Sermons On The Word by Edward S. Hyatt
FIRST SERIES. Nr. 14.
September 13th 1891. Reference: H.D. 260.
"John (the Baptist) represented the Word, and by his food, as also by his clothing . . . the Word in the external sense was represented", A.C. 7643.
Therefore the Word when only seen in the external sense is not the Light which enlightens every man coming into the world. Not the external sense, but "the internal sense is the very Doctrine of the Church", H.D. 260. "It is to be known that the true doctrine of the Church is what is here called the internal sense, for in that sense are truths such as the angels in heaven have. Among the priests and among the men of the Church there are those who teach and learn truths from the literal sense of the Word and there are those who teach and learn from Doctrine from the Word which is called the doctrine of the faith of the Church. The latter differ exceedingly from the former in perception, but they cannot be distinguished by the vulgar, because the latter and the former speak almost similarly from the Word. But those who teach and learn the literal sense of the Word alone without the regulating doctrine of the Church, do not grasp any but those things which are of the natural or external man; but they who teach and learn from the true doctrine from the Word also understand those things which are of the spiritual or internal man. The reason is because the Word in the external or literal sense is natural; but in the internal sense it is spiritual", A.C. 9025. Hence that sense is not the light, but testifies concerning the light.
"Of what quality John the Baptist taught is signified by that ‘the lesser in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he' ", A.C. 9372. Therefore “when he spake concerning the Lord Himself, Who was the Divine Truth Itself or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, since the shade is separated when the Light Itself appears", A.C. 9372. Hence we are taught that "In the internal sense is the soul and life of the Word, which does not appear unless the sense of the letter as it were vanishes away", A.C. 1405. For “The things which the sense of the letter are for the most part worldly, corporeal, and earthly, which can never make the Word of the Lord", A.C. 1540.
Such is the character of that sense of the Word which John the Baptist represents, and it is really that sense which he said was not the Light. Still John the Baptist, or rather, that which he represented, is necessary to testify concerning the Light. Which necessity is thus expressed in the Writings: "Still the sense of the letter represents truths and presents the appearances of truth in which man can be while he is not in the light of truth", A.C. 1984.
Such is the case when the Word is first presented to us. Such is the use which the literal forms of each Divine Revelation perform with regard to those truths which we do not as yet know, of which there are always an infinity. At first we only see John the Baptist, not the true Light, not the Lord Himself. Thus it is with regard to the Revelation in which the Lord has effected His New Advent. At first in the literal forms thereof we only see a man speaking about the Lord. While we are in this state we do not see the Light of the Lord's New Advent, but at most only testimony concerning that Light. We come into the Light Itself only when we see that the Lord Himself in The Divine Human is there present with us. In the text — " 'Light' signifies Divine Truth; wherefore the Lord is there called `the Light which enlightens every man' ; and `to testify concerning the Light' signifies acknowledgement of His Divine Human, from which Divine Truth proceeds", A.E. 27.
Mere testification concerning the Light cannot establish the New Church. If the New Church is to be really formed with us, it must be from the Light Itself, proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human. We must see that that Human is presented to us in the Evangel of the Lord's New Advent if we would really dwell in the Light thereof. Without, there can only be the merely external appearance of a Church, because "the internal of the Word is also the internal of the Church, as also the internal of Worship", H.D. 260.
"For he who averts himself from the internal of the Word, he also averts himself from the internal of the Church, and also from the internal of worship; since the internal of the Church, and the internal of worship are from the internal of the Word", A.C. 10460.
"For the Word teaches of what quality the man of the Church must be, or of what quality the Church with man must be, and also of what quality worship with man must be. For the goods and truths of love and faith are what make the internal Church, and also internal worship; those the Word teaches, and those are the internals of the Word", A.C. 10460. Those make the very teaching of the Church, and they are the particulars which belong to the laws of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbor, without which, indeed, those laws can only lie understood in a merely natural manner.
The Light of the Word as distinguished from the external sense thereof is also called the glory with which it was prophesied that the Lord would come in His New Advent — That prophesy has now been fulfilled — that glory has been revealed in the Writings. The New Church is to live in that Light and not in the clouds of the Old and New Testament — the clouds in which He made His First Advent and which relatively only testified concerning the Light which was about to come in the consummation of the age. The Light Itself is now presented to us which is the glory of the Lord's New Advent. But though, for the New Church the former clouds no longer obscure, yet neither has the Lord come now without clouds, although relatively so. In His New Advent, effected in the Writings, He has manifested Himself in rational statements, literally presented, that is, presented in written form — hence we call them the Writings.
These literal, written, and printed, forms, so far cloud over the spiritual sense which they convey, that that sense is not really revealed therein to any but those who are enlightened by the Lord and thus enabled to receive them rationally, so as to be able to see the glory therein, the Lord Himself in His Divine Human with the Light proceeding therefrom. This is by no means nakedly apparent to everyone who glances at the literal forms of the Writings, nor yet to anyone who studies them merely in the light of self-intelligence; but only appears to those who study them in their own light, really desiring to be taught things which are above and contrary to anything self-intelligence could devise. Only when we come thus to see that the Lord's Divine Human is there presented to us, and rejoice in the Light which can proceed from nowhere but His Divine Human, only then can we begin to realize that John the Baptist, that is the external form of the Word which he represents, is not the Light, but only testifies concerning the Light. No Divine Revelation can do more than testify concerning the Light until we see the Lord Himself in such Revelation — then only do we begin to come into the Light Itself.
The things which are in the literal sense are compared in the Writings to the little bits of colored glass which are placed without any order in an optical cylinder, such as we call a kaleidoscope, but which when viewed through the cylinder represent a beautiful form. So is it with the letter of the Word, especially with the Prophetical Word of the Old Testament, when viewed by the light of the spiritual sense. Another illustration is given from the spiritual world:
"There are spirits who are willing to hear nothing concerning the interiors of the Word, yea however much they can understand still they are unwilling. These are especially they who have placed merit in works, and who therefore have done goods from the love of self and of the world, or for the sake of dignity or opulence to be acquired to themselves, and fame thence, thus not for the sake of the Lord's Kingdom. Such in the other life will more than others to enter into heaven, but they remain outside, for they are unwilling to be imbued with knowledges of truth and thus to be affected with good, by interpreting the sense of the Word from the letter according to their own phantasies, and by producing whatever by assent favors their cupidities. Such were represented by a little old woman of unsightly face, but still pallidly snowy, in which were inordinate (features) by which she was deformed. But in truth, they who admit and love the interiors of the Word were represented by a girl in her first virgin age or in the flower of youth, becomingly clothed, with wreaths and heavenly ornaments", A.C. 1774.
Such is the difference between those who cling to the external of the Word which is not the light; and those who love to come to the Light Itself which is revealed in the internal sense of the Word.
"The Word in the whole complex is an image of heaven, because the Word is the Divine Truth, and Divine Truth makes heaven; and because heaven refers to one man, the Word is in that respect like the image of a man", H.D. 260. In that image and by it "is represented Heaven in its complex, not of such quality as it is, but of such quality as the Lord wills that it may be, namely that it may be the likeness of Himself", A.C. 1871.
The quality which the Lord wills that heaven may he is that of His Divine Human. It is therefore in respect to that that the Word in its whole complex is like the image of a man.
"The Word of the lord when it is read by a man who loves the Word and lives in charity, even by a man who from a simple heart believes what is written, and neither has formed principles against the truth of faith which is in the internal sense, it is presented by the Lord before the angels, in such beauty, and in such pleasantness, also with representatives, and this with inexpressible variety according to every state of those in whom they then are, that the single things are perceived as it were to have life, which is the life which is in the Word, and from which the Word is born when it is let down from heaven. On account of this cause the Word of the Lord is such that although it appears rude in the letter, still within it conceals spiritual and celestial things, which appear before good spirits and angels when it is read by man”, A.C. 1767.
"Within in the single things of the Word is the spiritual sense, which treats concerning the Lord's kingdom, and within in that sense is the Divine, for the Word in its inmost sense treats concerning the Lord alone. Hence is the sanctity and life of the Word, and from no other source", A.C. 8943.
