Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations


This is Volume 2

A Man of the Field

Forming The New Church Mind In Today’s World

 

 

Volume 2: Enlightenment

The Spiritual Sense of the Writings

 

Volume 1: Reformation

The Struggle Against Nonduality

 

Volume 3: Regeneration

Spiritual Disciplines For Daily Life

 

Volume 4: Uses

The New Church Mind In Old Age

 

By Leon James

October 2002

(draft 18)

 

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A “field” means doctrine (AC 368)

A "man" signifies faith and truth (AC 427; 4823)

Because 'field' means doctrine anyone receiving any seed of faith, whether the individual, the Church, or the world, is called a field. (AC 368)

 

 

Volume 2

Enlightenment

Extracting The Spiritual Sense of the Writings

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Access Volume 1 here

Access Volume 3 here

Preface to Volume 2

DEDICATION

Chapter 1

The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings Demystified

1. Introduction

2. A Diagram Showing The Formation Of The New Church Mind

3. The Operation Of Reformation, Enlightenment, Regeneration

4. The Nine Installation Steps

5. Doctrine Is The Reception Of Spiritual Information Packets

6. Biology Of The Spiritual Doctrine

7. Diagram Of The Discrete Levels In The Mind and the Writings

8. The Spiritual Doctrine is Heaven and the Lord In Us

9. Why The Spiritual Doctrine In Our Mind Must Be A Divine Doctrine

10. Objections To The Divine Doctrine In Our Mind

11. The Spiritual Doctrine In The Mind Must Be Proven By The Letter

12. Man Enters Heaven Through The Church

13. Demystifying The Divinity Of The Spiritual Doctrine

14. The Divine Rational Cannot Be Approached In The Letter

15. Examples Of Enlightenment In Everyday Circumstances

16. Surface Meaning And Underlying Meaning Of Sentences

17. The Divinity Of The Spiritual Sense We Extract From The Letter

18. The Spiritual Sense Of Ecclesiastical And Civil Government

19. Anatomy Diagram Of The Spiritual Doctrine in the Mind

20. The Difference Between The Spiritual Sense And The Spiritual Doctrine

21. The Physiology Of Spiritual Enlightenment

22. Enlightenment Is Not A Mysterious Process

23. Spiritual-Rational Meditations

24. The Internal Meaning Of Music And Art

25. The Difference Between Natural And Spiritual Language

26. The Spiritual Doctrine Cannot Be Used For Politics And Morality

27. “Within The Natural” Vs. “In The Natural.”

28. Spiritual Topics Vs. Spiritual Meanings

29. Diagram Of Natural Vs. Spiritual Understanding Of The Writings

30. The Divinity Of The Spiritual Doctrine

31. The Substitution Technique For Teaching The Spiritual Doctrine

32. The Correspondence Technique For Teaching The Spiritual Doctrine

33. The Dangers Of Remaining In The Letter OF the Writings

34. The Doctrinals Taught In The Church Are In a Natural Language

35. The Fear of the Divinity of Doctrine in Our Understanding

36. The Lord Is Divine Doctrine

37. Human Understanding Is Not Divine Doctrine

38. Human Statements Are Not Divine

39. The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings Must Not Be Denied

40. Protecting The Church From False Doctrines And Heresies

41. The Infinite is Contained Within The Finite

42. The Spiritual Sense Explained By Rational Correspondences

43. The Secret Of Extracting The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings

44. Regeneration Is By The Spiritual Sense

45. The Spiritual Sense Is Also A Correspondence

46. Enlightenment Is The Only Way To See The Spiritual Sense

47. Lower And Higher Correspondences

48. Newcomers To The World Of Spirits

49. The Divine Doctrine is Unique With Each Individual

50. “Nunc Licet” The Flagpole Of The New Church Mind

51. The Three Steps Of Deriving Doctrine From The Writings

52. Without Doctrine The Writings Is Not Understood

53. Conjunction With The Lord By Means Of The Internal Sense

54. Why Be Concerned With The Internal Sense Of The Writings

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

Chapter 2

The Substitution Technique

1. Introduction

2. OT And NT Through The Perspective Of The Writings

3. The Daily Study Of The Writings Is Necessary For Regeneration

4. Without The Spiritual Sense We Fall Into New Church Idolatries

5. The Substitution Technique For Dualities In The Writings

6. Will And Understanding

7. Cross/Parallels And Within-Parallels

8. Reading The Writings As The Word

9. Rational Understanding Of Spiritual Things

10. Enhancing The Base Of Knowledge About The Writings

11. The Letter Of The Writings Has Been Preserved

12. An Example Of Spiritual Mathematics In The Writings

Chapter 3

Theistic Science Revelations in the Writings

1. Introduction

2. Swedenborg’s Scientific Dualism

3. The Notion That The Writings Contain Outdated Science

4. Dual Concepts in the Writings

5. Scientific Revelations in the Writings

6. Sensuous And Rational Content In The Writings

7. A Spiritual Sensuous Consciousness

8. External And Interior Theistic Science

9. The Writings “Are Founded” On Theistic Science

10. Diagram of “Scientifics” And “Doctrinal Matters”

11. Literal And Spiritual Senses Are Both True And Accurate

12. Spiritual Parallelism Between The Lord, The Writings, And Our Mind

13. Enlightenment By Rational Consciousness of Spiritual Correspondences

14. The Divine Rational Is Within The Divine Natural Of The Writings

15. Why The Interior-Natural Is Called Spiritual-Natural

16. Anatomy Of The External Natural Mind

17. Individual Regeneration Recapitulates Spiritual History Of The Race

18. The Use Of The Priesthood For Religious Life

19. Swedenborg's Scientific Works

20. Led By The Lord Since His Early Education

21. Principles For The True Science

22. Overcoming Objections To Theistic Science

23. The External Rational And The Interior Rational

24. Theistic Science And Religion

25. Theistic Science And Regeneration

26. Regeneration By Sensuous Vs. Rational Consciousness

27. Evolution Of Consciousness In The Human Race

28. Diagram Of The Elevation Of Consciousness In The Human Race

29. Spiritual Psychology and History

30. Chart of Spiritual Psychology and History

31. The Perizonius Thesis

32. Enlightenment Is Not Sufficient For Salvation

33. The Level Of Consciousness In Representatives And Significatives

34. Scientific Observations Of Spiritual Facts

35. The Science Of Spiritual Anatomy

Preface to Volume 1

1. The Writings Are A Divine Scientific Revelation

2. The Writings Are The Lord’s Second Coming

3. Heaven Is Created From Rational Love

4. A Divine Revelation That Surpasses All Others

5. Swedenborg’s Scientific Experiments In The Spiritual World

6. Swedenborg’s Dual Citizenship—Natural And Spiritual

7. This Book Is About Regeneration

End Notes and References

Acknowledgment

About the Author

Titles for the Abbreviated Citations in the Book

Full Text Free Online Access to All Swedenborg’s Writings:

Printing Note:

Access All Three Volumes online:

Volume 4

Uses: The Innocence of Old Age

 


 

Access Volume 1 here

 

Volume 1 is located at this address:

 www.theisticpsychology.org/books/nonduality/volume1-nonduality.html

 

Access Volume 3 here

 

Volume 2 is located at this address:

http://www.theisticpsychology.org/books/nonduality/volume3-nonduality.html

 

 

Every spiritual truth in the Writings
is a Divine Commandment

 

Preface to Volume 2

 

The Preface to Volume 1 may be consulted in addition to the following (please see Table of Contents).

 

This Volume is called Enlightenment to distinguish it from Volume 1 called Reformation and Volume 3 called Regeneration. Each volume addresses itself to one of the three essential steps of full regeneration. Reformation is a process of realigning all concepts in our understanding to concord with the dualities taught in the Writings. Reformation is therefore a struggle against the concepts of nonduality that are already established in our mind, inasmuch as reformation only begins sometime in adult life.

 

Following reformation which takes a few months, regeneration can begin. Why do we then need to be concerned with Volume 2 called “Enlightenment”? The answer is that regeneration cannot proceed by the same truths that we have for effecting reformation.

 

When we first read the Writings we are in an unregenerate state, which is the state we are in prior to undergoing reformation. In the unregenerate state we read and study the Writings in its literal meaning. As will be shown in this volume, this literal meaning is expressed in natural-rational correspondences, that is, in natural appearances of truths. Correspondences are called “real appearances” (AC 9927)

 

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)

 

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

 

The literal sense of the Word was composed out of what are called appearances and correspondences. (TCR 650)

 

Since the New Church mind acknowledges the Writings as the Word, we apply whatever is said about the Word to the Writings. The above 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.

 

Clearly therefore, the Second Coming of the Lord is the conjunction of the New Church mind with the Divine Human through the natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings.

 

Reformation begins when we decide as an adult that we are going to worship the Letter of the Writings as the Divine Word, which is Divine Truth, which is the Lord Himself in His Second Coming as the Divine Rational. These points are established in this Volume.

 

In the Letter of the Writings, the human race now has possession of the truths and the reasoning process an individual needs to eliminate all nonduality in the mind, and to substitute only the dualities of the Writings as the basis for all thinking and reasoning. In the new civilization of the Second Coming, this is the definition of how anyone in the world may form the New Church mind in themselves.

 

The power of the Letter of the Writings is Divine. This power lies in its being written in natural-rational correspondences. The literal sense of each expression in the Writings is a natural-rational correspondence, as will be shown and illustrated in this Volume. 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 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, as is shown in this Volume.

 

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.

 

This Volume explains the process of enlightenment needed for regeneration.

 

It warns against the dangers of remaining in the Letter.

 

It collects many passages from the Writings to show what enlightenment is and how it works in our regeneration.

 

It debunks and demystifies the various notions and fears that we may have when thinking about the idea of an internal sense to the Writings.

 

It explains what is the Spiritual Doctrine we are commanded to extract from the Letter of the Writings. It gives various methods of extraction and many illustrations.

 

I have tried to make only arguments from the Writings and I cite relevant passages. The (xx) citations are still to be inserted. If you know any of these, please email them to me at leon@hawaii.edu. If you find anything that seems like a doctrinal error, please write.

 

For the Preface to Volume 1, please consult the Table of Contents above.

 

 

 


 

DEDICATION

 

 

 

 

To my wife

 

It is her internal wisdom that led me to write this book as-of myself. She brought into our marriage the conjugial love she has in her from the Lord, inborn from nativity

 

 

An inclination to love one of the opposite sex, and with it a capacity for receiving that love, has been implanted in Christians from birth, for the reason that this love comes from the Lord alone

(CL 466).

 

Wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands … But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives (CL 216)

 

The intelligence of women is by nature modest, gracious, peaceable, compliant, soft and gentle, while the intelligence of men is by nature critical, rough, resistant, argumentative, and given to intemperance.  Evidence that this is the nature of women and the nature of men is clearly apparent from the body, face, tone of voice, speech, bearing and behavior of each sex.

(…)

From this I could clearly see that a man is born a form of the intellect, and a woman a form of love.  I could also see what the nature of the intellect is and what the nature of love is in their beginnings, and thus what a man's intellect in its development would be like without conjunction with feminine love and eventually conjugial love.

(CL 218)

 

 


 

Chapter 1

The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings Demystified

 

1. Introduction

 

Only from doctrine can there be a church (AE 1088)

The interior angels do not even perceive the church, but the faith of that church (AC 1025)

Everyone who is regenerate is a temple of the Lord (AC 40)

'A field' means doctrine, and so everything constituting doctrine concerning faith and charity. (AC 368)

 

We have to be willing to study the rational truths conveyed by the literal language of the Writings, every day for many years, in order to be able to create for ourselves a rational Doctrine of life out of them, to guide our willing and thinking every conscious moment. The Lord commands us to follow a spiritual discipline by which we compel ourselves to live by in our daily willing and thinking acts. And step by step, the Lord approaches closer and closer in proportion to our sincerity and persistence in this lifelong discipline. We receive from the Lord the conscious light of spiritual understanding by means of the application of Doctrine in our natural mind. This is a conscious light in our natural mind, easily seen from great distance in the spiritual world on account of its spiritual content within the interior-natural mind. The interior-natural is also called the spiritual-natural and is the level of thinking in which the angelic spirits are in the First Heaven (xx).

 

This spiritual light is the light in which we perceive and think when our thinking is immersed in spiritual-rational correspondences. This light is what provides enlightenment for the New Church mind. This is the light needed by every regenerating mind to be able to resist falsities of evil in us from heredity. As will be shown in this Chapter, the spiritual-rational correspondences that provide us with enlightenment are not located anywhere in the external rational mind. The Letter of the Writings is in the external rational mind, not the interior-natural mind, because this Letter is written in natural-rational correspondences (not spiritual-rational). Only spiritual-rational correspondences afford us the ability to understand spiritual topics spiritually. By means of the natural-rational correspondences we understand spiritual topics naturally. To understand spiritual topics spiritually is called enlightenment because spiritual understanding is only from the light of heaven.

 

When we see in this spiritual light those things about our willing and thinking all day long, and when we see in this spiritual light those things that surround us in the natural and cultural environments, we experience delight and bliss that cannot be described.

 

But this delight and bliss is nothing but the consequence of the spiritual heat we sense in response to our willing the good and thinking the true.

 

This hot light of consciousness shines brightly in the spiritual world. All such light issues from the spiritual Sun (DLW 89). We cannot see this light directly in a natural-sensuous way, but we can see it in a rational way by its correspondences to the natural or external things in our mind and in society. The happiness we feel is not something we can grasp for as a goal. Neither would we be satisfied with this happiness as a goal in itself, rather than as a consequence. The happiness is only a by product of the use, which is the willing and thinking as of-self to harmonize with the Doctrine we take up in our mind.

 

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.

 

To understand the Writings literally and naturally is to put up an effort as-of self in our natural-rational mind. The literal understanding of the Writings is the understanding immersed in natural-rational correspondences. This is a far higher level of thinking and understanding than the natural-sensuous correspondences in which the New Testament is written. Seventeen centuries of intellectual and scientific development intervene between the natural-sensuous correspondences of the New Testament and the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings. The natural-rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings elevate the mind of the human race to a new level of conscious understanding and functioning. This level is the highest possible level of thinking and understanding with the natural mind. Yet it is only like the light of the moon at night when compared to the portions of the mind above the natural which are in the bright and intense light of the spiritual Sun. The spiritual topics of the Writings can be understood naturally or spiritually, and one gives us the light of the moon at night, the other gives us the light of the summer  sun at noon

 

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.

 

This means that we have a conscious perception of spiritual-rational correspondences. It is shown later in the Chapter how this process takes place and in which anatomical portion of the mind.

 

As this process of enlightenment and regeneration goes on, we appropriate more and more of the Spiritual Doctrine, feeling it within us and as being ours. It will be shown below that this Spiritual Doctrine in our mind is Divine Doctrine. This is important to prevent us from appropriating the Divine. The Spiritual Doctrine is felt to be our own from intellectual effort in penetrating the Letter of the Writings. That it feels like our own, means that we are consciously conjoined to the Divine. Our love and worship of the Spiritual Doctrine is the condition the Lord waits for to effect conjunction with the individual New Church mind. When we worship the Spiritual Doctrine born in our understanding, we are not attributing divinity or infallibility to ourselves. Instead, we are acknowledging the Divine Child or Seed implanted in our mind by the Lord. This Divine Seed is Divine Truth from the Lord accommodated to the individual in a unique way. Thus, the Divine Doctrine is different with each individual, and yet they are all congruent because they are each from enlightenment and genuine charity, which are only from the Lord.

 

The Divine Doctrine in one New Church mind may not be recognized by another New Church mind, since recognition or enlightenment is dependent on the regeneration series each must undergo in their time. Therefore if there were a political attempt to impose the Divine Doctrine of one individual on another, the Church would be destroyed and the Spiritual Doctrine would be consummated and vanish. Only the Letter of the Writings, not the spiritual or internal meaning, can be used for Church management issues. Since the Letter can be turned in a variety of endless directions, the result is that the Church remains stable by proliferating culturally, so that each Church specific is run according to its selection and interpretation of the Letter.

 

Whenever a new view arises about the Letter that does not agree with the existing views in a Church, the members with the new view will form a separate Church so as not to experience opposition. In this way, the Church proliferates according to its cultural views and selections and interpretations of the Letter of the Writings. Every Church specific, if charity is the primary in it and faith its secondary, receives from the Lord Divine Doctrine by means of enlightenment of its members, in accordance with each member’s progress in the regeneration series they each must undergo.

 

The location of this new spiritual understanding of Doctrine is not in our natural-rational mind, for the spiritual cannot be in the natural, but only above it or within it, in a discrete degree higher than the natural. It is necessary therefore that the Lord create a new mind within the natural-rational.

 

This new mind is called the interior-natural mind and its operation is nothing else than spiritual-rational correspondences. This is the level of understanding and thinking of the angelic spirits have who live in the First Heaven. The new interior-natural mind now gives us the capacity to have a spiritual consciousness that was not possible before. Spiritual consciousness is the conscious perception of spiritual-rational correspondences. The spiritual understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine is located not in the external natural mind but in the interior-natural mind. This is the level of thinking and reasoning that serves for our regeneration.

 

We cannot be regenerated by natural-rational correspondences.

 

Hence it is that the Letter kills but the spiritual sense gives life. The spiritual sense is nothing else than the perception of spiritual-rational correspondences. This perception is called enlightenment. This Chapter presents methods for extracting spiritual-rational correspondences from natural-rational correspondences.

 

The study of the Letter of the Writings and the consequent natural understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine, is our First Education, or reformation. The application of the Letter in our mind to our daily willing and thinking, leads to the spiritual understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine, and is our Second Education, or enlightenment. But there is one more step: We must then confirm this spiritual understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine by means of the Letter of the Writings, and this can be called our Third Education, which is regeneration itself. Thus, starting from the Letter, we end with the Letter. These three steps are required for every regenerating New Church mind.

 

The interior-natural mind responds to three discrete levels of Doctrine. These three levels mirror by correspondence the Doctrine that is in the three heavens.

 

As we regenerate, the Lord opens the unconscious spiritual mind more and more, with more and more interior truths of Doctrine that He implants as a Divine Seed in a Divine Garden or Eden. This is the return of the human race to the pristine celestial sate called the Garden of Eden, which in the East. This biological activity in the unconscious spiritual mind results in a corresponding activity in the interior-natural mind, which is conscious. By this mechanism the Lord gives us conscious perception of the spiritual forms of Doctrine in the three heavens.

 

Our unconscious spiritual mind being built up by the Lord during regeneration is the mind that lives and is conscious in heaven in the afterlife. The discrete level to which our unconscious spiritual mind is opened determines which of the three heavens we enter for eternal life. This depends on our regeneration. Those who suffer themselves to be regenerated to the celestial level, enter the highest or Third Heaven.

 

The interior-natural mind is therefore the organ of consciousness for the understanding of Spiritual Doctrine. It is the organ that contains spiritual-rational correspondences and gives us conscious perception of them. Note that the content of the interior-natural mind originates from the unconscious spiritual mind, which is spiritual of celestial origin, hence from the Divine.

 

Both the unconscious spiritual mind and the conscious interior-natural mind are from celestial origin. Therefore everything in them is Divine, just as everything in the Garden of Eden is Divine, and everything in heaven is Divine (xx).

 

There is nothing in them from self or the world. This is in contrast with the content of the natural-rational mind which originates from as-of self effort and intelligence. This is why the natural understanding of the Heavenly Doctrine is from self-intelligence, but its spiritual understanding is from heaven and the Lord. The Spiritual Doctrine in our mind is nothing but the spiritual-rational correspondences in our perception from the interior-natural mind. Consequently, the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind is Divine Doctrine.

 

The First Education is for reformation. The interior-natural mind is not yet opened in this phase because our understanding of Doctrine is not yet spiritual. We undergo reformation by means of the truths of the Letter understood naturally. When we begin our regeneration, then for the first time the Lord enlightens us with a more interior perception of Doctrine. This is the beginning of our Second Education. The Lord now creates an interior-natural mind within our natural-rational mind. At first, only the lowest discrete level is built up in the new interior-natural mind. This corresponds to the spiritual understanding of Doctrine by the natural angels in the First Heaven. Then, as we confirm the spiritual understanding in the Letter of the Writings, we obtain our Third Education. Now the interior-natural mind is opened to its second degree that corresponds to the understanding of Doctrine possessed by the spiritual angels of the Second Heaven.

 

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).

 

2. A Diagram Showing The Formation Of The New Church Mind

 

 

The diagram shows the topical organization of this book. It represents the operations of regeneration by means of the Writings. The formation of the New Church mind is what’s called regeneration, hence the title “A Man Of The Field” which refers to the spiritual understanding of Doctrine required for undergoing regeneration.

 

The diagram depicts nine categories of dualities arranged in an ennead matrix of nine cells (3x3). There are three levels (I, II, III) within each of the three operations, or class of activity, described as Volume 1, 2, and 3 (Reformation, Enlightenment, Regeneration).

 

Thus, Reformation operates at three levels of thinking: Knowledge (I), Understanding (II), and Perception (III). So does Enlightenment, and also Regeneration.

 

These nine dualities represent nine steps we go through to install the New Church mind in ourselves. It is the process of regeneration described in the Writings. I will discuss each of the nine installation steps following the discussion on reading the columns and rows of the ennead matrix.

 

3. The Operation Of Reformation, Enlightenment, Regeneration

 

Reformation (Volume 1) is the struggle against nonduality in the New Church mind. Nonduality is the denial of duality. Nonduality is also any duality perceived on a continuous scale between the two elements, instead of a discrete degree difference. At the level of thinking called “knowledge level” (I), nonduality is replaced by the fundamental duality in the Writings called the “internal man” vs. the “external man.” This is the same as the duality of the spiritual world and the natural world. This class of dualities is installed in our external mind and constitute the external scientifics of the Letter of the Writings. At the second level of thinking “understanding” (II), we install the class of dualities that contrasts the natural-rational mind vs. the interior-natural mind. This is the same as acknowledging the difference between natural-rational correspondences of the Letter and spiritual-rational correspondences of the spiritual sense within the literal. The third level in the process of reformation is called “perception” (III), by which we install the class of dualities that relate to our perception of the particular within the general. This is the highest understanding in reformation because we can then see how Divine Doctrine applies to our willing and thinking moment by moment. These three levels correspond to the three educations mentioned above. Please refer again to the diagram above.

 

Enlightenment (Volume 2) is the opening by the Lord of the interior-natural mind. Level I thinking is represented in the diagram by a class of dualities represented by the idea of the “spiritual sense existing within the natural sense.” At the second level of enlightenment or thinking (II), we install the class of dualities represented by the distinction between natural-rational correspondences of the Letter and spiritual-rational correspondences extracted from the Letter. At the third level of enlightenment (III) we install the class of dualities represented by the Spiritual Doctrine that is extracted from the literal and built into a coherent rational system of principles. Please refer again to the diagram above.

 

Regeneration (Volume 3) is the application of enlightenment to reveal our willing and thinking and to compel ourselves into proper alignment with the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind. At level I, regeneration is merely the knowledge from the Letter that we must undergo reformation in adult life, followed by regeneration until the end. At level II, regeneration is the understanding that the church in our mind must be a heaven in miniature. No willing and thinking must be left standing that is not in obedience and conformity with the Heavenly Doctrine understood spiritually. At level III, regeneration is the development of conjugial love. And example is the Doctrine of the Wife, discussed in Volume 3. Please refer again to the diagram above.

 

So far we discussed the diagram vertically by operation (reformation, enlightenment, regeneration). Now if you look at the diagram horizontally you will get a picture of the overall operation for each level. The three “levels” refer to the three levels of thinking and reasoning: the level of knowledge (I), the level of understanding (II) and the level of perception (III), as described in the Writings (xx). But reading the diagram horizontally gives us a specific perspective on the role of these three levels within each operation.

 

For example: What is the difference between the knowledge level of thinking between reformation and enlightenment?

 

The diagram answers this question with a contrast between, on the one hand, “internal man/external man” duality (reformation level I), and on the other hand, the “spiritual sense/natural sense” duality (enlightenment level I). In other words, the idea that the spiritual sense is to be extracted from the natural sense is an enlightenment step, while the idea that the internal man rules the external man from an invisible world that is a discrete degree above it, is a reformation step. This notion is discussed further below when the nine installation steps are described individually.

 

Take a second example: “What do spiritual-rational correspondences correspond to?”

 

The diagram answers this question with a contrast between, on the one hand, “spiritual-rational correspondences,” and on the other, the “Spiritual Doctrine.” Both are operations of enlightenment. The diagram shows that understanding the duality “spiritual-rational” within natural-rational” is the foundation for level III, namely perceiving the Spiritual Doctrine. This duality is further discussed below in the installation steps. But for now, you can see that spiritual-rational correspondences are at a lower level of thinking (II) than the Spiritual Doctrine (III). This means that the spiritual-rational correspondences in the understanding point to, or refer to, that which is above themselves. And this is the Spiritual Doctrine. In the same way you can see that the Letter of the Writings is the external portion of the Spiritual Doctrine and the two cannot be equated since they form a duality.

 

Take a third example: “What is the essential difference between the natural-rational mind and the interior-natural mind?”

 

The diagram answers this question with a contrast between, on the one hand, “interior-natural mind” and on the other, the “natural-rational mind.” This contrast is installed in the operation of reformation at level II. The diagram shows that the interior-natural mind is a discrete degree above the natural-rational mind. Above or within in terms of discrete degrees always means superior (xx). The way in which the interior-natural mind is superior to the natural-rational mind is shown by adjacent dualities. For instance, going horizontally on the matrix, the interior-natural mind in reformation (level II) becomes the containant for spiritual-rational correspondences in enlightenment (II). This indicates that the opening of the interior-natural mind during reformation paves the way for understanding the duality between interior-natural correspondences and natural-rational correspondences. Upon understanding this duality depends the ability to perceive the Spiritual Doctrine (level III). There is therefore an indirect but determinative relationship between understanding the interior-natural mind and perceiving the Spiritual Doctrine. These matters are discussed in more detail later in the Chapter.

 

Take a fourth example: “What is the relationship between perceiving the Spiritual Doctrine and understanding what is heaven?”

 

This question contrasts “enlightenment level III” with “regeneration level II.” The diagram answers this question with a contrast between, on the one hand, the “Spiritual Doctrine” and on the hand, “Heaven.” The diagram shows that both are interior elements of their duality. Their external elements relate to each other as “Letter of the Writings” relates to “Church on earth.” To express these relations verbally we would say that the Church on earth is the external natural vessel for heaven, when all is in order from creation. Similarly, the Letter of the Writings is a natural vessel for the Spiritual Doctrine. However, these relations vary for each operation.

 

In the operation of enlightenment, the relation between the spiritual and the natural is by means of the perception (level III) that the natural-rational correspondences of the Writings have a spiritual-rational correspondence to which they refer from within. Consequently, it is the perception that the Spiritual Doctrine is not in the Letter but within it, and must be extracted from the Letter by appropriate methods.

 

In the operation of regeneration, the relationship between the interior and external is defined by a perception (level III) of conjugial love within the marriage of regenerating couples. Therefore our understanding (level II) of heaven is the result of this perception since understanding (level II) is always the result of perception (level III) (xx).

 

As you can see the ennead diagram has powerful abilities to organize a lot of ideas from the Writings. You can practice deriving questions by picking a contrast, as I have done above in the four examples. Then, giving an answer by invoking the neighbor dualities. You can move around vertically, horizontally, and diagonally, each movement defining the type of question being asked and its answer.

 

See Note 24 for more information on the amazing properties of enneads that I have discovered over the years.

 

4. 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.

 

Looking at the diagram again:

 

 

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 (Volume 3).

 

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).

 

5. Doctrine Is The Reception Of Spiritual Information Packets

 

Prior to regeneration we equate “spiritual Doctrine of the Word” with “the Letter of the Writings.” After reformation, the Lords creates an interior-natural mind within our external rational understanding where we have stored up the Letter of the Doctrine from studying the Writings. IN this interior-natural mind we con consciously see the correspondences of the Doctrine in a spiritual way. This is our spiritual understanding of the spiritual Doctrine located in our interior natural mind. Now we can see the difference between the Doctrine in the Letter and the spiritual Doctrine laid down within the Letter in our mind. Now we can see that there is an inexhaustible source of interior spiritual truths within the Writings. We can understand that the Letter of the Writings is a finite set of Numbers and sentences. They have been indexed and translated many times. There is a definite and finite number, even if we go down to the letters of each word. How then can there be an endless collection of spiritual truths in the Writings, to serve the entire humanity of the entire future ahead to eternity?

 

We can see the answer as soon as we have established for ourselves the idea that the spiritual Doctrine is spiritual, made of a collection of spiritual truths. And right away we can see that there is no limit to the number of spiritual truths. Hence we can see that the endless collection o few truths for the human race form the Letter of the Writings will come by enlightenment as the Letter is known and honored and applied to one’s life situation.

 

6. Biology Of The Spiritual Doctrine

 

The development of Doctrine can be thought of objectively and scientifically in terms of spiritual psychobiology, spiritual neurology, or spiritual agriculture. The mind is an organ made of spiritual fibers that must be grown into a bulk and into a gyration or coiling process, similar to the brain’s fissures with its billions of synapses coiled in coherent networks called “cell assemblies” in modern physiology. But instead of physical food and caloric energy, the mind uses spiritual packets called “truths” and “truths falsified.” These two kinds of information packets are coiled opposite to one another, and have opposite consequences on our life.

 

Spiritual freedom refers to our self-controlled access to these information packets. Whichever type we love, that we access, that is, streams into us from heaven or hell, which builds up the fibers of the mind into clusters of coherent coiled shapes. In order to distinguish between the two types that enter externally into our rational mind, we must filter them through our reasoning process. The accuracy of our reasoning process depends on our motive. We can perform the rational analysis between true and false information packets, in order to keep our inherited delights. In this case, our reasoning process will be necessarily biased and false, leading us to take falses for truths, and truths for falses. This is a disastrous course that leads all the way to hell because only truth leads away from hell. Or, we can perform the rational analysis between true and false information packets, in order to shed our inherited delights. This leads to heaven because all inherited delights are ties to hell and shunning them turns us toward heaven.

 

But what would lead us to shed our inherited delights?

 

The Writings teach that there is only one thing that can convince us to freely give up our inherited and acquired evils. And that is the Doctrine in our mind from the Writings (xx). If we love the Doctrine because it is from the Lord and is the Lord (xx), we will work daily to acquire it into our mind. And if we continue to love it in our mind, we will hold it up in the air as a brass serpent (xx), and guide our steps in its light. Every moment we take a step in our mind, we are advancing the spiritual fibers further into hell, or further into heaven. Every act of willing or desiring, every idea and conclusion of our thinking, is each a spiritual act that coils the fibers of our mind into heaps tending to hell, or beautiful networks of coherence and rationality that reach toward heaven, and touch it, thus becoming part of it. In one day there are 1440 minutes and 86,400 seconds. Think of every second as involving at least one spiritual act, but usually many more, if one thinks about it from sudden memory (see Chapter 8 Section 1). Clearly then, every day builds a considerable amount of spiritual fibers in our mind, and these are permanent installations!

 

It’s obvious that we must therefore have a way of filtering and monitoring these thousands of spiritual acts we perform by the hour every day! Every single one is formed by an information packet that comes to our natural mind either from hell or from heaven. And since all these billions and trillions of fibers that we inherit are from hell, we’ve got a big job on our hands if we are going to get to heaven! Of course we could not even begin to do this from our own power and intelligence, since we are born spiritually insane, and power we have none (xx). So the Lord has made a way for us. He will supply the motive power, moment by moment, and He will supply the sanity of thinking moment by moment. The Lord cannot do this directly, like we do agriculture on earth, but only spiritually, through our own willing and thinking acts. To the extent that we compel ourselves to do our willing and thinking acts in accordance with His Divine Truth, to that extent we can be reformed and regenerated. He has given us this Divine Truth in information packets called Doctrine in their aggregate, and He has placed them in the Word of His Second Coming. This is the Word of the Writings, which we must love as we love Him, for Divine Truth is Him (xx).

 

By loving these packets of truth in the Letter of the Writings, we imbibe them from the literal language into our external mind, called the natural-rational, and then simultaneously, the Lord, from within, puts the spiritual content into our spiritual mind, and by correspondence into our interior-natural mind. Now we have the living truth of Doctrine in us. Its external part is in the literal meaning of it in our natural-rational mind. This conscious understanding of truth from the Writings comes to us from the external natural world in the form of a book. Within this conscious truth, the Lord implants spiritual truths from within. This takes place in the spiritual mind in an unconscious way. But the unconscious activity becomes conscious by correspondence in our conscious interior-natural mind, as explained.

 

7. 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).

 

8. The Spiritual Doctrine is Heaven and the Lord In Us

 

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 Word. To live from the Word is to live from the Lord, for the Lord is in the Word, yea, He is the Word.

 

This New Church, truly Christian, which at this day is being established by the Lord, will endure to eternity, as is proved from the Word of both Testaments; also it was foreseen from the creation of the world; and it will be the crown of the four preceding churches, because it will have true faith and true charity. (CORONIS 0)

 

The New Church mentioned here refers to the Heavenly Doctrine because the New Church is from the Writings. The New Church from the Writings is called “the True Christian religion (see TCR). The New Church mind contains the Heavenly Doctrine and is shaped by it. As the passage indicates, this Doctrine “will endure to eternity,” which means that no new written revelation will ever be given again. The Writings are to last forever. It is the New Word of the Second Coming through which the New Heaven was created. All the old heavens were recreated into this New Heaven by means of the Word of the Second Coming. Henceforth for all times the Writings will be the sole source for Doctrine that the human race needs to be regenerated and saved.

 

Heaven is in our understanding by means of the spiritual understanding of Doctrine. The Lord’s good inflows into this understanding. It is called the Heavenly Doctrine because heaven is in the Doctrine, as the Lord Himself is the Doctrine (xx). And the all of heaven is the Lord (xx). The true human begins in heaven in the celestial mind, and this mind is made out of spiritual truths gathered together in the Doctrine that we have appropriated for ourselves in our understanding. The truths of the Second Coming creates the New Heavens in our mind. This is a rational heaven made of spiritual-rational truths. Only by acquiring spiritual-rational truths from the Writings, can heaven be formed in our mind, and in no other way.

 

Note carefully that it is not the literal language of the Writings that makes the heavenly Doctrine in our mind, but its spiritual content available from within, in the spiritual mind:

 

Natural truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, 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, like the cardiac and pulmonary organs with their coverings and ribs, as has been said above; and when these truths are held in connection and in order they are holy, and not till then. This the sense of the letter of our Word does by means of the appearances of truth of which its ultimate consists; and this is why that sense is the holy Divine Itself and the sanctuary. (AE 1088:[4])

 

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 Word from doctrine. The "cherubim" mean in the Word 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 Word, 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.

 

9. Why The Spiritual Doctrine In Our Mind Must Be A Divine Doctrine

 

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 Word. To live from the Word is to live from the Lord, for the Lord is in the Word, yea, He is the Word. (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.

 

i The Word cannot be understood without doctrine.

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

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 enlightens 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.

 

10. Objections To The Divine Doctrine In Our Mind

 

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 o fits 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 tow main portions. First, the acknowledgement that tithe 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 revealed to the General Church is to serve the entire human race. The Lord has an endless list of spiritual-celestial truths to grant to all the New Church organizations of the endless future. Each time, the Divine Birth in the Church is a replication or recapitulation by correspondence, of the 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.

 

11. The Spiritual Doctrine In The Mind Must Be Proven By The Letter

 

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.

