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DLW 256. Although this is hardly comprehensible, by those who have as yet no knowledge of degrees of height, it must nevertheless be revealed, because it is a part of angelic wisdom; and while the natural man is unable to think about this wisdom in the same way as angels do, nevertheless it can be comprehended by his understanding, when it has been raised into the degree of light in which angels are; for his understanding can be elevated even to that extent, and enlightened according to its elevation. But this enlightenment of the natural mind does not ascend by discrete degrees; but increases in a continuous degree, and as it increases, that mind is enlightened from within by the light of the two higher degrees. How this occurs can be comprehended from a perception of degrees of height, as being one above another, while the natural degree, which is the lowest, is a kind of general covering to the two higher degrees. Then, as the natural degree is raised up towards a degree of the higher kind, the higher acts from within upon the outer natural and illuminates it. This illumination is effected, indeed, from within, by the light of the higher degrees, but the natural degree which envelops and surrounds the higher receives it by continuity, thus more lucidly and purely in proportion to its ascent; that is, from within, by the light of the higher degrees, the natural degree is enlightened discretely, but in itself is enlightened continuously. From this it is evident that so long as man lives in the world, and is thereby in the natural degree, he cannot be elevated into very wisdom, such as the angels have, but only into higher light, even up to angels, and can receive enlightenment from their light that flows in from within and illuminates. But these things cannot as yet be more clearly described; they can be better comprehended from effects; for effects present causes in themselves in clear light, and thus illustrate them, when there is some previous knowledge of causes.

DLW 257. The effects are these: (1) The natural mind may be raised up to the light of heaven in which angels are, and may perceive naturally, thus not so fully, what the angels perceive spiritually; nevertheless, man's natural mind cannot be raised into angelic light itself. (2) By means of his natural mind, raised to the light of heaven, man can think, yea, speak with angels; but the thought and speech of the angels then flow into the natural thought and speech of the man, and not conversely; so that angels speak with man in a natural language, which is the man's mother tongue. (3) This is effected by a spiritual influx into what is natural, and not by any natural influx into what is spiritual. (4) Human wisdom, which so long as man lives in the natural world is natural, can by no means be raised into angelic wisdom, but only into some image of it. The reason is, that elevation of the natural mind is effected by continuity, as from shade to light, or from grosser to purer. Still the man in whom the spiritual degree has been opened comes into that wisdom when he dies; and he may also come into it by a suspension of bodily sensations, and then by an influx from above into the spiritual parts of his mind. (5) Man's natural mind consists of spiritual substances together with natural substances; thought comes from its spiritual substances, not from its natural substances; these recede when the man dies, while its spiritual substances do not. Consequently, after death, when man becomes a spirit or angel, the same mind remains in a form like that which it had in the world. (6) The natural substances of that mind, which recede by death, constitute the cutaneous covering of the spiritual body which spirits and angels have. By means of such covering, which is taken from the natural world, their spiritual bodies maintain existence; for the natural is the outmost containant: consequently there is no spirit or angel who was not born a man. These arcana of angelic wisdom are here adduced that the quality of the natural mind in man may be known, which subject is further treated of in what follows.

DLW 258. Every man is born into a capacity to understand truths even to the inmost degree in which the angels of the third heaven are; for the human understanding, rising up by continuity around the two higher degrees, receives the light of their wisdom, in the manner stated above (n. 256). Therefore man has the ability to become rational according to his elevation; if raised to the third degree he becomes rational from that degree, if raised to the second degree he becomes rational from that degree, if not raised he is rational in the first degree. It is said that he becomes rational from those degrees, because the natural degree is the general receptacle of their light. The reason why man does not become rational to the height that he might is, that love, which is of the will, cannot be raised in the same manner as wisdom, which is of the understanding. Love, which is of the will, is raised only by fleeing from evils as sins, and then by goods of charity, which are uses, which the man thereafter performs from the Lord. Consequently, when love, which is of the will, is not at the same time raised, wisdom, which is of the understanding, however it may have ascended, falls back again down to its own love. Therefore, if man's love is not at the same time raised into the spiritual degree, he is rational only in the lowest degree. From all this it can be seen that man's rational is in appearance as if it were of three degrees, a rational from the celestial, a rational from the spiritual, and a rational from the natural; also that rationality, which is the capacity whereby man is elevated, is still in man whether he be elevated or not.

DLW 259. It has been said that every man is born into that capacity, namely, rationality, but by this is meant every man whose externals have not been injured by some accident, either in the womb, or by some disease after birth, or by a wound inflicted on the head, or in consequence of some insane love bursting forth, and breaking down restraints. In such the rational cannot be elevated; for life, which is of the will and understanding, has in such no bounds in which it can terminate, so disposed that it can produce outmost acts according to order; for life acts in accordance with outmost determinations, though not from them. That there can be no rationality with infants and children, may be seen below (n. 266, at the end).

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