From this passage we can see, not only that there is an inmost sense within the spiritual, here called the Divine, but sometimes called the celestial sense, but that both those senses are given in the Writings, and that not only where they specifically give the celestial, spiritual, and natural senses of the Decalogue, but everywhere they can be understood either in application to the Lord's Kingdom, or in application to the Lord Himself in the glorification of His Human. The one is the spiritual, the other the celestial sense. Thus the celestial sense is not only everywhere within the spiritual sense as given in the Writings, but it is opened there to all who come into any rational understanding of them. Thus is the Light Itself opened to the New Church.
The Word of the Lord is like a Divine Man, the literal sense is as it were its body, but the internal sense is as it were its soul; hence it is evident that the literal sense lives by the internal sense. It appears as if the literal sense vanishes away or dies", A.C. 8943 As we have already seen it always must so appear as the spiritual sense is really received, "but it is the contrary, it does not vanish away, still less does it die, but by the internal sense it lives", A.C. 8943. “The spiritual sense lives in the literal sense as the spirit of man in his body, also the spiritual sense similarly survives when the literal sense passes away, hence the spiritual sense can be called the soul of the Word”, A.C. 4857.
We are taught "that the Word is pure in the internal sense and that it does not so appear in the sense of the letter", H.D. 260. That it often appears impure in the sense of the letter of the Old Testament is evident from many places which may be recalled. That such teaching also has application to the literal forms of the Writings may also be evident from the way that the Second part of CONJUGIAL LOVE appears to those who have not rationally grasped the spiritual sense which underlies the laws there given. That the Light Itself comes from what is pure there, thus from the internal sense, must he evident, and even those things in the Word which appear impure to those who view them only in the light of the world, are yet holy from the internal things which they involve, and from the Divine Light which is seen by those who are made spiritually rational thereby to shine through. Hence the life, the holiness, and the Light of the Word are from its internal sense, for the sake of which we must be willing to continually recede from the external sense and thus to pass from John the Baptist to the Lord Himself. It is only in this way that we can approach nearer to the Lord and thus to the Light Itself. It is sufficient if, before we recede from John, we accept his testimony concerning the Light and obey his call to repentance. We must ever remember the declaration concerning him, which is concerning the external of the Word which he represented, that he was not the Light, but that he might testify concerning the Light. Each Divine Revelation appears at first only to testify concerning the Light, but if we approach the internal we will learn that every Divine Revelation is a manifestation of the Light Itself, thus of the Lord Himself. Therefore it was that John was enabled to prophesy "He must increase but I decrease", John III, 30.
“Divine Truth is not received by anyone unless it be accommodated to his grasp, wherefore, unless it appear in a natural form and appearance”, A.C. 8783.
"For human minds do not at first grasp anything but earthly and worldly things, and not at all spiritual and celestial things; wherefore if spiritual and celestial things; wherefore if spiritual and celestial things were nakedly exposed,, they would be rejected as nothing; according to the Lord's words in John “If I "have said to you earthly things and ye believe not, how if I should tell you heavenly things' " A.C. 8783.
Hence it is evident that all Divine Revelation given in the world must "appear in a natural form and appearance". The Writings can be no exception to the operation of this law. The words in which they are written are in themselves earthly and worldly, capable of being understood in a merely earthly and worldly manner. The expressions thereof, when regarded in a merely external manner, appear only to treat about the spiritual sense of the Word, and only when we have learned to regard them in their own light can we recognize that they form the receptacles which enable us to consciously receive the spiritual sense of the Word on the rational plane of our minds, and moreover they provide the only receptacles which can enable us thus to receive it in the rational mind. This form of the Word, like every form of the Word, has within it the infinite spiritual sense; but this alone can so introduce that sense that it may be rationally received. The other forms of the Word which we have provide the means for forming the necessary foundation in the lower planes of the mind and for enabling us to come into such conscious reception of the Word as is possible on those planes. They are the earthly things which it is necessary to believe before we can believe the heavenly, revealed in the Writings. Also before we learn to see that the Writings are the spiritual sense of the Word, we can only see what is there taught as of the earth, as of a mere man, treating about the spiritual sense of the Word, about the Lord's New Advent. In order to come out of this state and be able to see that they are the Word in its internal sense, that they are the very manifestation of the Lord in His New Advent, we must first be ready to give our implicit belief to what is there said about the Word, about the nature of the internal sense, about the Lord's New Advent being in the revelation of that sense — in short we must accept the testification which the Writings give of themselves. For unless we thus first believe the testimony there given as if by a man of the earth, we can never come to believe that it is the Lord Himself speaking to us therein concerning the heavenly things of His Kingdom. Before that we may appear to ourselves to be reading of heaven, but the only conception we can then form is an earthly one, in indeed that of the fonder heavens within us which must pass away before the Lord can establish within us the new heavens which alone are genuine. The Writings will enable us to come to this position if we really allow ourselves to be instructed by them, if we are ready to put away whatever in thought and act is opposed to their teaching. Then, though they may at first appear to us to have an earthly origin, we will certainly learn that they originate from the Lord through heaven. We will find that it has been the Lord in them leading us from the earthly conception to the heavenly conception of their nature. But if we do not allow ourselves to be taught by them as they first come to us, the Lord can only say to us If I have said to you earthly things and ye believe not, how will ye believe if I tell you heavenly things?
The earthly things which are in the external of each Divine Revelation in the world correspond to the spiritual things which Revelation is intended to convey. As they thus correspond they bear the relation to those spiritual things of effects to their causes. As they are effects they are necessarily passive. When the various books of the Word of the Old Testament were dictated by angels to the Prophets, neither the angels nor the prophets gave the necessary external forms; but the Word Itself passing through their minds took on those forms. So when the Word in the internal sense was revealed through the instrumentality of Swedenborg as far as appearances go, it would seem to us, as it doubtless seemed to himself, as if he gave the necessary external forms to what he received from the Lord, but in reality the Word Itself took from his mind the rational appearances in which it was necessary for it to be clothed. As an instrument for this work Swedenborg was especially led by the Lord; but the more fully anyone is led by the Lord, the more fully he comes into a state of real freedom, the more fully he appears to net as if from himself. If we keep this law in mind, a law incomprehensible to the merely natural mind, we will not be misled by the appearance that Swedenborg acted as from himself in putting into ultimate form what he received from the Lord, but from the internal Doctrine revealed we will learn the real state of the case — namely that whenever the Word is ultimated in a new literal or written form it takes on from some human instrument corresponding earthly things, and thus is written by correspondences. It may be correspondences from the corporeal plane, or from the sensual, or from the rational plane, but still it is in each case written by correspondences. Therefore "There can be no little word written in the Word, that has not been let down from heaven, and consequently, in which the angels do not see heavenly things", A.C. 1659.
“The Lord, when He was in the world spoke ... as every-where in the Word of the Old Testament, at the same time for the angels in heaven, and at the same time for men in the world, for His speech was in itself Divine and heavenly, because from the Divine, and through heaven; but the things which He spake were presented by such things as correspond in the world: those things which correspond the internal sense teaches”, A.C. 9048.
That the same is true of what the Lord has spoken in His New Advent is evident from the fact that the Evangel of His New Advent was preached throughout the spiritual world, and from the fact that the Writings exist there as well as in the world. Hence we see that in the Word of the Old Testament, in the Word of the New Testament, and in the Evangel of the Lord's New Advent, the Lord has spoken for angels in heaven and for men on earth, and that the external forms of the latter, in each case, correspond to what is given to the former. Thus even the Writings, externally regarded, are gross in comparison to the more perfectly expressive language in which the angels have them. When it is said that they are in more perfect form in heaven than on earth, we must not forget that each is altogether perfect in its place — yea every form of the Word is perfect in adaptation to the plane of life for which it is given, and we must believe the Word in the forms given upon earth if ever we are to believe the Word in the forms given in heaven. "If I have said to you earthly things and ye believe not, how will ye believe if I shall tell you heavenly things?