 

12. Man Enters Heaven Through The Church

 

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.

 

13. 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.

 

14. 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.”

 

15. Examples Of Enlightenment In Everyday Circumstances

 

One of the stumbling blocks to understanding enlightenment through the Letter of the Writings, is the impression that it is something mystical, hence the opposite of the Nunc Licet Doctrine of explaining away all mystery in spiritual things. Enlightenment when seen from below appears a mystical thing. The New Church mind at first wants to be anchored in solid rock, and this is the rationality of all spirituality. Nothing must be hidden from the rational understanding. Under this spell, we give a purely natural explanation of enlightenment. When we read in the Letter that the Lord enlightens us to see the spiritual meaning of the Letter (xx), we take this in a purely natural way. We suppose that enlightenment when we read the Letter means that we can see the literal meaning more deeply, more in its universal application, and interrelation with others parts of the Letter.

 

In this mode of reasoning we do not think that the Letter of the Writings is written in pure correspondences. When we come across passages saying that the Letter of the Word is written in pure correspondences (xx), we do not think about the Writings. We think about the Old and New Testament. Somehow in this mentality, we are able to neutralize the force of the Letter by restricting what it says about the Word, so as to exclude it from applying to the Writings. Later, as we think back on this former mentality, we can be amazed that we could neutralize the force of rationality whenever it fits a preconception we do not want to lose.

 

But at last we are able to be strictly fair and logical in the application of the Doctrine of Sacred Scripture, which is that the Writings in its letter is written in pure correspondences.

 

Once we accept this, and understand it, a whole new field of vision is opened up to our understanding. Now we can see what enlightenment refers to, namely a new perception that is a discrete degree above the natural-rational understanding. Deepening this natural understanding of the Letter is what we thought enlightenment to be, in the earlier mentality. But we begin to understand the scientific mechanism of enlightenment, and look for it in the Letter. Now we begin to put things together in the Letter in a way we didn’t before. This new putting together follows a logic we didn’t have before enlightenment. But now we have the perception called enlightenment, we can objectively know what it is within us, we can pinpoint the activity in our mind that is this new perception called enlightenment. The Letter clearly confirms this new perception, but we can see how it is not the literal meaning of the Letter that gives this new perception.

 

If you don’t want to bother making these finer distinctions, enlightenment will continue to appear as something either mystical or natural. But when you are willing to put up the mental effort to understand it scientifically, the mechanism is clear and logical, not mystical and vague.

 

Such was the man of the Most Ancient Church; who, if he were living and read the Word at the present day, would not cleave at all to the sense of the letter; but would be as if he did not see it, but only the internal sense abstractly from the letter; and indeed as if the letter had no existence. Thus he would be in the life or soul of the Word. It is the same everywhere in the Word, even in its historical parts, which were just such as are narrated, and yet there is not so much as one little word therein that does not, in the internal sense, enfold within it deep secrets which never appear to those who hold the mind in the historical connection. Thus in this chapter by the names, in the literal or historical sense, are meant the peoples that constituted the Ancient Church, but in the internal sense their doctrinals are signified. (AC 1143)

 

This passage discusses the Most Ancient Church in the Letter, but in its spiritual sense it discusses something about our states of regeneration (xx). If we apply to ourselves the expression “the man of the Most Ancient Church” we are designating the celestial mind we become through regeneration. For only this mind is “living at the present day,” that is, only the celestial mind within us is a living state, all others are not living states but dead. In this living celestial mode of thinking, we “would not cleave at all to the sense of the letter.” The “historical parts” applied to the Word of the Writings refer to all the natural and spiritual scientifics that are revealed in the literal meaning. Natural scientifics are truths about the natural world, and spiritual scientifics are truths about the spiritual world. Both are considered “historical parts” because they are a collection of facts, observations, and experiments about phenomena in both worlds. Even these sensuous scientific facts contain a spiritual sense. This sense “enfolds within it deep secrets which never appear to those who hold the mind in the historical connection.”

 

Remember that the Letter has two distinct uses. First, to present the literal meaning so that we may apply them as commandments in our daily living. Second, to enfold the spiritual sense so that we can extract from it the Spiritual Doctrine we need for our regeneration. These are the two Divine functions of the Letter of the Writings. Neither must be taken away. To take away one of these is to rob from the Lord—a deathly sin.

 

16. Surface Meaning And Underlying Meaning Of Sentences

 

Cloud ... denotes Divine Truth in the ultimates, consequently the Word in the sense of the letter (AE 594)

 

An analogy may help you see that the structural mechanism between the sense of the letter of the Writings and its spiritual meaning are inseparable. Think about learning to speak a language. You first of all need to be exposed to sample sentences, spoken or written. The sound and the script are the external corporeal part of the language structure. These sounds and letters have no meaning of their own. They are held together in the appropriate pattern not by themselves, but by some directing component within it. This directing component is called syntax in the modern science of linguistics. Syntax is not visible or audible. It is not a sensuous component of language or speech.

 

Syntax, formerly known as grammar, assembles meaningless elements of sound or script, putting them together in a pattern that fits the language as known by its speakers and users. Syntactic rules of assembling sound and script patterns have been precisely described in terms of mathematical and logical systems. This was the proof that meaningless sound and script elements are held together and put together by rationally identifiable rules and principles. When we hear a sentence or read it, the individual elements of the sounds and letters suddenly have a meaning.

 

Where is the meaning conveyed? It is not in the external corporeal form of the sounds and letters. Proof thereof is obtained when you talk gibberish as a game. We then put together the meaningless elements of sound not according to the syntactic rules of our language. The result is that the meaningless outward elements remain meaningless. Clearly then, the meaning is not in the letters or sounds, but in something within them, in another dimension altogether, not related to sensuous perception by means of the eye or ear. This inner dimension of the letters and groupings of letters, is the syntax that puts them together and holds them together as appropriate forms and patterns.

 

The sub-forms that make up words can be interpreted by rules of meaning extraction. For example, when you see the word “didn’t,” you can infer form the rules you know that it can be expanded as “did not” and refers to some action in the past performed by humans or animals, or an activity by an inanimate object. This expansion of the original word constitutes a “doctrine” since it brings together into a rational system a number disparate elements: humans, animals, inanimate objects, past, present, action, activity, reference, names, number, quantity. This “doctrine” was extracted from the word “didn’t” in its literal meaning. Doctrine can be extracted from the literal because the literal is contextualized by science and culture. The literal could not have been produced without this contexts. And what came form the context is embodied in the literal. Therefore it can also be extracted from it. What went into it now can come out of it.

 

But note that the method of extraction is not continuous but discrete. The corporeal of the letters, or sounds, can be studied endlessly but they will not yield any information about the meaning. There is no continuous improvement of vision regarding the corporeal that will ever yield the sensuous. The two relate to each other by correspondences. In ordinary language, there are no actual correspondences, as there were in the language of the ancients, and in the Writings today. But the corporeal and the sensuous in natural language relate to each other in a way that represents actual correspondences. This is why we say that the meaning of a sentence is in a different “dimension” than the corporeal or physical letters and sound patterns. The meaning is in a dissension of rationality while the letter itself is in a dimension of physicality, these being in actual discrete degrees.

 

Note a possible source of confusion. When we speak of the Letter regarding the Writings we do not mean the corporeal only but the corporeal joined to the sensuous. This is because we are thinking of the literal meaning of the sentences when we discuss the Letter of the Writings. The physical letters of the Writings in the original Latin in which Swedenborg wrote, represent the Lord’s glorified Physical Body that ascended to Heaven. But the Lord’s Divine Natural includes the Divine Corporeal and the Divine Sensuous. Hence when we say the Letter of the Writings, we mean the literal meaning of the sentences that are made up by physical letters and spaces.

 

 

The human mind is a structure of organs arranged in a hierarchical level from highest to lowest. It’s therefore no surprise that the rational analysis of syntax in linguistics and philosophy reveals many sub-components of a sentence arranged in hierarchical levels, with different types of rules at each level. These levels within a sentence each represent a different discrete degree in the human mind. One of the levels of a sentence is called semantics. This is a mental system similar to a searchable dictionary, glossary, and encyclopedia. The content of the semantics is a social doctrine or agreement among the speakers of a language. This means that in order to create or understand an appropriate sentence, we need to acquire a precise knowledge about the conventions used by the speakers. This common knowledge is the source of the meaning of a sentence.

 

In other words, the things to which a sentence refers to and discusses, are things that have a fixed location in the categories and cells of this common knowledge carried around in the minds of the speakers. Typically all sentences we create in a conversation or essay, are unique or different in some way from similar sentences spoken or heard before. There are a few recurrent sentence patterns or “formulaic expressions” that we use in greetings, apologies, etc., but for the most part each sentence is unique. This reflects the doctrine that no two things in the universe can be the same, since in the Lord infinite things make a one (xx) and infinite variety is represented in every created thing.

 

How then do we know the meaning of a sentence if it is unique and we’ve never heard it before? The meaning of a sentence is something we extract from the letters and their groupings. The meaning is not available in the letters of the sentence. There are two different ways we extract meaning from the letters that make up a sentence.

 

The first method is to extract the literal meaning of the sentence. This is done by interpreting the words, matching them to our semantic dictionary, and using the syntactic rules that we learned, to home in on one specific literal meaning. The combination of words that have a known meaning, and the syntactic rules of logic by which they’ve been assembled, allows this extraction of the literal meaning of the sentence. The result of this process is conjunction between writer and reader, or speaker and hearer. One type of conjunction is called communication in which one individual’s affection becomes known to another individual, whereupon the second individual makes know his affection to the first, and the loop repeats itself. In this way individuals who are conjoined become a source of affectional influence to each other.

 

The second method is used after the first has been applied. Once we understand the literal meaning of the sentence, we can extract another meaning from that. It is called a “deeper” meaning because it is nowhere visible from the literal meaning itself. Take for instance, the sentence “Do you know that it’s dangerous to stick something in that plug?” The literal meaning states that it is dangerous to stick something in that plug, and asks whether the hearer knows it. The deeper meaning states that the hearer should stop sticking something into the plug, or else something bad will happen and the hearer will be in trouble, and regret it.

 

This underlying expanded statement reflects the true purpose of the speaker in creating that particular sentence for that situation. Now the hearer has to recapture the speaker’s purpose. First the hearer extracts the literal meaning. Second, the hearer extracts the deeper meaning that reveals the purpose of the speaker. The third step consists of a reaction and decision by the hearer about what to do next (e.g., to stop, to continue, to argue, to explain, etc.). The literal meaning carried within the combination of sounds or letters, is called the outside of the sentence, but the deeper meaning extracted from the literal meaning, is called the inside.

 

Insofar as they are in light, so far they are also in intelligence and wisdom; but insofar as they are not in light, thus insofar as they are in shade, so far they are not in intelligence and wisdom (AC n. 2776, 3190, 3337). It is for this reason that in common speech "light" is predicated of the things of the understanding. Man is not aware of this reason, and therefore believes that these terms are used merely by way of comparison. Men use many other forms of expression that flow from a perception of such things as exist in the other life, in which they are as to their spirits, and that have been received in conversation because they are interiorly acknowledged, but are blotted out of notice by the things of the body, which are of such a nature as to extinguish the things of perception in which man's interior man is. (AC 3693)

 

From this passage we can see that people speak with correspondences though they are not aware of it. We speak this way because the source of our speech is in the interior mind, which is spiritual. We use “many forms of expression” in our everyday speech “that flow from a perception of such things as exist in the other life.” Our spiritual mind sees spiritual light, which upon entering, enlightens its understanding. In the natural mind, these correspondences are “blotted out of notice.” Nevertheless, they can be noticed by explanations of it laid down in the Letter, and in this passage.

 

You can see from all this, and many other examples you can make up yourself, that there is always from creation in every object or sentence, a structural relation between an outside something, and its inside. The universal aspects of this relation has been revealed in the Writings (xx). The Writings have an outermost portion as the corporeal script and numbers arranged in fixed paragraphs and sentences. This is called the Corporeal of the Lord, His Physical Body in His new revelation of the Second Coming. This corporeal is dead in itself, and meaningless, with no rationality or truth whatsoever. To worship this Divine Corporeal in itself, is a cult similar to the worship of the Lord’s earthly relics, such as His robe, tunic, place of burial, stones He walked on, things He touched, as well as the simulacrums of them such as paintings and crosses. This corporeal spirituality is infernal (xx).

 

Clearly then, when we worship the Lord in His Word of the Second Coming, we begin our worship with the literal meaning within the dead letters. We call this outward meaning the “Letter of the Writings,” which is to say, not the physical letters, but their literal meaning in grammatical sentences. The literal meaning is one discrete degree above the corporeal letters, and is called the natural-sensuous mind. There are two ways of extracting the literal meaning from the physical letters. The first is to interpret the words as put together by the syntax. For instance, we read:

 

For all angels were born people, and a person is, in respect to the interior elements which are those of his mind, a heaven in miniature form” (DLW 231).

 

The surface meaning of the literal states that all angels were first people on earth and that people’s interior portion of the mind is a heaven in miniature.

 

Besides this surface meaning, the literal meaning also contains a general application because the meaning of this sentence is related to the meaning of other sentences in the Writings. Extracting this deeper meaning of the literal sentence requires that we know some of those other sentences that this one relates to in meaning. By putting various sentences together, and applying them to this sentence, we are able to extract a deeper layer of the literal meaning. This is not yet a spiritual meaning, but a deeper natural meaning.

 

In this case we can recall that the “interior elements” of the mind exist and live in the spiritual world and are in connection with angels in heaven (xx). We also recall that angels inflow into our interior mind through interior meanings called spiritual truths (xx). From these related sentences or knowledges, we perceive that the sentence we are considering, discusses where heaven is in relation to our mind and how individuals are connected to each other outwardly to make up a heaven. People’s connection to each other involving their interior mind are in a heaven together. Though they are located physically apart, they are together in the interior portion of the mind.

 

This deeper meaning is not a spiritual meaning. No matter how deeply we study and know the Letter of the Writings, we cannot attain to a knowledge of its spiritual meaning by going deeper and deeper in our investigations of parallel paragraphs in the books of the Writings. Such scholarship is indeed required as a first step, but it does not lead to a spiritual understanding of these deeper sentences and doctrines.

 

There is no continuity of development from the Letter to the Spirit by means of the Letter.

 

They are a discrete degree apart, which means that their connection is achieved solely by pure correspondences. In order to be able to extract the spiritual meaning from the literal, we must use the science of correspondences (xx).  Let’s look at the sentence again:

 

For all angels were born people, and a person is, in respect to the interior elements which are those of his mind, a heaven in miniature form” (DLW 231).

 

In this case we may know, or search and discover in the Letter of the Writings, that “angels” correspond to intelligence and wisdom from Divine Truth (HH 179).The “interior mind” is also called the internal man, and it corresponds to heaven (AC 911). Heaven itself represents and corresponds to the Lord in His Divine Human. The “form” of heaven represents the Grand Human (AC 684, 1276). From these correspondences we can extract a spiritual meaning for the sentence. This spiritual meaning is within the literal but is not visible in the literal. It must be extracted by the science of correspondences. In this case the spiritual sense discusses the internal of the human race and its connection to the Lord.

 

To confirm this in the Letter, look at the other sentences to which it is related:

 

The existence of these three degrees in people can be seen from the elevation of a person's mind even to the degrees of love and wisdom possessed by angels of the second and third heavens. For all angels were born people, and a person is, in respect to the interior elements which are those of his mind, a heaven in miniature form. Consequently there are from creation as many degrees of height in a person as there are heavens. The human being is furthermore an image and likeness of God, and these three degrees are therefore engraved on a person because they exist in the human God, which is to say, in the Lord. (DLW 231)

 

We can see that the Letter confirms the spiritual sense that was extracted from the sentence. You can see that our “likeness to God” is mentioned and since God is heaven, we have heaven within us in that likeness.

 

17. 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).

 

18. The Spiritual Sense Of Ecclesiastical And Civil Government

 

Let me now turn to another passage which was worked out by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn while he was a General Church minister more than seven decades ago:

 

There must also be order among the governors, lest anyone, from caprice or ignorance, should permit evils which are contrary to order, and thereby destroy it. This is guarded against when there are superior and inferior governors, among whom there is subordination. (NJHD 313)

 

There is abundant teaching given us in the Writings that the things of the mind are separated by discrete degrees , higher and lower, which are connected and have mutual intercourse by correspondences. The mind is in order when its various degrees are in proper subordination; and the mind is in disorder when such subordination does not exist. This disorder is guarded against when superior and inferior things are in their proper places, and when superior things rule. This order of the mind is represented by what is said here about ecclesiastical and civil government.

(Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The Internal Sense of the Chapter on Ecclesiastical and Civil government in “The New Jerusalem And Its Heavenly Doctrine. (March 1930)” See Note 22 at end)

 

In the analysis of prior Numbers, Rev. Pitcairn showed that “governors” correspond to the doctrine in our mind that we establish to rule over its content. As discussed in this book, we undergo our reformation when we appoint the Writings as the primary governor to rule over all other ideas and explanations we have form another source. The Writings must rule exclusively in our mind in order to from the New Church mind. This is the “governor” discussed in this passage in its spiritual sense. Note that the literal meaning does not lose its strength and power when you realize that the Letter of the Writings is the Lord’s Divine Natural within which is His Divine Rational.

 

Clearly then, the Lord’s Divine Natural is no less Divine Truth than the Divine Rational, since one is within the other and the two are united into one. We are not allowed to weaken the importance of the literal meaning, because we are entering its inner meaning. Remember that it is the literal meaning that is the “governor” that is to rule our willing and thinking all day long. We are to order our life in accordance with the Letter of the Writings. We are to examine our life by means of the literal meaning in the Letter of the Writings. We are to continue to do this regardless of how many spiritual truths we can see within it. And furthermore, the spiritual Doctrine that we extract from the correspondences of the Letter, are also to be confirmed by the Letter through multiple passages, over and over again.

 

19. Anatomy Diagram Of The Spiritual Doctrine in the Mind

 

The Word of the Lord is living by virtue of the internal sense. This is as the soul, of which the external sense is as the body. And just as with man when his body dies the soul lives, and when the soul lives he no longer knows the things that pertain to the body, so when he comes among angels he does not know what the Word is in the sense of the letter, but only what it is in its soul. (AC 1143)

 

To understand more clearly how the internal sense is the soul of the literal sense, look again at the diagram that was discussed above and is reproduced again here. It may help you to picture the scientific or physiological explanation of the Spiritual Doctrine--how it is connected organically to the various structures of the mind.

 

 

With the diagram, it’s easier to see just where the Spiritual Doctrine is located in the mind. The Spiritual sense of the Writings and the Spiritual Doctrine are mental events that take place as a result of the interaction between the interior-natural mind and the natural-rational mind. We have natural-rational consciousness of spiritual topics from the natural-rational mind. We have spiritual-rational consciousness of spiritual topics from the interior-natural mind. The two acting together, one from within and the other from without, produce a new perception of spiritual topics viewed spiritually. Until now they had been viewed naturally, because the natural-rational cannot by itself produce a spiritual view of spiritual topics. Spiritual topics are discussed throughout the Writings but we understand them naturally until reformation, when the Lord activates the interior-natural mind, which is located a discrete degree within the natural mind. After reformation, the joint activation of the interior-natural with the natural-rational, brings on enlightenment, that is, the ability to perceive spiritual topics spiritually.

 

To perceive spiritual topics spiritually is the same as to perceive the spiritual sense of the Letter of the Writings. This is called enlightenment in the Writings (xx). It is not a mystical event but a rational event. It consists of perceiving consciously interior truths in a spiritual way. The Lord grants this activity in the interior-natural mind for the sake of our regeneration.

 

Regeneration is by the spiritual sense, not by the Letter (xx). Obviously this is a most important realization to have for everything about our salvation depends on it. If the Letter of the Word could be used to be regenerated, the Old and New Testament would have been enough. There would not be the need for the Writings and the Second Coming of the Lord. But it is the spiritual sense of the Word that saves, and therefore the spiritual sense had to be revealed. The spiritual sense is not the in the Letter, but must be extracted by means of correspondences. Clearly then, we have no choice but must be concerned with the spiritual sense if we are going to regenerate and be saved.

 

But note carefully in the example given above about the spiritual sense of ecclesiastical and civil government. Note that we can describe the correspondences of a specific passage and then explain and expanded them into a general explanation or Doctrine. This is what Rev. Pitcairn has done in the article quoted. But this written out or verbal explanation of the general Doctrine is not the Spiritual Doctrine. The sentences of the explanation are natural, and they can never become spiritual. It will never be possible for anyone to know or perceive the spiritual sense from these written down sentences. When the writer is enlightened, he sees the spiritual sense and makes Spiritual Doctrine for Himself. But when he writes down what he perceives, he only succeeds in giving a natural description of the spiritual sense.

 

Someone can read these descriptions of the spiritual sense and think that this is the spiritual sense. But this happens only when it is ignored or denied that the spiritual sense is received by enlightenment and remains in the spiritual realm. The spiritual sense cannot descend and be the Letter. It can only communicate with the Letter by correspondences, being within it, not in it. It is not possible to deduce the spiritual sense by studying and analyzing the Letter, even if it were done for ages and ages by generations of scholars. Applying correspondences from the Letter and applying it to the Letter only yields a natural narrative of it. To understand this fully, it must be viewed form the scientific point of view. The physiology of regeneration requires the spiritual sense. Where is this spiritual sense? It cannot be in the Letter, or deduced form the Letter. It cannot be deduced from descriptions of the spiritual sense by means of correspondences since this yields a natural understanding, not a spiritual perception. The only place the spiritual sense exists and can be consciously accessed or perceived is in the interior-natural, as explained elsewhere.

 

This is called enlightenment from the Lord. The Lord alone is the source for all things in the interior-natural. We contribute nothing to its content. This is why it is said the Spiritual Doctrine is the Lord Himself (xx). When we are conscious of the activity going on in our interior-natural we are being enlightened. Enlightenment is this conscious awareness of the spiritual sense in the interior-natural. The Lord implants the spiritual sense in the interior-natural simultaneously as we apply the Letter to our willing and thinking. Therefore the spiritual sense cannot be written down and cannot be deduced or discovered. But when we are enlightened we are not yet regenerated. Now we must confirm the spiritual sense in the Letter in order to be regenerated. This step cannot be skipped. Enlightenment will turn into darkness if this step is skipped. This is because it is the Letter that has power to bend our willing and thinking, but only when it is used for confirmation of the spiritual sense!

 

If it were otherwise, the three steps would not be necessary. First, to acquire the Letter into our natural-rational understanding. Second to apply the Letter to our willing an thinking, by which we are enlightened, and perceive the spiritual sense. Third, we confirm the spiritual sense by the Letter. Now our willing and thinking according to the Letter is modified into a new more interior step of regeneration that was not possible before. The gradual process of regeneration therefore depends on the recycling of these three steps every day until the end.

 

20. The Difference Between The Spiritual Sense And The Spiritual Doctrine

 

The Spiritual Doctrine is a more general formulation of the spiritual sense. The spiritual sense regards a sentence, phrase, word, or number. The Spiritual Doctrine is a system of interrelated rational principles built out of the spiritual sense of many sentences and passages. The spiritual sense in itself cannot regenerate for it is something disconnected and can be mechanically extracted by applying the laws of correspondences. The spiritual sense laid down in the natural is no longer spiritual. Explanations of correspondences such as those quoted above in this Section, are laid down in the natural and are not the spiritual sense. Knowing correspondences is not the spiritual sense. The spiritual sense is only in the interior-natural that is within the natural-rational mind.

 

We must study and know correspondences because we need to apply correspondences to the sentences of the Writings in order to understand what the spiritual sense is and how it is structurally related to the Letter. But this will only teach us about the spiritual sense. Once we know about the spiritual sense of some sentence in the Writings, we can build the Spiritual Doctrine. It is the Spiritual Doctrine that has power to regenerate because it is the spiritual sense applied to life. The spiritual sense prior to application to life is by enlightenment. When enlightened we can apply the spiritual sense we perceive to life, and then it becomes the Spiritual Doctrine. This saves. This Spiritual Doctrine is Divine in origin since we obtained it from the spiritual sense, which is by enlightenment, and then by confirming it by the Letter. Both enlightenment and the Letter are from the Lord and are the Lord, hence Divine.

 

There are thus three things that are Divine in the human race. First, the Letter we acquire into our natural memory and external rational understanding. Second, its spiritual sense which we acquire by enlightenment in our interior-natural mind. Third, the Spiritual Doctrine in our external rational as confirmed by the Letter there. You can see that the Spiritual Doctrine is based on the spiritual sense but is not the same as the spiritual sense. They are in different locations in the mind. The spiritual sense is in the interior-natural but the Spiritual Doctrine is in the external rational. The Spiritual Doctrine is the spiritual sense confirmed in the Letter.

 

When the Spiritual Doctrine is confirmed by the Letter it is easy to see that the Letter confirms it, but only if we are enlightened. When we are not in a state of enlightenment we can read demonstrations or samples of the confirmation process discussed here, and not see the spiritual sense, but only the literal meaning all over again. One then wonders why the three steps were necessary or even if they are real or imagined. But this is an obscurity due to not seeing the spiritual sense.

 

21. The Physiology Of Spiritual Enlightenment

 

These details have already been discussed in several places, and yet it is prudent to go over them many times in order to have a clear vision of its sub-parts. Even so, our vision will be gross in comparison to the angels. Yet the Lord grants that we be able to elevate our understanding even to the level of the highest angels (xx). Not our will, however, and because of that, our elevated understanding quickly falls back to where the will is, several discrete degree below the high places of the elevated understanding. This is by necessity since the Fall. The human race prior to the Fall was in a celestial state, wise from inner revelation and perception that every individual enjoyed. The brain of that race was not split into left and right branches so that people’s willing and thinking were united into one inseparable function. They were not capable of thinking one thing and appearing otherwise on the outside, incapable of simulation and deception.

 

But slowly and gradually the race began to decline from that celestial state by willfully elevating their imagination above reality and wisdom, substituting for these, self-intelligence and rebellion to the dictates of conscience. Eventually the entire race was contaminated so that nothing but rebellion against heaven remained. The race had become infernal so that the newborn of every generation could no longer be regenerated. Every individual arriving in the afterlife added to the population of the hells. The heavens were languishing since they had no longer a basis of connection with the natural world, which is the ultimates of their desires. The Lord then created a new race. This is represented in the Old Testament Word by the Flood (xx).

 

The new human race is represented by Noah (xx). Henceforth the will and the understanding were no longer physiologically united at birth. This is represented by the race’s new brain which was now split into two: the right brain for the will, and the left brain for the understanding (xx). The Lord provided a new method of regeneration, hence salvation. Individuals were now born infernal, as before, but they were able to undergo reformation by means of the understanding. The Lord provided a written Word containing the truths about Himself, heaven, and regeneration. Despite the evil will, the understanding could be elevated and enlightened by means of the Word. Individuals were willing to study and know the truth, but they were unwilling to live by it. The way to heaven was open to every individual, yet few took it, preferring to follow the attraction of the evil delights.

 

Therefore the regeneration of the human race was to be a slow process of thousands of generations! Several more evolutionary modifications had to be effected by the Lord. The Noah generations that acquired the split brain process of regeneration, came to their own end due to new abuses invented against the Word. Eventually all sorts of imaginative philosophies and religions sprang up by means of falsified ideas about the Word and its genuine doctrines, even the idea that there is no heaven or God. As a result, the entire race became spiritually insane, referring to what is true as false, and calling what is false, true (xx). This was reinforced by culture, science, and education. Once more individuals were born infernal and chose to remain infernal. As the populations of the hells increased, that of heaven decreased, and the angels once more were languishing, their happiness and bliss of life threatened by the loss of connection with their ultimates on the earths. The entire universe was dying.

 

He who has been instructed concerning Divine order, may moreover understand, that man was created to become an angel, because in him is the ultimate of order (see above AC 9), in which ultimate, whatever belongs to celestial and angelic wisdom may be formed, renewed, and multiplied. Divine order never subsists in the mediate, so as to form anything there without an ultimate, for it is not in its own fullness and perfection, but it proceeds to the ultimate. But when it is in its ultimate, it then forms, and also by mediates there collated, renews and produces itself farther, which is effected by procreations; wherefore the seminary of heaven is there. This also is meant by the things related of man, and of his creation in the first chapter of Genesis:

 

God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; and God created man in His image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them; and God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply (vers. 26-28).

 

"To create in the image of God, and in the likeness of God," is to confer upon man all things of Divine order from firsts to ultimates, and thus to make him an angel as to the interiors of his mind. (LJ20)

 

Angels cannot subsist in their perfection without communicating with their ultimates on the earths who are still tied to the physical body. The Lord brings everything of the human race into a unity, so much so that the entire race in both worlds appears to Him as one Grand Human. No part of it can be destroyed for then the whole would lose its perfection. This is impossible of course, since the Lord creates everything in the universe in its own perfection. Therefore the Lord saved the human race once again, this time by coming Himself into the world and revealing His existence to the physical eyes and touch. From now on God became part of the natural history of the human race. It was no longer possible to deny His existence except by those who denied history and reality.

 

It was necessary for God to remove Himself physically—an event known as the Ascension in the New Testament and the Writings. The new method the Lord provided for the regeneration of the race was a rational physiology of the mind capable of living in a rational heaven. Prior to the Flood humans were in sensuous contact with heaven and the spiritual world. They were able to see and talk to their parents and teachers who were in heaven and be lead and instructed by them until they reached heaven. But with the split-brain mind, it was provided that the understanding be elevated into heavenly light while the will in the meantime, remained infernal. Sensuous consciousness of the spiritual was no longer the means of reformation, but the understanding. The understanding could be reformed and become spiritual and heavenly, and then the will, by means of the understanding. Regeneration thus took steps, first the reformation of the understanding, and then the regeneration of the will by means of the Doctrine in the understanding. This Doctrine was from the Word. From then on the human race was to be regenerated by means of rational consciousness of the spiritual world and God.

 

At His First Coming, the Lord gave the basis for the Word of the New Testament. This Letter contained all the truths about Himself and heaven in a naked form as well as in a hidden form. The literal meaning gave sufficient details about Him and regeneration that every individual who wanted to could be reformed and regenerated by taking up this Letter into the understanding, and turning it into their Doctrine of life. Many did, but many more did not. Seventeen more centuries were needed for the human intellect to evolve culturally into a form that allowed the reception of full rational consciousness of the Lord and regeneration. In 1771 Swedenborg completed and published the last Work of the Writings called The True Christian Religion (TCR). This was now a scientific revelation, fully rational, and capable of containing within the Letter all the infinite truths the Lord makes available to the human race to eternity. No new Word will ever be needed or given. This was the completion of the final creation of the human race. Spiritual rational consciousness was now available to every individual willing to read the new revelations and to accept them as Divine Truth from God provided for the race’s regeneration. This condition is fully stated and made explicit in the Letter of the Writings (xx).

 

The process and physiology of reformation and regeneration are given in scientific detail in the Letter of the Writings. This is necessary because rational consciousness is formed by Divine truths. Only through this formation can the new mind be born and grown into a celestial mind capable of living in heaven. The havens are created out of the very same Truths described scientifically in the Writings. Therefore it is a rational heaven, meaning that those who live in that state, live in those rational truths. In other words, heaven is a state of spiritual physiology of the human mind. Since every individual is born with an infernal mind, connected and tending to evil delights which are opposed to heavenly life, it is necessary for the Lord to create an entirely new portion of the human mind which is not contaminated by these physiological ties to the hells. The new mind is only tied to heaven. This new mind has two interior portions. The lower portion is called the interior-natural. The upper portion is called interior-rational. This physiology must be learned and form the basis of thinking in the New Church mind.

 

The interior-natural mind is therefore in an intermediate position, located above the natural mind and below the spiritual mind. The interior-rational portion is within the spiritual mind and is the mind that is conscious and active in heaven. The interior-natural portion is within the natural mind. Therefore the natural mind is composed of this interior-natural from within, and the external natural mind, from without. This external natural mind is the mind active while we live connected to the physical body. Our conscious awareness therefore has an external part and an internal part. The external part is from the external natural mind, while the internal part is from the interior-natural mind. This double consciousness becomes the means by which we can reformed and regenerated.

 

Prior to reformation, which takes place sometime in adult life, we acquire the Divine truths we need for our intellectual development, in preparation of our reformation. This preparation of our level of understanding is effected externally from culture, society, experience, and education. This involves acquiring a basis for thinking about spiritual things, God, and regeneration. The Lord has provided these scientific details in the Word of the Writings. By studying its Letter, any individual can now take up into the natural mind sufficient details about spiritual topics to elevate the understanding by enlightenment from heavenly light. This new understanding and level of thinking about spiritual things develops in the highest portion of the natural mind. This portion is called the natural-rational.

 

The natural-rational mind contains the Letter of the Writings which we study by culture, education, and studiousness. Numerous rational ideas or cognitions fill the natural-rational mind, elevating our natural intelligence and our spiritual consciousness. When, as young adults, we are ready to choose life from our own perspective and liberty, we can make a choice to start using this Letter to govern all our other thoughts that spring from self and culture. We then go through a period of mental house cleaning in which we examine and judge every concept in our mind from sources other than the Letter of the Writings. This is called undergoing reformation, and is the subject of Volume 1 of this book. You will note that reformation is the purification of the natural mind, and especially the understanding or the rational. The will remains infernal, but we also strengthen our determination to go through with regeneration and thereby acquire a new will.

 

We now begin to apply the Letter of the Writings to our natural-rational mind and its daily and hourly activities of willing and thinking. This is the beginning of regeneration, which continues until the end. As we practice this daily spiritual discipline, the Lord opens the interior-natural mind within the natural-rational mind. One is within the other by discrete degrees and communicates by correspondences. The new interior-rational mind gives us a new spiritual consciousness which we could not have in the natural-rational mind until now. This new spiritual consciousness is called the spiritual sense of the Letter. Our conscious awareness of the activity taking place in the interior-natural mind is our new source of spiritual-rational consciousness. This is the rational consciousness that develops into a celestial mind when we arrive in the afterlife in our spirit-body that houses the mind.

 

The new rational consciousness of spiritual things is called the Spiritual Doctrine. This Spiritual Doctrine is housed in the interior-natural mind, which provides this new function or capacity. The natural sense of the Letter is housed in our natural-rational mind. It consists of numerous concepts or cognitions about the spiritual world, the Lord, and regeneration, all understood in a natural way. Simultaneously, the Lord places the spiritual sense of each of these cognitions into them, one by one, so that now we have dual consciousness of them. The external portion of this consciousness is the natural concept or cognition about a spiritual topic. The interior portion of this consciousness is the spiritual concept or cognition about that topic. You can see that the two are fused as a result of the physiological fusion between the natural-rational mind and the interior-natural mind. This fusion allows us to see the spiritual sense within the Letter of the Writings.

 

But this is not enough to complete the process for regeneration. Now we must use this new dual consciousness form a Spiritual Doctrine out of the individual spiritual truths by tying them together rationally into a system of guidance for life. This is the Spiritual Doctrine located in our interior portion of rational consciousness, that which is located in the new interior-rational mind. Our conscious awareness of this Spiritual Doctrine spans both minds, internal and external, because it consists of the spiritual sense applied to the willing and thinking of the natural mind. Hence the Spiritual Doctrine is now in both the interior-natural mind, where is its source, and in the external natural-rational mind, where the willing and thinking goes on that need to be guided by the Spiritual Doctrine. This process advances our regeneration to the end.

 

All our figuring and understanding of the Letter of the Writings is accomplished in our natural-rational mind (xx). We can spend centuries and millennia in deepening and improving our understanding of the Letter by study, practice, analysis, exegesis, computer programs, etc. No matter how far we get in this scholarly enterprise, we remain in the natural degree.

