|Introduction||Mesentery||Peritonaeum||Muscles in General||Feet|
|Lips, Tongue & Teeth||Liver||Heart & Lungs||Bones||Ear|
|Saliva||Spleen & Pancreas||Nose||Cartilages||Eye|
|Oesophagus||Omentum||Organs of Speech||Skin||Generation|
Of those who constitute this receptacle and duct, Swedenborg says, —
“They who constitute this province are of a two fold kind; some are modest enough, some are forward. The modest are they who have desired to know the thoughts of men, with the intent of attracting and binding them to themselves; for he who knows what another thinks is acquainted with his secrets and his interiors, which cause them to be conjoined together; the end regarded is conversation and friendship. They desire only to know the good things and explore them, and put a good interpretation upon the rest.” (AC 5180)Of a similar quality in general must be the angels of all the lacteals of the mesentery. We can imagine these gentle angels, loving conversation and friendship, receiving the new spirits, who by various chastenings have come to desire instruction in the truth of heaven and a life according to it, walking with them by intricate ways, calling out their good thoughts, explaining away their troubles, leading them hither and thither according to the wants they discover in them, introducing them to quick and gentle changes of state, that their sympathies may be quickened and variously extended, and bringing them to one gland-like community or another, as it may seem useful to associate them with other new spirits, or to give them the benefit of angels' teaching, and finally escorting them to the great road in which, with thousands of redeemed, rejoicing spirits, they ascend toward the warm heart of the heavens.
This initiation into heavenly companionship and heavenly thought is a preparation of the good for heaven. The mesentery, therefore, corresponds to places of instruction for a part of the new spirits in their progress toward heaven; as is confirmed by the following passage:—
“It may be known in some measure from the gyres to what province in the Greatest Man, and correspondently in the body, spirits and angels belong. The gyres of those who belong to the province of the lymphatics are slender and rapid as a watery element gently flowing so that scarcely any gyration can be perceived. They who belong to the lymphatics are afterwards conveyed into places which they said have reference to the mesentery, and it was told me that there are as it were labyrinths therein, and that they are next taken away thence to various places in the Greatest Man, that they may serve for use as chyle in the body.” (AC 5181)The winding ways by which men are taught by the Lord, even in this world, are also likened by Swedenborg to these mensenteric paths,—
“Every one is from infancy brought into that Divine Man whose soul and life is the Lord; and in Him, not out of Him, he is led and taught from His Divine love according to His Divine wisdom. But as freedom is not taken away from man, a man cannot be led and taught otherwise than according to reception as by himself. They who receive are borne to their places by infinite windings, as by meandering streams, almost as the chyle is carried through the mesnetery and its lacteals into duct into the blood, and so to its destination. They who do not receive are separated from those who are within the Divine Man, as the faeces and urine are separated from man.”(DP 164)The glands of the mesentery are of great interest in their correspondence. The fibres of the network of lacteals run from one gland to another, having also threads which pursue their course with more directness; so that it is possible for the chyle to pass through several glands, or, perhaps, to enter none at all, on its way to the receptacle.
In the glands it meets arteries and veins and nervous fibres. The arteries bring fresh blood from the heart, and the nerves bring spirit from the brain. The purpose of the glands is evidently to prepare the new chyle more perfectly to enter into the uses of the body; and this purpose they must fulfil by modifying the chyle, either through the forms of their little vessels, or by communication of vital elements to it from the arteries and the nervous fibres; perhaps it performs its office in both ways. “The mesentery elaborates the chyle, and the liver the blood” (DP 336). It is believed also that the white corpuscles, which are an active element in the blood and which are rapidly multiplied after a meal, are formed in these glands.
Now the chyle of the Greatest Man is composed of good spirits freed from their association with the evil and form evil influences, tender in feeling, and eager to learn. The blood of the arteries is composed of angelic spirits, prepared for heaven, but not yet fixed in their own societies; also in part, apparently, of “subject” angels sent from their societies for special service elsewhere. And the nerve influence, direct from the brain, is the direct influence or presence of wise angels of the third heaven. If, then, we should read of good, intelligent spirits, eager to be instructed, being trained to angelic thought under the care of angels and the direct supervision and inspiration of angels of the third heaven, we should conclude with reason that we had found a place marvellously like a mesenteric gland.
In CL 132, of the work on “Conjugial Love,” we read,—
“I once conversed with two angel; one was from the eastern heaven, the other from the southern heaven; who... said, `Do you know anything of the Exercises of Wisdom in our world?' I answered that I did not yet. And they said, ` They are numerous, and those who love truths from spiritual affection, or truths because they are truths, and because by means of them is wisdom, come together at a given signal, and canvass and conclude those things which are of more profound understanding.'If this admirable exercise did not take place in the mesentery, it certainly illustrates the processes which must there be accomplished. Other similar lessons are also described by Swedenborg.
Somewhat similar are the schools taught by the ancient wise men of Greece. “All the Athenians,” St. Luke tells us,” and strangers which were there, spent there time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new things.” (Acts xvii. 21)
In the neighborhood of Athens also were the school of philosophy taught by Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and many other, in which, from the new things told, wise lesson in morality or philosophy were deduced; and which have come down to us, in the form either of allegory or of direct instruction, almost all the remains we have to wisdom of the Ancient Churches.
The desire of these wise men to learn new things, and to instruct in true wisdom, was not diminished but increased and enlightened by there change to the spiritual world. It is not, therefore, a matter of surprise to find them, in Swedenborg's descriptions, receiving modest and intelligent new comers with the greeting, “What news from the earth” — inquiring especially about the thoughts of men concerning eternal life, and then wisely instructing the spirit in the nature of heavenly life and happiness.