Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations. TheisticPsychology.org


draft 2a/November 2002

 

 

Out Of Egypt Have I Called My Son:

Teaching the Scientifics of the Internal Sense of the Writings

1. By the Substitution Technique

2. By Diagramming

 

Dr. Leon James

Professor of Psychology

University of Hawaii

leon@hawaii.edu

For more information and related articles, please see the End Notes at the bottom.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

(1) Where The Writings Say That It Has An Internal Sense 

Enlightenment Is The Perception Of Spiritual Referents In One’s Experience  Conjunction With The Lord By Means Of The Internal Sense 

(2) Where The Writings Say That Enlightenment Is The Perception Of The Inner Sense Of The Writings.

A Diagram Showing The Formation Of The New Church Mind  

The Nine Installation Steps 

(3) Where The Writings Say That Enlightenment Is Necessary For Our Regeneration.

Diagram Of The Discrete Levels In The Mind and the Writings 

(4) Where The Writings Say That The Internal Sense Must Be Extracted By Every Regenerating Individual.

The Divine Doctrine is Unique With Each Individual

(5) Where The Writings Teach How To Extract The Internal Sense From The Letter Of The Writings 

The Secret Of Extracting The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings 

Regeneration Is By The Spiritual Sense 

The Substitution Technique For Teaching The Spiritual Doctrine 

The Correspondence Technique For Teaching The Spiritual Doctrine 

Demystifying The Divinity Of The Spiritual Doctrine 

The Divine Rational Cannot Be Approached In The Letter 

The Divinity Of The Spiritual Sense We Extract From The Letter 

(6) Where The Writings Teach That The Internal Sense Cannot Be Written Down In A Natural Language 

Diagram Of Natural Vs. Spiritual Understanding Of The Writings   

55. Summary Of The Doctrine That The Writings Have A Spiritual Sense 
(7) Why New Church Education Should Teach Integrated Concepts or Scientific Dualism   

(8) Why New Church Education Should Teach The Internal Sense Of The Writings.(9) Why New Church Education Should Teach Self-Witnessing Skills For Regeneration  


 

 

 (1) Where The Writings Say That It Has An Internal Sense

 

The passages from the Writings cited in this paper contain the expression “the Writings” where the original text has “the Word.” This substitution is legitimate if one is willing to grant these two fundamental propositions:

 

Proposition 1:  The Writings are the third portion that completes the Threefold Word (i.e., Hebrew, Greek, and Latin Testaments).

Proposition 2:  When the Writings makes assertions about the Word, the statements apply to the Threefold Word as a whole.

 

Proposition 1 has been the Divine Doctrine received and nurtured by the men of the General Church Academy Movement at the end of the 19th century. Proposition 2 has been the Divine Doctrine received and nurtured by the men of the General Church Dutch Branch, as documented in De Hemelsche Leer publication in the 1930s. The two propositions together strengthen each other and form the basis of spiritual enlightenment provided by the Lord through His Second Coming in the Writings.

 

Anyone in the world today can be enlightened by the Writings and prepared for a heavenly life by simply following these two conditions: (A) To accept these two Fundamental Propositions while reading the Writings; (B) To apply what is understood therefrom to one’s daily willing and thinking.

 

By following Condition A (accepting the two Fundamental Propositions), we are enlightened by the Lord. This means that our understanding is elevated from the natural into the spiritual. When we read the sentences of the Writings, we can begin to perceive the more interior truths that are contained within it. By following Condition B (applying doctrine to life), we begin to be regenerated.

 

Enlightenment and regeneration must go together. No one can be regenerated without enlightenment. This is because regeneration is the up-building of a new will and this cannot be done except by spiritual ideas from the Writings. Regeneration begins in adult life, after reformation. Until regeneration begins, we are in an unregenerate state, including those born and raised within the New Church. However, at one point, we complete reformation as an adult, and begin reading the Writings as the Word that is to guide us in our regeneration efforts. One cannot be regenerated without the Writings as the Word to guide us.

 

Enlightenment is a gradual process and progresses to the perception of more and more interior truths. This gradual elevation of the understanding is proportional to the gradual regeneration of the will. There was a historical controversy in the General Church that attended the birthing of Proposition 2, which is that the Writings have an internal spiritual sense just like the Old and New Testaments. Several forms of opposition and resistance emerged to combat the notion that the Letter of the Writings are merely natural and that in order to understand it spiritually, one needed to apply to it the orderly and systematic methods of extraction taught in the Writings for the Old and New Testaments. There was also some anxiety or concern about the idea that understanding the deeper layers of the Writings was dependent on one’s progress in regeneration. This appeared threatening and a source of disturbance in the Church since some individuals might claim a deeper understanding than others and try to impose their doctrine on others who could not perceive these same things in “the plain teachings of the Letter.” The peace would thus be broken as one faction battled against another for supremacy and dominion.

 

Today, more than seven decades after the controversy in the General Church regarding the Dutch Group, a more mature and objective understanding of it has become possible. Whereas before only a political and historical view on the Dutch Controversy was in the forefront, a new view is now possible as we focus in on the objective details that have been presented as an elucidation of the plain teachings of the Writings. Our generation today needs to become informed regarding the details of the Dutch Thesis. This is an objective perspective, a scientific focus, a rational examination with a positive bias and sympathy for the goal.

 

While we immerse ourselves in the political and historical focus, seeing the Dutch proposals as a “controversy,” we are limited in our objectivity by the absence of a positive bias or affirmative attitude. As the Writings teach, no spiritual truth can be seen by anyone when approaching it with a negative bias (xx). To examine the Dutch Doctrine with a negative bias one cannot possibly see any spiritual truth it may have, even assuming it were to be genuine. The presence of a positive bias or affirmative stance in advance, prior to examination, is necessary for anyone to see any spiritual truth. Our generation has been given a new opportunity for objectivity, as the passage of decades has freed us from the historical and political context. Now for the first time, we have the rational power to examine the Dutch Thesis with a positive bias, putting ourselves in a rational position to actually see what’s there.

 

In particular, there is a clearer understanding today of the structural properties of the Threefold Word. The Lord’s Divine Rational descends through the three heavens in successive lower degrees. As it descends, Divine Truth is accommodated to the minds of the angels in the three heavens. This accommodation process is by means of higher to lower correspondences. The spiritual angels of the second heaven can only understand by correspondence what the celestial angels understand. Similarly, the natural angels of the first heaven can only understand by correspondence what the spiritual angels understand. Similarly, the natural mind on earth reading the Writings can only understand by correspondence what the natural angels understand. Clearly it cannot be that the natural mind on earth reading the literal of the Writings, can see and understand what the angelic spirits of the first heaven understand and see when they read the Writings. The natural angels understand the sentences of the Writings spiritually, while the natural mind on earth understands the Writings naturally. This is very clear.

 

Therefore, the natural mind reading the Letter of the Writings can understand only in a natural way. Since the Writings contain spiritual topics like God, heaven, and regeneration, the natural mind understands these spiritual topics naturally, not spiritually. But the natural angels of the first heaven understand these spiritual topics, spiritually. Hence it is that the Writings in the Letter are composed of pure correspondences, and these are called natural-rational correspondences. They are a degree above the correspondences in which the New Testament is written, which are called natural-sensuous correspondences.

 

Clearly then, the structural properties of the Threefold Word require that its sentences be written in correspondences that relate to each other by discrete degrees. The highest degree of the natural mind is called natural-rational, and this is the mind that is opened and formed by studying, understanding, and loving the Letter of the Writings. Later on we undergo reformation and then begin our regeneration. At that po0int we are enlightened by the Lord by means of the opening and formation of interior-natural mind, which is also called the natural-spiritual or the spiritual-natural. This is the mind in which live the angelic spirits of the first heaven. When, during regeneration, the Lord opens our interior-natural mind, we experience a conscious elevation of our understanding. This new perception is the result of being enlightened. Enlightenment is the operation of the interior-natural mind, which is formed within the natural-rational mind.

 

You can see that the new organ we have is more interior than the natural-rational understanding. The natural-rational understanding of the literal meaning of the Writings is called “rational truth” (xx). This forms a duality with “intellectual truth” which is formed by the Lord in the interior mind, while “rational truth” is formed by the self in the external mind. The Lord as a Child had constructed for Himself rational truths out of the scientifics of cognitions He gathered from reading the Hebrew Word (xx). Then He instructed Himself from His inmost Divine that these rational truths based on the Letter of the Word were going to be destroyed, and that He will receive instead, higher cognitions from the celestial of Himself, and that these higher cognitions are genuine, while the lower ones are not. And so the Lord grieved like a child who is told by parents he must give up some cherished toy in order to advance in mental development (xx).

 

Our regeneration recapitulates the steps of the Lord’s regeneration, which is called Glorification, by which He made his Human one with His Divine Essence (xx). We are saved by becoming spiritual through regeneration, and this must involve enlightenment, for without enlightenment there is no regeneration (xx). Enlightenment refers to the elevation of the understanding from a lower to a higher degree. This is also what happened to the Lord when He became conscious in His external man as a Child (“Abram”) that He must give up remaining in the scientifics of cognitions He had gathered from the Letter of the Word. Similarly, the New Church individual today grieves when told of the Dutch Thesis, which is that we are to leave behind us the Letter of the Writings, almost as if the literal were “destroyed” (xx), and to be open to the inner sense of the Letter, which is the spiritual sense.

 

We can now see what intellectual truth is, as also that with the Lord intellectual truth opened the way to celestial things. Truth in the memory [verum scientificum] is one thing; rational truth is another; and intellectual truth is another; they succeed one another. Truth in the memory is a matter of memory-knowledge; rational truth is this truth confirmed by reason; intellectual truth is conjoined with an internal perception that it is so. This intellectual truth existed with the Lord in His childhood, and with Him opened the way to celestial things. (AC 1496)

 

Enlightenment is the journey from rational truth, which is based on the external literal sense of the Writings, to intellectual truth, which is based on the internal sense. The external literal sense of the Writings and its rational understanding, requires the immersion of our thinking in natural-rational correspondences. But the internal spiritual sense of the Writings and its rational understanding, requires the immersion of our thinking in spiritual-rational correspondences. These two are a duality, one within the other, or, one a discrete degree above the other. You can see objectively that this new more internal level of thinking and cognitive operation cannot take place in the same region or organ of the mind as the external one. Therefore before it can happen, the Lord must create, open, and form a new organ called the interior-natural mind (xx). This organ is formed within the natural-rational mind, that is, a discrete degree above. Now it is possible for us to be conscious of a higher level of correspondence called spiritual-rational truths or appearances of truth (xx).

 

To be enlightened and thus to perceive the internal sense of the Writings means nothing else than to become conscious of the new organic activity in the interior-natural mind. Now a simultaneous dual process happens in the mind when we read the Writings. The external of this process is the natural-rational understanding of the literal sentences. The internal of this process is the spiritual-rational understanding of the literal sentences. The first gives us conscious semantic content constructed out of units called natural-rational correspondences, while the second process gives us conscious semantic content constructed out of units called spiritual-rational correspondences. The later is within the former, and the two cannot exist separately, any more than diamonds can exist separately from carbon.

 

The natural-rational correspondences which compose the Letter of the Writings are first to be acquired in time and mental development. This instruction forms in our mind the scientifics of the Writings, of the Heavenly Doctrines, of the Doctrine of the Church, of the Doctrine of Life. All these are implanted in the form of natural-rational correspondences. This is our familiarity and love of the Writings by which we develop our rational understanding of the universe and of the Lord’s Kingdom. This is the level at which we understand the Church’s teachings and sermons, and this is the level that serves for the education and formation of our rational and moral mind and character.

 

Then, sometime in young adulthood we are empowered to undergo reformation, by which we reaffirm our faith and worship of the Letter of the Writings, and apply its doctrines and principles to our daily life, compelling ourselves to clean out our act of daily living and thinking. Everything in the mind must be realigned to fit and concord with our understanding of the Writings. This is reformation and lasts for months and is very intense and conscious and passionate and enthusiastic. Then, this passion is consummated and we begin the real work of regeneration, and its struggles and pains.

 

 

Progress in our regeneration is gradual. In order for the process to proceed, we must be given by the Lord more interior truths by which to overcome our spiritual temptations. If you examine your own case, you will see that your progress in shunning evils as sins falters and fails over and over again, despite your quoting to yourself from the literal of the Writings. This is because the literal of the Writings, when emptied of its internal, is dead and has no power of intellectual or spiritual truth, let alone celestial. Therefore the Lord must provide enlightenment, or else all is lost.

 

This is why the Lord had to give up in grief, His beloved external attachment to the Letter of the Hebrew Word. This had no power to effect the Lord’s Glorification because it had no power against the hells which were in His human from the Virgin. Only spiritual-rational correspondences, called “intellectual truth,” had this power. Similarly for us, the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings have no power to save us, but only the spiritual-rational correspondences that are contained within the natural-rational correspondences. The Lord therefore creates a new organ within the natural-rational mind, and this spiritual-natural organ operates to give us conscious awareness of the appearances of Divine Truth in a higher degree, in a the degree in which are the angelic spirits of the first heaven.

 

There is no mystical, mysterious, or subjective enlightenment, but only intellectual, organic, and objective enlightenment, as part of the necessary operation for regeneration by every individual.

 

The angels of the three heavens must therefore have their own Word since they dwell in different discrete levels of the mind and the spiritual world. The Letter of the Word in the third heaven contains the celestial-rational truths hidden within that Letter. The Letter of the Word in the second heaven contains both the celestial-rational truths and the spiritual-rational truths. This is because the celestial angels are within the spiritual angels. The Letter of the Word in the first heaven contains hidden within it, the celestial-rational truths, the spiritual-rational truths, and the natural-spiritual truths. And similarly, the Letter of the Word on earth contains within it, the celestial-rational truths, the spiritual-rational truths, and the natural-spiritual truths. It is clear from this structural view of the Word, that the Writings contain the Divine Truth laid down in layers or degrees of meaning.

 

The Writings not only explain these structural relations but teaches the orderly and effective method by which Divine Truth is to be understood in a progressively more interior sense. Divine Truth descends from the Lord, and in its descent it is enfolded or covered more and more with each successive degree of descent or externalization. Divine Truth is therefore most enfolded, most covered, in its ultimates, which is the Letter of the Word in each heaven and on earth. The method taught by the Writings in understanding Divine Truth is an orderly unfolding process by means of fixed or given correspondences. These are not man made correspondences. They are not poetic insights into figures of speech. Nor are they scientific discoveries from empirical and rational realizations. It is not possible to unfold the layers of the Writings by means of individual insight or group effort. The only way possible is that provided by the Writings, which specifies in exact terms or concepts, what correspondences are.

 

Enlightenment Is The Perception Of Spiritual Referents In One’s Experience

 

The unfolding of the layers of meaning of the Writings must follow the orderly method prescribed in the plain language and literal sense of the Writings. It is the Writings that demand an orderly procedure, as prescribed. This is not an individual decision. Every regenerating individual must do this unfolding for oneself. The Writings provide that we progress in regeneration in a conscious and prescribed manner. There are natural temptations, spiritual temptations, and celestial temptations. We fight in these temptations from Divine Truth, for only this has the power to contain the hells. We fight by applying to our life the Divine Truth that we have understood from the Writings. As we overcome in temptations by applying the truth, we acquire spiritual referents for the truths of the literal sense.

 

“Spiritual referents” are the events in our mind to which the truths refer.

 

For instance, consider the Divine Truth expressed in this sentence of the Letter:

 

It is clear, then, that in the spiritual idea good is the neighbor that is to be loved, or the man according to his good. (Charity 71)

 

In our unregenerate state, which is the time prior to our reformation in adult life, we read and memorize this sentence. We can recite, paraphrase it, translate it, compare it to other passages. Our level of understanding of this Divine Truth is natural, which means that the referents to which the statement refer, are natural events in the natural mind. We can understand at this level that we are a given a Divine Commandment to obey, namely, to love the good in the neighbor. This level of understanding is natural because the statement refers to a natural event. If pressed for further explanation, we can say that good people should be loved not evil people. Note that this level of thinking equates “good” with “good people.” The referent of “good” is not spiritual, but natural (“good people”). In this mode of reading the Writings, all our referents are natural. Our ideas of heaven, the Grand Human, the Spiritual Sun, the Lord’s omnipresence, proprium, regeneration—are all natural ideas. We think of the spiritual in similar terms as we think of the natural. We understand the spiritual topics of the Heavenly Doctrine in a natural way since all its referents are natural.

 

But this changes as we undergo reformation and begin our regeneration. Victory in spiritual temptations by means of doctrine applied to life, is the necessary experience for acquiring spiritual referents. As we fight during the temptation we defend ourselves by means of the Divine Truth we have gathered from the Writings. By heeding these truths and obeying them as commandments, we overcome in the temptation. Now for the first time we see a new thing in ourselves. It is the spiritual referent for what we experienced in the struggle. We can see or perceive what activity in our mind, or spirit, is described by the literal expression of the Writings. This is the spiritual referent. It is a new perception and is called “enlightenment” because it raises the level of our thinking to a more interior degree, and what is more interior is called enlightened relative to what is more exterior, which is called obscure or cloudy.

 

Now as we read again the original text, we have a spiritual referent for it:

 

It is clear, then, that in the spiritual idea good is the neighbor that is to be loved, or the man according to his good. (Charity 71)

 

For instance, we may have friends whom we love because they favor us and like us, and we may have enemies whom we fear because they desire to injure us. A situation may come up where we encounter some of our enemies in a life threatening situation, as for instance a car accident. We have a cell phone and can call for assistance, but hesitate, feeling conflictual, perhaps even seeing it as an opportunity for retaliation or revenge. But from the light of the Writings we can see that we ought not to consider ourselves only in any situation. Our enemies also have their human rights and fairness and compassion dictate that we provide the assistance we can. We feel relieved as we have overcome a spiritual temptation. Now we have a totally new referent for the Commandment that “good is the neighbor that is to be loved.” We can now see that despite fearing and resenting our enemy, we nevertheless owe him compassion with respect to saving his life or limb. Our enemy’s life and limb is the good in him that we can see, as he lies there unconscious on the highway. This good in him is what we are commanded to love, and therefore, to provide him with assistance. We can see and understand this new principle because we have an actual referent for it in our experience.

 

The above example illustrates how regeneration is tied to enlightenment. As we progress in our regeneration, the Lord gives us more interior temptations by which we acquire more interior referents or meanings. Overcoming more interior temptations require enlightenment into more interior truths. The Lord elevates our level of thinking to the next more interior degree as regeneration progresses further by means of the more elevated enlightenment. This is the orderly procedure for every regenerating individual. The Lord provides no other method for salvation.

 

Spiritual referents are discussed in the Writings as “internal perception”:

 

Factual truth is one thing, rational truth another, and intellectual truth yet another. They follow on consecutively. Factual truth is a matter of knowledge; rational truth is factual truth confirmed by reason; while intellectual truth is joined to an internal perception that the thing is so (AC 1496).

 

Note that the rational truth which we obtain from the Letter of the Writings, looks to the external natural world and the self, since it is by the struggles of our own intelligence and effort by which we gain rational truth from the literal of the Writings. But intellectual truth looks to the spiritual world and is not from self but from the Lord. What the Word calls “rational truth” here, refers to our external rational understanding, while interior rational understanding is called “intellectual truth.” Anatomically these are necessarily distinguished, and we know that rational truth operates in the natural-rational mind while intellectual truth operates in the interior-natural mind, and in the spiritual mind. We are not conscious of the operation in the spiritual mind, but we are conscious of the operation in the interior-natural mind. This is the conscious operation referred to in the passages as “internal perception.”

 

Prior to possession of spiritual referents, it is part of the development of our natural mind to oppose the idea of an internal spiritual sense of which we know nothing as yet. The Lord Himself in His Childhood felt this resistance when He was instructed from Jehovah from within that He must give up the scientifics of the Letter that He had gathered from the Old Testament Word. It pleased the Lord as a very young Child to be imbued with the “science of cognitions” He had gathered from the Letter of the Hebrew Word. Then, He was instructed that these external cognitions of the Letter are to be destroyed for the sake of receiving the celestial truths from within. It is said that the Lord grieved on account of it:

 

Verse 18. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? Why didst thou not tell me that she is thy wife? "And Pharaoh called Abram," signifies that the Lord bethought Himself; "and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me?" signifies that it grieved Him; "Why didst thou not tell me that she is thy wife?" signifies seeing that He knew that He ought not to have any other truth than that which would be conjoined with what is celestial. (AC 1490)

 

From all this it is evident that when the Lord as a child learned memory knowledges, He first of all knew no otherwise than that those knowledges were solely for the sake of the intellectual man, that is, in order that He might get to know truths from them; but it was afterwards disclosed that they had existed in order that He might attain to celestial things; and this took place to prevent celestial things from suffering violence, and in order that they might be saved.

 

When man is being instructed, there is a progression from memory-knowledges to rational truths; further, to intellectual truths; and finally, to celestial truths, which are here signified by the "wife." If the progression is made from memory knowledges and rational truths to celestial truths without intellectual truths as media, the celestial suffers violence, because there can be no connection of rational truths-which are obtained by means of memory-knowledges-with celestial truths, except by means of intellectual truths, which are the media. (AC 1495)

 

Here, “rational truths-which are obtained by means of memory-knowledges” refers to appearances of truths that we obtain in our external natural mind by means of “memory-knowledges,” which refers to our comprehension of the literal sense of the Writings. But “intellectual truths which are the media,” refers to appearances of truths in the interior natural mind which the Lord creates for every individual within the external natural mind.

 

The expression “when man is being instructed” refers to the process of our regeneration since that’s when we are being instructed by the Lord from within, just as the Lord as a Child was instructed from His inmost Divine called Jehovah. When we are regenerating we are being instructed both from without and from within. From without, by the Letter of the Writings, understood as natural-rational correspondences or appearances of truth. From within, by the Lord, through spiritual-rational correspondences or appearances of truth. These two sources of instruction must go on simultaneously during regeneration. No one is regenerated by the Letter alone, but by the spiritual which is within the literal. If one is not conscious of the spiritual, one remains in the Letter. Therefore the spiritual must be instructed, not directly for this is not possible, but indirectly, through “mediation” of higher-order appearances of truths or correspondences, called here, “intellectual truths.” Intellectual truths are spiritual-rational while “rational truths” are natural-rational. Intellectual truths are taught by the substitution technique since they cannot be taught directly. This will be illustrated in what follows.

 

The Number continues with a specific explanation of the process of inner instruction or internal perception, which is enlightenment:

 

[2] That it may be known how these things stand, something shall be said respecting order. The order is for the celestial to inflow into the spiritual and adapt it to itself; for the spiritual thus to inflow into the rational and adapt it to itself; and for the rational thus to inflow into the memory-knowledge and adapt it to itself. But when a man is being instructed in his earliest childhood, the order is indeed the same, but it appears otherwise, namely, that he advances from memory-knowledges to rational things, from these to spiritual things, and so at last to celestial things.

 

The reason it so appears is that a way must thus be opened to celestial things, which are the inmost. All instruction is simply an opening of the way; and as the way is opened, or what is the same, as the vessels are opened, there thus flow in, as before said, in their order, rational things that are from celestial spiritual things; into these flow the celestial spiritual things; and into these, celestial things. These celestial and spiritual things are continually presenting themselves, and are also preparing and forming for themselves the vessels which are being opened; which may also be seen from the fact that in themselves the memory-knowledge and rational are dead, and that it is from the inflowing interior life that they seem to be alive.

 

This can become manifest to anyone from the thought, and the faculty of judgment. (AC 1495)

 

Our level of thinking and understanding of Divine Truth is here described as a lawful progression across pre-determined steps of enlightenment. The first in our experiential order is the external Letter of the Writings and our mental struggle to comprehend the literal meaning of each sentence and how they hang together. This is what the Lord did in Childhood with the Hebrew Word. This is what we do today with the Latin Word. This is what is called the “science of cognitions” or “memory-knowledges from the Word.” Despite the lofty subject matter and topics—God, sin, love, truth, commandments, worship—the understanding of them is natural, not yet spiritual. The Lord as a Child was instructed from within so that He came to the realization, obscure at first, that

 

All instruction is simply an opening of the way; and as the way is opened, or what is the same, as the vessels are opened, there thus flow in, as before said, in their order, rational things that are from celestial spiritual things; into these flow the celestial spiritual things; and into these, celestial things (AC 1495)

 

Truth in the memory [verum scientificum] is one thing; rational truth is another; and intellectual truth is another; they succeed one another. Truth in the memory is a matter of memory-knowledge; rational truth is this truth confirmed by reason; intellectual truth is conjoined with an internal perception that it is so. This intellectual truth existed with the Lord in His childhood, and with Him opened the way to celestial things. (AC 1496)

 

As we progress in our regeneration, we are instructed by the Lord from within, which means that we are enlightened, which means that we can perceive in ourselves the spiritual referents that are conveyed by the literal expression in the Letter of the Writings. The Letter of the Writings is to be applied to oneself, thus to one’s regeneration, for this is the method the Lord has provided for our salvation. The literal of the Writings is general and applies uniquely to every person. This unique particular application must be performed mentally by the individual reading the Letter. As soon as the reader makes this application, he is enlightened by the Lord. It is automatic. The Lord maintains this built in organic operation for the sake of regeneration.