 

There is only one method available for elevating the understanding of the Letter to a discrete degree above the natural-rational. This method is the conscious perception of the activity in our interior-natural mind. This mind is created by the Lord within the natural-rational mind (xx), which means that it is created in a discrete degree above the natural-rational mind. Now at last the Lord can enlighten us, that is, elevate our understanding

From all this you can now see that the existence of the spiritual sense within the Letter of the Writings is a scientific fact, not someone’s theory or supposition. There is a structural or built-in relation between the spiritual and natural world in all things. This fundamental duality is in every other duality, idea, and doctrine. The Word has existence in the natural world in two ways, one external or natural, the other interior or spiritual. The external of the Word is called the Letter of the Word. The interior of the Word is called the spiritual sense, and this spiritual sense collected in a coherent system, is called the Spiritual Doctrine. The Lord is this Spiritual Doctrine in our mind. We acquired this perception or consciousness in two steps. First we put the Letter of the Writings into our natural-rational mind by figuring out what the sentences mean and forming meaningful and coherent relationships between them. All of this scholarship and understanding is at the level of the Letter, and deals with the parts of the Letter, and their concordances with each other.

 

At this level of consciousness, the consciousness of the Letter of the Writings, we develop our natural-rational. This gives the New Church mind a marvelous perspective, a fundamental advantage intellectually over all of science and theology today! Many demonstrations of this assertion are given throughout this chapter. And yet, for the New Church mind this amazing rationality from the Letter of the Writings is not enough for entering the Lord’s New Heavens of the Second Coming. Because the Second Coming is the Lord’s revelation of Himself in the Divine Rational, and the Letter of the Writings is His Divine Natural. More precisely, the Letter of the Writings is His Divine Rational laid down in His Divine Natural. Saying it this way acknowledges that the Letter by itself is natural and gives natural benefits. The spiritual sense is spiritual and gives spiritual benefits. You an see that in order to from the New Church mind, we must have the Divine Rational of the Lord that is within the Divine Natural. We cannot merely have the Divine Natural.

 

22. Enlightenment Is Not A Mysterious Process

 

This morning I was grooming my cat Minsky. I was annoyed at him and scolding him in my sentences, but not in my tone of voice, which was that of affection and friendliness, as usual when I talk to him. He was purring furiously, and leaning into my hand, looking into my eyes. If I had made a written transcript of my sentences during that minute, someone reading would have rightly said, “He is scolding his cat and telling him how bad his behavior was.” And this would be correct, but only according to appearances. In reality, what was happening is that Minsky was hearing me talk the usual affectionate way that he knows well, and simultaneously getting some quality grooming from him, my fingers obedient to his wants and desires, making fine distinctions as to pressure, rate, direction and form—for example, using my nails to scratch his head, increasing pressure on the side of the neck, pinching of skin, rapid scratching of top of head, and avoidance of all other areas. This is Minsky’s idea of quality grooming, as he had taught it to me and my wife (she is capable of much higher quality grooming than I am, if I may mention that detail here).

 

My head was close to his face. Minsky likes head bumping, another ritual he taught us. I was thinking and reacting to what a beautiful animal he was, a perfect specimen, a perfect creation. His coat was so rich and plentiful and full of uses. His white front was pure white, clean, spotless. I wondered how marvelous it is that he can be outside all these hours at night, get into all sorts of situations and places, and maintain himself this clean and spotless. He is perfect the way he is. He can be pretty ferocious and savage, and he is very rigid, unwilling to deviate in a set routine. He has no moral values, no thoughts of God, nothing rational and human. But he was not created for those uses, he was created for this one. His nature, his instinctive built-in emotions and reactions, what he is, that’s what’s perfect. He is perfect for what he is. EVERYTHING IS CREATED INTO ITS OWN PERFECTION.

 

At this point I was deeply affected and delighted by my insight or spiritual vision.

 

After just a few seconds of continued awe, I had the idea: How can I write this spiritual Doctrine that came to me by enlightenment? First, I needed to write down the spiritual idea into a sentence. I clearly recalled the sentence at the moment of the vision: Everything is created into its own perfection. Snatching it from sudden memory, I started repeating it out loud, an action which puts into long term memory. I then typed it out. It took me about 20 seconds of involvement in finding and opening the file. I typed the sentence. I faced it trying to recall what it stands for.

 

The literal sentence means that the Lord creates all things into their perfection. This is a Doctrine we can find in the Writings, if we looked for it. It is rational to think this since the Lord is infinitely perfect and therefore everything created is created into its own perfection. The doctrinal implications are also to be extracted from the sentence. For example, one might say, “But what about hell and cruel people on earth and accidental deaths?” This objection is defeated by the literal of the sentence: “Everything is created into its own perfection.” In that case, how are we to explain rationally how these bad things can exist if everything is created into its own perfection?

 

We know the answer from the Writings, namely, that the Lord creates and manages the universe by means of two Divine Laws called the Law of Providence and the Law of Permissions. Therefore we can see that these bad things are not by Providence, which reflects what the Lord wants, but by Permissions, which reflects what the Lord does not want, but allows, for the sake of the eternal welfare of each individual. To be born a human being means that the Lord guarantees no mater what, and maintains always, the freedom of the individual to do the opposite of His wishes and commandments. Those individuals  who decide on this course of life, cannot support life in heaven, and therefore the Lord has created a place outside of heaven for their welfare. Their evil delights and insane fantasies create a hell out of that place provided for them by the Lord. If these delights and the freedom to continue forever, were removed by the Lord, they would fall down lifeless and never recover. Hence the Lord provides for their welfare through both liberty and uses.

 

Their liberty is to continue to oppose good and truth, forever. Their uses are to be connected to humans on earth. The Lord connects both hell societies and heaven societies to every individual, as a mechanism for keeping the individual in mental balance and freedom to choose. The hell societies whisper by influx and correspondence, evil affections, impulses, motives, falsities, and delights. This is the life of those societies and this is the use thy perform, from which they derive the delight of their life. such is the Lord’s perfection that He guarantees the good of life, freedom, and delight, even for the most appalling hells. Besides this use, the hells also maintain the ferocity and pristine savagery of the animal kingdom. And besides all that, the hells provide the drive and motive for accidents, natural disasters, and sicknesses. The Lord’s preference and deepest desire is to take every created human being all the way to heaven to eternity. He labors with all human beings on the earths and in the world of spirits, to help them undergo reformation and regeneration, by which He can take them to heaven. EVERYTHING IS CREATED INTO ITS OWN PERFECTION.

 

You will note that there is an inherent difficulty in expressing an interior perception of something in natural language descriptions. We can easily interpret the surface meaning of the literal sentence: “Everything is created in its own perfection.” But at this surface level of thinking one can expand the meaning into all sorts of falsifications of truth. One is also puzzled at this level by contradictions, unable to expand the surface meaning to resolve these contradictions. For example, we need but a moment to think about all the imperfections around us and within us. How then can we say that everything is created into its perfection? In order to resolve these rational difficulties we need to go deeper than the surface into other natural-rational ideas we have form the Letter of the Writings. But this can be done successfully only when we have some spiritual consciousness in our interior-natural mind. Without this, our natural-rational mind merely flits and flies between this or that passage of the Writings, raising more paradoxes and apparent contradictions than one can solve. Thus one can make no steady progress without perceiving the spiritual sense of the Letter.

 

We cannot from the Letter to the spiritual sense, but we can go from the spiritual sense to the Letter. The spiritual sense is from enlightenment, which we build into the Spiritual Doctrine we apply to life. Now we can go from the Spiritual Doctrine to the Letter, and find confirmation there. The confirmation could not take place before, but now we are proceeding in the physiologically possible direction—from the spiritual to the natural, from what is more interior to what is more external.

 

It is also a matter of angelic wisdom that the perfection of the created universe comes from the likeness of generals and particulars, or between greatest and least things as to those degrees. For then one thing regards another as its like, with which it can be conjoined for every use, and can present every end in effect. (DLW 227)

 

It is likewise a matter of angelic wisdom that from this similitude between generals and particulars, that is, between things greatest and least in respect to these degrees, comes the perfection of the created universe; for thereby one thing regards another as its like, with which it can be conjoined for every use, and can present every end in effect. (DLW 227)

 

Perfection consists in the faculty of perceiving distinctly, which faculty is diminished when the perception is less distinct and more general; an obscurer perception then succeeds in the place of that which was clearer, and thus it begins to vanish away. (AC 502)

 

This truth may be likened to a painting of a flower, of a tree, or of an animal, which inwardly is nothing but clay; whereas truth from good not only resides in the memory, but is also enrooted in the life, and may be likened to the flower, the tree, or the animal itself, the perfection of which increases toward the interiors; for that which has been created by the Divine is more perfect the more interiorly it is examined. (AC 10194)

 

And indeed there was perfection, for by "Adam" or "Man" is meant the Most Ancient Church" which was a celestial man, and had perception, such as had no church after it; by reason of which it was also a likeness of the Lord. A likeness of the Lord signifies love to Him. (AC 1013)

 

These passages, and many others, discuss perfection, and we are told that perfection refers to communication and conjunction with the Lord. The celestial mind is in its perfection, which means it functions in the way it was created. The “Fall of the human race” refers to the loss of the ability to be conscious simultaneously of both the natural and spiritual worlds. Since the Fall the human race is only conscious of the natural world, as represented by Adman and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden. “Eden” represents the celestial heaven (xx).

 

The closing down of the celestial mind required a new race, physiologically built in a different way to allow rebirth and regeneration of the inherited character. This spiritual function created a new physiology of the race’s brain, splitting into two, thus reflecting the splitting of the will and the understanding in the new race. This separation of function and action was required so that people could have their understanding elevated by revealed truths in the Word. Though the will stays in the gutter, the understanding soars above the clouds.

 

But once the understanding fills itself with truths about God and regeneration, it can apply this understanding and try to live in accordance with it, breaking the mode of life and thinking one had until then. This is called reformation, after which regeneration can begin when the Lord empowers the will with new, stronger motives, than those that hold us in the gutter. With new lofty ideals from the Writings, and a new empowerment by the Lord, we break the old images and banish the old delights, interests, and habits of evil willing and thinking. We are a New Man, a New Church, a reformed husband, and we are progressing steadily and with full assurance, on the path of regeneration and heaven.

 

Notes this intriguing fact from AC 502 quoted above: “Perfection consists in the faculty of perceiving distinctly, which faculty is diminished when the perception is less distinct and more general; an obscurer perception then succeeds in the place of that which was clearer, and thus it begins to vanish away.” Something that is created into its perfection may gradually decline in its perfection! How could this be? There is no evil, falsity, or weakness in that which is created into its perfection, or else one could not say that is a perfection. And yet we are told here that perfection declines! The decline of perfection is noticed outwardly in terms of less vision, of greater obscurity, less and less and clarity, until the perfection vanishes!

 

The issue needs to be researched further. My original insight that I wrote down as “Everything is created into its own perfection,” has led to new rational issues to study, new forms of Spiritual Doctrine to extract from the Letter and apply to life. Then, new confirmation by the Letter, leading to still more new forms of the Spiritual Doctrine to extract, formulate, expand, confirm, and apply to life. This is the physiological process of spiritual regeneration, when viewed scientifically with our rational mind.

 

23. Spiritual-Rational Meditations

 

The word meditation has a Western and an Eastern indigenous history. The Christian “ecstatics” were meditators, and so was Descartes. But one was a sensuous meditation while the other was a rational meditation. The notion of rational meditation which Descartes had is similar to the extensive reflections and ratiocinations that passionate thinkers engage in for hours at a time, holding the subject in focus, exploring it through many analysis routines that are well practiced. In this way, rational meditations can advance the understanding of a subject area or a particular topic. It is used with success by scientists, philosophers, lawyers, artists, musicians, poets, writers, and literary critics. Sensuous meditation, which also involves corporeal spirituality, is not rational and does not have or tolerate a rational component, or, does not allow the rational component to predominate. The highest and most coveted state of sensuous meditation is a corporeal sensation called the “ecstatic experience” which is described as indescribable. This shows that it has no rational component.

 

The content of rational meditation are describable and have been. I gave an example above on my insight rendered as “Everything is created into its own perfection.” I expanded the insight into a Spiritual Doctrine by immersing it into the Letter of the Writings by which I was able to extract its spiritual meaning. Note this very important principle of extraction: If I had tried to expand the sentence by immersing into my own philosophy and self-intelligence, I would have merely come up with a symbolic or logical expansion of the sentence. The explanation I create of it is in the same continuous degree as the original sentence, both being natural. I have not extracted any spiritual meaning form my rational meditation. But if I immerse the sentence into the Letter of the Writings, I am then able to extract its spiritual sense.

 

Here is another example of this process of immersing a rational meditation into the Letter and thereby extract its spiritual significance.

 

The September 2002 calendar on our wall shows cute pictures of cats. The bottom right hand portion shows a photograph of four cute kittens sitting in a line with a black cover hiding everything except their upper part and front paws. I glance at the photo several times a day as I go by, sometimes stopping and examining that photograph. Today I did the same and as I was looking at it I entered into a state of rational meditation. I asked myself: “What is it about this photograph that keeps me looking at it. It’s so striking for some reason. Sure they’re cute, very cute, and I love it. It’s transporting to look at them. They are the Lord’s creatures, expressing pure intelligence. How beautiful.” etc.

 

But now I focused on their ears. There were four pairs of them, almost identical in shape. They were all tensed, opened up, like a search light illuminating the territory ahead. Then I focused on their eyes. They were so curious, darting all around to follow the motion they were exposed to at camera angle. And I had a sense of the contrast between their ears and their eyes. THE EARS LEAD THE EYES. This was the insight, but its deeper meaning did not fully appear until the next thing happened.

 

My eyes switched to the top of the computer hutch that was about a foot from the calendar. On it was a card that was printed in calligraphic writing:

Such as the love is

  Such is the wisdom

    Consequently

      Such is the man

    ~Emanuel Swedenborg

Divine Love and Wisdom

 

This is a quotation from DLW 362. I often look at this quote from the Letter of the Word, as I walk by the desk. Now for the first time I was looking alternately at the tensed ears of the kittens and the quote from the Letter. I was struck by the observation that they were about the same topic! This was the moment of enlightenment, the very instant that my mind immersed the ears and the eyes of the kittens into the Letter of the Word. This is an instance of applying the Letter to one’s daily willing and thinking, frequently discussed in this volume as the condition for spiritual enlightenment.

 

By immersing the affections and thoughts I had while reflecting on the photograph, I was applying the Letter of the Word to my willing and thinking. Normally we reflect on something and expand its implications through our self-intelligence and reasoning based on it. This is a natural-rational expansion and its level of understanding is in continuous degree with the natural-rational mind. Thus there is nothing spiritual itself in this type of rational reflection. But the instant you immerse the topic focus into the Letter, you begin to see your reflections as correspondences, and this enlightens.

 

In the present case my enlightenment came when I saw the spiritual meaning of the ears and the eyes when held up to a sentence or idea from the Letter. Normally I would search the Writings to see the correspondences for ears and eyes and find passages that apply. But now I didn’t have to search since the passage was already laid out in front of me, located right next to the photograph. Of course this co-location is not by blind chance or happenstance, since the Lord manages every detail of our perceptions, integrating them into a coherent series that unconsciously develops and opens our spiritual mind, which is the mind we must have ready when we pass on and then desire to enter heaven.

 

My willing and thinking while inspecting the photograph, went something like this: “Look at those ears. It’s amazing how they are the same. Same shape, same tension, intensely exploring and monitoring the sounds. Each little kitten monitors the sounds in an intense way. Their reaction to anything that’s detected is visible and explosive. They depend on their ears for survival. They provide the information that is categorized as dangerous, safe, interesting, uninteresting. The kitten is driven by these four affections, This is its life’s love. Look at the eyes. So different from the ears. The eyes shows their curiosity, their attempt to figure things out, where things are moving from where to where, tracking and mapping, and interpreting. Their darting eye movements focusing on this or that, is the play of their intelligence, how they see the world and translate it into their own level of understanding.

 

Their ears do the listening, which is the work of their love hierarchy. The eyes do the interpreting, which is the work of their understanding or coherence. THE EARS LEAD THE EYES. “Such as the love is, such is the wisdom. Consequently such is the man.” Such as the kitten’s ears are, such is their eyes. Consequently such is the kitten’s appearance and behavior. And so it is with humans, since kittens are nothing but their affections and these affections represent human states (xx). I am my affections, and my thoughts are from my affections, not from themselves. I act consciously by means my thoughts but not from my thoughts but from my affections. My affections select the thoughts by which I act, therefore my thinking and my doing all day long are driven, determined, and created by my affections.

 

I spent a few more moments looking at the photograph and rehearsing the description I was creating of my enlightenment. I kept repeating to myself the title sentence of my insight: THE EARS LEAD THE EYES. I was motivated to remember it for various reasons. By describing it or putting it into sentences, I was laying down the spiritual perception into the natural language of the letter. I’ve given you an approximate rendition of this description. You can see from the above that the description of my enlightenment doesn’t appear to be distinctly different from the description of any natural-rational insight or reflection, the kind that does not have anything spiritual in it, as I mentioned earlier. And yet careful analysis will reveal that there is a difference of discrete degrees between the two, that is, between the description of the photograph I could have given from my own self-intelligence and reasoning, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the description I gave above which used, not my own intelligence and reasoning, but the intelligence and reasoning of the Letter of the Word.

 

And now, once the sense is perceived by enlightenment, the description I gave can be understood spiritually rather than naturally. When one is not in a state of enlightenment, reading the description of the spiritual sense, results in a natural understanding of the sentences, not a spiritual understanding of them. This applies to myself when I’m not in a state of rational enlightenment and reflection, as well as to others who read the sentences I have written. But when others read these sentences while they are in a state of rational enlightenment, they too can see its spiritual sense, because they apply the description to their willing and thinking. “Rational enlightenment” means “spiritual-rational” not natural-rational, since enlightenment is possible only at the spiritual-rational level of thinking. This spiritual-rational understanding is from the activity in the interior-natural mind, which is within the natural-rational, or a discrete degree above it (see diagrams in this Volume).

 

The regenerating New Church mind is in a state of enlightenment from the Lord while he is in a rational meditation of the Letter applied to his ongoing willing and thinking.

 

This is what’s wonderful about regeneration disciplines. Our understanding is elevated each time we apply the Letter of the Writings to our ongoing willing and thinking. It has to be ongoing willing and thinking. We can apply the Letter or Doctrine to some past behavior, but this does not constitute enlightenment.

 

For example, I feel regretful for handling my cat Minsky in a physically firm manner earlier today. I was typing away when he came into the room and used all his usual routines to engage me, and lead me out to the kitchen and the cat dish area. I kept postponing stopping and following him. He then escalated his routines, as he is wont of doing, and tried to jump on my computer desk. I said firmly No, No, Minsky, and put out my open hand.

 

He got the message, but he was into escalating his pressure on me. He jumped on the computer desk. I panicked. I thought he would knock down the zip drive or plunk himself between my face and the monitor. I pushed him off with controlled force, saying Bad Minsky. He left the room in a hurry. I’ve been thinking about it from time to time as I continue typing. I shouldn’t have done that. I shouldn’t have let him suck me into that type of negative exchange. I should have capitulated and given in to him right away—this is what my wife would have said and done. Her affections would have rearranged the priorities of her willing, thinking, and doing. She would have interrupted her ongoing task and dealt with Minsky. I chose to be selfish, to be foolish, to be violent.

 

This description of my exchange with the cat is not a spiritual understanding since it is from my self-intelligence. The description I gave represents the level of my thinking and understanding the situation. It is a natural-rational level, not a spiritual one. It is from psychology, not theistic science. In order to understand the exchange in a spiritual way I would have to immerse this natural-rational level of understanding into the Letter of the Writings, so that I can see the details of the exchange as pure correspondences. The description I have given does not use correspondences in any way.

 

 

24. The Internal Meaning Of Music And Art

 

Another common instance of a structural relation between interior meaning and the external sensuous embodiment, can be seen in music and art. The auditory signal from the music we hear only goes into the brain where it terminates in electrical patterns of activity. The corporeal mind hears that pattern because sensation in the mind corresponds to the electrical pattern of activity in the brain. But sensation by itself is meaningless. It has no rational component, and only the rational has meaning. The sensations are experienced cognitively in the natural-rational mind which responds by correspondence to the activity in the natural-sensuous mind (see diagram above). You can see from this physiology that the meaning of the music is nowhere below the rational mind. We respond emotionally to the meaning of the music, not to its meaningless sensation.

 

I once heard from heaven the sweetest music. There were wives there together with girls, who were singing a song. Its sweetness was like the affection of some love, pouring forth in a harmonious stream. Songs in heaven are nothing but affections in audible form, that is, affections expressed in modulated sounds, for just as thoughts are expressed by speaking, so are affections by singing. Angels can grasp the subject of the affection by the regularity and fluency of the modulation.

 

There were a number of spirits around me, some of whom told me that they could hear this very sweet music, and it was the music of some affection, but they did not know what its subject was. They made various guesses, but without success. One guess was that the song expressed the affection of the bridegroom and bride on plighting their troth, another that it was their affection on entering wedlock, another that it was the earliest stage in the love of husband and wife.

 

[2] Then an angel from heaven suddenly appeared among them, and said that they were singing about chaste sexual love. The bystanders enquired what chaste sexual love was. The angel replied that it was a man's love for a young woman or a wife of lovely appearance and good manners, free from any idea of lewdness; and the similar love of a woman for a man. With these words the angel vanished.

 

The singing continued, and since they then knew the subject of the affection it expressed, they began to hear it in many different ways, in each case depending on the state of their own love. Those who looked on women chastely heard the singing as harmonious and sweet. But those who looked on women unchastely heard it as inharmonious and depressing, and those who looked on women with distaste, heard it as discordant and harsh. (CL 55)

 

It is said here that “Angels can grasp the subject of the affection by the regularity and fluency of the modulation.” This “grasping” refers to an activity the angels did within, not without. The wives who were singing, called “virgins,” were moved to modulate the sensuous activity of their vocal chords, by an inward power and direction. They were inwardly affected from the Lord, through the higher portions of the mind, then reacting to this by correspondence in the lower portions of their mind, and these are in charge of the sensory, thus moving the organs to produce the exact pattern of modulation that the angels were hearing in the external sensuous mind from without. But now, this outward reception of the sound was infilled from the Lord with the inward perception of celestial things that were within the wives and by which they were animated and activated in their singing.

 

This simultaneous event of the efflux from without and the influx from within produces the enlightened experience of the inner meaning of the song or music. This inner meaning discusses the particular affections to which the modulation corresponds.

 

It is similar with visual art. The literal meaning of a painting may be interpreted in a description of it, as for example: “A bearded man with one ear cut off.” This literal meaning is a sensuous level of thinking about the painting. A more interior level of meaning would be rational, as for instance: “This a self-portrait of the artist showing the pathos of his existence. It contrasts with his paintings of landscapes, yet the style of portrayal is very similar—moody and with somber colors next to flashy parts.” Paintings also have a spiritual meaning but this meaning cannot be deduced from the painting. One would first have to apply correspondences to the parts of the paintings, and these correspondences may not apply appropriately. For instance, if we see a painting of a sunset on a lake, we cannot necessarily apply the correspondence of a lake as used in the Word for only the Word is written by pure correspondences. Other writings, or a painting, may not be written in correspondences. Nevertheless they must have a spiritual interaction by correspondence, as all things do. The Lord has revealed only correspondences that are used in the Letter of the Word.

 

Art and architecture on earth are from the essence of art which is in heaven:

 

Such is the architecture of heaven that you would say that there the art is in its very essence, and no wonder, because the art itself is from heaven. The angels said that such things and innumerable others still more perfect are set forth before their eyes by the Lord. Yet they said that these things are more pleasing to their minds than to their eyes, because in every one of them they see correspondences, and through the correspondences, things Divine. (HH 185)

 

Note that when angels look at the art they perceive their inner meaning. The structural relation between the outer sensuous and the inner rational is always maintained in all created things, both in heaven and on earth. This as true of the Letter of the Writings as other natural-sensuous things on earth or in the natural mind attached to earth.

 

A dream also contains this relationship between its sensuous and rational meaning. The sensuous components of our dreams can easily be described later in natural language, like Swedenborg described the Memorable Relations. But the rational components of reams can only be described with great difficulty, if at all. I have studied this phenomenon for years, waking up and trying to write down the rational components of my dream. I was amazed that I could hold the rational consciousness of the dream for a moment, then as focus on the sentence to describe it, it is gone. I stop writing or talking about it, and is there again. I start writing it down, and it is gone. All I can do is endlessly repeat, What was it? What was it? to no avail. The rational consciousness of the dream is located in the interior-natural mind, which is the inner portion of the external natural-rational mind. We can describe things in this external mind with some ease because natural language is based in the external natural mind. but when it comes to describing more interior spiritual events or meanings, natural languages are not well suited for it. This is because the natural and the spiritual do not connect or communicate directly and continuously, but only in discrete degrees by correspondences.

 

The Writings describe Swedenborg’s experiments on this phenomenon, as quoted below.

 

25. The Difference Between Natural And Spiritual Language

 

To this the headmaster said, 'I have pondered this distinction and chewed it over, but up to now in vain. I only wish I could grasp it.' 'You will,' I said, 'not only grasp the distinction between the spiritual and the natural, but actually see it.' Then I went on, 'You are in the spiritual state when you are with your people, but in the natural state with me. For you talk with your people in the spiritual language, which is shared by every spirit and angel, but you talk with me in my native language. For every spirit or angel who talks with a man speaks his own language, French with a Frenchman, English with an Englishman, Greek with a Greek, Arabic with an Arab, and so on. So in order to be aware of the distinction between the spiritual and the natural as it applies to languages, do this: go inside to your people, say something there, and memorize the words. Then come back keeping them in mind, and pronounce them in my presence.'

 

He did so, and came back to me with those words on his tongue, and uttered them, and did not understand any. They were completely strange and foreign words, not to be found in any language of the natural world. Repeating the experiment several times showed clearly that all in the spiritual world have a spiritual language, which has nothing in common with any language of the natural world. Everyone automatically comes into possession of that language after his death. At the same time he discovered that the actual sound of the spiritual language is so different from that of natural language, that even a loud spiritual sound is inaudible to a natural person, and so is a natural sound to a spiritual person.

 

[5] Later I asked the headmaster and the bystanders to go inside to their own people, and write a sentence on a piece of paper, and then to bring the paper out and read it to me. They did so, and came back with the paper in their hands, but when they went to read it, they could not understand it at all, since the script was merely composed of a few letters of the alphabet with curly lines over them, and every single letter stood for some particular meaning. Since each letter of the alphabet there conveys a meaning, it is obvious why the Lord is called 'alpha and omega.' When they went in again and again, wrote and came back, they discovered that the script entailed and comprehended countless things, which no natural script can ever express. They were told that this was because the thoughts of the spiritual man were incomprehensible and inexpressible to the natural man, and they cannot be transferred or copied into another script or another language.

 

[6] Then, since the bystanders were unwilling to grasp that spiritual thought is so far beyond natural thought that it is relatively inexpressible, I said to them, 'Carry out an experiment. Go inside to your spiritual community, think of an idea, keep it in mind, and come back and expound it in my presence.'

 

They went inside and thought, and, keeping the thought in mind, came out; but when they went to expound what they had thought, they were unable to do so. For they could not find any idea of natural thought capable of matching an idea of spiritual thought; neither could they find any words to express those ideas, for what is an idea in thought becomes words in speech.

 

[7] Thereupon they went back inside, came back and convinced themselves that spiritual ideas were far above natural ones, inexpressible, unutterable and incomprehensible to the natural man. Because spiritual ideas so far excelled natural ones, they said that spiritual ideas or thoughts, as compared to natural ones, were ideas of ideas and thoughts of thoughts, and could therefore express qualities of qualities and affections of affections. It followed that spiritual thoughts were the beginnings and origins of natural thoughts. They also showed that spiritual wisdom is the wisdom of wisdom, and so incapable of being perceived by any wise men in the natural world. Then they were told from the third heaven that there is a still more inward or higher wisdom, called celestial, which stands in the same relationship to spiritual wisdom as this does to natural wisdom. These forms of wisdom flow in, one after the other, depending upon which heaven is concerned, from the Lord's Divine wisdom, which is infinite. (CL 326)

 

This is an amazing experiment in theistic science! It clearly proves that the spiritual sense of the Letter cannot be written down or described in a natural language. The reason is that whatever is written or spoken in a natural language cannot be spiritual. As the passage says: “spiritual ideas were far above natural ones, inexpressible, unutterable and incomprehensible to the natural man.” This statement is in accordance with the fact that the literal meaning and the spiritual meaning are in discrete degrees and interact only by correspondences.

 

Note that without correspondences we could not have spiritual consciousness. Remember that spiritual consciousness means rational consciousness of an interior type. We have a knowledge of the Lord through the sensuous understanding of the Letter. We do not want to let go of this knowledge, but we do want to interact with that part of the Lord that is within the Letter, which is His Divine Natural. We want to interact with the Divine Rational that is within the divine Natural. This is what we are doing when we scrutinize the literal meaning of the passage and desire to be enlightened about the spiritual meaning within.

 

The spiritual meaning within the literal is the Lord’s Divine Rational in the Writings.

 

This is the Rational that is with the angels in the New Heavens of the Second Coming. Hence it is that our conscious awareness of the spiritual sense in the interior-natural, is our presence with the angels by correspondence. This spiritual consciousness by itself is ephemeral and vanishing. It must be activated jointly with the natural-rational mind (see diagram). This joint activation creates the Spiritual Doctrine that regenerates and saves. The Spiritual Doctrine is Divine Truth in our conscious understanding. It does not partake of reasoning from self-intelligence, but it does involve the confirmation process by the Letter. This is an intellectual and scholarly activity and therefore requires the processing of the natural-rational level of thinking. But this natural-rational processing is under the total guidance or determination of the enlightenment in the interior-natural (as indicated by the arrows in the diagram).

 

26. The Spiritual Doctrine Cannot Be Used For Politics And Morality

 

Therefore the Spiritual Doctrine is Divine Doctrine—entirely from the Lord but accommodated to our rational consciousness. It follows that the Spiritual Doctrine can never be the same with two individuals. The Spiritual Doctrine exists only in a unique individual form. It is the Divine form endlessly varied in each unique individual. This is another reason why polemical arguments about the Spiritual Doctrine is useless. One lives this version of it, and another perceives that version of it. Nothing but rancor and the breaking of the peace can result in the Church by arguing about this or that version of the Spiritual Doctrine. Instead, the benign New Church mind who is in charity from the Lord, studies and analyzes the doctrinal proposals and statements of others in the Church. Even if what’s being proposed is genuine and of Divine origin, it is useless to anyone without analysis and confirmation.

 

If you try to analyze and confirm another’s statement of the Spiritual Doctrine, can you? Sometimes you can, and sometimes you cannot. Those times you can, make you feel blessed and thankful, for you feel excited and enriched, with sudden new perceptions that are delightful and useful. But what about those times you cannot confirm and perceive? Then you either keep trying or you go on. Life is made of many items of Spiritual Doctrine. We move between them like fish moving between rocks in the ocean. To pick a fight on account of someone’s doctrinal proposals is foolish. But what if the doctrinal proposals are infernal, but made to look heavenly, and begin to divide the Church on two sides of the issue, should not these types of doctrinal proposals be banished by the Church authorities?

 

This would be the case if doctrinal proposals are treated like political issues, thus merely naturally and morally. But they ought not so to be treated. A doctrinal proposal is not a political issue. If it is treated that way, it is not a doctrinal proposal. The reason is that a doctrinal proposal refers only to spiritual things and spiritual things have no direct relation to anything in the natural world or the government of the Church and its procedures and rituals. Spiritual things interact only by correspondence with natural things. A political issue is not an issue of correspondence, but a direct interaction issue, in continuous degree. A spiritual issue or topic can therefore have no direct implications on a natural procedure or rule. If authorities try to make a direct link between a spiritual issue and a procedural or governance issue, then they are misleading the flock. They are making a false argument when they try to justify this or that procedure with spiritual Doctrine.

 

But it is entirely different with the Letter!

 

The Letter of the Writings, the literal meaning of its sentences, is fixed in stone for all to see, inside and outside the Church. The Letter is an external object in the natural world, having a legal identity in society. The Letter is invariant while the spiritual sense is infinitely varied with easy person. The Letter being an outward legal warrant, it has the force of politics and morality. Church and educational authorities can compel followers and members to this or that procedure, as specified explicitly and literally in the Letter. For this is fixed, and is a collection of Divine Commandments for each and all without exception. To use the Spiritual Doctrine with the same force as the Letter is nothing but authoritarian rule from self, not spiritual rule form heaven. Thos who attempt this in the Church are called dragons and serpents (xx). It relies on persuasive faith, which is infernal (xx). But to use the Letter to enforce compliance is from the Lord’s government on earth, for He gives the Letter to rule over the arrangement of all things in our mind, thus of morality, of politics, of marriage, of business, of war, and so on.

 

27. “Within The Natural” Vs. “In The Natural.”

 

The Word of the Lord is living by virtue of the internal sense (AC 1143)

 

One stumbling block regarding this issue is the notion that the Letter of the Writings is the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments. This stumbling block is mentioned several times in this section and elsewhere. It looms large in our focus, like a giant lizard blocking our view ahead. To banish the lizard, all we have to do is to think of the process in a scientific way. It’s not logical to maintain that the Letter of the Writings is the spiritual sense of the OT and NT. By definition, “the Letter of the Writings” means its natural and literal. The Letter can never mean the spiritual because these two stand in a duality, separated by discrete degrees, and relating to one another by pure correspondences. It’s not possible to have something spiritual in the natural, but only laid down in the natural.

 

Laid down in the natural means the same as “within the natural” but is not the same as “in the natural.” “Within the natural” always refers to a discrete degree difference, not a continuous contact. And it is an unchanging law that discrete degrees relate to each other only by pure correspondences (xx). We are familiar with the mind/body duality. The mind exists in the world of spirits while the physical body exists in the natural world. The relationship between the two is only by pure correspondences.

 

All of this shows that the Letter must always be a discrete degree below the spiritual sense, and therefore relates to it by pure correspondence. In other words, the literal sentences of the Writings are pure correspondences, just as the literal sentences of the New and Old Testaments are pure correspondences. You can also see that the correspondences of the Old Testament are natural-corporeal, and thinking and living according to their literal meaning, would be living a barbaric life with appallingly cruel and uninformed ideas about the world, themselves, the Lord, heaven. On the other hand, the correspondences in which the Letter of the New Testament is written, is at a level of thinking called natural-sensuous, which is a discrete degree above the corporeal in our mind. So there was an enormous uplift in the thinking of the human race when it arranged its universe by means of the Letter of the New Testament.

 

Then, at the Lord’s Second Coming, there was a tremendous uplift in the level of thinking that the human race was now capable of. People who arrange their reasoning and thinking in accordance with the correspondences in which the Letter of the Writings is written, receive a tremendous uplift in understanding the universe, the Lord, and heaven. This tremendous new understanding is called the scientifics of the Letter of the Writings. When the human mind is arranged according to these correspondences, it is thinking a new high level called the natural-rational. This is the level of thinking of the Letter of the Writings.

 

Now you need to remember that the natural-rational, though the highest point in our conscious mind, is still only natural. The correspondences in the Letter of the Writings are natural, and the topics it deals with are spiritual topics like discrete degrees, proprium, sin, regeneration, the Trinity, divine Providence, and so on. These are spiritual topics in the literal meaning of the Letter. They are presented in natural-rational correspondences.