“What is spiritual and celestial (of the internal sense) diffuses itself everywhere through the heavens like light and flame; this sense is altogether elevated from the sense of the letter", A.C. 4637.
It is altogether elevated from the sense of the letter, even from the literal forms in which the Writings are given, for those written or literal forms could not infill the universal heaven as do the things which the Lord speaks, H.D. 261. Nor could the sense of what is there written infill the universal heaven as long as we derive that sense therefrom in a merely external manner as it appears in the light of the world. Only when we begin to see and receive the infinite things contained therein in their own light, that is in spiritual light, do the heavens within us become infilled therefrom to the utmost capacity of their reception, and continue to do so even through the eternal increase of their capacity of reception. Words are only signs; the earthly things of which the words used on earth are the signs, represent and correspond to spiritual things. This is true of all words whatever: a.11 words are signs of earthly things which correspond to and represent spiritual things. In Divine Revelation as given in the world, the very words are used which men have used for earthly purposes, but they are disposed into heavenly order and connection. By virtue of that order and connection they shed upon each other a light which is the light of heaven. From this we can see how absolutely necessary it is to view the words of Divine Revelation from their own light in their own connection, if ever we are to see what is heavenly therein; and' also how impossible it is to gather anything but earthly ideas from them if they are not viewed from their own light and in their own connection. If we read the word "charity" apart from the light which genuine study of the Writings throws upon it, it can give us no idea but a merely earthly idea of charity. So with every word used in Divine Revelation. Nevertheless we have to begin from such earthly ideas. Divine Revelation is written so that it may externally present such ideas. Otherwise Divine Revelation could not reach down to where every man naturally is. But if on the other hand we do not allow Divine Revelation to gradually raise us up from earthly ideas to spiritual ideas, it will have reached down to us in vain, so far as leading us to heaven is concerned. Thus necessarily the external of every Divine Revelation consists of earthly things; the internal, of heavenly things.
The Word could not be written in another style, so that by it there might be communication and conjunction with the heavens. H.D. 261.
There must be both the earthly external and the heavenly internal. There must be teaching therein which leads from the former to the latter. There must be light to guide men on the way from the earthly to the heavenly. This light, as said, flows from the order and connection in the words of Divine Revelation are disposed, which order is from the Lord alone. Who is Order Itself.. Therefore "They exceedingly err who contemn the Word on account of its rude and simple style as to appearance, and who think that they would receive the Word if it had been written in another style", H.D. 261.
And yet the professed New Church is over-run with books which are so many attempts to present the Evangel of the Lord's New Advent in a different style from that in which the Lord has caused it to be written, in the vain expectation that men will thus receive it, who would not receive it as presented in its own style, the only style by means of which there can be communication and conjunction with the heavens. The only teaching that can actually form the genuine New Church is that teaching which appeals directly to the Writings, that teaching which leads men to study them in their own light and in the very style in which they are written. For only in the Lord's own Revelation are earthly and heavenly things so conjoined that man may be led from the one to the other. If we change the style, the order, or the connection, we put away what is heavenly and retain only what is earthly. For then we only have words which are for the most part the same as we have in common use — words which then only convey the ideas which we naturally have in common with the Old Church. The style of each form of the Word is indeed different; but then each alike has been determined by the Lord. We are taught that the style of the Word of the Old Testament was changed on account of the Jewish nation and that it would have been different if it had been written with another nation. Still it was not changed or determined by the Jews, but was accommodated by the Lord of the Jewish character, and would have been the Lord's accommodation with whatsoever nation it might have been written. Otherwise it could not be the Lord's Word. Thus in the Writings the Lord has Himself accommodated his Word to the rational state which in one form or another prevails at this day, in order that those who are willing to be led thereby maybe saved. Man can indeed write in accommodation to the prevailing rational state — and indeed most acceptibly. But only the Lord can give us such Writing as can at the same time reach down to those in that state who can be saved, and at the same time convey spiritual or heavenly rationality internally in infinite abundance.
The Word as given in the Word of the Old and New Testaments had been so perverted at the time of the Lord's New Advent, that we are told that the world would have been destroyed if the Lord had not come again in a new form of the Word especially adapted by Himself to the present needs. Therefore at this day the very possibility of our obtaining communication and conjunction with heaven depends upon the Writings being with us. They alone can expose and remove the human traditions which entirely conceal all the truth which can appear in the Word of the Old and New Testaments. Not only, therefore, are the Writings necessary to provide vessels for the reception of the Word on the rational plane of the mind; but they are also necessary in order to restore to us the use for which the previous forms of the Word were given, and which for us would be otherwise lost. Our very salvation therefore, depends upon the presence of the Lord in the Evangel of His New Advent; let us never lose sight of His presence then, nor forget it as we study the Writings; but be at all times ready to receive whatever we find there as His teaching. Our understanding of what is there taught, will
necessarily be earthly at first, will in this world continue to be earthly in comparison to the understanding thereof which the angels have; but if we are tempted to make our imperfect understanding of the Doctrines an excuse for not believing and receiving into life what we intellectually learn there, an excuse which is often made, let us recall the Lord's question "If I have said to you earthly things and ye believe not, how will ye believe if I shall tell you heavenly things"?
"The `tables' ... here are the external of the Word ... the `work of God’ is from the Divine ... ‘Writing’ is the internal of the Word ... the `Writing of God’ is the internal of the Word from the Divine", A.C. 10453.
Such is the description of a Revelation of the Word when it is spiritual even in its external form. Here both the external and the internal are from the Divine. It represents such a Revelation of the Word as would, we may infer, have been given to the Jews had they been capable of having a spiritual Church established among them. It prefigures the quality of that Revelation of the Word which was to be ultimately given for that final spiritual Church which was to be the crown of all Churches, namely the quality of the Writings, in which the internal and the external are in comparative agreement — for the external of the Writings, when they are understood in their own light, conveys to us a sense which is in approximate agreement with the very internal of it — thus they are spiritual or rational in the external form as well as internally. The tables they are the work of God and the writing it is the writing of God. But these tables of the Decalogue do not represent the Word as it was given to the Jews, that is the Word of the Old Testament of which revelation the Decalogue was the beginning. For the tables here described were not given to the Jews; for “The tables which were the work of God, were broken by Moses when he saw the calf and the dances, and by command of the Lord other tables were hewn by Moses and then the same words were inscribed upon them", A.C. 10453.
Now we have seen that the writing upon them represents the internal of the Word, while the tables represent the external. Therefore by the changing of the tables, while the writing thereon remains the sane, is represented the fact that internally regarded every form of the Word, every Divine Revelation, is one and the same. Internally the Word of the Old Testament, the Word of the New Testament, and the Writings, are one — each is a manifestation of the Lord — each internally is the Lord. The external forms, the tables, are different; but the same Divine Truth is internally written upon each of them. Such a form of the Word as openly manifested, the Lord in the external of it, could not be received by the Jews; therefore the Word was given to them in a form which externally agreed with their character, which form is the Word of the Old Testament, of which the Decalogue was the first portion given.
“Thus the tables were not any more the work of God, but the work of Moses; but the writing was still the writing of God”, A.C. 10453. As "writing" in the Word signifies the internal of the Word, must it not be of the Divine Providence that we call lice Revelation of the internal sense of the Word now given to the New Church emphatically THE WRITINGS in our mother tongue, while we reserve the Latin word for "writing", namely "Scripture", for the books of the Old and New Testaments? Thus what is necessarily to us a relatively obscure name, though meaning exactly the same, for those forms of the Word, in which the internal sense is only very obscurely revealed? It will help us to remove some obscurity of thought if we bear in mind that "writing" and "scripture" mean the same thing, that "scripture" is only the regular Latin equivalent for "writing". The Internal or Writing in the Old Testament only appears very obscurely: the Internal or Writing in the Evangel of the Lord's New Advent is most manifestly clear to all who have eyes to see it in spiritual light. The relative obscurity and clearness of each belongs in each case to the external alone. What is written internally upon the externals of each is exactly the same — the Divine Truth.