 

The application of the literal to oneself is a spiritual literacy skill that needs to be taught by teachers or self-taught by research and study of the Letter. Teaching the methods for extracting the internal sense of the Writings is merely an external preparation for facilitating an internal event. The spiritual sense is the internal event, not the external teaching and reading, even though the external preparation is necessary for the internal event to occur. The substitution technique of applying the Letter to the Letter is an external preparation that facilitates the perception of the internal sense at the moment that the Letter is applied to oneself. The internal sense of the Writings is nothing else than its particular meaning as applied by the individual to self. This is what makes regeneration possible, namely, the applying of the Letter to oneself, that is, to one’s daily willing and thinking, hour by hour.

 

Everything we do, think, and feel, minute by minute, is to be isolated, identified, and evaluated in the light of this or that literal sentence of the Writings. Every time in the course of a day that this particular application is performed, we are enlightened, which means, that we perceive how the Letter applies to self. This is the internal meaning of the Writings. Of course, there are discrete layers of internal meaning and we are here dealing with the first inward layer, closest to the surface of the literal meaning. This is why, when we first look at natural-rational correspondences of the Letter and then at the spiritual-natural correspondences of the internal, they seem similar! We need to be careful not to make a hasty judgment and decide that the literal and the spiritual are the same because they appear similar upon first examination. This things will be made clear with the illustrations that follow.

 

Enlightenment is therefore an orderly process and a progressive deepening of one’s understanding of the Letter in its internal structure. Like the Lord as a Child, we progress from external truths about spiritual things to more interior truths about spiritual things. Our interiors are opened by degree, which means that our understanding progresses from external rational to interior natural, to rational-spiritual, then to celestial. This progression is by means of the degrees or layers in which the Letter of the Writings has been enfolded as it descends from celestial to spiritual to rational to natural degrees of our understanding.

 

Moreover these things also involve more arcana than man can ever believe; but those which can be told are so few as to be almost nothing. Besides the most profound arcana concerning the Lord, they also involve arcana concerning the instruction and regeneration of man, that he may become celestial; as also concerning his instruction and regeneration, that he may become spiritual; and not only concerning the instruction of the individual man, but also concerning that of the church in general. And, further, they involve arcana concerning the instruction of little children in heaven; in a word, concerning the instruction of all who become images and likenesses of the Lord. These things do not at all appear in the sense of the letter, for the reason that the historical narrative veils them over and obscures them; but they appear in the internal sense. (AC 1502)

 

The “historical narrative” that “obscures” the spiritual meaning refers to the literal sentences of the Writings. There are several modalities of text in the Letter of the Writings—

 

q       historical narratives such as the Memorable Relations and the history of Churches on earth

q       empirical descriptions such as resuscitation, or the operations of the heart and lungs

q       scientific explanations of how the Lord maintains the universe in order

q       dictionary descriptions of natural-spiritual correspondences

q       literary analysis of sentences and their rational content

q       descriptions of experiments involving the exploration of spirits by angels

q       and others.

 

Each of these modalities of text has its own way of “obscuring” the internal meaning. When we read the Memorable Relations, for instance, there is a compelling visual and dramatic texture of detail that absorbs our thought and imagination to the extent that we have no idea of the internal current of meaning that flows right along with the surface narrative. But it is clearly possible to isolate words and phrases in the narrative, and to look up the correspondences given somewhere else in the Letter. An example is given below regarding TCR 71 (see Section xx).

 

In order to allow ourselves to progress to an internal perception of the Letter of the Writings we need to acknowledge and understand our reluctance and opposition to this idea. We are in excellent company regarding this fear or hesitation, for the Lord Himself had it. It is discussed in the Writings as a grieving process the Lord went through when He was instructed from within that the rational cognitions He had gathered from the Letter of the Hebrew Word, were to be shattered and destroyed for the sake of opening up the internal sense to the Word.

 

The grieving process during which we sense an opposition to the idea of an inner sense, ends as soon as the mind is opened to the next interior degree. Our opposition or resistance ends as we perceive new delights in the idea that the Writings have an internal sense that we are commanded to extract in a prescribed orderly manner according to correspondences and confirmations. We no longer see a loss or a threat, but a gain, and a tremendous one. We can look back to our earlier phase and wonder what is it that we so feared and distrusted in the idea.

 

About the Lord’s grief it is said:

 

grief from this, that the memory-knowledges which He had learned with pleasure and delight should be thus destroyed. The case herein is like that of little children who when they love something their parents see to be hurtful to them, and it is taken away from them, are thereby grieved. (AC 1492)

 

As regards memory-knowledges leaving the Lord, the case is this. When celestial things are being conjoined with intellectual truths, and these are becoming celestial, then all things that are empty are dissipated of themselves; this is in the nature of the celestial. (AC 1499)

 

Empty memory-knowledges leave celestial things, as vain things are wont to leave wisdom; they are as crusts and scales that separate themselves of their own accord. (AC 1500)

 

When we end our childhood phase of understanding the Writings, we begin to see enlightenment as an orderly process of spiritual development that everyone must go through. We now turn to the Letter with even more love and passion, scrutating its literal expressions in far greater detail than before, analyzing them in the light of other passages, then seeing them come alive in our regeneration struggles day by day as we particularize the Divine Truth in the Word and apply it to self. Instead of a “dead letter” we now consume a living Word, for it is the inner meaning that gives life to the outer meaning, as seen in the passages quoted above.

 

The method of unfolding the inner sense of the Writings has been described in detail by the insights and studies of the Dutch Group as recorded in their periodical of De Hemelsche Leer (see End Notes). These studies are fully objective, demonstrable, and consistent with the procedures that the Writings command us to follow when extracting or unfolding the spiritual sense of the Letter. The studies of the Dutch Group are a tremendous resource for the New Church and I expect that they will be fully claimed by the men of the General Church, once they are appreciated for what they are. It is a fair statement to say that the important research and insights of the Dutch Group have not been evaluated or examined by the majority of General Church ministers and educators, generation after generation. The demonstrations and arguments presented in this paper make it clear that the work of the Dutch Group is based on sound Scriptural proofs based on the Letter of the Writings.

 

Nothing can be more important to the Church than its Doctrine, which is its lifeline and purpose. Two fundamental principles of the Divine Doctrine have been granted to humankind through the men of the General Church. The first principle is that the Writings are the third and final portion of the Threefold Word. The second principle of the Divine Doctrine given through the General Church is that the Writings are written in natural-rational correspondences and that every regenerating person must be enlightened by the Lord in order to see in the Letter interior truths by which to fight and overcome in our temptations. These are the two fundamental propositions introduced at the beginning of this paper.

 

These two principles of Divine Doctrine are the purpose and lifeline of the General Church of the New Jerusalem. By these two principles, the General Church is able to instruct the people in the required and commanded method we are to use to extract more interior truths from the Letter of the Writings. These are the two Divine doctrinal principles by which spiritual literacy skills can be acquired by anyone anywhere in the world.

 

Without these two principles of the Doctrine of the Church, how are the people going to be regenerated? The people will starve when fed on the dead flesh of the Letter. Living nutrition—the Mana of the Second Coming—must be provided, and only the internal sense is living. This sense cannot be learned by reading its description that is provided in a book or in a lecture. It can only be seen by enlightenment, and this elevation of the understanding cannot be laid down naked in a natural language. Natural language can only convey natural ideas about spiritual topics. This is why the Writings teach in specific detail how the internal sense must be extracted or unfolded from the Letter. There is no other method for receiving this Mana of salvation than spiritual perception from enlightenment by the Lord while we are engaged in applying the Letter to one’s willing and thinking.

 

It is a Divine Commandment that every New Church individual perform this extraction or unfolding process, for without this there is no regeneration, consequently, no salvation.

 

Therefore these spiritual literacy skills must be taught by instruction and demonstration.

 

The internal sense that is necessary for regeneration cannot be obtained in any other way but by the orderly procedures commanded in the Writings for unfolding the Letter. The internal sense cannot be obtained by explication, but only by performing the unfolding oneself. Explication by others who are enlightened can be most useful, but they are not sufficient. Every individual must learn spiritual literacy skills that empower them to be enlightened by the Lord. The Lord Himself teaches these spiritual literacy skills in the plain teaching of the Letter of the Writings.

 

The internal sense makes the Writings to be Divine (AC 1540)

 

Out Of Egypt Have I Called My Son

 

The Lord’s instruction as a Child by means of the Letter of the Hebrew Word is discussed in Arcana Coelestia. Egypt represents the knowledge gathered by the Lord from the literal sense of the Word and His rational understanding of its spiritual topics.

 

From all this it is now evident that Abram's sojourn in Egypt represents and signifies nothing else than the Lord, and in fact His instruction in childhood. This is also confirmed by what is said in Hosea:

Out of Egypt have I called My son (Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:15) ...

Thus by the "son out of Egypt" (in Hosea 11:1) in the internal sense is signified the Lord. This is further confirmed by the fact that in the Word "Egypt" signifies memory-knowledge ... Besides the most profound arcana concerning the Lord, they also involve arcana concerning the instruction and regeneration of man... And, further, they involve arcana concerning the instruction of little children in heaven; in a word, concerning the instruction of all who become images and likenesses of the Lord. (AC 1502)

 

But being historical, the mind of the reader cannot but be held in them; especially at this day, when most persons, and indeed nearly all, do not believe that there is an internal sense, and still less that it exists in every word.

 

That the internal sense is the Word itself, is evident from many things that have been revealed, as, "Out of Egypt have I called My son" (Matt. 2:15); besides many others.

(...)

The men of the Most Ancient and of the Ancient Church, who, had they lived at this day, and had read the Writings, would not have attended at all to the sense of the letter, which they would look upon as nothing, but to the internal sense. (AC 1540)

 

 

 

The following passages indicate that the Writings are “composed of appearances and correspondences.” It is said, further, that the Lord conjoins Himself to us by means of correspondences.

 

The Writings is written throughout wholly by correspondences (DP 256)

 

The literal sense of the Writings is for the simple, for those who are being initiated into the interior truths of faith, and for those who do not apprehend interior things; for this sense is according to the appearance before the sensuous man, thus is according to his apprehension. (AC 9025)

 

The literal sense of the Writings was composed out of what are called appearances and correspondences (TCR 650). The Lord conjoins Himself to uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man (DP 220). Correspondences are in great part appearances of truth enclosed within which, nevertheless, genuine truths lie concealed (DP 256).

 

We can know that the power of the Letter of the Writings is Divine since the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming, and the Letter of the Word contains nothing but the Divine. This power lies in its being written in natural-rational correspondences or appearances of truth within which is contained spiritual-rational correspondences or appearances of genuine truth. These spiritual correspondences come forth from Divine Truth as it descends and externalizes in the human mind. The literal sense of each expression in the Writings is a natural-rational correspondence. Within this, as in a cognitive vessel or containant, lies infinite things in infinite series, since this is the character of the Word (AC 2619, 6620).

 

The living power of the Letter of the Writings comes from what lies within its Letter.

 

The Writings in the natural sense, which is the sense of the letter, is in its holiness and its fullness. (...) In this sense the Writings is also in its power. (...) The power of Divine truth is directed especially against falsities and evils, thus against the hells. The fight against these must be waged by means of truths from the sense of the letter of the Writings. Moreover it is by means of the truths in a man that the Lord has the power to save him; for man is reformed and regenerated and is at the same time taken out of hell and introduced into heaven, by means of truths from the sense of the letter of the Writings. This power the Lord took upon Himself, even as to His Divine Human, after He had fulfilled all things of the Writings down to its ultimates. (SS 49)

 

The above passage indicates that every New Church individual must be reformed and regenerated by means of the Letter of the Writings, within which is Divine truth. It is not possible for anyone to be reformed and regenerated except by means of the Letter of the Writings, when we use it to fight our hereditary evils and acquired falsities.

 

Again:

 

Divine truth in the natural sense of the Writings, which is the sense of its letter is in its power (...). From this cause the literal sense is the basis, container, and support of its spiritual sense (...). All power is in the ultimates which are called things natural consequently in the natural sense of the letter of the Writings, and in the natural light of man (...) (AR 148).

 

From this passage one can see that the ultimates of the Writings are in the Letter, which is “in the natural light of man. When our thinking is immersed in the literal sense of the Writings we are in “natural light,” that is, in natural-rational correspondences or appearances of truth. When we think and reason about the spiritual topics in the Writings, such as the Lord, heaven, and regeneration, we think of them in natural appearances of Divine truth. These are called natural-rational correspondences. When our thinking is immersed in the Letter of the Writings, we are in natural light. We are thinking naturally about spiritual topics. We are not yet thinking spiritually about spiritual topics. In order to think spiritually about spiritual topics we must be enlightened by the Lord. When the Lord enlightens our understanding, our thinking is elevated to a discrete degree above the natural-rational level. At this interior level, our thinking is immersed in spiritual-rational correspondences. Spiritual-rational correspondences are the same as the internal sense of the Letter of the Writings.

 

Again:

 

Natural truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Writings, are not the very truths of heaven, but are appearances of them; and appearances of truth encompass, enclose, and contain the truths of heaven, which are genuine truths, and cause them to be in connection and order and to act together (AE 1088)

 

The appearances of truths in the Letter of the Writings are conveyed by means of natural-rational correspondences. Within these, are more interior appearances of truths conveyed by spiritual-rational correspondences. In other words, the internal sense of natural-rational correspondences are conveyed by means of spiritual-rational correspondences. The latter are perceived by enlightenment from the Lord when the former are applied to life, that is, one’s daily willing and thinking.

 

The Writings warn us not to confuse the spiritual-rational correspondences of the internal sense with natural-rational correspondences of the Letter:

 

But he is greatly mistaken who separates appearances of truth from genuine truths and calls these appearances holy by themselves and from themselves, and not the sense of the letter holy by genuine truths and from them and together with them. He separates these who sees only the sense of the letter and does not explore its meaning, as those do who do not read the Writings from doctrine. The "cherubim" mean in the Writings a guard and protection that the holy things of heaven be not violated, and that the Lord be approached only through love; consequently these signify the sense of the letter of the Writings, because that is what guards and protects. It guards and protects in this manner that man can think and speak according to the appearances of truth so long as he is well-disposed, simple, and as it were an infant; but he must take heed not to so confirm appearances as to destroy the genuine truths in the heavens. (AE 1088)

 

The warning here is for us to avoid separating “appearances of truth from genuine truths.” We must not separate in our mind the built in connection that exists between the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter and the spiritual-rational correspondences of the internal sense. The natural-rational correspondences are called “appearances of truth” while the spiritual-rational correspondences are called “genuine truths.” All truths are conveyed by means of correspondences. These are most interior with the highest angels, and less interior with the lower angels.

 

We can say “natural-rational correspondences” of the Letter of the Writings, or “natural-rational appearances of truths,” or “natural-rational truths” – the three expressions are equivalent. Similarly, we can say “spiritual-rational correspondences” of the internal sense of the Writings, or “spiritual-rational appearances of truths” or “spiritual-rational truths.” It should be recalled that anatomically, natural-rational correspondences are operative in the external natural mind, while spiritual-rational correspondences are operative in the interior-natural mind, which is also called the spiritual-natural mind or First Heaven. In other words, the literal meanings of the Writings are operative in the external natural mind while the internal meanings are operative in the interior natural mind.

 

The Lord forms and opens the interior-natural mind to the extent that an individual applies one’s understanding of the Letter to one’s daily willing and thinking. This opening of the interior-natural mind results in the conscious awareness of spiritual-rational correspondences. This is a new perception and is called enlightenment. Enlightenment is gradual over the course of regeneration and is proportional to the extent we keep re-applying the new truths we perceive, to our daily willing and thinking. This creates a spiral of ascension to heaven by means of regeneration. One perceives more and more of the interior series of the Writings as one progresses with regeneration, that is, as one applies each new perception to one’s willing and thinking all day long.

 

The idea that the Writings contain a spiritual meaning beneath the letter can only come to us when we acknowledge it as the Word, just like the Word of the Old and New Testaments. Once we acknowledge this fully, without hedging, we begin to substitute in our mind “the Writings” wherever we see “the Word” as we read the Writings. The minute we start doing this, we begin to see some of the spiritual meaning within the letter. This is the result of enlightenment from the Lord. The Lord works with our motive for doing this substitution. To the extent that we do the substitution because we love the idea that the Writings are the primary Word for the New Church mind, to that extent the Lord intensifies the enlightenment and allows us to see more interior truths. The more interior the truths we see within the Letter, the more there is enlightenment, and the closer we are to the celestial angels who live in the spiritual truths of the Writings. But, as explained frequently, this enlightenment is proportional to the extent to which we apply our understanding of Doctrine to our life.

 

I have discussed this extraction process as applying the Letter to the Letter. This is what protects the Church from false doctrines, not the intelligence of the priests, or their vigilance against heretical views spreading in the Church. For the priests spread false doctrines and dogmas just as anyone in the Church. When we are immersed in the natural-rational correspondences, our interpretation of the literal meaning takes away by a subconscious lulling into sleep, like a ship is carried by an unfavorable current to rocky waters where it will surely crash and break open. What protects us from false doctrines in our mind is the ability to view the natural-rational correspondences from the perspective or light of spiritual-natural correspondences. It is the interior-natural mind looking down on the natural-rational mind. This is enlightenment.

 

Enlightenment is called seeing the spiritual sense within the literal meaning. This refers to seeing from the interior-natural mind as it looks down on the natural-rational mind.

 

This enlightenment gives us a perception of Spiritual Doctrine, which is Divine Doctrine, spiritual and celestial in origin, with nothing at all from the world or self. This perception is the sole and sufficient means the Lord gives us to defeat false doctrines and idolatries. Note that the Beekman Doctrine failed and was rejected utterly because it could not be confirmed by the Letter of the Writings. This is what protects the Church fully so that it is in no danger as long as we stay true to the Commandment from the Letter of the Writings, that all Doctrine must be confirmed by the Letter of the Word.

 

In contradistinction to the Beekman Doctrine, the Academy Position and the Dutch Thesis were both fully and amply confirmed by the Letter of the Writings.

 

The spiritual sense of the Writings cannot be perverted because it cannot exist in the speech of teachers or the writings of sermons and articles. What is written down, or what is spoken verbally, about the Spiritual Doctrine, is automatically a natural correspondence of it. This natural correspondence is at the same level of thinking as the Letter of the Writings. Consequently, we can apply the Letter to any proposed doctrinal notion of spiritual things, and test it directly, level to level, correspondence level to correspondence level. False doctrines are also stated in natural-rational correspondences just as genuine Doctrine is. But false doctrines pervert and invert the correspondences while genuine Doctrine is Divine in our understanding.

 

Conjunction With The Lord By Means Of The Internal Sense

 

Consider for example the statement about “Nunc Licet” in the literal: “Now it is permitted to enter intellectually into the mysteries of faith.” (TCR 508) For decades we can read and hear this sentence, and teach it to others, and not see its spiritual meaning, which is, that the New Church mind is required to enter into the spiritual sense of the Writings. The spiritual sense of this sentence is the Doctrine of the Church (xx). Even after this meaning is described, as I am doing here, it cannot be recognized as true except from enlightenment in regeneration. Instead of recognizing that this is indeed its spiritual sense, we doubt it, we see it as just conjecture, as an unproven hypothesis, possibly wrong, and so on. This doubting shows the truth that the spiritual Doctrine can only be understood when enlightened by the Lord to the extent of our regeneration efforts (xx).

 

The conjunction of the Lord with man is through the Writings, by means of the internal sense (AC n. 10375). (HH 305)

 

For the New Church mind this means that conjunction of the Lord with us is through the Writings, by means of the internal sense. Here you see why it is required that we concern ourselves with the spiritual sense of the Writings, not merely with the literal. Without the spiritual sense of the Writings the New Church mind cannot be formed and be conjoined to the Lord, and without conjunction we cannot be saved.

 

There is conjunction by means of all things and each particular thing of the Writings, and in consequence the Writings is wonderful above all other writing (AC n. 10632-10634). (HH 305)

 

There is no comparison possible between the Writings and any other written work. Every word, idea, or “particular thing” in the Writings allows conjunction with the Lord through its spiritual sense, as shown above.

 

Since the Writings was written the Lord speaks with men by means of it (n.

10290). (HH 305)

 

The Writings are the only source the Lord has created for Divine Truth in the new dispensation of the Second Coming.

 

The church exists specifically where the Writings is, and where the Lord is thereby known, and thus where Divine truths are revealed (AC n. 3857, 10761). Still they who are born where the Writings is, and where the Lord is thereby known, are not of the church, but they who are regenerated by the Lord by the truths of the Writings, that is, they who live the life of charity  (NJHD 246)

 

This means that the New Church mind is formed by Divine truths that are revealed in the Writings and by which we are conjoined to the Lord. But the New Church mind is not formed by mere membership in a New Church religious organization. Rather, it is formed by the Lord through regeneration to the extent that we guide our willing and thinking by means of Doctrine from the Writings. This Doctrine must be a spiritual Doctrine for only that is Divine Truth. The spiritual Doctrine is not the literal of the Writings but its spiritual sense.

 

They who are of the church, or in whom the church is, are in the affection of truth for the sake of truth, that is, they love truth because it is truth; and they examine from the Word whether the doctrinals of the church in which they were born are true (AC n. 5432, 6047). Otherwise the truth possessed by everyone would be derived from another, and from his native soil … (NJHD 246)

 

“They who are of the church, or in whom the church is” refers to the New Church mind. It is plainly Commanded here that the New Church mind is required to examine from the Writings “whether the doctrinals of the church in which they were born are true.” The doctrinals in which we are born is the literal of the Writings or the Heavenly Doctrine. The New Church mind cannot be formed without this rational examination of the literal of the Writings. This is what reformation consists of. When we become an adult thinker reasoning from what we have made our own, we are ready to undergo reformation. This involves examining the literal of the Writings and understanding it in a scholarly way by which we are real students of the Lord. This is our First Education, as discussed above.

 

We are told here that until we become experts in the literal of the Writings, within our own sphere of thinking and reasoning, we are merely deriving the truth possessed by someone else, perhaps a teacher, preacher, or commentator. This is not the “native soil” for Divine truth but only hearsay and is not usable for our regeneration and salvation.

 

The internal or spiritual sense of the Writings contains innumerable arcana. The Writings in its internal sense contains innumerable things, which exceed human comprehension (AC n. 3085, 3086). It also contains inexplicable things (AC n. 1965). Which are represented only to angels, and understood by them ... Innumerable things are contained in every particular of the Writings (AC n. 6617, 6620, 8920); and in every expression … (NJHD 260)

 

This means that the spiritual sense of the Writings contains innumerable arcana in every word and expression. “Arcana” are spiritual truths from heaven, that is, in our spiritual mind. The Writings are the Word for the Crown of Churches. There will not be another new Church in the future, another new Word given. This is it. The creation of the human race has now been completed in the Second Coming. It makes sense therefore that the numberless generations still to come in the future should have an endless source of spiritual truths, and that is the Writings. The literal of the Writings is not endless but has a fixed number of pages and sentences. But the spiritual sense contained in this fixed literal, contains endless truths for the education and enlightenment of the future generations.

 

Not a single word, nor even a single iota can be omitted in the sense of the letter of the Word, without an interruption in the internal sense, and therefore, by the Divine Providence of the Lord, the Word has been preserved so entire as to every word and every point (AC n. 7933). (NJHD 260)

 

This means that not a single word can be omitted in the Writings without interrupting or destroying the continuity of the internal sense. Note this revelation: “By the Divine Providence of the Lord, the Word has been preserved so entire as to every word and every point.” This means that the Writings can be translated in many natural languages and that the Lord insures that the original sense of the letter is “preserved” in these translations. In other words, a Russian or Japanese translation of Arcana Coelestia will contain the same internal sense as the English translation or the original Latin. Angels perceive the spiritual sense of the Writings when people read it in any natural language (xx). I think we need to distinguish between a good and faithful translation from bad or fanciful ones.

 

There are those who think that the Writings are Divinely inspired but not necessarily in every word. This notion is a rational impossibility. We know from the Writings that not a single detail or event in the universe can occur except from the Lord’s Divine Providence (xx) and that every single thought we have or word we pronounce is made possible by the Lord through His Laws of Permissions (xx). So if the Lord manages everyone’s thinking, speaking, and writing, it is perfectly rational to say that the Lord managed the writing down of every single word Swedenborg wrote. And of course this universal principle must be applied also to the printing and processing of the Books of the Writings, thus, all the errors, missing numbers, repetitions, illustrations, and so on. Not a single detail of the Writings exists except from the Lord and by the Lord’s Divine supervision and management.

 

Therefore it’s not rational to doubt that every word and letter of the Writings is Divine Truth and contains infinite arcana in its inner spiritual sense. Swedenborg’s intelligence and genius notwithstanding, it is obvious that he could not know even a tiny portion of all that was contained in the words and sentences he wrote out, as-of self, but from the Lord.