 

And remember that natural-rational correspondences are spiritual topics, but they are not spiritual meanings and understandings.

 

28. Spiritual Topics Vs. Spiritual Meanings

 

This is a very difficult point to accept at first. It appears to us that spiritual topics are spiritual. But the scientific fact is that there is a structural relation between natural-rational correspondences and interior-rational meanings, perceptions, and understandings. These two are in discrete degrees, such as the external and the interior always are (xx). In other words, the correspondences in the literal sentences of the Writings are structurally the outward portion of something, while the things the correspondences stand for, are the inward portion. They must go together for individually neither exists or lives.

 

Further, you need to remember that the Letter is not reduced in stature or importance when you think of it as pure correspondences. It is totally different to say that we should live by means of the Letter of the Old or New Testament, as opposed to saying that we should life by means of the Letter of the Writings. We have acquired the Letter of the Writings in our mind by means of very dear labor and intellectual commitment. Our mind has been completely rearranged by this Letter. We underwent reformation by means of this Letter. But now, to undergo regeneration we cannot do it by means of this Letter. We must extract from this Letter the Spiritual Doctrine, which refers to the consciousness, perception, and level of thinking that is in our interior-natural mind. This consciousness, perception, and level of thinking cannot be written down or spoken in verbal descriptions, because each time it is attempted, only correspondences are written down and spoken.

 

If you can acknowledge this, you’ve solved the mystery of the spiritual sense of the Writings. There is no mystery. It’s a structural necessity resulting from the fundamental duality of the spiritual world within the natural world. The natural world is an outward portion of the universe, while the spiritual world is the interior portion. Our physical body lives in the outer portion, but our mind lives in the interior portion, and we immediately become conscious of it in the spirit-body, when the physical body drops off. This is why it is said by Paul that the Letter kills while the spirit gives life. He could not have understood this scientifically as we do today. We know that the Letter of the Writings kills, in the relative sense, that if the New Church mind remains in the Letter, there is no salvation (xx). In that situation, the Letter kills, that is, prevents regeneration because it is a natural way of thinking about spiritual topics. We know that the Letter of the Word can be turned in any direction to support heresies and false theories by quoting things out of context and without the desire to understand its truth. The literal meaning of the Writings could be used to justify one’s evils and thus to hide them, ignore them, deny them, and still think that we are heavenly, thus without actual regeneration.

 

But the spiritual sense of the Writings, which is called the Spiritual Doctrine, gives life inasmuch as it regenerates.

 

More precisely, the Lord is able to regenerate us when we think about our evils at the level of the spiritual sense, but not when we think about them at the level of the natural-rational mind, which is the level of thinking of the Letter.

 

There is nothing to fear in the idea that our understanding of the spiritual sense within the Letter cannot be attained from our intellectual effort. It must be done by enlightenment from the Lord. One might fear that it would no longer be our own if it’s placed there by enlightenment. We would prefer that the Lord enlighten our own ideas and make them shine as His truth. In that way, we suppose, our delight will be our own, and we would be in the happiness and bliss of our life. But if the Spiritual Doctrine was not something we achieved by our intellectual effort, it would not be able to delight us to the same extent, and thus we would lose our happiness and enthusiasm. But in fact the opposite is the case.

 

And you can know that this is so because what the Lord puts into us gives us far more bliss and happiness than anything we attain through our effort. And note carefully: the effort remains. We are not relieved of the as-of self effort just because the Lord has to enlighten us. We cannot sit back and wait for the Lord to enlighten us, for this is impossible. If He were to do this, we could never be happy. The Spiritual Doctrine is a Divine Doctrine given to us within our love for the Letter and our struggle to make the Letter apply to our life, to our daily willing and thinking about everything. If we slacken even for a bit about our commitment, love, and worship of the Letter, we cut off our only source of the spiritual sense that saves us. It is a lifetime project to get to know more and more rationally the Letter of the Writings.

 

The Writings are so vast in their 50 or so volumes, that numerous lifetimes of study and research would be needed to uncover the coherent relations that exist between its parts and sub-parts. This vast cross-referencing and comparison work will keep many lifetimes busy. No single individual can achieve this task in a few decades of life on earth. So we are determined to continue studying the Letter even more than before, when we are enlightened by the Lord to see its spiritual sense within.

 

29. 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.

 

30. The Divinity Of The Spiritual Doctrine

 

This is the first big step we need to take: To accept the idea that we receive the Spiritual Doctrine by means of the Letter.

 

Now we have another giant step to make: To accept the idea that the Spiritual Doctrine we receive from the Lord by the Letter is Divine Doctrine in our mind!

 

This is another big stumbling block. At first we experience a recoiling form the detestable notion which claims that a part of us is now Divine. We begin to argue: How can a Doctrine that I attained through my rational as-of self efforts, be Divine? What if someone in the Church suddenly comes up with a new mystery or concocted notion from self-intelligence, and then claims to everyone that it is the Spiritual Doctrine, divine and infallible? Would we not recoil from such an insane notion like we recoil from a cockatrice or a fiery serpent, or a poisonous dragon?

 

But by reflecting further with the aid of the Letter of the Writings we can begin to perceive that the Spiritual Doctrine born in us from as-of self effort, is not ours but the Lord’s with us. It is Divine Doctrine with us. It is not ours. As soon as we gain this confidence and certitude, we can accept it with thankfulness and new excitement. Then we search the Letter to confirm this new spiritual vision. And we find plenty of passages to corroborate the new understanding, now that we see these familiar old passages in a different angle, in a way that we inexplicably ignored before.

 

These new passages clearly explain in the literal sense, that whatever is from the Lord is the Lord (xx). When we receive something from the Lord through the Word, it is Divine and remains Divine. It is not ours, but it is within us. Those who do not receive the Lord through the Letter of the Writings do not have this Divine Doctrine within them.

 

To have full confidence in this idea, we need to consider it scientifically.

 

Where in the mind is the Divine Doctrine we acquire as-of self?

 

The answer is: We can perceive it in our interior-natural mind. I discuss this scientific truth in several places throughout the book. Prior to reformation we do not have this new creation called the interior-natural mind. Within this organ is the level of consciousness we have when we become angelic spirits in the afterlife, and live in the First Heaven. This level of consciousness is possible to us on earth through the new interior-natural mind, once created by the Lord. This inner natural mind is created within the external rational mind. It is a discrete degree above the natural-rational. The natural-rational is the mind by which we understand the Letter of the Writings. Within these natural-rational vessels or ideas, the Lord creates an interior-natural Form of the spiritual sense within the Letter.. That is, of the Spiritual Doctrine.

 

The Spiritual Doctrine in the interior-natural mind is Divine, of purely celestial origin. It partakes not of anything from self and the world. You can see that this must therefore be Divine. Prior to building the interior-natural mind, the Lord cannot give us enlightenment. Enlightenment of the natural-rational occurs when the we perceive consciously the activity in the interior-natural mind that is located within it. This conscious spiritual activity in the interior-natural mind, is a correspondence of the activity going on in our unconscious spiritual mind. Therefore, for the first time in human history, the Divine Doctrine can now be given within an interior location of our natural mind that we cannot profane with anything of self or the world. This is what it means to be reborn.

 

A new direct sensuous spiritual consciousness has been given to the human race by the Second Coming. When we come into our spirit-body at death, this sensuous consciousness creates the appearances of heaven. But while we still are in the physical body, the sensuous spiritual consciousness is in our interior awareness, not external. It makes an all or nothing difference whether we have this conscious interior awareness of the spiritual sense within the Letter, or whether we do not have it. It is the difference between prior reformation and after. It is like having legs and walking about vs. having paralyzed legs. The creation of the interior-natural mind is therefore the biological act that creates a place in our mind for the Divine Doctrine.

 

Some people might feel more reassured if the Divine Doctrine were merely deposited in the mind by the Lord, so that they had nothing to do with it being there. Then they could go along with the idea that they have the Divine Rational within them. But this is a meaningless notion because whatever is deposited in our mind in that way cannot be ours. We would feel like we were possessed by the Lord like a zombie who is possessed by its master controller, or like a hypnotized person is made to do things by the hypnotist. What is within our natural-rational mind must be something that we acquire as-of self, in freedom and in our own thought. Remember that to be conscious of the spiritual we must be in the rational, as explained throughout this book. And the rational is by definition something we acquire intellectually by exerting mental effort to grasp and understand the particulars of anything.

 

Therefore you can see now that the Doctrine we extract from the Letter of the Writings while we are enlightened by the Lord, cannot be anything but Divine Doctrine in our mind.

 

In the New Church the Writings are the Word for all times, never to change again or be vastated. Endless numbers of specific Churches around the globe are going to spring up in all the generations still  to come on this earth. They will all have the same Letter of the Writings, translated faithfully in their own vernacular. In order for the Church to be a living Church there must be the Divine in it. Therefore, each of these future specific Churches will have to be given something Divine by the Lord in order to be a living Church (xx). This Divine thing that they are to be given is the Divine Doctrine. The Divine Doctrine is a Divine Child born in time in the interior-natural mind of those who are in that Church specific. For example, the General Church received two such Divine Forms of the Divine Doctrine. One is known as the Academy Movement and the other as the Dutch Thesis.

 

The Academy Movement was the Divine Doctrine received and formulated by the men of the Church under the idea that the Writings are the Word. This is a Divine Doctrine, infallible and eternally true, despite the fact that it was formulated by the men of the Church. It is nowhere written in the Letter of the Writings. But once you acknowledge this Doctrine, you can confirm it in many places in the Letter, as has been done frequently in this book.

 

The Dutch Thesis is that the Letter of the Writings is not the Spiritual Doctrine, but enlightenment from the Lord by the Letter. This is a Divine Doctrine received and formulated by the men of the Dutch Group of the General Church in The Hague. Both Divine Doctrines are explained and discussed in many places throughout this book.

 

An endless procession of Divine Doctrines is now forthcoming form the Divine Human as gifts to the human race by means of the New Church organizations that will be created on this earth as a fulfillment of the Second Coming.

 

The Divine Doctrine being born in the men of a Church specific must be nurtured by them, or it will die. Nurturing the Divine Doctrine in the Church is by instruction and study, first, then application to one’s regeneration. The Divine Doctrine does not exist for those in the external Church organization who do not access it lawfully, as provided by the Lord. First they must be studious in the Letter, then they must be enlightened by the Lord in accordance with their life, and finally they must confirm the enlightened understanding by means of the Letter. This three step method is the only way the Divinity of the Doctrine in the Church can exist. Otherwise the written down explanations of the Doctrine, and the preachings on it, are not understood, hence useless for the good of life and regeneration. Preachings are about the Letter of the Writings, and this cannot regenerate.

 

If false doctrines are brought forward by any individual in the Church, the ideas will be scrutinized and found out, separated, and banished. But you can see that this process of filtering of ideas in the Church can be done wrongly or rightly, the difference being like that between heaven and hell. Wrongly done, it leads to fundamentalism in the Church whereby charity is lost, and the Church becomes a religion of Cain, a mere outward worship without a spiritual internal. The Divine Doctrine cannot be received by a Church in such a state of vastation, because the Divine Child cannot be nurtured there and grown to maturity.

 

The right way to filter and test ideas brought forth in the Church is by instruction and scholarship of the Letter of the Writings. Freedom of discussion and publishing must be loved and maintained since only in freedom can the Lord give what is Divine. Learning the Letter of the Writings must be fostered among the young. Men and women must love the Letter in order to be with it as a daily task of learning. It is such an intellectual climate that is the right way of filtering the ideas that come forth in the minds of the people of the Church.

 

31. 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.

 

(For more discussion on the substitution method, see Chapter 8, Section 4 in Volume 2)

 

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

 

32. 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.

 

33. The Dangers Of Remaining In The Letter OF the Writings

 

Knowledges [scientiae et cognitiones] are nothing to a man in the other life, even though he may have known all the arcana that have ever been revealed, unless they have affected his life. (AC 1197)

 

"Put" denotes knowledges from the literal sense of the Word which are according to the appearances of the senses. (AC 1164)

"Put," or "Lybia," [signify] knowledges from the literal sense of the Word, by which in like manner they confirm false principles ... "Egypt," memory-knowledges or various matters of memory, whereby men desire to explore the mysteries of faith, and from them confirm principles of falsity (AC 1163)

 

In the internal sense of the Word, all those are meant by "Canaanites" who have external worship separated from internal (AC 1167)

 

Applying this to the Word of the Writings, knowledges refer to the literal meaning of the sentences. They are called “scientifics” and “cognitions” because the literal meaning can be paraphrased, translated, and explicated solely form their outward syntax and semantics, which are mechanical things and natural. “Scientifics” refers to the natural-sensuous level of thinking; “cognitions,” to the natural-rational level of thinking. We can think at either level when we read the Letter and figure out its meaning in a logical way. This external understanding of the Letter of the Writings “are nothing to a man in the other life.” What an astounding revelation! We may have studied or taught the Heavenly Doctrines for decades and “have known all the arcana that have ever been revealed,” yet this is “nothing to a man in the other life.” Here we need to sit up and be alert to the warning we get from the Letter of the Writings.

 

As the knowledges of faith are here signified by the Philistines, Abraham, because he represented the celestial things of faith, sojourned there, and entered into a covenant with them; and likewise Isaac, by whom were represented the spiritual things of faith; but not Jacob, because by him the externals of the church were represented.  (AC 1197)

 

The state of the New Church mind that remains vested in the Letter by itself is called “Philistines.” Note that it is absolutely necessary to worship and study the Letter of the Writings until the end and never to slacken in our ardor and passion for it. This step is called “a covenant with the Philistines” and the New Church mind, represented by Abraham, must “sojourn there,” that is, acquire the scientifics an cognitions of the Letter. It is also why it is said the Lord “when an infant was brought into Egypt” (AC 1462). Prior to reformation the study of the Writings puts us into the state called Egypt.

 

But in order to become spiritual and celestial, we must make a second step, which also is absolutely necessary and cannot be skipped. This step consists of extracting the internal from the external. Without this activity, we fall into unrecoverable error:

 

Such being the character of the "Philistines," they cannot but pervert even the knowledges of faith by reasonings from them, and thence form for themselves false doctrinals; and therefore they are among those who can with difficulty be regenerated and receive charity, both because they are uncircumcised in heart, and because principles of falsity, and consequently the life of their understanding, prevent and oppose.  (AC 1198)

 

It is not the Letter that causes false reasonings but the knowledges of the Letter used for aggrandizing the self rather than regenerating the self. This is called “false doctrinals” which make it difficult or impossible to be regenerated since they “prevent and oppose.” Specifically, false doctrinals oppose the idea that the Letter of the Writings has an internal sense that must be extracted according to pure correspondences.

 

Verse 15. And Canaan begat Zidon, his firstborn, and Heth. "Canaan," here as before, signifies external worship in which there is nothing internal. "Zidon" signifies the exterior knowledges of spiritual things; and because they are the first things of such external worship, it is said that Zidon was "the firstborn of Canaan;" "Heth" signifies the exterior knowledges of celestial things. (AC 1199)

 

Note that that there are external scientifics called “exterior knowledges of spiritual things” and external scientifics called “exterior knowledges of celestial things.” Spiritual things are about faith in the understanding while celestial things are about love in the will. Both sub-types of scientifics and cognitions are called “external worship.” Our understanding of the literal sentences of the Writings is called “external worship” because we worship the Letter as the Lord in His Divine Natural. By reformation we change our external worship to one that has an internal within it. This means that we begin to see that we must learn to extract the spiritual sense form the literal. This second step in relation to the Writings is essential and cannot be skipped. We are told in advance what would happen if we did not acknowledge the spiritual sense within the Letter:

 

That "Canaan" signifies external worship in which there is nothing internal, was shown before where Canaan was treated of. The external worship which is called "Canaan" is such as was that of the Jews, both before and after the coming of the Lord. They had an external worship which they strictly observed, but yet were so ignorant of what is internal that they supposed that they lived only with the body. Of the nature of the soul, of faith, of the Lord, of spiritual and celestial life, of the life after death, they were entirely ignorant.

 

And therefore in the time of the Lord very many of them denied the resurrection-as is evident in Matthew 22:22-33; Mark 12:18-28; Luke 20:27-41.

 

When a man is such that he does not believe that he will live after death, he also disbelieves that there is anything internal which is spiritual and celestial; and such are they who live in mere cupidities, because they live a mere life of the body and of the world; especially those who are immersed in loathsome avarice. They nevertheless have worship, attend their synagogues, or their churches, and observe the ceremonies, some very strictly; but as they do not believe that there is a life after death, their worship cannot be other than external worship wherein is nothing internal-like a shell without a kernel, or a tree whereon is no fruit, and not even leaves. It is such external worship that is signified by "Canaan." (AC 1200)

 

The New Church mind remains in an external state of worship called here “Canaan” and “the Jews,” unless the spiritual sense is acknowledged and extracted by means of pure correspondences obtained from the Letter. To remain in the Letter of the Word of the Second Coming is to deny the full Divinity of the Lord in His Divine Corporeal and Natural. It is a nonduality that opposes the discrete degree between the Letter and its spiritual within. Neither can this be overcome by more and more study and expertise about the Letter, and its cross-referenced and comparative scholarship. All this activity, though essential, remains insufficient by itself.

 

When the New Church mind is not yet formed in us, we are in the Jewish state in the sense that “They had an external worship which they strictly observed, but yet were so ignorant of what is internal that they supposed that they lived only with the body. Of the nature of the soul, of faith, of the Lord, of spiritual and celestial life, of the life after death, they were entirely ignorant.” Applying this to the Writings, we have nothing but a natural idea of the spiritual topics treated such as faith, the Lord, and heaven. We condemn ourselves to be locked into these natural ideas if we oppose the idea that they have an internal we are to extract by means of correspondences.

 

It says that “And therefore in the time of the Lord very many of them denied the resurrection.” applied to the Second Coming, “the time of the Lord” refers to the state we are in when acknowledging the spiritual sense and scrutating the Letter for it. This is called “the resurrection” because the spiritual sense gives life to the Letter which by itself is dead. By denying the spiritual sense of the Writings we “deny the resurrection” of the Second Coming.

 

The passages says that “When a man is such that he does not believe that he will live after death, he also disbelieves that there is anything internal which is spiritual and celestial.” Applying this to the New Church mind, to “not believe that he will live after death” refers to not believing that the Lord creates an interior-natural mind within the natural-rational. Since the spiritual cannot exist in the natural-rational, and since the natural-rational mind is our very own, it means that we disbelieve that we have a spiritual consciousness while still on earth. We try to get identify exclusively with the natural-rational mind, which is created by our own effort as we study and figure out the Letter of the Writings. But this natural-rational understanding of the Writings is dead in itself, or more precisely, it is the acquisition of dead vessels that can later be infilled by spiritual-rational things. The natural-rational vessels or cognitions are exterior scientifics that become a tomb unless infilled by the spiritual sense.

 

In the Ancient Church all those were called Philistines who talked much about faith, and declared that salvation is in faith, and yet had no life of faith. Therefore they preeminently were called "the uncircumcised," which means those who are devoid of charity.  1197

 

This passage mentions the reason why remaining in the Letter is deadly. Without the spiritual sense the “heart remains uncircumcised” which means that there is no charity in the will. Faith without charity in the will is no faith (xx). The faith of the Letter of the Writings is no faith unless there is the acknowledgement of the spiritual within it. When this acknowledgement is made, followed by the application of correspondences, then we can begin to use the spiritual sense for regeneration. Only through regeneration can we acquire charity by means of which to make the faith a living one. Reformation is the rearranging of the understanding by means of the Letter, and can be called faith; but regeneration is the rearranging of the will, and is called charity with faith. The Letter of the Writings is for our reformation; the spiritual sense within it, is for our regeneration.

 

The things of the memory are like things dead unless the man is such that from conscience he lives according to them. When he does this, then at the same time as they are things of memory they are also things of life; and only then do they remain with him for his use and salvation after the life of the body.  (AC 1197)

 

By living according to the Letter of the Writings we take the second step, of which the first is the knowledge and understanding of the Letter. The second step of living according to the Letter, requires that we see the Letter in relation to our willing and thinking. This involves seeing the literal meaning as a correspondence for something about our willing and thinking! The step cannot be made if we oppose the idea that the Letter of the Writings is written by pure correspondences!

 

"Zidon" signifies exterior knowledges of spiritual things ... thus knowledges such as existed among the Jews, which are knowledges not only of the rites of external worship, but also of many things, such as doctrinals, which belong to that worship. ... Because "Zidon" signifies exterior knowledges, it is said to be "a circuit about Israel," that is, around the spiritual church (Ezek. 28:24, 26); for exterior knowledges are like a circuit round about.  (AC 1201)  “Heth" signifies exterior knowledges of celestial things (AC 1203)

 

Here we are told again that knowledge of spiritual things can be exterior or interior. Studying the Letter of the Writings gives us an exterior knowledge of spiritual things. These are necessary as natural-rational cognitions in our natural mind. These cognitions are describable verbally or in written sentences of a natural language. They are describable because they are natural. The natural understanding of spiritual things in the Letter of the Writings is called “external worship.”

 

34. The Doctrinals Taught In The Church Are In a Natural Language

 

The “doctrinals” taught by the Church are stated in a natural language and therefore they are also natural. The description of the Spiritual Doctrine discussed thought this Section, is a natural description of something spiritual. The only way this spiritual can be perceived is through correspondences of the Letter in relation to our willing and thinking. This is a physiological certainty, not a fanciful dogma. It is the spiritual physiology of regeneration, which is nothing else than applying the truths of the Letter of the Writings to our willing and thinking hourly every day. This is called applying the Word to life (xx).

 

by "Zidon" are signified exterior knowledges of spiritual things, and by "Heth" exterior knowledges of celestial things, in both senses-that is to say, without internal things, and with internal things-and also simply exterior knowledges. Spiritual things, as has often been said before, are those which are of faith; and celestial things are those which are of love; and again, spiritual things are those which are of the understanding, and celestial things are those which are of the will. (AC 1203)

 

The “celestial things of the will” refers to regeneration, and shows in the literal meaning that our willing hourly and by the minute every day, must be a celestial willing in order to be the New Church mind. We must have a functioning celestial mind by the time we arrive in the afterlife. Where do we get this mind? From our struggle every day to arrange our willing and thinking to fit with the Letter we study. We take up the Letter into the mind and from there we hold it up as a light that shines on every detail of our willing. Why? Because it is in these individual particulars that our inherited ties to hell are alive and active. These ties, if not broken, pull us all the way to themselves, their origin, which is the hells. That is why regeneration is the critical thing for salvation since it is by regeneration that we break these ties and switch to the new ones that connect us to heaven.

 

This switching over is painful and opposed in our mind by all the hells, which act as one (xx). The Lord fights for our life and is close while we are struggling not to backslide. This is the Holy Spirit, the Divine power of the Lord, co-acting with the individual in the great struggle. Conscious cooperation of this process is a commandment and a physiological necessity (xx). This is why it is referred to as co-acting. The co-acting on our part consists of getting to the spiritual sense in no other way than by applying the Letter to our willing and thinking. Only in this particular and specific way can the Lord grants enlightenment wherein we clearly perceive in a conscious way what the spiritual sense is. From this we build the Spiritual Doctrine in reflection of the correspondences in the interior-natural mind, as explained above.

 

The Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, and Hamathite, were so many nations, and they also signify so many different idolatries. That idolatries were signified by these nations, is evident from many places in the Word, for they were the inhabitants of the land of Canaan who on account of their idolatries were cast out, and in part extirpated. But in the internal sense of the Word these nations are not signified, but the idolatries themselves in general, with whomsoever and wheresoever they are; specifically, among the Jews.

 

As already pointed out, “the Jews” when applied to the New Church mind refers to our worship of the Letter of the Writings without acknowledging the spiritual within. To acknowledge the spiritual sense within the Letter means to treat the literal sentences as pure correspondences.

 

The Writings repeat this teaching numerous times, such is its crucial importance for salvation: namely, that to remain in the Letter leads to false doctrines from idolatries. The varieties of idolatries from the Letter of the Writings are enumerated by the names of the nations, which represent the spiritual states of regeneration we undergo. It is by idolatries that we are “cast out” of heaven, our spiritual mind remaining closed and non-functional. Thus we arrive in the afterlife with nothing spiritual in our mind but only many rational things about spiritual topics. This we want to avoid at all costs.

 

For they who make worship consist merely in externals, and are entirely unwilling to know internal things, and when instructed reject them, are very prone to all these idolatries, as is clearly manifest from the Jews.

 

There is a refusal to acknowledge that the Letter of the Writings is written in pure correspondences. A nonduality is created between the natural meaning and the spiritual meaning. Both are supposed to exist in the natural sentences of the Letter—and this is impossible for their only relation to each other is by pure correspondences. If you avoid interpreting the sentences of the Writings as correspondences, you avoid its spiritual sense, the sense needed to form the Spiritual Doctrine. Only the Spiritual Doctrine has the power to regenerate.

 

What are the idolatries of the New Church regarding the Writings? I do not know. Future research in theistic science will no doubt be able to describe precisely what New Church idolatries are. Perhaps one idolatry is to worship the Divine Human in His Divine Body emptied of His spiritual mind, which is called the Divine Rational. To worship the Letter of the Writings without its spiritual is like the activity of Christians who believe only on account of physical miracles, holy relics and certain places of worship. This is a persuasive or sensuous faith that prevents the rational faith required to live in the Lord’s rational heaven of Truth within which is Love.

 

In internal worship alone is there a bond that withholds man from idolatry; and when this ceases, there is nothing that restrains.

 

In other words, only the spiritual sense of the Writings “withholds man from idolatry,” withholds the New Church from being vastated. When the Letter is considered as a correspondence, it cannot be turned into heresy and idolatry.

 

There are however interior idolatries, as well as external ones. They who have external worship without internal rush into external idolatries; they who have external worship whose interiors are unclean rush into interior idolatries; and both these kinds of idolatries are signified by these nations. Interior idolatries are so many falsities and cupidities which men love and adore, and which are thus in place of the gods and idols that existed among the Gentiles. (AC 1205)

 

The interior idolatries discussed here refer NOT to the interior-natural or interior-rational, but only to the external sensuous and rational mind. The sensuous and rational mind are called external in relation to the corporeal mind, which is close to the body and faces it and the world. In the natural mind, therefore, external idolatries are corporeal activities of worship and ritual that have been perverted and no longer serve spiritual purposes. The interior idolatries are in the natural-sensuous and the natural-rational mind. Each is one discrete degree above the other, as shown in the diagram above. Hence those above are called interior, and those below, external, though both are in the natural mind which below the spiritual mind (see diagram).

 

Interior idolatry in the sense of “interior-rational” or spiritual-rational, is not possible because the spiritual sense cannot be perverted, but only the literal (xx). It cannot be perverted because it is perceived only by enlightenment from the Lord and the Lord prevents anyone form entering the spiritual who is going to pervert it (xx).

 

There are, in general, two origins of falsities; one is the cupidities that belong to the love of self and of the world; the other is knowledges [cognitiones et scientifica], through reasonings; and the falsities which thus originate, when they would domineer over truths, are signified by "Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim."

 

“The origin of falsities” refers to a reasoning process about the Letter that is not confirmed with the Letter. It is possible for someone to apply correspondences in a mechanical way, so that instead of perception of the spiritual sense, one gets a more involved argument or explanation of the natural. This type of reasoning, not governed principally by the Letter, is called the origin of falsities. It is an attempt to arrive at spiritual meanings by means of reasoning about the Letter, instead of the reasoning we do when applying correspondences to the Letter.

 

35. The Fear of the Divinity of Doctrine in Our Understanding

 

We all have to deal with a reluctance to consider anything in our understanding as Divine. There are two levels from which we consider this idea that the Spiritual Doctrine we extract form the Writings is the Divine Doctrine in our understanding.

 

One crucial consideration is the rightful reluctance and deep seated opposition we all must exert against the damning notion that we are claiming to be divine because the Divine Doctrine is in our understanding. If we make this jump, we cannot stop being opposed to the idea of a Divine Doctrine on our understanding. We must make a distinction that the jump ignores. This is the distinction explained in the Writings, hence it is a Divine Commandment that we make this distinction. The Writings teach in many places that the Divine dwells in man in what is Its Own (xx). The New Testament also teaches in the plain Letter that the Lord is in us (xx). We need to form a scientific rational understanding of how the Divine can be in us, and where.

 

The Divine is in us when we appropriate Divine Truths from the Letter of the Writings. Since Divine Truths originate form the Lord, they stay in the Lord. Therefore, if the Lord appropriates some Divine Truth to us, this Divine Truth is now within our understanding, and at the level of our understanding. This level varies by discrete degrees, and yet at every degree, it is the Divine Truth no less and in full. The interior-rational truths of the celestial angels is the place where the Lord is fully with each of them. The exterior-rational truths of the spiritual angels is the place where the Lord is fully with each of them. The interior-natural truths of the natural angels is the place where the Lord is fully with each. In the same way, the Spiritual Doctrine born in our understanding enlightened from the Lord, is the place where the Lord is fully with each of us on earth.

 

The Dutch Thesis has a historical reputation in the New Church and one can easily obtain and accumulate misinformation and misinterpretation about the Dutch Thesis. Relying on such interpretations and secondary reports may easily mislead. Given the crucial importance of this topic, it will no doubt be examined again and again by each generation. It’s crucial that each generation go back to the original publication to avoid doctrinal, heretical, and political drift away from the this all important issue for the Church. No other issue in the Church is of more crucial importance than the truth of the Dutch Thesis, rationally read and understood.

 

The original documents of the Dutch Thesis have been published in English in the 1930s in a collection called De Hemelsche Leer, which is Dutch for The Heavenly Doctrines. They are available on the Web—see Note 22 at end.

 

Having studied this extremely important document for the New Church mind, I have developed the rational arguments by which to prove that the Dutch Thesis is mandated in the Writings and is never an actual threat to the Church, but on the contrary, its bulwark against heresies and idolatries which would invade and infest the New Church due to its remaining in the Letter of the Writings—as discussed throughout this chapter.

 

Consider the concern, voiced in the email message below, that some members of the Church might claim to be enlightened and to have found the “Divine Doctrine,” and then might try to impose their personal vision on everybody else, leading to disorder in the Church when others disagree.

 

AC 3712:2 says, "Divine doctrine is Divine truth; and Divine truth is all the Word of the Lord; Divine doctrine itself is the Word in the supreme sense, in which the Lord alone is treated of; and from this, Divine doctrine is the  Word in the internal sense, in which the Lord's kingdom in the heavens and on earth is treated of. Divine doctrine is also the Word in the literal sense, in which the things that are in the world and upon earth are treated of."   Later in the passage it makes clear that the Lord is the Word. 

 

One of the big questions raised in General Church minds regarding the Dutch Position was that they seemed to assert that human understanding was Divine  Doctrine. For example, they seemed to have claimed such Divinity for the Fascicles [the three Volumes of De Hemelsche Leer]. Since it is a perennial temptation for man to claim for himself what is Divine, it is important that we be crystal clear that we do not claim Divinity for our understanding, but clearly acknowledge Divinity for the Word itself.

 

I therefore have a problem with your statement "The First Two Divine  Doctrines granted to the human race was to the men of the General Church in the form of the Academy Position and the Dutch thesis." While you are quite right that I acknowledge the Writings to be the Word of God, and that I defend that position on the basis of many statements in the Writings, I still believe that the statement is human and therefore a limited expression of the truth.

 

I am quite willing to say that the Writings are the Second Coming of the Lord because this is stated openly and many times. But we have to put a couple of statements together in order to come up with the formula that the Writings are the Word. Some of our friends in Conference for example chide us by saying that they acknowledge the Writings as Divine Revelation. They say that our formulation leads directly to the Dutch position conclusion that the Writings are a letter which must be interpreted to have a deeper meaning which is seen by the regenerate (enlightened) of the Church, when  they apply the rules of exposition without difference and reserve to the Writings themselves.

 

To me the Writings make quite clear that the sight of the spiritual sense is given to those who are enlightened. I believe that they are talking about the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments, but leave it at that. Enlightenment is according to the state of regeneration of the individual New Churchman. His sight is limited because he is finite. That he acts upon what he sees and believes the Lord says is an imperative. But I believe it is also an imperative that he acknowledge that what he sees is limited. Otherwise it seems to me he claims to be as God knowing good and evil.

 

I put a lot of emphasis on AE 641 and similar numbers. This leads me to the conclusion that the spiritual sense that we are led to see according to our state of enlightenment is within the Old and New testaments. Having Divine Doctrine revealed in the Writings and in the letter of the Old and New Testaments, we have a clear set of checks upon our own intelligence taking over. But the sight of the relationship between these three Testaments can grow indefinitely wherever a person is truly led by the Lord. (From an email correspondent received in September 2002).

 

Each of the paragraphs in the email message sets forth an issue that must be answered appropriately by the New Church mind. I will do so to illustrate one possible way but I believe that it is essential for each New Church mind to go through this process.

 

36. The Lord Is Divine Doctrine

 

Quoting the first paragraph of the email message:

 

AC 3712:2 says, "Divine doctrine is Divine truth; and Divine truth is all the Word of the Lord; Divine doctrine itself is the Word in the supreme sense, in which the Lord alone is treated of; and from this, Divine doctrine is the Word in the internal sense, in which the Lord's kingdom in the heavens and on earth is treated of. Divine doctrine is also the Word in the literal sense, in which the things that are in the world and upon earth are treated of."   Later in the passage it makes clear that the Lord is the Word. 

 

It is most crucial to apply this to the Writings. The Writings are the Word and so it makes eminent sense to conclude that what is being said about the Word applies to the Writings as well as to the Old and New Testaments. It is the case many times that the primary and literal reference when “the Word” is discussed, is to some verse in the Old and New Testaments. Clearly then the Writings is saying something about the Letter of one of these two Testaments. But it is also clear and rational that besides this restrictive reference, there is also a general application. General Church sermons follow this rule all the time when they apply some passage of the Writings to our life situation and implications for our actions. Therefore we must stop resisting the perfectly rational idea that when the Writings discuss the Word, the general meaning applies to all three Testaments—the Hebrew Word, the Greek Word, and the Latin Word.

 

In the passage above from AC 3712 it is stated that Divine Doctrine is all the Writings of the Lord, and that, Divine Doctrine itself is the Writings in the supreme sense. Also, that Divine Doctrine is the Writings in the internal sense, as well as in the Letter. And finally, that the Lord is the Writings.

 

Note that the Divine Doctrine has both a Letter and a Spiritual form. The Spiritual Doctrine is the Writings in its internal sense (xx). The internal sense must be extracted from the Letter since the literal meaning is in pure correspondences. As it is said above: “the Writings in the literal sense, in which the things that are in the world and upon earth are treated of.” Clearly this cannot mean that the literal of the Writings only treats of things of the world and earth! We know very well that the literal of the Writings treats mostly of things of heaven and the Lord. What then does this mean for the Letter of the Writings to say “the Writings in the literal sense, in which the things that are in the world and upon earth are treated of”?

 

Clearly this refers to the literal sense of the Writings being pure correspondences.

 

These correspondences are natural-rational, thus of an origin belonging to self and the world. In order to understand the topics of the Letter in a spiritual way, we must be enlightened by the Lord. No one can understand the internal sense within the Letter except by enlightenment form the Lord (xx).

 

Think of it: This is exactly what there needs to be prevent profanation. If the spiritual sense of the Letter of the Word were available to just anyone who looks into it by self-intelligence, the result would be disastrous for those who first believe and see, and later reject. Therefore the Lord’s perfect foresight is needed to prevent anyone from entering into the mysteries of holy things of the Divine Doctrine. Hence the requirement that an individual be enlightened form the Lord to see anything spiritual within the Letter.