We have seen that the external of each form of the Word must correspond to the internal in order to express it perfectly. These external correspondences manifest obscurely or clearly that to which they internally correspond according as they are taken from the grossest or corporeal plane of the natural mind, or from the highest or rational plane of the natural mind. The externals of the one, although they correspond to, yet they nevertheless often appear to be contrary to their internal. The externals of the other, however, are rational correspondences which approximately agree with their very internal, in proportion as they are regarded in their own light. Let us then keep in mind that there are correspondential appearances on each plane of the mind, and that so when the Word is revealed for a different plane of the mind, externals or tables may be changed, and yet the internal be still the same, "The writing still be the writing of God".
All correspondences represent, that is, they re-present, or present again, on a lower plane, that which exists on a higher. Thus the Word as it is in heaven is re-presented, or presented again, on each of the lower planes of this world, that is, on each of the planes of the natural mind; and each presentation internally presents the same Divine Truth, but externally it presents that Truth in perfect accommodation to the particular plane on which it is presented or re-presented, in the correspondences which belong to that plane. In order that man may be regenerated the Lord in the Word has to operate on each plane of man's mind. For each plane, therefore, externals or tables have to be specially provided; but the internal, the writing, of each is ever the same, ever the writing of God.
These things can only be understood as we learn to understand the science of correspondences and representations, which was the principal science with the ancients, especially with the orientals, and in Egypt more than elsewhere. It was also known among the Gentiles as in Greece and elsewhere.
"But at this day it (the science of correspondence) is among the lost sciences, especially in Europe", H.D. 261.
And yet people, from their very ignorance, are often apt to conclude that they know all about it as soon as they receive the most superficial idea concerning it. Hence they commonly remain in the idea that nothing else is meant by it than what we commonly understand by analogues and figures of speech.
But when we know that external correspondences exist wherever external effects exist on an exterior plane from internal causes on an interior plane, then we can see that they exist everywhere from the highest plane of the heavens down to the lowest plane in the world. On every plane where spiritual causes operate they become ultimated in corresponding externals taken from that plane. The same Divine Good or Truth is represented in one form on the rational plane of the mind, is presented again in another form on the sensual plane of the mind and it is presented yet again on the corporeal plane of the mind; just as, on the physical plane, it is re-presented in one form in the animal kingdom, in another form in the vegetable kingdom, and in yet another form in the mineral kingdom. Thus correspondences and representatives are not of one kind only. Each of the goods and truths proceeding from the Lord is presented again and again and again, as it enters each of all the planes of life. Thus in the forms of the Word, the same Divine Truth is represented in one form in the Word of the Old Testament, it is re-presented or presented again in another form in the Word of the New Testament, and it is re-presented or presented again in the Writings. Thus the same Divine Truths which are presented in the Decalogue are re-presented in the two great commandments of the New Testament, and are again re-presented in the spiritual sense of those commandments as given in the Writings. In all three cases, they are internally the same Truths, but the form correspondential external in which they are presented is different, being accommodated for so many planes of the mind. Again, not only is thus distinct provision, special accommodation, made for each plane of the mind; but the various books of the Old Testament, of the New Testament, and of the Writings, respectively provide for the various divisions of the mind upon each plane, and thus also provide truth specially accommodated to the persons with whom any of those divisions of the mind predominate. Every truth that is truth expresses something of the Lord's Divine Good. As the Lord is one, there cannot be two Words, except in the sense of two manifestations or presentations of the Word. In this sense the Word of the Old Testament and the word of New testament are spoken of as two Words; but internally they are one. There is not really one set of truths revealed in the Word of the Old Testament and another set in the Word of the New Testament. The same truths are presented in each. Those which are presented in the Old Testament are simply re-presented in a different form in the New Testament. Likewise in that form of the Word which we call the Writings, the very same truths are again re-presented in yet a different form. In the latter case, as in each, the tables are different, the writing the same. The tables which are different, are the rational correspondences in which those truths are there ultimated. They are thus ultimated in order that the Lord may thereby operate on the rational plane of man's mind, for which purpose neither the Word of the Old Testament nor the Word of the New Testament was adapted. Therefore it was that until the Writings were given, the heavens could not be established in their full and final trinal form; until the Writings were given the crown of all Churches could not be established upon the earth, for that Church is to be distinguished by rational reception of Divine Truth, which kind of reception could not take place until the Lord Himself gave the Word ultimated in rational correspondences for that purpose in the Word written upon tables which the rational mind could receive wherever it is willing to do so.
From this it will be seen that the science of correspondences enters into every inter-dependence which exists between heaven and earth, between mind and matter; and therefore also into every inter-relation which exists in each. It is therefore absolutely necessary, in order to come into a really rational understanding of anything. For we are rational only as we understand the true ratio which exists between various things, and view all effects from their spiritual causes, as from their genuine reason, and thus as we gradually see all things more as they stand in relation to the Lord. Such rationality we can receive through no other means than through the Writings from the Lord. There alone can we learn the science of correspondence. That science is not simply one of many subjects which is there treated, which can he extracted therefrom and studied separately. It could no more he separated from the Writings than could the nervous system be separated intact from the human body. Our knowledge of the Science of Correspondences can never he more than co-extensive with our knowledge of the Writings as a whole. It is involved everywhere in them, whether reference to it be actually expressed or not. Hence it is that we are warned against the error of thinking that by means of that science, we, apart from direct study of the Writings, can open the Word and unlock the mysteries thereof. This warning is thus given in the DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE or SACRED WRITING:
"It is believed that the doctrine of genuine truth can be acquired by means of the spiritual sense of the Word which is given by the science of correspondences; but doctrine is not acquired by that, but is only illustrated and corroborated ... If he is not first in genuine truths, man can falsify the Word by some known correspondences", S.S. 56.
By some known correspondences: we can never know them all, nor know any of them perfectly until we know all things in the Writings perfectly, which is infinitely beyond what the highest angel can ever do. Only the Writings themselves can disclose to us the mysteries of the Word and gradually lead usat the same time into a knowledge of those mysteries and into a knowledge of the science of correspondences. From the Writings themselves we must learn all that we know of the ratio which exists between the various forms of the Word, of the reason and purpose for which each is given. Only from the Writings can we learn anything of what is understood by the breaking of tables which Moses first brought down from Mount Sinai, and why other tables were then given which were not, like the first, the work of God, but were the work of Moses.
As we begin to know these things we can begin to realize how it is that the Science of Correspondences “excels all sciences”, how it is that “without it the Word is not understood, neither what the rites in the Jewish Church signify, concerning which in the Word, neither is the quality of heaven known, nor what the spiritual is, nor how it has itself with the influx of the spiritual into the natural, and many other things”, H.D. 261. Did New Church men have even a clear general idea concerning the science of correspondences, and thence concerning “how it has itself with the influx of the spiritual into the natural”, they would never fall into the error into which so many of them have fallen that there is at this day a special influx gradually making people New Church men, unaware to themselves. Neither would they in that case fall into that other common error, that all representatives but two have been abolished. For we are taught that all things which appear with angels and spirits are representative according to the correspondences of such things as are of love and faith”, H.D. 261.
"The heavens are full with representatives", H.D. 261.
"Representatives exist the more beautiful and perfect the more interiorly they are in the heavens. Representatives there are real appearances, because from the light of heaven which is Divine Truth: and this is the very essential of the existence of all things", H.D. 261. The only representatives abolished are those which are merely such, those which are not correspondences. All things in earth and in heaven have correspondences, for correspondence is their relation to their cause, therefore each and every thing re-presents its spiritual cause. Whatever anyone writes represents, more or less imperfectly, something in the mind of the writer. But whatever the Lord reveals and causes to be written as from Him corresponds to and re-presents the things of His Kingdom, and these correspond to and re-present Himself. The Lord cannot reveal anything but Divine Truth, but the Divine Truths which compose any Divine Revelation, collectively and singly re-present to us the Lord Himself. It is His quality, His Name, which is internally written therein, and His quality, His Name, is unchangeable. That which is internally written in every Divine Revelation is ever the same, it is only the tables that are changed. By the tables is meant the signs, and external correspondences by means of which the internal is presented and which need to be variously accommodated for operation on each plane of the mind. The external form of the Word of the Old Testament is such as it is because no otherwise could the Word he accommodated to the hardness of heart which prevails in the lowest plane of the mind. The external form which the Word has assumed in the Writings, is such as it is, because no otherwise could the Word be perfectly accommodated to the rational plane of the mind, than phone, which in its natural state so predominates in human character at this day.