 

Those who form a New Church mind for themselves out of the Writings are called “those whose interiors have been opened even into the light of heaven” (HH 267). This refers to the opening of our spiritual mind by means of the spiritual sense of the Writings and the Heavenly Doctrine. When our spiritual mind is opened, we become a new man with new abilities, as specified here:

 

So far as man is raised up from things external towards interior things he comes into light, that is, into intelligence … There is an actual elevation … Elevation from external to interior things is like elevation out of a mist into light … The exterior things with man are farther removed from the Divine and therefore are relatively obscure … Likewise relatively confused … Interior things are more perfect because they are nearer to the Divine … In what is internal there are thousands and thousands of things that appear in what is exterior as one general thing … Consequently, as thought and perception are more interior they are clearer … (HH 267)

 

This says that when we undergo reformation and form the New Church mind in ourselves, we then first come into “intelligence.” This new spiritual intelligence is a conscious experience that is “an actual elevation” into heavenly light. It is experienced as a more interior understanding that is clearly visible to us. The reason is that interior truths in the spiritual mind are seen in clarity while truths seen in the natural mind are relatively general, obscure, and confused.

 

There cannot be any conjunction with heaven, unless somewhere on the earth there is a church where the Word is, and by it the Lord is known; for the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, and without the Lord there is no salvation. . (DE VERBO 17)

 

This means that in the new evolutionary age of the Second Coming, conjunction between heaven and the human race on earth requires that there be a New Church mind somewhere on earth who knows the Divine Human from the Writings. This conjunction is effective even if there are relatively few individuals who are forming the New Church mind in themselves through the Writings.

 

It is enough that there be somewhere on the earth a church where the Word is. Though it consist of comparatively few, still by means of it, the Lord is present everywhere in the whole world, and by means of it heaven is conjoined to the human race, for conjunction is effected by means of the Word. But without the Word somewhere in the world there would not be conjunction with anyone. The reason of the presence of the Lord and of the conjunction of heaven with the inhabitants of the earth everywhere by means of the Word, is, that the whole heaven is before the Lord as one man, and likewise the church, and it is also actually a man, because the Lord is heaven and also the church. (DE VERBO 17)

 

The Writings are the means of conjunction with the Divine Human both on earth and in heaven:

 

The angels themselves declare that all their wisdom comes through the Word; for the light they enjoy depends upon how deep is their understanding of the Word. The light of heaven is Divine wisdom, which is visible to their eyes as light. In the shrine where a copy of the Word is stored, the light is flame-like and brilliant, surpassing in intensity any light in heaven outside it. (TCR 242)

 

Here it is stated that all the wisdom of the angels comes from the Writings, and their enlightenment is proportional to “how deep is their understanding” of the Heavenly Doctrine. Note that “a copy” of the Writings is “stored” there in a “shrine.” The brilliant light surrounding this shrine was witnessed by Swedenborg (xx).

 

These facts will allow one to conclude what wisdom there is lurking hidden in the Word we have in the world. For in it lies hidden all the wisdom of the angels, which is beyond description; and a person after death enters into possession of this wisdom, if by means of the Word he is made an angel by the Lord. (TCR 242)

 

This says that in the Writings we have here on earth, there is hidden “all the wisdom of the angels” and that the New Church mind that is formed through the Writings, “after death enters into possession of this wisdom.” Thus it is by means of the Writings exclusively that the New Church mind can become an angel.

 

In the next life, ... it is not the truths themselves that are seen but the life they have within them, that is, the celestial things within them (AC 1496).

 

(2) Where The Writings Say That Enlightenment Is The Perception Of The Inner Sense Of The Writings.

 

The Doctrine in our mind is first natural from the Letter of the Writings, then spiritual from enlightenment as we apply the literal sentences to our daily willing and thinking.

 

When the Doctrine is understood literally, consequently naturally, we consider it the same as the Letter of the Writings. In other words the expressions “the Heavenly Doctrine” and “the Letter of the Writings” are taken to be the same. But when Doctrine is understood spiritually, it is as remote from the Letter as the light of the moon is in comparison to the light of the sun (xx). The Heavenly Doctrine understood spiritually is called the Spiritual Doctrine. This is the Doctrine we must form for ourselves for making progress in our regeneration. Spiritual Doctrine understood spiritually has light and power like the noonday sun in the summer in relation to a garden or field. We begin reformation through a natural understanding of Doctrine in its literal sentences, but by the time we complete reformation, and begin regeneration, more and more of Doctrine is now seen spiritually. In other words, our enlightenment grows in proportion to our regeneration.

 

The Spiritual Doctrine is the Writings understood spiritually.

 

At first we see the Heavenly Doctrine as something outside of ourselves, something in the Letter. We take up the literal sentences into our memory and into our natural-rational understanding. Note that we do this by dint of intellectual effort and reasoning. Now that a form of the Heavenly Doctrine is in our natural-rational mind, we feel it as our own, to the extent that we also love it, not merely understand it. Once we have this natural understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine, it stays with us as we go about our daily willing and thinking, and not merely when we read the Writings. It’s as if the Writings are written in our memory and heart, rather than in a book or computer file.

 

We can now use the Heavenly Doctrine we have appropriated by applying it to guide our daily willing and thinking. This is part of the process of regeneration, namely, taking up a natural understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine and then applying it to guide our daily willing and thinking. This natural understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine is nothing else than the understanding of the natural-rational correspondences in which its words and expressions are written.

 

But the natural understanding of Doctrine does not have the power to regenerate because the natural cannot enter the spiritual, and we must be regenerated by what is spiritual entering the natural (xx).

 

Hence the Lord gives us enlightenment to the extent that we apply our natural understanding of Doctrine to daily willing and thinking. The spiritual entering the natural consists of applying natural-rational correspondences to our willing and thinking, an act or operation that the Lord uses to enlighten us. This effect is obtained because our willing and thinking constitute the interior level of the particular in creation, while the Doctrine in our mind constitute general principles and relations. The particular is a discrete degree above the general, as will be shown in the diagram that follows.

 

Only after this enlightenment has occurred, do we have a conscious perception of the Spiritual Doctrine.

 

In old age, the New Church mind enters into the third degree of the interior-natural mind, which is the level of understanding of Doctrine possessed by the celestial angels of the highest or Third Heaven. This level is discussed in Volume 4 (in preparation).

 

A Diagram Showing The Formation Of The New Church Mind

 

 

The Nine Installation Steps

 

Starting with level I at the bottom, you can see the duality external man / internal man. This is the first installation step. Notice the two arrows. The arrow on the right pointing downward represents the order of creation. In this case the internal man was created to rule the external man, and gradually does so, as we are regenerated. The reverse arrow on the left pointing upward represents the order of appearances. In the appearances of our biography it seems that the internal man is discovered by the external man. For instance we might read this in the Writings at which time we say to ourselves: “OK, I have an internal man of which I’m unconscious. This internal part of myself is called a heaven in miniature (xx) because that portion of my spirit or mind is actually in heaven with angels” (cf. xx).

 

From this we live the appearance that the external man discovers the existence of the internal man. When this appearance is taken for reality, the internal man cannot descend into the external man and heaven remains unattainable and distant as long as we remain in that state of mind.

 

The two arrows must work together to achieve functionality of the Divine operation.

 

The downward arrow represents the dominion of the internal over the external. Heaven then rules that person, and the individual is then in heaven already. The upward arrow represents the resistance we put up to obeying the Doctrine in our mind. It is our unregenerate state. Understanding this duality moves us into level II of reformation. It is the first step up in our reformation, which begins at some point in adulthood with the knowledge from the Writings that we must undergo reformation by subduing the external man and place him in obedience to the internal man. Acknowledging this process allows us to begin reformation but in order to progress we must take the second installation step.

 

The first installation step that begins reformation (Volume 1), is our acknowledgement from the Letter of the Writings that the internal man is superior even though invisible to the external man. Until reformation we were in our unregenerate state and we believed the internal/external contrast in a natural way. The contrast in our mind was a nonduality created by the idea of a continuum that stretches between the internal and the external of our mind. We thought of it like we think about the internal wall of the heart and its external wall. They are different along a continuum of muscle-cartilage combinations. Both the external wall and the internal wall of the heart belong to the same specialty in medicine, and the same techniques are used for managing both during surgery and after. This is a nonduality because the internal and external portions of the heart are made of similar fibers and protein molecules. They are at the same discrete level.

 

But not so for the internal man and the external man—they are at discrete levels relative to each other. The internal man can see the external man, but the external man cannot see the internal man (xx). Their relationship and interaction is by correspondence only since they are in two separate realms of existence. Reformation begins when we acknowledge that the relation is a discrete duality. Then for the first time we can accept the idea that the external man did not discover the internal man, but it is the internal man that revealed himself to the internal man. This new acknowledgment completes the paths of the two arrows and renders the duality functional, allowing the second step up.

 

Prior to the beginning of reformation sometime in adult life, we have the Letter of the Writings in our understanding and we take the literal meaning to be the spiritual meaning, especially when we had to work hard to finally understand some passage or see a relation between a collection of passages. We equate “hard to understand” with “deeper meaning,” and then we equate “deeper meaning” with “spiritual meaning.” Meanwhile, our thinking is immersed in the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter. We worship the Letter as one worships the Lord’s Body buried in a tomb hewn out of rocks.

 

But when we acknowledge that the internal man reveals himself to the external man, we can begin to understand this as a scientific or medical process of the growth of the human mind. This new understanding is the second installation step, as the diagram indicates. The third installation step is above understanding into perception. We are in this final phase of reformation we can perceive the particular within the general. This means: when we apply the Letter to our willing and thinking. Our willing and thinking is the particular out of which the general is constructed. Another way to say this is that our reformation is complete when we perceive the duality of the particular within the general. The general refers to the general principles and laws of Doctrine that we have in our mind from the Letter. When our reformation is completed (installation step III), our mind is then operating differently from before. We were not able to perceive how the Letter applied to our willing and thinking. We were not able to see the particular within the Letter, only its general on the exterior. Yet the general is for the sake of the particular, just as the external is for the sake of the interior.

 

Installation step 4 begins the operation of enlightenment (Volume 2).

 

This step is the acknowledgement of the duality between the spiritual sense and the natural sense. Until this first step of enlightenment we had believed that the natural sense of the Letter of the Writings is the same as the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments. This point of view cannot see a duality between them in discrete degrees, but only as a nonduality contrast, or continuum within the same degree. The first step of enlightenment therefore comes when we acknowledge that the Writings are written in pure correspondences.

 

The second step of enlightenment is installation step 5. The diagram shows that this involves understanding the duality of spiritual-rational correspondences within natural-rational correspondences. We obtain this understanding when we practice reading the Letter of the Writings with substitutions for parts from another part of the Writings. This technique and its enlightening consequences are described later in the Chapter.

 

The final step in enlightenment is installation step 6.

 

The diagram shows that this is the perception (III) of the duality Spiritual Doctrine within the Letter of the Writings. This is the highest step of enlightenment when our perception is elevated to heavenly light and we perceive spiritually like the angels do, though by means of natural correspondences, ever higher and more discretely representative. When we are fully enlightened and can perceive the Spiritual Doctrine within the Letter, we are at last fully prepared for the operation of regeneration.

 

Note the two arrows again in installation step 6, or the final phase of enlightenment (III). From the order of creation, the Spiritual Doctrine creates a suitable natural vessel for itself called the Word. This creative cause-effect relation is represented by the right arrow pointing downward. But in biographical appearance, the order is reversed. It appears that the Letter comes to us first, and that we study it for many years, believing that our increasing understanding is the spiritual sense that we penetrate. This is represented by the left arrow pointing upward. But as soon as both arrows become functional, the process is completed. In this case, the Spiritual Doctrine is no longer seen as something we infer and figure out, but something we derive or extract from the Letter because it is located within the Letter. It is a mining operation rather than a discovery and invention operation. And there are definite rules and techniques to be applied for the mining operation to be effective. This Chapter describes these methods of orderly an legitimate extraction of the Spiritual Doctrine from the Letter.

 

Installation step 7 is the first step of regeneration.

 

As the diagram shows, it is the acknowledgement of a discrete duality between reformation and regeneration. Prior to this first step, we believe that we have already been regenerating since childhood or adolescence. This is a nonduality notion of the unregenerate mind. We knew before that there was a distinction between reformation and regeneration. But we did not understand this relationship spiritually, only naturally. But now, we acknowledge it as a discrete duality, so that we can recognize the task that lies ahead. The task of regeneration has not begun until the tasks of reformation and enlightenment have been completed. Only when we perceive the Spiritual Doctrine within the Letter can we acknowledge the discrete duality between reformation and regeneration. We acknowledge reformation to be the external part of our work, while regeneration is the internal part. The external part has to do with the understanding and the dualities therein, while the internal part has to do with the will and our infernal delights.

 

The second step of regeneration is installation step 8.

 

The diagram shows this is the understanding (II) of the duality of heaven within the Church on earth. You can see from the diagram that this understanding depends on the duality between spiritual-rational correspondences and natural-rational correspondences established earlier (panning left to enlightenment, level II). We know from the Writings that heaven is the Grand Human and that nothing can be inducted into that Divine Form but what is genuinely Human, that is, what is from the Lord. There is a purification process that we must undergo if our mind is to be a Church that is tied to heaven, thus a Church in which there is an internal worship. Regeneration is the process of purification by which the Lord brings our awareness to evil delights we cleave to, thus giving us the opportunity to reject them by turning our face toward Him. Thus we can desist from the evil delights, and at last hold them in aversion and detest them. Then the Lord can admit us into the innocence of wisdom in old age (see Volume 4). This is the celestial mind, the Church on earth.

 

The final step of regeneration is installation step 9.

 

The diagram shows that this is the perception (III) of the duality conjugial love within marriage. Prior to this final phase of our regeneration we could not perceive a discrete degree between the external of our marriage an its internal, which is conjugial love. Volume 3 discusses the Doctrine of the Wife which is the central method for entering the last phase of one’s regeneration.

 

After completion of the nine installation steps, the New Church mind is fully regenerated. Then begins a new form of regeneration that does not depend on combat, as before. This is the first time that we have become fully human, as a celestial mind on earth. It is called the innocence of wisdom in old age (volume 4—in preparation).

 

(3) Where The Writings Say That Enlightenment Is Necessary For Our Regeneration.

 

 

Enlightenment is the perception of the spiritual sense within the Letter of the Writings. This interior perception is given when the truths we understand literally are applied to our daily willing and thinking.

 

Everything that proceeds from the Lord is called spiritual. And since these truths and goods cannot be received by man unless he believes them and does them, it is added, which are of faith and life from the Writings. To live from the Writings is to live from the Lord, for the Lord is in the Writings, yea, He is the Writings. (CORONIS 0) (“the Writings” substituted for “the Word”)

 

In other words, the truths we take up from the Letter of the Writings are enlightened by the Lord when we make them “of faith and life,” that is, apply the truths to our willing and thinking all day long. When we do this, and to the extent we do this, the Lord enlightens us to perceive the internal sense within the literal. As a result our understanding and level of thinking are elevated and immersed in higher level correspondences, which are more interior appearances of those truths.

 

When we learn the truths of the Writings, we first have to put them into our external rational mind, which is natural, not spiritual. But once they are there, they can be elevated into spiritual truths when the Lord enlightens us to perceive these spiritual truths. And the Lord enlightens us only when we struggle to arrange our willing and thinking to conform to this literal understanding in the natural mind. In that struggle to apply the truths to our acts all day long, is the enlightenment that constitutes the spiritual Doctrine in our mind. This is what saves since this is what we must acquire to live in heaven. Here is the Lord’s warning:

 

But he is greatly mistaken who separates appearances of truth from genuine truths and calls these appearances holy by themselves and from themselves, and not the sense of the letter holy by genuine truths and from them and together with them. He separates these who sees only the sense of the letter and does not explore its meaning, as those do who do not read the Writings from doctrine. The "cherubim" mean in the Writings a guard and protection that the holy things of heaven be not violated, and that the Lord be approached only through love; consequently these signify the sense of the letter of the Writings, because that is what guards and protects. It guards and protects in this manner that man can think and speak according to the appearances of truth so long as he is well-disposed, simple, and as it were an infant; but he must take heed not to so confirm appearances as to destroy the genuine truths in the heavens. (AE 1088:[5])

 

Note in this passage something is said about those who do not read the Writings from Doctrine. Doctrine here refers to the spiritual understanding of the literal sentences. The Doctrine understood naturally is called “appearances” of truth. When we are in that state, which is at the start of our reformation in adult life, we read the Writings and try to make sense of it by means of our own intelligence and reasoning. In this state, we “see only the sense of the letter and do not explore its meaning.” This refers to the spiritual meaning within the natural meaning. We do not explore the spiritual meaning in what we read because we do not believe there is a spiritual meaning in the Writings before we begin to regenerate.

 

The idea that the Writings contain a spiritual meaning beneath the letter can only come to us when we acknowledge it as the Word, just like the Word of the Old and New Testaments. Once we acknowledge this fully, without hedging, we begin to substitute in our mind “the Writings” wherever we see “the Word” as we read the Writings. The minute we start doing this, we begin to see some of the spiritual meaning within the letter. This is the result of enlightenment from the Lord. The Lord works with our motive for doing this substitution. To the extent that we do the substitution because we love the idea that the Writings are the primary Word for the New Church mind, to that extent the Lord intensifies the enlightenment and allows us to see more interior truths. The more interior the truths we see within the letter, the more there is enlightenment, and the closer we are to the celestial angels who live in the spiritual truths of the Writings. But, as explained frequently, this enlightenment is proportional to the extent to which we apply our understanding of Doctrine to our life.

 

It is very important to realize that striving to be a good man and doing good to the neighbor and country, are not sufficient to effect reformation and regeneration (xx). Only through Doctrine can we be reformed and regenerated. This is how the Lord created the New Heavens out of the old, by means of new spiritual truths He brought to the angels in the Word of His Second Coming. As the angels accepted and loved these new truths about the Divine Human, they appropriated them to themselves, and in these higher truths they entered the New Heavens. The New Heavens were built by the Lord out of these new spiritual truths that were in the angels from the Writings. The Lord does everything by means of Divine Truth from His Divine Love. Divine Truth is the same as the spiritual Doctrine, as accommodated to each individual’s unique understanding. When the spiritual Doctrine is in our understanding, it is the Lord who put it there. It is not possible to perceive the spiritual Doctrine except from the Lord’s immediate enlightenment. Clearly then, the spiritual Doctrine is only from the Lord, and therefore is the Lord with us, dwelling in our understanding of His Divine Truth.

 

As we ponder these things there is a certain fear or hesitation: What is someone claims to have enlightenment from the Lord and promulgates a spiritual Doctrine that is from himself, hence false. How would we distinguish between the false and the true Doctrine? The answer is that the spiritual Doctrine is only from enlightenment in the understanding, and as soon as you try to write down or describe it in natural language, all you get is a natural view of it. The spiritual Doctrine cannot be expressed in a natural language, hence there is never the danger that someone’s claim to enlightenment would influence our own thinking. We can read or reflect on the literal statements of the spiritual Doctrine this man claims to have from the Lord. But the literal and natural sentences do not give a spiritual view of the spiritual Doctrine, only a natural view.

 

You can see that this is also the case with the Heavenly Doctrine. In Arcana Coelestia (AC) we read numerous descriptions of the spiritual sense of words and sentences in the Old Testament. We can be told that woman in the Word means Church, or that man means faith or truth, or that Jacob represents the external mind, or that blood signifies spiritual truth or the falsification of spiritual truth, and so on. These correspondences are explained and these explanations are about spiritual truths, but only as seen from a natural perspective. A spiritual perspective on these spiritual truths cannot be obtained from the literal descriptions. This spiritual perspective on spiritual truths cannot reside in the natural mind, and we are not conscious of what is in our interior or spiritual mind (xx). The only way we can see the spiritual truths is not form the literal, but within the literal. And this perception within the literal is only there when we are enlightened by the Lord as we read the Writings. Let us try to write down the content of this enlightenment, and we have nothing left in the sentences but a natural perspective.

 

Note carefully that this enlightenment can only take place with the literal of the Writings and in no other way. The Lord cannot enlighten us with spiritual truths from any other work, but only from His Word. Only the Word contains spiritual truths (xx). For the New Church mind only the Writings contain spiritual truths. The Old and New Testaments are also the Word, but for the New Church mind they can only be understood from the perspective of the Writings. Hence the Writings are the primary Word for the New Church mind.

 

The Lord is able to regenerate us by means o the spiritual Doctrine in our understanding. By methods unbeknownst to us, He adjoins good to the spiritual truths we acquired as-of self into our understanding by studying the literal of the Word. Therefore gathering the spiritual Doctrine in our mind is the primary means by which we are regenerated. But this applies only to the extent that we shun evils in our willing and falsities in our thinking. If we fail to do this, the enlightened understanding falls back to the level of the unregenerate will, where it dies, and becomes purely natural, which in itself is dead (xx). It is a stillborn spiritual Doctrine, never getting a breath of life. This breath of life is our shunning evils because they are sins against the Divine Truth. When good is adjoined by the Lord, we become a genuine human being, a celestial mind, seeing the spiritual within the natural and willing and thinking accordingly.

 

 

 

Diagram Of The Discrete Levels In The Mind and the Writings

 

 

The mind is created into discrete degrees or levels. Each upper level interacts with the level below itself by means of correspondences. The bottom level of the natural mind is corporeal and it is not active with angels in heaven (xx). But while we are in the physical body, the corporeal mind provides us with the ability to memorize the Letter. Children are very good at this and can be taught to recite large chunks of the Word, and to learn it by song and play. But this level of thinking does not allow them to understand a single sentence or rational concept. Above this is the natural-sensuous mind which allows us to interpret the surface layer or meaning of the Letter. Anyone with education can paraphrase many sentences in the Writings, or translate them into another language. However this sensuous level of thinking and understanding does not allow one to see general applications or see the equivalence between different passages, or how they relate to one another and build on a theme or principle. These activities can only go on in the natural-rational mind. You can see form the diagram that it is the highest portion of the external natural mind. Above this is no longer the external natural mind but its interior, called the interior-natural mind.

 

Note this important fact: While the natural-rational mind is built up by our own studious effort at figuring out the Writings, the interior-natural mind is activated solely by the Lord.

 

This means that the interior-natural mind is the consciousness of the Holy Spirit with us. It is the physiological organ of the mind that provides for the dwelling of the Divine within our conscious awareness.

 

Note from the diagram that the interior-natural mind is activated by the Lord simultaneously with our mental activity of rationally figuring out a sentence in the Writings. This is the process of enlightenment from the Lord as one reads or reflects upon the Letter. It is provided by the Lord for the sake of our regeneration, for without this enlightenment we could not perceive the spiritual sense, and without perceiving the spiritual sense no one can be regenerated. This is the physiological process the Lord provides and there is no other method by which to be regenerated and saved.

 

The spiritual meaning that is in our interior mind is from the Lord. The natural-rational meaning that is in our external mind comes from our intellectual effort to understand the literal of the Writings. Together the external truth springs into life and becomes a living truth. Living truths is what heaven is made of, therefore we need them to enter eternal life in heaven (xx). The living spiritual truths which form heaven in our mind is called the City, the New Jerusalem, the Heavenly Doctrine (xx). This is the spiritual truths we must have in our mind in order to filter the packets and arrange them in the heavenly order, until at last, our mind is a heaven in miniature (xx). Without this spiritual Doctrine in our mind, nothing can happen but the inevitable slide down to hell. Our spiritual acts of willing and thinking all day long will not be filtered by truth, and in the absence of truth there is only hell forever (xx).

 

Keep in mind that in order to perceive the spiritual sense of the Letter of the Writings, two activities must go on simultaneously. One is located in the interior-natural mind and the other in the natural-rational mind. Prior to reformation our interior-natural mind was not activated by the Lord. Our consciousness of the spiritual topics discussed by the Letter was non-existent. We only had a natural understanding of the spiritual topics discussed in the literal sensed of the Writings. But after reformation the Lord is able to activate our interior-natural mind. Now when our natural-rational reflects on the meaning of a sentence in the Letter, our interior-natural is also activated, giving us a spiritual consciousness of the topics in the sentence. Now we can perceive the spiritual sense within the Letter of the Writings. The activation of the interior-natural mind is called enlightenment.

 

When we study the Writings in order to form spiritual Doctrine in the mind, we do so from a desire to be obedient to the Lord’s order and to reject all the order we naturally prefer. This as of-self self-compulsion is the discipline and effort into which the Lord can infuse spiritual-rational light, which is the understanding of interior truths. But it’s an unending process (AC 9334). So we must continue the daily discipline by modifying the Doctrine of life day by day, to reflect the new more interior light we receive from the Lord. Now in this new light, we must modify our willing and thinking to agree with the new light, which gives a higher and purer perception. This is a cumulative process so that we grow spiritually every day., This regimen or discipline requires that we turn to the Lord for power to overcome the old way of willing and thinking. Now even more interior light can be given by the Lord, and this continues to eternity (AC 9410). For unless we improved every day to eternity, we could not be truly human and truly happy (xx).