 

Finally, it is very clear that what is from the Lord is the Lord (xx). The spiritual sense, or the Spiritual Doctrine in our understanding, is Divine Doctrine because it is from the Lord and is the Lord Himself, as indicated in the passage quoted above. This means that there is something in our understanding that we acquired as-of self through intellectual struggle, that is Divine.

 

Why fear this rational fact to the point of denial? It is a matter of distinguishing the Divinity of the Doctrine in the understanding from the political implications for Church governance, which are natural-rational matters, not spiritual.

 

Think about it. What can happen? In the olden days people used to say “I’ve got me a man Jehovih” when they received a new truth in their understanding that was Divine from the Lord (xx). So a man of the Church can promulgate a doctrine that he claims is Divine while others disagree, and the peace and order of the Church is broken and its functions cannot be carried out. This is not a spiritual concern but an entirely political one. It is of crucial importance to the governance of the Church organization but it is not a spiritual issue. Therefore the a political solution should be found for a political concern, and neither should be confused with the issue of the Divinity of Doctrine.

 

Throughout this Volume I have shown that the Spiritual Doctrine which is the Divine Doctrine cannot exist in the Letter of a natural language, but that it can only be laid down in appropriate correspondences. I have also show in many ways how to interpret the rational correspondences by which the Letter of the Writings are written so that its spiritual sense can be lawfully and systematically extracted by no other means than applying the Letter to the Letter, and never, applying self-intelligence to any part of it. Since the Letter is applied to the Letter, and since this is done in a state of enlightenment form the Lord, it is crystal clear that the Spiritual Doctrine in our understanding is Divine Doctrine. This is the Dutch Thesis. It thus combines two ideas. First that the Writings are written in pure correspondences; and second, that the Spiritual Doctrine is to be extracted lawfully by applying the Letter to the Letter, initially as an intellectual activity, and finally, as an activity of the will, by regulating our daily willing and thinking in accordance with this Divine Doctrine in our mind.

 

It’s wonderful to want to share the insights of our enlightenment when we receive the genuine Divine Doctrine in our understanding and spiritual consciousness. But it’s also necessary to realize that the spiritual which is in our understanding CANNOT BE LAID DOWN IN NATURAL LANGUAGE EXCEPT BY CORRESPONDENCE.

 

Therefore, what is to happen when someone in the Church comes around and says, “Lo, friends, here is Divine Doctrine I wish to promulgate to the Church.” The others will listen and read, and they will think, consider, and reflect. Then they will say: “Friend, good for you. But we don’t see anything you see. Try again later.” And this dialog continues. The point is that no one is in any position to impose anything, but is only under the democratic and just freedom to free speech within the context lawfully provided by due process as established in the Church organization.

 

There is no need therefore to fear the idea that the Spiritual Doctrine we extract from the Letter of the Writings is the Divine Doctrine in our understanding.

 

37. Human Understanding Is Not Divine Doctrine

 

Quoting the second paragraph of the email message:

 

One of the big questions raised in General Church minds regarding the Dutch Position was that they seemed to assert that human understanding was Divine Doctrine. For example, they seemed to have claimed such Divinity for the Fascicles [the three Volumes of De Hemelsche Leer]. Since it is a perennial temptation for man to claim for himself what is Divine, it is important that we be crystal clear that we do not claim Divinity for our understanding, but clearly acknowledge Divinity for the Word itself.

 

We all agree completely that a man must not “claim for himself what is Divine.” This warning is one of the great cornerstones of the Writings. Therefore a rational distinction must be made between this forbidden foolishness or insanity, on the one hand, and on the other, the fact explained in the Writings that the Divine dwells in the genuine truths that are in our understanding (xx).

 

Without making this required distinction, all is lost.

 

We must not deny that the Divine dwells in our understanding, for what is in our understanding from the Word, is from the Divine, and what is from the Divine will always remain Divine (xx). What is genuine truth in our understanding except the Lord Himself? We must not take away the idea that there is Divine Truth in our understanding.

 

With reference to the De Hemelsche Leer it is not the case that they have “claimed such Divinity for the Fascicles,” though it may be accurate to say that “General Church minds regarding the Dutch Position was that they seemed to assert” this Divinity for their own articles in that publication. The clear evidence is established immediately when reading the Fascicles, which have been preserved by Divine Providence. Indeed they acknowledge the Divinity of the Letter of the Writings and they acknowledge that it would be monstrous to claim Divinity of anything to self. Instead, they clearly show that only the Lord can enlighten the New Church reader of the Letter of the Writings, to see within it its internals sense. And they clearly show and explicitly state that the Divine Doctrine received in the understanding of those enlightened, cannot be transferred or written down or imposed on other members of the Church.

 

Rather, they have done what I do also throughout this book. Namely, putting down in literal language the spiritual insights which we receive from enlightenment. These literal descriptions are nothing but correspondences of the Divine Doctrine in our understanding. No one can be persuaded of anything in the Church since it is a rational Church. We are grateful to the intellectual effort of the Dutch Group to have attempted to formulate in literal language what their insights were that the Lord granted to their Church Group. I can testify that I have immensely benefited from these descriptions in helping me to be further enlightened by the Lord. The proof of Divinity of Doctrine is to be found only in the Letter of the Writings, which is why the Dutch Thesis always involves not mere enlightenment, not mere extraction of the spiritual sense form the Letter, but final and essential confirmation of the Doctrine by the Letter. This alone should prove that we have nothing to fear from the idea that the Doctrine in the mind is Divine.

 

38. Human Statements Are Not Divine

 

Quoting the third paragraph of the email message:

 

I therefore have a problem with your statement "The First Two Divine Doctrines granted to the human race was to the men of the General Church in the form of the Academy Position and the Dutch thesis." While you are quite right that I acknowledge the Writings to be the Word of God, and that I defend that position on the basis of many statements in the Writings, I still believe that the statement is human and therefore a limited expression of the truth.

 

The danger in this position is that it leads the individual to deny the Divinity of the Writings. This is clearly not the intent of the message writer, but the contrary is his concern, namely that the Writings are Divine and not any particular person’s version of the Writings. But the fact is that if we memorize sentences of the Letter, it is the same whether we read the sentences in a book translated and published by some people, or whether we recite those sentences from memory. Clearly the sentences are the same and the fact that it is in a printed is merely a happenstance. It could also be on a computer file on a monitor screen, or it could projected on a wall from a slide, or it could be heard on an audiotape, etc.

 

The fact that the Letter is now located in our memory does not render it less Divine than if the Letter is located on a page in a book.

 

Clearly then we can say correctly that what is in our memory from the Writings is Divine. We need not fear the idea that something we acquire as-of self by intellectual struggle should be Divine. Such is the Divine that it can reside within the understanding of sentences and their meanings. part of being a human being is to have the freedom to falsify the Divine truth. Therefore, it makes sense to think that one part of our mind contains the Divine Letter, another part of our mind contains the Divine Doctrine, another part of our mind contains truths falsified, so that they are not Divine but infernal. All three can be present in the mind!

 

The presence of the Divine in the human mind is a very common thing. The Writings call conscience as the voice of God within the person, and the voice of God is from God, and therefore is God (xx). It is a common thing in a living New Church for members to get together and share with each other the Divine Truth which they have taken up in their understanding by means of the correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. This is of incalculable benefit to the human race because in this way the Spiritual Doctrine that is with the human race can cumulate and grow. The Divine Doctrine is the Divine Rational Seed given in abundance to the Crown of Churches. Every Church specific receives new aspects of the Divine Doctrine, in accordance with the genius of the members of that Church.

 

In the brief history of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, centered in the New Church community in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., the Lord has given two such distinct Divine Seeds that the members of the Church lovingly nurtured and raised into two mature forms of Divine Doctrine with the human race. The first was the Academy Position which proved that the Writings are the Latin Word. The second Divine Seed given that Church was the Dutch Position which proved that the Latin Word is written in pure correspondences, which means that the Spiritual Doctrine must be extracted by correspondences. In this book I have presented various methods and illustrations showing this process which I have called applying the Letter to the Letter. I attribute my understanding and development of this topic to my reading and studying the three volumes of the De Hemelsche Leer, even as I was enlightened by the Lord, just as this is described in the Writings (xx).

 

The Dutch Thesis was not understood by the General Church as a whole and was rejected, condemned, and separated ecclesiastically. As a result the arguments and the thesis laid down by the Dutch Group have not become part of the intellectual heritage or knowledge of the General Church and its ministers and teachers. I was exposed to the Dutch Thesis entirely and solely from the printed book. From it, and without any help or influence by others, I was able to see from my own rational understanding that the Dutch Thesis is entirely and wholly correct. Later, as I came into contact with what others have written and are saying today about it, I have discovered to my amazement that there is this established opposition that is transmitted by generation as a false culture or New Church idolatry of the Letter, discussed elsewhere in this chapter.

 

It is my opinion and belief that the General Church intellectuals of the Writings whose articles, sermons, and books I’m familiar with, are sincere in their desire to protect the Letter of the Writings from becoming the source of divisive controversy and disorder in the Church. This I believe and accept as a good use, prudent and nurturing of the Lord’s Word. At the same time historical political events in the Church’s history must not be mixed up with doctrinal and spiritual matters. Church politics, administration, and history are natural concerns, not spiritual. But the understanding of doctrinal things of the Word is a spiritual concern and should be the only concern in learning and instruction from the Writings.

 

It is not honest nor right to reject the Dutch Thesis on the basis of word of mouth or collateral literature.

 

Intellectual honesty, let alone spiritual, requires that we not take a stand on the issue as long as we are unwilling to study the original in a serious and unprejudiced examination.

 

I have learned how to prove the Dutch Thesis by studying it from the original and confirming it with the Letter of the Writings. This confirmation process is not the same confirmation process that was used by the writers of De Hemelsche Leer. I only learned from them how to do confirmations of Doctrine from the Letter by the Letter. Once I understood how to do that, I was able to build up my own confirmation from new sets of passages, and this is what makes me certain of it—not what they prove, but what I prove. I have shared with the reader many of these proofs throughout this book.

 

 

39. The Spiritual Sense Of The Writings Must Not Be Denied

 

Quoting the fourth paragraph of the email message:

 

I am quite willing to say that the Writings are the Second Coming of the Lord because this is stated openly and many times. But we have to put a couple of statements together in order to come up with the formula that the Writings are the Word. Some of our friends in Conference for example chide us by saying that they acknowledge the Writings as Divine Revelation. They say that our formulation leads directly to the Dutch position conclusion that the Writings are a letter which must be interpreted to have a deeper meaning which is seen by the regenerate (enlightened) of the Church, when they apply the rules of exposition without difference and reserve to the Writings themselves.

 

Here the point is made that the Academy Position is not something explicitly stated in the Letter of the Writings. A consequence of this is that some New Church organizations disagree with the Doctrine that the Writings are the Word, as discussed in the email message. Further, the writer of the message mentions how repugnant some people feel at the idea that the Writings are written by correspondences.

 

Why this opposition to the idea that the Writings are written in correspondences, when it is acknowledged that they are “divinely inspired” (Convention position), or that they are the Word of the Second Coming (Academy position)? Why the opposition on the part of both New Church groups, who otherwise are so far form each other as to be a discrete order different?

 

I have discussed the reasons elsewhere, but I can summarize it here as follows: Prior to reformation, the New Church mind-to-be is an idolatrous worship called in the Writings the worship of Canaan (xx). The Writings list some of the numberless idolatries in the Church that remains in the Letter of the Word and does not extract Doctrine for itself from the spiritual sense. Those who remain in the Letter of the Writings worship the Lord in His Divine Corporeal, which in itself is dead (xx). The Divine Corporeal is alive by virtue of the Divine Spiritual within it. This Divine Spiritual is called the Divine Doctrine of the Church. This is the Spiritual Doctrine that we must extract for ourselves form the Letter of the Writings. Without this task of extraction we have no Spiritual Doctrine, and the Letter cannot be understood without Doctrine (xx). It leads to numerous New Church idolatries.

 

It is only the spiritual sense that cannot be corrupted because it is perceived solely from enlightenment. Therefore enlightenment form the Lord is what keeps the Church from falling into New Church idolatries that spring from turning the Letter this way or that, according to self-intelligence and Church politics.

 

Why fear the idea that the Letter of the Writings are written in pure correspondences?

 

One false reason of fearing this is the notion that the spiritual sense is subjective and dependent on the interpreter. This is a dangerous nonduality in the New Church mind. This is the idea that the spiritual sense is something our intelligence concocts or constructs, and that sometimes we are nearer the truth and sometimes further. This creates the nonduality of distance in correctness of the spiritual sense. But clearly this is a false notion because the spiritual sense is solely by enlightenment from the Lord (xx). Over and over again the Writings teach this most important fact: The Letter can be falsified by self- intelligence but not the spiritual within the Letter (xx). By laying aside the Divine spiritual within the Letter of the Writings, we condemn the Church to the plagues of idolatry. For then every politics will dictate its own interpretation of the Letter. For it is not possible to reason with the Letter without interpreting it. This interpretation is in the service of the interpreter and the teacher.

 

The only bulwark we possess against this idolatrous worship of the Letter is the enlightenment from the Lord of the spiritual sense of this Letter. This is the sense that is required for our regeneration. Sadly, to deny that the Writings are written in pure correspondences is to deny ourselves the possibility of regeneration. And to teach that the Writings are not written in correspondences is injurious to teacher and student alike. Friend, take heed therefore, and examine the issue before you confirm yourself with the wrong belief.

 

That the Church may exist, there must be doctrine from the Word; because without doctrine the Word cannot be understood. Yet it is not doctrine alone that constitutes the Church with a man, but a life according to doctrine. (NJHG 243)

 

40. Protecting The Church From False Doctrines And Heresies

 

It is ironical that when we want to protect the Church from heresies and false doctrines, we end up exposing the Church to them. We do this when we deny that the Writings are written in rational correspondences. We then deny that the New Church mind must extract the spiritual sense, which is needed for regeneration. We then maintain the rigid belief that the Letter of the Writings is the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments. Eventually, however, as we undergo the passion of reformation, and we begin to confess that the Writings are fully the Word, and therefore we must apply to the Writings what is said in them about the Word. For the New Church mind this is the crossing of the river Jordan into the Land of Canaan. The inner worship has come to us!

 

When we look at the literal sentences of the Writings as natural-rational correspondences our level of thinking is elevated or enlightened. This is because Divine Truths descend from the Lord through the heavens into the discrete levels of the mind. Each level is below another level that is higher up and the relationship between the higher level of thinking and the lower is purely by correspondence. Therefore our understanding is according to the level of the correspondences by which we think. Those who think from the level of correspondences that make up the New Testament are beset by false doctrines and dogmas of their Church (xx). So much so that they are not able to understand or make sense of the rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings. The Heavenly Doctrines are generally rejected by Christians of all denominations. The attempt to bring to them these rational correspondences of Divine Truth does not result in acceptance of them, except by a miniscule percentage of the total. The Heavenly Doctrines are rejected by those whose level of thinking is immersed in the New Testament sentences of the literal meaning.

 

The Second Coming has brought a New Word for the Crown of Churches which is to endure forever (xx). This New Word is written in a literal language that raises the level of the human race by a discrete degree, from sensuous-scientific to rational-spiritual. The Letter o the Writings are written in pure rational correspondences. This means that their literal meaning is the very level at which we do our conscious rational reasoning in the highest portion of our natural mind. When we do our thinking at the level of rational correspondences of the Letter of the Writings, we have achieved the highest level of understanding the human race is capable of achieving from itself. This is why it is said of the New Church mind that it is the Crown of Churches.

 

“Churches” refers to the genuineness of our faith, which is to say, the genuineness of our thinking and willing regarding the Lord, heaven and the Church, from what we have taken up in our mind by studying the Letter of the Writings. “Crown” refers to the highest portion of the human mind where the understanding of rational correspondences is located. The New Church mind is therefore called the Crown of Churches because it is founded on rational correspondences which make up the Letter of the Writings. There is as it were, a replica of the Letter of the Writings in the New Church mind. Whenever any idea is heard of one can instantly prove whether it is correct or incorrect, wise or foolish, from the Lord or from self. This marvelous capacity comes from having instant access to the dualities and principles of the Letter of the Writings which we have taken up into our mind from our love and passion for it.

 

The New Church mind begins actual life after reformation, as regeneration is in operation. At this point a new and wonderful state of enlightenment begins. This state of enlightenment is at first limited and alternating, as we have moments of clarity and spiritual sight regarding the Divine Doctrine, and moments of familiar darkness, stuck and immersed in the sea of natural correspondences. To be stuck in the sea of natural-rational correspondences means that we believe ourselves to be thinking spiritually when we are thinking from the Letter of the Writings, going over in our mind this or that detail and connection in the literal meaning of the sentences and Numbers. When we are immersed in the correspondences, we cannot distinguish between (a) and (b):

 

(a) thinking naturally about spiritual topics

(b) thinking spiritually about spiritual topics

 

It is therefore a necessary illusion to think that the Letter of the Writings is the spiritual meaning of the Old and New Testaments. The rational mind has no other alternative to turn to. But the moment we make a distinction between (a) and (b), recognizing and understanding its truth from the Word, then we are enlightened. The enlightened consciousness comes from admitting into the mind that the sentences of the Writings are natural-rational correspondences. The reason this admittance gives higher light is that it establishes in our mind a new higher level of thinking, one that looks down on our previous understanding of the Writings. From this higher conscious sight, we can see what it is to say that the sentences of the Writings are rational correspondences. This is the enlightenment and nothing else.

 

Enlightenment means to perceive from a higher to a lower degree. All degrees relate to each by correspondences. Hence enlightenment means to interpret a lower correspondence in terms of a higher correspondence. There is no mystery to enlightenment. It is accessible to anyone who is willing to see the sentences of the Writings as natural-rational correspondences.

 

We come therefore to the fear of those who think that if the Doctrine of the Church depends on an individual’s personal understanding, that chaos will result as individuals each present contradictory or false doctrines for which they claim Divinity.

 

I have heard of two cases that are historically cited in New Church literature. One is the Beekman Affair and the other is the Dutch Thesis, that we have been discussing in this chapter. What protects the Church from false doctrines being promulgated as Divine?

 

The answer is that the Letter of the Writings protects, to the extent that it is understood spiritually.

 

The Letter of the Writings can be understood naturally and spiritually. Our understanding of the spiritual topics that make up the Heavenly Doctrine is a natural-rational understanding, and our thinking is immersed in it, that is, cannot distinguish between when spiritual topics are understood spiritually and when naturally. But after acknowledging that the Letter of the Writings are pure correspondences, a new higher level is opened within the natural-rational mind. In other words, the Lord creates an interior-natural portion above or within the natural-rational mind. These gives us enlightenment, that is, spiritual consciousness of spiritual correspondences—also called interior-natural or spiritual-natural correspondences. Now for the first time we can perceive these spiritual-natural correspondences, and from their level we can look down upon the natural-rational correspondences of the literal meaning. This is the mechanism of enlightenment.

 

Even at this level of higher consciousness we are still lower than the spiritual angels so that we can understand the content of our spiritual mind only by means of spiritual-natural correspondences. Similarly when the celestial angels think or speak to the spiritual angels below, the spiritual angels can only receive correspondences of the celestial meanings being thought or said to them. It makes perfect sense therefore to think of Divine Truth as descending by degrees, each degree a correspondence to the one above. The Divine Natural of the Lord is expressed in natural-sensuous correspondences of which the New Testament verses are made. The Divine Rational of the Lord is expressed in natural-rational correspondences of which the sentences of the Writings are made. These natural-rational correspondences are called the Crown of Churches because they are the highest possible for the human mind that develops in the natural world. the highest portion of the natural mind operates by means of natural-rational correspondences and is immersed in it.

 

Natural-rational correspondences can be used to support false doctrines and dogmas in the New Church mind. The Writings explain this process in great detail when discussing how the Ancient Churches spread across the earth following Noah’s Church after the Flood (xx). The Writings teach that the Letter of the Word cannot be rightly understood without applying Doctrine to the sentences. By applying Doctrine to the sentences of the Writings we are protected from falling into numerous New Church idolatries, fallacies, and heresies (xx). Note that Doctrine must be extracted from the Letter of the Writings and that it must be then confirmed by the Letter (xx).

 

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.

 

41. The Infinite is Contained Within The Finite

 

Quoting the fifth paragraph of the email message:

 

To me the Writings make quite clear that the sight of the spiritual sense is given to those who are enlightened. I believe that they are talking about the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments, but leave it at that. Enlightenment is according to the state of regeneration of the individual New Churchman. His sight is limited because he is finite. That he acts upon what he sees and believes the Lord says is an imperative. But I believe it is also an imperative that he acknowledge that what he sees is limited. Otherwise it seems to me he claims to be as God knowing good and evil.

 

This paragraph shows the anxiety we all have lest we claim anything to ourselves that is the Lord’s. But we must not let this rightful anxiety leads us to ignore a most crucial distinction that must be made, namely, on the one hand, attributing the Divine to ourselves, and on the other hand, acknowledging that the truth within our understanding is Divine. The idea that our understanding is finite is rational and obvious. Those who say that the truth in the understanding is Divine are not so foolish and childish as to think that this Divine is their own. The Dutch Group repeatedly and endlessly make this point that the Divine Doctrine given to the Church is entirely Divine and nothing of it is of self-intelligence. This is their central thesis! It doesn’t make sense to say that they claim the Divine for themselves.

 

Therefore we must create a new rational concept in our mind, if this troubles us. If we are bothered by the idea that the truth we acquired form the Letter is Divine, then we must inquire about the science and physiology of truth in our mind. I have discussed the anatomy of understanding Divine truth throughout this chapter. Where is the Divine Truth in our understanding? It is not in the natural-rational but in the interior-natural and in the spiritual-rational. Whatever is in the natural-rational is nothing but a correspondence. This goes along with the fact that the Letter is written in pure correspondences. The memorized sentences of the Letter are of course the infinite Divine Truth in our mind.

 

It is a scientific mistake to think that the infinite cannot be contained in the finite. The writer of the email message points to this belief: “His sight is limited and finite” and therefore how can the infinite Divine Truth be in him? But the fact is that the infinite is within the finite as a normal event (xx). What else could it mean that the Lord is within us? What else could it mean that heaven is within us? What else could it mean that remains are within us? Therefore it’s easy to see that the Divine Truth can be in us. And also the Divine Doctrine.

 

To add a few words respecting the doctrine which is delivered in the following pages. This, also, is from heaven, because it is from the spiritual sense of the Word, and the spiritual sense of the Word is the same with the doctrine that is in heaven; for there is a church in heaven as well as on earth (NJHD 7)

 

42. The Spiritual Sense Explained By Rational Correspondences

 

Quoting the last paragraph of the email message:

 

I put a lot of emphasis on AE 641 and similar numbers. This leads me to the conclusion that the spiritual sense that we are led to see according to our state of enlightenment is within the Old and New testaments. Having Divine Doctrine revealed in the Writings and in the letter of the Old and New Testaments, we have a clear set of checks upon our own intelligence taking over. But the sight of the relationship between these three Testaments can grow indefinitely wherever a person is truly led by the Lord.

 

It is indeed the case that we are led to see the spiritual sense “according to our state of enlightenment.” But this is equally true for all three Testaments. The spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments cannot be directly expressed in natural language but only in correspondences laid down in natural language. I have explained elsewhere that the Old Testament Letter is written by means of corporeal correspondences; the New Testament by sensuous correspondences, and the Latin Testament by rational correspondences.

 

The reason we have the impression that the Latin Testament is not written in correspondences is that rational correspondences are the very level of our natural-rational thinking. So this level cannot appear to us as a correspondence as long as we think only of corporeal and sensuous correspondences. It is obvious to our rational mind that the Letter of the Writings is not written like the Letter of the Old and New Testaments. Hence we are reluctant to consider the idea that the level of our conscious rational thinking is nothing but a thinking with correspondences! It seems that us that at this level we understand correspondences in the Old and New Testaments, and so this understanding is taken to be the spiritual sense of the Word. But it is not, for it cannot be.

 

It is not possible for the Letter of the Writings to be a spiritual expression (xx). The Letter of the Writings cannot therefore be the spiritual meaning of the Old or New Testament.

 

Why then does it say in the Letter of the Writings that this or that expression signifies in its spiritual sense this or that thing. For example:

 

Verse 6. And the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to give intelligence, and she took of the fruit thereof and did eat, and she gave also to her husband [vir] with her, and he did eat. "Good for food" signifies cupidity; "pleasant to the eyes" phantasy; and" desirable to give intelligence" pleasure: these are of the Own, or "woman:" by the "husband eating" is signified the consent of the rational (AC 207)

 

"And Pharaoh hastened to call Moses and Aaron," signifies fear then of truth from the Divine; "and he said, I have sinned to Jehovah your God, and to you," signifies confession that they have not obeyed the Divine and the truth (AC 7694)

 

[2] The "star fallen from heaven" signifies the knowledges of truth destroyed; the "sun and air darkened" signifies the light of truth become thick darkness; the "locusts that came out of the smoke of the pit" signify falsities in the outermost things such as exist with those who have become sensuous, and who see and judge all things from fallacies; a "scorpion" signifies their persuasiveness. (SS 13)

 

These and thousands of other passages in the Writings quote an expression from the Old or New Testament, putting it in double quotes, then following it with the word “signifies” and often “in the spiritual sense signifies”:

 

The Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:9-10). (LORD 63)

"Jerusalem," in the spiritual sense, signifies the church as to worship, or, what is the same, as to doctrine; for worship is prescribed in doctrine, and is performed according to it (NJHD 6)

 

There is therefore the appearance that that the expression given after the word “signifies” is the spiritual sense of the expression given prior to the word signifies:

 

Old or new Testament expression in the Letter

 

Spiritual sense specified for them in the Letter of the Writings

Citation

"Good for food" signifies

cupidity

 

AC 207

"And Pharaoh hastened to call Moses and Aaron," signifies

 

fear then of truth from the Divine

AC 7694

The “star fallen from heaven" signifies

 

the knowledges of truth destroyed

SS 13

the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (Rev. 21:9-10).  “Jerusalem,” in the spiritual sense, signifies

the church as to worship, or, what is the same, as to doctrine; for worship is prescribed in doctrine, and is performed according to it

LORD 63; NJHD 6

 

If you inspect the two columns, and other like it that you can construct, you will notice that the Old and New Testament expressions are about natural objects and behaviors, such as food, Pharaoh the King of Egypt, a star falling, and the geographic city of Jerusalem in the Holy Land. Now notice that the column giving their spiritual sense in the Writings are about rational and intellectual events and behaviors, such as the intentions and thoughts associated with cupidity, or the fear of the Divine when one has a realization, or the truths we acquire that we then falsify, or the doctrine that belongs to our worship.

 

What is the difference? Clearly the Word of Old and New Testaments are written in corporeal and natural correspondences, while the Latin Word is written in rational correspondences. Here is where we can fall into a pit of confusion if we deny this rational structure of the Threefold Word. We must recognize from rational considerations that the explanation in the Writings that follows the word “signifies” (right hand column above) is the spiritual sense given by means of rational correspondences. It is not the spiritual sense itself since this sense can only exist in the understanding, not in the literal sense of a natural language, where it only exists as a correspondence.

 

Therefore when we read that expression X signifies, in the spiritual sense, explanation Y, the language in which explanation Y is given is a language of rational correspondences, not a spiritual meaning. Failing to recognize this is the fundamental error that leads to numerous New Church idolatries.

 

Therefore we are to inquire as follows:

 

(1) The Writings in the literal sense indicate that

 

(2) “Jerusalem” in the spiritual sense signifies “the church as to worship, or, what is the same, as to doctrine; for worship is prescribed in doctrine, and is performed according to it “ (NJHD 6).

 

(3) Since the explanation in (2) is the Letter of the Word, therefore it is necessarily written in pure correspondences. What then do these correspondences mean? What are they about?

 

(4) The answer is to be discovered according to procedures taught by the Writings. We must apply the Letter to the Letter in order to discover what the correspondences stand for.

 

(5) We do this systematically as follows:

 

Spiritual sense for “Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God”

 

Rational correspondences from the Letter

Citations

 

the church

 

the church-as-mother, the church-as-ground, the church-as-wife , the church-as-land, what pertains to the spiritual, the church-as-earth, eternal, heaven , evils and falsities

 

AC 494, 566, 906, 5577; 10248TCR 197, 585; AE 1141

as to worship

 

worship-as-offering, speech with the Lord, worship-as-odor of rest, worship-as-dwelling in tents, profanation from love of self, the Name of God, life of charity

 

AC 349, 440, 925, 1102, 1326, TCR 298; AE 104

 

as to doctrine

 

doctrine-as-precious stones, celestial-spiritual good, doctrine-as-guiding lamp, faith from charity, genuine truth

NJHD 1, 107, 257; AC 10400; LORD 63

 

 

(6) Now we construct doctrine out of these rational correspondences arranged in a coherent series. For example:

 

The Doctrine of the New Church is spiritual out of celestial origin (“descending out of heaven from God”). This Doctrine is “genuine truth” in our understanding (“descending”), and is to serve as guide (“lamp”) for our daily willing and thinking (“faith from charity”). The Doctrine in our understanding is “Holy” and Divine (“from God”).

 

(7) Now we confirm the Spiritual Doctrine by the Letter.

 

Doctrine ...in itself it is spiritual from a celestial origin (AC 2516)

 

When a person who is being regenerated possesses this truth and lives according to it, a matter of doctrine that is Divine exists with him. (AC 3690)

 

By means of doctrine therefore the Word is understood, and is like a lampstand with a lighted lamp. (SS 54)

 

THE WORD IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD WITHOUT DOCTRINE.

This is because the Word in its literal sense is composed of nothing but correspondences, in order that it should simultaneously hold spiritual and celestial meanings; and every single word is a container and support for these. That is why in the literal sense the Divine truths are rarely uncovered, but are clothed. (TCR 226)

 

2531. 'Therefore I did not allow you to touch her' means that the rational was not consulted at all. This is clear from the meaning of 'allowing to touch' as consulting- as is also the meaning of 'coming near her', verse 4 above, in 2519 - and from the meaning of 'Sarah as a sister', to whom the pronoun 'her' refers here, as the rational, dealt with in 1495, 2508

 

[2] So that more may be known about the nature of the doctrine of faith, that it is spiritual from a celestial origin, it should be recognized that such doctrine is Divine truth from Divine good, and so is wholly Divine. That which is Divine is beyond comprehension since it surpasses all understanding, even that of angels. Nevertheless this Divine, which in itself is beyond comprehension, is able to flow in by way of the Lord's Divine Human into man's rational. And when it flows into his rational, the way it is received there is determined by the truths that are there. Thus it is received in varying ways, differently from one person to another. To the extent therefore that the truths residing with a person are more genuine, the Divine flowing in is also received more perfectly, and the understanding part of his mind is enlightened. (AC 2531)

 

(8) Now we can acknowledge that the Spiritual Doctrine in our understanding is Divine Doctrine.

 

Note the quote form AC 2531 just above: “That which is Divine is beyond comprehension since it surpasses all understanding, even that of angels.” This shows that when the Divine Doctrine is in our understanding, it is not implied that man’s understanding is infinite and Divine! This is the very fear that was voiced in the email message discussed above. the fear was that if we say that the Doctrine in our understanding is Divine then we are claiming that we are Divine or that we understand infinite truth like the Lord. But clearly this passage shows that the Doctrine in our understanding is Divine and yet our understanding is not infinite. The conclusion must be therefore that the understanding can be raised into the light of heaven which is the Lord’s Light. When what is in our understanding is genuine truth form the Word, then the Divine Truth is said to be in our understanding.

 

Note that the Divine Doctrine is located within the genuine truths that are in our understanding from the Word, and “the way it is received there is determined by the truths that are there.” In other words the Divine Doctrine is not the same in this person and in that, but exists in each enlightened individual in a unique form.

 

Therefore it is never a matter of one individual’s Divine Doctrine being imposed upon others in the Church. No such danger actually exists. But the danger exists if we deny that the Doctrine in our understanding is Divine, for then we deny that the Writings are written in correspondences, which is the same as denying the Divine Rational within the Divine Natural of the Lord.

 

43. 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.

 

44. 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.

 

45. The Spiritual Sense Is Also A Correspondence

 

To draw out the spiritual sense of the passage quoted above (TCR 539) requires that we consider these natural-rational expressions as pure correspondences. This doesn’t mean that we give up our loyalty to the literal meaning and expressions, or the implications we made by their analysis. The passage gives us essential facts about confession at this level of natural-rational thinking. We need this information at this level in order to be able to regenerate. If we lose this level because we go to a deeper dimension, we will get nowhere with the spiritual sense because this sense is perceive only by enlightenment from the Lord. And the Lord enlightens us only as we apply our natural-rational understanding of the Letter to ourselves, our willing and thinking all day long. Without the natural-rational concepts from the Letter, we cannot be enlightened.

 

Even after we figure out what the correspondences are, the literal meaning must be retained, not as focus, but as containant. This is referred to as “the letter vanishes” (xx). But it doesn’t disappear. Only the focus on the literal vanishes, but the literal remains as a containant. The natural-rational mind must retain the Letter in the understanding, or else, the spiritual sense flows away, and is replaced by something made up by self-intelligence which is not spiritual but only sounds like it to the darkened mind.

 

We say that the spiritual sense is contained within the Letter, but we speak this way because of the appearances. The Letter is dead (xx) because it is physical print or electronic display. Even the literal meaning is not in this corporeal. Rather, the Letter is merely a means for us to put the sentence into our mind. Once it is in our mind, it is no longer a corporeal Letter but a sensuous Letter and a rational Letter. In other words, the corporeal Letter when analyzed in the mind becomes a spiritual object because all objects in the mind are of spiritual construction. The mind is a spiritual organ and therefore all activity in the mind is spiritual activity. Thoughts and affections are constructed of spiritual fibers. Thoughts are spiritual objects. Now you can see how the spiritual sense is within the Letter—not within the corporeal Letter on the page or screen, but within the concepts in the mind that are constructed representatively to the Letter on the page or screen.

 

In other words, an image of the corporeal Letter is reproduced in the mind. This Letter in the mind is no longer corporeal but sensuous and rational. This Letter in the mind can now contain within it the spiritual sense. This simply means that the Letter in the mind is in a lower discrete degree than the spiritual sense in the mind. But remember that the both the Letter and its spiritual sense must be in the mind.

 

To be enlightened simply means to become conscious of the correspondences in our interior-natural mind. Be sure to distinguish the anatomical parts (see diagrams in Sections 8 and 9). At the natural-rational level of thinking, we use semantic representations of the Letter, now in our mind. This is called the literal meaning. At the interior-natural level of thinking, we use semantic representations of the spiritual sense. The spiritual sense is located in the spiritual mind only, and this mind is unconscious and inaccessible while we are ties to the physical body. Therefore the Lord builds up an interior-natural  mind within the natural-rational. This interior-natural mind functions by correspondences of the genuine spiritual sense in the spiritual mind.

 

You can see therefore that the spiritual sense is also a correspondence!

 

The correspondences in the interior-natural mind are higher correspondences than the correspondences in the natural-rational mind. When we substitute the original expressions in the Writings by means of their correspondences, we obtain correspondences in the natural-rational mind. This is not yet the spiritual sense since there cannot be a spiritual sense in the natural-rational. But when we perceive the correspondences in the interior-natural mind, we have a spiritual understanding of them, whereas when we perceive the correspondences in the Letter, we have a natural understanding of them.

