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DLW 277. By the knowledge of degrees, which is set forth in this Part, the following arcanum is disclosed: all things of the mind, that is, of the will and understanding of man, are in his acts or deeds, included therein very much as things visible and invisible are in a seed or fruit or egg. Acts or deeds by themselves appear outwardly as these do, but in their internals there are things innumerable, such as the concurring forces of the motor fibers of the whole body and all things of the mind that excite and determine these forces, all of which, as shown above, are of three degrees. And since all things of the mind are in these, so also are things of the will, that is, all the affections of man's love, which make the first degree; all things of the understanding, that is, all thoughts from his perception, which makes the second degree; and all things of the memory, that is, all ideas of the thought nearest to speech, taken from the memory, which compose the third degree. Out of these things determined into act, deeds come forth, in which, seen in external form, prior things are not visible although they are actually therein. That the outmost is the complex, containant, and base of things prior may be seen above (n. 209-216); and that degrees of height are in fullness in their outmost (n. 217-221).

DLW 278. The acts of the body when viewed by the eye, appear thus simple and uniform, as seeds, fruits, and eggs do, in external form, or as nuts and almonds in their shells, yet they contain in themselves all the prior things from which they exist, because every outmost is sheathed about and is thereby rendered distinct from things prior. So is each degree enveloped by a covering, and thereby separated from other degrees; consequently things of the first degree are not perceived by the second, nor those of the second by the third. For example: The love of the will, which is the first degree of the mind, is not perceived in the wisdom of the understanding, which is the second degree of the mind, except by a certain enjoyment in thinking of the matter. Again, the first degree, which is, as just said, the love of the will, is not perceived in the knowledge of the memory, which is the third degree, except by a certain pleasure in knowing and speaking. From all this it follows that every deed, or bodily act, includes all these things, although externally it appear simple, and as if it were a single thing.

DLW 279. This is corroborated by the following: The angels who are with man perceive separately the things that are from the mind in the act, the spiritual angels perceiving those things therein that are from the understanding, and the celestial angels those things therein that are from the will. This appears incredible, but it is true. It should be known, however, that the things of the mind pertaining to any subject that is under consideration, or before the mind, are in the middle, and the rest are round about these according to their affinities therewith. The angels declare that a man's character is perceived from a single deed, but in a likeness of his love, which varies according to its determinations into affections, and into thoughts therefrom. In a word, before the angels every act or deed of a spiritual man is like a palatable fruit, useful and beautiful, which when opened and eaten yields flavor, use, and delight. That the angels have such a perception of the acts and deeds of men, see (n. 220).

DLW 280. It is the same with man's speech. Thy angels recognize a man's love from his tone in speaking, his wisdom from his articulation, and his knowledge from the meaning of the words. They declare, moreover, that these three are in every word, because the word is a kind of resultant, involving tone, articulation, and meaning. It was told me by angels of the third heaven that from each successive word that a man speaks in discourse they perceive the general state of his disposition, and also some particular states. That in each single word of the Word there is something spiritual from the Divine wisdom, and something celestial from the Divine love; and that these are perceived by angels when the Word is devoutly read by man, has been abundantly shown in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture.

DLW 281. The conclusion is, that in the deeds of a man whose natural mind descends through three degrees into hell there are all his evils and his falsities of evil; and that in the deeds of a man whose natural mind ascends into heaven there are all his goods and truths; and that both are perceived by the angels from the mere speech and act of man. From this it is said in the Word that a man "shall be judged according to his deeds," and that he shall render an account of his words.

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