 

Note that the ever spiraling light to higher or more interior consciousness is not a sensation of ecstasy but a rational consciousness. It is a new rationality in the understanding. No truths reside in the will but only in the understanding (AE 724). So it is the understanding that receives higher and higher consciousness to eternity. Charity cannot be exercised without Doctrine (xx). It is Doctrine that leads to charity, and from this charity, we receive new, more interior Doctrine. Charity does not save unless it is from Doctrine (xx). Charity is the primary, and Doctrine the secondary. Doctrine without charity cannot save (xx). Doctrine as primary and charity as secondary, cannot save. But Doctrine that leads to charity, from which new Doctrine is obtained, does save. It is not charity that saves by means of Doctrine, but Doctrine from charity saves (xx).

 

Enlightenment [is] received from the Lord when a person focuses his attention on the Writings to the end that he may have a knowledge of truths. (AC 7012)

 

 

(4) Where The Writings Say That The Internal Sense Must Be Extracted By Every Regenerating Individual.

 

Everything that proceeds from the Lord is called spiritual. And since these truths and goods cannot be received by man unless he believes them and does them, it is added, which are of faith and life from the Writings. To live from the Writings is to live from the Lord, for the Lord is in the Writings, yea, He is the Writings. (AE 754)

 

This clearly says that to live from the Writings is to live from the Lord and that He is the Writings. The Writings teach that they cannot be understood without Doctrine drawn from its Letter (xx). Note that Doctrine has to be drawn out, which means that Doctrine is not the same as the Letter. Recall that the Letter of the Writings in a book or computer file is not what’s meant when regeneration is discussed in the Writings. The Letter of the Writings referred to is the literal meaning of the sentences that we have studied and understood in a rational way. Therefore the Letter of the Divine Truth now exists laid down in our natural mind. At first it is laid down in our sensuous mind, but then as we grow more in intellectual ability, the Literal is laid down in our natural-rational mind. This is the Letter we must think of when discussing regeneration, for only when it is in the understanding can the Letter serve for our regeneration and salvation.

 

Be it known that the true doctrine of the church is that which is here called "the internal sense;" for in the internal sense are truths such as the angels have in heaven. (AC 9095)

 

The spiritual sense of the Writings is identical with the doctrine which is in heaven. (NJHD 7)

 

Without doctrine the Writings is not understood (NJHD 256)

 

The internal sense is the very doctrine of the church (AC n. 9025, 9430, 10400). They who understand the Writings according to the internal sense, know the essential true doctrine of the church, inasmuch as the internal sense contains it  (NJHD 260)

 

He who does not know the arcana of heaven must needs believe that the Writingsis supported without doctrine from it; for he supposes that the Writingsin the letter, or the literal sense of the Writings, is doctrine itself. … But the doctrine must be collected from the Writings, and while it is being collected, the man must be in enlightenment from the Lord; and he is in enlightenment when he is in the love of truth for the sake of truth, and not for the sake of self and the world. These are they who are enlightened in the Writingswhen they read it, and who see truth, and from it make doctrine for themselves. (AC 9424)

 

This clearly says that the literal of the Writings is not the Doctrine. And it makes it clear that the spiritual Doctrine cannot be extracted from the literal sense except by enlightenment from the Lord. Note that Doctrine in the natural form is natural, even though the topic can be about spiritual truths. Even though the topic is about spiritual truths, it is a natural idea about spiritual truths. The spiritual idea of spiritual truths is spiritual and celestial. Further, the spiritual idea of natural truths is also spiritual and celestial. So it’s not the topic that determines whether it is perceived naturally or spiritually. This is important to keep remembering. Just because spiritual topics are discussed, it doesn’t make the discussion or its level thinking spiritual! Only that level of thinking can be spiritual which is in the spiritual mind. Doctrine we study in the Writings is always going to remain natural in so far as we limit ourselves to the literal level of thinking.

 

At this level we can think about spiritual things like the Divine Human, Divine Providence, conjugial union, and so on, but these spiritual topics are only understood naturally, not spiritually. IN order to understand them spiritually we must have the spiritual mind opened. This opening is done by the Lord to the extent that we apply the literal form of the Doctrine to our daily willing and thinking sequences. To that extent we are then enlightened, and when we then read the letter again to confirm our new perception, our spiritual mind is gradually opened by the Lord. This gradual opening process is a conscious process of which we are aware. (These various points have been discussed and cited above.)

 

The Writings in the sense of the letter is natural (AC n. 8783). (HH 305)

 

What in particular concerns the doctrine that now follows, is that it also is out of heaven, because it is from the spiritual sense of the Writings; and the spiritual sense of the Writings is identical with the doctrine which is in heaven. (NJHD 7)

 

This means that the Writings in the sense of the letter is natural. And therefore the Doctrine in the sense of the letter is natural. It is easy to forget this when we refer to the Writings as the Heavenly Doctrine. We then might suppose that the literal of the heavenly Doctrine is spiritual, when in fact it is natural. What then is the spiritual of the Heavenly Doctrine? This spiritual is only perceived by those who are enlightened by the Lord, as discussed and fully proven just above.

 

The Writings … was written by means of pure correspondences (HH 305)

 

This may sound amazing to those who have studied the Writings for many years and have paid attention only to its literal, thinking that the description of spiritual truths was spiritual. But when we undergo reformation in adult life and begin our regeneration by means of the Doctrine in the literal, then for the first time we are enlightened by the Lord and begin to perceive through the literal into the spiritual. I can testify that this is an amazing experience. The same old passages which we have been reading and quoting for years, suddenly are perceived in their inner sense. This spiritual sense was always there but we could not see anything of it. Now that we see through the literal, as through a clear window pane or crystal. And we marvel at the fact that the literal can be read in the literal, and make good sense, and also can be read in the spiritual, and it makes good sense.

 

 

i The Writings cannot be understood without doctrine.

ii. Doctrine must be drawn from the sense of the letter of the Writings.

iii. But the Divine truth which must be of doctrine appears to none but those who are in enlightenment from the Lord. (SS 50)

 

These three commandments must be kept in mind when thinking about Doctrine and regeneration. First, the Letter of the Writings is not the Doctrine and cannot be understood without Doctrine. Second, Doctrine must be drawn or rationally extracted form the Letter of the Writings. Third, the spiritual Doctrine is of Divine origin and can be seen only by those who are enlightened by the Lord. Clearly, our regeneration and salvation goes through orderly stages, and one is the imbibing of the Letter of the Writings and figuring out their meaning in a rational way. This is our First Education in spiritual development or regeneration.

 

The second phase is to “draw from the sense of the letter of the Writings.” This drawing out process is a rational process of reasoning with our conscious natural mind. It is orderly and objective since others in the Church must be able to also understand the extraction process. Genuine faith cannot be by persuasion or authority (xx). So every regenerating individual must extract Doctrine from the Letter. But this cannot be done prior to studying and figuring out the meaning of the Letter in a rational way. By performing this intellectual discipline we are insured that there will be rational vessels in our natural mind that can serve for enlightenment by the Lord.

 

You can see that the Lord desires to enlighten everyone, and would instantly do so, if this were according to Order. But it is not possible to do this according to Order, for rational and spiritual reasons that are explained in the Writings. Therefore the Lord commands us to follow the precise condition by which He can enlighten us, and this is the taking up of the Letter of the Writings into our rational mind. As we apply this natural understanding to our daily willing and thinking, the understanding become spiritual. This is done by the Lord who animates the external rational understanding from within, as explained in several places in this book. So the Second Education we must undergo is this drawing out of Doctrine from the Letter. Here not the external physical book is meant, neither the memorized sentences. What is meant is the Letter in our understanding. In other words, the intellectual effort we made in trying to understand the Letter we read in the book. This understanding of the Letter is the Letter within our understanding, and it is the Letter that is called a “vessel” within which the Lord can infuse spiritual truths.

 

The third step is to confirm the spiritual Doctrine extracted by means of the Letter in the book. Without this the entire process is not genuine but falsified. All three steps are necessary. The Third Education is the development of our skill in confirming spiritual Doctrine in the Letter of the Writings. This activity multiplies the consequences of the spiritual Doctrine and the spread throughout our conscious rational mind, from which we have wisdom to defeat our evil affections.

 

The Third Education allows us to prove the correctness and purity of the spiritual Doctrine and to disprove the false natural doctrinal theories that many in the Church might put forth at one time or another. The essential human is rational and since Doctrine is a rational entity, it is Doctrine that makes us more and more human. We are not fully human, genuinely human, until we have confirmed the spiritual Doctrine which we received by enlightenment. Because the fully human is the celestial mind, and this is what the celestial mind does, and this is whereby the celestial mind is created by the Lord.

 

You can see from all this that two things make the all and all of the New Church: the Letter of the Writings and the spiritual Doctrine we extract from it by enlightenment from the Lord.

 

The process of spiritual development, or regeneration, is gradual and by means (xx). It describes the process in numerous places in the Letter, as a computer search on “regeneration” will instantly demonstrate. The first general step is to study the Letter of the Writings as the Word itself and to gather into our rational mind the Literal form of the Spiritual Doctrine. The form of the Spiritual Doctrine lies within every sentence of the Writings. Even every single word of the Writings must be so honored, being aware of the rational idea that the Divine spiritual Doctrine is laid down in this or that translation. But faithful translations will insure the transmission of the Literal in a genuine rational form that allows it to respond by correspondence to the details of the spiritual Doctrine. There is no doubt that the Lord preserves the Letter of the Writings as He preserves the Letter of the Old and New Testaments.

 

The spiritual Doctrine is the understanding we have of the Letter in our mind when enlightened. This is a new spiritual understanding not available to us before the enlightenment. It can be read and learned in descriptions given by others, but only a natural understanding can be had in this by this external mechanism. Only a direct internal mechanism allows us to access the spiritual understanding of Doctrine, namely, what the Lord calls enlightenment or illustration (xx). Once enlightened, try to write down the spiritual understanding, and you end up with correspondences for it in the natural-rational system of thinking. You can read the sentence “

 

Note well: the Letter of the Writings must be in our mind for this to happen. Further, this happens only to the extent that our motive for taking up the Literal in our mind, is a spiritual motive in relation to regeneration. In other words, we read in the Writings that we must take up spiritual Doctrine from the Letter in order to cooperate in our regeneration. This is the right motive, and other motives will not allow the Lord to enlighten us from the Letter we have in our mind. I have discussed this issue throughout Volume 2 and in many places in Volume 1.

 

Enlightenment in the Letter from the Lord means that He creates a new interior-natural mind within the external-rational mind that is in the upper portion of the natural mind, above the sensuous. This new creation admits nothing whatsoever from self and the world. This is most important to keep in mind in order to be able to see the Divine origin of the Doctrine we bring forth as-of self in the Church. The events in the interior-natural mind are nothing else but correspondences. These correspondences are nothing else but representations in our conscious rational mind of the events going on in the spiritual mind. These events are totally unconscious and of which cannot become aware in this life. So the activity in the spiritual mind is purely a Divine Work. These activities involve the implantations of spiritual seeds and their nurturing and development by the angels from the Lord.

 

As this Divine procedure is achieved, the exact and full correspondence is recorded in the interior-natural mind. You can see that these correspondences are also Divine since only the Lord deposits spiritual truths and their correspondences. Now e have a new thing entirely. We have an interior-natural mind which gives us conscious awareness of spiritual truths seen through spiritual correspondences that are Divine. In effect, we become conscious of Divine Truth in a spiritual way. Prior to this we only understood spiritual truths in a natural way through our external rational mind. In other words, our First Education, was to implant the Letter into our rational by as-of self voluntary intellectual effort. The Second Education is to become consciously aware of the spiritual correspondences of Divine origin in our interior-natural mind. This new spiritual consciousness is purely of Divine origin, and there is nothing in it from self and the Letter.

 

Again remember that the conscious awareness of the spiritual Doctrine in the interior-natural mind is there in exact proportion to the motive we have for putting the Letter into our rational mind.

 

It follows from all this that the Doctrine of the Church placed in the interior-natural by the Lord through correspondences, is a Divine Doctrine that has nothing from self or the world in it. This Divine Doctrine is not man-made but man-received. All those who will honor it can receive it, see it, and consciously understand it to the extent they are undergoing regeneration.

 

Prior to our ability to enjoy enlightenment from the Lord, we are immersed in the Letter. Our understanding of the revelations of the Second Coming is an individual struggle. We grasp to understand more and more and we go through various stages of confusion, and even doubt. One sign is that we can readily believe on sentence of the Letter, but not so readily some other sentences. When the literal meaning runs contrary to our beliefs systems and education, we experience some doubt as to the Divine origin of those sentences. Similarly, when we read that there is a Doctrine of the Church, and then read its description in the Letter, we merely believe that these explanations are the Doctrine discussed.

 

As we undergo reformation in adult life, early or late, we begin to see that the Lord works in every detail of our regeneration, in our thinking especially. He decides what we read when and tries to bend our thinking so that we may receive the spiritual meaning that this within the Letter. We begin to trust that the Lord is supervising these details. A wrong motive for doing this will only yield self-made doctrine, which is neither Divine nor true or valid. But a right motive for doing it will only yield Divine Doctrine. This duality must be fully accepted by being fully convinced of its truth. The wrong motive cannot yield the Divine Doctrine and the right motive must. It is an inevitable process the Lord has created for the regeneration of the old mind and the formation of the New Church mind. The New Church mind cannot be formed by anything from self-intelligence but only by intelligence form the Lord. Whatever comes into our intelligence form the Lord is Divine.

 

An example of the Spiritual Doctrine given by the Lord to this generation is the Academy Movement of the General Church. This has two main portions. First, the acknowledgement that the Writings are the Word. And second, the acknowledgement that “the plain teachings of the Writings as the sole authority in the Church." The expression plain teachings refers to the Letter of the Writings. The phrase “sole authority in the Church” refers to the Spiritual Doctrine given by the Lord to the men of the General Church. This divine Doctrine was born in a specific New Church at a particular time in history. This Divine Seed was nurtured by the men of the General Church and confirmed in many ways from the Letter. This Divine Doctrine which was revealed to the General Church as a Church Specific, is to serve the entire human race. The Lord has an endless supply of spiritual-celestial truths to grant to all the New Church organizations that will be formed to the endless future on this earth. Each time it happens, the Divine Birth in the Church will be a replication or recapitulation by correspondence, of how the Lord Glorified His Human. The Spiritual Doctrine is solely a Divine Work with the men of the Church who are undergoing regeneration and are enlightened by the Lord to see the Divine Doctrine in their interior-natural mind.

 

To say that the sole authority of the Church is the plain teachings of the Writings is to say that the Spiritual Doctrine cannot form the Church since it is in the interior-natural mind. The Church must be formed by that which is external, hence the Letter of the Writings and ecclesiastical administrations (xx). Clearly no other possibility exists since the Church specific is a natural organization in society with a legal status and responsibilities. It must have a literal constitution and a literal Sacred Scripture. So the Letter of the Writings must be the only and final authority on all things concerning the Church administration and instruction.

 

It’s very important to understand why the Writings do not specify in greater detail what the Church administration and rituals should be. The Old Testament gave the Jewish Church very precise and detailed procedural steps, rules, and principles to follow under penalty of death and misery. But the New Testament abrogated those details and the new Christian dispensation was almost devoid of Church and worship specifications, leaving only these: Baptism, Holy Supper, the Lord’s Day, the Lord’s Prayer,  the entire Word, Weddings, Charity. Clearly this was done to allow cultural differences in religious worship of the Lord. The same is the case with the New Church. So many details could have been given in dozens of volumes of writing, so many details were given about so many subjects, yet almost no details were given about Church administration and worship. Why?

 

For the same reason as before, to allow the endless proliferation of organizations in the New Church. Only the internal worship has become crucial (xx), and this is a matter of the Spiritual Doctrine. Almost all of the external Church procedures of worship and government are therefore not part of the Letter, nor part of Doctrine. Ecclesiastical government, procedures, and rules are socio-cultural natural issues, and these often become political issues when charity in the Church is made less important than Church organization. The Spiritual Doctrine does not enter into the Church organizational framework and due process of grievance. Nor does the Letter. To attempt to bring forth the Letter in support of a political dissent in the Church can only lead to more dissent until all charity dies, and that Church specific becomes vastated.

 

Dissent in the Church organization will develop but the Letter of the Writings must not be used to support one side of the argument as against another. To do this would lead the Church into fundamentalism and from a celestial Church it becomes a Church of Cain (xx).

 

We may fear the social and political implications of saying that the Doctrine in our mind can be Divine. We immediately start imagining that a New Church pope will come along, or several of them, and will mislead the people to their own power hungry or crazed motives and insanities. Since they are in a position of authority an prominence in the Chr5uch, we fear for the destruction of the Church by heresies, just as we are told happened with the Christian Church (xx). As a result of this notion and fear, we might act to suppress the idea of a Divine Doctrine other than the Letter of the Writings.

 

But the Lord guides our thinking in this all important area, as He does all areas of lesser importance to our salvation. We cannot really become convinced of the Divinity of some Doctrine brought forth by someone in the Church unless we are fully confident that the Lord will also bring clear vision to all sincere men so that they may distinguish between bogus doctrine and spiritual Doctrine of purely celestial origin. If we fail to allow this certainty and confidence in the process, we are not yet acting from the Lord but from ourselves.

 

When proposals are brought forth about new spiritual insights form the Lord, those who read them may not see that what has been brought forward are genuine spiritual truths of Doctrine, even thought hey may be. This is why all proposals of Spiritual Doctrine must be confirmed by the Letter in many ways, not just here and there. All members of the Church must obey the Lord’s commandment to bring forth the Spiritual Doctrine through the Letter of the Writings. So when someone in the Church brings forth such a proposal, and confirms it by the Letter, the others in the Church must try do likewise. They must search the Letter to see if they can build their own case for the new proposals. Only the case you can build yourself can be of value to your understanding and regeneration. It’s useless for your own regeneration to merely accept a new Doctrinal proposal merely by someone’s authority or intellectual ability to instruct and write.

 

All proposals of Doctrine must therefore be left to everyone’s conscience and effort. But all proposals of ecclesiastical governance must be left to the organization’s normal due process procedures. Whatever is not specifically in the Letter of the Writings in terms of governance and worship procedure must be handled by the organization’s democratic due process procedures and written constitution. In this way there will be no disturbance in the Church and the priesthood can lead the flock to the good of life by means of instruction. I believe that the written constitution or charter of every Church organization should contain an explicit policy that the Literal must not be used to support or impose any rule or procedure, with the only exception being what is explicitly stated about the Word, Baptism, Weddings, Holy Supper, and the Lord’s Day.

 

The Letter of the Writings protects the Church from false proposals of Doctrine since all Doctrine must be confirmed by the Letter (xx). It is impossible to prove rationally that a false Doctrine is from the Letter. Note well: Many such attempts have been made in the Old Christian Church and in the New Church, and this will no doubt continue for a long time, if not permanently. The unregenerate mind born in the New Church will concoct false Doctrine, but it will never be able to prove it from the Letter. If the attempt is made, no proof is produced, but only a correlated argument.

 

It’s very important to understand the difference between proof and correlated arguments.

 

An analogy from science may make this easier to understand rationally. Our culture makes us familiar with medical research reported in the news and magazines. correlations are established between some behavior habit and the occurrence of a particular disease. For example, smoker have a higher rate of lung cancer than non-smokers, even when other lifestyle factors are held common such as diet and exercise. For many years this finding served to fuel the campaign against smoking, and indeed it dropped as behavioral habit. The associated illnesses also dropped in frequency. This is an example of relying on correlation argument. When this is done, sometimes the argument turns out to be wrong. Some other unknown correlated factor was present, and it is that actually produces the illness. If this factor is not present, the behavior habits do not lead to the sickness. In the case of smoking, causative proof was also obtained to some extent by means of causative procedures that involve control groups and medically created groups that receive certain treatment.

 

It is similar with the attempt to distinguish between man-made false doctrine and Divine Doctrine from heaven. Note that we have no choice to make this distinction since we cannot fall back on the earlier idea that the Divine Doctrine is the Letter of the Writings. Now we know that it is within the Letter, hence cannot be written down except by descriptions that are correspondences. This is why it was necessary for the Writings to say that all derived Doctrine must be confirmed by the Letter in an endless process of verification, confirmation, and instruction, by every generation of the Church. This is the endless process of growth of the Church to the entire future to come. The Lord has an endless number of Divine truths He desires to give to the Church from now to eternity. These Divine truths are placed in the spiritual mind, where they induce correspondences in the interior –natural mind, where we become conscious of the spiritual Doctrine, and we know from the Letter, that it is from Divine origin.

 

This system of Doctrinal evolution in the human race works only to the extent that the individuals of the Church are undergoing lawful regeneration in accordance with the Letter of the Writings.

 

Since each individual is undergoing regeneration at different rates and with different character, the process of confirming and establishing the Divine Doctrine in the Church is not smooth and agreeable. People will disagree and the gnashing of teeth will be heard in the halls of the Church (xx). Nevertheless, the process will work, since bringing froth genuine Doctrine is a Divine Work the Lord accomplishes through the human race, and this, on an evolutionary scale of permanent increase.

 

You can see that the Lord gives the Letter and the spiritual Doctrine and that both are tied to each other, one cannot live without the other. The spiritual Doctrine cannot be given in the Letter, but only a natural description of it by means of correspondences. Therefore what we read in the Letter about Doctrine is not the spiritual Doctrine but the Letter of the spiritual Doctrine. The Lord alone can provide us with the spiritual Doctrine within our interior-natural mind.

 

Add to these most manifest evidences, that the spiritual sense of the Word has been disclosed by the Lord through me, which has never before been revealed since the Word was written among the sons of Israel; and this sense is the very sanctuary of the Word: the Lord Himself is in this sense with His Divine, and in the natural sense with His Human. Not a single iota in this sense can be opened except by the Lord alone. This surpasses all the revelations that have hitherto been made from the creation of the world. By means of this revelation a communication has been opened between men and the angels of heaven, and conjunction of the two worlds has been effected; since when man is in the natural sense, the angels are in the spiritual sense. See what has been written concerning this sense in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture [in THE TRUE CHRISTIAN RELIGION]. (INV 44)

 

We read in this passage that Swedenborg was enlightened by the Lord who disclosed through him the “spiritual sense of the Word.” In our First Education phase, we think that “the Word” refers to the Old and New Testament. We think this because this is the plain appearance when Swedenborg quotes from these Two Testaments verse by verse, and phrase by phrase, and explicates their spiritual sense by means of correspondences. In this passage, for instance, it says that the spiritual sense of the Word “has never before been revealed since the Word was written among the sons of Israel.” Hence our natural understanding compels us to think that the Word of the Old Testament is being referred to here.

 

But in our Second Education phase, we are willing to accept the idea that “the Word” here refers to the Writings. In other words, the passage says that “the spiritual sense of the Writings has been disclosed by the Lord through me.” We can accept the idea that since the Writings have an inner sense, there must be something internal signified by the expression “the sons of Israel.” The passage here is fully accurate and true in its literal meaning by which “the sons of Israel” refer to the Jewish Church and the Old Testament. But it also fully accurate and true in its spiritual sense. “The sons of Israel” has a spiritual sense in the Word of all Three Testaments. The spiritual sense of it in the Old Testament means the Church or those of the Church (AC 6636). Applying this correspondence given by the Letter to the passage above, we can see that it is discussing the men of the New Church, not merely the men of the Jewish Church. The passage therefore is:

 

The spiritual sense of the Writings has been disclosed by the Lord through me, which has never before been revealed since the Writings was written among the New Church; and this sense is the very sanctuary of the Writings: the Lord Himself is in this sense with His Divine, and in the natural sense with His Human (INV 44) (“the Writings” substituted for “the Word”)

 

“By me” in the natural sense refers to Swedenborg, but in the spiritual sense it refers to every New Church mind undergoing regeneration by means of the Doctrine from the Letter of the Writings. So the passage actually says that the spiritual sense of the Writings is disclosed by the Lord through every New Church mind for whom it was intended to effect regeneration. This spiritual sense we obtain by enlightenment (or revelation), but not in our First Education, about which it says that it “has never before been revealed.” But in our Second Education, it is for the first time “disclosed by the Lord.” In this spiritual sense is the Divine of the Lord, while in the natural sense is the Human of the Lord. The spiritual sense of the Writings that is disclosed to us is the Spiritual Doctrine, is the spiritual within the natural, and this is the Lord in His Divine Human.

 

Enlightenment in the Letter from the Lord means that He creates a new interior-natural mind within the external-rational mind that is in the upper portion of the natural mind, above the sensuous. This new creation admits nothing whatsoever from self and the world. This is most important to keep in mind in order to be able to see the Divine origin of the Doctrine we bring forth as-of self in the Church. The events in the interior-natural mind are nothing else but correspondences. These correspondences are nothing else but representations in our conscious rational mind of the events going on in the spiritual mind. These events are totally unconscious and of which cannot become aware in this life. So the activity in the spiritual mind is purely a Divine Work. These activities involve the implantations of spiritual seeds and their nurturing and development by the angels from the Lord.

