Sermons On The Word by Edward S. Hyatt
“They who regard the causes of things from external and earthly things, cannot otherwise perceive than that the Truth from the Divine is only a cogitative something of no real essence, but it is the verimost Essential, from which are all the essences of things in each world, namely, in the spiritual and natural worlds". A.C. 8200.
Since the Writings are a Revelation of Divine Truth, and Divine Truth is "the verimost reality in the universe", "the verimost Essential from which are all essences of things", it must be evident that they must be a revelation of the Lord and thus of His Word, for He alone could be called "the verimost Reality in the universe, or the verimost Essential from which are all essences of things".
“And because Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord is light in heaven, and Divine Good is heat in heaven, and because from those all things there exist, and because through heaven or through the spiritual world the natural world exists, it is evident that all things which are created, are created from Divine Truth thus from the Word, according to these words in John: `In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God, and God was the Word... And by it all things were made which were made... And the Word was made flesh', 1:1-3, 14", H.D. 263.
As to be created signifies to be regenerated, we see that regeneration is always effected by means of Divine Truth, and that it is for that purpose that Divine Truth is revealed. It is for no other purpose that Divine Truths have been revealed to the New Church. The Lord in the Writings has come as Divine Truth to regenerate or create those who will be of the New Church. To come as Divine Truth is to come as God and it is thus that we must acknowledge the Lord to be the only God, by receiving Divine Truth from no other source, and by receiving all Divine Truth as the Lord Himself or His Word, for we must acknowledge that the lord is God and that, God is the Word.
How can we acknowledge the Lord to be the only God, that is, to be the only Divine Truth, if we acknowledge a Revelation of Truth which we do not regard as the Lord?
By regenerating or creating man, the Lord conjoins him to heaven. The Word does not conjoin us to heaven otherwise. The Lord is present with us in each form of His Word, but we are not thereby conjoined to heaven, unless we receive the contents of the Word into our lives, and the contents thereof are the things of the spiritual sense. Hence we are taught:
"That conjunction of the Lord with man is through the Word, by means of the internal sense", H.D. 263.
For the internal sense is relatively the Divine Truth, while the external sense is relatively only the covering thereof. Thus the internal sense is preeminently Divine Truth, and Divine Truth is God, and God is the Word.
"The Lord speaks with the man of the Church no otherwise than through the Word". A.C. 10290.
Conjunction of the Lord and man being effected, as we have seen, by means of the internal sense, therefore it must be by the same means that the Lord speaks to the man of the Church, for the man of the Church is one who is being regenerated. As long as man only sees the mere external of the Word he cannot be regenerated. In pro-portion as man progresses in regeneration the more fully does the Lord speak to him by means of the internal sense, and the less is the merely external sense attended to.
Thus we learn that it is God, thus Divine Truth, which is the Word; that it is therefore that which is interiorly in the forms of the Word which is really the Word and which gives all the holiness and power to those forms. Let us look therefore to the Lord as God within the form of the Word, for God or the Divine Truth there is the Word; and let us try to remember something of what is involved in the doctrine that the Lord is the only God of heaven and of earth.
“The Egyptians (here represent) those who are in inverse order ... the Hebrews those who are in genuine order”, A.C. 5701.
The Lord Himself is the bread of life, which bread is offered to us in His Word. To eat is to appropriate. To appropriate, by application to our own lives, that which the Lord teaches, is the only means of coming into, genuine order. Until we do that we are in inverse order. Those who study what the Lord teaches in order that they may be led into genuine order, and those who do not study what He teaches for that end, cannot effectively study together, they cannot cooperate in the endeavour to appropriate what the Lord teaches, they cannot eat bread together. For to eat with those who are seeking to be led into genuine order is an abomination to, those who are not so seeking. Both may indeed appear to be seeking the appropriation of the same thing — both may diligently read what the Lord has revealed; but while the first seeks to appropriate instruction in, the altogether new things of the Lord's Kingdom, the others seek only to appropriate confirmation of those things which they naturally believe to be good and true. .Hence the latter are seeking to confirm and to hold 1'nsi, to that which the former are seeking to be led away from. "Thus this opposition between them, hence the aversion and at length abomination", A.C. 5702.
Thus the aversion to the Word does not appear to be aversion., until it comes to the question of carrying out what is there taught. The aversion is to being really led by the Word. This aversion is often in this wordly associated with great apparent regard for The Word. It is only in the other world that the external attitude always manifests what the internal attitude really is.
There, all those who have opposed the reception of the genuine teaching of the Word into their own lives, openly oppose the Word, contemn it and even blaspheme it. Some-times this state is manifested in the life of the body; but often it is not, although it is really there, unrecognized perhaps even by themselves. Of the different classes of these in the World of Spirits the Writings thus speak:
“There are those who in the life of the body contemned the Word; and there are those who have abused the things which are in the Word as ridiculous formula; there are those who have considered the Word to be nothing, but to he able to serve for the vulgar that they may be held in a certain bond; there are those who have blasphemed the Word; there are those who have profaned it. The lot of these in the other life is miserable — the lot of each is according to, the quality and degree of their contempt, ridicule, blasphemy and profanation; for, as has been said, the Word is so holy in the heavens, that to them the Word, is at it were, heaven, wherefore, because there is given communion of all thoughts, they can never be together but are separated”, A.C. 1878.
Hence in the other world we cannot be together with those who regard the Word as holy, if we confirm ourselves in opposition to the things which are in the Word, which are the things of the internal sense. It is by our attitude to the substance of the Word that we will be judged. In the professed New Church, when anything of the substance of the Word is opposed, it is generally at the same time denied that it is in the form of the Word which they profess to revere. But to revere the forms, while the substance is op-posed will count for nothing in the, spiritual world, where the realities of our states are manifested. It will be wise for us therefore to continually bear in mind that our professed acknowledgment of the Word as it has come to us in the New Church, will in no wise save us, if we have 1wactically rejected the reception of the substance thereof into our minds — if the things taught in the Writings when regarded as matter for application to life, have been regarded as of no importance in that respect. To regard their application as of no importance, is really to contemn the Word and so far to reject it, and thereby to make it impossible for us to be together with the angels, impossible for us to eat bread with them, for we thus treat the kind of eating bread which takes place with them as an abomination. This takes place so far as we are averse to appropriating into the practice of our own lives the new things taught in the Writings. The root of the aversion is always because we love our present practices better and are unwilling to give them up.
That they reject and blaspheme the Word who refuse to receive its teaching into their will is thus shown:
“It is allowed to say in a few words how it has itself with blasphemy of Truth Divine. Truth Divine is the Word, and it is Doctrine from the Word. They who deny these in heart, they blaspheme, even if they praise and preach it with the mouth. Blasphemy lies hidden in the denial (namely the denial of the heart which is rejection by the will) which also breaks forth, when, left to themselves they think, especially in the other life, for there, externals being removed, hearts speak. They who blaspheme or deny the Word, they can receive nothing of the truth and good of faith, for the Word teaches that the Lord is, that heaven and hell are, that the life after death is, that faith and charity are, and many other things, which would altogether be not known without the Word or Revelation. Wherefore they who deny the Word cannot receive anything that the Lord teaches, for when they read it, or hear it, what is negative occurs, which either extinguishes the truth or turns it into what is false. Wherefore the first of all things with the man of the Church is to believe the Word, and this is the primary with him who is in the truth of faith and in the good of charity; but with those who are in the evils of the loves of self and the world the primary thing is not to believe the Word, for they immediately reject it when they think concerning it and also blaspheme it. If men saw how many and of what quality were the blasphemies against the Word with those who are in the evils of those loves, they would be horrified. The man himself while he is in the world does not know it, because they are hidden behind the ideas of the active thought which goes into his speech with Inch, but still they are revealed in the other life and appear horrible” A.C. 9222.
As "the first of all things with the man of the Church is to believe the Word", it must be of the greatest importance to know what books constitute and contain the Word and what books do not, for it is impossible to reject any part of the Word without rejecting the whole. Anyone who confirms himself in the rejection of the Writings, rejects the Word Itself, whatever may appear even to himself to be his attitude towards other forms of the Word. As the Writings set forth and teach the internal truths of the Word and constitute as it were, the table at which the Lord in His New Advent invites us to sup, and there eat of the Bread of Life which is Himself, it is evident that those who are satisfied to cling to the inverse order in which they naturally are, cannot eat bread there together with those who are endeavouring thereby to receive genuine order — The Egyptians cannot eat bread with the Hebrews, because that is an abomination to the Egyptians.
“They who contemn and deride the Word in the letter, and more the things which are there in the higher sense, consequently also the Doctrinals which are from the Word, and at the same time are in no love toward the neighbour, but in the love of self, they refer to the corrupt things of the blood which pervade all the veins and arteries, and contaminate the whole mass. Lest they should introduce any such thing into man by their presence, they are held separated from others in their own hell, and only communicate with those who are such, for these cast themselves into the breath and sphere of that hell”, A.C. 5719.
From this we see that those who contemn the Word, especially the things which are in its higher sense, there-by cast themselves into the sphere of devils who are held in their own evil separate from other devils so that they can injure no one but those who by taking such an attitude towards the Word descend to them. It is as necessary that they should be separated from others, as it is that corrupt things should be separated from the blood — for other-wise the whole mass would be contaminated. If they re-main there they turn all the nourishments received to promoting their own growth; and thus that part which is in an orderly condition is starved mid weakened and thus soon overcome. So must it be with those who are seeking to have the practice of their lives formed from the Writings; their study, in order to be effective must be pursued separately from those who have no interest in the application of the teaching thereof to their own lives, otherwise it will become corrupted as everything does that is with-drawn from its proper use. The blood that circulates in the body of the Church must have such constituents separated from it. If the blood is in a healthy condition such constituents do get separated. Indeed it will not stop where there is nothing congenial to it. So neither will those who practically reject the Word as it is given to the New Church, remain with those who try to study them for the sake of application to their own lives, so that their naturally inverse order may be turned into genuine order. This proceeding is necessarily altogether regarded with aversion by those who cling to their inverse order as the very good of life. The Egyptians cannot cal bread with the Hebrews, because that is an abomination to the Egyptians.
That there is this antipathy to eating together is of benefit to those represented by the Egyptians as well as to those represented by the Hebrews. For while the Hebrews are thus relieved from infestation, the Egyptians are less liable to commit profanation, for in case they associated with the Hebrews they would be likely to learn more truths than they otherwise would, and use these truths to confirm their old principles.
“He who confirms false principles, he grasps the prior principle, from which he is never willing to recede, or to remit the least thing, but he rakes together and accumulates confirming things wherever he can, thus also from the Word, even until he so persuades himself' that he cannot any more see the truth”, A.C. 589.
It is therefore better that they should be allowed to neglect the study of the Word, than that they should make such use of it. It is therefore for the best to both sides that they have such aversion for those who study the Word for the sake of life according to it, and even hold their principles in abomination.
“As concerns this abomination it is to be known that they who are in inverse order, that is, in evil and thence the false, are at length so averse to the good and truth of the Church, that when they hear it, and more when they hear the interiors of them, they abominate them to that degree, that they feel with themselves as it were nausea and vomiting. This has been said and shown to me, when I wondered that the Christian world does not receive these interiors of the Word. There appeared spirits from the Christian world, and they were compelled to hear the interiors of the Word, they were seized with such nausea that they said they felt as it were an itching and vomiting in themselves. And it was said that such is the Christian world at this day almost everywhere", A.C. 5702.
“That it is such, the cause is that they are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth, still less in the affection of good from good. That they think and speak any-thing from the Word or from their doctrinal is from habit from infancy and from instituted usage, thus it is the external without the internal”, A.C. 5702.
It is no wonder that the plain presentation of the interior teachings of the Word invariably leads to opposition and division. The Egyptians cannot eat bread with the Hebrews. The Lord has to keep the Hebrews separate from the Egyptians in order that. He may ultimately lead them out of Egypt to the land of Canaan.
