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DLW 179. The things which follow cannot be comprehended unless it be known that there are degrees, also what they are, and what their nature is, because in every created thing, thus in every form, there are degrees. This Part of Angelic Wisdom will therefore treat of degrees. That there are degrees of love and wisdom can be clearly seen from the fact that there are angels of the three heavens. The angels of the third heaven so far excel the angels of the second heaven in love and wisdom, and these, the angels of the lowest heaven, that they cannot be together. The degrees of love and wisdom distinguish and separate them. It is from this that angels of the lower heavens cannot ascend to angels of higher heavens, or if allowed to ascend, they do not see the higher angels or anything that is about them. They do not see them because the love and wisdom of the higher angels is of a higher degree, transcending the perception of the lower angels. For each angel is his own love and his own wisdom; and love together with wisdom in its form is a man, because God, who is Love itself and Wisdom itself, is a Man. It has sometimes been permitted me to see angels of the lowest heaven who have ascended to the angels of the third heaven: and when they had made their way thither, I have heard them complaining that they did not see anyone, and all the while they were in the midst of the higher angels. Afterwards they were instructed that those angels were invisible to them because their love and wisdom were imperceptible to them, and that love and wisdom are what make an angel appear as a man.

DLW 180. That there must be degrees of love and wisdom is still more evident when the love and wisdom of angels are compared with the love and wisdom of men. It is well known that the wisdom of angels, when thus compared, is ineffable; also it will be seen in what follows that to men who are in natural love, this wisdom is incomprehensible. It appears ineffable and incomprehensible because it is of a higher degree.

DLW 181. Since there are degrees of love and wisdom, there are also degrees of heat and light. By heat and light are meant spiritual heat and light, such as angels in the heavens have, and such as men have as to the interiors of their minds; for men have a heat of love similar to that of the angels, and a similar light of wisdom. In the heavens, such and so much love as the angels have, such and so much is their heat; and the same is true of their light as compared with their wisdom; the reason is, that with them love is in the heat, and wisdom in the light. It is the same with men on earth, with the difference, however, that angels feel that heat and see that light, but men do not, because they are in natural heat and light; and while they are in the natural heat and light spiritual heat is not felt except by a certain enjoyment of love, and spiritual light is not seen except by a perception of truth. Now since man, so long as he is in natural heat and light, knows nothing of the spiritual heat and light within him, and since knowledge of these can be obtained only through experience from the spiritual world, the heat and light in which the angels and their heavens are, shall here be especially spoken of. From this and from no other source can enlightenment on this subject be had.

DLW 182. But degrees of spiritual heat cannot be described from experience, because love, to which spiritual heat corresponds, does not come thus under ideas of thought; but degrees of spiritual light can be described, because light pertains to thought, and therefore comes under ideas of thought. Yet degrees of spiritual heat can be comprehended by their relation to the degrees of light, for the two are in like degree. With respect then to spiritual light in which angels are, it has been granted me to see it with my eyes. With angels of the higher heavens, the light is so glistening white as to be indescribable, even by comparison with the shining whiteness of snow, and so glowing as to be indescribable even by comparison with the beams of this world's sun. In a word, that light exceeds a thousand times the noonday light upon earth. But the light with angels of the lower heavens can be described in a measure by comparisons, although it still exceeds the most intense light of our world. The light of angels of the higher heavens is indescribable, because their light makes one with their wisdom; and because their wisdom, compared to the wisdom of men, is ineffable, thus also is their light. From these few things it can be seen that there must be degrees of light; and because wisdom and love are of like degrees, it follows that there must be like degrees of heat.

DLW 183. Since atmospheres are the receptacles and containants of heat and light, it follows that there are as many degrees of atmospheres as there are degrees of heat and light; also that there are as many as there are degrees of love and wisdom. That there are several atmospheres, and that these are distinct from each other by means of degrees, has been manifested to me by much experience in the spiritual world; especially from this, that angels of the lower heavens are not able to breathe in the region of higher angels, and appear to themselves to gasp for breath, as living creatures do when they are raised out of air into ether, or out of water into air. Moreover, spirits below the heavens appear in a kind of cloud. That there are several atmospheres, and that they are distinct from each other by means of degrees, may be seen above (n. 176).

Divine Love and Wisdom previous · next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.TheisticScience.org