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UNLESS THE HIGHER DEGREE WHICH IS THE SPIRITUAL IS OPENED IN MAN, HE BECOMES NATURAL AND SENSUAL
DLW 248. It was shown above that there are three degrees of the human mind, called natural, spiritual, and celestial, and that these degrees may be opened successively in man; also, that the natural degree is first opened; afterwards, if man flees from evil as sins and looks to the Lord, the spiritual degree is opened; and lastly, the celestial. Since these degrees are opened successively according to man's life, it follows that the two higher degrees may remain unopened, and man then continues in the natural degree, which is the outmost. Moreover, it is known in the world that there is a natural and a spiritual man, or an external and an internal man; but it is not known that a natural man becomes spiritual by the opening of some higher degree in him, and that such opening is effected by a spiritual life, which is a life conformed to the Divine precepts; and that without a life conformed to these man remains natural.
DLW 249. There are three kinds of natural men; the first consists of those who know nothing of the Divine precepts; the second, of those who know that there are such precepts, but give no thought to a life according to them; and the third, of those who despise and deny these precepts. In respect to the first class, which consist of those who know nothing of the Divine precepts, since they cannot be taught by themselves they must needs remain natural. Every man is taught respecting the Divine precepts, not by immediate revelations, but by others who know them from religion, on which subject see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Sacred Scriptures (Sacred n. 114-118). Those of the second class, who know that there are Divine precepts but give no thought to a life according to them, also remain natural, and care about no other concerns than those of the world and the body. These after death become mere menials and servants, according to the uses which they are able to perform for those who are spiritual; for the natural man is menial and servant, and the spiritual man is a master and lord. Those of the third class, who despise and deny the Divine precepts, not only remain natural, but also become sensual in the measure of their contempt and denial. Sensual men are the lowest natural men, who are incapable of thinking above the appearances and fallacies of the bodily senses. After death they are in hell.
DLW 250. As it is unknown in the world what the spiritual man is, and what the natural, and as by many he who is merely natural is called spiritual, and conversely, these subjects shall be separately discussed, as follows:
1 What the natural man is, and what the spiritual man.
2 The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is opened.
3 The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is not opened and yet not closed.
4 The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is entirely closed.
5 Lastly, The nature of the difference between the life of a man merely natural and the life of a beast.
DLW 251. (1) What the natural man is, and what the spiritual man. Man is not man from face and body, but from understanding and will; therefore by the natural man and the spiritual man is meant that man's understanding and will are either natural or spiritual. The natural man in respect to his understanding and will is like the natural world, and may be called a world or microcosm; and the spiritual man in respect to his understanding and will is like the spiritual world, and may be called a spiritual world or heaven. From which it is evident that as the natural man is in a kind of image a natural world, so he loves those things which are of the natural world; and that as the spiritual man is in a kind of image a spiritual world, so he loves those things which are of that world, or of heaven. The spiritual man indeed loves the natural world also but not otherwise than as a master loves his servant through whom he performs uses. Moreover, according to uses the natural man becomes like the spiritual, which is the case when the natural man feels from the spiritual the delight of use; such a natural man may be called spiritual-natural. The spiritual man loves spiritual truths; he not only loves to know and understand them, but also wills them; while the natural man loves to speak of those truths and also do them. Doing truths is performing uses. This subordination is from the conjunction of the spiritual world and the natural world; for whatever appears and is done in the natural world derives its cause from the spiritual world. From all this it can be seen that the spiritual man is altogether distinct from the natural, and that there is no other communication between them than such as there is between cause and effect.
DLW 252. (2) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is opened. This is obvious from what has been said above; to which it may be added, that a natural man is a complete man when the spiritual degree is opened in him, for he is then consociated with angels in heaven and at the same time with men in the world, and in regard to both, lives under the Lord's guidance. For the spiritual man imbibes commands from the Lord through the Word, and executes them through the natural man. The natural man who has the spiritual degree opened does not know that he thinks and acts from his spiritual man, for it seems as if he did this from himself, when yet he does not do it from himself but from the Lord. Nor does the natural man whose spiritual degree has been opened know that by means of his spiritual man he is in heaven, when yet his spiritual man is in the midst of angels of heaven, and sometimes is even visible to them; but because he draws himself back to his natural man, after a brief stay there he disappears. Nor does the natural man in whom the spiritual degree has been opened know that his spiritual mind is being filled by the Lord with thousands of arcana of wisdom, and with thousands of delights of love, and that he is to come into these after death, when he becomes an angel. The natural man does not know these things because communication between the natural man and the spiritual man is effected by correspondences; and communication by correspondences is perceived in the understanding only by the fact that truths are seen in light, and is perceived in the will only by the fact that uses are performed from affection.