“That all things which were of the Hebrew Church which was afterwards instituted with the posterity of Jacob were abomination to the Egyptians, is evident not only from this, that they were not willing even to eat with them, but also that the sacrifices in which the Hebrew Church placed their principal worship were abomination to them, as is evident in Moses: ‘Pharaoh said, Go, sacrifice in. the land, but Moses said, It is not well considered to do so, because we will sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Jehovah our God; behold if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians in their eyes, will they not stone us?’, Ex. 8 : 21, 22, . Also that feeding cattle and a shepherd, were abomination to them, as also is evident in Moses: ‘An abomination of the Egyptians is every shepherd of a flock’, Gen. 46 : 34. Thus whatsoever things were of that Church the Egyptians abominated. The cause was that at first the Egyptians were also among those who constituted the Representative Ancient Church; but afterwards they rejected the God of the Ancient Church, that is Jehovah or the Lord, and served idols, especially ca1ves; also the very representatives and significatives of celestial and spiritual things, which they derived when they were of that Church, they turned into magical things. Hence they had inverse order, and abomination for all the things which are of the Church", A.C. 5702.
Here we see that both the Egyptians and the Hebrews were descended from the Ancient Church, which was then the prior or Old Church, but the Egyptians represented those who were led by their own intelligence; the Hebrews those who were led by the Lord. In this world there are always two classes, and there can never be anything but opposition between them. Those who are led by themselves cannot eat bread with those who are really trying in a practical way to be led by the Lord, for that is an abomination to them.
Swedenborg as the instrument by means of which the interiors of the Word have been revealed was allowed to experience the hostility of such spirits to the interiors of the Word, with which his mind was stored, and his experience has been recorded fur cur instruction thus:
“When I was in bed, it was said to me, that evil spirits conspired against me, with the mind of suffocating me, but because I was safe and secure from the Lord I diffused those threats and went to sleep, but in the middle of the night I awoke, I felt that I did not respire from myself but, from heaven, for there was nothing of my respiration, which I manifestly perceived. It was then said that the conspiracy was present, and it was said that they were those who have the interiors of the Word in hatred, that is, the very truths of faith, for these are the interiors of the Word, and this because they are against their fallacies, persuasions, and cupidities, with which they could defend the sense of the letter. Afterwards the leaders when their endeavor was vainly made, tried to enter into the viscera of my body, and to penetrate even to the heart, to which also they were admitted which was always perceived with manifest sense, for he to whom the interiors which are of the spirit are opened, also receives at the same time a sensitive perception of such things. But then I was admitted into a certain heavenly state, which was, that I endeavored nothing to repel those strangers, still less to revenge the injury; they said then that it was pacific; but immediately they were as if deprived of the rationality, breathing revenge, and endeavoring to perfect their endeavors, but in vain. Afterwards they were dissipated by themselves", A.C. 1879.
Such is the end of all attacks upon the interiors of the Word. Such is the result that can always be looked for by those who confidently stand by the interior truths of the Word, their opponents will attack, will, at their non-success, become deprived of even that rationality which they have, and finally will dissipate themselves. In the meantime all we have to do is to stand firm in our trust in the Lord as He is manifested in the interior truths given to the New Church — those who are averse to those principles, those who are unable to eat bread with us, and even hold it in abomination, will always dissipate them-selves as soon as it is best they should do so. If we would be of those who suffer themselves to be led into genuine order by the Lord, we must accept such division as a necessity of that order, just as we have to accept the eternal division between heaven and hell. The Egyptians cannot eat bread with the Hebrews, because that is an abomination to the Egyptians.
“ ‘Word’ in a general sense signifies an enunciation of the mouth or speech; and because speech is the thought of the mind enunciated by sounds, therefore, `Word' signifies the thing which is thought; hence everything which really exists and is anything, in the original language is called a word; but in an eminent sense the Word is Divine Truth, from the cause that everyth and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts", Ps. 33 : 6, where the Word of Jehovah is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord; the breath of the mouth of Jehovah is life thence; the heavens thence made, and all their hosts are the angels so far as they are receptions of the Divine Truth. That the heavens are angels is because they constitute heaven; and because angels are receptions of Divine Truth, therefore by angels in an abstract sense are signified the Divine Truths which are from the Lord; and the hosts of the heavens in the same sense are Divine Truths. Hence it can appear what is signified by the Word in John: `In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; all things were made by Him, and without Hint nothing was made that was made: and the Word was made flesh and dwelt in us, and we saw His glory', 1 : 1, 3, 14. That the Lord is here understood by the Word is evident, for it is said that the Word was made flesh. That the Lord is the Word is because the Lord when He was in the world, was the Divine Truth Itself, and when He went from the world Divine Truth proceeded from Himself. That the Word in the supreme sense is the Lord as to Divine Truth, or what is the same, that the Word is the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, appears from many places, as in David: `They cried to Jehovah, and He sent his Word and healed them', Ps. 107 : 20. In John: `The Word of the Father ye have not remaining in you, because ye believe not in Him whom He sent, neither will ye come to Me that ye may have life', 5 : 38, 40. In the same: `I have given them Thy Word, therefore the world hath them in hatred: sanctify them in Thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth', 17 : 14, 17. And in the Apocalypse: `He sitting upon the White Horse was clothed with a vesture tinged with blood, and His Name is called the Word of God, and He had upon His vestment and upon His thigh a Name written King of Icings and Lord of lords', 19 : 13, 16. From these and other places it appears that Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord is the Word, and in the supreme sense the Lord as to Divine Truth, for it is said that the name of the One sitting upon the white horse is the Word of God, and that He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords; and because the Word is the Divine Truth therefore it is said that He was clothed with a vesture tinged with blood, for by `vesture' is signified truth, and by `blood' truth from good.... Hence it is that every Truth which is from the Divine is called the Word", A.C. 9987.
In this passage there is brought before us what the expression "the Word" means in three senses, in a general sense, in an eminent sense, and in the supreme sense.
In a general sense it signifies “Everything which really exists”, especially a "thing which is thought" and enunciated by the mouth or speech.
In an eminent sense it signifies Divine Truth, namely, “every Truth which is from the Divine”.
In the supreme sense it signifies “the Lord as to Divine Truths”.
In confirmation of what is taught concerning the signification of the expression “the Word” in a general sense that it is everything which really exists it may he noted that the Hebrew expression occurs 1335 times in the Old Testament and that it is translated in about ninety different ways in the authorized version. In 770cases it is translated “word” thus rather more than half of the times it occurs. In 212 cases it is translated “thing” which as we have seen from the Writings is a general meaning of the expression. From its being somewhat equivalent to our word “thing”, we can see what a very wide application it has, and we will see that this breadth of application in a certain way enters into each of the higher senses of the expression. For in the eminent sense it signifies "every Truth which is from the Divine", and in the supreme sense “the Lord as to Divine Truth” who is the All of all things in heaven. Again we read:
“That ‘words’ in the original language also signify things, is because ‘words’ in the internal sense signify truths of doctrine, wherefore every Divine Truth in general is called the Word", A.C. 5075.
“And the Lord Himself, from whom is every Divine Truth, is, in the supreme sense, the Word; and because nothing that exists in the universe, is anything, that is, is a thing, unless it is from the Divine Good by the Divine Truth, therefore `words' in the Hebrew language are also things”, A.C. 5075.
Some make a wide distinction between the Word and Doctrine from the Word; but the expression translated "Word" also signifies doctrine or what is the same, teaching, as is shown in the following passage:
“That ‘the Word’ signifies all doctrine concerning charity and faith thence, and that `words' signify those things which are of doctrine appears in David: `I will confess to Thee in rectitude of heart in my learning the judgments of Thy justice: I will keep Thy statutes: in what shall a young man render his path, pure, in guarding according to Thy Word: iii my whole heart I have sought Thee, make me not to wander from Thy precepts: in my heart I have hidden Thy Word, that I may not sin to Thee: Blessed art Thou Jehovah, teach me Thy statutes, with my lips I have declared all the judgments of Thy mouth: in the way of Thy testimonies I hare rejoiced: in thy commandments I meditate; and I will regard Thy ways; in Thy statutes I am delighted, I do not forget Thy Word', Ps. 119 : 6—17. The Word for doctrine, in general; that there are distinguished these, precepts, judgments, testimonies, commandments, statutes, way, lips, is evident, all which things are of the Word or of Doctrine, also elsewhere in the Word those things everywhere signify distinct things”, A.C. 1288.
From this it is evident that every Doctrine from the Divine is called the Word, just as every Truth from the Divine is.
Again the Ten Commandments are called the ten words, because those commandments are the Word in complex — a summary presentation of the whole.
“ ‘Ten words’ that it signifies all the Divine Truths therein, appears from the signification of ten, that they are all, and from the signification of ‘words’, that they are Divine Truths, hence it is that the precepts on those tables were ten in number”, A.C. 10688.
All the truths therein, are all the truths of the spiritual sense, these are the particulars of the Word, which particulars taken together are necessarily the Word.
The signification of words as things and of the Word as Revelation is strikingly shown in the explanation of the statement concerning Abraham, that after these words the Word of Jehovah was made to Abraham in a vision, which, we are taught, “signifies that after combats in childhood there was revelation, appears from the signification of words, also of the Word of Jehovah to Abraham, as also from the signification of a vision. By `words' in the Hebrew language are signified things, here things accomplished which are combats of the Lord's temptations. The Word of Jehovah to Abraham, is no other than the Word of the Lord with him; but in childhood, and in the combats of temptations, when the Essences were not yet united as one, it could not otherwise appear than as a revelation”, A.C. 1785.
Here the Word made to Abraham is Revelation made to Him or rather to the Lord's Human as it was being glorified. It therefore also applies in a similar way to man's regeneration, the Word made to the regenerating man, is the Revelation from the Lord by means of which man is regenerated. That this revelation with us is the Writings is evident from this, that unless the Lord had come in the Divine Truths there revealed no one of us could have been saved. If we are saved therefore it must be by means of them. But no one can be saved, that is regenerated, that is created, except by the Word, for without the Word, nothing was ever made that was made, nor ever can be.
“As concerns the Word, in the original language thing is expressed by Word; hence also Divine Revelation is called the Word and also the Lord in a supreme sense”, A.C. 5272.
“And by the Word
when it is predicated concerning the Lord, and also concerning Revelation
from Him, in the proximate sense is signified Divine Truth, from which all things
which are things exist. That all things which are things, have existed and
exist by the Divine Truth which is from the Lord, thus by the Word, is an
arcanum which has not yet been disclosed. It
is believed that by that is understood that all things were created by that
God said and commanded like a king in his kingdom; but this is not understood
by that all things were made and created by the Word, but it is the Divine
Truth which proceeds from the Divine Good, that is, which proceeds from the
Lord from whom all things have existed and exist. Divine Truth proceeding
from the Lord is the verimost reality and the verimost essential that is in
the universe, this makes and creates. Concerning the Divine Truth scarcely
anyone has outer idea than as concerning a word which flows from the mouth of
one speaking and is dissipated in the air. This idea concerning Divine Truth
produces that, opinion that by the Word is understood only a mandate, and
then all things were
From what was commanded, thus not from anything real which has proceeded from
the Divine of Lord. But, as said: Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord is
the verimost reality and essential from which all things are forms of good
and truth are from
The Divine Truth is not some vague and mysterious thing supposed In he floating in the atmosphere; but it is revealed to its in visible and definite forms, from which we can, if we will, let n in recognize it as the verimost reality in the universe. It is in a revelation of Divine Truth that the lord has come to save all who will receive Him. That Revelation, because the Lord has come in it, is a most real manifestation of Divine Truth. It is not merely some-thing about the Word, but is the very fulness of the Word, whereby the previous forms of the Word may be infilled in our minds. Only by means of that Revelation can any real or permanent Church be formed, thus no otherwise can the New Church be formed, for no other Church has been permanent.