 

Let’s consider the passage under discussion (TCR 539) which deals with natural and spiritual confessions. First, we can substitute some of the original expressions with their correspondences. This will yield a natural-rational perception of the spiritual sense—thus, not yet the spiritual sense, even though we’ve identified the correspondences explicitly.

 

Expressions in the original passage

Correspondences from other passages

 

 

 

Citations

self-examination

practicing repentance; seeing one’s own sins and confessing them before God

 

NJHD 164; AR 531

prayer

all things of worship

 

AE 325

confession

identify one’s iniquities, becoming aware of them from an affection of spiritual truths

 

AC 5772; AR 276, 792

priest

the holy of love or good; the good of the Church; represents the Lord

 

AC 1724, 6826, 9805

list of sins

evils of the love of self and of the world

 

AE 1109

repentance

acknowledgment of the Divine things of the church; the submission of the things that are in the natural under the internal

 

AC 6556

affection for doing good

being led by the Lord

 

 

AC 8559

forgiveness

wishing for salvation

 

LJP 195

 

Note that the two columns in the table above appear similar in topic despite the fact that one is the original passage in the Letter while the other specifies its correspondences. This similarity in topic is due to the level of thinking in which the original passages is expressed (TCR 539). The original passage in the Letter discusses regeneration at a natural-rational level of thinking. The correspondences applied to it will also discuss regeneration at a natural-rational level of thinking. Keep in mind that both the original expressions and their correspondences, are laid down in a natural language, that is, in a literal meaning.

 

The literal meaning of the original expressions and the literal meaning of their correspondences, are both expressed in the natural-rational. The important thing to remember is that in order for us to understand this literal in a spiritual way, we must be enlightened by the Lord while reading the literal sentences or thinking about them.

 

This enlightened perception of the sentence’s literal meaning, is to understand the sentence spiritually.

 

There is no way provided by the Lord by which we might climb up to His interior Church through the tower that we build standing on the planes of our own self-intelligence, that is, of the natural-rational mind, which the uppermost region of our natural mind. We cannot climb up from the Letter to the spiritual sense. We cannot enter our spiritual mind by climbing the highest peak of our natural-rational mind. The two have been created into an absolute discrete duality, and their interaction or communication and relationship is by pure correspondence. The only way the Lord has provided to Himself in His Divine Human is by correspondences.

 

There is an orderly series of correspondences by which the Lord governs the hierarchy of life form Firsts to Lasts (xx). There are three heavens in discrete degrees above the world of spirits. No spirit from the spirit world can enter the first heaven until prepared for it. No angel of the first heaven can ascend to the second heaven. The only communication possible between them is by correspondences. The infernal world is below the world of spirits and no inhabitant of the hells can ascend into the spirit world except temporarily, when prepared for a specific purpose. Our mind while we are tied to the physical body lives in one of the societies in the world of spirits. We are not conscious of this spirit-body, though it houses all our affections and all our memories and experiences. It is this spirit-body that awakens to self-consciousness, when the tie to the physical body is cut by the Lord.

 

The hierarchy of human life from the highest heaven to the lowest hell, including the middle region where our mind exists, compose a vertical community that the Lord connects, disconnects, and reconnects moment by moment, in accordance with his spiritual management goals He has for each individual. He is the Divine Therapist, True Father to each person. He abandons no one, never quits on anyone. The entire human race, past, present, and future, is to the Lord as one Giant Person, so that He manages all details of the universe to maintain this Giant Person in perfection, and in ever increasing perfection. This is not possible to accomplish from generals or universals, but only from the detailed particulars (xx). As the Lord controls and manages each particular detail, coordinating all details in one giant unity, He controls the general and the universal of the universe and creation.

 

And so the vertical community is a rational method of Divine management by which the Lord operates this vast inter-coordination task, moment by moment in the entire human race.

 

In the Word of His Second Coming the Lord has revealed His Divine Rational to the human race. This includes His Divine management techniques explained in a rational manner so that the interior-rational mind He has created for us, can incorporate or appropriate rational concepts and ideas of spiritual topics and subjects. These spiritual topics and subjects are revealed in the Writings at two discrete levels. One level is for understanding these spiritual-rational topics naturally—this is the literal meaning called the Letter of the Writings. The second level is for understanding these spiritual-rational topics spiritually—this is the spiritual meaning we receive only by perception in the interior mind when enlightened by the Lord. The Lord enlightens every individual who applies the understanding of the Letter (level 1) to oneself, that is, to one’s willing and thinking every day, hour by hour, and minute by minute. He has revealed to us that He enlightens no one who studies the Writings and knows correspondences, but keeps this knowledge theoretical, that is, without constantly applying it to self for the purpose of regeneration.

 

46. Enlightenment Is The Only Way To See The Spiritual Sense

 

Enlightenment is proportional to our intent to apply the enlightened perception to self. To receive enlightenment we must have this intent as the purpose for discovering the spiritual sense. And even the intent is not enough, for it may not be deep enough, or sincere enough, But the Lord leads, if we let Him, and the lukewarm intent warms up, heats up, even as we make progress in regeneration. We then receive enlightenment in more and more areas, so that the process is cumulative. A new permanent spiritual consciousness becomes normal and familiar in everyday life, returning us to Eden on earth called “the innocence of old age”--see Volume 3 of this book.

 

From all this you can see that understanding how discrete degrees operate is the heavenly secret in understanding how the spiritual is related to the natural by correspondence. Obviously we need to understand the anatomy of the mind since the Lord operates our willing and thinking through the physiology of the spiritual fibers that make up the organ of the will and the organ of the understanding. Understanding the anatomy of the will and understanding involves knowing its levels or regions of operation. These must be correctly labeled and memorized for conscious thinking and reasoning about them. Besides their label, we must remember their function, for the Lord never separates structure from function, always expressing function as the interior driving power of the exterior structures. Our conscious awareness and identity of ourselves as a unique individual, is called the self, or the as-of self. This conscious self is born an immortal spirit destined for heaven, but often ending up in hell due to self-love, which is called the infernal proprium of our birth.

 

The Lord has provided a way for every individual to regenerate and end up in heaven. This method of Divine shepherding of the human race, is operated by means of spiritual consciousness carried within spiritual truths. This spiritual consciousness is received only as an enlightenment when reading the Writings or thinking about its sentences we have committed to memory. These sentences are the Letter of the Word in our natural-rational mind. As we apply the understanding of them to self, with the intent of identifying our sins, we are enlightened by the Lord regarding the sentence or expression we were applying.

 

As a result, we have a spiritual consciousness of the topic of the sentence or expression. In other words, we perceive the spiritual sense of that expression or sentence. Now we can consciously build the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind. This Spiritual doctrine is what we need to continue progressing in our regeneration. We cannot continue progressing if we shun the spiritual sense. Now to understand this process of enlightenment, we must identify the organics of it. How does the Lord enlighten us? The answer is to think about the new organ, the new creation, we receive PRIOR TO ENLIGHTNEMNT. We cannot be enlightened, which is a function, without the structure as the ultimate containant of the function exercising and thus existing. This new organ the Lord creates is called the interior-natural mind, as shown in the diagrams in Sections 8 and 9 of this chapter.

 

Where is the interior-natural mind located? Within the natural-rational. Are we conscious of this interior-natural mind? Yes. Are we then conscious of the spiritual mind? No. The spiritual mind is the level of willing and thinking we have in our spirit-body as we become “novitiate sprits” (xx). We are not conscious of this mind while tied to the physical body. Instead, we are able to have a conscious awareness of the spiritual things in our spiritual mind through correspondences in the interior-natural mind. These two minds are in discrete degrees and interact by correspondences. The genuine actual spiritual-rational truth such as the angels have, are now available to the human race on earth, by higher correspondences of which we are conscious in our interior-natural mind.

 

This is the process of enlightenment. Now you can see why we want to apply the Letter of the Writings to the Letter, when we study the Writings after we’ve been reformed.

 

Once again we must remember that the substitute sentences that contain the correspondences are laid down in the natural-rational understanding through their literal meaning. But by acquiring the new Letter in our mind, that is, the substitute sentences, we are making for ourselves new higher cognitive vessels than we had before, prior to applying the Letter to itself. These higher correspondences are capable of being infilled by more interior truths, which operate only in the unconscious spiritual mind. but this new more interior development of the spiritual mind, interacts with the interior-natural mind, so that the correspondences there become higher, allowing us a higher spiritual consciousness of the literal meaning than we had before.

 

This higher spiritual consciousness is a second level enlightenment, higher than the first. Now we apply these higher-order correspondences to operate on our current willing and thinking, thereby allowing still more interior portions of the proprium to be regenerated. Until at last, in old age, we reach the wisdom of innocence (see Volume 3).

 

47. Lower And Higher Correspondences

 

Correspondences exist at different discrete degrees within discrete degrees. This is a universal principle which guarantees that every constituent unit of a whole contains within itself a representation of the whole (xx). The part is an image of the whole, but a discrete and unique one for every part due its unique location in the whole. No two parts can occupy the same location in the whole or else its distinct uniqueness could not exist and subsist. Similarly every human being from the first individual created to the unending future, must be unique and unlike any other individual (xx). Every individual has a unique location in the Grand Human which forms a unity of the entire race (xx).

 

From these considerations you can see that the whole can be perceived from any of its part. The deeper the part from which one perceives the whole, the more inwardly we see that part. For example, we can see the meaning of the Grand Human in our understanding at the level of thinking of the natural-rational mind. At this level we can picture the Grand Human in our sensuous below so that we could make the drawing of a giant human being and label it “the Grand Human.” We could also write a description of it by paraphrasing the sentences of the Writings where the Grand Human is described (xx). This would give us a perception of the Grand Human at the external natural level.

 

The expressions we use to describe the Grand Human at this external natural level, that is, in our natural-rational mind, are expressions by means of correspondences. The literal meaning of a sentence from the Letter use expressions that are lower rational correspondences. They are called lower because they are relatively outward. More interior rational correspondences are in our mind when we apply the Letter to the Letter, and construct new substitute sentences in which we replace one chunk of the Letter with another chunk from the Letter. These substitute sentences appear similar to the original when we deal with higher correspondences. But when we deal with lower correspondences they appear quite different. We have seen above an example of this.

 

The world of spirits is a world of representatives (AC 167)

 

 

48. Newcomers To The World Of Spirits

 

Now let us consider a passage where the Letter uses lower correspondences. Here you will immediately see that the original passage and the substitute passage appear very different:

 

Then the three newcomers began asking the two angelic spirits about heaven.  And because two of the three newcomers were adolescents, and from their eyes darted what seemed to be a spark of lust for the opposite sex, the angelic spirits said, "You have, perhaps, seen some of the women." And they replied, "We have." (CL 44)

 

Let’s first build the matrix of correspondences for the original passage by using a search facility to find relevant portions of the Letter that we might substitute in the original:

 

Portions in the original that will receive substitute portions

New portions that are correspondences

Citation

newcomers

the uninformed; when first instructed in the truths of faith; doubting the existence of the afterlife; before one’s interiors are exposed; those who are prompted by a merely natural inclination to do good ; those who wish to learn about heaven and hell

AC 1641, 1106; 1622, 1631, 8002; CL: 261

angelic spirits

those who are being reformed; those who act not so much from charity as from obedience

AC 201, 394

began asking

perceiving another's thought and to appropriate the answer for oneself

AC 5597; AR 376

heaven

the interior mind; opening the inner levels of a person's mind

AC 10227

two of the three

all the truths regarding the marriage of good and truth, or of full reformation

AR 610; AE 532

adolescents

the sexual urge of that time of life; unspeakable notions to the effect that wives, especially young and attractive ones, were intended not for their husbands but for themselves; the opposite of chastity; to think at the level of the natural sciences; those who think promiscuously

AC 829; CL 138, 163; SE 1694

eyes darting

opposite of enlightenment; no understanding of the truth of faith; absence of the Lord and of love in all the will and in all the thought

AR 236; WH 1; AC 2701, 1038

spark of lust of the opposite sex

falsification of the Letter of the Writings due to commingling self with its truths

 

seen some of the women

becoming forms of disobedience; affections of falsity and evil; affections of truth from a ground not genuine, thoughts and affections of the natural

CL 161; AC 3678, 3686; D. WIS 7

they replied, “We have.”

confirmation of that state; strengthening of dogma

AC 7651; AE 789

 

We now need to build a coherent proposition or thesis from the reconstructed Letter. This is called the Spiritual Doctrine laid down in a natural language through a natural-rational understanding of it.

 

Original passage of the Letter:

Then the three newcomers began asking the two angelic spirits about heaven. And because two of the three newcomers were adolescents, and from their eyes darted what seemed to be a spark of lust for the opposite sex, the angelic spirits said, "You have, perhaps, seen some of the women." And they replied, "We have." (CL 44)

 

Substitute passage, applying correspondences form the Letter:

To begin our reformation we must obtain knowledge about regeneration so that we may appropriate it to ourselves. We need this knowledge for making possible the opening of the interior mind. At the beginning, our understanding of every truth we appropriate to ourselves, is natural, and since we take this natural understanding to be the spiritual sense, we falsify every truth in our mind, creating a state of darkness in relation to spiritual understanding of truths. This commingling of self with Divine truths, results in disunion between the truths we understand and the affections for which we acquire these truths. These falsified truths from the Letter lead us to an evil life and dogmas instead of genuine Doctrines.

 

Once again we see that we obtain a longer passage when we apply multiple passages to one passage by substitution of correspondences. Note that the original passage is about the topic of newly arrived spirits who are questioned by angelic spirits. Some of the newcomers are adolescents and the angelic spirits detect affections of lust for the opposite sex. This then is the original topic.

 

The topic of the substitute passage is clearly different. The correspondences reveal that the topic is about the beginning of our reformation, at a time when we take the literal meaning of the Writings to be the same as the spiritual sense. It is said that in this state, we still “doubt” the existence of the afterlife. This expression “existence of the afterlife” does not refer to our knowledge about the spiritual world. Prior to reformation in young adulthood, we may have had years of study of the Writings, and we certainly are very familiar with the spiritual world.

 

But there are two phases, we are told here. The first phase is when we know about it, but doubt it. Like Thomas, so that the Lord had to tell him to thrust his hand into the Lord’s wounds that Thomas may be certain and not doubt that it was He who resurrected. The phase of our doubt is the phase prior to reformation, when we know about the spiritual sense of the Word, but we understand them in a natural-rational way, not spiritual. In other words, our level of thinking remains tied up to the lower correspondences in our natural-rational mind. Thus we are called “newcomers” in spiritual understanding as long as we take the Letter to be the spiritual sense.

 

In this state of being “newcomers” to the spiritual sense, we fall into the state called “adolescence” in which we commingle the truths of the Letter we understand with self-intelligence and the love of self-aggrandizement. We doubt that there is a spiritual sense that we cannot perceive because when we rely on self, we cannot perceive anything spiritual. It doesn’t exist other than what we can perceive. We are therefore led into dogmas instead of genuine Doctrines, and we cannot be regenerated. But as we persist in our reformation, struggling against our evil affections, we become as “angelic spirits” able to be enlightened by the Lord and receive a perception of the spiritual sense.

 

The new substitute passage reads like a coherent principle or thesis and is called the Spiritual Doctrine in our mind. We now need to confirm this Doctrine by the Letter, finding other passages that discuss the new topic:

 

Original passage of the Letter:

Then the three newcomers began asking the two angelic spirits about heaven. And because two of the three newcomers were adolescents, and from their eyes darted what seemed to be a spark of lust for the opposite sex, the angelic spirits said, "You have, perhaps, seen some of the women." And they replied, "We have." (CL 44)

 

Substitute passage, applying correspondences form the Letter:

To begin our reformation we must obtain knowledge about regeneration so that we may appropriate it to ourselves. We need this knowledge for making possible the opening of the interior mind. At the beginning, our understanding of every truth we appropriate to ourselves, is natural, and since we take this natural understanding to be the spiritual sense, we falsify every truth in our mind, creating a state of darkness in relation to spiritual understanding of truths. This commingling of self with Divine truths, results in disunion between the truths we understand and the affections for which we acquire these truths. These falsified truths from the Letter lead us to an evil life and dogmas instead of genuine Doctrines.

 

Confirming passages in the Letter:

Similar things, beyond number, are seen by angels and angelic spirits in clear day; and wonderful to say, they are perceived with all fullness of sense. These things cannot be credited by one who has extinguished spiritual ideas by the terms and definitions of human philosophy, and by reasonings (AC 1626)

 

It should be known, moreover, that, so long as man is in knowledges only, and not in any life according to them, he is in his proprium and led by self; but, when he is in a life according to them - and to the same extent - he is elevated out of his proprium, and is led by the Lord. This man does not perceive, but still it is so; and so far as man is led by the Lord, so far is there good in him, or good is what he wills and thinks.

 

But it should be thoroughly known, that nobody can live according to the knowledges from the Word, except from them he reflect upon his thoughts, intentions and deeds, that is, examine himself, and abstain from evils and do good as from himself: otherwise, there is no reception by man; and if there is no reception, there is no conjunction with the Lord; therefore, neither can he be led by the Lord. (SE 5945)

 

Since then a wicked man is such, it is evident that he is one evil composed of innumerable different evils each of which is a distinct evil, and they are called lusts of evil. Hence it follows that all these in their order must be restored and changed by the Lord in order that the man may be reformed; and this cannot be effected unless by the Divine Providence of the Lord, step by step from the earliest period of man's life to the last. (DP 296)

 

The external of the Word was "sweet as honey," that is, thus delightful, because the external of the Word is such that it can be applied to any love whatever, or to any principle derived therefrom; and these can be confirmed by it. The external of the Word, which is the sense of its letter, is such because many things in it are written in accordance with the appearances presented to the natural man, and many appearances, when not interiorly understood, are fallacies, like the fallacies of the senses. Those, therefore, who love to live for the body and for the world, by means of these appearances draw over the external of the Word to confirm evils of life and falsities of faith. (AE 619) (see also AE 748)

 

The new passages help us enlarge and deepen the Spiritual Doctrine. We are told that when we stay in the Letter of the Word we are applying to it “human philosophy and reasonings” which “extinguish spiritual ideas (AC 1626). We remain in the Letter when we fail to apply its truths to our willing and thinking (SE 5945). Remaining in the Letter is called being a “wicked man” because we falsify the Letter in order to retain our evil lusts (DP 296; AE 619). Since the Letter of the Writings is written in appearances or correspondences, it can be turned to support evil loves (AE 619). On the other hand, the spiritual sense cannot be falsified because it is not from self but from enlightenment (LORD 37), and since “the Word cannot be falsified except by reasonings from the natural man who remains in the Letter“ (AE 819).

 

And I will write upon him the name of My God, signifies their quality in respect to Divine truth implanted in the life. This is evident from the signification of "writing upon one," when spoken of the Lord, as being to implant in the life ..."To write upon one" means to implant in the life, because to write is to commit to paper anything from the memory, thought, or mind, that is to be preserved; in the spiritual sense, therefore, it signifies that which is to endure in man's life, inscribed on it and implanted in it.

 

Thus the natural sense of this expression is turned into a spiritual sense; for it is natural to write upon paper and in a book, but it is spiritual to inscribe on the life, which is done when anything is implanted in the faith and love, since love and faith make man's spiritual life. (AE 222)

 

49. 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 soever 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.

 

The Word is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord (AC 9407)

 

50. “Nunc Licet” The Flagpole Of The New Church Mind

 

 

Sixth Memorable Relation:

One day there appeared to me a magnificent temple, square in form, the roof of which was crown-shaped, arched above and raised round about; its walls were continuous windows of crystal; its door was of a pearly substance. Within, on the south side, towards the west was a pulpit, on the right-hand side of which lay the open Word enveloped in a sphere of light, the splendor of which surrounded and illuminated the whole pulpit. In the center of the temple was a sanctuary, before which there was a veil, at that time raised, and there a golden cherub stood with a sword turning hither and thither in his hand.

 

[2] While I looked at these things, the significance of each one of them flowed into my meditation: The temple signified the New Church; the door of pearly substance, entrance into it; the windows of crystal, the truths that enlighten it; the pulpit, the priesthood and preaching; the Word lying open upon the pulpit and illuminating the upper part of it, signified the revelation of the internal sense of the Word, which is spiritual; the sanctuary in the center of the temple signified the conjunction of that church with the angelic heaven; the golden cherub therein, the Word in the sense of the letter; the sword waving in his hand signified that this sense can be turned in any direction, provided it is done in adaptation to some truth; the veil before the cherub being raised, signified that the Word is now laid open.

 

[3] Afterward, when I drew nearer, I saw this inscription above the door, Nunc Licet - It is now permitted - which signified that it is now permitted to enter understandingly into the mysteries of faith. From seeing this inscription it came into my thought that it is exceedingly dangerous to enter with the understanding into dogmas of faith that are concocted out of self-intelligence, and therefore out of falsities, and still more so to confirm them from the Word; by this means the understanding is closed above, and gradually below as well, to such a degree that theology is not only despised but also obliterated from the mind, as writing on paper is by worms, or the wool of a garment by moths.

 

Then the understanding abides only in political matters, which have regard to man's life under the government where he is, and in the civil matters pertaining to his employment, and in the domestic affairs of his own house. And in all these things he constantly kisses nature, and owing to the allurements of her pleasures, loves her as an idolater loves the golden image in his bosom.

 

[4] Since then, the dogmas of the present Christian churches have not been formed from the Word, but from self-intelligence, and therefore from falsities, and also have been confirmed by certain passages from the Word; by the Lord's Divine Providence the Word among the Roman Catholics has been taken from the laity, and among Protestants has been opened, and yet has been closed by their common declaration that the understanding must be held in obedience to their faith.

 

[5] But in the New Church the contrary is the case; there it is permitted to enter with the understanding and penetrate into all her secrets, and to confirm them by the Word, because her doctrines are continuous truths laid open by the Lord by means of the Word, and confirmations of these truths by rational means cause the understanding to be opened above more and more, and thus to be raised into the light in which the angels of heaven are.

 

That light in its essence is truth, and in that light acknowledgment of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth shines in its glory. This is what is meant by the inscription Nunc Licet over the door of the temple, and also by the veil of the sanctuary before the cherub being raised. For it is a canon of the New Church, that falsities close the understanding, and that truths open it.

 

[6] After this I saw above my head something like an infant, holding in his hand a paper. As he drew near to me, he increased to the stature of a medium-sized man. He was an angel from the third heaven, where all at a distance look like infants. When he came to me, he handed me the paper; but as the writing was in rounded letters, such as they have in that heaven, I returned the paper, and asked him to explain to me the meaning of the words there written, in terms adapted to the ideas of my thought.

 

He replied, "This is what is here written: Enter hereafter into the mysteries of the Word, which has been heretofore shut up; for the particular truths therein are so many mirrors of the Lord."

(TCR 508)

 

This Number in The True Christian Religion (TCR) defines the New Church mind and reveals the characteristics it has. Keep in mind that the New Church mind is the mind in whom the Crown of Churches lives. The New Church marks the completion of the creation of the human race, and therefore also the completion of all of creation. All creation is for the sake of the human race (xx) and it took the Lord numberless generations to evolve the human race into the New Church mind, also called the celestial mind. The Lord’s one and only purpose for creation is that there might be a human race in heaven, evolving into ever greater perfection and therefore, closeness to the Lord.

 

This is what His Divine Love desires with irresistible and infinite power because the human race in heaven can receive the more from Him, can be made the more and more happy from Him, from what He can bestow on us, the good and truth that we are capable of receiving from Him.

 

We can summarize some of the many things that the Lord says to us in this Number:

 

(1) The New Church, like the previous Churches, is made of Divine Truth within which is Divine Good, and this is given by the Lord through the Writings. The New Church mind is the temple being represented in this Number, with a roof in the shape of a crown. And the light in this mind is heavenly light from the Writings. The book that was the Word in this temple was the Word of the Second Coming. Every single spiritual truth in the New Church mind is from this only source and no other because the Writings are the only source of truth in the New Church mind.

 

(2) The Word of the Writings lies open for anyone to look into. It is given for all religions and all peoples for all times from all planets in the universe and all the societies of heaven.

 

(3) It is said: “the Word lying open upon the pulpit and illuminating the upper part of it, signified the revelation of the internal sense of the Word, which is spiritual.” If the Lord allows it you will be able to perceive that both instances of the Word mentioned here refer to the Word of the Second Coming. In other words: “The Writings lying open upon the pulpit and illuminating the upper part of it, signified the revelation of the internal sense of the Writings, which is spiritual.”

 

(4) It is true that the Writings lie open to anyone but it’s also true that the mere literal of the sentences is not the revelation meant here. Anyone who is intelligent can read the letter of the Writings and then teach it to others, but nothing was revealed thereby. It is said: “the golden cherub therein, the Word in the sense of the letter; the sword waving in his hand signified that this sense can be turned in any direction.” One can read the letter of the Writings and turn the things we see in them in any direction, fitting our self-intelligence and beliefs. But this is not revelation. The revelation is this: “the Word lying open upon the pulpit and illuminating the upper part of it, signified the revelation of the internal sense of the Word, which is spiritual.” The internal sense of the Writings is spiritual, not literal in the natural language in which it is being read.

 

Spiritual truths in themselves cannot be described in natural language. But when we read in the natural language about spiritual truths, then we can be enlightened by the Lord who reveals its spiritual sense to our understanding. The spiritual sense of the Writings can only exist in our understanding, never in a natural language.

 

(5) It is said: ‘”Afterward, when I drew nearer, I saw this inscription above the door, Nunc Licet - It is now permitted - which signified that it is now permitted to enter understandingly into the mysteries of faith.” This is precisely where the creation of the human race is completed—the opening of the spiritual sense of the Writings. This opening is the opening of the spiritual celestial mind. The completion of the human race is the New Church mind which is formed, not by the letter of the Writings, but by its spiritual sense. The spiritual sense of the Writings is called the Heavenly Doctrine (xx). It is this Doctrine in the mind that forms the New Church mind.

 

The time is coming when there will be enlightenment (AC 4402)

 

(6) Nunc Licet is therefore the flagpole or cornerstone of the New Church mind. Not the literal of the Writings creates the New Church mind but the spiritual sense of the Writings in the understanding. When we read the literal of the Writings we are not in the activity of Nunc Licet, but only preparatory to it. It is necessary to first acquire an understanding and knowledge of the literal of the Writings. Without this the New Church mind cannot be formed. But one cannot consider preparation for going to Church the same thing as being in Church. We are in the New Church through the understanding of Doctrine in our mind, that is, through the understanding of the spiritual sense that is within the literal. This spiritual sense must be revealed by the Lord to each individual. It cannot be a global or general revelation. Nunc Licet is the Divine announcement that henceforth the Lord gives this revelation to those who read the Writings as Divine Truth and endeavor to be reformed and regenerated thereby.

 

(7) This is what’s being said about how the New Church mind is to be formed: “But in the New Church the contrary is the case; there it is permitted to enter with the understanding and penetrate into all her secrets, and to confirm them by the Word, because her doctrines are continuous truths laid open by the Lord by means of the Word, and confirmations of these truths by rational means cause the understanding to be opened above more and more, and thus to be raised into the light in which the angels of heaven are.” To penetrate the secrets of the New Church does not refer to the reading of the literal of the Writings, for this doesn’t penetrate but stays on the surface. Deeper below the surface lies the spiritual sense, the Heavenly Doctrine that the Lord reveals to each individual. Note that the Lord does the revealing of the deep sense but that we must afterwards “confirm them by the Word,” that is, by the literal of the Writings.

 

(8) It is not enough to read the literal of the Writings. It is not enough to be enlightened by the Lord so that we penetrate and perceive the inner sense in it. A final step must be taken: confirming the revelation by means of the literal of the Writings. Without this final step, nothing permanent will have been gained and the New Church mind cannot be formed.

 

(9) This process of confirming the spiritual sense by the literal sense is puzzling at first. How can this be done? I noted above that the spiritual sense cannot be expressed by natural language. How then can the natural language of the literal confirm the spiritual sense? To see the answer keep in mind that when the literal is used to confirm the spiritual sense it is necessary that the Lord keep you in enlightenment when reading the literal. In other words, the Lord enlightens us as we read the literal so that we can perceive the deeper sense. Now we search the Writings for passages that can confirm this new perception. When we find one the Lord must enlighten us as we read the confirming passage so that we can see in it the spiritual sense. So in reality, it is the spiritual sense that confirms the spiritual revelation, but it must be seen in the literal.

 

(10) We must therefore confirm the spiritual Doctrine revealed in our understanding. The reason is that without this confirmation step, whatever was revealed to us cannot be appropriated. It is said: “confirmations of these truths by rational means cause the understanding to be opened above more and more, and thus to be raised into the light in which the angels of heaven are.” Our rational understanding is the vehicle or medium for our ability to be in heaven. It is the spiritual mind that can live in heaven and the spiritual mind is opened only by the rational understanding. Nothing else can open the spiritual mind. And it is said that the opening of the spiritual mind is not by the literal of the  Writings, not by the enlightenment of the spiritual sense, but by the confirmation of this in the literal.

 

(11) From the perspective of the New Church mind, or the angles, Nunc Licet is described as follows: “This is what is here written: Enter hereafter into the mysteries of the Word, which has been heretofore shut up; for the particular truths therein are so many mirrors of the Lord." The mysteries of the Writings that have been “heretofore shut up” refer to our understanding of the literal of the Writings prior to our reformation in adult life (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]). With this understanding we only see the mysteries of the letter for this understanding is natural and shut up.

 

Natural understanding cannot penetrate mysteries of the letter but remains at its surface. But after reformation, when regeneration begins, it is permitted to enter into the deeper meaning. In other words, enlightenment form the Lord only comes while we are being regenerated, and never before that. Before reformation it is not permitted and one cannot see any spiritual sense. It is said that it’s “extremely dangerous” to enter into spiritual truths in the letter prior to reformation because we then reason from self-intelligence, not from enlightenment. To do so is to fall into hellish error.

 

(12) The particulars or details of the spiritual sense are said to be “so many mirrors of the Lord.” It is not the literal of the Writings by itself that is the Lord, but the literal that is infilled with the spiritual. Neither is it possible to approach the Lord without the literal, but only in the literal as our perception is opened to see the glory in it. This is the New Church mind.

 

The mysteries that are now revealed concern the details of the human mind and its regeneration. Only those care about these details who wish to be regenerated:

 

[3] These details which have been presented are indeed such as fall within the mental grasp of none but a very few, for most people do not know what the truth and good of the natural are, and that these are different from the truth and good of the rational. Still less do they know that goods and truths which are not genuine but only so to external appearance serve to introduce genuine truths and goods, especially at the outset of regeneration.

 

All the same, as these details are contained in the internal sense of these words, and also in the internal sense of those that follow concerning Laban's flock from which Jacob obtained a flock for himself, they ought not to be passed over in silence. There will perhaps be some who grasp them. Any who have a strong desire to know such things, that is, who are stirred by an affection for spiritual good and truth, receive enlightenment in such matters. (AC 3974)

 

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

 

51. The Three Steps Of Deriving Doctrine From The Writings

 

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 Word; and the spiritual sense of the Word is identical with the doctrine which is in heaven. (NJHD 7)

 

Why is it so important to talk about the spiritual sense of the Writings? Of course, if this sense is denied, one cannot talk about it, focus on it, confess it, or perceive it. Without the spiritual sense in the letter, the Writings are dead, and without any power to form the New Church mind and to regenerate it.

 

It is known that the church is in accordance with its doctrine, and that doctrine is from the Word; nevertheless it is not doctrine but soundness and purity of doctrine, consequently the understanding of the Word, that establishes the church. Neither is it doctrine, but a faith and life in accordance with doctrine, that establishes and constitutes the special church in the individual man.

(…)

Those who merely have possession of the Word and read it, but do not try to get from it genuine truths for their faith or genuine goods for their life, are like those who know by hearsay that there are such great treasures there, but do not receive a penny from them. Those who have the Word, but do not gain from it any understanding of genuine truth, or any will for genuine good, are like those who think themselves rich for having money borrowed from others, or like those who hold estates, houses, and merchandise belonging to others. This, as everyone can see, is mere hallucination.

 (TCR 245)

 

The Lord regenerates us to the extent that we are willing to go through the three steps mentioned above, as summarized in this listing:

 

q       Step 1: The First Education (learning the literal sense)

 

Read, study, memorize, and understand the literal of the Writings.

 

q       Step 2: The Second Education (learning the spiritual sense)

 

Compel yourself to arrange your moment by moment willing and thinking all day long to conform to the understanding you have of the literal. This is called forming Doctrine for yourself from the Writings. The Lord enlightens you to the extent you use this Doctrine to guide your further willing and thinking. When enlightened by the Lord, the Doctrine in our understanding is called the spiritual Doctrine. The spiritual Doctrine in our understanding is also called the spiritual sense of the literal of the Writings.

 

q       Step 2: The Third Education (confirming the spiritual sense in the literal)

 

Search the Writings, or continue to study it, and try to confirm the spiritual truths that the Lord has revealed to you. This opens your spiritual mind more and more. The more interior truths we come to perceive in the literal the more the spiritual mind is opened. This is the final goal of our spiritual education through the Writings.

 

These three steps repeat themselves in an unending cycle, which is regeneration and salvation. The First Education (Step 1) is insufficient for regeneration, as may be seen from this description of our understanding when it is tied to the literal alone:

 

But a person who is unable to think on a higher level of understanding, that is, on a level altogether above material things, cannot grasp any of this, not even the idea that it is possible for a sense to exist in the Word other than the one perceived in the letter. If that person is told that the letter holds within itself a spiritual sense which has to do with truth, and that this in turn holds within itself a celestial sense which has to do with good, and also that these senses shine through the literal sense, he will be taken aback at first, then dismiss the idea as nonsense, and finally ridicule it. Actual experience has shown me that this is what people are like in the Christian world at the present day, especially the learned, and that those who reason against that truth boast of being wiser than those who uphold it. (AC 9407:[4])

 

“The Christian world” can be applied to the New Church mind, in which case it refers to the state of our understanding when we deny that the Writings have an internal spiritual and celestial sense. Even if we do not deny it, we still cannot see what the spiritual sense is or even that there is a spiritual sense. But when we take Step 2, we are enlightened by the Lord and we can then perceive the spiritual sense in the Writings. Rev. Theodore Pitcairn refers to Step 1 as our First Education, and to Step 2 as our Second Education:

 

We have said that a man can take nothing that he acquires by the first education into Heaven; by Heaven is meant all things which appertain to the spiritual and celestial mind, whether a man is living in this world or the next. It is of great importance to realize that the letter of the Writings belongs to the first education, which must, as it were, be left behind when one enters upon the second education; if one confuses the letter of the Writings with the spiritual and celestial things that are acquired by the second education, no genuine doctrine of education is possible.

 

That the letter of the Writings belongs to the first education is obvious from the fact that this can be taught to any one and learned like any other subject; while the second education is part of the new creation by the Lord, and is only possible with those who have first been conceived and born anew by the Lord.

 

The word education has the root meaning of leading out. The first education is a leading of the mind out of merely corporeal and sensual things into natural things. The second education is a leading out of the mind from natural things into spiritual and celestial things. The first education is apparently done by man, the second education is manifestly done by the Lord. The first education is also performed by the Lord, but of this man is unconscious. While in the case of the second education it is perceived that it is the work of the Lord.

 

The second education is an education in the genuine spiritual and celestial things of the internal sense of the Word, and this is performed by the Lord by means of the genuine Doctrine of the Church drawn from the Word.