With regard to the tables given to the Jews, the change was From clearer revelation to more obscure revelation, as was the case with each succeeding Church until the Lord's Advent, when the change was to the clearer revelation of the New Testament. Again in the Lord's New Advent He has revealed Himself still more clearly, so that the tables upon which He has now written His Word are as it were of precious stone, clear and transparent, through which the very light of heaven beautifully shines for all who have eyes to see it. This light falls upon and is reflected by the tables upon which His former revelations of the Word are written, by which we can if we will, clearly perceive that they are all one, that the Lord Himself is in each and has Himself written thereon what is internally taught there. We learn that it is He Himself in each, though in one teaching Divine Truth to the childish state, in another to the rational state, perfectly accommodated to each state. We can learn the reason for the tables being changed, and how nevertheless the writing is ever the writing of God upon each. Finally we can learn in what sense the tables arc the work of man and in what sense they are the work of God, and how in every sense the internal is the writing of God. And the tables they are the work of God, and the writing it is the writing of God.
" ‘And the son the steward of my house', signifies the External Church ... for all stewardship pertains to the External of the Church, as the administration of rituals, and of many things which are of the Temple and of the Church itself, that is, of the House of Jehovah or the Lord”, A C. 1795.
In the Word of the Old Testament, much is said concerning the rituals of the Jewish Church. But as that Church was not even a representative Church, but only the representative of a Church, that is, because it was merely external, therefore those merely representative rituals were abolished. In the New Church therefore those rituals are not to lie adopted as they are there literally set forth. But we have instead in the Revealed Internal Sense the principles which underlie those rituals and which teach the use which rituals serve in worship. We are left to adopt them as we learn the use of doing so. When we speak of being guided by use, we should not allow ourselves to think of what we would naturally regard as useful, but of what the Writings teach us to regard as useful. The more we study them the more will we have to change our ideas as to what is useful and what is not. In regard to the rituals of worship we find from the Writings that the power they exercise is exerted according to the same law, as is the power which is manifested in the externals of the Word, namely the law of correspondences. Rituals, when they are adopted according to the teaching of the Writings, perform a use similar to that of the letter of the Word. With the difference, of course, that the letter of the Word is perfectly adapted to its purpose, while such rituals as we may adopt will be adapted to their purpose only in proportion as we learn to understand the true principles which should guide us in the adoption of them. So far as they depend upon that, they will necessarily be imperfect; but still they will help to ultimate and confirm such understanding as we may have been able to attain, and so help us to advance to a better understanding.
The Letter of the Word provides us with receptacles for receiving the internal sense thereof. By rituals an external plane is provided corresponding to that attitude of mind in which we ought to place ourselves before the Lord, so that we may be taught and led by Him. Thus in kneeling — the external attitude, as it corresponds to the altitude of mind in which we ought to approach the Lord, affords a plume or basis upon which such attitude of mind may best rest. Rituals are also a means of teaching and of constantly impressing what has been taught. Thus our rising and showing reverence at the opening of the Word, serves to keep impressed upon us the manner in which we should approach its contents. These matters of ritual however, serve this use well only in proportion as they are in correspondence with the internal things which we ought to, seek in worship — only in that proportion can they act as steward in the house of the Lord. Therefore in order to adopt them wisely, it must be done from some under-standing of the relation which exists between internal and external things. We can come into such an understanding by studying from the Writings the relation which exists between the internals and externals of the Word.
"The externals of the Church without the internals are nothing. This has itself like man: his external or corporeal is in itself nothing, unless there be an internal that animates and vivifies, there such as is the quality of the internal, such is the quality of the external; or such as is the quality of the mind, such is the estimation of all things which exist through the external or corporeal. The things which are of the heart make man, not the things which are of the mouth or gesture. Thus also the internals of the Church. But still the externals of the Church have them-selves like the externals of man, that they attend to and administer; or what is the same, the external or corporeal man similarly can be called the steward or administrator of the house, when the house is said of the interiors", A.C. 1795.
Thus as the genuine Church is altogether formed from the Word, or rather from genuine understanding of the Word, we rind that the same law applies to the relation between the internals and externals of the Church and the internals and externals of the Word, as indeed to all created things also. The external is nothing apart from the true internal. The Letter of the Word is of no value, of no holiness, apart from the internal sense thereof. Man is not really a man, except so far as he receives a genuine internal by regeneration. So also with the rituals of the Church, they are things of no value except they proceed from internal things — and in the New Church they must proceed from a rational understanding of the internal knowledge revealed in the Writings.
“ ‘He is the Damascene, Eliezer', that it is the external Church now therefore, appears, also from the signification of Damascene. Damascus was the principal city of Syria, where was the remains of the worship of the Ancient Church, and whence was Heber, or the Hebrew nation, with which there was nothing but the external of a Church ... thus there was nothing but the stewardship of the house”, A.C. 1796.
Notice that in Damascus we are told that there were remains both of the worship of the Ancient Church and of that of the Hebrew Church. These two differed from each other in this important respect that that of the Ancient Church was the external with the internal therein, while that of the Hebrews was only external without the internal. Therefore that of the New Church will be similar to that of the Ancient Church, and in many respects not at all like that of the Hebrew Church even externally, although some of the externals of the Hebrew Church were like those of the Ancient Church except in respect to the absence of anything internal in them.
"The internal and external are indeed distinct from each other; but in the natural where they are together, the internal is in its own form adequate to itself, which form acts nothing from itself but from the internal which is therein, thus only is it acted ... Similarly it has itself with good and truth in the natural with man, which are born from the internal, for the internal clothes itself with such things as are natural, in order that it can be there and net its life there; but those things with which it clothes itself', are no other than coverings which altogether act nothing ruin themselves", A.C. 6275.
Thus is it with the external of the Word. Thus is it with external rites in worship - they can do altogether nothing from themselves, but only from the internal therein. Bid how important the external nevertheless is, appears from this:
"Internal good and truth, must be in external good and truth, in order that the latter may he good and truth ... the external is nothing but a something formed, such that the internal can be there and according to influx into itself act life there front the Lord", A.C. 6281.
"In order that the internal may he the internal of the Church, it must necessarily be in its external, for the external is the place of foundation upon which the internal stands, and is the receptacle into which the internal inflows”, A.C. 6299.
Therefore in worship it is not enough that we seek to be in the right internal states, but we should also seek to provide such external forms as they can rest upon. True we can pray and worship the Lord anywhere, but nowhere so fully as where the external surroundings are in agreement with the states which should enter into prayer and worship. We should never lose sight of the fact that the Lord does not command us to worship Him for His own satisfaction, but solely for our sake. Therefore it is our duly to do whatever helps us to come into receptive states before Him. Rites and ceremonies are for the sake of their effect upon us, not at all for the sake of having any effect upon the Lord. We are so naturally inclined that we cannot afford to do without any assistance that will help us to come out of our merely natural states in worship, in order that we may then receive such influx as will enable us to retain less of the merely natural afterwards.
"The cause that all and single things which are in the spiritual world are represented in the natural is because the internal clothes itself with things which agree in the natural, by which they visibly present themselves and appear R.D. 261.
"For whatever in universal nature does not have correspondence with the spiritual world, that does not exist", A.C. 5711.
"'These things are illustrated by the influx of the soul into the body, that, namely, the soul clothes itself with such things in the body, by which all things which it thinks and wills can appear and be visibly presented; wherefore thought when it flows down into the body, is represented by such gestures and affections as correspond", H.D. 261.