“The Glory of Jehovah will be revealed and they will see.... A voice saith: cry; and he said: what shall I cry? All flesh is grass and all its holiness as the flower of the field, the grass hath withered and the flower fallen, because the wind of Jehovah bloweth upon it: truly the people is grass. The grass hath withered, the flower hath fallen; but the Word of our God will stand into eternity. These words are concerning the Advent of the Lord, and then concerning revelation of Divine Truth from Him which is understood by the glory of Jehovah will be revealed and they will see. That then there will not be with men any scientific truth nor any spiritual truth, is signified by that all flesh is grass, all holiness as the flower of the field. Grass is scientific truth, the flower of the field is spiritual truth. That man is such is understood by all flesh is grass, and by truly the people is grass, the grass hath withered; all flesh is every man, people are they who were in truths, now in falses”, A.E. 507.
Such was the state of the world at the Lord's Advent; such is the state of the world, except so far as the Word has been acknowledged and received as it has now come scientific truth as well as spiritual truth has been falsified — as have all the truths of previous Revelations, and therefore the Churches formed from them have each in turn perished. The grass hath withered: the flower hath fallen. Now first is there being established a Church which will last for ever, because now the Word has been revealed in the fulness of its glory. Never again will there cease to be a Church receiving it in its integrity. The Word of our God will stand for ever.
“By ‘green grass’ in the Word is signified that good and truth of the Church or of faith is first Dorn in the natural man”, A.R. 401.
In regeneration certain preparatory and transient states precede the permanent states resulting from regeneration, just as various transient Churches had to precede the New Church, just as the natural Christian Church suck as was Christian in name only, had In precede the establishment of the spiritual or true Christian Church; and just as in the New Church itself, it to is comparatively natural in its beginning, and appears in a form which is transient and has to be succeeded by that which is genuine. The good and truth of the Church first implanted the natural man is as the green grass which has withered. Green grass is indeed scientific truth; but is truth from a spiritual origin; even as was the truth of the previous Christian Church; even as has been the truth in the early states of the New church. But because it ceased to be conjoined to life according to it, it has withered. When there is faith without charity there is no grass, but only sand, and foolish is the man who builds thereon. But grass prepares the ground for higher forms of vegetation. If the knowledges of truth which we have received, comparatively meagre as they may be, are conjoined to life according to them, we will have receptacles in our mind for the truth and good which cone from heaven. But from that purpose the scientifics in our mind must have a spiritual origin, and they must be conjoined to life. Nothing of the Church can be built upon a merely natural foundation — such as alone exists in the Old Church, except with the remnant there. If we would receive into ourselves the Church which will last for ever, we must from first to last rely only upon truths from a spiritual origin — only upon truths of revelation, and life according to them. We are taught that at the Lord's Advent: all flesh is grass — the grass hath withered. The truths of the previous revelations of the Word, though spiritual in their origin are lifeless, they have become as to the falsified understanding of them truth of merely natural origin. If these dead scientifics are to become living again in us, if the truths of the previous revelations are to become genuine with us, and if we are to receive the glory of Divine Truth. which will form the Church which is to last for ever, we must look for the means in the Evangel of the Lord's New Advent for this completes the revelation of the Word with us, and thereby alone can the Word stand for ever in a Church that will never fall. Let us therefore put no trust in the previous forms of the Word separated from this their Spirit, still less in truths of merely human origin, and in any truths except for the sake of life according to them. If we would receive the Word at all we must receive it in the fulness in which the Lord has given it to us. The grass hath withered, the flower hath faded; but the Word of our God will stand for ever.
“It is to be known that in the Word, especially in the Prophets, one thing is doubly described, as in Isaiah: ‘He has passed in peace the way He did not go with His feet: who hath operated and done?’, 41 : 3, 4, where nevertheless the one regards good, but the other truth, or one the things which are of the understanding; thus to pass in peace involves the things which are of the will, not to go the way with the feet, the things which are of the understanding, similarly operate and to do: thus are conjoined in the Word those things which are of the will and of the understanding, or which are of love and of faith, or, what is the same, celestial and spiritual things, in order that in the single things there may be the resemblance of marriage, and they may refer themselves to the heavenly marriage", A.C. 683.
“He who does not know the internal sense of the Word, can never otherwise think than that there is only repetition of the same thing. Similar things occur elsewhere in the Word, especially with the Prophets, where the same thing is expressed with different words; and sometimes also it is taken up again, and again described; but the cause is, as has been said before, that there are two faculties with man most distinct from each other, the understanding and the will, and that it is treated in the Word distinctly concerning each — this is the cause of the repetitions”, A.C. 707.
Thus is it in the text with regard to Zion and Jerusalem, for we read that:
“When Zion and Jerusalem are named together, then the celestial Church is signified by them, by Zion its internal, and by Jerusalem its external; . . . but when Jerusalem is named without Zion, then for the most part the spiritual Church is signified”, A.C. 6545.
Doctrine is said to go forth from Zion because it is spiritual from a celestial origin, thus:
“In order that it may be further known how it has itself with the Doctrine of Faith, that it is spiritual from a celestial origin, it is to be known that it is Truth Divine from Good Divine thus wholly Divine. What is Divine is incomprehensible because above all understanding, even the angelic; but still this Divine which in itself is incomprehensible can inflow through the Divine Human of the ford into man's rational, and when it inflows into his rational, it is received there according to the truths which are there, thus diversely and otherwise with one than with another. So far therefore as the truths which are with man are more genuine, so far also the Divine which inflows is more perfectly received, and so far man's intellectual is enlightened. In the Word of the Lord are the truths themselves; but in its literal sense are truths which are accommodated to the grasp of those who are in external worship; but in its internal sense are truths accommodated to those who are internal men, who, namely, as to doctrine and at the same time life are angelic; their rational is thence enlightened so far, that the enlightenment is compared to the splendor of the stars and the sun, Dan. 12 : 3. Matt. 13 : 43; hence it is evident how important it is that interior truth should be known and received”, A.C. 2431.
“These truths can indeed be known but never received except by those who are in love or in faith into the Lord. For the Lord as He is Divine Good, so He is Divine Truth, therefore He is Doctrine itself”, A.C. 2531.
“For whatever is in the doctrine of the truth of faith, regards the Lord, it also regards the heavenly kingdom and the Church, and the things which are of the heavenly kingdom and the Church; but those things are all His, and are intermediate ends though which the ultimate is regarded, that is, the Lord. That the Lord is Doctrine itself as to truth and good, thus who alone is regarded in Doctrine, He Himself teaches in John : Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, 14 : 6, 7, where Way is Doctrine, Truth all that which is of Doctrine, Life good itself which is the Life of Truth”, A.C. 2531.
From this we see that Doctrine is the Lord Himself. As Doctrine means teaching, it means the Lord as our Teacher. No teaching can benefit the Church but the teaching which the Lord gives from Himself. Hence Doctrine is interior to truth. Doctrine is intermediate between truth and good, it is the way from truth to good. Hence, it is that in the text Doctrine is said to go forth from Zion, the internal of the Church, and the Divine Truth, or the Word of the Lord, from Jerusalem, the external of the Church.
As long as any Truth which we see in written forms, whether in the Old and New Testaments, or in the Writings, is not allowed to teach us the way to attain something of spiritual good, it is mere truth to us, the truth which condemns all to hell. Again, as long as any of the Doctrines which we have in written forms in the Writings, are not regarded with the end and purpose of carrying them into the life, they are then to us the mere Doctrine which cannot make the Church. The trine Truth, Doctrine, and Life cannot be separated in the true Church; for the Church cannot live without receiving the Lord as Doctrine, the Lord as Truth and the Lord as the only source of life, thus the Lord as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In order to receive spiritual life there must be Doctrine out of Zion and the Word out of Jerusalem.
Thus we see something of the force of the expression "Doctrine from the Word" when we remember that Doctrine is Teaching. To draw Doctrine from the Word is to allow the Word or Divine Truth to, teach us. In the Writings the Word, that is, the Lord, manifests Himself for the express purpose of teaching those who will be' of His New Church, therefore the Writings may be called the doctrinal form of the Word. Not Intl that the Word as given in the Old and New Testaments also teaches. They convey the teaching that is absolutely necessary for the foundation planes of the mind; but the Writings are emphatically for teaching as they are addressed to the rational plane of the mind where alone teaching can be continued in fullness. Only from the Word as ultimated in the Writings can the rational mind draw the teaching it needs. Each of the three planes of the mind can draw the teaching or doctrine which it needs from one of three forms of the Word which we possess. And from each form of the Word doctrine or teaching is drawn in the same way, by viewing one part in the light of the others and then by viewing that derived from the more external forms of the Word in the light of that derived from the internal forms thereof. Thus if we wish the Writings to teach uswe must study each the teachings there given in the light of the rest of what is there taught. The Writings are the Word which goes forth out of Jerusalem, but unless we so receive them as to be taught by them, that is, unless we receive their teaching or doctrine into our lives, the Doctrine does not go forth out of Zion to us. The Doctrine from Zion being the teaching conveyed by each form of the Word, but especially that conveyed in the Writings, whereby we are led from Truth to Good, whereby we penetrate to the mount of Zion within Jerusalem.
“That most things also have an opposite sense, is because before the land of Canaan was made the heritage of the sons of Jacob, it was possessed by the nations, by whom were signified falses and evils; and also afterwards when the sons of Jacob went into what was contrary; for the lands put on the representation of the nations and peoples who are there, according to their quality", A.C. 4816.
Thus, therefore, Lion and Jerusalem have also an opposite sense, when they signify the internal and external of what is opposed to the Church. The doctrine which goes forth from Zion in the opposite sense is therefore teaching from evil. Each form of the Word is so written that we can draw therefrom whatever teaching we choose. We can take the letter thereof to confirm any notion whatever. The Writings are no exception to this rule. Diametrically opposite teaching can be derived from them to all appearance. We can collect statements therefrom in such a way as to make them confirm any idea we may have. In order to avoid doing this we have to take care to study them in their own light. We must not be satisfied to understand the words therein with just the meanings which the world attaches to them; but if we would advance at all in the study of what they really contain, we must learn from them to attach a new meaning to the words and still ever new meaning as we advance. For instance the words “Charity”, “Christian”, “Priest”, “Freedom”, "Rule", each convey to us quite different ideas in proportion as we learn their New Church signification from what they convey as understood in the world. It is because there is unlimited possibility for us to advance if we will in the understanding of the expression of truth of which the Writings consist, that there is no limitation to what they can convey to us. All the causes of limitation are in ourselves, but the Writings are so written that they are the infinite source of the teaching of Divine Truth for the Church which is to last for ever. Our reception therefrom must ever be limited, of course, even that of the highest angel is limited; but our reception like that of the angels can for ever become less and less limited. Only let us avoid that attitude which does not merely limit but shuts out genuine teaching from our mind, and opens us only to the teaching which confirms our old ideas. Let us ever endeavor to put what is old in our understanding of the Word aside, so that we may be able to be taught more of what is new from the Word. As the doctrine from Zion in the opposite sense is evil teaching, that is, teaching which is merely natural, so the Word from Jerusalem in the opposite sense is everything which proceeds from self-intelligence.
We are taught that "the internal sense follows its own subject as predicated", H.D. 265. The subject of Hits chapter from which the test is taken is concerning the New Church to be established by the Lord at His Coming. Therefore all the particulars of the text are prophetical of what the state of the genuine New Church will be. It is in the New Church that Doctrine must go forth out of Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. The Church consists of those who delight in learning and doing what the Word teaches. The New Church consists of those who delight in learning and doing according to the teaching which the Lord has provided for their rational minds in the Evangel of His Now Advent.
