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DLW 349. Speaking from appearances, most men say that the sun by heat and light produces whatever is to be seen in plains, fields, gardens, and forests; also that the sun by its heat hatches worms from eggs, and makes prolific the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the air; and that it even gives life to man. Those who speak from appearances only may speak in this way without ascribing these things to nature, because they are not thinking about the matter; as there are those who speak of the sun as rising and setting, and causing days and years, and being now at this or that altitude; such persons speak from appearances, and in doing so, do not ascribe such effects to the sun, because they are not thinking of the sun's fixity or the earth's revolution. But those who confirm themselves in the idea that the sun produces the things that appear upon the earth by means of its heat and light, end by ascribing all things to nature, even the creation of the universe, and become naturalists and, at last, atheists. These may continue to say that God created nature and endowed her with the power of producing such things, but this they say from fear of losing their good name; and by God the Creator they still mean nature, and some mean the innermost of nature, and then the Divine things taught by the church they regard as of no account.

DLW 350. There are some who are excusable for ascribing certain visible things to nature, for two reasons. First, because they have had no knowledge of the sun of heaven, where the Lord is, or of influx therefrom, or of the spiritual world and its state, or even of its presence with man, and therefore had no other idea than that the spiritual is a purer natural; consequently, that angels are in the ether or in the stars; and that the devil is either man's evil or if an actual existence, that he is in the air or the abyss; also that the souls of men, after death, are either in the interior of the earth, or in an undetermined somewhere till the day of judgment; and other like things deduced by fancy out of ignorance of the spiritual world and its sun. Secondly, they are excusable, because they are unable to see how the Divine could produce everything that appears on the earth, where there are not only good things but also evil things; and they are afraid to confirm themselves in such an idea, lest they ascribe the evil things also to God, and form a material conception of God, and make God and nature one, and thus confound the two. For these two reasons those are excusable who have believed that nature produces the visible world by a power implanted in her by creation. But those who have made themselves atheists by confirmations in favor of nature are not excusable, because they might have confirmed themselves in favor of the Divine. Ignorance indeed excuses, but does not remove, falsity which has been confirmed, for such falsity coheres with evil, thus with hell. Consequently, those same persons who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature to such an extent as to separate the Divine from nature, regard nothing as sin, because all sin is against the Divine, and this they have separated, and thus have rejected it; and those who in spirit regard nothing as sin, after death when they become spirits, since they are in bonds to hell, rush into wickednesses which are in accord with the lusts to which they have given rein.

DLW 351. Those who believe in a Divine operation in all the details of nature, are able by very many things they see in nature to confirm themselves in favor of the Divine, as fully as others confirm themselves in favor of nature, yea, more fully. For those who confirm themselves in favor of the Divine give attention to the wonders which are displayed in the production both of plants and animals. In the production of plants, how out of a little seed cast into the ground there goes forth a root, and by means of the root a stem, and branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits in succession, even to new seeds; just as if the seed knew the order of succession, or the process by which it is to renew itself. Can any reasonable person think that the sun, which is mere fire, has this knowledge, or that it is able to empower its heat and light to effect these results, or is able to fashion these wonderful things in plants, and to contemplate use? Any man of elevated reason who sees and weighs these things, cannot think otherwise than that they come from Him who has infinite reason, that is, from God. Those who acknowledge the Divine also see and think this, but those who do not acknowledge the Divine do not see or think this because they do not wish to; thus they sink their rational into the sensual, which draws all its ideas from the lumen which is proper to the bodily senses and which confirms their illusions, saying, Do you not see the sun effecting these things by its heat and light? What is a thing that you do not see? Is it anything? Those who confirm themselves in favor of the Divine give attention to the wonders which are displayed in the production of animals; to mention here only, in reference to eggs, how the chick in its seed or beginning lies hidden therein, with everything requisite till it is hatched, also with everything pertaining to its subsequent development, until it becomes a bird or winged thing of the same form as its parent. And if one observes the living form, it is such as to fill anyone with astonishment who thinks deeply, seeing that in the minutest as in the largest living creatures, even in the invisible, as in the visible, there are the organs of sense, namely, sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch; and organs of motion which are muscles, for they fly and walk; also viscera surrounding the heart and lungs, which are set in action by brains. That even the commonest insects enjoy such organisms is shown in their anatomy as described by some writers, and especially by Swammerdam, in his Biblia Naturae. Those who ascribe everything to nature, see all these things, but they merely perceive that they exist, and say that nature produces them. They say this because they have turned their minds away from thinking about the Divine; and those who have done this are unable, when they see the wonderful things in nature, to think rationally, still less spiritually; but they think sensually and materially; and then they think in nature from nature, and not above nature, just as those do who are in hell. They differ from beasts only in having the power to think rationally, that is, in being able to understand, and therefore to think otherwise, if they choose.

DLW 352. Those who have averted themselves from thinking about the Divine when observing the wonderful things in nature, and who thereby become sensual, do not reflect that the sight of the eye is so gross as to see many little insects as an obscure speck, when yet each one of these is organized to feel and to move, and is accordingly furnished with fibers and vessels, also with a minute heart, pulmonary tubes, viscera, and brains; also that these organs are woven out of the purest substances in nature, their tissues corresponding to that somewhat of life by which their minutest parts are separately moved. When the sight of the eye is so gross that many such creatures, with innumerable particulars in each, appear to it as an obscure speck, and yet those who are sensual think and judge by that sight, it is clear how dulled their minds are, and therefore what thick darkness they are in concerning spiritual things.