This can he clearly seen by the manifestation of the various states of the affections in the face. A happy state of mind cannot contentedly rest under a frowning face, nor can a state of fierce linger contentedly rest under a cheerful smile. Anger may indeed hide itself under a smile, but it is under constraint while doing so. Just so it is with the externals of worship, if they do not correspond with the internal states which we are seeking to come into, we cannot but be affected with constraint by the discord which exists between the internal and external. All and single things in nature are, like the expressions of the face, effects from the interior causes, which are in the mind, or spiritual world, since in nature as in the face, there are only ultimate effects.
In ancient times there were Churches in which all the externals which were rituals were representative — the Damascene, Eliezer, was the steward of the House. The rituals served as clothing for internals. With the Jewish Church these degenerated into mere externals and they had merely representative rites like burnt offerings and sacrifices which were unknown in the Ancient Church. All mere representatives were abolished at the Lord's Advent — all representations which were not at the same time correspondential. The latter could not be abolished without abolishing everything that is external, both in the spiritual and in the natural world. The laws which govern all these things have been revealed to the New Church. The fact that they have been so revealed is itself proof that they are for the use of the New Church, or else they would not have been revealed. We are taught that the Church must have an external, even external rituals; but we are not, except in regard to Baptism and the Holy Supper, commanded to adopt any particular forms. Yet the House of God requires the Damascene, Eliezer, as a steward and it therefore behooves us to proceed rationally in the light of the Writings to make use of such a steward.
In the letter of the Word there is in connection with the text, expression of complaint from a fear on the part, of Abram lest, being childless, his steward should inherit his house. By this is understood a temptation even to something of desperation, which came to the Lord and which comes to the regenerating man. The temptation to let merely external things take possession of the Church, whether as to rituals, or as to the letter of the Word separated from its spirit. The way to meet this temptation is not by renouncing all rituals, or even being afraid of them in their proper place, any more than the danger of idolatry with the mere letter of the Word, should cause us to reject it; but in each case our duty is to learn from Revelation what the true use of the external is, and then do our best to make it subservient to that use. Eliezer, the Damascene, would ruin the Church as her master, but yet is absolutely necessary as her steward.
Just as the spiritual sense of the Word could not exist with us, without the letter, neither could the visible Church without external rituals. Rituals in themselves have no more power than has the letter of the Word if separated From the spirit which alone vivifies it. In neither case therefore must we endeavor to put apart what the Lord has made to be conjoined together. Instead, we ought to seek that knowledge from the Writings which will enable us to make the rituals of worship serve the internals of worship as approximately as possible like the letter of the Word serves its spiritual sense. But while we must guard against the danger of Eliezer inheriting the house, we must at the same time seek to have as the steward of the House of God, the Damascene, Eliezer.
"The Word without the sense of its letter would be like a palace without a foundation, thus like a palace in the air and not upon the earth, which would only be its shadow, which would vanish away. Also the Word without the sense of its letter would be like a temple, in which are many holy things, and in its midst the sanctuary, without roof and wall which are its containants, which if they were absent or if they were taken away, its holy things would be seized by thieves or they would be violated by the beasts of the earth and by the birds of heaven, and thus be dissipated. Similarly it would be like the tabernacle (in its inmost was the ark of the covenant, and in the middle of it the golden candelabrum, the golden altar upon which was the incense, also the table upon which were this breads of faces, which were its holy things) without its ultimates which were curtains and veils. Yea, the Word without the sense of its letter would be like a human body without the coverings which are called skins, and without the supports which are called bones, without these and those all its interiors would flow apart. And it, would like the heart and lungs in the thorax without their covering which is called the pleura, and their supports which are called ribs. Or like the cerebrum without its covering which is called the dura mater, and its common covering, containant, and firmament which is called the skull. It would be similar with the Word without the sense of its letter; wherefore it is said in Isaiah that ‘Jehovah creates upon all the glory a covering", 4 : 5", 33.
"Protection lest (the Church) be injured by too much light, and by too much shade is signified by the `cloud by day', and by `the smoke and the shining of a flame of fire by night', wherefore it is said that `upon all the glory is a covering' ", A.E. 504
"Glory" here is the spiritual sense of the Word, A.E. 294. Mark that the covering is said to be upon all the glory. The glory of the spiritual is never given to man nor to angel uncovered, though in one Revelation of the Word it may be regarded as comparatively uncovered in respect to other Revelations of the Word. Each Revelation has its own covering, denser or thinner, as the case may be. Thus in the verse from which the text is taken there are two other words used for covering — cloud and smoke — the one a comparatively light covering, the other a dark one. The most dense covering is that of the Word in the Old Testament — that of the Word in the New is less dense — that of the Word in the Writings is still less. On all the glory there is a covering. In written Revelations of the Word, the covering consists of the words of' the human language in which it is impressed together with the sense which we naturally learn to associate with those words. That sense of the words is the literal sense. Every Revelation therefore is of necessity clothed or covered with a literal sense, which protects the spiritual sense within it and prevents more of
the light thereof from being seen than the reader is pre-pared to receive. But though each Revelation has a literal sense, they have not the same literal sense. But the literal sense of one, such as that of the Word of the Old Testament, is relatively far removed from the spiritual sense, while that of the Writings is relatively near to the spiritual sense. Still even the latter cannot convey the spiritual sense so long as the words thereof are understood only according to their merely natural meaning. Each Revelation needs to he studied in its own light before we can get beyond the merely literal sense thereof. And moreover when once a Revelation has been perverted by a consummated Church, it can only be rightly understood in the light of a new Revelation. Thus, at this day, before we can see beneath the literal sense of the Word in the Old and New Testaments, we must first study the Writings in their own light and then view the Word of the Old and New Testaments in the light thence derived. But if we only study the Writings in the light of the world, the glory of the spiritual sense remains entirely covered from us, and the literal forms thereof, as well as of those of the Old and New Testaments, are filled, in our minds, with the perverted understanding of the Word which we have derived from the Old Church. Lest the true and the false understanding of the Word should in every case be hopelessly mixed, there is upon all the glory a covering, which cannot be penetrated until we have renounced that perverted understanding of the Word to which we all naturally incline.
Man's mind when he first enters this world is a blank. The natural mind is formed from the appearances which enter through the senses. As the natural mind is thus Formed wholly of appearances, the Lord could not come to save man in freedom, unless He came clothed in such appearances as form man's natural mind, and thus accommodated His speech or Word to man. For otherwise the Word would be altogether incomprehensible to man. These appearances are what form the literal sense of the Word. But as the natural mind has three degrees, the Lord in order to accommodate Himself so as to operate on each of them, had to appear clothed in three kinds of appearances. In His New Advent he has come clothed in the kind of appearances which compose the rational degree of the natural mind, and those appearances therefore are the literal sense of His New Revelation. For the spiritual sense itself comes from the Lord through heaven, and is composed of the spiritual appearances in which Divine Truth is clothed in the heavens. These spiritual appearances, can be spiritually discerned in the Writings, if we distrust natural light, and try to see them in their own light; but otherwise, even where the appearances of heaven are openly described, they only convey worldly appearances to our minds. Then, instead of teaching us concerning heavenly order, they only afford us means of concerning ourselves in natural rationalism -- a state which is constantly infesting the Church and is apt to take possession of all who do not allow themselves to be defended against it by that spiritual rationality which a study of the Writing in their own light gradually forms in us. We must receive their teaching in states of simplicity and with something of that innocence which makes us really teachable. It is necessary that we begin from the appearances of the letter, but if we remain in them we remain natural, because we shut out the teaching which would lend us to become spiritual. Hence:
"The Word as to the letter is for man, as to the internal sense it is for angels, and also for those men, to whom, from the Divine Mercy of the Lord it is given, while they live in 1he world, to be like angels", A.C. 2242.
We are not like angels, merely by having the books of the Writings with us, but by coming into an understanding of their contents similar to that which the angels have, with the end of living according thereto. Until we do that we only see the literal sense of the Word which is for men.