 

(Rev. Theodore Pitcairn, “The Second Education”. De Hemelsche Leer, Third Fascicle, p.17. 1935 (Chapter 7 Section 8; Chapter 8 Section 3) (Available online at www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/409ss99/thompson/mscan8.html )

 

Nunc Licet is a Divine Commandment that we enter into our Second Education. We are required to enter into the spiritual sense of the Writings. We do this by perception from enlightenment when we apply Doctrine in our mind to our willing and thinking (Step 2). This Doctrine in our mind is not the genuine Doctrine unless it is the spiritual Doctrine, that is, the spiritual sense of the literal (xx). We must then confirm the spiritual Doctrine in our mind by the letter of the Writings (Step 3) (xx). This is the step that constitutes our Second Education since it allows us to become conscious of the spiritual sense. This new consciousness of the inner sense of the Writings is our Second Education, and without this, our spiritual mind is not opened. There is a strong emphasis in the Writings on this fact:

 

Without doctrine the Word is not understood (NJHD 256)

 

The three steps of the spiritual education of the New Church mind are contrasted in the following table (see next page):


 

Step 1

 

Step 2

 

Step 3

 

First Education

 

Second Education

 

Third Education

 

learning the literal sense of the Writings

 

learning the spiritual sense of the Writings

 

learning the celestial Doctrine of the Writings

 

the Lord seen as the Son of Man in the Writings (natural level)

 

the Lord seen as the Holy Spirit in the Writings (spiritual level)

 

the Lord seen as the Divine Human in the Writings (celestial level)

 

spiritual-natural level of thinking about the Writings

 

spiritual-rational level of thinking about the Writings

 

celestial-rational level of thinking about the Writings

 

the natural of the Writings lacking a spiritual-rational

 

 

 

the spiritual-rational of the Writings laid down in the natural

 

 

the celestial-rational of the Writings laid down in the spiritual-rational, and the natural

 

being in a state of natural sensuous consciousness of the Divine Human in the Writings; or: being in the natural-rational within sensuous consciousness

 

being in a state of rational consciousness of the Divine Human in the Writings; or: being in the interior-natural within sensuous consciousness

 

being in a state of celestial consciousness of the Divine Human in the Writings; or: being in the inmost rational within sensuous consciousness

 

external knowledge about the Divine Human from the literal of the Writings

 

adjunction with the Divine Human from the spiritual sense of the Writings and its spiritual Doctrine in our understanding

 

interior conjunction with the Divine Human from the inmost of the Writings

 

learning the external scientifics of the Writings

 

 

learning the spiritual sense of the Writings, which is the Doctrine in the understanding

 

perceiving spiritual and celestial truths in the Writings

 

unconscious influx of the Holy Spirit with good

 

 

rational consciousness of influx of the Holy Spirit with good

 

sensuous consciousness of influx of the Lord’s Proprium

 

the old unregenerate natural mind reading the Writings as memory-knowledges

 

 

 

acquiring a new natural mind that is formed by the spiritual-rational from the Writings, which is the spiritual Doctrine in our understanding

 

opening of the inmost spiritual-rational mind (celestial) when spiritual Doctrine in the mind is confirmed by literal of the Writings

 

evils remain unconscious

 

evils are made conscious

 

 

no evils left that are active in the mind

 

being a hunter of the ground

being a man of the filed

being an angel

to be in truth from the external scientifics of the literal sense of the Writings

to be in good from truth from the internal scientifics of the spiritual sense of the Writings

to be in truth from good from perception of the inmost of the Writings

 


 

The details shown in this table were elucidated several decades ago by Mr. Harrie Groeneveld, Rev. Ernst Pfeiffer, and Rev. Theodore Pitcairn (see Note 22 at end).

 

52. Without Doctrine The Writings Is Not Understood

 

Without doctrine the Word is not understood (NJHD 256)

 

For the New Church mind this means that without doctrine the Writings is not understood.

 

Doctrine exists in a natural and a spiritual form. The Doctrine that is in the literal language of the Writings is natural. The Doctrine that is within this literal is the spiritual Doctrine, that is, the spiritual sense in the literal.

 

Truth Divine is the Word, and is doctrine from the Word (AC 9222)

 

In the New Church mind this means that Truth Divine is the Writings, and is Doctrine from the Writings.

 

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

 

Divine Truth has a natural form and a spiritual form. The natural form is its appearance and is natural truth. The spiritual form is genuine and is celestial from the Lord. This passage means that the Doctrine we need for regeneration and salvation must be a spiritual Doctrine, not a natural one. The “essential true doctrine” is acquired by they who understand the Writings “according to the internal sense.”

 

He who does not know the arcana of heaven must needs believe that the Word is supported without doctrine from it; for he supposes that the Word in the letter, or the literal sense of the Word, is doctrine itself. … But the doctrine must be collected from the Word, 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 Word when 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 Word 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 Word; and the spiritual sense of the Word 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 Word … was written by means of pure correspondences (HH 305)

 

For the New Church mind this means that the Writings was written by means of pure correspondences. 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.

 

53. 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 Word, 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 Word, and in consequence the Word is wonderful above all other writing (AC n. 10632-10634). (HH 305)

 

For the New Church mind this means that 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. 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 Word was written the Lord speaks with men by means of it (n.

10290). (HH 305)

 

This means that since the Writings was 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 Divine Truth in the new dispensation of the Second Coming.

 

The church exists specifically where the Word 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 Word 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 Word, 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 Word contains innumerable arcana. The Word 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 Word (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.

 

54. Why Be Concerned With The Internal Sense Of The Writings

 

In the following passage I have substituted “the Writings” where the original Letter says “the Word.” It will be clearly seen that AC 9095 is discussing how we are to read and study the Writings in order that we may perceive the spiritual sense. This substitution technique has the power to direct our focus to our acknowledgment of the Writings as the Word of the Lord in His Second Coming. Without our willingness to accept such a substitution, can we say that we sincerely believe that the Writings are the Word? If we accept the substitution as legitimate, then we can be enlightened by the Lord. the Lord is constantly striving to reveal Himself to our rational mind. He desires to reveal to us the spiritual sense of the Writings because it is the sense in which the angles are and in which He presents the Divine Rational to the human race.

 

The angels are not in the literal sense of the Writings but in their internal sense, which is where all their wisdom comes from (xx). The wisdom of the angels does not come from the literal sense of the Writings (xx). In the same way we must learn to seek out the spiritual sense from the Lord because only that sense is called Doctrine, and only Spiritual Doctrine has the power to regenerate us:

 

[2] What is meant by invalidating any truth of the church by means of memory or general truth, shall be explained. By memory-truths are meant truths which are from the literal sense of the Writings. General truths therefrom are such as are received among people generally, and consequently are in general discourse.

 

There are very many such truths, and they prevail with much force. But 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.

(...)

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.

 

[3] 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 ... (AC 9095; substituting “the Writings” for “the Word”)

 

Let us summarize what this passage teaches:

 

(1) We gather truths from the literal meaning of the Writings, in our natural-rational mind. These truths in our conscious understanding are called “memory-truths from the literal sense of the Writings.”

 

(2) Memory-truths are described in a natural language and can be made available in education or reading to anyone in society. They are called “general truths” and “are received among people generally, and consequently are in general discourse.” “People generally” refers to both New Church people, and people not in the New Church. In the New Church, general truths about the Writings from its literal sense are broadcast and instructed in articles, sermons, classes, books, tapes, pamphlets, movies, and word of mouth.

 

(3) The “literal sense of the Writings” are necessary as we prepare ourselves for reformation in adult life. Prior to our reformation, as we read and study the Writings, we are called by the Lord “the simple.” This means that we are totally attached to the sensuous appearances in the Writings, its literal descriptions about the Lord, regeneration, Memorable Relations, discrete degrees and atmospheres, conjugial love, the three heavens, etc. This attachment to the Letter itself is the state of being “simple-minded.” There is nothing wrong with this! We must start that way, or else we cannot get anywhere in our reformation. But as will be seen in what follows, we must not remain in the literal sense until the end for then we fall into New Church idolatries and cannot be reformed and regenerated.

 

(3) The “literal sense of the Writings” is also for “those who are being initiated into the interior truths of faith.” This is our mental state when we begin reformation. The Letter of the Writings then initiates us into “the interior truths of faith.” These interior truths are spiritual truths. So we are initiated in the spiritual sense of the Writings, for this sense is not in the literal, not in the state of being “simple-minded.” Reformation is the mental state of being initiated into the spiritual sense of the Writings. In this stage we still “do not apprehend interior things” because we have not begun our regeneration. Our reformation is the willingness to accept the Writings as the Word, and to accept all its truths in the literal sense as Divine Commandments. But it’s not until the end of reformation that we are willing to apply these truths to our life, our daily willing and thinking acts. But as soon as we are willing, reformation is compete, and regeneration begins. Now at last the Lord gives us insight into the spiritual sense.

 

(4) “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.” Prior to our reformation, we still believe that the Heavenly Doctrine is the Letter of the Writings, and that this Letter is the spiritual sense of the Old and New Testaments. We believe this because it is the actual appearance in the Writings. Numerous passages everywhere discuss “the Word,” as in the passage above that we are now discussing (AC 9095). And from the examples given in such passages it is made clear that the Old Testament is meant or the New Testament. But this is for “the simple” and for “those who do not apprehend interior things.” But for “those who are being initiated into the interior truths of faith” the substitution technique is taught and demonstrated in the Writings (xx).

 

By practicing various substitution techniques, we are “being initiated into the interior truths of faith,” that is, into the spiritual sense that is within the Letter. This is the sense that is called Doctrine, the Doctrine that we need to be regenerated. Until then our understanding of all the things that the Writings teach about Doctrine, remains a natural understanding. But when we are initiated into the spiritual truths of the Letter, we then for the first time realize that the spiritual Doctrine is described in the Letter in a natural language. And then we can see that the spiritual Doctrine cannot be described in natural language, even though the natural description is necessary to let us make the two-step process from being “simple-minded” in the Letter to being wise in the spiritual sense: “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.”

 

(5) When we learn truths from the Letter of the Writings, we are in the state prior to reformation. We then “learn the truths of the church from the literal sense of the Writings.” After reformation, we “learn from doctrine drawn from the Word, which is called the doctrine of faith of the church.” These two ways of learning “differ very much in perception.” The first is perceiving as “the simple,” but the second is perceiving as the wise, “like the angels.” These two types of perceptions “cannot be distinguished by the common people.” The common people refers to us when we are in the unregenerate state, prior to commencing our reformation. They cannot be distinguished “because they both speak from the Writings nearly alike.”

 

The Letter of the Writings discusses natural truths and spiritual truths in the same mode of language, which is the natural-rational level of reasoning. Prior to reformation we can distinguish when the Writings discuss natural truths about the natural world and when they discuss spiritual truths about the spiritual world. This distinction is topical and can be perceived by anyone.

 

But we cannot distinguish the difference when spiritual truths when they are discussed naturally and when they are discussed spiritually. But after reformation we can distinguish it. For example, prior to reformation we are not willing to accept or understand the substitution of “the Writings” for “the Word,” as I have proposed here. This is because we cannot distinguish when the Letter of the Word talks about itself naturally, and when spiritually. Therefore it doesn’t make sense to make the substitution everywhere. But after reformation we can see when the Letter is talking about itself naturally and when spiritually. It talks about itself naturally when it refers to the spiritual sense of the Word and gives as example a verse from the Old or New Testament. But it talks about itself spiritually when the substitution is allowed in our mind and we listen what the Literal says about the Writings.

 

(6) The Literal of the Writings must therefore be contextualized by Spiritual Doctrine in order to understand it spiritually. To contextualize the literal by Spiritual Doctrine is to read it by means of the substitution technique and other techniques of valid exegesis (see also Chapter 7). Many such techniques of exposition have evolved in the New Church and are known and practiced today, such as Bishop Pendleton’s book used to train the priests of the General Church (Pendleton, W.F. The Science of Exposition as Drawn from the Writings of the New Church. Reprint 1976, Bryn Athyn). Most of the techniques taught to Academy trained ministers and scholars in the General Church, involve comparison of passages.

 

Comparing one part of the Letter in the Light of another is a substitution technique since the understanding accomplishes this activity by taking a segment in one Number and substituting that segment into another Number. When the new “extracted” or “drawn” out text is looked at and reflected on, spiritual forms of the meaning emerge in the understanding which did not before when reflecting the original Number by itself.

 

In this example we are discussing (AC 9095), substituting “the Writings” for “the Word” is a technique for “learning from true doctrine drawn from the Writings.” If we do not allow the substitution we “learn only the literal sense of the Writings without the doctrine of the church as a guide, [and we] apprehend only those things which belong to the natural or external man.” In that case, everything in the passage discussed will be applied to the Old and New Testaments only. What we apprehend and store in memory is for “the natural or external man,” which refers to the natural-rational level of thinking and understanding. But if we allow the substitution, we “learn from true doctrine drawn from the Writings, [and we] understand also things which are of the spiritual or internal man.” In this case we understand that the passage is discussing how we are to read and study the Writings, in order that we may perceive the spiritual sense which supplies us with the Spiritual Doctrine we need for our regeneration.

 

“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.” (AC 9095) (see above)

 

If we allow the substitution, we acknowledge and apply the Spiritual Doctrine that the Writings are the Word in full, not just in part, and therefore everything the Writings says about “the Word” applies to itself.

 

Now we can understand something about the Writings in a spiritual way. Now we can see the Writings as the Word that contains within it the Spiritual Doctrine we need for regeneration. This understanding is now understanding the Letter of the Writings spiritually. It is the Second Coming of the Lord in the New Church mind. The First Coming took place in our mind when we acknowledged the Writings as the Word of the Second Coming. But the Writings do not become fully the Word in our mind until we allow the substitution and begin perceiving the spiritual sense within the Letter.

 

Note that there is not much of a difference in the Letter itself when we substitute “the Writings” for “the Word.” To those who read the Writings simply in the letter, there is hardly any difference that results by the substitution, and one continues to ask, where is the proof that now we are seeing something spiritual in the Letter. But this just means that the substitution was not actually allowed in the mind. The experiment was allowed, namely, OK, show me where the spiritual sense is. But this is not allowing the substitution in our mind. The instant we allow it, sincerely, we see the great difference, as great a difference as there is between heaven and earth, or the Church in heaven and the Church on earth: Of this difference, it is said: “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.” (AC 9095)

 

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) (substitution “the Writings” for “the Word”)

 

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 Word; and the spiritual sense of the Word is identical with the doctrine which is in heaven. (NJHD 7)

 


 

Chapter 2

The Substitution Technique

 

1. Introduction

 

XII. ENLIGHTENMENT BY MEANS OF THE WORD.

Every man who is in the spiritual affection of truth, that is, who loves truth itself because it is truth, is enlightened by the Lord when he reads the Word; but not the man who reads it from mere natural affection of truth, which is called the desire of knowing. The latter does not see anything except what agrees with his love, or with the principles which he has either himself adopted, or derived from others by hearing or reading.

 

In a few words therefore it shall be told whence and with what man there is enlightenment by means of the Word. That man has enlightenment who shuns evils because they are sins, and because they are against the Lord, and against His Divine laws. With this man and with no other, the spiritual mind is opened, and so far as it is opened, the light of heaven enters, from which light is all enlightenment in the Word.

 

For man then has a will for good, and this will, when it is determined to that use, becomes in the understanding first the affection of truth, then the perception of truth, soon by means of rational light the thought of truth, thus decision and conclusion, which as it passes thence into the memory, also passes into the life, and so remains.

 

This is the way of all enlightenment in the Word, and also the way of reformation and regeneration of man. But first the memory must needs have knowledges both of spiritual and natural things, for these are the stores into which the Lord operates by means of the light of heaven, and the fuller these are and freer from confirmed falsities, the more enlightened is the perception given and the clearer the conclusion.

 

For the Divine operation does not fall into a man who is empty and void, as for example one who does not know that the Lord is pure love and pure mercy, good itself, and truth itself, and that love itself and good itself are such in their essence that they cannot do evil to anyone, neither be angry nor revengeful; or who does not know that the Word in the sense of the letter is written in many places from appearances. Such a man cannot be enlightened by the Word … (DE VERBO 12)

 

Are you willing to substitute “the Writings” where it says “the Word” in the above passage? Try it and see what objections come up in your mind. Are these objections confirmed in your mind as a thesis or doctrine, or are they a merely a vague reaction of unease due to assumptions acquired in the past from somewhere?

 

In my case I can tell you that I have no such objections because it is something I automatically and spontaneously started doing the minute I was confirmed in my mind that the Writings are the Word of the Lord in His Second Coming. The very first time I started reading the Writings around age 40 it never occurred to me to doubt anything about it as I was proceeding. The same experience is true for my wife who was reading some other volume on another chair in the room. From a logical point of view it doesn’t make sense to say “This is the Word” and then a minute later to say “But I cannot substitute “the Writings” where it says “the Word.” All sorts of objections can be raised but none of them must be allowed to lead to less certitude that the Writings are the Word.

 

One type of reasoning that gives temptations is this: In many places it is obvious that the Writings are referring to the Old Testament when referring to “the Word” since it then goes on to discuss some verses in the Old Testament (xx). Similarly with places where the Writings say “the Word” and clearly refer to the New Testament as it goes on to discuss some NT verses. (xx). This is entirely correct. Nevertheless, one must not from this draw the conclusion that therefore only that Testament is meant!

 

It is a logical point. To say that the Writings is referring to the Old Testament does not mean that the deeper meaning does not apply to the New Testament or to the Writings. Consider this idea: Whenever the Writings refer to “the Word” the statement applies to all three portions of the Word. This makes total sense! We know from the Writings that the Word in the literal contains infinite things and only some of those can be extracted by the human race to eternity (AC 4383). This is what it means to say that the Word is Divine Truth for this is infinite (xx). Whenever the Writings refers to the Word the Lord is saying something to us about the totality of His Word, in all three portions: The Hebrew Word, the Greek Word, and the Latin Word; or, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Third Testament.

 

And I can tell you that the minute any New Church mind in formation begins to read the Writings through this new, more interior perspective, you will IMMEDIATELY perceive the difference by what you can now see that you didn’t see before!

 

Therefore let us get back to the quote above and summarize the passage in the following six propositions:

 

(1) “ENLIGHTENMENT BY MEANS OF THE WORD”

This means that the New Church mind is enlightened when reading and studying the Writings.

 

(2) “Every man who is in the spiritual affection of truth, that is, who loves truth itself because it is truth, is enlightened by the Lord when he reads the Word; but not the man who reads it from mere natural affection of truth, which is called the desire of knowing.”

 

This means that when reading the Writings, it is the Lord Himself who is enlightening us. This fits with what the Writings say in numerous places that the Word is the Lord Himself (LORD 2). Note that this enlightenment does not yet happen before our reformation since until that time we read the Writings out of a desire for knowing. We do this fro many reasons: for example, it is required for a course in which we want to excel, or, to please a parent or teacher or minister; or, because we see it as part of the tradition of knowledge; and many other reasons. But at our reformation in adulthood we have a new motive for reading the Writings, and this motive is the spiritual affection we have for it since we worship the letter of the Writings as the Lord Himself, just as the angels do (xx).

 

(3) “With this man and with no other, the spiritual mind is opened, and so far as it is opened, the light of heaven enters, from which light is all enlightenment in the Word.”

 

This means that when we read the Writings as the Word our spiritual mind is opened and we receive into it perception from the angels who are with us while we read the Writings. This is what I said above, that you will experience an IMMEDIATE change in what you see in the Writings when you begin reading it in the new way, that is, applying to the Writings everything that is said in it about “the Word.”

 

(4) “For man then has a will for good, and this will, when it is determined to that use, becomes in the understanding first the affection of truth, then the perception of truth, soon by means of rational light the thought of truth, thus decision and conclusion, which as it passes thence into the memory, also passes into the life, and so remains.”

 

This means that when we read what it says about the Word as applying to the Writings, the new perception of truth in our spiritual mind, descends into our rational consciousness in full awareness so that we can think and reason at that spiritual level about our everyday activities. Our willing and thinking moment by moment all day long is changes because of this new perception in the Writings. This new meaning is a more interior truth we could not see before, and it now forms the Doctrine in our mind. This new Doctrine in our mind is more interior and spiritual than what it was before. And as a result the Lord can implant in it higher good, celestial good, for this can exist only in interior rational truths. Thus we make progress in our regeneration.

 

(5) “This is the way of all enlightenment in the Word, and also the way of reformation and regeneration of man. But first the memory must needs have knowledges both of spiritual and natural things, for these are the stores into which the Lord operates by means of the light of heaven, and the fuller these are and freer from confirmed falsities, the more enlightened is the perception given and the clearer the conclusion.”

 

This means that our reformation and regeneration can progress only to the extent that we are enlightened when reading the Writings and can see deeper spiritual truths that we internalize as our Doctrine in the mind and from which we then change our willing and thinking all day long. It says that “first the memory must needs have knowledges both of spiritual and natural things.” We cannot be enlightened as soon as we start reading the Writings. We must first accumulate sufficient knowledge from its natural and spiritual scientifics. The natural scientifics of the Writings refer to the Memorable Relations, the scientific facts and illustrations, and Earths in the Universe, the details about the resuscitation of the dead, and some others. The spiritual scientifics refer to correspondences, discrete degrees, the Laws of Divine Providence and Permissions, the details about influx, and some others. Once these natural and spiritual scientifics are in our memory, they remain there and are continued to be built up until reformation. At this point these scientifics in our mind become “stores into which the Lord operates by means of the light of heaven.” This starts us on the road of enlightenment and consequent regeneration by the Lord through the Writings .

 

(6) “the Lord is pure love and pure mercy, good itself, and truth itself, and that love itself and good itself are such in their essence that they cannot do evil to anyone, neither be angry nor revengeful; or who does not know that the Word in the sense of the letter is written in many places from appearances. Such a man cannot be enlightened by the Word “

 

This means that our enlightenment is proportional to the extent to which we shun whatever is not from the Lord, that is, whatever is not pure, in our daily willing and thinking. We can read and study the Writings as the Word and be enlightened while we read since we are then imbued with an affection for it as the Lord. This has happened to me numerous times. But ask my wife whether I was still imbued with such an affection a few minutes later when I laid down the Book and busied myself with the activities and with interacting with her. All of a sudden I was back “the old me,” acting out the impure things in my willing and thinking. The statement above did not apply to me--“cannot do evil to anyone, neither be angry nor revengeful”—for I did do evil to my neighbor, and did get angry, and did have vengeful thoughts!

 

This is what happens to all of us, I assume. The change or reformation occurs only when we are actually ready to take charge of our willing and thinking as they run themselves off in our mind moment by moment, all day long. And there is no other logical way of doing this without monitoring the moment by moment flow of our thinking and willing. (See Chapter 9)

 

2. OT And NT Through The Perspective Of The Writings

 

If we could be saved by the Old and New Testaments then the Writings were not necessary! The salvation of the New Church mind depends on the Word of the Writings, not the Word of the Old Testament or the Word of the New Testament. When the New Church mind reads the Old and New Testaments it reads them only through the perspective of the Writings. If you read the Old and New Testaments as do those of the Old Christian Church, can you be of the New Church? Clearly, then, the Word of the Writings must be the exclusive authority for the New Church mind. The New Church is the Crown of Churches and is to last forever:

 

As we have now one God in the church, who is God Man and Man God, this church is called the crown of all the churches. (INV 43)

 

These are evidences that this has been granted for the sake of the New Church, which is the crown of all the churches, and which will endure forever. Being in the spiritual world, seeing the wonderful things of heaven, and the miserable things of hell; and being there in the very light of the Lord in which are the angels, surpasses all miracles. Evidences that I am there, may be seen in abundance in my books. (INV 39)

 

There have been four periods, or successive states, of each church, which in the Word are meant by "morning," "day," "evening," and "night."

(…)

After these things, from good elevated to Himself, He founds a new heaven, and from the evil removed from Himself, a new hell; and in both He establishes order, so that they may stand under His auspices and under obedience to Him to eternity; and then through this new heaven He successively inaugurates and establishes a new church on earth. (CORONIS 0)

 

Many other passages say similar things (e.g., AR 68, 73; TCR 786-788; AE 91-92; and others). You can see from these considerations that there is not going to be an endless procession of Churches in the evolution of our race. There are a definite number of steps or phases through which the Lord brings the human race, so that He might complete His creation, which is that we become celestial minds capable of living in His New Heavens. The New Church is the Crown of Churches or civilizations because it is the last, hence it is said of it that “it will endure forever.” There is not going to be a decline of the New Church as there was with the prior Churches. Therefore there is not going to be another new Word to replace the Writings. For additional discussion on this point with more citations from the Writings, see the beginning of Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 Section 3 (just above).

 

The benefits for the New Church mind of physical and mental disciplines are to foster our ability to cooperate with the Lord in our required regeneration. This is the motive that makes the discipline spiritual. An excellent mental discipline in my view is the rational analysis of our cultural environment—social, religious, philosophical, political, and pop (“entertainment”). Everything we are exposed to as “consumers” needs to be deconstructed to examine the hierarchy of components within it. This article has presented various illustrations regarding the deconstruction of nondualist concepts in Western thinking. I believe this process should be applied to all that is around us, about which the Lord says “You are in this world but not of this world” (John 15:19; 17:14).

 

This mental discipline of rational deconstruction is also appropriate to apply to the nonduality of science today. Every scientific concept we learn should be decontextualized from material monism and recontextualized in terms of substantive dualism (see Note 1 at end). In my view it could be harmful to let scientific assumptions sit in our mind without infusing them with natural/spiritual dualism. I understand that the Academy of the New Church gives courses in such matters and the Church regularly encourages the publication of literature that favors the development of this dualism in science. A consistent and outstanding example of this effort can be found in the pages of the journal New Philosophy published by the Swedenborg Scientific Association. But merely reading articles is insufficient. To create a discipline for ourselves we need to recontextualize the monist or nondual attitude that comes within all science concepts we acquire.

 

3. The Daily Study Of The Writings Is Necessary For Regeneration

 

A crucial mental discipline for the New Church mind is the daily study of the Writings. There is not a substitute for better developing the natural-rational mind. This study and the ensuing knowledge is called the “scientifics” of the Word and is not yet spiritual because it is in the external rational mind (AC 5117, 5951, 9103). Our accumulating knowledge of the Heavenly Doctrines becomes spiritual as we use the ideas and concepts we acquire from the Writings in motivating and ordering our every day life activities. To the extent that this is done, to that extent the ideas from the Writings in our external mind become suitable “vessels” for containing more and more interior ideas, received from the angels who descend into our interior-natural mind (AC 9394, 3321, 3508; NJHD 51). Studying the Writings as a mental discipline is very different from knowing various things about the New Church through socialization and congregational worship. Daily self-study of the Writings when done as a discipline is in addition to normal religious activities and Church participation. It involves similar “school” activities as studying biology or art history, namely:

 

q       reading systematically from the Writings

q       analyzing sentences for deeper comprehension

q       keeping notes

q       making applications to our actions

q       cumulating the knowledge and integrating it to hold together

q       collating and contrasting passages

q       resolving apparent contradictions through context

q       making up summary diagrams, tables, and lists

q       constructing a comprehension theory that strives towards more and more integration and inclusion

q       and other like things.

 

Without these scholarly activities, merely reading the Writings for familiarity or loyalty does not constitute a mental discipline (though it’s also a good thing to do in its own right!).

 

WITHOUT DOCTRINE, THE WORD IS UNINTELLIGIBLE. This is because the Word in the sense of the Letter consists of pure correspondences, so designed that spiritual and celestial things may be simultaneously in it, and that every word of it may contain them and serve as their basis. For this reason in some places in the sense of the Letter truths are not unveiled but veiled, and being so, they are called appearances of truth. (SE 51)

 

Consider this paragraph again, but this time substituting “the Writings” where it says “the Word.” This technique is discussed Chapter 8 in Section 4):

 

WITHOUT DOCTRINE, THE WRITINGS IS UNINTELLIGIBLE. This is because the Writings in the sense of the Letter consists of pure correspondences, so designed that spiritual and celestial things may be simultaneously in it, and that every word of it may contain them and serve as their basis. For this reason in some places in the sense of the Letter truths are not unveiled but veiled, and being so, they are called appearances of truth. (SE 51)

 

I should mention that a search facility such as NewSearch can be most helpful in building up the Doctrine of the Church and the Doctrine of Life in our mind. New Search is available on CD or on the Web at www.theheavenlydoctrines.org/ An approach that I have found very effective is to create a notebook or word processing file that lists various topics I’m interested in and beneath each, various citation numbers to the Writings with a sentence or two of explanation for each citation or group of citations. When Bishop Pendleton’s notes were published by the General Church it became apparent that he used this technique long before the existence of online search facilities (see Chapter 7, Section 5). The book was called Topics and has an index. It is an incisive book that creates topical applications of the Writings to intellectual modernity. I believe that every regenerating New Church person can greatly benefit by keeping a cumulative “Topics” book over the years. What a nice thing also for our children to inherit as a family study book to which they can contribute.

 

Since every individual is unique from birth to eternity, every one therefore has a unique intellectual and spiritual contribution to make to the entire race forever. This is the source of the ever increasing perfection of the Grand Human or Universal Heaven. (HH 71) Therefore we each want to make our own contribution and this is facilitated by systematic and cumulative scholarly study of the Writings. Of course, such contribution is accompanied by experiencing bliss. All that is required that we do it as a spiritual discipline according to the Doctrine of Life in our mind.

 

I can share a few strategies that I have learned to use with a search facility. I daily use public Web search engines—the most effective is google.com—as well as New Search on my computer. Let me give an illustration. I wrote down the topic Discrete Degrees in my notebook or word processor file. Then I typed “discrete degrees” (using the quotes) in the search window and got nothing. I immediately knew it’s because I mistyped the query. I correct it and hit the Enter key. About 25 results show in the window. I run my eyes up and down and note that DLW dominates, with just a few from LJP and one or two others. This tells me that DLW gives a more systematic and substantial discussion of discrete degrees.

 

My strategy next is to start with the earliest number in DLW. I read it and decide to copy it, or parts of it, and paste it into my Topics file. I make sure I note its citation (book and number). I also type any new understanding that comes with reading the paragraph. I then. Sometimes I want to click on the Next or Previous button, or else I go on the next number in the sequence of the search results.

 

As I continue doing this, the thought strikes me: “How is it possible that not a single reference is made to AC? I decide this puzzle must be solved. I type in a note so I can finish the DLW series later (I found this little detail to be very important!). I change the search query: Instead of “discrete degrees” I type discrete, hit Enter, look at the results, and note that I get a lot more references and that some of them include AC numbers. This makes sense. Now I change the query again and type discrete near degrees, and hit Enter. I note that that proximity marker for “Near” is set a 3 words. This time I get about 25 results and they appear the same as before with the query “discrete degrees.” I conclude that many number contain the phrase “discrete degrees” but others use a somewhat different phrase, yet I expect them to be relevant to the topic.

 

I type in the query discrete and degrees once more, hit Enter, and scroll to the first entry of AC and click on it. And so on with the other entries. I confirm my hypothesis as in this selection: “But degrees of height, which proceed from inmosts to outermosts, or from highest to lowest, are not continuous, but discrete.” (AC 10181)

 

I will give a second search illustration. Topic: Levels of thinking (and intellect)

 

  1. I type in the word intellectual, and hit Enter. Scrolling down, I see a long list of results.
  2. I continue typing: and rational, and hit Enter. I see a long list of results.
  3. I continue typing: and natural, and hit Enter. The list still looks long.
  4. I continue typing: and sensuous, hit Enter. This time the results are down to about 20.
  5. I inspect the list of results and note they are all from AC. I select the earliest number and read it. I select, copy, and paste into my file anything that I want to retain specifically. I make sure I mark where a skip some text using three dots … and a space on either side.
  6. I continue the list of results by selecting the next number.
  7. If I stop before completing, I make a note in my file so I can pick up again later.

 

Even if you don’t write articles or sermons this exercise is highly recommended. Every New Church mind strives to be an expert scholar in the Writings. This is why it’s called to love the Writings. Since the Writings are the Lord in the Word of His Second Coming, it is the Lord we love when we love the Writings. And if we neglect the Writings, it is the Lord whom we avoid. And of course when you have children you want to be able to teach them how to daily study the Writings for life. If you do it, it is easier for them to do it later in adult life when they will need it for their reformation and regeneration.

 

All dualities are unique permanent distinctions that never cease to eternity (DLW 226).

 

For such of them as believe the Word, believe it everywhere according to the letter, and not according to its interior meaning; and those who so believe cannot be in any light, for light from heaven flows in through the internal into the external. (AC 10522)

 

Studying the Writings as the Word in a systematic way is a mental discipline of utmost importance to the formation of the New Church mind. I have discovered the following method of study that has been very useful indeed and so I would highly recommend it. It consists of the substitution technique that serious students of the Writings no doubt use either unknowingly or consciously. This technique works because the dualities in the Writings are always arranged in series that are connected or correspondential.

 

4. Without The Spiritual Sense We Fall Into New Church Idolatries

 

"The Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgashite, and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, and the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite" were so many nations, by which are signified also so many different idolatries. "And afterwards were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad," signifies that all other forms of idolatrous worship are derived from these. (AC 1204)

 

Applying this passage to the New Church mind, we can discover what forms of New Church idolatries we are too look out for by searching the Writings where these explications are given.

 

In the internal sense of the Word these nations are not signified, but the idolatries themselves in general, with whomsoever and wheresoever they are; specifically, among the Jews. For they who make worship consist merely in externals, and are entirely unwilling to know internal things, and when instructed reject them, are very prone to all these idolatries, as is clearly manifest from the Jews. In internal worship alone is there a bond that withholds man from idolatry; and when this ceases, there is nothing that restrains.

 

There are however interior idolatries, as well as external ones. They who have external worship without internal rush into external idolatries; they who have external worship whose interiors are unclean rush into interior idolatries; and both these kinds of idolatries are signified by these nations. Interior idolatries are so many falsities and cupidities which men love and adore, and which are thus in place of the gods and idols that existed among the Gentiles.

 

But what particular kinds of falsities and cupidities are those which are adored, and which are signified by these nations-the Jebusite, Amorite, Girgashite, Hivite, Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, and Hamathite-it would take too long to explain here; but of the Lord's Divine mercy it will be told in the places where their names occur. (AC 1205)

 

Here we are instructed that if we remain in the Letter of the Writings without acknowledging and searching for its spiritual, we are going to fall into New Church idolatries: “They who have external worship without internal rush into external idolatries.” The expression “external worship” used here refers to the worship of the Letter of the Writings. This is the unregenerate state of the New Church mind prior to reformation, and is called the “Jewish” state, here and in many other places. To deny the idea that the Letter of the Writings are written in pure correspondences, is to worship the Lord in His Second Coming, but only in His Divine Corporeal and Sensuous. It is to deny the Lord in His Divine Rational, for this is the spiritual sense of the Word of the Writings. This is called an idolatry, for the Letter of the Word by itself is dead (xx) and to worship this Letter is to adore relics, holy places, and rituals that have no spiritual meaning by themselves without the internal spiritual where the life is exclusively.

 

It is said that “In internal worship alone is there a bond that withholds man from idolatry; and when this ceases, there is nothing that restrains.” The internal worship in the New Church mind is the worship of the spiritual sense within the Letter. This spiritual sense makes up the Doctrine of the Church, which is holy and Divine, the Lord Himself coming to His New Church. The Spiritual Doctrine cannot be found in the Letter, through its literal meaning. It can only be found within the Letter, by perceiving it when enlightened by the Lord. Denying that the Letter of the Writings is written in pure correspondences makes it impossible to receive enlightenment. We are warned that without looking for the spiritual sense “there is nothing that restrains man from idolatry.”