“Spirits who in the life of the body were delighted with the Word of the Lord, they in the other life have a certain delightful heavenly heat, which also it has been given me to feel. They who were somewhat delighted, their heat, communicated to me, was like vernal heat beginning from the region of the lips, and diffuse itself round the cheeks, and thence even to the ears, and ascending also to the eyes, descending also toward the middle region of the breast. They who were still more affected with the delight of the Word of the Lord and with its interiors, which the Lord Himself had taught, their heat communicated with me, was interior, beginning from the breast and ascending toward the chin, and descending toward the loins. They who were still more delighted and affected, their heat was still more interiorly delightful, and was more vernal, and indeed from the loins upwards toward the breast and thence through the left arm to the hand. I was instructed by the angels that the matter has itself thus, and that the approach of those presents such heats although they do not feel them, because they are in them; as infants, boys, and youths are wont not to feel their heat which they have above adults and old people, because they are in it. The heat also was felt of those who indeed were delighted with the Word, but were not solicitous concerning the understanding of it, it was only in the right arm. As concerns heat, evil spirits can also produce heat by their artifices, which feigns delight, and they can communicate it to others, but it is only external heat without origin from the internals. Such heat it is which putrifies, and goes into excrement, like the heat of adulterers and of those who are immersed in foul pleasures", A.C. 1773.
Thus is described in the correspondential appearances of the other world, the various degrees of love for the Word and also the spurious love which the evil may have for it. According to our love of the Word will be the doctrine or teaching which we will be able to receive from it. Indeed love for the Word and still more for the interiors of it, enables us to recognize genuine teaching and to reject the spurious teaching of those whose ideas are merely natural. If ye will to do the will of God, ye shall know of the Doctrine whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.
At the end of the chapter on the Word in THE HEAVENLY DOCTRINE, we are taught:
“That the books of the Word are all those which have the internal sense but those which do not have it are not the Word”, H.D. 266.
That is, all books that have the internal sense of the Word, are books of the Word, and no others. In every Divine Revelation from the Lord there is of necessity the infinite internal sense including the supreme sense, for what is from the Lord cannot be other, internally regarded, but infinite; however, it may be clothed externally in limited forms for the sake of accommodation to finite beings. Let us not be deceived by the fact that every form of the Word is to all external appearance limited — it would be useless to finite beings if it were otherwise. It is in regard to the internal that we must recognize that it has infinite extension. In the light of this doctrine therefore, we may ask: do the Writings have the internal sense of the Word? If they have then they are books of the Word. If they do not present to us the internal sense of the Word in a form Divinely accommodated to teach our rational minds, then the New Church has nothing but the shifting sands of human interpretation for its foundation, like that upon which the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it, Matt. 7: 27. But the Lord has come, as the Word ultimated in a form perfectly because Divinely adapted to form the New Church in us if only we will really consent to be taught thereby, and thus found the New Church upon the rock of faith in Him as He has manifested Himself in His New Advent.
Lastly we are told which books in the Old and New Testaments are books of the Word. For our knowledge as to which of those books are the Word and a which are not, even for our rational knowledge that any of them are the Word we are indebted solely to the Writings. There are no indications whereby we could have distinguished them. Some of them like the book of Job are written in correspondences, and therefore have an internal sense, but it is not the internal sense of the Word. Correspondences do not cause a book to be a book of the Word, for all the books of the times of the Ancient Church were so written and they are not entirely absent from some modern books. The fact of having a sense internal to that of the surface does not make a book to be a book of the Word, for most books have that; more or less. The one thing that determines it is have they the internal sense of the Word? If they have they are books of the Word, if they have not they are not. Each of the three forms of the Word which is with us, has the internal sense, the difference being in its being more or less openly manifested in the one than in the other, and differently accommodated. The Word of the Old Testament has the internal sense of the Word; but in forms adapting it to the lowest plane of the mind. The Word of the New Testament has the internal sense of the Word; but in forms accommodated to a comparatively interior plane of the mind. The Writings have the internal sense of the Word, for in them it is most openly revealed; but it is in forms accommodated to the rational plane of the mind. Only the Word as presented in the Writings can leach the Word to our rational minds. Each form is absolutely necessary, and the three forms together make but one Word, one full accommodation of the Word to each and every plane of the mind that can be active in this world. It is because in the New Church the Word thus exists in accommodation to all the planes of our mind, therefore in a fulness of accommodation such as never before, that it is prophesied that the Word will go forth from Jerusalem. For only in the Church of the New Jerusalem has the Word really a full abiding place. Only there is the Word received as it is accommodated for each plane of the mind. The New Church cannot possibly exist when those books of the Word which have been given to teach the rational plane of our minds are rejected or their Divine authorship denied. They are the Word because they are of and from and the Lord Himself, and in them He Himself, teaches us how to rationally receive Him, how to rationally understand the special end and purpose of each form of the Word that has been given. Only by truly receiving this rational form of the Word can we be saved from a perverted reception of every form of the Word. The Word has never been with any Church in such fulness of accommodation as now with the New Church, in the three forms which make the accommodation complete for all planes, nor could it have been until the Lord had glorified His Human and effected His New Advent therein. Therefore for ever in the genuine New Church from Zion shall go forth doctrine and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
The presentation of the Doctrine of the Word is, with some modifications and additions, the same as that given in the FOUR PRIMARY DOCTRINES, but is arranged in quite a different series from that given in THE NEW JERUSALEM AND ITS HEAVENLY DOCTRINE, the consideration of which was brought before you in a series of Sermons some four years ago. It can be expected therefore that the subject will appear in clearer light now and that from a new consideration of it as here presented, further particulars of knowledge will be received and the general doctrine be more fully confirmed and impressed. It is a subject which cannot be too well known by members of the Church, for it concerns the very means by which the Lord is present with tie to teach and lead us, and shows us where alone we can practically look to the Lord for guidance.
“Sacred Scripture or the Word is Divine Truth Itself”, T.C.R. 189.
There is no difference between the words Scripture and Writing except that one is Latin and the other English ---they are respectively the Latin and English expressions for the same thing. Therefore that some books of the Word are referred to as the Scriptures and some as the Writings, may serve a purpose as to convenience of reference; but it obscures the thought, if those terms are regarded as implying any essential difference. Sacred Scripture is simply Sacred Writing. But Sacred Scripture is here used as synonymous with the Lord's Word, which is Divine Truth Itself. The expressions used by the Lord in accommodating His teaching to His finite creatures, are always the simplest possible. Human ingenuity has sometimes been misapplied to obscure such expressions and leave them only a most vague and mysterious meaning. This has been especially the case in regard to the Greek expression for the Word, the Logos, which has thus been reduced to a vagueness which has taken away its practical application to man. This is but one of the innumerable ways in which the Word has been rejected and made of none effect by the Old Church. But, allowing for the distinction between the Infinite and the finite, the Word when used in regard to the Lord means just the same as when it is used in regard to a man. A man's word is what he himself says or writes; and there is nothing more mysterious about the expression the Lord's Word — it means simply what the Lord Himself says or writes. Again the Word of the Lord is Divine Truth Itself. Strictly speaking there is no Truth, certainly nothing can properly be called Divine Truth, but what the Lord Himself has said. Whatever else we call truth or true is so-called only in a merely natural sense of the expressions. There is but one final test of Truth — has the Lord so said? Hence whether anything he called Sacred Scripture or Sacred Writing, or the Word, or Divine Truth Itself, it comes to the same — they are interchangeable terms. To that to which one of those terms can be rightly applied, the others can be rightly applied too. The same teaching is implied in the text God was the Word. God, means the Lord as to Divine Truth, the Word means the Divine Truth which the Lord has revealed. Whatever is really Divine Truth is the Word, holds equally with the converse that the Word is Divine Truth Itself. The Word is God: God is the Word.
In order to receive a clear idea of this subject, the first ignorance which insist be dispersed is ignorance as to where in the Word the Divine is. In this matter, as in all others, thought should be from the internal concerning the external - not as all natural thought is, from the external concerning the internal. When this latter kind of thought is applied to the Word so that it is regarded as to its external only, there is apt to be contempt for it. For the external, merely as such, does not recommend itself to the natural man, nearly as much as do the writings of many of the standard authors of the world. Nevertheless the external of the Word is to some extent extolled and magnified by the Old Church. But this is because it has been used so largely to confirm the inventions of man's own intelligence and because with some it gives those inventions more authority. Man is ready to extol anything that will serve his own purposes in this way. But whether they thus extol the external of the Word or openly reject it, it remains true that those who regard it from its external only, easily fall into contempt for it, and do so whenever it is not reverenced because it is from the Lord, and indeed is the Lord speaking to man. When this is known and acknowledged on the one hand, — when it is recognized on the other hand that the external is what is necessary to accommodate Infinite Truth to man's finite reception, then it can be seen that the Divine in the Word is in its internal, and only in the external from that. Then it can be seen that the internal is the very Word which the Lord has spoken, and the external the clothing which is of necessity assumed for its manifestation in this world. The externals may be varied as they are in the different forms of the Word, still because they are from the Lord, they are internally the same Divine Truth. This is comparatively as a sensible man clothes himself suitably to what ever occupation he may be about to engage in, so the Lord clothes Himself in one way to operate in the externals of man's mind and in another way to operate in the rational plane of man's mind, each way perfectly adapted to the work undertaken. Crude as the style of the Word appears when regarded merely as to its external, when it is thus learned how perfectly the external is adapted to the work of accommodating the Infinite to finite reception, the truth can be seen that even:
“The style of the Word is the very Divine Style, with which no other style however sublime and excellent it May appear can be compared”, T.C.R. 191.
This can be still more clearly recognized when it is learned how the Lord has varied the style in a which He has presented Himself as the Word, and how those variations each contribute to the perfection of their accommodation. It cannot be said of the various forms of the Word that the style of any one is more or less perfect than that of the others. Not only is each internally the same Divine Truth, but also each is externally a perfect accommodation thereof to Man. In the New Church this teaching has been readily seen and accepted as applying to the older forms of the Word, but there has been, and with many there still is, hesitation, and even refusal, to recognize it as applying to the form of the Word which the Lord has given in His New Advent. It has been received more as agreeing with the Word, than as being the Word -- as containing Divine Truth rather than as being Divine Truth. Yet when the Lord gives a Revelation of Truth to man, He cannot do otherwise than do it perfectly — if it were less than perfect it could not le His. And it would be less than perfect, were it not perfect externally as well as internally. But the perfection of the internal is of one kind and that of the external is another. The perfection of the internal is its Truth — the perfection of the external is the wisdom of its accommodation. In the Writings the Lord has accommodated His Divine Truth for man's rational reception just as perfectly as He has accommodated the same Divine Truth in the Old and New Testaments for reception in the other planes of man's mind. Hence the very external style of the 'Writings is the very Divine Style, for it is the Lord's own means, mid therefore a perfect means of accommodating Divine Truth to man's rational reception. Thus the Writings are Divine in form as well as in essence, and contempt for their form should be shunned as evidence of the thought being from the proprium rather than from the Lord. Only in the degree in which this is fully recognized can a translation he made to approximate that perfection of form, or the fact of the Lord's New Advent be actually seen. The Lord has come as God, the one only God, as Divine Truth; and Divine Truth is form itself — the very form of the Divine Good — the form in which Divine Good is present with man. All sacred Writing by which the Lord has revealed Himself is His Word and is Divine Truth. Divine Truth is Divine Truth because the Lord has spoken it. His Word is God with us. It was doubtless of Divine Providence and significative of much, that the human instrument by which the Lord has revealed Himself more fully than ever before, should have been named Emanuel, for now that the Lord has come as Divine Truth accommodated to the rational as well as the other planes of the human mind, it can be said with a fuller meaning than ever before that God is with us — Emanuel.
The Lord has come as the Word to give life to man. In His New Advent He has provided for the life of the rational mind, in order that through the rational He may rule the whole man.