The external written forms in which Revelation is given are the means whereby we can, if we will, receive such an understanding of the Word, but we must never regard the means as the end, or mistake the covering for the glory within it. The necessity of such means is thus expressed:
"Man without an idea from worldly things, can never think anything; therefore if truths from a Divine origin were nakedly set forth, they would never be received but would exceed all his grasp", A.C. 2520.
This makes it evident that Divine truths can never be set forth nakedly, because in that case they would never be received. It also necessarily follows that Divine truths are not nakedly set forth in the Writings, but that there too upon all the glory is a covering — a literal sense such as outwardly regards what is natural and inwardly what is spiritual.
The things of the material world are the ultimates of creation. They form as it were points and lines which limit the operations of the Divine efflux and present the effects thereof in finite forms. Upon those finite forms as a basis and foundation, everything in the mind of a finite being must ultimately rest. Nothing can be perceptibly or consciously received by a finite being except it rest upon such a. basis. That which is not to some extent finited must ever he incomprehensible to us. Hence also the very Word of the Lord comes to us in the human language by which we express those finite things and the relations between them which we have observed. That is the human side of the Word — the literal sense. As long as we regard it from (Inc. mere external, such worldly things and human reasoning thereon is all we can see there — we only see the covering, which however necessary, is of no value apart from what it is intended to cover. Its value consists in its providing the necessary basis, the starting point from which we must begin our search for the things of eternal life. It is not merely a foundation, but a perfect foundation which can receive and support all the spiritual knowledge that we can ever receive, that is, it is perfectly fitted for that purpose, if we do not cover it over with the rubbish of own intelligence. By reason of our Old Church hereditary that is just what we have done; and our first business therefore is to diligently remove that rubbish which hides the foundation and makes it useless in our minds. Not only is the literal sense of the Old and New Testaments thus apt to be overlaid with rubbish in our minds; but also the literal sense of that Revelation of the word which is given to form the foundation for the reception of the Word on the rational plane of our minds. The literal sense of this Revelation as well as that of the Old Testament is such that it can be turned hither and thither, and made to mean altogether opposite and conflicting things. It is a foundation upon which heaven can he built in our rational minds; but we can also cover up that foundation with the natural rationalism which is so popular at this day.
However perfect a foundation is, we cannot build truly upon it, if it be covered with sand and rubbish. We might as well try to build on the sand itself. Let us then clearly recognize and rationally face the fact that the literal sense of every Divine Revelation is such that it can be understood in a worldly way or in a heavenly; and that our natural tendency all the time is to understand it in a merely worldly way, in a way which harmonizes with the way the Old Church would understand it. It needs our constant attention to keep the foundation reasonably clear in our minds, of the worldly wisdom and prudence that infest, the dust and sand of self-intelligence which fill the air about us. We must keep this cleared away if we would see anything of the plan upon which the foundation is laid. From that plan itself we must learn how to build thereon; for so perfect is the foundation, that if only we keep it clear from self intelligence, we can from it learn the plan of the heavenly house which it is intended to support in us. That is, we can do so, when we have established on the three planes of the natural mind the complete foundation as provided in the literal sense of the three forms of the Word given to us. The foundation thus necessarily has the plan of the whole house involved in it. This is how the literal sense of the Word, which is for the foundation of heaven with us, contains the spiritual sense which teaches the order of heaven, all the particulars of the heavenly house which each of us must build upon it in our minds, if we would really receive heaven with us. The foundation is given to us, the directions are given to us, but the house itself is not given to us ready made; that can be built in each of us only by our own individual co-operation, by applying, as of ourselves, the truths of Revelation to our own life. Hence we can see how the literal sense is at once the foundation and the containant of the spiritual sense, how it is at once that which conceals and that which reveals the spiritual sense.
"From the cause that the natural is the ultimate, upon which spiritual and celestial things end, and upon which like a house upon its foundation they subsist, and that otherwise the internal sense without the external would be like a house without a foundation. The Word because it is such is the containant of the spiritual and celestial sense", H.D. 262.
The literal sense contains it, like a perfect foundation contains the plan of house; but as concerns our reception of it there is practically no house but only a foundation until we build by acting out the truths thereof, which teach all the details of the plan according to which heaven must be built in us.
Thus how far the literal sense conceals this to us, and how farit reveals it, depends upon ourselves; but it always to some extent covers the spiritual sense, otherwise the infinite details of the plan of heaven would be entirely beyond our power to grasp, and even if they were uncovered more than the Lord in His Providence sees fit, we would he confused. But the literal sense of each Divine Revelation only reveals its contents to us gradually as we study it and build upon it a foundation — thus as we are prepared to use it. This is true even of the Word in heaven and will be true to eternity, for no finite being can ever look upon the Infinite nakedly presented. The Lord creates upon all the glory a covering.
The New Church having a Divine Revelation of the Word, in which the covering is more transparent than that of the two preceding forms of the Word, it follows that with us all three Revelations should be viewed and studied in the light of the latter. For only thence can we learn to know wherein the value of the literal sense of either of them lies, or where the literal sense is to be obeyed is such and where it is not. We are taught, for instance:
"That of the laws, judgments, and statutes for the Israelitish and Jewish Church, which was a representative church, there are those which are still valid in each sense, external and internal, there are those which are altogether to be kept according to the external sense, there are those which can be of use if one chooses, and there are those which are altogether abrogated. The Word is Divine even as to those things which are abrogated", H.D. 262.
For although those things are taken by man, they are taken by the Lord and so selected and arranged as to make the necessary foundation, or covering, perfect in its adaptation to its purpose. But this we can know nothing of apart from the internal sense; and the internal sense we cannot really know unless we study the Writings in their owe light and with the end of use. For:
"All those are in externals without internals who are in the loves of self and of the world, for with them the internal man is closed and only the external opened; and what the external man, when he reads the Word, sees without the internal, he sees in thick darkness, for natural lumen without light from heaven, is in spiritual things mere thick darkness; and light from heaven enters through the internal man into the external and enlightens this. Hence it is that so many heresies have existed and that the Word is called by some a book of heresies, and that it is altogether unknown that there is anything internal in the Word; and they who think that nevertheless there is, they still do not know where it is", A.C. 10400.
The natural tendency is either to reject the Word altogether or to idolize the mere literal sense thereof; in order to guard against and combat these tendencies we should be careful to learn what it is that makes the Word holy — namely that which is within the external covering, and on account of which only is the covering holy. Let us beware therefore of confirming ourselves in regard for the externals of the Word without respect to the internals:
"For they who are in the external without the internal cannot bear the interiors of the Word", H.D. 262.
For the external when regarded separately only reflects the light of the world, whereas the internal reveals the light of heaven. Those lights are opposite and „therefore cannot bear one another”, A.C. 10694. Moreover "when the light of heaven inflows into the light of the world, it induces thick 'darkness and thence stupor; hence it is that the external without the internal cannot bear the external when the internal is in it", A.C. 10694.
“Because the Jewish nation was such therefore they could not bear to hear concerning the Lord, concerning love and faith in Him, which are the interiors of the Word, of the Church, and of Worship”, A.C. 10694.
So far as corporeal and sensual stales prevail in us, we are Jews and act like them. So far as we are such we are unwilling even to hear that it is the Lord Himself who speaks to us in His New Advent through the Writings. So far as we are such, we, like the Jews, may pay superstitious regard to the literal sense of the Word, at the same time that we, like them, reject the Word Itself. It is not sufficient that we externally receive the Revelation given to the New Church; we must receive the Lord as He has revealed Himself therein in His glory remembering that the Lord creates upon all the glory a covering.
“ ‘Jehovah God’is the Lord: `Jehovah' the Lord as to Divine Good; ‘God’ the Lord as to Divine Truth", A.C. 7311.