 

The passage tells us that we can know what “particular kinds of falsities and cupidities” the New Church mind can fall into, by searching for it in the Writings: I was able to find these:

 

 

Citation

New Church idolatries from the Letter without the spiritual

 

Representative nation

AC 1867, 6898, 6860

persuasions of falsity from evils; those steeped in evils that arise from falsities; those steeped in what is idolatrous but has some kind of goodness and truth in it

 

Jebusite

AC 1857

evil in general

 

Amorite

AC 1867

falsities from evils

 

Girgashite

AC 4431, 4433, 6889

interior truth and doctrinal things of charity falsified; those steeped in evils and falsities

Hivite,

AC 1204, 1205

unspecified idolatries

Arkite, Sinite, Arvadite, Zemarite, Hamathite

 

Further research of the Letter needs to be done to discover how we are to understand the difference between these states, as for instance, the difference between “evil in general” (Amorite) vs. “falsities from evils” (Girgashite).

 

5. The Substitution Technique For Dualities In The Writings

 

You will recognize the following fundamental duality in the Writings and its sub-components that are mentioned very frequently:

 

THE FUNDAMENTAL DUALITY IN THE WRITINGS

With a few of its innumerable sub-dualities

 

Divine

Esse

Good

Love

Charity

Will

Heart

Spiritual.

And

And

And

And

And

And

And

And

Human

Existere

Truth

Wisdom

Faith

Thought

Lungs

Natural.

 

There is a general duality here as well as more specific sub-dualities in the hierarchical series. The substitution technique consists in taking a particular element from one duality in a sentence and substituting an element from another particular duality. For example, a sentence that says something about the heart and lungs can be read with the substitution using the “will” for “heart” and the “understanding” for ”lungs.” This type of exercise is recommended in the Writings, as shown next.

 

For more discussion on the substitution technique see my article listed in Note 22 at the end.

 

6. Will And Understanding

 

Nothing is more important than to know how the will and understanding make one mind. (TCR 397)

 

Whoever is willing to investigate may perceive that affection is the life of thought, also that such as the affection is such is the thought, consequently when one burns the other burns, and when one grows cold the other grows cold. When, therefore, a man is glad he thinks with gladness, when he is sad he thinks with sadness, likewise when he is angry he thinks angrily, and so forth. From your higher thought enter into your lower and attend and you will see. There is a like conjunction of love and wisdom, because all affection is of love and all thought is of wisdom. There is a like conjunction of will and understanding, for love is of the will and wisdom is of the understanding. There is a like conjunction of good and truth, because good is of love and truth is of wisdom, as has been shown in the preceding article.

(…)

There is a full correspondence in man between the heart and the will, and between the lungs and the understanding; therefore from the conjunction of the heart and lungs we may gain instruction concerning the conjunction of the will and the understanding, and thus concerning the conjunction of love and wisdom. From the parallelism established between the heart and lungs and the will and understanding, it can be seen that: (etc.)

(D. Wis. 10) (See also: DLW 384)

 

The “parallelism” mentioned here is what I’ve called the substitution technique. This parallelism is explored in detail in the rest of this Number (not shown above), specifically how the blood is purified in the lungs and what this implies therefore about how the will is purified in the understanding. The physiological details that come from scientific research in anatomy are used by parallel substitution to reveal how the will is purified in the understanding. This amazing scientific method of investigation will in the future be of great value to psychology, when it becomes a dualist science. Other areas are illustrated in this Number, namely the physical facts we know about language and speech, music and sound. (For further exploration of this topic, see Note 14 at end).

 

Now let’s consider a substitution technique in a somewhat different application. We start with this sentence:

 

It is the understanding which acts from the will, not the will which acts by means of the understanding. (TCR 105)

 

The parallel substitutions allowable can be selected from lists and arrangements such as this list on the next page:


 

THE SUBSTIUTION TECHNIQUE

FOR DUALITIES IN THE WRITINGS

 

PARALLELS

TO THE WILL

PARALLELS

TO THE UNDERSTANDING

 

Divine (or Divine Itself)

Human (or Divine Human)

Esse

Existere

Love

Wisdom

Father

Son

Celestial

Spiritual

Interior

Exterior

Uncreate

Created

Affection

Thought

Source

Cause

Good

Truth

Goal

Plan

Substance

Form

Wife

Husband

Charity

Faith

Etc.

Etc.

Etc.

Etc.

 


 

Applying this table of substitution, we generate these statements:

 

It is the Divine Human which acts from the Divine Itself, not the Divine Itself which acts by means of the Human

 

It is the Son which acts from the Father, not the Father which acts by means of the Son

 

It is the husband which acts from the wife, not the wife which acts by means of the husband

 

It is the plan which acts from the goal, not the goal which acts by means of the plan

 

It is the external natural mind which acts from the internal spiritual mind, not the spiritual mind which acts by means of the natural mind

 

Etc. Etc.

 

Whether you say faith, or truth, it is the same thing, and whether you say good or charity, it is the same thing; moreover, this is as it is with man's thought and affection. (SE 5945)

 

[faith – truth] [good – charity] [affection / thought] [good / faith] [charity / truth] affection / faith] [truth - thought] [affection / truth] [good / truth] [charity / faith] [truth – faith] etc.

 

For whether you say heaven, or Divine truth, it is the same, because the angels, of whom heaven consists, are receptions of Divine truth (AC 10608)

 

[heaven – Divine truth] [angels – Divine truth] [heaven – angels]

 

Whether you say will or love it is the same, for what a man loves he wills; so whether you say that the spirit of man cannot resist his will, or that it cannot resist his love, it is the same. (AE 105) (See also: DLW 378)

 

[will / love] [love / spirit] [will / spirit]

 

For whether you say evil or the devil it is the same; and, on the other hand, whether you say good or the Lord it is the same, for the Lord is within all good, and the devil is within all evil. (DP 233)

 

[evil – devil] [good – the Lord]

 

"no one knoweth the Son but the Father," is because by the "Son" is meant the Divine truth, and by the "Father," the Divine good, both in the Lord (AC 10067)

 

[Father / Son] [Divine Good / Divine Truth]

 

Whether you say heaven or heavenly joy it is the same thing. (HH 397)

 

[heaven – heavenly joy]

 

When it is afterwards stated that everything of the will and the understanding, or everything of love and wisdom, or everything of affection and thought in a man who is led by the Lord, has relation to good and truth, it follows that all that such a man wills and understands, or every activity of his love and wisdom, or of his affection and thought, is from the Lord. (DP 157)

 

[will / understanding] [love / wisdom] [will-love] understanding-wisdom] [affection / thought] [affection / understanding] [affection-will] [affection-love] [understanding-thought] [will / thought] [love / thought] [love / understanding] [good / truth] [good-will] [good-love] [good / wisdom] [good-affection] [good / thought] [good / understanding] [good-will] [will / truth]

 

Whether you say "the church with man;" or whether you say "heaven with him;" or whether you say "the kingdom of God with him;" or whether you say "the Lord with him," it is the same. (AC 10357)

 

[the church with man - heaven with him]

[the kingdom of God with him - the church with man]

[the church with man - heaven with him]

[the kingdom of God with him - heaven with him]

 

Whether you say faith or conscience it is the same. By faith is meant the faith by means of which there is charity, and which is from charity, thus charity itself; for faith without charity is no faith; and as faith is not possible without charity, so neither is conscience. (AC 2325)

 

[faith – conscience] [charity / faith] [charity – conscience]

 

If they are not elevated together, love or the will is defiled in and by the intellect. (DLW 421)

 

[love-will] [love / intellect] [will / intellect]

 

7. Cross/Parallels And Within-Parallels

 

Note carefully that some sentences give cross/parallels while others give within-parallels. [Will / understanding] or [love / wisdom] are cross / parallels. But [Heaven – truth] or [good – Lord] are within-parallels. If you mix these up the substitution technique no longer yields rational parallelisms but confusing nonsense. Take heed. You cannot apply what it says about the [heart / lungs] to any within-parallels like [faith – truth] or [will – affection]. But you can apply what it says about the lungs to any member of the within-parallels such as faith, truth, understanding, thoughts, etc. Similarly you can apply what it says about the heart to within-parallels such as good, will, love, affection, goal, etc.

 

You will note that I keep the two separate by using the notation [ / ] for cross / parallels and the notation [ - ] for within-parallels.

 

Note carefully that the order of cross/parallels is always patterned after the sequence [will / understanding] and [love / truth] etc. You cannot interchange this order. Take heed.

 

But the order within-parallels is interchangeable. You can say [faith – truth] or [truth – faith]; or you can say [husband – truth] or truth – husband] and [love – wife] or [wife – love].

 

Doing the above exercise to a variety of passages you might select, is very useful for increasing the discrete dualities we must think from in the New Church mind. The following illustrates some particular applications:

 

It is the understanding which acts from the will, not the will which acts by means of the understanding. (TCR 105)

 

Substitutions based on the table of parallels above:

 

It is the cognitive which acts from the affective, not the affective which acts by means of the cognitive.

 

[affective / cognitive]

 

It is the truth which acts from the good, not the good which acts by means of the truth.

 

[good / truth]

 

It is the Son which acts from the Father, not the Father which acts by means of the Son.

 

[Father / Son]

 

It is the husband which acts from the wife, not the wife which acts by means of the husband.

 

[wife / husband]

 

It is the lung which acts from the heart, not the heart which acts by means of the lung.

 

[heart / lung]

 

It is the thinking which acts from the feeling, not the feeling which acts by means of the thinking.

 

[feeling / thinking]

 

It is the plan which acts from the goal, not the goal which acts by means of the plan.

 

[goal / plan]

 

It is the cause which acts from the source, not the source which acts by means of the cause.

 

[source / cause]

 

It is the existere which acts from the esse, not the esse which acts by means of the existere.

 

[esse / existere]

 

I find that as I reflect on each substitution, new insights are perceived.

 

8. Reading The Writings As The Word

 

That it may be still more manifest how the case herein is, let us take this example: They who are in the affirmative that the Writings has been so written as to possess an internal sense which does not appear in the letter, can confirm themselves therein by many rational considerations; as that by the Writings man has connection with heaven; that there are correspondences of natural things with spiritual, in which the spiritual are not seen; that the ideas of interior thought are altogether different from the material ideas which fall into the words of language; that man, being born for both lives, can, while in the world, be also in heaven, by means of the Writings which is for both worlds; that with some persons a certain Divine light flows into the things of the understanding, and also into the affections, when the Writings is read; that it is of necessity that there should be something written that has come down from heaven, and that therefore the Writings cannot be such in its origin as it is in the letter; and that it can be holy only from a certain holiness that it has within it. (AC 2588:6)

[“the Writings” substituted for “the Word” in original]

 

When we acknowledge the Writings as the Lord in His Word we at first do so from a distance, not yet from within. It is a creed, formal or informal, that bestows status and distinctiveness. This is called external religion. The New Church religion is received first in the natural mind from formal education or by means of self-study. In my case, I received the Writings as the Word from self-study, having discovered the Writings in the library, and only later heard of others who also considered the Writings as the Word. Some of these were members of a Specific New Church, others were not. This pattern is going to exist always. How can it be otherwise? Regardless of how one receives the Writings, the truths we see in it appear as our own. It seems to us that we have these truths by figuring out what the Writings say about this or that. We do not yet know or understand that these truths are not yet spiritual. It appears to us that they are spiritual because the discussion is about spiritual things—Who the Lord is, what is sin, what is salvation, what is good and true, what the commandments are, what heaven is like, who is in hell, and the like.

 

These appear as spiritual to us on account of their subject matter. But what is happening is that they we understand these subjects in a natural way. The concept we form of each of these things is a natural concept, not spiritual. We do not understand the literal sentences of the Writings in a rational way even though the topics they discuss is rational and spiritual. We can write a review of a book or passage, and even a lecture that sounds like spiritual things are treated of. But each time we use the words—Lord, sin, heaven, the Word, love, temptation, spiritual, celestial—we use the words in a natural sense. The rational and spiritual meaning or sense of these words is not available to our conscious mind. This begins to change to the extent that we begin our reformation, and then go through the gradual steps of regeneration all the way to the end of life on earth, and then it continues in heaven.

 

We begin our reformation when we start thinking and willing in daily life in accordance with the literal sentences we understand. The literal sentences of the Writings use a style that is called “rational.” This style of the Writings is contrastive with the style in which the other two portions of the Word are written. The Hebrew Old Testament is written in a natural style. There are almost no concepts that go beyond this natural. God means external omnipotence and omnipresence, punishing those who transgress the commandments and Divine regulations and injunctions. These punishments are of the body and consequent suffering of the mind. Sin is the external act of transgressing. Heaven and hell are places into which we get admitted or kept prisoner. This is the level of thinking of the Old Testament. The literal has no spiritual topics.

 

The Greek New Testament has a style that is more interior. The topics it discusses are not about the physical world but about another world called spiritual. God means Divine operation inwardly, not merely outwardly. The concept of the Trinity as three aspects of the One God, each fulfilling a different function, is not a natural concept but spiritual. The three functions are Creation, Redemption, and Regeneration. This topic is about spiritual things, not natural. Sin is not merely an outward act, but an inward motive, intention, or arrogance. Heaven is not a place on earth but a state “within you.”

 

Heaven is in the man; and there is a place for him in heaven according to the state of life and of faith in which he is (AC 9305)

 

Clearly then, the style of writing of the Greek New Testament is more spiritual than the literal sentences or topics of the Hebrew Old Testament.

 

The third and last portion of the Word is the Latin Third Testament, as one might call the Writings. The style of writings of the sentences is rational. In the Greek New Testament the topic is spiritual but the style is natural. This is called natural-spiritual. In this style the mind is immersed in the “mystery” of religion. The natural level of thinking sees all spiritual topics as a mystery. The New Testament presents many parables that are only dimly understood. The New Testament mind looks for miracles and is delighted and impressed by them. Therefore the idea of “blind faith” becomes paramount. Too much investigating into the meaning of mystery has not been encouraged in Christianity. Those who do this tend to lose their Christian faith and become agnostics or nondualists in religion. Clearly a new revelation had to be given that extracts the mind from the morass of mystery. This is why the sentences of the Writings are in a rational style.

 

As we start reading the Writings and hearing lectures on it, we are challenged intellectually. We have to make a great effort in figuring out what the sentences mean and how they fit with other sentences. We have to create context and make comparisons across passages in order to resolve apparent contradictions. We only have clarity of understanding as we engage in rational and systematic thinking—similar to going to school and taking a difficult subject that requires work and study. All this intellectual work is not called forth by the content and structure of the New Testament. Now we can figure out that God is the Lord, and that the Lord has appeared to humankind through a series of revelations, each more advanced than the previous. We can see that this God is Human and is activated in Himself by Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. He creates a spiritual world within, and a natural world without, and the two linked together through Laws Correspondence that operate by rational symbolisms or meanings.

 

Sin is not something that the Lord punishes or does not forgive, but a love that builds up the spiritual mind in an infernal way. We understand that we inherit an inclination towards sin and we must be regenerated to be saved (CL 202). This regeneration is a gradual process and is successful to the extent we cooperate as-of self by opposing our loves and denying ourselves from engaging in them. This then builds a new character that can live in heaven. All this is talking about spiritual things in a rational way.

 

You can see that we can think or talk about spiritual things in three ways—natural, natural-spiritual, and rational. Three portions of the Word had to be given at different times in history because the level of thinking of human evolution restricted the style of discussing and presenting spiritual ideas. When we read the Writings prior to our reformation we think naturally about spiritual things there that are discussed rationally. But once reformation begins, we start thinking the sentences of the Writings less naturally, and more rationally. Edward Hyatt (1854-1906), a clear sighted New Church mind, was able to see the Writings as the Word in relation to the prior portions that were given:

 

Here is indicated the difference between the various forms of the Word which are all written in pure correspondences, but in correspondences more or less remote. The most remote correspondences were used in the Ancient Word, less remote ones in the Word of the Old Testament, still less remote ones in the Word of the New Testament, and less remote ones yet in the Writings. In the latter they are so much less remote that some fail to recognize that they are written in correspondences, when nevertheless reflection on the nature of the Word as now made clear by Revelations will show that the Word, that is, Divine Revelation, cannot be given otherwise than in correspondent forms, and that this is so even in the heavens although the correspondences there are even less remote than in the Writings – in the highest heaven least so of all.

(Edward S. Hyatt, Sermons on the Word. Swedenborg Genootschap, 1935, p. 214)

 

9. Rational Understanding Of Spiritual Things

 

When regeneration proceeds, we begin to develop rational understanding of the spiritual things presented in the Writings. The more we think and will daily in accordance with our new rational understanding of spiritual things, the more interior the rational becomes. Interior rational understanding is a level of thinking called rational-spiritual. This level is a discrete degree higher than the natural-spiritual.

 

But this happens only with those who read the Writings as the Lord’s Word in His Second Coming. Without this, there is no mechanism for raising the level of thinking from the natural and the external rational, which is natural. This acknowledgement, to the extent it is sincere and total, provides the spiritual power or growth that opens the spiritual mind and gives it intellectual life. No spiritual development or regeneration can take place without this acknowledgment, and then only to the extent it is sincere or actual, rather than something external due to one’s membership in a belief-group or Church. This is merely one’s external religion or philosophy.

 

Later, in adult life, when we begin reformation and regeneration, we enter into the internal religion (AE 803; AC 8780; AC 3518:[2]). Until this time our external religion and worship is not yet spiritual but natural (NJHD 174). As we enter more interior phases of regeneration our earlier general view of the Writings as the Lord in His Word becomes more particular. Now we can accept new things. For instance, we can accept that the Writings are the Word in the same sense as the Old and New Testament are the Word. As soon as we have this closer love, we can begin to read the Writings in a new way.

 

Enlightenment is the influx, perception, and instruction people receive from the Lord when they read the Word. (AC 10215)

 

The inward level of meaning in the Word cannot be seen at all unless the meaning of the letter is almost blotted out. This applies also in other things, as in philosophical material, when the mind dwells on the words by themselves, as on trivialities; or when a person is absorbed in outer and physical objects. A like principle applies when it comes to the more inward level of meaning. See also Knowledge, Wisdom, Learned, Preach. [Word; Inward; Philosophy; Outer] … When the mind dwells on the words by themselves, the inward meaning does not show itself. (SE 99)

 

Test yourself and see what feedback you get: Can you read the above sentences and substitute the Writings for the Word?

 

Enlightenment is the influx, perception, and instruction people receive from the Lord when they read the Writings. (AC 10215)

 

Keep trying the test with new passages.

 

Here is another one:

 

For such of them as believe the Word, believe it everywhere according to the letter, and not according to its interior meaning; and those who so believe cannot be in any light, for light from heaven flows in through the internal into the external. (AC 10522)

 

Wherever we come across a sentence that refers to “the Word” substitute “the Writings” in that sentence. If you do this without your mind opposing it a whole new vision of meaning is revealed about the Writings. Until we are willing to do this exercise, we know very little specific things about the Writings beyond the affirmation that it is the Word, that the Lord is behind it, that Swedenborg took nothing from the angels but only from the Lord, that it is Divinely inspired, that the angels also read it in their own spiritual language, and that there are passages that appear to be in error or use outdated scientific illustrations or beliefs held by Swedenborg. That’s not very specific considering what happens when you substitute “the Writings” wherever you see “the Word.” Now all of a sudden there are thousands of sentences that make specific assertions about the Writings. These sentences you remember reading before, but you automatically took them as something being said about the Old Testament or the New Testament—correct?

 

10. Enhancing The Base Of Knowledge About The Writings

 

Now your base of knowledge about the Writings is enhanced a thousand fold as you process the sentences thinking “the Writings” when the literal says “the Word.” Let’s take an example and see:

 

For such of them as believe the Word, believe it everywhere according to the letter, and not according to its interior meaning; and those who so believe cannot be in any light, for light from heaven flows in through the internal into the external. (AC 10522)

 

In the internal or spiritual sense of the Word there are innumerable arcana.

 

The Word in its internal sense contains innumerable things which transcend the human comprehension

 

The internal sense of the Word contains arcana of heaven, which relate to the Lord and His kingdom in the heavens and on earth.

 

These arcana do not appear in the sense of the letter.

 

Innumerable things are contained in each single thing of the Word.

(NJHD 260)

 

Now let’s make the substitution:

 

For such of them as believe the Writings, believe it everywhere according to the letter, and not according to its interior meaning; and those who so believe cannot be in any light, for light from heaven flows in through the internal into the external. (AC 10522)

 

In the internal or spiritual sense of the Writings there are innumerable arcana.

The Writings in its internal sense contains innumerable things which transcend the human comprehension

 

The internal sense of the Writings contains arcana of heaven, which relate to the Lord and His kingdom in the heavens and on earth. These arcana do not appear in the sense of the letter.

 

Innumerable things are contained in each single thing of the Writings.

(NJHD 260)

 

Does it feel strange to read the substitution paragraph? I find it illuminating and enlightening—but I have no attitudinal objections to the idea that the Writings are the Word in the full sense that the Old and New Testaments are the Word. I see them as a set of Three Testaments given for three dispensations—Jewish Church, Christian Church, and New Church. There is a rational continuity and a historical sequence in these three so that when the Third Testament is given, the series is complete and perfect. It appears obvious to me that the Writings make up this third component in the Word. Therefore I do not experience any hesitation when I apply this substitution technique in my mind as I read the Writings. This idea I do not have from myself but from the literal of the Writings. The literal of the Writings discuss the three sets of revelations—Hebrew Word, Greek Word, the Writings, and how they are connected and form a unit. This is why the Writings calls itself as the Crown of all Churches (TCR 786), as a Divine revelation given by the greatest miracle ever given, namely the opening of the eyes of a man who can describe rationally what he saw in the spiritual world and how its related to the threefold Word (INV 43).

 

And I can report that many interior truths are opened to the conscious understanding when one reads the Writings with the substitution in mind. These are insights that become crystal clear and when done consistently, takes our love for the Writings into higher discrete degree, which is the spiritual proper. And it is the same whether we say our love of the Writings or our love for the Lord because the Writings are the Lord. We know that the Old and New Testament are the Lord because they are the Word and the Word is the Lord (AC 8200, CL 516). Clearly, acknowledging the Writings as the Lord in His Word in fully the same sense as the Old and New Testament is a stance the New Church mind should adopt and adore.

 

Perhaps you can readily overcome your natural objections you have from education and habit of thinking. This is a matter of choice, and you can come down on one side or on the other side of the issue. The substitution exercise will not make sense and will not “fit” as long as one remains in the objection to acknowledging the Writings as the Lord in His Word in fully the same sense as the Old and New Testament. If you try the substitution with this objection lodged in your mind, what else can happen but your mind being inundated with objections and resistances and aversions. But if you first come down on the other side of the issue and can accept the idea that the Writings as the Lord in His Word in fully the same sense as the Old and New Testament, then, if you do the substitution technique, you will be enlightened in numerous areas as you read.

 

I say numerous areas because I’m referring not merely to having insights about more interior truths about the Writings, thus being able to love the Writings even more. But chiefly I’m referring to insights about our regenerations steps day by day. This is its immense value as a studying “technique.” I can report that the things I have written in this book, and many related articles, have sprung from this closer love of the Writings brought about by elevating it to its just and real Divine level—thus as the Word in fully the same sense as the Old and New Testament. And the things that I discuss in Part 2 all deal with spiritual disciplines by which we can live to cooperate in our regeneration. This is what forms the genuine New Church mind: the minute by minute willing and thinking we do every day, that we need to monitor and constantly rearrange to fit the Writings. There is no regeneration except by means (HH 473).

 

It stands to reason therefore that we need methods and tools that give us the ability to take charge of our natural mind. This is called a spiritual discipline. By doing these spiritual disciplines for years I have been able to observe the changes in my understanding of the Writings—what each paragraph is actually talking about after I’ve figured out the literal meaning. There are many other details one can give, but I think an excellent place to start is with the substitution of “the Writings” wherever it says “the Word.” This alone will set you on a river of Providence that will take you to your own spiritual discoveries.

 

Consider some of the sentences in the substitution above. For instance,

 

The Writings in their internal sense contain innumerable things which transcend the human comprehension.

 

This makes sense if you see the Writings as the Lord in His Word. The Word has this character, namely that it contains more things in it than can be discovered by the human race and by angels to eternity (NJHD 260). This is the meaning of “innumerable things” that are said to be contained by the Word. It makes further sense if you acknowledge that the Writings are the new dispensation for the New Church called the Crown of Churches, and this is the Last Church, meaning that it will endure to all ages (De Verbo 7:8; INV 43) unlike the first two dispensations. Therefore there is not going to be another Word given for the rest of human history in the universe. Clearly this means that there must be innumerable things contained in the Writings. And this is what is asserted in the sentence we are considering.

 

11. The Letter Of The Writings Has Been Preserved

 

Consider another sentence in the paragraph:

 

Not a single expression, and not even a single iota can be omitted from the sense of the letter of the Writings, without causing an interruption in the internal sense; wherefore, by the Lord's Divine Providence, the Writings have been preserved entire, as to every word and every tittle.

 

That the Writings “have been preserved” refers to the Divinity of the Writings as fully the Word. In other words, the Lord made sure that Swedenborg’s limited mind, knowledge, and observations did not interfere with the Writings being created and formed by the Lord Himself. This is their Divinity. Those who acknowledge that the Writings are “divinely inspired” withhold their assent to the affirmation that they are the Word. And those who acknowledge the Writings as the Lord in His Word, withhold their assent from the affirmation that they are the Word as fully and in the same sense as the Old and New Testament. Obviously there are three steps to be made here in terms of how one can love the Writings. They are three inward steps of discrete degrees from external natural, to spiritual-rational, to celestial-rational. These three steps correspond to the three heavens and their influx into our mind (De Verbo 3).

 

All three heavens possess the Writings (xx), but in discrete degrees of closeness, corresponding to the three discrete degrees of love the angels have for the Lord. The angels of the first heaven understand the Writings at the natural-spiritual level. Those in the second, at the rational-spiritual level, and the angels in the third or highest heaven, at the celestial-rational level (SS 64). All three levels are spiritual, but varying in interior degrees (DLW 202). When we read the Writings, the angels who are in communication with us by correspondential influx, are delighted by the thoughts they receive from our reading (NJHD 259). But the delight or love is different with the inhabitants of the three heavens. And this difference is discrete (DLW 202).

 

For example the amount of spiritual understanding of the Writings by the angels of the second heaven is represented by the light of the moon, while that of the angels in the third heaven, by the light of the noonday sun (De Verbo 3). As we progress in our regeneration we are given to be with higher angels, and this means that we can consciously understand more interior truths about the Writings. And this is equivalent to saying that we love the Lord with a greater love that we are capable of receiving from Him. This greater capacity of receiving the Lord love is mediated by the more interior truths that we can understand in the Writings.

 

Consider one more sentence in the paragraph quoted above:

 

Many things contained in the prophets, appear there as detached, which in the internal sense are connected in a beautiful continuous series.

 

If you have already accepted the idea that the Writings are the Word, and Divine, and every word contains innumerable things in the internal sense, then what occurs when you read this sentence? Not an opposition or objection, but a question like this one: What are “the prophets” in relation to the Writings? And the answer is something we must ask for from the Lord who is the Writings. We read in AC 2534 that “in the sense of the letter "prophet" signifies those to whom revelation is made.” Therefore “the prophets” in the Writings are those who study and teach its internal sense because this sense must be revealed and cannot be intuited or inferred by one’s own intelligence. The sentence refers to two things: (1) the internal sense of the Writings (“in the prophets”) and (2) the internal sense of the prophets, which means, the revelation of more interior truths contained in the Writings. It is asserted that these more interior truths are arranged in a celestial series that is marvelous and enlightening to behold.

 

Additional examples of the substitution technique will be found in the introductory comments at the beginning of Chapter 9.

 

The Word by means of doctrine is not only understood, but it also as it were gives light; because without doctrine it is not understood, and it is like a lamp stand without a light, as was shown above. The Word, therefore, by means of doctrine is understood, and is like a lamp stand with its lamp lit. Man then sees more things than he had seen before, and he also understands those things which he had not understood before. Things obscure and out of agreement he either does not notice and passes over, or he sees and explains them as in agreement with doctrine.

(…)

Doctrine, however, must not only be taken from the sense of the Letter of the Word, but it must also be confirmed by that sense. For if not confirmed by it, the truth of doctrine appears as if it were only man's intelligence in it and not the Lord's Divine Wisdom; and thus doctrine would be like a house in the air, and not on the ground, and consequently without a foundation.

(SS 54)

 

12. An Example Of Spiritual Mathematics In The Writings

 

Consider this sentence:

 

He who does not know the signification of numbers in the Writings, … cannot know the many arcana which are contained therein.

 

Think of the implications this points to! This sentence says that a whole new science of spiritual mathematics is revealed in the Writings of Swedenborg. Future research will discover the relationship between the content of a paragraph and its number. Swedenborg carefully numbered the segments that make up each book of the Writings. Swedenborg scholars call these segments “number,” e.g., “In the same Number it is stated that…” or “In another Number there is comparable…” Arcana Coelestia, the longest of the Works, is in 12 volumes and contains 10,837 numbers. Some Numbers have only one sentence, most have several paragraphs. Apocalypse Revealed has the longest Numbers with dozens of paragraphs. In addition, Swedenborg gave many cross references to prior Numbers and also across volumes and titles. It is customary in New Church sermons to select a passage from one Number and to discuss its content as the theme of the sermon. Besides the digits relating to Numbers, there are others relating to quantity, time, rank orders, and quotes of numbers from the Old and New Testaments.

 

Clearly there is a tremendous research area that theistic science can explore in the future. Spiritual mathematics is the true science of mathematics since spiritual phenomena are the causes of natural phenomena. The mathematics of materialistic science has evolved without awareness of the causes that create the observations mathematicians have made about numbers and their properties. Now, through the Writings, spiritual mathematics can at last be developed. This knowledge will uncover the relation between the arrangement of truths and the arrangement of the physical universe. Also, the principles of transformations that govern correspondences across discrete degrees. Perhaps even the ability to control chemical reactions to produce energy or new materials with more advanced properties (e.g., artificial intelligence as a property of its elements, or enhanced medicinal properties of compounds).

 

An illustration of spiritual mathematics may be given regarding the significance of “June 19”—the date the marks the completion of the Lord’s Second coming. As quoted earlier, this the note Swedenborg appended to the last book of the Writings titled The True Christian Religion:

 

NOTE

After the completion of this book, the Lord called together His twelve disciples, who had followed Him in the world; and a day later He sent them all forth throughout the spiritual world to preach the Gospel, that the Lord God Jesus Christ is king, and His kingdom shall be for ever and ever, as foretold by Daniel (7:13, 14) and in Revelation (11:15):

 

Blessed are they who come to the wedding supper of the Lamb Rev. 19:9.

 

This happened on the nineteenth of June in the year 1770. This was meant by the Lord's saying:

He will send his angels, and they will gather together His chosen people from the bounds of the heavens on one side as far as the bounds of the heavens on the other. Matt. 24:31.

(TCR 791)

 

Since every detail of the Word contains infinite secrets that can be extracted from it (AC 6620) it is clear that June 19 has significant things in it that are no doubt to be discovered by spiritual mathematics in the coming ages. I can only give an abstract illustration that is very general. June is the 6th month and 6 represents completion:

 

6 signifies the same as 3 multiplied by 2, and 3 signifies what is full and all, and is predicated of truths (n. 505), while 2 signifies the marriage of truth and good; and as 6 is composed of those two numbers multiplied by each other, they therefore signify every truth of good in the Word (AR 610)

 

The date 6/19 contains the number 3 in “6” and in “9” in somewhat different ways. The number 6 is 3+3 or 2x3, and the number 9 is 3+3+3 or 3x3. While 6 refers to a completion of a work, 9 refers to its fullness. The number 1 which is part of “19” refers to the Lord since in the Lord infinite things make a One (DLW 17). Therefore “19” contains the idea of “the Lord’s Work in Fullness” and 6 contains the idea of “completion.” Clearly then, 6/19 is a historical date on earth marking the “completion of the Lord’s Work in Fullness,” which is a reference to the Crown of Churches, or the New Church being established in the Writings as the Word of the Lord’s Second Coming (De Verbo 7:8; INV 43).

 

Here are a few more things the Writings reveal about spiritual mathematics in the Word:

 

The number "three," also the number "seven," and the number "twelve," enfold deep secrets within them, must be evident to everyone who examines the Word in regard to its interiors; and if these numbers are so full of significance, it follows that there must be something deeply hidden in all the other numbers that occur in the Word, for the Word is holy throughout. … From this experience I learned that every number mentioned in the Word holds within it some mystery

(…)

He measured the wall of the Holy Jerusalem a hundred and forty-four cubits, which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel (Rev. 21:17).

 

He that hath intelligence let him compute the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is six hundred and sixty six (Rev. 13:18).

 

That the number first mentioned-"144"-results from the multiplication of twelve into itself, and that the number "666" is a product of three and six, is manifest, but what holy thing they enfold within them may appear from the holiness of the number "twelve" (see n. 577, 2089, 2129, 2130, 3272, 3858, 3913), and of the number "three" (n. 720, 901, 1825, 2788, 4010).

 

[3] This latter number-"three"-being significative of what is complete even to the end, (AC 4495)

 

That holy things are signified by "seven" is evident from what has been said before respecting the seventh day, or the Sabbath (n. 84-87), namely, that the Lord is the seventh day; and that from Him every celestial church, or celestial man, is a seventh day, and indeed the celestial itself, which is most holy because it is from the Lord alone. For this reason, in the Word, "seven" signifies what is holy; and in fact, as here, in the internal sense partakes not at all of the idea of number. (TCR 716)

 

ABOUT NUMBERS IN HEAVEN.

Sometimes numbers appear, a paper filled with them; they also appear on the walls - which signify such things as the celestials think; but scarcely anyone is able to know them except those who belong to such [i.e. celestial] heaven. When the numbers are simple - as, for example, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc., to 12 - then they have a significance according to those things which are described in the Arcana Coelestia; but when they are compound, they have another sense: for example, 90356/358. These signify, God be with thee; and every single number something: the sense named, however, is according to those things which are above [referred to]. [Take] 358, here. These numbers, which are here and there, determine the sense into such a series. They who are of that [i.e. celestial] kingdom, understand immediately; and this without instruction, as if of themselves. Every single idea has its own number. In general, even numbers correspond to good, as 2, 4, 8, and odd numbers - as 3, 9 - to truth. (AC 5571)

 

Consider another example: two parallel passages in the New Testament that talk about “The Triumphal Entry” of the Lord on that First Palm Sunday:

 

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. (Mark 11:11)

Then he entered the temple area (Luke 19:45)

 

The Mark passage is in Chapter 11, Verse 11. The reference is 11:11 which is made entirely of the number 1. As already pointed out in the preceding example, the number 1 refers to the Lord. This “Triumphal Entry” is marked four times. The number 4 signifies temptation, and especially the Lord’s temptations and combats with the hells for the salvation of the human race:

 

The things which Abraham spoke with Jehovah concerning the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, the angels perceive nothing else than the Lord's intercession for the human race; and by five, forty-five, forty, thirty, twenty, and ten, they perceive His intercession for those with whom truths should be adjoined to goods, and who should have goods by means of temptations and combats, or by means of other states. (AC 2135)

 

We can see from this that Mark 11:11 is a number address for the Lord in the Gospel of Mark. His entry into Jerusalem and the Temple was an act that represented His entry into the minds of humans so that He could save them. For this was the salvation process: having Him in our mind. This truth is therefore the truth of truths of regeneration. Hence it is marked by several digits of the number 1. Four signifies temptations and combats against them. