational, in the stories of. Ishmael  and  Isaac,  is  apparently  here  lost  sight  of. That in his argument the spiritual rational and the celestial rational have not been taken into account, yea, that even the true order of the natural rational is not seen, appears clearly from all particulars. So Bishop de Charms, when expounding his conception of the use and the function of Doctrine, after having described his conception of the use and the function of enlightenment, says: "In order that the first sight of truth (which has been obtained through enlightenment and that is still immature, and infantile, and has no ground of permanence in the man, so that it may be quickly lost), may remain, and grow, and be appropriated to man as his own, further means (than the enlightenment) are necessary, and these have been provided by the Lord. We are told that those passages in which spiritual truth is clearly seen in a state of illustration must be collected, and arranged in order, that they may be seen together. When this is done, they constitute the doctrine of genuine truth, by which further light may be given, light capable of penetrating the darker shadows, and of illuminating passages which before could not be under-

 

50             FROM THE TRANSACTIONS

 

stood". The discrete degrees of truth are not here spoken of; that above the natural rational there exists a spiritual rational, and above this a celestial rational, is left entirely out of consideration. That in each degree, thus even in the natural degree, a new rational faculty must first be created and formed in the mind, before a man in an orderly way can "collect and arrange in order passages, that they may be seen together", and that enlightenment alone is not sufficient thereto, is evidently not seen. Enlightenment is not the first, but the last in the opening of the Word. The order of the three essential means of opening the Word, as it has thus far been acknowledged in the Church, is the Doctrine of genuine Truth, the science of correspondences, and enlightenment from the Lord (see W. F. PENDLETON, The Science of Exposition, pp. 23). This order, though it is essential, has been inverted in Bishop de Charms's argument; enlightenment has there been made the first of the three. Enlightenment which precedes the creation and formation of interior things in the mind may be likened unto the light of the sun falling upon a waste place. For this reason that which in the natural world corresponds to enlightenment is the awakening from sleep, A.C. 5208; and there is a great difference whether a dead man, or a natural man, or a spiritual man, or a celestial man, awakens from sleep. Bishop de Charms calls "the first sight of truth, which is still immature, and infantile, and has no ground of permanence in the man so that it may be quickly lost", "the spiritual truth which is  clearly  seen  in  a  state  of  illustration".  It  is  clear, however, that in the state there described there can as yet be no question of spiritual truth, for spiritual truth is only in the spiritual rational; yea even at that time there is not yet any question of the genuine natural truth of the natural rational, for man attains this truth only after the wrestling in the first degree described in the 12th chapter of Genesis, by which it is possible to attain a first ground of permanence. If, however, there is as yet no ground of permanence as Bishop de Charms says, then the genuine natural truth has not even yet been attained. The enlightenment which Bishop de Charms there means, has nothing to do with the enlightenment required for the opening of the interior degrees of the Word, and which

 

INDEX

NEXT PAGES

Source pages

Authors: Leon James &  Diane Nahl Webmaster: I.J. Thompson