DLW 253. (3) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is not opened, and yet not closed. The spiritual degree is not opened, and yet not closed, in the case of those who have led somewhat of a life of charity and yet have known little of genuine truth. The reason is, that this degree is opened by conjunction of love and wisdom, or of heat with light; love alone or spiritual heat alone not opening it, nor wisdom alone or spiritual light alone, but both in conjunction. Consequently, when genuine truths, out of which wisdom or light arises, are unknown, love is inadequate to open that degree; it only keeps it in the possibility of being opened: this is what is meant by its not being closed. Something like this is seen in the vegetable kingdom, in that heat alone does not cause seeds and trees to vegetate, but heat in conjunction with light effects this. It is to be known that all truths are of spiritual light and all goods are of spiritual heat, and that good opens the spiritual degree by means of truths; for good, by means of truths, effects use, and uses are goods of love, which derive their essence from a conjunction of good and truth. The lot, after death, of those in whom the spiritual degree is not opened and yet not closed, is that since they are still natural and not spiritual, they are in the lowest parts of heaven, where they sometimes suffer hard times; or they are in the outskirts in some higher heaven, where they are as it were in the light of evening; for in heaven and in every society there the light decreases from the middle to the outskirts, and those who above others are in Divine truths are in the middle, while those who are in few truths are in the outskirts. Those are in few truths who from religion know only that there is a God, and that the Lord suffered for them, and that charity and faith are essentials of the church, not troubling themselves to know what faith is or what charity is; when yet faith in its essence is truth, and truth is manifold, and charity is all the work of his calling which man does from the Lord; he does this from the Lord when he flees from evils as sins. It is just that the end is the all of the cause, and the effect the all of the end by means of the cause; the end is charity or good, the cause is faith or truth, and effects are good works or uses; from which it is plain that from charity no more can be carried into works than the measure in which charity is conjoined with the truths which are called truths of faith. By means of these truths charity enters into works and qualifies them.
DLW 254. (4) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is entirely closed. The spiritual degree is closed in those who are in evils as to life, and still more in those who from evils are in falsities. It is the same as with the fibril of a nerve, which contracts at the slightest touch of anything heterogeneous; so every motive fiber of a muscle, yea, the muscle itself, and even the whole body shrinks from the touch of whatever is hard or cold. So also the substances or forms of the spiritual degree in man shrink from evils and their falsities, because these are heterogeneous. For the spiritual degree, being in the form of heaven, admits nothing but goods, and truths that are from good; these are homogeneous to it: but evils, and falsities that are from evil, are heterogeneous to it. This degree is contracted, and by contraction closed, especially in those who in the world are in love of ruling from love of self, because this love is opposed to love to the Lord. It is also closed, but not so much, in those who from love of the world are in the insane greed of possessing the goods of others. These loves shut the spiritual degree, because they are the origins of evils. The contraction or closing of this degree is like the twisting back of a spiral in the opposite direction; for which reason, that degree after it is closed, turns back the light of heaven; consequently there is thick darkness there instead of heavenly light, and truth which is in the light of heaven, becomes nauseous. In such persons, not only does the spiritual degree itself become closed, but also the higher region of the natural degree which is called the rational, until at last the lowest region of the natural degree, which is called the sensual, alone stands open; this being nearest to the world and to the outward senses of the body, from which such a man afterwards thinks, speaks, and reasons. The natural man who has become sensual through evils and their falsities, in the spiritual world in the light of heaven does not appear as a man but as a monster, even with nose drawn back (the nose is drawn in because the nose corresponds to the perception of truth); moreover, he cannot bear a ray of heavenly light. Such have in their caverns no other light than what resembles the light from live coals or from burning charcoal. From all this it is evident who and of what character are those in whom the spiritual degree is closed.
DLW 255. (5) The nature of the difference between the life of a natural man and the life of a beast. This difference will be particularly discussed in what follows, where Life will be treated of. Here it may be said only that the difference is that man has three degrees of mind, that is, three degrees of understanding and will, which degrees can be opened successively; and as these are transparent, man can be raised as to his understanding into the light of heaven and see truths, not only civil and moral, but also spiritual, and from many truths seen can form conclusions about truths in their order, and thus perfect the understanding to eternity. But beasts do not have the two higher degrees, but only the natural degrees, and these apart from the higher degrees have no capacity to think on any subject, civil, moral, or spiritual. And since the natural degrees of beasts are incapable of being opened, and thereby raised into higher light, they are unable to think in successive order, but only in simultaneous order, which is not thinking, but acting from a knowledge corresponding to their love. And because they are unable to think analytically, and to view a lower thought from any higher thought, they are unable to speak, but are able only to utter sounds in accordance with the knowledge pertaining to their love. Yet the sensual man, who is in the lowest sense natural, differs from the beast only in this, that he can fill his memory with knowledges, and think and speak therefrom; this power he gets from a capacity proper to every man, of being able to understand truth if he chooses; it is this capacity that makes the difference. Nevertheless many, by abuse of this capacity, have made themselves lower than beasts.
|Divine Love and Wisdom||previous · next||Author: E. Swedenborg (1688-1772).||www.TheisticScience.org|