DLW 353. anyone who chooses may confirm himself in favor of the Divine from things seen in nature, and whoever thinks about God in reference to life does so confirm himself; as when he observes the birds of the air, how each species knows its food and where to find it, recognizes its kind by sound and sight, and which among other kinds are its friends and which its enemies; how also they mate, have knowledge of the sexual relation, skilfully build nests, lay eggs therein, sit upon these, know the period of incubation, and this having elapsed, bring forth their young, love them most tenderly, cherish them under their wings, bring them food and feed them, until they can do for themselves, perform the same offices, and bring forth a family to perpetuate their kind. anyone who is willing to reflect on the Divine influx through the spiritual world into the natural can see such influx in these things, and if he will, can say from his heart, Such knowledges cannot flow into these creatures out of the sun through its rays of light, for the sun, from which nature derives its origin and essence, is mere fire, consequently its rays of light are wholly dead; and thus he may conclude that such things are from the influx of Divine Wisdom into the outmosts of nature.

DLW 354. anyone may confirm himself in favor of the Divine from things visible in nature, when he sees larvae, from the delight of some impulse, desiring and longing to change their terrestrial state to a certain likeness of the heavenly state, and for this purpose creeping into corners, and putting themselves as it were into a womb in order to be born again, and there becoming chrysalises, aurelias, caterpillars, nymphs, and at length butterflies; and having undergone this metamorphosis, and each after its kind been decked with beautiful wings, they ascend into the air as into their heaven, and there disport themselves joyfully, form marriage unions, lay eggs, and provide for themselves a posterity, nourished meanwhile with pleasant and sweet food from flowers. Who that confirms himself in favor of the Divine from the visible things in nature can help seeing a kind of image of man's earthly state in these as larvae, and in them as butterflies an image of the heavenly state? Those who confirm themselves in favor of nature see the same things, but because in heart they have rejected the heavenly state of man they call them merely natural instincts.

DLW 355. anyone may confirm himself in favor of the Divine from things seen in nature by giving attention to what is known about bees: that they know how to collect wax and suck honey from herbs and flowers, and to build cells like little houses, and set them in the form of a city, with streets through which to come in and go out; that they scent at long distances the flowers and herbs from which they collect wax for their houses and honey for food, and laden with these fly back in a direct line to their hive; thus providing themselves with food and habitation for the coming winter, as if they had foresight and knowledge of it. They also set over them a mistress as queen, out of whom a posterity may be propagated; and for her they build a sort of a palace over themselves with guards around it; and when her time of bringing forth is at hand, she goes attended by her guards from cell to cell, and lays her eggs, which the crowd of followers smear over to protect them from the air, f-rom which a new progeny springs forth for them. When this progeny becomes mature enough to do the same, it is driven from the hive. The expelled swarm first collects, and then in a close body, to preserve its integrity, flies away in quest of a home for itself. Moreover, in the autumn the useless drones are led out and are deprived of their wings to prevent their returning and consuming the food for which they have not labored: not to mention other particulars. From all this it can be seen that bees, because of their use to the human race, have from influx from the spiritual world, a form of government similar to that among men on earth, and even like that of angels in heaven. Can any man of unimpaired reason fail to see that these doings of the bees are not from the natural world? What has that sun, from which nature springs, in common with a government that vies with and resembles the government of heaven? From these things and others very similar to them in the brute creation, the confessor and worshiper of nature confirms himself in favor of nature, while the confessor and worshiper of God confirms himself from the same things in favor of the Divine; for the spiritual man sees in them spiritual things and the natural man natural things, thus each according to his character. As for myself, such things have been proofs to me of an influx of the spiritual into the natural, that is, of the spiritual world into the natural world, thus of an influx from the Lord's Divine Wisdom. Consider, moreover, whether you can think analytically concerning any form of government, or any civil law, or moral virtue, or spiritual truth, unless the Divine out of His wisdom flows in through the spiritual world? For myself, I could not and cannot. For having now observed that influx perceptibly and sensibly for about nineteen years continually, I speak as an eye-witness.

DLW 356. Can anything natural regard use as an end and dispose uses into series and forms? No one can do this unless he be wise; and no one but God, whose wisdom is infinite, can so give order and form to the universe. Who else or what else is able to foresee and provide all things needful for the food and clothing of man,--food from the fruits of earth and from animals, and clothing from the same? How marvelous that so insignificant a creature as the silk-worm should clothe in silk and splendidly adorn both women and men, from queens and kings to maidservants and menservants, and that insignificant insects like the bees should supply wax for the candles by which temples and palaces are made brilliant. These and many other things are manifest proofs that the Lord from Himself by means of the spiritual world, brings about everything that comes into existence in nature.

DLW 357. To this must be added that those who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature, from the visible things of the world, until they have become atheists, have been seen by me in the spiritual world; and in the spiritual light their understanding appeared open below, but closed above, because in thought they had looked downward toward the earth, and not upward toward heaven. Above their sensual, which is the bottom of the understanding, appeared something like a veil; which in some flashed with hellish fire, in some was black like soot, and in some livid like a corpse. Therefore let everyone beware of confirmations in favor of nature: let him confirm himself in favor of the Divine; there is no lack of material.

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