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DLW 222. That the greatest and the least of all things consist of discrete and continuous degrees, that is, of degrees of height and of breadth, cannot be illustrated by examples from visible objects, because the least things are not visible to the eyes, and the greatest things which are visible seem undistinguished into degrees; consequently this matter does not allow of demonstration otherwise than by universals. And since angels are in wisdom from universals, and from that in knowledge of particulars, it is allowed to bring forward their statements concerning these things.

DLW 223. The statements of angels on this subject are as follows: There can be nothing so minute as not to have in it degrees of both kinds; for instance, there can be nothing so minute in any animal, or in any plant, or in any mineral, or in the ether or air, as not to have in it degrees of both kinds, and since ether and air are receptacles of heat and light, and spiritual heat and spiritual light are the receptacles of love and wisdom, there can be nothing of heat and light or of love and wisdom so minute as not to have in it degrees of both kinds. Angels also declare that the minutest thing of an affection and the minutest thing of a thought, nay, the minutest thing of an idea of thought, consists of degrees of both kinds, and that a minute thing not consisting of these degrees would be nothing; for it would have no form, thus no quality, nor any state which could be changed and varied, and by this means have existence. Angels confirm this by the truth, that infinite things in God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, are one distinctly; and that there are infinite things in His infinites; and that in things infinitely infinite there are degrees of both kinds, which also in Him are one distinctly; and because these things are in Him, and all things were created by Him, and things created repeat in an image the things which are in Him, it follows that there cannot be the least finite in which there are not such degrees. These degrees are equally in things least and greatest, because the Divine is the same in things greatest and in things least. That in God-Man infinite things are one distinctly, see above (n. 17-22); and that the Divine is the same in things greatest and in things least (n. 77-82); which positions are further illustrated (n. 155, 169, 171).

DLW 224. There cannot be the least thing of love and wisdom, or the least thing of affection and thought, or even the least thing of an idea of thought, in which there are not degrees of both kinds, for the reason that love and wisdom are substance and form (n. 40-43), and the same is true of affection and thought; and because there can be no form in which these degrees are not, it follows that in these there are like degrees; for to separate love and wisdom, or affection and thought, from substance in form, is to annihilate them, since they are not possible outside of their subjects; for they are states of their subjects perceived by man varyingly, which states present them to view.

DLW 225. The greatest things in which there are degrees of both kinds, are the universe in its whole complex, the natural world in its complex, and the spiritual world in its complex; every empire and every kingdom in its complex; also, all civil, moral and spiritual concerns of these in their complex; the whole animal kingdom, the whole vegetable kingdom, and the whole mineral kingdom, each in its complex; all atmospheres of both worlds taken together, also their heats and lights. Likewise things less general, as man in his complex; every animal in its complex, every tree and every shrub in its complex; as also every stone and every metal in its complex. The forms of these are alike in this, that they consist of degrees of both kinds; the reason is that the Divine, by which they were created, is the same in things greatest and least (n. 77-82). The particulars and the veriest particulars of all these are like generals and the largest generals in this, that they are forms of both kinds of degrees.

DLW 226. On account of things greatest and least being forms of both kinds of degrees, there is connection between them from first to last; for likeness conjoins them. Still, there can be no least thing which is the same as any other; consequently all particulars are distinct from each other, likewise all veriest particulars. In any form or in different forms there can be no least thing the same as any other, for the reason that in greatest forms there are like degrees, and the greatest are made up of leasts. From there being such degrees in things greatest, and perpetual differences in accordance with these degrees, from top to bottom and from center to circumference, it follows that their lesser or least constituents, in which there are like degrees, can no one of them be the same as any other.

DLW 227. It is likewise a matter of angelic wisdom that from this similitude between generals and particulars, that is, between things greatest and least in respect to these degrees, comes the perfection of the created universe; for thereby one thing regards another as its like, with which it can be conjoined for every use, and can present every end in effect.

DLW 228. But these things may seem paradoxical, because they are not explained by application to visible things; yet things abstract, being universals, are often better comprehended than things applied, for these are of perpetual variety, and variety obscures.

DLW 229. Some contend that there can he a substance so simple as not to be a form from lesser forms, and out of that substance, through a process of massing, substantiated or composite things arise, and finally substances called material. But there can be no such absolutely simple substances. For what is substance without form? It is that of which nothing can be predicated; and out of mere being of which nothing can be predicated, no process of massing can make anything. That there are things innumerable in the first created substance of all things, which are things most minute and simple, will be seen in what follows, where forms are treated of.

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