 

As this Divine procedure is achieved, the exact and full correspondence is recorded in the interior-natural mind. You can see that these correspondences are also Divine since only the Lord deposits spiritual truths and their correspondences. Now e have a new thing entirely. We have an interior-natural mind which gives us conscious awareness of spiritual truths seen through spiritual correspondences that are Divine. In effect, we become conscious of Divine Truth in a spiritual way. Prior to this we only understood spiritual truths in a natural way through our external rational mind. In other words, our First Education, was to implant the Letter into our rational by as-of self voluntary intellectual effort. The Second Education is to become consciously aware of the spiritual correspondences of Divine origin in our interior-natural mind. This new spiritual consciousness is purely of Divine origin, and there is nothing in it from self and the Letter.

 

Again remember that the conscious awareness of the spiritual Doctrine in the interior-natural mind is there in exact proportion to the motive we have for putting the Letter into our rational mind.

 

It follows from all this that the Doctrine of the Church placed in the interior-natural by the Lord through correspondences, is a Divine Doctrine that has nothing from self or the world in it. This Divine Doctrine is not man-made but man-received. All those who will honor it can receive it, see it, and consciously understand it to the extent they are undergoing regeneration.

 

We are not saved by the Letter of the Writings but by means of the Divine truth within the Letter. The Letter itself is dead (xx). Hence it is a Divine commandment that the New Church mind avoid remaining in the dead Letter and must “scrutate” the Letter to find out what is in it (xx). This refers to systematic, scholarly, and scientific methods for “extracting” the spiritual sense from the Letter of the Writings.

 

We do our conscious rational thinking and reasoning in the portion of the mind called the natural-rational understanding. This level of thinking and reasoning is constituted out of natural-rational correspondences, that is, spiritual-rational truths accommodated to the intellect of the natural mind. The Word of the Old Testament is written in natural-corporeal correspondences, while the Word of the New Testament is written in natural-sensuous correspondences. The Word of the Writings is written in natural-rational correspondences.

 

The natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings are therefore a discrete degree above the New Testament correspondences, which in turn are a discrete degree above the Old Testament correspondences.

 

The Threefold Word has been given to the human race in three portions, each part suitable to the intellectual level of the civilization which received its portion. The natural-rational correspondences of the Writings required that they be written after modern science and the rational age had matured. Swedenborg’s prepared mind, immersed in this modern climate, served as the mechanism for delivering the Latin Word.

 

This indicates that Swedenborg’s level of conscious thinking and reasoning was immersed in natural-rational correspondences. His thoughts, concepts, ideas were constituted out of natural-rational correspondences. As a result, he was able to compose sentences and paragraphs in Latin that were made wholly of expressions that denote natural-rational correspondences. Many illustrations and demonstrations of this fact are given in this Volume. Undoubtedly Swedenborg also operated at a higher degree of thinking and perceiving when he was in the company of angels, especially higher angels. His thinking was then immersed in and was operating by means of spiritual-rational correspondences. But when it came to composing Latin sentences, which are laid down in a natural language, Swedenborg’s thinking and reasoning operated at a natural level, not spiritual. Hence it is that the Letter of the Writings, that is, the literal meaning of the expressions, refers to natural-rational correspondences. By this process the Lord was able to reveal His Divine Rational laid down in the natural.

 

The natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings give us the new rational ability to build up in our natural mind, a representation of this Letter in our knowledge, understanding, and perception. This representation of the Letter in our natural mind is constituted of natural-rational correspondences. These natural-rational correspondences are located in the natural-rational mind. This is the highest portion of the natural mind, as will be illustrated in diagrams. These natural-rational correspondences in the natural-rational mind serve for reformation.

 

But in order for regeneration to begin the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter in our mind, must be applied to life, that is, to our daily willing and thinking. The moment we begin this activity, which is to be a daily activity for many years, the Lord enlightens us.

 

Enlightenment in the New Church mind refers to perception of interior meaning in the Letter of the Writings.

 

The Word is written in correspondences, as already mentioned. The natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings are appearances of Divine Truth regarding the Divine Rational of the Lord. These natural-rational correspondences contain an interior spiritual meaning which is constituted of spiritual-rational appearances of truth. In other words, the spiritual sense of the Writings is nothing else than the spiritual-rational correspondences that are within the natural-rational correspondences of its Letter.

 

You can see the all important difference between natural-rational correspondences of the Letter, on the one hand, and on the other, spiritual-rational correspondences of the internal sense of the Letter. The relationship is like that between earth and heaven, or that between what is dead in itself as an ultimate, and what is alive within it as Divine. Swedenborg’s thinking and perception was immersed in spiritual-rational correspondences when in the company of angels, but in natural-rational correspondences when writing in Latin or Swedish. Since the two correspond, we are able to extract from the natural-rational correspondences, the spiritual-rational correspondences which lie within. The Writings have provided detailed instructions on how to apply this method of extraction to the Letter, as is shown in this Volume.

 

For reformation we use natural-rational correspondences; for regeneration, we use spiritual-rational correspondences. One is a more interior appearance of truth. This more interior appearance of truth is itself an appearance or correspondence, but it is a higher appearance, or higher correspondence, and what is higher is superior.

 

Superior in this case means closeness of conjunction with the Lord, which is the actual power that effects regeneration. Divine power is needed to effect regeneration because we are born in the jaws of the infernal hells and when we try to change, we face those hells in all their ferocity and tenacity. And the hells are united so that each evil society draws power from all the others there. Only the Lord can overcome the combined power of all the hells. But the Lord cannot effect regeneration without our cooperation. Hence we must struggle and undergo temptations for many years. The following diagram depicts the character of the Threefold Word as presented in the Writings.

 

 

The diagram above depicts the orderly relationship between the Threefold Word and the human mind. That such a relationship must exist is obvious when you consider that the Threefold Word was given for the purpose of effecting regeneration. There is no regenerations apart from the Word (xx).

 

Line 1 shows the Threefold Word in relation to the its external and internal sense. Learning and understanding the Letter of the Word is called the “science of cognitions” (xx). This knowledge has to do with the literal sense of the Word also called the external sense. Knowledge and understanding of the internal sense is called “spiritual doctrine” (xx).

 

Line 2 shows that the three portions of the Word correspond to the three Heavens.

 

Line 3 shows that the Threefold Word has three degrees of correspondences in its Letter as well as in its internal sense. The Old Testament in its Letter is composed of natural-corporeal correspondences. A Church based on this level of thinking has no inner worship and consists solely of external rituals that are representative. The New Testament in its Letter is composed of natural-sensuous correspondences. A Church based on this level of thinking has an inner worship whose elements are significatives denoting spiritual-natural correspondences such as the angelic spirits of the First Heaven possess. The Third Testament in its Letter is composed of natural-rational correspondences. A Church based on this level of thinking has an inner worship that consists of the spiritual Doctrine from the internal sense. The spiritual Doctrine in the Second Heaven is based on spiritual-rational correspondences. The spiritual Doctrine in the Third Heaven is based on celestial-rational correspondences.

 

Lines 4 and 5 identify the anatomical organs of the mind that are involved in operating within the three degrees of correspondences for both the external and internal sense of the Threefold Word. The Letter of the Word is stored and understood by the “external man,” while the internal sense of the Word is stored and understood by the “internal man.” The mind of the “external man” is also called the natural mind, while the mind of the “internal man” is also called the spiritual mind. Each has three organs. The external or natural mind in its lowest degree, is called the corporeal mind; in its middle degree, the sensuous mind; and in its highest degree, the external-rational mind. The internal or spiritual mind in its lowest degree is called the interior-natural mind (sometimes: the spiritual-natural mind); in its middle degree, the spiritual-rational mind; and in its highest degree, the celestial-rational mind.

 

Line 6 depicts human development in its progression from birth onward. We undergo mental development by elevating our understanding and rationality. In childhood our thinking is immersed in corporeal correspondences. In adolescence our thinking is immersed in sensuous correspondences. And in young adulthood, our thinking is immersed in natural-rational correspondences. This is the first time that we can rightly understand the Letter of the Writings, which is written in natural-rational correspondences, as indicated on the diagram. At this point we are ready to undergo reformation. This process is of relatively short duration lasting weeks or months. Reformation begins when we become willing to apply the Letter of the Writings to our daily willing and thinking as we carry out our normal tasks and functions.

 

Until then we read the Threefold Word and understand it naturally. Those in the New Church read the OT and NT at the level of the natural-rational correspondences, in other words, through the perspective of the Writings. From the spiritual focus, reaching the age of adulthood means that we cease to think and act from inauthentic affections, and begin to think and act from authentic affections. Prior to reformation we ascribe to beliefs and practices out of habit, training, and loyalty. When we begin reformation we open up to deeper affections, more personal, more authentic.

 

The Divine Doctrine is Unique With Each Individual

 

One of the deeper implications of Nunc Licet is that the individual is a New Church in miniature, and that the Divine Doctrine is given to every New Church mind. Every individual now counts as a full Church to whom the Lord is betrothed as the Groom, which is the Spiritual Doctrine extracted from the Letter of the Writings and ordered into a coherent collection of principles of life. The individual must be enlightened by the Lord in order to perceive the spiritual sense of the Letter, hence the Spiritual Doctrine in the understanding of the New Church mind is a Divine Doctrine whose origin and content is heaven, and does not partake of the natural world or self. This Spiritual Doctrine is a Divine Seed. It lives as a Divine Child in the New Church, that is, in the individual who has the New Church mind in him. Each divine Child is unique because it represents a unique union between the Lord and the regenerated individual. This individual is called the celestial mind, in whom the Lord is a heaven, therefore, the all and all in it.

 

The following passage discusses the developmental phases the individual undergoes as a New Church. The expression “the Church” signifies the individual who is forming a New Church mind in himself.

 

As regards the first Ancient Church, in that although it was so widely spread over the earth it was still one in lip and one in words, that is, one in doctrine in general and in particular, when yet its worship both internal and external was everywhere different-as shown in the preceding chapter, where by each nation there named a different doctrinal and ritual were signified-the case is this. In heaven there are innumerable societies, and all different, and yet they are a one, for they are all led as a one by the Lord, concerning which see what has been said before (AC n. 457, 551, 684, 685, 690). (AC 1285)

 

The “first Ancient Church” refers to the regenerating New Church mind. Historically, this refers to the first civilization of the new spiritual human race which followed after the Flood, that is, the Fall of the remnants of the Most Ancient Church. The new human race called the “first Ancient Church” was a spiritual mind, while the Most Ancient Church prior to the Flood was a celestial mind. The celestial mind was of one “lip” or one Doctrine because the will and the understanding were fully united. The Divine Doctrine came down into the celestial mind simultaneously as Divine Good in their will and Divine Truth in their understanding. As a correspondence to this united spiritual organ, the physical brain was also united without a split between the two sides. But after the Flood, the spiritual mind of the human race was divided into two, with partially independent operations for the will and understanding. This was necessary for the regeneration of the spiritual mind, which was to be accomplished by the temporary elevation of the understanding into heavenly light even while the will remained immersed in infernal loves!

 

The operations of this divided mind correspond to the split-brain operations between the right side that corresponds to the operations of the will, and the left side that corresponds to the operations of the understanding (xx). This process of evolution was not completed until the Second Coming which opened the way for the formation of the New Church mind. The Divine Doctrine could not exist in an individual prior to the Second Coming. But since then, the individual is a New Church in miniature, fully so, and consequently, can contain the Divine Doctrine for the first time. The New Church mind is called the Crown of Churches because it is a completed Church, hence it is known as a celestial mind, the same as the mind of the people of the Most Ancient Church. You can see therefore that the New Church mind is the full recovery of the Fall of the human race. It is also its completion and final sublime phase.

 

In the passage quoted above (AC 1285) it is said that “In heaven there are innumerable societies, and all different, and yet they are a one, for they are all led as a one by the Lord.” Heaven refers to the New Church mind. It is said that there are “innumerable societies” there because the New Church mind is universal and therefore must consist of the entire diversity of the human race in civilization, genius, and culture. The Divine Doctrine is within each individual of that race in accordance with the unique reception of the Lord and the Holy Marriage, which is the appropriation and accommodation of the Divine Truth to the Church that each unique individual is. This is what is meant by saying that “it was widely spread over the earth,” namely, that the Church was as diverse as possible, which is the condition of each individual being a unique Church. This numberless diversity of unique forms of the Church, are described as “yet they are a one, for they are all led as a one by the Lord.” The Divine Doctrine, which is uniquely with each, is yet the same Divine Doctrine, because the Divine Doctrine with each leads them “as a one by the Lord.”

 

No disagreements are possible about the Divine Doctrine from this or that individual because each is lead by the Lord as a one with the other! This is the celestial mind, which is the New Church mind formed by means of the Letter of the Writings.

 

To continue with the Number quoted above:

 

In this respect the case is the same as it is with man, in whom, although there are so many viscera, and so many little viscera within the viscera, organs, and members, each one of which acts in a different way, yet all and each are governed as a one, by the one soul; or as it is with the body, wherein the activities of the powers and motions are different, yet all are governed by one motion of the heart and one motion of the lungs, and make a one. That these can thus act as a one, comes from the fact that in heaven there is one single influx, which is received by every individual in accordance with his own genius; and which influx is an influx of affections from the Lord, from His mercy, and from His life; and notwithstanding that there is only one single influx, yet all things obey and follow as a one. This is the result of the mutual love in which are they who are in heaven. (AC 1285)

 

“They who are in heaven” refers to the regenerating New Church mind on earth, for this is the celestial mind of the human race that is now being formed by the Lord by means of the Writings. “Mutual love” refers to the celestial love that is in the New Church mind. The celestial mind is lives within a society that is a larger, and therefore more perfect form, of the individual angel couple. The angels couples that form a heavenly society are in mutual love, which is a celestial state of communication whereby the truths and delights of the individual are transmitted to all the other individuals so that they all are enriched by each other to a far greater degree than one angel couple by itself (xx). In fact, the larger the society the greater is this mutual enrichment effect, and therefore the more perfect is that society. The Lord’s purpose is to keep increasing the size of each society in the Grand Human. This mutual love effect is communicated between societies as well, though in a more general way and less visibly than within a society or neighborhood.

 

It is the Divine Doctrine, in its unique form in each individual, that spreads mutually across individuals within and across societies. This universal networked movement pattern is called “influx of affections from the Lord, from His mercy, and from His life.” Elsewhere it is also called the Lord’s Proprium which inflows with the angels and makes a one out of them (xx). The Lord’s Divine Proprium contains infinite distinct things as one (xx). Therefore no matter how numberless the human race becomes, it can never exhaust the Lord’s affections that stream uniquely into each person to eternity. The Divine Doctrine is the Lord’s infinite Proprium containing an inexhaustible source of new affections for the human race. The Divine Doctrine inflows into the human race through the New Church mind formed by the Crown of Churches taken up in the will and the understanding.

 

Continuing with the Number:

 

[3] The case was the same in the first Ancient Church; for although there were as many kinds of worship-some being internal and some external-as in general there were nations, and as many specifically as there were families in the nations, and as many in particular as there were men of the church, yet they all had one lip and were one in words; that is, they all had one doctrine, both in general and in particular. The doctrine is one when all are in mutual love, or in charity. Mutual love and charity cause them all to be a one, although they are diverse, for they make a one out of the varieties. All men how many so ever they may be, even myriads of myriads, if they are in charity or mutual love, have one end, namely, the common good, the Lord's kingdom, and the Lord Himself. (AC 1285)

 

It is said here “as many in particular as there were men of the church” which refers to the numberless humanity into the future that will grow into a New Church mind by means of the Writings. It is said that “they all had one lip and were one in words; that is, they all had one doctrine, both in general and in particular.” This indicates that the New Church mind is an integrated mind, so that all the generals fit all the particulars. In other words, it is a reformed mind, rearranged from one end to the other to fit the order and pattern of the truths in the Writings. The former pristine unity of the will and the understanding has been regained by the human race in the New Church mind. All things in the New Church mind “make a one out of the varieties.” This applies to both the things to be found within the individual and the things communicated across individuals. The primary agent that creates this unity is “charity” or “mutual love” or “the common good,” all of which are references to “the Lord Himself” since these things are from the Lord.

 

Varieties in matters of doctrine and of worship are like the varieties of the senses and of the viscera in man, as has been said, which contribute to the perfection of the whole. For then, through charity, the Lord inflows and works in diverse ways, in accordance with the genius of each one; and thus, both in general and in particular, disposes all into order, on earth as in heaven. And then the will of the Lord is done, as He Himself teaches, as in the heavens, so also upon the earth. (AC 1285)

 

From all this you can now see and be sure that there is no threat in the idea that the Doctrine in our understanding is Divine Doctrine.

 

 

 

 

(5) Where The Writings Teach How To Extract The Internal Sense From The Letter Of The Writings

 

The Secret Of Extracting The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings

 

But I proceed to the doctrine itself, which is for the New Church, and which is called Heavenly Doctrine, because it was revealed to me out of heaven; to deliver this doctrine is the design of the present book. (NJHD 7)

 

Note carefully what this process is that we discussed as applying correspondences to the Letter of the Writings. Where do these correspondences come from? From the Letter. Therefore what we are actually doing is applying one part of the Letter to another part. This is why it may be called the substitution technique, as discussed above. To extract the spiritual sense within the Letter, we apply one passage to another passage, modifying the original text in accordance with other text from any of the Books of the Writings.

 

This freedom to apply any part of itself to itself, is the secret of extracting the spiritual sense of the Writings.

 

The modified passage now discusses something we do not see when we just look at the origin passage. This new topic is a spiritual topic seen more interiorly. As you increase your scientifics of the spiritual sense as a topic, you can put them together in a rational system called the Spiritual Doctrine. You can write about the Spiritual Doctrine and lecture about it, but the essay or lecture will only give a natural idea or understanding, a natural explanation of some spiritual topic.

 

Despite this, when we read these scientifics of the Spiritual Doctrine, or reflect upon them, we are building external rational cognitions that can react by correspondence, to spiritual consciousness. This spiritual perception of the spiritual topics is possible only when the Lord opens or activates the interior-natural mind, placing it within the natural-rational mind, in a discrete degree more interior or higher (see diagram). This interior-natural is built to be able to react by correspondence to the purely spiritual and Divine activity going on in our spiritual mind as we progress in our regeneration.

 

This unconscious spiritual and celestial activity in the spiritual mind is echoed by correspondence in the interior-natural mind. This mind is conscious. Therefore for the first time we become conscious of the spiritual sense in a direct sensuous way, almost as if we were already conscious in our spirit-body, which normally happens only when we arrive in the afterlife. Yet the Lord grants us to have a spiritual perception of interior truths by correspondence in the interior-natural mind.

 

This spiritual enlightenment occurs when we apply the Letter to the Letter within the context of our own life of willing and thinking.

 

You can see how different it is to become more and more knowledgeable about the Letter, on the one hand, and on the other, to become able to perceive the spiritual meaning within the Letter. The first is a continuous progress from little to much, but the second is a discrete interaction by correspondence. From my own experience, I can testify that there is uneven progress along multiple fronts of our struggle in regeneration. Our willing and thinking all day long numbers in the thousands each day. They present individual issues to be addressed in relation to the affections that drive our thoughts and actions. The Lord has a precise map of the process, bringing to us an awareness of those issues we can handle spiritually, that is, that we can willingly give up because they are sins against Him. Other issues are kept away, out of awareness, out of focus. This very precise process takes into account relationships and mutual influences in our personality of which we are totally unaware.

 

You can see from these considerations that regeneration is an uneven process, advancing on multiple fronts in our personality. Even within similar habits, like arrogance and meritoriousness, the issues to be resolved with each are numerous. Hence the Lord may grant us spiritual perception in one passage, but not in another. No one can dominate another in the Church on account of his spiritual perception! No policy or organizational decision is made on this spiritual perception. If person A sees the spiritual sense of passage X, then person B who doesn’t see it, has nothing to do about it. We merely postpone what we cannot understand about the Word (xx). We do not contradict it, but only fail to confirm it. And since all political and organizational policy must be set by the Letter only, person A cannot use his spiritual perception to influence the others. Thus democratic balance an due process is maintained in order.

 

That falsities and evils from them are the boundaries of external worship which is without internal, anyone may see. In such worship there is nothing but what is dead; and therefore whichever way the man who is in such worship turns, he sinks into falsities. There is nothing internal that leads and keeps him in the way of truth, but only what is external, which carries him whithersoever cupidity and phantasm lead. As Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim are mentioned in both the historical and prophetical parts of the Word, what each specifically signifies, will of the Lord's Divine mercy be there explained. (AC 1212)

 

Applying this passage of the Letter to itself as a whole, we can see in a more interior way what topic it is discussing. The idea of the Divinity of the Letter of the Writings is the cornerstone of the New Church mind. The outward form of the Divine is called the Divine Natural. Hence the Letter of the Writings is the Divine Natural of the Divine Human, revealed in the Word of the Second Coming, called here the Letter. If we truly think of the Letter in this way, it will be clearly seen that after we get to know the Divine Natural of the Divine Human, we desire to get to know the Divine Rational of the Divine Human. The natural in itself is dead. What makes it be alive is the spiritual that is within the natural. The Lord’s Divine Body would not be alive were it not for what it contains within. The within and the without are in discrete degrees so that they communicate by correspondence only.

 

In other words, the Divine Natural of the Divine Human is nothing but a correspondence of the Divine Human’s Divine Rational, also called Divine Spiritual and Celestial.

 

When you can see this you will be happy to look for the spiritual sense, no longer fearing it.

 

Regeneration Is By The Spiritual Sense

 

We begin to perceive the spiritual sense of the Writings when we accept the interior rational idea that the Letter of the Writings is written in pure correspondences, in a way similar to the Old and New Testaments. But the correspondences by which the Letter of the Writings is written, are made of concepts at the level of thinking called the natural-rational, while the correspondences by which the Letter of the Old and New Testaments is written, are concepts at the level of thinking called corporeal and sensuous. You can see therefore that the uses of the Letter in the three Testaments are entirely different. For the New Church mind, only the Letter of the Writings is serviceable for drawing out the spiritual sense. This is because the concepts of the Second Coming are rational while those of the First Coming are sensuous. At His First Coming, the Lord made His appearance in His Divine Sensuous, but at His Second Coming He made His appearance in His Divine Rational. Therefore for the New Church mind access to the Divine Rational is exclusively through the spiritual sense drawn form the Letter of the Writings. We cannot approach the Divine Human through the Old or New Testament.

 

Regeneration is by the spiritual sense of the Word (xx). Therefore, our regenerations is by the spiritual sense of the Writings.

 

The Letter of the Writings is made up of natural-rational correspondences. For example, consider this passage on self-examination and confession:

 

There are two obligations incumbent on one after self-examination: prayer and confession.

 

Prayer should be that the Lord may have pity, grant the power to resist the evils of which one has repented, and supply the inclination and affection for doing good, since man without Him cannot do anything (John 15:5).

 

Confession should be that one sees, recognizes and acknowledges one's evils, and reveals oneself as a wretched sinner. There is no need to list one's sins before the Lord, nor to pray that they may be forgiven. There is no need to list one's sins, because one has examined them and seen them in oneself; consequently they are present to the Lord, because they are to oneself. The Lord has also guided the person in self-examination, disclosed the sins, and inspired sadness and together with this an effort to desist from them and begin a new life.

 

[2] There are two reasons why prayer ought not to be offered before the Lord for the forgiveness of sins. First, because sins are not wiped out, but taken away; and this happens as one subsequently desists from them and embarks on a new life. For there are countless longings attached like a cluster around every evil; these cannot be taken away in an instant, but only one after another, as a person allows himself to be reformed and regenerated.

 

The second reason is that the Lord, being mercy itself, forgives everyone his sins, and does not hold even one of them against a person. For the Lord says, 'They do not know what they are doing.' But still this does not mean that the sins are abolished; for when Peter asked how many times he should forgive his brother his offences, whether as many as seven times, the Lord said:

 

Not up to seven times, I tell you, but up to seventy times seven times. Matt. 18:21, 22.

 

What then will the Lord not do? Still there is no harm in someone, whose conscience is oppressing him, gaining relief by listing his sins before a priest of the church, so as to receive absolution. This is because by this means he is led into the habit of examining himself and reflecting on the evils he commits day by day. This, however, is a natural confession; the one described above is spiritual. (TCR 539)

 

This passage teaches the distinction between “natural confession” and “spiritual confession.” Confession of one’s sins by listing them before a priest is natural confession. Confession before the Lord, is spiritual confession. It is not necessary to list our sins when making a spiritual confession. This is the subject of the passage, along with others that can be specified.