“But it is to be well known that they alone have life from the Word who read it for the sake of the end that they may derive Divine Truths from it as from their fountain, and at the same time for the sake of the end that they may apply the Divine Truths thence derived to life; and that the contrary takes place with those who read the Word only for the sake of the end that they may acquire honours and gain the world”, T.C.R. 191.
The only acknowledgment of the Lord as God that is real is the acknowledgment of obedience. The Lord has effected His New Advent for the sake of man's salvation, and without it no one could have been saved, but the salvation is received from Him only by such as read what He has now revealed for the sake of application to their own life — it is thus only that they really make Him their God, and realize that the Word which reveals Him is God with us. Unwillingness to render such obedience is the real ca use why men cannot be convinced of this Truth. Hence this morning's lesson concludes with this declaration:
“Lest man should be in doubt that the Word is Divine and most Holy, there has been revealed to me by the Lord its internal sense which in its essence is spiritual, which is in the external sense which is natural, as the soul is in the body; that sense is the spirit which vivifies the letter; wherefore that sense can testify concerning the Divinity and Sanctity of the Word, and convince even the natural man if he be willing to be convinced”, T.C.R. 192
That so few are convinced therefore is not any wise because the Writings need to be better accommodated to men's reception as some seem to think, but because so few are willing to be convince, That the Lord in His first Advent claimed be God was blasphemy to the Jews, similarly in His New Advent the c1aim that the Revelation in which He has come is His own Word, is the God to which the New Church must render implicit obedience, is regarded as blasphemy and as derogatory to the forms of the Word before acknowledge. Instead of being derogatory to them this new Revelation testifies concerning their Divinity and Sanctity with a rational clearness before unknown and makes it evident how absolutely necessary each of them is in its place. The Revelation between the internal and external of the Word, is similar to that between the Lord and His Human, and both are similar to that between the soul and body of each man. Even the finite soul of man is above the plane of His consciousness, much more is God, as He is in Himself, above and beyond human comprehension. But as we know man's soul through its manifestation in the body, so can we know God as He is revealed to us in the forms of the Word, especially now that God is with us even as to the revealing of the rational life of His Human, by which all who are willing may enter intellectually into the mysteries of faith, and render rational service to the God whose every word is Divine Truth Itself.
Whatever the Lord speaks is spirit and is life. As was pointed out last week — there is no final test of Truth but: Has the Lord so said? What He says is Truth and strictly speaking nothing else is. The section to be considered this morning shows moreover that all truth from the Lord has in it His own Spirit and Life. Not only is whatever the Lord says of necessity Truth — but it is also of necessity infinite — the spirit thereof is infinite however it may be presented in limited forms — and also is equally infinite however the ultimate forms be varied. Hitherto, until revealed by the Lord in His New Advent it has been unknown that there is a spiritual sense in the Word — there has been no knowledge either as to what the spiritual sense is or where in. the Word it is.
“That the Word in its bosom is spiritual is because it has descended from Jehovah the Lord, and passed through the Angelic Heavens; and the Divine Itself which in itself is ineffable and imperceptible, in its descent was made adequate to the perception of angels and at last to the perception of men, hence is the spiritual sense which is within in the natural sense, just as the soul in man, the thought of the understanding in the speech and the affection of the will in action; also if it be allowed compared with such things as appear before the eyes in the natural world the spiritual sense is in the natural sense as the universal brain is in its meninges and maters, or like the branches of a tree within its barks, yea as all things of the generation of a chick are within the shell of an egg, and so forth”, T.C.R. 193.
The Divine Itself is ineffable and imperceptible — it is high above the heavens, where the sphere first proceeding from it appears as a. Sun distant from the angels comparatively as the sun of the world is from us. It seems as if the light and heat of the sun are perceptible by us; but in reality we only perceive them as they are received iii the gross atmospheres immediately around ourselves. Hence when we ascend into a less dense atmosphere it feels colder not because the heat is really less, but because it is less perceptible by us from not being sufficiently accommodated. From this it can be seen how it is with the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord. If it be not sufficiently tempered it would not he perceptible — indeed it needs many successive temperings and lastly to be ultimated in natural receptacles before it can be perceptible by man. Just as neither the heat nor the light of the sun are perceptible by man before they are ultimated in the natural atmospheres of this earth. It is the Divine Itself of the Word which is thus imperceptible not only to man but also to the angels. The spiritual sense is the Divine Truth as it is tempered for the Heavens — and is what is meant by Our Father ill the Heavens in the Lord's Prayer, which thus teaches that it is that sense which we are to look to and strive to attain, for it is in that sense that we can find the Lord as He is known by angels and as we must learn to know Him as we become prepared to be angels. This sense is in the natural sense as a. soul in its body. Nothing can appear in this world to the natural eyesight unless it be clothed in a natural body, therefore of necessity all Divine Revelation is presented to men here in a natural Body, which is called its letter. The letter in itself is dead, just as cinch as is a human body without a soul. The spirit is the life, as the Lord declared in the text The Words which I speak unto you are Spirit and are Life, and it is only as we receive that spirit that we receive spiritual life.
“The Spiritual Sense is not that which shines forth from the sense of the letter of the Word when anyone scrutinizes and explains the Word to confirm some dogma of the Church, this sense can he called the literal and ecclesiastical sense”, T.C.R. 194.
Now it can be readily seen that any Divine Revelation can be used in this way, that therefore each has a literal and ecclesiastical sense. Have not the Writings frequently been scrutinized and explained in order to confirm some dogma of the Church? The expression “some dogma of the Church” like most, expressions in the Word, is used both in a bad sense and a good sense, here evidently in a bad sense. A dogma of the Church ought to be her belief as formed by the Lord’s teaching. But a corrupt and a dead Church forms her dogmas from self intelligence, and only goes to the Word to find confirmation thereof. When this is the end in view it is only literal and ecclesiastical sense that can be reached. Even if the Writings be the form of the Word thus used, or rather abused, it is only the literal and ecclesiastical sense thereof that is seen. What is really the spiritual sense — the life of the Word — could not confirm such dogmas or do other than expose their falsity. Hence all should bear in mind that they cannot see what is really the spiritual sense, unless they go to Divine Revelation to be taught the evils and falses which they should shun, only so can anyone become receptive of the spirit and life of what the Lord reveals.
“But the spiritual sense does not appear in the sense of the letter, it is within in it, as a soul in its body, as the thought of understanding in the eyes, and as the affection of love in the face”, T.C.R. 194.
This evidently means that it does not appear in the mere sense of the letter, for it does appear there as the soul in the body, or as affection appears in the face. The Word is as it were the Lord’s face and expresses both His Love and His Wisdom. But even as devils can only see Him as an angry and revengeful God, so are all whose attitude causes them to be connected with hell unable to see the Lord's face except as appearing opposite to what He really is. When the Lord says that His words are spirit and are life. He teaches men that they should look to the spirit and life of His Word rather than to the mere letter. Now men look to the spirit of His Word when they are really and sincerely seeking to learn what the Lord intends to convey to them. The spirit of any law is that which the maker of the law really intends to effect by it. So the Spirit of the Lord's Word is simply the teaching which He intends to give to men and which desires them to receive, but which no one can receive except they seek it. It is impossible for those who are perfectly satisfied with their own notions as to what is good or what is evil, and who only desire to confirm those notions to even see the spirit of the Lord's teaching, even when it is expressed rationally as in the Writings. Such either reject the Writings as being the Lord's Word or, worse still, they scrutinize and explain them to confirm their own notions, in a more internal and more plausible manner than they otherwise could. Remember then that the Spiritual Sense of the Lord's Word is seen only in the degree in which you learn to see what the Lord Himself really means to convey, and that to do so the Writings or Scripture in which it is ultimated must be searched with that object — otherwise only a merely literal sense is perceived. The Spirit of the Lord's teaching, that is, what He really intends to convey to those who would be of His Church as distinguished from what He appears to others to say, is the Spiritual Sense.
“That sense principally causes that the Word is spiritual not only for men, but also for angels; wherefore the Word by that sense communicates with the heavens”, T.C.R. 194.
The letter in itself does not communicate with the heavens, but only because and when it is receptive of the spiritual sense. Hence when it is filled instead in men's minds with their own false notions, that communication is cut off, and in place thereof communication is opened through those falses with the hells. The spiritual sense cannot indeed be received except on the literal basis, and hence there cannot be communication with heaven without the letter, nevertheless that communication is effected through the spiritual sense, through what is really the spirit of what the Lord says, and never without that. The Word is presented to the angels in literal forms as well as to men, hence the spiritual sense principally causes the Word to be spiritual not only for men but also for angels. Angels too must look to the spirit of what is written. If even they were only to seek to confirm their present ideas of truth, advance would be impossible to them, therefore the angelic state itself would be impossible to them for that state is essentially one of perpetual advance. Thus even the angels have to suffer their understandings to be elevated above their present state so that they may see more of the spirit of the Lord's teaching than they have before, and thus they too are continually looking more to the spiritual sense, which is the spirit and intention of the Lord's teaching and therefore is inexhaustible to eternity.
“Since the Word interiorly is spiritual, therefore it is written by pure correspondences, and what is written by correspondences, this in the ultimate sense is written in such a style as in the Prophets, Evangelists and in the .Apocalypse, which although it appears common still it hides in itself Divine Wisdom and all angelic wisdom”, T.C.R. 194.
All correspondence is produced by the changes of form which the Divine Truth of itself assumes as it flows down from one plane of life to a. lower. Therefore to write by pure correspondences is to write exactly according to the Divine law of influx. Hence it is the only perfect way of writing, and because it is the only perfect way it is the only way in which the Lord could speak to man. Only the Infinite Divine Wisdom Itself could cause Truth to be written by pure correspondence. Pure correspondences perfectly express the Truth on every plane of life, from the lowest to the highest. The Word in the celestial heaven as well as that on earth is written by pure correspondences, for that means according to the law of influx on that plane, exactly according to the forms which the Divine Truth Itself takes on as it inflows into that heaven. No revelation could be the Lord's Word unless it were written by pure correspondences, for otherwise it would not be a perfect expression of the Truth. The Writings are written by pure correspondence, that is, exactly according to the law of influx into man's rational mind, thus exactly according to the forms which the Divine Truth Itself takes on when it inflows into man's rational mind, as it has taken on when it 11,117owed into the rational mind of the Lord's assumed Human. Thus the Word being written by pure correspondence involves that its appearances on any given plane are the appearances common to that plane, and therefore the Word to all who judge it from its external only, appears to be in a common style; only when the spirit of its teaching is perceived can it be realized that it hides within it the Divine Wisdom and all angelic wisdom.
Divine Truth as it proceeds from the Lord takes on discretely different appearances, as it passes through the various planes of finite life, not only as to the written Word Nut also as to all the created things of each plane. In the highest heaven it appears as the Divine Celestial, and in the middle as the Divine Spiritual, and in the lowest heaven as the Divine Natural. In the world it appears as Nature in created things, in expressions taken from Nature in the written Word. Nothing appears in the world except in natural forms. Hence each form of the Word given in the world, is externally a natural form, though on the natural plane they represent the three forms in which the Word respectively appears in the three heavens.
"Of such quality as heaven is such also is the Word of the Lord — in its ultimate sense it is natural, in its interior it is spiritual, and in its inmost celestial, and in each it is Divine; where it is accommodated to the angels of the three heavens and also to men", T.C.R. 195.
Thus the question what is the spiritual sense of the Word? may be answered as meaning universally the real spirit and intention of what the Lord has revealed. This is given as the universal meaning, because it applies to every written form of the Word both in the heavens and on earth; in this respect each and every one of them has a spiritual sense, interior to the letter in which it is ultimated. The Writings given to the New Church are no exception to this rule, and therefore if you would really receive the Spiritual Sense of the Word therefrom, you must sincerely search therein for the very Spirit and intention of the Lord's teaching, expecting to find it different from and even contrary to all your preconceived ideas, and remembering that it is by so doing that advance is possible to the angels, much more therefore is it necessary to make man's reformation and regeneration possible. The Lord calls upon you to search for the very spirit of the teaching which He gives in His New Advent, for His declaration is true of all that is revealed from Him. In His New Advent as well as in His First, He declares: the Words which I speak to you are spirit and are life.
The word parable is generally used only in a restricted sense as referring to certain portions of the letter of the Word which take the form of short stories. But it also has an extended meaning by which the text is literally true. The Lord never speaks to His finite creatures except under the veil of appearances. If He were to do otherwise His words would be altogether above the comprehension of even the highest angel; for no finite being can receive the absolute Truth itself. Absolute Truth is in the Lord alone; and all finite beings are more or less as children who need to have the Truth accommodated to their apprehension. The appearances are indeed of different kinds and vary from each other exceedingly, even to opposition; yet even those which are most removed from being mere appearances are still infinitely removed from being absolute Truth. Thus:
“It is to be known that never are any truths with man, nor even with an angel, pure, that is, without appearances: they are all and single appearances of truth, but still they are received by the Lord for truths if there be good in them; the Lord alone has pure truths because Divine, for as the Lord is Good Itself, so He is Truth itself.... But what appearances are can manifestly appear from those things in the Word where it is spoken according to appearances; but there are degrees of the appearances of truth — natural appearances of truth are full of fallacies, but when they are with those who are in good, then they are not to he called fallacies but appearances, also in some respect they are true, for the good which is in them, in which is the Divine, causes them to have another essence; but rational appearances of truth are more sod more interior; in them are the heavens, namely the angels who are in the heavens”, A.C. 3207.
Thus there are rational appearances of Truth as well as sensual appearances, although relatively to sensual appearances, rational appearances are spoken of as genuine truths. Therefore although the Lord has now revealed the internal sense of the Word, He still in His New Ad-vent speaks to men only in parables, inasmuch as the Revelation now given is clothed in appearances. Indeed the Internal Sense means Divine Truth clothed in rational appearances — for rational appearances are internal to the sensual and corporeal appearances in which the Word of the Old and New Testaments is clothed. Rational appearances of truth prevail throughout the heavens, for in A.C. 2576 it is revealed that in the third heaven are inmost appearances of the good and truth of the rational, in the second heaven middle appearances of the good and truth of the rational, and in the ultimate heavens the lowest ones of the rational. Thus rational appearances are the heavenly clothing of truth. Yet in them the Lord is still in a degree speaking in parables, in all and single things of which there is a spiritual sense.
“No one can see the spiritual sense except from the science of correspondences”, T.C.R. 196.
From the science of correspondences we learn the relation between things which exist on different planes of life. There is nothing on any given plane but what corresponds to something on an interior plane. This applies not only to the relation of all things in this world to their respective causes in the other world, but also to a similar relation between the discrete planes of the other world. There is nothing in the ultimate heaven but what corresponds to some cause in the second heaven. There is nothing in the second heaven but what corresponds to some cause in the highest heaven. And even in the highest heaven all things there too are correspondences to some cause on the Divine plane. Now in order to accommodate Divine Truth to any given plane it must be written according to the appearances of that plane, but such appearances always correspond to appearances on a yet more interior plane and ultimately to the Divine. Therefore that which is written according to appearances must correspond to what is interior to them, and have an internal meaning distinct from its external meaning. This is so in a degree in reference to all language. Hence no man's writing or speech can be justly interpreted if it be taken entirely according to the letter. Man in a blind and imperfect way endeavors to make his speech correspond to the thoughts of his mind — he uses words taken from the appearances about him to express thoughts which are on the spiritual plane. The more successful he is in finding correspondential terms with which to express himself, the more expressive his language is. This will the more readily be seen if it be kept in mind that there are correspondences on the rational plane as well as on the sensual plane. Unconsciously man seeks correspondences wherewith to express himself — hence it is that he uses analogies and makes comparisons; but the only perfect analogies or comparisons are those which are also correspondences. Therefore the Lord in His Word never makes any comparison but what is correspondential, whereas what mile makes are largely mere comparisons. When it is thus recognized that our own mere human language must not always be taken exactly according to the letter — that the spirit of it sometimes differs considerably therefrom — that it is to some small extent the language of correspondences, and emulates that language to a large extent, it removes the idea that the language of correspondence is altogether foreign to us, and that it is an arbitrarily artificial kind of writing, as the first impression about it is apt to be. Man can and does to a small extent speak correspondentially, but even if he could speak by pure correspondence, his writing would still be altogether differentiated from that of the Word by the fact that the thoughts which he expresses, so far as they are his own are all fallacies. The Word is Divine Truth perfectly expressed, or what is the same, expressed in pure correspondences — the correspondence of each plane on which it appears perfectly accommodating it to reception on that plane. Man's own word is nothing but fallacy in its conception; and even that in its presentation of it is but imperfectly expressed. Still there is in all human speech and writing, something distinct from the mere letter, in a finite measure, emulative of an internal sense, which must be sought if we would interpret any human speech justly. What is thus finitely the case with man's speech is infinitely the case with the Lord's Word, in all and single things of which there is a spiritual sense, not only in the Word as given on Sinai, but also in His Word as revealed in His New Advent, yea also in His Word as it, is accommodated to the angels of the highest heaven. Without a parable He speaks not even to them.
This morning's lesson gives several full examples of the internal sense and after explaining the parable of the ten virgins according to that sense concludes:
“From these things it is evident that the Lord spoke by pure correspondences and this because He spoke from the Divine which was in Him and was His.... It is similar in the rest of the parables and in all the words which the Lord has spoken”, T.C.R. 199.
Note — the Lord spoke from correspondence because He spoke from the Divine, which implies that speech from the Divine cannot be otherwise than purely according to correspondence, therefore it is similar in all the Words which the Lord has spoken. This must therefore be accepted as applying to the Writings by all who believe they are a Revelation from the Divine. It is a universal law of order that all influx of life from the Divine both in Revelation and in creation, is into pure correspondences, correspondences being nothing but the appearances which that life causes on each plane that it presents itself, and which it puts on as the perfect means of presenting itself there. The Writings externally are composed of the appearances, or what is the same, the correspondences, which the Divine Truth itself causes when it presents itself on the rational plane of the human mind, and which it has put on as the only means of presenting itself in a way perfectly accommodated to reception by the rational mind. But in all and single things of what is spoken from the Divine there is a spiritual sense. Everything which the Lord has spoken is as a parable, adapting Infinite Truth to reception on some finite plane of life.
The human mind is formed in the first case by mere appearances of facts, such as are received by the external through the senses. As man reflects upon those appearances, and to some extent corrects their fallacies by comparison of the various appearances with each other, he becomes rational in his own estimation, or according to the worldly standard. Such is the natural rational; which may thus be said to be composed of appearances of facts which in the Writings are called scientifics enlightened by man's own intelligence. But not until those appearances become enlightened by Divine Revelation do they become really appearances of truth or really rational. Thus:
“The angelic and human rational is called rational from appearances of truth enlightened by the Divine — without them it is not rational; thus the rational things are those appearances”, A.C. 3368.
Namely, appearances of truth enlightened by the Divine.
“All appearances of truth in which the Divine is are of the rational, even to that degree that rational truths and appearances of truth are the same; . . . rational truths or appearances of truth can never be and exist except from influx of the Divine into the rational”, A.C. 3368.
From which it is evident, that so far is it from being the case that when men come to the Writings, they meet what is no longer appearances of truth, no longer what is correspondential that the real fact is that it is then that they are first fully introduced to genuine appearances of truth, and even then only if they permit the appearances there to be enlightened by the Divine. Before that they are more or less in the fallacies of the senses — the mere appearances of facts, which men indeed call truths but which even when they have corrected them to the best of their natural ability, express only the effects which appear and not even the appearance of the spiritual truth which causes those effects. Appearances of Truth enlightened by the Divine, are what make the rational of an angel, thus the truly human rational. Such appearances of Truth are the highest to which finite beings can attain, although they may receive more and more enlightenment in them to all eternity; and by means of such enlightenment may see more of the Infinite Divine Truth of the Spiritual Sense which is in all and single things of whatever the Lord has spoken. Because man can be raised only to the appearances of truth, therefore it is a necessity of accommodation, that the Lord never speaks to angels or men except in appearances, which all and singly correspond to the Divine Truth — Himself, even as on earth He spoke unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spoke He not unto them.
“In that day Israel shall be a trine with Egypt and Ashur, a blessing in the midst of the earth, signifies influx into both from spiritual light; Israel is the spiritual man who has light from heaven, Egypt is the natural man who has light from the world, and Ashur is the rational man who is mediate and receives light from the spiritual and transmits it into the natural and enlightens it”, A.E. 65410
"Hence it can appear what is signified by that Israel shall be a third with Egypt and Ashur, a blessing in the midst of the earth, that namely all there must be spiritual, as well the rational as the cognitive and scientific, for a hen the inmost is spiritual, which is truth from good, hen also the rational which is thence, is also spiritual, as also the cognitive and scientific, for each is formed front the inmost which is truth from good or the spiritual", A.E. 31310
"The spiritual is what regenerates, that is the Lord by spiritual influx: in a word, the rational is the medium between the spiritual and the natural, and the latter is thus regenerated", A.E. 58513.
The terms used in the Writings vary in their meaning according to the series in which they occur. In the Writings the Lord addresses the rational faculty, and the understanding of them therefore necessitates the use of that faculty. Human language is far too limited to provide a separate term to express every variation of meaning. Nor would it add to the perfection of the Word if it did. For even as human capacity for growth follows from the state of ignorance into which man is born, and as the incapacity of an animal for such growth is connected with the perfection of instinct into which they are born, so is the human and apparent imperfection of the externals of the Word just what fits it for conveying to man an ever increasing degree of the knowledge of the Lord, which it could not do if each term could be fully defined apart from its rational connection with the Word as a whole. Hence it is that most terms have both a restricted and an extended meaning and may also be used with various intermediate meanings. Take away the rational connection, and detached passages may be selected such as would confirm any notion a man chooses to take up; and all wise students of the Word must therefore be ever on their guard against their innate tendency thus to find therein confirmations of their own ideas. Thus the term "soul" is sometimes used in a restricted sense as meaning only the inmost receptacle of man's life which is entirely above the plane of all human consciousness; and again it is sometimes used as applying to the whole man; and also with meanings intermediate between those two. It is there-fore necessary to look not merely to what is said in the Word; but for what is really the spirit of what is there taught; only so can it he realized that the Word is an inexhaustible fountain of living waters, from which we can for ever draw more and more deeply. This infinite spirit and life has been breathed into the expressions of His Word by the Lord. That is the Divine inspiration which gives holiness to the Word and which alone can enlighten the appearances of its external and cause them to be really appearances of truth. As shown last Sunday, unless man is open to the reception of something of the spirit of truth, those appearances are not appearances of truth, but falsified appearances thereof.
In this morning's lesson it is taught:
“That it is from the Spiritual Sense that the Word is Divinely inspired and is holy in every expression”, T.C.R. 200.
And towards the conclusion it distinguishes between the spiritual and the rational, a distinction which is not always definitely expressed, for in their more extended sense the meanings of both expressions overlap each other. Here however the distinction is necessary to the under-standing of the subject presented. The rational as well as the scientific or natural must be made subservient to the spiritual. Or conversely it is the spiritual that gives life both to the rational and the natural. Or as it is again stated, the rational is the medium which receives life from the spiritual and transmits it into the natural and enlightens it. All expressing the same truth that in man the spiritual must regenerate both the rational and the natural; and in the Word the spiritual sense is what alone can give true light to either the rational or the more natural forms in which the Word is externally expressed. That the Word will be thus presented and thus regarded by the Church established by the Lord in His New Advent is what is prophesied in the text — then both the rational and the natural will be subservient to the spiritual. In that day Israel shall be a trine with Egypt and Ashur, a blessing in the midst of the earth.
The Word is in the Human Form, the Divine Human form. Hence all that is revealed concerning the form of man's mind applies also to the form of the Word. Of man's natural mind the rational is the inmost. Hence the inmost form of the Word as revealed in the natural world is the rational form thereof presented in the Writings. The use of the Writings as a distinct form of the Word, is the same as the use of the rational faculty in man. This use is thus taught:
“The rational is the means for the uniting of the internal man with the external, and thus for apperceiving from the Lord what is accomplished in the external, and for reducing the external to obsequiousness and obedience, yea for elevating it from the corporeal and earthly things in which it immerses itself and effecting that man may he man, that he may look to heaven, of which he is a native, and not, as brute animals do, only to the earth, in which he only sojourns, still less to hell; these are the offices of the rational; wherefore unless a man is such that he can think this, it cannot be said that he has a rational”, A.C. 1944.
Such then is the use of the Writings as a distinct form of the Word, for uniting the externals of the Word to their Internal in men's minds, to enable the internal man to understand those externals and what is accomplished by them, and to reduce those externals to subservience to the internal, that is to the spirit of the Lord's Word, its spiritual sense, and thus fulfil the prophecy of the text. But in order to do this it is necessary that the rational itself should be subordinated to the spiritual, that the rational form of the Word presented in the Writings be studied with the end of learning there the very spirit of truth by means of which the Lord has come to invert the natural form of mind for all who are really willing thus to be reformed and regenerated. This inverted form obtains in the really spiritual mind, for there the rational is no longer the inmost, but is the external altogether subordinated to the spiritual. If the rational faculty and the rational form of the Word are not used for this end, they are abused and then they separate man from the internal. This is the abuse to which the Writings are especially liable, and which takes place when men use them as a means of confirming the supremacy of the rational, and when they therefore refuse to receive spiritual truth except on the authority of their own rational recognition and approval of it. All forms of the Word, the rational as well as the natural, are given for the purpose of leading men to the source from which they are inspired, to the spirit and life which the Lord has breathed into them, and which is altogether contrary to the spirit and life which man himself puts into those forms when he subordinates them to his own natural and makes that the supreme authority for all reception of truth. The Old Church is in this state; but still none there are able to commit this abuse so fully and interiorly as those do who externally receive the -Writings, but use them only to confirm the worship of their own rational. The rational faculty is indeed given to man by the Lord and is therefore good in itself, but if it is not used for the purpose for which the Lord has given it, it becomes as great an evil as it was intended to be a good. The true rational is able to see that to be led by the Lord is the only wise course; and that to think finite creatures can be a law of good and evil to themselves is simply insanity. The Writings plainly teach this throughout, and yet so perverse is the natural man that many seem to use the Writings as a means of justifying themselves in acknowledging their rationality as their only guide and their only authority for the reception of Truth.
How differently the Writings themselves teach to all who are really teachable. As declared in the lesson read therefrom :
“The Word is Holy. .. because Jehovah the Lord has spoken it”, T.C.R. 200.
Not because it is approved by man's rational or any suchlike reason at all; but simply because the Lord Himself has spoken it, and the holiness is entirely from the spirit which He intends to convey thereby.
“But because its holiness does not appear in the mere sense of the letter, therefore they who oil that account once doubt concerning its holiness, he afterwards, when he reads the Word, confirms himself by many things there, for lie says with himself — Whether can this be holy? Whether can this be Divine?” T.C.R. 200.
Evidence that this is done abounds on all hands — many things in the Word are not only regarded as not Divine and Holy, but as being vile. Not a few appear to have received the Writings as a means of explaining away what-over in the Word is repugnant to their own rationality. Having been taught in childhood to attach holiness to the Word, they welcome a means which enables them to avoid doing violence either to their own rationality or to the impressions which were implanted in childhood. But if they slop there and only confirm the supremacy of their rationality, the Writings cannot be the means of their regeneration. That they may be such a means it is necessary to see that their holiness is not from what appears rational to man there, but altogether from the spirit of Him whose thoughts are not as man's thoughts. Man must learn to submit his own rational to the Divine Truth that it may he formed anew thereby and become the external of spiritual truth; altogether subordinate thereto, humbly receiving all light therefrom to transmit to the external, so that Egypt with Ashur may both serve Israel.
Learn therefore to distinguish between the spiritual and the rational of the Word, and that it is from the Spiritual Sense that the Word is Divinely inspired and is holy in vary expression. The Writings are a rational presentation of the spiritual sense of the Word, But if man in reading thinks most of what appears to him to be rational therein, and receives teaching therefrom only on the ground of that appearance, he will not receive the spirit and life of the Lord therefrom. Instead of approaching them in this way, you should always bear in mind that the Lord has come therein as the Spirit of Truth to teach an order of life which is the very inversion of any order which man can construct from his own intelligence or rationality, that you can only open yourselves to the reception of that Spirit of Truth, so far as you are willing to have your natural rationality contradicted by the Lord, and a new and different rationality implanted in you, such as will be subordinate to the Spirit of Truth, and be content humbly to transmit its light to the external. If a man begins from the idea, dolt the Writings are Divine from and because of their rationality, he will necessarily mean from and because of their appearing rational to him, and yet in spiritual things what appears rational to the merely natural man is never truly rational, but is the opposite thereto. Beware therefore of remaining in any such idea. Instead search the Writings for that Spirit of Truth which will open your eyes to your own spiritual evils, which will lead you away from the pride of self-intelligence, which will expose the worthlessness of mere natural rationality in spiritual things, until it has been reformed and subordinated to the spirit of Divine Revelation, which in all things will humble self and magnify the Lord's Providence, which will lead you not to thank God that you are not as other men are, but to recognize that if you are saved it will be entirely of the Lord's mercy in withholding you from going your own way. Thus must both the rational and the natural be subordinated to the spiritual, in order to be a blessing in the midst of the Church. Such is the fruit by which the teaching of the Spiritual Sun of the Lord's Word may be known, that Spiritual Sun from which the -Word is Divinely inspired and is holy in every expression, such is the fruit which will more or less distinguish all who really become of the Church of the Lord's New Advent concerning which the prophecy was made: "In that day Israel shall be a trine with Egypt and Ashur, a blessing in the midst of the earth".
“There were at that time those who made Doctrine from the perceptives of the Most Ancient and following Churches, that it might serve for a rule, and that it might be known thence what good and truth are; those who were such were called Chanoch; which is signified by these words And Chanoch walked with God; so also they called that doctrine; which is also signified by the name Chanoch, which is to instruct: it can also appear from the signification of the word to walk, and from this that he is said to have walked with God, not with Jehovah; to walk with God is to teach and live according to the doctrine of faith, and to walk with Jehovah is to live the life of Jehovah; to walk is a customary formula signifying to live, as to walk in the law, to walk in the statutes, to walk in truth: to walk properly regards the way which is of truth, therefore which is of faith or of the doctrine of faith”, A.C. 519.
“That he was not any more, because God took him, signifies that that doctrine was preserved for the use of posterity”, A.C. 521.
In the brief account of Enoch or Chanoch is the record of how the Lord's Word was first reduced to written form — to that form known as the Ancient Word. Those meant by Chanoch who were instrumental in doing this work lived during the decline of the Most Ancient Church. The celestial genius of that Church was entirely different from that of any Church which the Lord has established since then. For it, such a form of the Word was of no use, but it was necessary for posterity, and was therefore provided by the Lord beforehand and preserved for the use of the Church which was established after the consummation of the Most Ancient Church.
“The men of the Most Ancient Church were of such a celestial genius that they spoke with the angels of heaven and that they could speak with them by correspondences; hence the state of their wisdom was made such that whatever they saw on earth they not only thought concerning it naturally, hut: also at, the same time spiritually, thus also conjointly with the angels of heaven”, T.C.R. 202.
Thus they both thought and spoke according to correspondences, and by means thereof had open communication with the angels. Mt this state was such that once it was abused, it led to the most direful evils, and indeed to such that men could not be saved from them except by a miraculous change being made in them, whereby the understanding was made capable of acting to some extent independently of the will, which before was not possible. It was for this new state that the Ancient Word was prepared and the knowledge of correspondences transmitted by means of those called Chanoch, concerning which this morning's lesson declares:
“Moreover I have been instructed that Chanoch concerning whom it is mentioned in Genesis 5 : 21-24, with his companions, collected correspondence from their mouth and propagated the knowledge of them to posterity; from which it was effected that the knowledge of correspondence was not only known in many kingdoms of Asia but was also cultivated especially in the land of Canaan, Egypt, Assyria, Chaldea, Syria, Arabia, in Tyre, Sidon, Nineveh, and that it was transferred thence into Greece, but then it was turned into fabulous stories, as can appear from the writings of the oldest authors there”, T.C.R. 202.
Now although man cannot merely by a knowledge of correspondences, discover the spiritual sense of the Word; yet a knowledge of correspondences is inseparably connected with all revelation of the internal sense, since that alone explains the relation of the expressions used to the life which the Lord would convey by them. Thus as now to the New Church so also to the Ancient Church the knowledge of correspondences was revealed together with doctrine of the internal sense of the Word. But this internal sense (always a relative term) was not the distinctively spiritual sense concerning which it is declared:
“That the spiritual sense of the Word has hitherto been unknown”, T.C.R. 201.
A little reflection in the light of the following passage will make this evident:
“The doctrinals which the man of the Ancient Church had were preserved from the revelations and perceptions of the Most Ancient Church, in which they had faith, as we at this day in the Word; those doctrinals were their Word”, A.C. 1068.
For the revelations and perceptions of the Most Ancient Church were celestial in their character, and those preserved from them for the Ancient Church must necessarily have been of the same character. The only difference being that in the latter Church they were addressed to understandings capable of being elevated above the will. Thus the sense of the Word revealed to them would be celestial relatively to the spiritual sense revealed to the New Church, which had hitherto been unknown.
As already seen, the men of the Most Ancient Church had open communication with heaven, and that by means of their intimate knowledge of correspondences. It was thus that Chanoch walked with God. But the Word is given that we may come, though not openly at once yet really, into communion with the angels as well as into conjunction with the Lord, and the means are the same: it must be by a revival of the knowledge of correspondences, — not a mere knowledge of what particular things correspond to, learned in dictionary fashion, but: a rational understanding of what correspondence means and what it involves, such as will aid in the reception of an increasingly interior understanding of what is revealed.
“In most ancient times it was well known, for with those who lived then the science of correspondence was the science of sciences, and so universal that all their manuscripts and hooks were written by correspondences: the book of Job which is a book of the Ancient Church is full with correspondences. The hieroglyphics of the Egyptians and also I he fabulous stories of the oldest authors were no other”, T.C.R. 201.
Being written in correspondences involves having an infernal sense. It is evident therefore that having a corresponding internal sense does not cause books or writings to be Divine, thus of the Word. For the book of Job is not front the Word, neither are the fabulous stories alluded to. This is the more evident when it is remembered that everything which exists has a correspondence; to exist is indeed to present a correspondence. Any man having a knowledge of correspondence could use correspondence in his writing; but even if his knowledge thereof were perfect, what he expressed by correspondence could after all only be the ideas which he entertained, and which would be at least imperfect if they were not false. Nevertheless, given Divine Truth, then correspondence is the only means which can perfectly express it. If Divine Truth is expressed other-wise than in correspondence it ceases to be perfectly expressed, and therefore so far the expression of it ceases to be Divine. For:
“Because Divine things present themselves in the world in correspondences, therefore the Word is written by pure correspondences; wherefore the Lord because He spoke from the Divine, He spoke by correspondences, for what is from the Divine, that in nature falls into such things as correspond to Divine things, and which then store up in their bosom the Divine things which are called Celestial and Spiritual”. T.C.R. 201.