Hence, whether we say, the Word, or Divine Truth, or God, it means the same. Each expression means the Lord manifesting Himself as Divine Truth. In the authorized version the order in which the statement is made is reversed so as to read "the Word was God". This reversal expresses the common impression received in the professed New Church, namely that the Word is Divine Truth, or rather that certain books of the Word are regarded as the Divine Truth. This is a perfectly right position, if it is not held to the exclusion of the statement as actually made in the text, namely that "God", that is, Divine Truth, "was the Word". As time does not enter into the spiritual sense, that means that Divine Truth, wherever and whenever the Lord reveals it, is His Word. Therefore to hold the idea that certain books of what is called the Bible are the Word which alone is Divine Truth, to the confirmed exclusion of the Divine teaching that all Divine Truth is the Word, is to close ourselves to the reception of the Lord in the interior Divine Truth in which He has effected His New Advent. From eternity, A.R. 256, before any of the now existing forms of the Word were ever given God was the Word.
“ ‘God’ in the supreme sense is the Divine which is above the heavens, but ‘God’ in the internal sense is the Divine which is in the heavens; the Divine which is above the heavens is Divine Good, but the Divine in the heavens is Divine Truth", A.C. 7268.
It was therefore Divine Truth in the heavens which was the Word in the beginning of creation, and which is the Word as to its internal sense. Divine Truth in the heavens is Our Father in the heavens, to whom alone we are taught to pray, for the Divine Good above the heavens thus beyond all finite comprehension, appears as Divine Truth in the heaven for:
“What is properly called heaven, is nothing but the Divine there formed”, A.C. 7268.
Unless therefore we pray to Our Father in the heavens, that is, seek the Divine Good in Divine Truth, we worship an unknown God, an unformed something, and capable, therefore, of being imagined to be in any form we may naturally choose. If we wish to be led out of what is merely natural into what is spiritual, we must suffer ourselves to be led by Divine Truth — and acknowledge that all Divine Truth is the Word — is the Lord appearing to us for the purpose of teaching and leading us if we will.
From man's tendency to reverse the order of the words of the text, we can see the manifestation of the natural course of his thought, which is always to think from what is external concerning what is internal, here to think from certain forms ofthe Word concerning the Word Itself, instead of thinking from the Word Itself, the Divine Truth, concerning all forms in which it may be presented. Thus we must learn not only that the Word is Divine Truth, but also that Divine Truth is the Word, not only that the Word is God, but also that God is the Word.
That the internal sense of the Word is the Divine Truth as it is in the heavens and that that Divine Truth is the Word is clear. Note therefore that whatever is taught in the Doctrine of the New Church concerning the internal sense, always has evident application to the Writings. Thus:
“In the inmost sense of the Word it is treated solely concerning the Lord, and all the states of the glorification of His Human are described, and also all the states of the subjugation of the hells, and of the ordering of all things there and in the heavens", H.D. 263.
That this inmost sense is in the Writings as well as in other forms of the Word, can be plainly seen by those who study them in their own light, for it is then found that there is nothing there that is not inmostly concerning the Lord.
“Thus that in that sense all the life of the Lord in the world is described, and by it there is the continual presence of the Lord with the angels”, H.D. 263.
That the Word of the Old Testament treated concerning the Lord's life was altogether unknown to the Jews. In the New Testament the Lord points out in a general way that it does treat concerning Him, but only from the Writings can we learn to see that it does so in each particular thereof. In the Word of the New Testament, the first Christian Church only saw there the treatment of the external life of the Lord in the world, Only from the Writings do we learn that there too all the particulars of the Lord's internal life are involved. But the actual description of the Lord's inner life, while in the world, of all the changes and operations whereby His assumed human was glorified, this is given for the first time in the Writings and could otherwise never have been known. But who could possibly tell us anything but mere surmises and guesses concerning the Lord’s internal life except the Lord Himself. No truth but Divine Truth could convey such knowledge to us, and Divine Truth is God, is the Word, is the Lord Himself. And because, from the Writings, we learn that the same Divine Truths openly revealed there are also involved in the Word of the Old and New Testaments, from thence and from thence only is it that we can rationally see that each of those forms of the Word are also manifestations of the Lord Himself — that He Himself is inmostly in every form of the Word, however the form is varied.
“Therefore the Lord is in the inmost of the Word and thence is what is Divine and holy of the Word”, H.D. 263.
Each form of the Word is the presence of the Lord, an accommodation of His Presence to the needs of recipients. One form was His Presence adapted to the states of the Jewish Church, another adapted to the states of the first Christian Church, and now that form of the Word, which is given in the Writings, is His Presence adapted to the states that will be in the New Church. The New Church, the crown of all previous Churches because formed by the most excellentof all Revelations,will also know from the interior truth thereof, how to use each form of the Word in its proper place. For as the study of the Lord's interior life is opened to us, we can, as we progress in that study, receive the life of the new birth according to that example and also guide the lives of our children according to the same.
In the Word of the New Testament the Lord is presented to us as He externally appeared, but in the Writings it is His Divine Human mind that is presented to us. That Presence and not a personal presence, is what the angels continually enjoy. For:
“In the internal sense of the Word, the whole life of the Lord, such as it would be in the world, is described, even as to perceptions and thoughts, for these have been foreseen and provided, because from the Divine even on account of the cause, that that presence might be set before the angels who perceive the Word according to the internal sense, and that the Lord might be before them and at the same time how He successively put off the human and put on the Divine”, A.C. 2523.
Such is the presence of the Lord which is before us in the Writings, and such are the things which the Lord fulfilled when in the world.
“That the Lord frequently says that in Him are to he consummated and have been consummated all things which are in the Scripture, they involve those things which are in the internal sense of the Word, for there it is treated solely concerning the Kingdom of the Lord, and in the supreme sense concerning the Lord Himself; as the things which are in Luke: `Jesus said to the disciples, these are the words which I have spoken to you while I am still with you, that all things which are written in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms concerning Me, it behooves to be fulfilled: then He opened their minds that they might understand the Scriptures', Luke 21 : 5. In the same: `Behold we ascend into Jerusalem, where all things which are written by the Prophets concerning the Son of man must be perfected", Luke 18 : 31. And in Matthew: 'Think not that I have come for loosing the Law tool the Prophets; I have not come for loosing but: for Fulfilling: amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass, one iota or little horn shall not pass from the Law until all things are done', 5 : 17, 18. These and the things which the Lord elsewhere says concerning the fulfilling of the Law or of the Scripture, involve, as was said, those things which were predicted concerning Him in the internal sense. In that sense all and single things even to each iota, or to each least point, treat concerning the Lord; wherefore it is said that one iota or one little horn shall not pass away in the Law until all things are done. And in Luke: `It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, than one point of the Law to fall', 16 : 17. He who does not know that the single things, even to the least of all, in the internal sense treat concerning the Lord and concerning His Kingdom, and that hence the Word is most holy, he never can comprehend what this is, that not one point shall fall, nor one iota or little horn pass away, and that it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away, for those things which stand forth in the external sense do not appear to be so many, but the internal text is so containing that not even a little word could be omitted without interruption of the series", A.C. 7933.
As the Lord is Divine Good itself and Divine Truth itself, Divine Good is everywhere in the Divine Truth of the Word, and also is frequently expressed by a distinct expression. The heavenly marriage is thus expressed, by Good and Truth being presented as outwardly two, though internally one and the same.
“In the Word everything is holy. Hence it is that heaven is in the Word, consequently the Lord Who is the all in all things of heaven, to that degree that the Lord is the Word. The two names of the Lord, namely, Jesus Christ, involve the same, the name `Jesus' Divine Good and the name `Christ' Divine Truth. Hence also it is evident that the Lord is in all things of the Word to that degree that He is the Word Itself”, A.C. 5502.
“The Divine Esse cannot communicate itself to anyone except through the Divine Existere, that is, the Divine Itself cannot except through the Divine Human, and the Divine Human cannot except through the Divine Truth which is the Holy Spirit. This is understood by that all things were made by the Word, John 1 : 3. It appears to man as if the Divine Truth is not such that anything can exist by it, for it is believed that it is like a word which emitted from the mouth, is dissipated. But it has itself altogether otherwise: Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord is the verimost reality and is such that all things exist thence, and hence all things subsist. For whatever proceeds from the Lord is the verimost reality in the universe. Such is the Divine Truth, which is called the Word, by which all things were made", A.C. 6880.