 

Note that identifying a subject or topic in the passage is like a paraphrase of the original. In order to do this we must stay at level of thinking of the Letter, which is natural-rational. the Letter talks about the meaning of confession and its purpose, making a rational distinction between natural and spiritual confession. Since the Letter is written at the natural-rational level, we can use that level of thinking to figure out the literal meaning of the sentences, first. And second, to paraphrase them. And third, to figure out some of its implications. For instance, we can figure out rationally why confession to a priest is called natural confession, while confession to the Lord is called spiritual confession. Why can’t both be called spiritual, since the priest fulfills a spiritual function?

 

Answering this question requires that we figure out the implications of the literal meaning, and we can do this because this literal is written at the level of the natural-rational. What is written at this level of thinking carries implications that one figure out by analysis. Here we can say that the confession we make to the priest is an external confession since it is done publicly in a social dyad, while a confession to the Lord is done privately. The Lord is present with us privately, but the priest is not. We need to tell the priest what is on our list of sins, but not to the Lord. And what is external is natural, but what is internal is spiritual.

 

This rational analysis and answer is a natural-rational level of mental operation. It is suited for the Letter of the Writings which is written in natural-rational correspondences. The expressions “natural confession” and “list of sins” are natural-rational concepts, ideas, or topics.

 

 

This method will be called “applying the letter to the letter” and is part of “the substitution technique” already illustrated.

 

 

When he went forth out of Haran. That this signifies an obscure state of the Lord, like that of man's childhood, is evident from the signification of "Haran" in the preceding chapter, whither Terah first came with Abram, and where Terah the father of Abram died (Gen. 11:31-32); and also from what follows, in that Jacob went to Haran, where Laban dwelt (Gen. 27:43; 28:10; 29:4). Haran was a region where worship was external; and indeed, as regards Terah, Abram, and Laban, it was idolatrous; yet in the internal sense the same is not signified as in the external, but only something that is obscure. When from the external sense we pass to the internal the idea of idolatry does not remain, but is wiped away, just as the idea of holy love arises from the mention of a mountain (see n. 795); in passing from the external sense to the internal, the idea of a mountain first perishes, and there remains the idea of height, and by height is represented holiness. So in all other cases. (AC 1430)

 

Note the series of correspondences identified in this passage:

 

Haran ==> External worship which is idolatrous ==> obscure worship ==> obscure state of the Lord ==> the level of our thinking in childhood==>sensuous truths

(cf. AC 1430, 1434)

 

Mountain ==> height ==> holiness ==> holy love==> the Lord

 

I call this type of simple diagram, an “extraction chain,” or the chain of higher correspondences as we ascend Jacob’s Ladder in the enlightenment process (xx). The Ladder, or extraction chain, rests on the ground with the Letter of the Threefold Word, namely, corporeal (OT), sensuous (NT), and rational (TT) correspondences.

 

In another Number:

 

'And Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn' means instruction in cognitions from the Word. This is clear from the meaning of 'Egypt' and from the meaning of 'sojourning'. That 'Egypt' means knowledge comprised of cognitions, and 'sojourning' receiving instruction, will be seen in what follows shortly. That the Lord received instruction in childhood as anybody else does is clear from those places in Luke quoted previously at verse 9 in 1457, and also from what has been stated just above concerning the external man, who cannot possibly be made to correspond and accord with the internal man except by means of cognitions. The external man is seated in the body and the senses, and does not receive anything celestial or spiritual unless cognitions are implanted in it as in the soil. Celestial things are able to utilize these as their own recipient vessels, but those cognitions must be from the Word.

 

Cognitions from the Word are such as lie open from the Lord Himself, for the Word itself comes from the Lord by way of heaven, and the Lord's life is present in every single detail of it, though this is not to be seen in the external form. From this it may become clear that in childhood the Lord wished to take in no other cognitions than those of the Word, which, as stated, was laid open to Him from Jehovah Himself, His Father, with whom He was to be united and become one. (AC 1461)

 

Here it is said that “the external man cannot possibly be made to correspond and accord with the internal man except by means of cognitions.” Elsewhere, “cognitions from the Word” are called the “scientifics of the Word” (xx). The Letter of the Writings is composed of natural-rational correspondences. These are called the scientifics of the Writings. Hence we have this extraction chain:

 

Egypt ==> cognitions of the Word in the external man ==> in Childhood, the Lord’s state of obscurity when in external scientifics of the Word ==> our state when our thinking is immersed in the Letter of the Writings

 

LETER OF THE WORD

CORRESPONDENCES

 

Egypt

natural-corporeal

 

cognitions from the Word in the external man

natural-sensuous

 

in Childhood, the Lord’s state of obscurity when in external scientifics of the Word

 

natural-rational

 

our state when our thinking is immersed in the Letter of the Writings

 

spiritual-rational

 

 

As children our thinking is immersed in natural-corporeal correspondences. This is true whether we read the OT, NT, or the Writings. Reading the Writings at this corporeal level of thinking keeps the content of our understanding focused on historical events, stories, and behavioral rituals. The OT references to “Egypt” for instance, keep the focus on its meaning as a country. The NT references to "I go unto My Father and ye shall see Me no more" keeps the mind focused on “going to the Father” as a sensuous act (natural-sensuous correspondences). But when we outgrow our childhood, we begin to raise our level of thinking from the sensuous to the rational, thus immersing our thinking in natural-rational correspondences. At this level we are able to understand the Letter of the Writings in a rational way. For instance, instead of the sensuous act of going to Heaven, we are able to  focus the semantic content of “going to the Father” as the act of “uniting the Human to the Divine to save the world” (AC 2235).

 

New Church children and adolescents think about the Writings at a level similar to how they think about the OT and NT. Their thinking is immersed in corporeal and sensuous correspondences. They do their thinking, reasoning, and understanding by means of these sensuous correspondences regardless of which part of the Threefold Word they are reading. This level thinking continues into adulthood, unless superseded by rational thinking regarding the ideas in the Writings. For instance, a young adult can understand the idea of “going to the Father” in a rational way by thinking that it means “uniting the Lord’s Human to His Divine.” The idea of “uniting” two rational elements in the Lord, is more abstract than the idea Him physically floating up to Heaven through the clouds in the sky. This level of thinking is immersed in natural-rational correspondences. For instance, the idea of the Lord’s “Human” vs. the Lord’s “Divine” as two distinct elements in Himself, is a rational idea of the natural mind. It is called a natural-rational correspondence.

 

The Writings use the word “to glorify” when referring to the Lord’s act of purifying His assumed Human and uniting it to His Divine (xx). The idea of “the Lord purifying and glorifying His assumed Human and uniting it to His Divine,” is a natural-rational correspondence.

 

This idea is not available to the mind immersed in sensuous correspondences. Before our adult age of reason, our thinking is immersed in and composed of ideas and reasonings at the level of sensuous science or knowledges about the natural world and the natural mind. At this level we are unable to comprehend rationally concepts like “the Lord uniting His Human to His Divine” When presented with this phrase, the mind only thinks of sensuous correspondences when thinking and reasoning about the Lord’s glorification. The Table below illustrates this phenomenon.

 

 

Letter of the Word

Thinking in

natural-corporeal and

natural-sensuous

correspondences

 

LETTER OF

OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS

 

Thinking in

natural-rational

correspondences

 

 

LETTER OF

THE WRITINGS

Thinking in

spiritual-rational

correspondences

 

 

INNER SENSE OF

THE WRITINGS

 

 

Egypt

 

A country mentioned many times in the Bible;

 

What the Bible says, or the facts we know from the Bible (cognitions in the external man)

 

Cognitions of the scientifics of the Word, resulting in obscurity of thinking when the Lord was in His Childhood (AC 1461)

 

Our mental state when our thinking is immersed in the Letter of the Writings, which is a natural understanding of spiritual things

 

I go to the Father

 

The Lord floating up to Heaven through the clouds of the sky to be together with His Father

The Lord uniting the Human and the Divine in Himself (AC 2235)

Our own regeneration which consists of uniting our understanding of Doctrine and our willing or loves

 

Father glorify Thy Son (John 13:31-32; 17:2).

 

Jesus is praying to God that he may be taken up to Heaven to be with his Father

The Lord expelled hereditary evil in His assumed Human and from being dead, made it alive (AC 1603)

Our own regeneration by spiritual temptations, especially our cooperation by desisting from willing evils

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Substitution Technique For Teaching The Spiritual Doctrine

 

The Spiritual Doctrine is a system of thinking about life and regeneration. It cannot be instilled or instructed in the way we learn natural-sensuous and natural-rational things of the Letter of the Writings. Nevertheless, it is necessary to first understand the Spiritual Doctrine as a natural-rational topic. This natural understanding is not the perception of the spiritual sense, but its correspondence in the natural. We can therefore accumulate knowledges about the Spiritual Doctrine which help us to apply it to life. It is during the activity of applying the Spiritual Doctrine to life that we receive perception by enlightenment. Clearly, the more distinctly we understand the Spiritual Doctrine in a rational way, the more these knowledges can be illumined by the Lord during enlightenment. The question then arises as to how can one learn and teach the Spiritual Doctrine?

 

I have found two methods that are effective. One is the substitution technique (see Chapter 8, Section 4 in Volume 2). , and the other is theistic science (see Chapter 7, Section 8).

 

The substitution technique involves parallelism in the Writings that are explicitly stated in the Letter. For example, the following sentences are all preceded by the sentence “it is the same whether you say that...”:

 

 

it is the same whether you say that

 

Permissible substitutes

 

Divine worship consists of these truths and goods, or that man consists of them,  (AC 10298)

Divine worship

man

truth or faith, since everything of faith is truth; also it is the same whether you say good or love, since everything of love is good (HH 232)

good

love

conjunction of understanding and will or conjunction of truth and good. Conjunction (HH 370)

conjunction of understanding and will

 

conjunction of truth and good

ruling love or that which he loves above all things. (HH 486)

ruling love

that which he loves above all things

 

truth or faith (NJHD 35)

truth

faith

 

"begotten of God" or "proceeding from God;" (TCR 23)

begotten of God

proceeding from God

 

God is Good itself and Truth itself or He is Love itself and Wisdom itself (CAN 8)

God

Good itself and Truth itself

 

God

 

Love itself and Wisdom itself

 

Lord's Divine Human, or the Divine Love (AE 146)

Lord's Divine Human

 

Divine Love

the understanding of truth is described, or those who are in it are described (AE 355)

the understanding of truth

those who are in the understanding of truth 

the spiritual and natural mind or the spiritual and natural man. (AE 406)

spiritual and natural mind

 

spiritual and natural man

falsities from the hells, or the hells (AE 538)

falsities from the hells

 

the hells

faith or conscience (AC 2325)

faith

 

conscience

higher and lower ones, or more internal and more external (AC 10051)

higher and lower

more internal and more external

 

Let’s take a passage that allows several substitutions according to the table. I have bolded the words in the original, and also in its duplicate paragraph below to indicate the substitutions:

 

The natural mind, by its two capacities called rationality and freedom, is in this state that it is capable of ascending through three degrees, or of descending through three degrees. It ascends by reason of goods and truths, and descends by reason of evils and falsities. And when it ascends, the lower degrees which tend towards hell are closed, but when it descends, the higher degrees which tend towards heaven are closed. The cause for this is that they are in reaction. These three degrees, higher and lower, have neither been opened nor closed in man in earliest infancy, for he is then ignorant of good and truth, and of evil and falsity. (DLW 274)

 

[making the substitutions;]

The natural man, by its two capacities called rationality and freedom, is in this state that it is capable of ascending through three degrees, or of descending through three degrees. It ascends by reason of love and faith, and descends by reason of evils and the hells. And when it ascends, the external degrees which tend towards hell are closed, but when it descends, the internal degrees which tend towards heaven are closed. The cause for this is that they are in reaction. These three degrees, internal and external, have neither been opened nor closed in man in earliest infancy, for he is then ignorant of love and faith, and of evil and the hells.

 

It this case, it turns out that the original and the substitutions are so close that the two paragraphs hardly seem different in meaning. Nevertheless, the second paragraph is not merely synonymous with the original but reveals new features that are more interior. To see this requires more detailed study and examination.

 

Let us take another passage where the substitutions create a more dramatic difference:

 

The very essence and life of faith is the Lord alone (AC 30)

 

The very essence and life of conscience is the Lord alone

 

The second sentence containing the substitution is a more interior meaning than the original. We knew that the life of faith is the Lord since faith is truth from the Lord, and what is form the Lord is the Lord. Hence: The very essence and life of faith is the Lord alone. But we did not know that the very essence and life of conscience is the Lord alone. This is a new spiritual revelation contained within the first revelation of the Letter. We can now confirm this new perception by finding a passage in the Letter that states that the life of conscience is the Lord. As for example:

 

The new will with the spiritual regenerate man is conscience (NJHD 1919)

 

[2] A person does not feel this struggle to be anywhere but in himself, and he feels it as the pangs of conscience. Yet it is the Lord and the devil (that is, hell) who struggle in man; their struggle is to gain control of the person, to see which is to possess him. The devil, or hell, attacks the person and calls forth the evil in him, while the Lord protects him and calls forth the good in him. (TCR 596)

 

Genuine conscience is given by the Lord through the knowledges of a true faith (SE 3615)

 

With angelical spirits there are bonds of conscience, which conscience is from the Lord. (SE 3850)

 

Judgments are based on what is the Lord's when they accord with truths and spring from conscience.   (AC 9160)

 

When conscience dictates, it is in like manner said in the Word that "Jehovah speaks;" because conscience is formed from things revealed, and from knowledges, and from the Word; and when the Word speaks, or dictates, it is the Lord who speaks; hence nothing is more common, even at the present day, when referring to a matter of conscience, or of faith, than to say, "the Lord says."  (AC 371)

 

You can see from these series of passages that a conscience that is genuine is from the Lord and is the Lord: “nothing is more common, even at the present day, when referring to a matter of conscience, or of faith, than to say, "the Lord says."

 

So we went through the three steps that teach the Spiritual Doctrine. First, find parallelisms in the Letter that are explicitly identified. Second, make the substitutions and reflect on the new formulation. This new meaning is more interior than the original Letter. It has been enriched by the different series or contexts which are brought together by the substitution. Third, find new passages that explicitly confirm the new meaning. Performing this three step method builds natural-rational vessels needed later for influx and enlightenment as we apply the new meaning to our hourly willing and thinking all day long.

 

The quality of things becomes apparent by the internal sight (AC 3869)

The Correspondence Technique For Teaching The Spiritual Doctrine

 

The correspondence technique is a special application of the substitution technique. We are familiar with the correspondence technique applied to the Old Testament in Arcana Coelestia (AC), and to the New Testament in Apocalypse Explained (AE). For forming the New Church mind, the Writings are the primary form of the Word to be used for extracting the Spiritual Doctrine needed for our regeneration. We can therefore consider an example of the correspondence technique applied to the Letter of the Writings.

 

To this shall be added three Memorable Relations. First:

I once heard beneath me something like the roaring of the sea; and I asked what it was; and one said to me that it was a tumult among those assembled in the lower earth, which is just above hell. And presently the ground that formed a roof over them opened, and behold, birds of night flew forth through the opening in flocks, and spread themselves towards the left; and immediately after them there swarmed forth locusts, which leaped upon the grass and made a desert everywhere (TCR 71)

 

The first step in extracting the Spiritual Doctrine is to identify the correspondences in the literal and substitute the original text with the correspondences. This activity will bring the spiritual sense nearer to our conscious awareness. The following table is constructed on the basis of the correspondences explicitly identified by the Letter in other passages.

 

Correspondences

 

Citations

heard beneath me

"a valley" signifies what is beneath the mountains, that is, what is lower in worship

AC 1292

roaring of the sea

consummation of the age, when there is no faith, that is, no charity

AC 1808

tumult

disturbance, a slaughter, perplexity, indignation

AC 375, 4951;

 LORD 4

TCR 116

those assembled in the lower earth

infested by falsities, which cause darkness in the mind

AC 7240; HH 487

ground opened

interior thought and affection, teaching or doctrine

SE 3640; AC 378

a roof over them

their inmost state

AC 10184

birds of night

to see in darkness, to see falsities as truths and truths as falsities, love of evil

DP 117; TCR 13

spread themselves towards the left

those who are in falsities from evil

AC 4809

swarmed forth locusts

falsity in the extremes

AC 8764

made a desert

vastated truth or church within the mind in which there is no truth

AC 3900

 

The spiritual sense of the passage, as extracted form its correspondences, indicates that the passage discusses what happens to the New Church mind when it falls into a “lower form of worship.” That Swedenborg heard something in the world of spirits refers to falling into a lower or external form of worship. Swedenborg represents the New Church mind since he was the first of the new human race that started with the Second Coming. What is the first also represents what comes next, hence Swedenborg represents the New Church mind. Falling into a lower form of worship is to be in an external worship without the internal. This happens when the New Church mind still believes that the Letter of the Writings is the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments. This belief is the lower worship discussed in this passage of the Memorable Relations (TCR 71). It is lower because external without the internal. After reformation the external worship acquires a living internal when we acknowledge that the Letter of the Writings discusses the spiritual meaning but only in an external natural way.

 

The unwillingness to extract the spiritual sense from the Letter of the Writings is compared in the passage to the “roaring of the sea” which represents vastation or “the consummation of the age.” In this state of our mind we have “no faith, that is, no charity.” To honor the Letter without the Spiritual within it is therefore “no faith” and the reason is that we are not regenerated. Prior to regeneration we have “no charity.” As long as the spiritual sense is not turned into the Spiritual Doctrine of life, we are not enlightened by the Lord. Our love for Him is not from Him, hence not genuine, therefore infernal. Many there are in the hells who pray to the Lord and exercise charity, but they do so from a self-projected idea of the Lord, and their charity is from their proprium, hence meritorious and evil.

 

The external worship of the Letter is compared in the passage to a “tumult” which signifies a disturbance in the mind caused by indignation and hatred. The spiritual sense of the Memorable Relations reveals to us what is hidden in the Letter. It warns us that the worship of the Letter while ignoring its spiritual sense, is caused by an unregenerate hatred for the true worship, which is the spiritual sense of the Letter, since only what is interior is genuine truth and worship, that is, from the Lord and not from self. To remain stubbornly in the Letter is to attempt to live by self-intelligence since the Letter can only enter as far as the natural-rational mind. It is impossible for the Letter to enter the spiritual for this is contrary to influx between discrete degrees. (xx).

 

The state of being in the Letter alone leads to an “infestation of falsities,” which corrupt the interior of the natural mind which is then filled with “birds of night,” which means to “see in the dark and not in the light” (DP 117). In other words, the Letter in itself is sensuous, not rational-spiritual, and to think from the Letter about our regeneration is to see falsities as truths, and truths as falsities. Those remain in the Letter of the Word who are not shunning their evils of life since this can only be done through regeneration, and regeneration requires the spiritual sense for only the spiritual truth can regenerate. The Letter of the Writings can be used to support evil loves and self-intelligence. The Letter comes to us from the outside in a natural corporeal. It is through our own study and intellect by which we conquer the Letter, and we don’t want to hear that the truths we have from this activity is only natural truths devoid of charity and good, which lie only in the spiritual sense of the Letter.

 

Shunning the spiritual sense of the Writings creates a “desert” church which is a mind devoid of truths. Without the spiritual sense, the Letter of the Writings turn against us into a “swarm of locusts” which refer to falsities in the extreme that inundates the mind, unprotected by the Spiritual Doctrine.

 

You can see from this example that using the technique of substitution by correspondences lead us to new revelations not seen before. Now the new revelations must be confirmed by the Letter. In this last step of the method we are able to read other passages in the new light of the Spiritual Doctrine.

 

Teaching the Spiritual Doctrine by expounding on correspondences, as is done in this Section, is only teaching from a natural point of view. This cannot be escaped since the sentences we say or write are in a natural language, and this is incapable of leading from itself to spiritual expression or understanding, as has been shown above. Nevertheless, we need to learn about these natural explanations of the Spiritual Doctrine by means of correspondences. This learning establishes natural-rational cognitions within which the Lord can implant interior truths that correspond to the external

 

Teaching and learning about the Letter of the Writings must come first. This is what effects reformation to the extent we apply the Letter to willing and thinking all day. Then, after reformation, teaching and learning about the Spiritual Doctrine is a step necessary for enlightenment, hence regenerating. Teaching and learning about the Spiritual Doctrine is a more advanced form of rational activity than teaching and learning the Letter. The Letter is a guide for our reformation and regeneration cannot begin until we complete reformation. The Spiritual Doctrine is a guide for our regeneration, which cannot be effected by the Letter in itself.

 

The Spiritual Doctrine can be discussed in the literal language in a natural way. This verbal expression or description of the Spiritual Doctrine is not the Spiritual Doctrine itself, which can only be perceived in the interior-natural, and as soon as its taken outward into the natural-rational, it is no longer spiritual. The spiritual is left behind in the interior mind. Only pure correspondences can result. Then, when the Spiritual Doctrine is confirmed by the Letter, the man doing the confirming activity perceives a new spiritual meaning in the Letter that is used for confirmation. The man who is not doing the confirmation is in a different position. Or, when you are confirming the Spiritual Doctrine you extracted form the Letter, you are enlightened to perceive the spiritual sense within the confirming passages, but I, who read those passages to begin with, cannot see the Spiritual Doctrine confirmed within it.

 

And vice versa, when I confirm the Spiritual Doctrine in new passages, you may not see the spiritual meaning of the new passages. But we can both go through the confirmation process after extracting the Spiritual Doctrine, and in that case, both of will see the spiritual sense of the new passages. In this way the whole Church can be enlightened form the enlightenment of its members. An enlightened Church can better prepare its young to undergo reformation.

 

Consider the sentence in the sub-title above, quoting TCR 773. Its literal meaning is clear to the natural-rational understanding. It discusses how the New Church mind is to be formed so that it may live in heaven. In a more general sense, it discusses the formation of the spiritual mind since that is what’s called heaven within us (xx). Still in this natural sense, we can see that the sentence asserts the principle of life that we are to support and encourage the Church organization because it is through the instruction and worship in the Church that we know the way to heaven.

 

In the spiritual sense, which we can consider by applying correspondences to the literal, “man” signifies “one who is intelligent and wise” (AC 158), or “the affection of truth” (AE 280); and also, “faith and truth” (AC 427; 4823). “Heaven” “signifies the internal man,” which designates our spiritual mind. Therefore, the phrase “man enters heaven,” in its spiritual sense discusses the physiology whereby our spiritual mind is opened and activated. Since “man” signifies the “affection for truth” the sentence asserts that it is the affection for truth that opens the spiritual mind. This opening process is accomplished “through the Church.” The “Church,” when applied to our mind, signifies conjunction with the Lord.

 

The Lord is indeed present with a man through the reading of the Word, but he is conjoined with him through the understanding of truth from the Word, and according thereto; and in proportion as the Lord has been conjoined with a man, in the same proportion the church is in him. The church is within man; the church that is outside of him is the church with a number of men who have the church within them. This is meant by the Lord's words to the Pharisees who asked when the kingdom of God would come:

The kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21).

Here the "kingdom of God" means the Lord, and from him, the church.

(SS 78) (see also AC 9305)

 

From this related passage we can see from the literal meaning that the church within us is the forming of the New Church mind, and “in proportion the church” is in this mind, to that extent “the Lord has been conjoined” with us. To go back then to the original sentence whose spiritual sense we are discussing:

“Man Enters Heaven Through The Church,” we can now elaborate its spiritual topic by rationally expanding on it. To form the spiritual mind we need to start with an affection for truth and becoming wise, which means a love of the Writings and its daily study. To the extent that we then apply these truths to our daily willing and thinking, to that extent the spiritual mind is opened, and to that extent we are conjoined to the Lord. This elaboration is elevated into a Spiritual Doctrine by confirming all its elements in the Letter. The correspondences have been confirmed above, but the thesis as a whole also must be confirmed by the Letter.

 

Searching the Writings, we find this:

 

[2] With the regeneration of the spiritual man the case is this. He is first instructed in the truths of faith, and then he is held by the Lord in the affection of truth. The good of faith, which is charity toward the neighbor, is at the same time insinuated into him, but in such a way that he is scarcely aware of it; for it lies hidden in the affection of truth, and this to the end that the truth which is of faith may be conjoined with the good which is of charity.

 

As time goes on, the affection of truth which is of faith increases, and truth is regarded for the sake of its end, that is, for the sake of good, or what is the same, for the sake of the life, and this more and more. Thus is truth insinuated into good, and when this takes place the man imbues himself with the good of life according to the truth that has been insinuated; and so he acts or seems to himself to act from good. Previous to this time, the truth of faith was principal, but afterwards the good of life becomes so.

 

[3] When this is the case the man is regenerate; but he is regenerate according to the quality and the amount of the truth that has been insinuated in good; and when truth and good act as one, he is regenerate according to the quality and the amount of the good: such is the case with all regeneration. Regeneration is effected to the end that man may be received into heaven. Heaven is nothing else than the marriage of truth and good, and of good and truth (see n. 2508, 2618, 2728, 2729); and if the marriage of truth and good be not formed with a man, he cannot be in the heavenly marriage, that is, in heaven. (AC 2979)

 

You can see that this passage discusses in the Letter something about the “regeneration of the spiritual man.” This refers to the opening of the spiritual mind since we are not regenerated unless the spiritual mind is opened by the Lord (xx). It describes several stages of this process.

 

(1) First, we are “instructed in the truths of faith” by means of the Letter of the Writings.

 

(2) Second, we are “held by the Lord in the affection of truth.”

 

(3) Third, we apply the truth we obtain to our willing and thinking all day long. This is called “charity toward the neighbor.”

 

(4) Fourth, to the extent that we do the third step. the Lord conjoins the truth with good in our spiritual mind, an unconscious process of which we are “scarcely aware of it; for it lies hidden in the affection of truth.” The affection of truth from the Letter of the Writings applied to our life, is the mind within which the Lord implants the good of charity. This good of charity is implanted in two places, one totally unconscious, in the spiritual mind, the other consciously, in the interior-natural-mind.

 

This new conscious awareness of spiritual good and truth is a correspondence of the actual activity of the Lord in the spiritual mind. This relationship by correspondence between the spiritual mind and the interior-natural mind, is described in the passage as “scarcely aware” and “lies hidden.” The hidden part is the interior-rational truths implanted in the spiritual mind. The partial awareness of these truths refers to our awareness of the correspondences in the interior-natural mind. Perceiving interior truths by correspondences in a lower degree is to have partial awareness of those interior truths.

 

(5) Fifth, “As time goes on, the affection of truth ... increases, and truth is regarded for the sake of ... life, and this more and more.” To the extent that we apply the truths of the Letter to our daily willing and thinking, to that extent we are being regenerated and conjoined to the Lord by means of the opening of the spiritual mind. By continuing this steady process, “the man imbues himself with the good of life ... and so he acts or seems to himself to act from good. Previous to this time, the truth of faith was principal, but afterwards the good of life becomes so.“ This is the mark of the celestial mind that lives in heaven, namely, that it loves truth from a motive to have it govern their willing and thinking. The celestial mind is called here “the man who is regenerate.” This is the mind that is “received into heaven.”

 

The mind so prepared acts from the “marriage of good and truth” in it. This marriage is called the church in man: ”truth conjoined to good, is the ultimate of the church in man” (AE 449).

 

In summary, you can see that the three steps we took were as follows: First, we applied correspondences to the original sentence “Man enters heaven through the Church” (TCR 773). Second, we expanded the spiritual sense into a Spiritual Doctrine. Third, we confirmed the Spiritual Doctrine by means of the Letter.

 

Demystifying The Divinity Of The Spiritual Doctrine

 

The New Church mind has to struggle mightily to receive the idea that the Letter of the Writings is nothing but correspondences and that the real message of the Second Coming lies in the spiritual sense within. This idea is at first threatening, and even mightily threatening. It is the same giant anxiety that the angels experienced when the Lord on earth was to be crucified. The Writings tell us that this angelic doubt about His Mission resulted in one of the greatest temptations the Lord had to endure (xx). The Rational Divine was within the Lord’s non-glorified human which He assumed upon Incarnation. This Rational was the total cumulative intelligence of the entire human race, and it was with the angels. Their heaven was this Rational Divine with them from the Lord. This Rational Divine was the internal man of the Lord on earth prior to glorification. After Glorification and Ascension, a new Rational was with the human race and the angels in heaven. This new Rational was not revealed until the Second Coming. And so we now know that it is the Rational of the Divine Human. A whole new history now starts with the evolution of the human race.

 

This new capability of the natural mind on earth is the ability to perceive spiritual truths, also called, spiritual-rational truths. The Lord re-created all the Heavens at His Second Coming, just as He re-created the Heavens at His First Coming (xx). The New Heavens of the Second Coming are created out of the new spiritual-rational truths revealed by the Divine Human concerning Himself and the universe. These spiritual and celestial revelations are contained within the Letter of the Writings. This is why the Letter of the Writings is called the Body of the Divine Natural of the Divine Human. You can see that the Divine Human has a Divine Proprium or Self, and has a history of Divine Birth on this earth. Inside this Divine Human is the Lord from Eternity, Unchanging, Unfathomable. The names “Jehovah” and “Divine Father” represent the Lord in His Esse. Human beings cannot relate in any way to the Lord in His Esse. The only relation we can have with this Divine Esse is a mere universal and simplistic idea, namely, that the Lord in His inmost is this Esse, and that this infinite substance is called Divine Love. Our relation to the Divine is therefore possible only with the Lord in His Divine Human.

 

The Letter of the Writings is the Divine Human in His Divine Natural. Clearly, we want to know the Lord in His Divine Rational, not just in His Divine Natural. By studying and understanding the Writings we are acquiring a view of the Lord that is His Divine Rational laid down in His Divine Natural. Note this expression: “His Divine Rational laid down in His Divine Natural.”

 

The Lord’s Second Coming was to reveal Himself in His Divine Rational. Ask yourself this: How can the Lord deliver to us a revelation about His Divine Rational?

 

You no doubt thought: “Through a man whose mind was prepared for receiving it, and then writing it down.” This is correct. But we also need to understand the particulars of this Divine Work if we are going to overcome the great anxiety of losing the Body of the Lord by death. For the Writings say that the Letter must as it were die or vanish, in order for the spiritual sense within to be perceived (xx), as one perceives a bright flashing jewel through a window that was suddenly made clear and spotless. This sudden illumination is called “enlightenment” in the Writings (xx). From this you can see that there is a structural relationship between the natural language sentences of the Word and the spiritual truths contained within. The Letter or Divine Body of the Lord contains His Divine Rational, that new Rational that the Lord has bestowed upon the human race in His Second Coming.

 

The Lord has provided an infallible Two-Step Method by which He can regenerate every individual for entry into the New Heavens where He reigns as the Divine Human, visible to the angels, and to Swedenborg (xx). This Two-Step Method is to first approach Him as He is in His Divine Natural called the Letter of the Writings, and second, to prepare our mind by reformation to be enlightened by Him when we approach Him in the Divine Letter. This enlightenment is the second step and in this step we receive the spiritual sense. This spiritual sense is the Spiritual Doctrine, which is His Divine Rational with the human race. When one completes this Two-Step Method, the Lord has successfully recreated the Second Coming in an individual. In this way, He recreates His Second Coming into the endless future of the race, insuring that anyone henceforth who wants to live in the New Heavens, can.

 

The Divine Rational Cannot Be Approached In The Letter

 

To ease our anxiety about the “vanishing” of the Letter we need to think that it is not possible to approach the Divine Rational of the Lord by means of natural-rational ideas. These ideas make up the understanding we have of the Letter of the Writings prior to reformation. Until reformation we have been studying the Divine Natural in the Letter and accumulating natural-rational cognitions, or “vessels” in our natural-rational mind. This is the only mind we control as-of self and are conscious of. Putting the Writings into our rational understanding is an awesome task that requires much study and scholarly effort. We must maintain consistency and be able to see the relations between many parts, and not merely maintaining the original sequential view. The relations between the Numbers constitutes an underlying semantic network in the Writings, a system of cross-references for comparison between them. This cognitive or semantic network can be mapped out by scholarly effort, which brings a superior understanding of the Letter. It requires love for the Lord in His Divine Natural to be able to succeed at this task, done on a daily basis for years!

 

The more we love the Letter of the Writings, the more we construct and collect suitable rational ideas in our natural-rational mind. This as-of self effort is commanded by the Lord (xx). The Lord commands us to love Him in His Divine Natural. For the New Church mind, this Divine Natural of the Lord is not the New Testament. It is the Writings. This is because the Divine Natural of the Lord in His First Coming was not the Divine Human until after His Ascension. The human race at that time could not perceive Him in His Divine Human. He was invisible to them in the new Form of the Glorified Human Born in Time. In order to see the Lord in His new Divine Human, the human race had to first receive the interior-rational truths of Himself. The angels received this right away, and entered the New Heavens where they now dwell. But the human race on earth must be reborn and reformed before these interior truths can be received.

 

This rebirth and reformation process is a requirement for everyone regardless of background or birth because the entire human race has fallen spiritually. By heredity everyone now has embedded in the mind spiritual ties to the hells that cannot be repaired by the Lord and must be given up voluntarily by every individual regardless of religion or philosophy. The Lord then recreates new ties to heaven and our mind can now be regenerated. This process goes on until the end.

 

What allows us to perceive the new interior-truths that the Heavens are now made of?

 

The answer is the same for us on earth and for the angels in those Heavens: We can perceive the new interior-rational truths when the Lord enlightens us. We can then perceive them in our mind as we are peering through the Letter of the Writings. This peering applies to their reading, but also to our reflection of them in our conscious memory.

 

The angels have a celestial script in which they read the Writings (xx). The Spiritual Doctrine is within this script of the Letter. It is not in the script of the Letter, but in their understanding of the sense within it. This spiritual understanding is in their spiritual and celestial mind. The Lord’s Divine Rational is this Spiritual Doctrine in their understanding. This is called their Doctrine and all their wisdom is from that source (xx). The Doctrine they draw out of the Letter of the Writings when they are enlightened by the Lord, is the Lord’s Divine Rational of the New Heavens. This is the sense of the Writings in which they dwell. And the richness and power of this sense creates the marvelous habitations in heaven and all of life there.

 

You can see that the structural relation between the Letter and the spiritual sense within it, is a necessary two-step method for both men on earth and angels in heaven. The spiritual and celestial ideas or truths cannot be laid down in a “naked” form in the Letter. This is because the Letter is laid down in a sensuous script, and this external sensuous appearance is nothing but a correspondence of the spiritual sense. Whatever explanations and ideas are laid down in a script or in an external language, are automatically nothing but correspondences. Nothing but correspondences can result from the action of the spiritual being laid down in the natural sensuous or in the spiritual sensuous.

 

The Lord enlightens us in a similar way now and when we are angels—through the Letter of the Word.

 

Form these considerations it is clear that we have nothing to lose by letting go of the Letter as an opaque glass, and allowing the Lord to clarify it spotlessly, so that we can see the spiritual-rational truths He wants us to have of Him.

 

Note also that this Two-Step Method is not a once and for all deal. It is endlessly to be repeated hour by hour, every day. This is the cyclical process of regeneration, by which the Lord gives us new truths by which we can guide our willing and thinking. By the light of these new truths we can improve our willing and thinking still more, and thereby receive more new truths. And so on, until the end. Therefore we are not going to let go of the Letter, thinking that is dead and unimportant. This would be spiritual suicide and an act of crucifying the Word. We must increase our love for the Letter of the Writings because it is the containant of the holy spiritual truths the Lord wants to give us. And this increase in love shows itself by what I have called Step 3 elsewhere in the book (See Chapter 8 Section 3).

 

This step is the confirmation in the Letter of the spiritual sense we receive by enlightenment from the Lord.

 

This requires dedicated scholarly effort and love for the Letter of the Writings as the Lord’s Divine Natural within which is His Divine Rational. Rather than being dead, the Letter of the Writings becomes even more Holy and beloved, as we begin to fathom the magnitude of the truths being opened to us by the Lord. We begin to love every sentence in the Writings, and revere it. And this reverence is not external as it was prior to our regeneration, but is our internal worship within which is the external reverence for the Letter.

 

Besides all of the above considerations, there is also this scientific one: That the structural relation between the Letter of the Writings and the Spiritual Doctrine within, is reproduced everywhere in our mind and in the world, though in a different way because one involves the Divine only, and the other involves created human beings. The Writings point out the analogy of the sentences we write and speak in everyday discourse (xx). For example, if a stranger approaches me on the street and says, “Do you have a light?” I need to bypass the literal meaning, and perceive that he wants me to provide him with a flame for his cigarette. But if he says, “Do you have a quarter?” I perceive that he is begging for some money. When I was in graduate school in the late 1950s we used to study these relationships and called that type of research “psycholinguistics” because it was a focus on relating sentences to thinking. A similar phenomenon obtains when reading children’s stories, which can be understood sensuously or rationally. The child listens to them sensuously, with imagination, while the adult reads it with a conscious focus on the moral lessons that the stories exemplify. The moral understanding is a perception of the interior of the letter of the story.

 

Similarly when we read the Old and New Testament as we continue to advance in our study of the Writings. We can no longer read them except from the perspective of the Writings, seeing the sentences as correspondences, and being able to perceive what spiritual truths they stand for. Now here we need to take a giant step: For years prior to our reformation we had not acquired this distinction: “understanding spiritual truths naturally” vs. “understanding spiritual truths spiritually.” We merely went along with the automatic assumption that because the topic and subject matter of the Letter was about spiritual truths, therefore we were understanding them spiritually, when actually, we were understanding them naturally. Only by enlightenment can we understand them spiritually, and the Lord does not enlighten until after we complete our reformation sometime in adult life.

 

After reformation we can make the distinction and we can acknowledge that until now we had not made the distinction. Once we make this distinction we lose our fear of letting go of the Letter in order that we may be enlightened with the spiritual sense.

 

[2] Falsity within factual knowledge is what most of all molests those who belong to the spiritual Church. The reason for this is that they do not have a perception of truth that springs from good, only a knowledge of truth derived from religious teaching. People like these are subject very much to molestation from factual knowledge, for known facts serve as very general vessels, and until truths have been introduced into them to make them translucent, so that one no longer notices them, they may sometimes appear to be contrary to truths. Furthermore factual knowledge is full of the illusions of the senses which cannot be dispelled by those who have only a knowledge of things derived from religious teaching and no perception of truth that springs from good. The main reason for this is that the light of the world holds sway with these people, a light which seems to be clear light as long as the light of heaven does not flow into it but which turns from light into obscurity the moment that the light of heaven penetrates it. This explains why these people are enlightened and clever in worldly matters but dull and obtuse in heavenly ones. (6865)

 

We belong to the “spiritual Church” when we have acquired knowledges from the Letter of the Writings and suppose that this understanding is a spiritual understanding. We are vulnerable in this state to heresies and persuasions, and because we sense our vulnerability, we vehemently oppose the idea that someone else can extract a spiritual meaning where we only see the natural. Thus we are led to doubt or deny that the Letter of the Writings are written in pure correspondences. When we are in that state, it is said of us: “This explains why these people are enlightened and clever in worldly matters but dull and obtuse in heavenly ones. .” To be “clever in worldly matters” refers to knowledges about the Letter of the Writings separate from their internal. To “be dull and obtuse in heavenly matters” means to doubt or deny that the Writings as the Word are written in correspondences in the same way as the Old Testament and New Testament are written in pure correspondences. Not to be able to apply to itself what the Writings say about the Word, makes us “dull and obtuse in heavenly matters.” The spiritual sense of the Writings is called “heavenly matters.”

 

The Divinity Of The Spiritual Sense We Extract From The Letter

 

Now take another example, this time from a Memorable Relations:

 

I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, holding in his hand and at his lips a trumpet, which he sounded towards the north, towards the west, and towards the south. (CL 2)

 

By finding other sentences in the Writings that relate to this one, we can extract a spiritual sense by applying the correspondences.

 

The Letter in the original sentence

Correspondences from other parts of the Letter

Citation

Angel

wisdom from the Lord

HH 179

trumpet

celestial goods and celestial things of faith

AR 276; AC 420

eastern heaven

those who are in love to the Lord

AR 875

lips

Doctrine from the Lord

AC 1288

hand

the power which is of truth

AC 8910

north

exteriors in which truth is in obscurity

AC 3708

south

a state of truth in its light

AC 9648

west

a state of good declining

AC 9648

I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, holding in his hand and at his lips a trumpet, which he sounded towards the north, towards the west, and towards the south. (CL 2)

 

Note that when correspondences are applied to the Writings we are applying one part of the Letter to another part of itself. This is extremely important to understand. There is no self-intelligence that can enter into this process, or else its spiritual significance vanishes. This is actually a faithful process of ritual worship wherein the self is effaced, and to the extent that this effacement is genuine, to that extent the application of correspondences is a Divine work. One need not fear creating popes in the New Church! Everyone can verify that the Letter is applied to the Letter in a correct manner without distortion in the same way as anyone can verify the size of a box by measuring it and recording the numbers. And if our brother comes up with a spiritual meaning from correspondences correctly applied, should we not listen to him? We should then examine the observation or proposal as some Divine Seed given to the Church through this individual.

 

If it is a genuine Divine Seed, the Lord will enlighten every one who examines it from an appropriate emotive and perspective, as explicitly stated in the Letter of the Writings. This is not a matter of merit, of position, or of representation by the individual who is describing the Divine Seed he received by enlightenment. It is solely a scientific matter of checking A with B. Because the Spiritual Doctrine that a man receives from the Lord by enlightenment is a Divine Doctrine given to the Church that it may spread it to the human race. It is not something mystical and hard to understand, or it would be useless. The embodiment of the Divine Seed in literal language is clear and simple to understand since it is given to the natural-rational mind, a level of thinking that all educated persons use in daily life. Extracting the spiritual sense from the literal cannot be a mystical affair that confuses or persuades others. It is like extracting meaning from something someone says to us. It is normally automatic, though at times it arouses puzzlement and problem-solving. Anyone with loving practice, can teach themselves to extract the spiritual meaning of the majority of sentences on any page in the Writings. To return to our example:

 

Applying these correspondences to the sentence in this Memorable Relation, we can extract a spiritual sense that lets us see that it is actually discussing the various states of our mind in relation to the Lord. It is telling a story about what an Angel did as Swedenborg watched from a distance. This event did occur. But the reason these details are told is on account of their correspondences.

 

Wisdom from the Lord (“angel flying”) is available to us in our love to the Lord (“I once saw in the eastern heaven”). The Spiritual Doctrine (“celestial things of faith”), is appropriated to us as the power of truth (“holding in his hand”). The greatest wisdom and power is received in our love to the Lord (“eastern heaven”). Less wisdom and intelligence is received in lower forms of the Doctrine in accordance with our love (“towards the south, west, north”). Exterior truths (“north”) are less enlightening than truths seen in light from the Lord (“east” and “south”).

 

If we now put together the two sentences, they look like this:

 

original sentence in the Letter:

I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, holding in his hand and at his lips a trumpet, which he sounded towards the north, towards the west, and towards the south. (CL 2)

 

spiritual sense extracted by the application of correspondences:

Wisdom from the Lord is available to us in our love to the Lord. The spiritual is appropriated to us as the power of truth. The greatest wisdom and power is received in our love to the Lord. Less wisdom and intelligence is received in external forms of the spiritual in accordance with our love. Exterior truths are less enlightening than truths seen in light from the Lord.

 

Note at the outset that the “spiritual sense” is always discussed in a natural-rational way. A spiritual understanding of what is “the spiritual sense” cannot be obtained directly from understanding the extracted sentence. Nevertheless, we must engage in this process for it is a commandment (xx). At some point we begin to understand the physiology of regeneration and then it becomes clear that we must create natural-rational vessels for the Lord to enlighten us so that we can have a spiritual understanding of those vessels. We then proceed with the natural-rational description of extracting the Spiritual Doctrine from the Letter.

 

Note also at the outset that the extracted sentence is as much the Word as the original, to the extent that appropriate procedures were followed, as explicitly instructed in the Letter of the Writings (xx). If therefore truly appropriate procedures were followed, you can see that the extracted sentence is also Divine since you have not introduced anything from self-intelligence and the world. This is why we say that we are applying the Letter to the Letter, when extracting the spiritual sense that is contained within it. In other words, we are applying the Divine (in the form of passages from the Letter) to the Divine (in the form of the original sentence), and the result is Divine (in the form of the extracted sentence).

 

But in order to generalize the extracted sentence and relate it to ourselves, we need to expand it into an argument, or a series of connected sentences that amount to a thesis called the Spiritual Doctrine. Compare the original with the extracted. The original is one sentence, the extraction from it is five sentences. In other words a sentence of the Letter was expanded by extraction into a paragraph that constitutes a Spiritual Doctrine laid down in the natural-rational language. This Spiritual Doctrine is also Divine Doctrine in the Church (xx). This is true to the extent that the expansion was done following appropriate rules given in the Letter of the Writings regarding how the Spiritual Doctrine must be extracted by the man of the Church (xx).

 

Once the Spiritual Doctrine is formulated and written down it becomes as holy as the Letter, for the Spiritual Doctrine in the Church is Divine Truth, and is the Lord with the Church (xx). This is true to the extent that genuine appropriate procedures were applied, as already indicated. Now it is required that we confirm the Spiritual Doctrine with the Letter of the Writings. This confirmation is necessary as part of the process of applying the Letter to the Letter, for the Lord reveals truths to us from Firsts to Lasts and from Lasts to Firsts (xx). The Letter is called “Lasts” while the Spiritual Doctrine is called “Firsts.”

 

Let us then confirm the Spiritual Doctrine we extracted. This can be done with some research. Automated computer research programs of the Writings such as NewSearch, makes this process efficient. In this case we can confirm the Spiritual Doctrine we extracted by many other passages that relate to it, as for instance: xx, and many others.

 

original sentence in the Letter:

I once saw an angel flying beneath the eastern heaven, holding in his hand and at his lips a trumpet, which he sounded towards the north, towards the west, and towards the south. (CL 2)

 

spiritual sense extracted by the application of correspondences:

Wisdom from the Lord is available to us in our love to the Lord. The spiritual is appropriated to us as the power of truth. The greatest wisdom and power is received in our love to the Lord. Less wisdom and intelligence is received in external forms of the spiritual in accordance with our love. Exterior truths are less enlightening than truths seen in light from the Lord.

 

confirming passages:

All things of the man who is in the good of celestial love, both interior and exterior, ... receive the influx of Divine truth from the Lord and from this are in enlightenment (AC 10331)

 

[4] With those who are in the good of love to the Lord, wisdom, intelligence, knowledge, and work, follow together in order from inmost to outermost. With such men, wisdom is inmost, for it is to will well from love; intelligence is second, for it is to understand well from willing well. These two are of the internal man. Knowledge consists in knowing well, and work in doing well, both from willing well. These two are of the external man. (AC 10331)

 

They who are of the church are in a life of good, and have faith in truths (AC 2832)

 

The interior power of truth, is the power of the interior man acting into the exterior, or of the spiritual man into the natural (AC 4015)

 

Human beings who possess Divine truths from the Lord have power against evils and falsities (TCR 87)

 

Water denotes truths, the heavens denote the interior things of truth, and clouds, the exterior, such as they are in the sense of the letter of the Word. (AE 594)

 

The confession of the Lord and the acknowledgment of His Divine in His Human is the life of all truth, both in the Word and in doctrine from the Word. (AE 392)

 

 

 

The confirming passages add a deeper layer of meaning to the spiritual sense that was extracted by applying the Letter to the Letter. Again this deeper layer of meaning or higher level of understanding, is in the natural-rational mind, not in the spiritual mind  or in the interior-natural mind. But when this higher level of understanding is applied to our willing and thinking, then we perceive the spiritual sense of it, which was not perceived in previous states of enlightenment. The sate of one’s enlightenment progress gradually by a Divine series which are expounded in the Writings when treating of the journeying of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Old Testament (xx).

 

 

 

(6) Where The Writings Teach That The Internal Sense Cannot Be Written Down In A Natural Language

 

The internal sense exists only in the interior-natural mind, of which we are conscious as spiritual-rational correspondences

 

It is very important to realize that striving to be a good man and doing good to the neighbor and country, are not sufficient to effect reformation and regeneration (xx). Only through Doctrine can we be reformed and regenerated. This is how the Lord created the New Heavens out of the old, by means of new spiritual truths He brought to the angels in the Word of His Second Coming. As the angels accepted and loved these new truths about the Divine Human, they appropriated them to themselves, and in these higher truths they entered the New Heavens. The New Heavens were built by the Lord out of these new spiritual truths that were in the angels from the Writings. The Lord does everything by means of Divine Truth from His Divine Love. Divine Truth is the same as the Spiritual Doctrine, as accommodated to each individual’s unique understanding. When the Spiritual Doctrine is in our understanding, it is the Lord who put it there. It is not possible to perceive the Spiritual Doctrine except from the Lord’s immediate enlightenment. Clearly then, the Spiritual Doctrine is only from the Lord, and therefore is the Lord with us, dwelling in our understanding of His Divine Truth.

 

As we ponder these things there is a certain fear or hesitation: What is someone claims to have enlightenment from the Lord and promulgates a Spiritual Doctrine that is from himself, hence false. How would we distinguish between the false and the true Doctrine? The answer is that the Spiritual Doctrine is only from enlightenment in the understanding, and as soon as you try to write down or describe it in natural language, all you get is a natural view of it. The Spiritual Doctrine cannot be expressed in a natural language, hence there is never the danger that someone’s claim to enlightenment would influence our own thinking. We can read or reflect on the literal statements of the spiritual Doctrine this man claims to have from the Lord. But the literal and natural sentences do not give a spiritual view of the spiritual Doctrine, only a natural view.

 

You can see that this is also the case with the Heavenly Doctrine. In Arcana Coelestia (AC) we read numerous descriptions of the spiritual sense of words and sentences in the Old Testament. We can be told that woman in the Word means Church, or that man means faith or truth, or that Jacob represents the external mind, or that blood signifies spiritual truth or the falsification of spiritual truth, and so on. These correspondences are explained and these explanations are about spiritual truths, but only as seen from a natural perspective. A spiritual perspective on these spiritual truths cannot be obtained from the literal descriptions. This spiritual perspective on spiritual truths cannot reside in the natural mind, and we are not conscious of what is in our interior or spiritual mind (xx). The only way we can see the spiritual truths is not form the literal, but within the literal. And this perception within the literal is only there when we are enlightened by the Lord as we read the Writings. Let us try to write down the content of this enlightenment, and we have nothing left in the sentences but a natural perspective.

 

Note carefully that this enlightenment can only take place with the literal of the Writings and in no other way. The Lord cannot enlighten us with spiritual truths from any other work, but only from His Word. Only the Word contains spiritual truths (xx). For the New Church mind only the Writings contain spiritual truths. The Old and New Testaments are also the Word, but for the New Church mind they can only be understood from the perspective of the Writings. Hence the Writings are the primary Word for the New Church mind.

 

Diagram Of Natural Vs. Spiritual Understanding Of The Writings

 

 

The diagram depicts the Four Windows of the New Church Mind.

 

The New Church mind is formed by the Writings exclusively and its conscious awareness operates in four distinct realms or heavens. Each perceptual realm or domain is a window to reality. It is the true and only absolute reality, that which the Writings reveal and explain rationally in a way that is accessible to every individual in the universe, regardless of personal background. This is henceforth the new mind for the new human race. These four windows to reality are defined by the discrete degree of correspondences through which Divine Truth descends and is received at each discrete level by means of the correspondences that create that level.

 

The Writings and the mind are connected in that the levels of the Writings are also the levels of the regenerated mind. We are born with a natural mind and a spiritual mind. Both are spiritual organs made of spiritual fibers coiled in appropriate vortices, and both exist in the spiritual world (xx). The natural and the spiritual mind are tied to the body on earth. The body on earth moves and is animated by the mind in the spiritual world. The natural mind is turned outward and is set to receive sensations from the brain and sensory organs. As the body grows, the natural mind fills itself with the things of the world and self, organizes it into comprehensive chunks, acquires thereby culture and knowledge, and thus becomes a moral and rational human being. The spiritual mind is turned inward and is set to receive sensations from the spiritual world and the Lord. As the natural mind matures, so does the spiritual mind, but, while the operations in the natural mind give us conscious awareness of them, the operations in the spiritual mind remain unconscious until we cut the tie to the physical body.

 

These two minds develop, each according to its own laws and content, yet their development is precisely coordinated by the Lord so that what happens in the spiritual mind activates by correspondence what happens in the upper portion of the natural mind. This upper portion is called the natural-rational mind. This mind operates by means of natural-rational correspondences. It is immersed in them and can see only them. All natural-rational correspondences in the New Church mind are nothing else than the sentences of the Letter of the Writings, either word for word in some language, or, an accurate paraphrase that is equivalent. This Letter of the Writings forms the natural-rational portion of the New Church mind, all else having been removed by undergoing reformation, as discussed in Volume 1.

 

To think of the Lord, heaven, and regeneration from natural-rational correspondences is to think naturally about a spiritual topics. This is the top left window of the diagram. It is our understanding of the Letter of the Writings prior to reformation. It is the outward worship of the Lord prior to receiving an internal worship within it.

 

The bottom left window is to look upon reality with natural-sensuous correspondences located in the natural-sensuous mind. This mind is a discrete degree above the corporeal mind and a discrete degree below the rational mind. The Letter of the New Testament is written in sensuous correspondences and gives a sensuous consciousness of the Lord’s Divine Natural. This is seeing the Lord’s Divine Natural in terms of natural-sensuous correspondences. It is a natural view of the Lord’s Divine Natural. It is the window by which the Writings are seen by children and those in the Church who have not yet studied the Writings on their own. The Lord, heaven, regeneration, the Laws of Divine Providence, discrete degrees are all natural topics understood naturally. Those who read the Writings as a human literary work also see reality through natural-sensuous correspondences.

 

The upper right window to reality in the New Church mind is immersed and thinks from spiritual-natural correspondences located in the interior-natural mind of all regenerating individuals on earth. The consciousness we have through thinking from spiritual-natural correspondences is a spiritual consciousness that originates in heaven from the Lord. This spiritual consciousness is not contaminated or degraded in any way by the self, for this is organically impossible. The only permissible correspondences in the interior-natural mind are those placed there by the Lord Himself (xx). This is why a regenerating New Church mind begins life after reformation as an enlightened human being, able to be consciously aware of a spiritual light of understanding not possible before reformation by means of the Letter of the Writings. Conscious spiritual awareness of spiritual topics is called rational consciousness to distinguish it from sensuous consciousness.

 

The fourth window at the bottom right is closed to our conscious awareness while we are tied to the physical body, but it is fully opened in our spirit-body shortly after resuscitation in the afterlife, barely two or three days after the tie to the physical body is cut by the Lord at death. As angles our spiritual mind is fully active and our celestial consciousness is immersed in spiritual sensuous correspondences. This is the level at which the Letter of the Writings is written in the heavens, and has a distinct script that varies with the three heavens (xx).

 

Our regeneration on earth proceeds therefore by means of our perception of reality through three windows, each of which is constructed out of correspondences at its own level of discrete degree. The view we have of the Writings and its revelations about the universe is therefore dependent on the type of correspondences by which we read it and internalize it. When we read the Writings as the work and intelligence of Swedenborg, all its topics are natural and our understanding of it is natural. Our thinking is then immersed at the level of natural-sensuous correspondences such as we have from daily experience and science education. We can take courses on the Writings, write analyses and critiques, give speeches and lectures. Both our reading and our teaching the Writings will be entirely from the bottom left window.

 

When we begin reading the Writings as a Divine revelation given by the Lord to the human race through Swedenborg’s mind and pen, then for the first time we begin to immerse our thinking in natural-rational correspondences. this is looking at reality through the upper left window in the New Church mind. We then worship the Letter of the Writings as we worship the Lord’s Divine Natural, indeed, as the Lord Himself. We see the Lord from the very perspective of the Holy sentences of the Letter of the Writings. These sentences are written in natural-rational correspondences and our understanding of them is by means of the natural-rational mind, the highest portion of the natural mind. Now we know that the topics of the Writings are spiritual because we know that the Lord is spiritual, heaven is spiritual, and regeneration must be spiritual since it is our preparation for spiritual and celestial life. The upper left window gives us a natural understanding of spiritual topics.

 

This is as far as we can go, as-of self, through our own intellectual effort in struggling to understand the complex sentences of the Letter of the Writings. We continue to understand this Letter more and more as we study and cumulate our understanding. But at no point can this necessary progress cross over into the discrete degree above it, which is the upper right window. This gives a view of spiritual topics that is immersed in spiritual-natural correspondences. The instant we begin to enjoy this view, we are enlightened. A new world, the spiritual, is now accessible to our conscious awareness called rational consciousness. This rational consciousness is made of spiritual-rational correspondences activated by the Lord in the interior-natural mind (see anatomy diagrams of the mind).

 

This is now the first time that the New Church mind is able to read the Writings and to derive a spiritual sense form its expressions and sentences. The interior-natural mind is immersed in these correspondences and our conscious level of thinking and perceiving is also immersed in these spiritual-natural consciousness. This new light of the spiritual world now can guide our regeneration. Without this light, we cannot form the New Church mind which must be regenerated by means of being immersed in spiritual-natural correspondences extracted from the Writings. Many illustrations are given in this chapter as to how this process of extraction is made operational by our intellectual effort.

 

The spiritual-natural correspondences interact with the natural-rational correspondences in such a way that they are ordered and grouped into chunks and collections, or societies of good and truth. The natural-rational correspondences must first be established in the mind as the Letter and its accurate paraphrases. Then as we apply the Letter to our daily willing and thinking, the Lord activates spiritual-natural correspondences within the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter in our mind. This is called seeing the spiritual sense of the Writings. It is the Lord who makes use of the natural-rational correspondences we have acquired as-of self from the Letter. Within these, He inserts spiritual-natural correspondences that reflect the operation going on in the unconscious spiritual mind.

 

The natural-rational correspondences of the Letter in our mind cannot enlighten on their own, cannot give us spiritual power to regenerate. But when they are applied to our willing and thinking, the Lord enlightens us, animates the natural-rational correspondences so that now we perceive within them the spiritual sense, which is nothing else than the natural-spiritual correspondences in our interior-natural mind. When these correspondences are ordered into rational series and groupings, they are called the Spiritual Doctrine, which is Divine Doctrine in our mind.

 

Thus proceeds the anatomy and physiology of regeneration by means of the Letter of the Writings.

 

55. Summary Of The Doctrine That The Writings Have A Spiritual Sense

 

What benefit do we receive from the substitution technique? The answer is that without it we would not know crucial facts that are necessary to form the New Church mind in ourselves, and therefore we would not be able to be regenerated by the Lord. I have discussed just a few of those facts above. Here is a summary of the points that were discussed in this section, and also in Chapter 7, especially Section 9:

 

  1. The Writings are Divine Truth emanating from the Lord

 

  1. The New Church is made of Divine Truth within which is Divine Good, and this is given by the Lord through the Writings.

 

  1.  The Letter of the Writings by itself is not the New Church for Divine Truth must have Divine Good in it in order to be Divine Truth in its integrity.

 

  1. The spiritual sense within the Letter is Divine Good within the Divine Truth. This is the New Church.

 

  1. The spiritual sense of the Writings cannot be discovered from the Letter, but must be a new perception obtained by enlightenment form the Lord when the Letter is applied to the Letter without any reasoning from self-intelligence intervening. Applying the Letter to the Letter is the same as applying correspondences given by the Writings to itself.

 

  1. The Writings are both on earth and in heaven. In each case the Writings are embodied in a Letter, which is a visual script. The script of the Writings on earth is in a natural language, but the script of the Writings in heaven is in a spiritual or celestial language.

 

  1. The Spiritual Doctrine is the source of all wisdom for the angels and humans on earth. For humans on earth, the Spiritual Doctrine is the spiritual sense organized in a rational system or thesis. This is the Doctrine of Life, the Doctrine of Faith in the Church. It is Divine Doctrine in the Church and in the mind because its origin is spiritual and celestial without anything adhering to it from self-intelligence and the world.

 

  1. The Writings are given for all religions. Regeneration of the human race is by the Writings and not by membership in the New Church. However the New Church is necessary for the preservation of the Letter in its intact and pristine original form, for without this the human race cannot be saved. On this account, the New Church is to endure forever on earth.

 

  1. The Writings have an inner spiritual sense just as the Old and New Testaments have. Since all three Testaments are the Word equally and fully, whatever is said in the Writings about “the Word” applies to all three Testaments. For the New Church mind, the Word of the Writings is the primary Word while the Old and New Testaments are to be read only from the perspective of the Writings.

 

  1. The spiritual sense of the Writings can be written down or expressed in a natural language, but the resultant text itself is not that spiritual sense. Once written down or expressed verbally, the spiritual sense, or the Spiritual Doctrine, is laid down in the natural-rational. It is of benefit to study the Spiritual Doctrine in a natural-rational way because this allows us to build cognitive vessels ready to be infilled by the spiritual sense when the Lord enlightens us. Without these cognitive vessels, enlightenment cannot take place. These natural-rational cognitions allow us to think and reflect upon the Spiritual Doctrine in a natural way.

 

  1. The opening of the spiritual sense of the Writings is done by the Lord from whom we are enlightened when reading its Numbers for the purpose of our reformation and regeneration. Enlightenment is given in two sub-steps. First, the Letter must be applied to the Letter, which means substituting an original phrase with another phrase from some other passage. The passages in the Writings are related to each other by complex internal series. By using the substitution technique we are uncovering some of these spiritual interconnections. Second, the newly created passage must be built into a coherent thesis by confirming the new passage by means of other passages one can find in the Letter.

 

  1. It is a Divine Commandment that we enter into the spiritual sense of the Writings so that we may form the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind.

 

  1. It is required that we confirm the Spiritual Doctrine in our understanding by the letter of the Writings. This is called the opening of our spiritual mind by the Lord. Without the spiritual mind being opened we cannot be regenerated and thence, be prepared for heavenly life. The activity in the spiritual mind is unconscious while we are bound to earth, but we can perceive this activity by correspondence as it affects the interior-rational mind. This mind is created by the Lord within our natural-rational mind during reformation.

 

  1. Prior to our reformation in adult life, our study and understanding of the Writings is only in the literal sense. This is by means of the external-rational mind, which is natural, not yet spiritual. Similarly with the Doctrine in our understanding: it is not the Spiritual Doctrine until our interior-natural mind is created by the Lord, and this happens only with reformation and regeneration in adult life.

 

  1. Before reformation it is not possible to successfully enter into the spiritual meaning of the Writings, and one cannot see any spiritual sense in its Letter or in the doctrinals of the Church. Instead, what we suppose is spiritual in the Writings is actually natural, for it is merely the literal without the genuine spiritual. Nevertheless we are to be taught that we will receive enlightenment when we undergo reformation, and we ought to look forward to reaching that blessed state of conjunction with the Divine Human of the Lord. It is also to our benefit to study the Spiritual Doctrine as laid down in the explanations of those who are already enlightened, but realizing that our understanding of it is natural-rational, not spiritual-rational.

 

  1. Until our reformation we have only a natural idea of the Writings, of what is spiritual, and of what is the Heavenly Doctrine.

 

  1. Without Spiritual Doctrine the Writings cannot be understood in a spiritual way. Spiritual Doctrine is to be extracted from the Letter of the Writings when we are in enlightenment. When we write it down, Spiritual Doctrine then exists in a natural-rational form expressed in a natural language, while its spiritual form is expressed only in the spiritual mind, in a spiritual script of which we are unconscious until we become spirits and angels. The natural form of the Spiritual Doctrine is the Spiritual Doctrine laid down in natural language, and is called the Letter of the Heavenly Doctrine. The spiritual form of the Spiritual Doctrine is in the interior mind, and is called the spiritual sense of the Heavenly Doctrine.

 

  1. Spiritual Doctrine from the Writings is Divine Doctrine because it is Divine Truth from the Lord in which there is nothing adhering of self-intelligence and the world. But not its natural form without the spiritual in it. The Spiritual Doctrine laid down in the natural as written out by those who are enlightened, is not Divine Doctrine but a natural expression of it.

 

  1. Spiritual Doctrine is the Divine Seed given to the Church by the Lord so that it may be spread in a natural form throughout the Church and the world. The Spiritual Doctrine ought not to be used for justifying policies and procedures in the Church specific or the New Church organization. Attempting to do this would bring dissention and disturbance that would destroy the Church organization, which will thus become vastated, a Church of Cain where charity is nonexistent and the priests can no longer lead the flock to the good of life. Only the explicit statements of the Letter in their literal meaning are to be binding for ecclesiastical government, and whatever is not explicitly stated, ought to be dealt with by democratic due process according to the constitution of the Church organization. The Spiritual Doctrine is to be applied only to oneself as a necessary procedure for regeneration.

 

  1. The spiritual sense of the Writings, and its arrangement into the Spiritual Doctrine, cannot be profaned, perverted, adulterated, or falsified, because it is Divine and nothing of self adheres to it. As soon as something of self-intelligence is adjoined to it, the spiritual sense vanishes. The spiritual sense cannot appear in the literal sentences, but only within it, from perception by enlightenment. But the Letter of the Writings can be perverted and distorted because it is in a natural form that is available to analysis by self-intelligence. Similarly, the Spiritual Doctrine or the Doctrine of the Church and Faith, cannot be perverted or falsified, but its literal expression in a natural language can be perverted. The literal expression of the Spiritual Doctrine is not its spiritual meaning. This is another reason why the Spiritual Doctrine must not be used for justifying ecclesiastical government. Different factions in the Church can each push their own interpretations of the Spiritual Doctrine, which agree with their self-intelligence and values. But this is not possible with the spiritual meaning of the Spiritual Doctrine, which cannot be written out.

 

  1. The natural form of Spiritual Doctrine expressed in a natural language, cannot be used for our regeneration. We can be regenerated only through the Spiritual Doctrine that we form in our mind by enlightenment from the Lord as we apply the Letter to the Letter and thereby extract the Spiritual Doctrine. The Spiritual Doctrine from the Writings in our mind is called enlightenment from the Lord. This is the only way we can perceive and understand the Spiritual Doctrine, and be saved thereby, to the extent that we apply it to our willing and thinking every day.

 

  1. The Writings were written by means of pure correspondences. The copy of the Writings in Heaven is read by the angels but its literal there is not the same as its literal here on earth. The relationship is by correspondence, such as between the Church on earth and the Church in heaven.

 

  1. Conjunction of the Lord with us is through the Writings, by means of the internal sense. There is no conjunction with the Lord by means of the literal sense that does not have a spiritual within it. Thus, there is no conjunction with the Lord by the Writings until we undergo reformation and regeneration, and then, only by means of the spiritual sense which we perceive by enlightenment from the Lord, and only in proportion to our progress in regeneration.

 

  1. There is conjunction by means of all things and each particular thing within the Writings, and in consequence the Writings is wonderful above all other merely human writing. There is no metric of comparison possible between the Writings and any other written work.

 

  1. Since the Writings were written and published, the Lord speaks with the human race by means of it. The Writings are the only source the Lord has created for communicating Divine Truth to the human race in the new dispensation of the Second Coming. This dispensation or age is to endure forever so that no new dispensation will be ever given again. The entire future generations will from now on receive their spiritual life and truths from the spiritual sense, which is infinite and an endless source of new truths. The new truths will be given to each Church specific only through enlightenment of individuals who are regenerated by means of the Writings.

 

  1. The New Church mind is formed by Divine Truths that are revealed in the Writings and by which we are conjoined to the Lord. But the New Church mind is not formed by mere membership in a New Church religious organization. Rather, it is formed by the Lord through regeneration to the extent that we guide our willing and thinking by means of Spiritual Doctrine drawn from the Letter of the Writings.

 

  1. It is Commanded that the New Church mind is required to examine by means of the Letter of the Writings, whether the doctrinals of the Church are true. The doctrinals of the Church include what we learn from sermons and doctrinal classes. This examination involves rational thinking and reasoning. Priests and teachers ought to teach how to perform these doctrinal examinations.

 

  1. The spiritual sense of the Writings contains innumerable arcana within every word and expression. “Arcana” are spiritual truths from heaven understood spiritually, that is, in our interior-natural mind.

 

  1. The intellectual creation of the human race has been completed since the Second Coming of the Lord was brought about through the publishing of the Writings. This is why the New Church mind is called the Crown of Churches.

 

  1. Not a single word can be omitted in the original Latin Letter of the Writings without interrupting or destroying the continuity of the internal sense.

 

  1. When we undergo reformation in adult life and form the New Church mind in ourselves, we then first come into spiritual intelligence or wisdom This new spiritual intelligence is a conscious experience that is “an actual elevation” into heavenly light. It is experienced as a more interior understanding that is clearly and consciously visible to us. The physiology of this new spiritual consciousness takes place in the interior-natural mind that the Lord creates within our natural-rational understanding.

 

  1. In the new evolutionary age of the Second Coming, conjunction between heaven and the human race on earth requires that there be a New Church mind somewhere on earth who knows the Divine Human from the Writings and is being regenerated by means of the Writings.

 

  1. The Writings are the means of conjunction with the Divine Human both on earth and in heaven. No one can come to heaven without interior truths from the Writings in the mind. Those who do not know the Writings but have lived a life of good from conscience, are instructed by the angels upon arrival in the afterlife. Only those who are willing to receive the new truths of the Divine Human can be admitted into heaven.

 

  1. All the wisdom of the angels comes from the Writings, and their enlightenment is proportional to how deep is their spiritual understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine. The depth of spiritual understanding is proportional to the love we have for the Lord since only this love allows the Lord to enlighten anyone. And love for the Lord is gauged not by a feeling or declaration, but by willingness to perform all our willing and thinking solely and exclusively from the Divine Truth we obtain from the Writings.

 

  1. It is by means of the Writings exclusively that the New Church mind can be formed into an angel. The New Church mind is enlightened when reading and studying the Writings, to the extent that we apply it to ourselves. When reading the Writings in this way, it is the Lord Himself who is enlightening us. When we read the Writings as the Word applied to our willing and thinking, our interior-natural mind is activated, and we receive into it spiritual perception from the angels who are with us while we read or reflect upon the Writings. The influx from the angels is into the unconscious spiritual mind, but this activity is reflected by correspondence in our interior-natural mind, which is conscious.

 

  1. Our reformation and regeneration can progress only to the extent that we are enlightened when reading and applying the Writings. The deeper spiritual truths we can thus perceive must be internalized as the Spiritual Doctrine in the mind. From this alone can we change our willing and thinking as performed all day long in our routines and habits of life. Our spiritual enlightenment is proportional to the extent to which we shun whatever is not from the Lord, that is, whatever is not pure, in our willing and thinking.

 

The doctrine ... is out of heaven, because it is from the spiritual sense of the Writings; and the spiritual sense of the Writings is identical with the doctrine which is in heaven. (NJHD 7)

 

(7) Why New Church Education Should Teach Integrated Concepts or Scientific Dualism

 

 

(to be completed)

 

 

 

 

(8) Why New Church Education Should Teach The Internal Sense Of The Writings.

 

 

Among priests, and among the men of the church, there are those who teach and who learn the truths of the church from the literal sense of the Writings; and there are those who teach and those who learn from doctrine drawn from the Writings, which is called the doctrine of faith of the church. The latter differ very much from the former in perception, but they cannot be distinguished by the common people, because they both speak from the Writings nearly alike.

 

But those who teach and who learn only the literal sense of the Writings without the doctrine of the church as a guide, apprehend only those things which belong to the natural or external man; whereas those who teach and who learn from true doctrine drawn from the Writings, understand also things which are of the spiritual or internal man. The reason is that the Writings in the external or literal sense is natural, but in the internal sense it is spiritual. The former sense is called in the Writings a "cloud," but the latter sense is called the "glory" in the cloud (n. 5922, 6343, 6752, 8106, 8781). (AC 9025)

 

 

 

 

 

(9) Why New Church Education Should Teach Self-Witnessing Skills For Regeneration

 

Self-witnessing skills are systematic methods for monitoring one’s willing and thinking in one’s daily choices and roles.

 

(to be completed)

 

End Notes

 

This article is based on Chapter 1 of Volume 2 of “A Man of the Field: Forming the New Church Mind in Today’s World. Volume 1: Reformation—the Struggle Against Nonduality. Volume 2: Enlightenment--The Spiritual Sense of the Writings. Volume 3: Regeneration--Spiritual  Disciplines For Daily Life. Volume 4: Uses--The New Church Mind In Old Age (in preparation). The completed first three volumes are available on the Web at http://www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/nonduality.html

 

The author, Dr. Leon James, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii. His Web site and information on his professional background is located here: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/leon.html

 

A directory of articles and books by Leon James, with full text access is available here: www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/leonarticles.html

 

For comments and questions, I welcome your email:  leon@hawaii.edu 

 

James, Leon (2002) “The Substitution Technique: A Method for Extracting What the Writings Say About Themselves as the Word” De Hemelse Leer, Vol. XIV No. 2 (April 2002), 103-109.

 

Leon James. “Do the Writings Contain Scientific Revelations?” New Church Life , July 1995, 115(7), 325-330.

Also available on the Web at  www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/nfile2.htm

 

Leon James. “Dualist Science and the Writings of Swedenborg” New Church Life , June 1995, 115(6), 264-270.

 

Leon James. “Overcoming Objections to Swedenborg's Writings Through the Development of Scientific Dualism” New Philosophy 2001 v.CIV n.3 & 4 pp. 153-217. Available online at:

www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/np98.html

 

Leon James. “The Fourteen Scientific Fallacies in AC5084: Implications for Science Education.” New Philosophy, July-December, 1996, XCIX(3 & 4), 439-450

www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/leonj/leonpsy/instructor/fallacies.html

 

Harrie G.D. Groeneveld “The Second Coming of the Lord in the Doctrine of the Church” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, 38-43, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8) Available online at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan1.html See also its reprint version in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)

 

Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer “Elucidation of Mr. Groeneveld's Address” De Hemelsche Leer, First Fascicle, p.82-95; 127-131, 1930 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8) Available online at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan2.html See also its reprint version in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague)

 

Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The second Education” De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.22. 1935 (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8; Chapter 8 Section 3) (Available online at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan8.html)

 

Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The Internal Sense of the Chapter on Ecclesiastical and Civil government in “The New Jerusalem And Its Heavenly Doctrine. (March 1930)”  Discovered recently and published in the restart issues of De Hemelse Leer, April 2002 issue, pp. 83-91. Dr. Rutger Perizonius, Editor (Van der Heimstraat 5, 2582 RX, The Hague) (quoted above in Chapter 7 Section 8 and 9; Chapter 8 Section 3)

 

Rutger Perizonius. “The Regeneration of the Grand Man.” De Hemelse Leer July/October 2002 Issue, pp. 135-151.

 

 

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