From this it is clear that we cannot in thought get too far away from the idea' that correspondences are only illustrations by analogies; although they are sometimes presented as illustrations, and are indeed the only perfect illustrations. If any of the illustrations given in the Writings were not pure correspondences, they would be imperfect illustrations, and therefore could not be immediate revelation from the Lord as they claim to be. All know-ledge of correspondence has come from Divine Revelation, it is not a knowledge which man could acquire for himself apart from Revelation. The Ancients could have known nothing of it, had it not been for the work of Enoch, who as the Lord's instrument preserved in written form the knowledge of that subject which was revealed to the Most Ancient Church. Not only is it a knowledge which man cannot acquire for himself, but also having it he cannot by means of it penetrate from external things to internal, although correspondence is the connection which links external things to internal, and all ultimately to their one source and cause, the Lord. The knowledge is revealed in order that men may be able to receive understanding of internal things in the external things which present them, and this more and more.
In the concluding number of this morning's lesson an illustration is given from the book of Samuel, which shows that the Philistines not only possessed knowledge of correspondences, but were able to make practical application of the knowledge in getting rid of the plague which had smitten them. The Lord through Chanoch preserved the knowledge of correspondences not merely that they might be known by posterity, but that they might be applied to use. So now the Lord has again revealed that knowledge not merely that we may know it but that we may apply it in the work of shunning evils as sins. We are apt to look only at the external effects of evil, and to be satisfied with attempting to remove them. Thus men do with regard to external drunkenness, giving no heed to the internal evil which corresponds to it, and therefore causes it. Real evils are not those which appear, but are what correspond thereto in the internal. It is that we may know and shun these that correspondences have been revealed, that thus the root of evil may be combated and not merely the effects. All evils correspond to some form of the love of leading one's self, to trust in one's own prudence and intelligence, and such like, and so far as these internal evils really are combated and removed, the external effect will pass away. The know-ledge of correspondences like all things of Divine Revelation, is given for the one purpose, to be so applied that evils may be shunned as sins and the way be thus opened for the reception of heavenly life. Derivatively the knowledge of correspondence will also apply to the true way of removing bodily diseases also, for the laws by which these are dared must correspond to the laws by which spiritual diseases are cured.
“Because disease and sickness signify the infirmity of the internal man; his infirmity is when he sickens as to his life which is spiritual life, thus when he turns aside from truth to what is false, and from good to evil; when this is done that life sickens and when he altogether averts himself from truth and good then that life dies, but its death is called spiritual death which is damnation. Because it has itself thus with the life of the internal man, therefore such things as are of diseases and death in the natural world are said in the Word concerning the diseases of spiritual life and concerning its death”, A.C. 90313.
“Therefore by the diseases which the Lord healed, is signified deliverance from the various kinds of evil and false which infested the Church and the human race, and which would have induced spiritual death: for Divine miracles are distinguished from other miracles by this that they involve and regard states of the Church and the heavenly kingdom: wherefore the Lord's miracles were especially healing of diseases”, A.C. 83646.
The knowledge of correspondence is to help men to cooperate with the Lord in such healings of their own spiritual diseases. It is for such as are willing to use it thus that it has been preserved and revealed. From such as are Unwilling so to do the Lord takes away the ability of seeing what it internally involves, lest its use for others should be destroyed. Such is the teaching involved in the text And Chanoch walked with God, and he was not any more because God took him.
“This is concerning the establishment of the Church; and by the idols of silver and the idols of gold which they shall reject in that day are signified the falses and evils of religion and worship which they call truths and goods; and because the falses and evils of religion and worship are from their own intelligence, therefore it is said, which your hands have made for you”, A.E. 5859.
The idols which the man of the New Church is thus called upon to reject are the falses and evils of religion and worship which men call truths and goods. Such constitute the objects of internal idolatry, idolatry which is a much more serious evil than that of external idolatry, from which it is thus distinguished:
“Idolatrous worships are internal and external; internal idolatries are those which condemn man, but external idolatries not so. In the degree in which idolatrous worship is more interior in that degree it condemns the more, but in the degree in which it is more exterior, in that degree it condemns the less. Internal idolators do not acknowledge God, but adore themselves and the world, and for idols have all cupidities: but external idolators can acknowledge God although they are ignorant who the God of the universe is. Internal idolators are known from the life which they have acquired to themselves, which life recedes from the life of charity so far as they are interior idolators. External idolators are known solely from their worship, who although they are idolators are still able to have the life of charity. Internal idolators can profane holy things, but external idolators cannot. Wherefore lest holy things should be profaned external idolatry is tolerated”, A.C. 1363.
Man cannot receive genuine goods and truths so long as he regards the cupidities of his own love as goods and the notions of his own intelligence as truths. He must first reject the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold. He must shun internal idolatry before he can offer any sincere worship to the Lord. It is this internal idolatry which is meant in the Word whenever external idolatry is spoken of.
Idolatry began from a perversion of the rites of the Most Ancient Church. These rites were all representative and correspondential, as were also their thought and speech, but in course of time they were turned into idolatry — that is the external of such worship was continued after the internal was rejected and at length forgotten. With the Israelitish and Jewish nation indeed the knowledge of the correspondence of external things with internal was altogether obliterated. For although the worship instituted with that nation by the instrumentality of Moses consisted purely of correspondences they were entirely ignorant thereof, and did not know the correspondence of a single particular therein, but regarded those externals as themselves constituting Divine Worship. Thus that worship on their part was idolatrous, although in itself it altogether represented heavenly worship. They being altogether natural did not wish to know anything spiritual and therefore were not able. They had regard to natural things only and knew nothing of the spiritual things which they represented. Thus they were opposite in character to the men of the Most Ancient Church; but for that very reason they were fitted to have a merely representative Church established with them, to, which they could be made to con form by punishments. Being idolaters it was only thus that they could be kept from rushing into the indiscriminate idolatries such as prevailed with the surrounding milieus, and which were largely without any heavenly representations, it was only thus that they were brought to cast away idols of silver and idols of gold — thus only externally and not internally.
Idols were originally only images placed by the Ancients both in their Temples and in their houses for the sake of recalling to their minds the heavenly things to which they corresponded. When the knowledge of correspondences was obliterated they began to worship them as holy in themselves and at length as deities, because they were placed in or near Temples. Still some knowledge of correspondence remained with many Orientals even until the Advent of the Lord and it was from their knowledge of correspondence that the wise men from the east offered to the infant Lord gold, frankincense, and myrrh to represent their ascription to Him of all worship, celestial, spiritual, and natural.
All who are idolators in heart reject the Lord if not openly still practically; and really no others do reject Him. Like the Jews they reject Him because He does not offer the kind of salvation that they want.
The Jews “rejected Him solely on account of the cause that He taught them concerning a heavenly kingdom and not concerning an earthly kingdom, for they wished for a Messiah who would exalt them over all nations in the universal world and not for any Messiah who would consult their eternal salvation”, T.C.R. 206.
In like manner it is because the Old Church is internally idolatrous, worshipping idols of silver and idols of gold, and is unwilling to give up that worship, that it rejects the Lord in His New Advent.
It is only Trion a knowledge of correspondence that it can lie known what idolatry really is, and yet such knowledge, was not revealed lo the primitive Christian Church because the members of that Church were so simple that it would not have been of any use to them, nor could they have understood it. Neither can it be of any use to such as retain the faith of the Old Church. All things of the Word are used for confirming that faith, and correspondences would he used for the same purpose if they were known, and thus the internal as well as the external of the Word would be profaned. Hence unless men are willing to reject the false faith of the Old Church it is better for them to be ignorant of the correspondences of the Word. It is a mistake to think that a knowledge of correspondences will deliver them from their essential errors. It would only enable them to hold them more plausibly, and to confirm them more interiorly, and thus to enter more deeply into the worship of idols of si1ver and gold. There have been many examples of those ostensibly in the New Church using the knowledge of correspondences to confirm such false notions of the Old Church as agree with their own love and intelligence.
But in that day, that is, in the state of the New Church, that is, with those who are really open to the reception ofthe Lord in HisNew Advent, there will be rejection by each man of the Idols of his silver, and of the idols of his gold. By the idols of his silver which each man must reject, are meant the ideas of his own intelligence by which he suffers himself to be guided, and which he thus practically worships. By the idols of his gold which each man must reject the desires of his own will by which he suffers his mind to be ruled. It is the spiritual sense of the Word which exposes the nature of these idols, and calls upon men to reject them. And that sense is revealed it this day solely for the sake of those who are willing to reject them, as also is the knowledge of correspondences, which knowledge is of use only when genuine spiritual truths have been received by revelation, for it is necessary to the understanding of them and furnishes abundant means of confirming them.
“That the knowledge of correspondences, by which the spiritual sense is given, is at this day revealed, the cause is, that now Divine Truths of the Church go forth into light and these are those of which the spiritual sense of the Word consists: and when these are in man the sense of the letter of the Word cannot be perverted; for the sense of the letter of the Word can be bent hither and thither, but if it be bent to what is false, then its internal sanctity perishes and with it the external sanctity, but if it be bent to the Truth it remains”, T.C.R. 207.
All men have a natural tendency to confirm whatever they like to believe by whatever comes in their way, especially by experience and by the letter of the Word. By confirmation they make their beliefs more fully their own and more inseparable from their life. Hence the danger of confirming false beliefs and the necessity of seeing that a thing is true before confirming it. Now a knowledge of correspondences furnishes a means of confirmation more full and interior than can be otherwise effected. Hence while its use is exceedingly great, its abuse is exceedingly hurtful. Woe therefore to those who receive it without at the same time receiving the genuine truths which have been revealed together with it and which alone can prevent a man from abusing it to confirm the falses and evils of religion and worship which he calls truths and goods, but which are really and internally opposite thereto. When genuine truths are really received the letter of the Word cannot be perverted, for it is lawful to confirm genuine truth by all means. But when genuine truths are not received as the guide of life, then the false principles which self-love favors, form the center which everything else is made to surround and confirm. Hence the doctrines of the New Church come to men they judge themselves according as they confirm or reject, each man, the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold. How common it is to hear of those who receive the Writings declaring that it is because they teach what they have always thought. In the present state of men’s heredity something of such an idea is almost inevitable at first; but if a receiver remains in that idea he only the more deeply confirms his worship of the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold. Before he can be really of the New Church, he must come into an opposite state and recognize that until he has suffered the Writings to lead him to reject them, he has altogether been in the worship of those internals, idols which dwell in his own intelligence and in his own will.
All internal idols are formed in man's own intelligence, as prompted by his own love, therefore it is said which your own hands bare made for you. It is not to be thought that a man on entering the New Church can have rejected his idols once for all. He must indeed have begun to do so before he can really be of the New Church at all. But until he has become fully regenerated, his will will continue to prompt his own intelligence to form and set up idols of silver and gold. Hence there is continuous necessity to tidily Divine Truth to the exposing and rejecting of these idols. It is said further which your hands have made a sin. Evil is not sin until it is known or believed to be contrary Its the Divine command. But even in man's own intelligence there is stored some idea of what is forbidden by the Divine, and in forming ideas contrary thereto from the prompting of the will, it is not only making idols, but making them a sin. All have some idea, however dim or however erroneous, of what they believe to be Divinely commanded or forbidden, and according to their attitude to that idea they determine the beginning of their own condemnation or their own justification. In the New Church such idea of the Divine commands is neither dim nor erroneous, but in all essentials is full and clear to all who walk in its light. But this privilege carries with it the danger of the greater condemnation if evils be not shunned as sins. In the light of the New Church there can be little evil which man by his intellectual reception of the doctrines has not caused to be sin for him to commit. He cannot worship the idols of his own will and understanding without sinning against the light revealed to him and thus against the Lord from whom that light is. Be diligent therefore in rejecting the conceits of your own prudence and intelligence, and also the promptings of your own will, which will otherwise become the idols of your worship. Only thus can you have your part with those concerning whom it is prophecied: In, that day they shall cast away each man the idols of his silver and the idols of his gold, which your hands have made for you a sin.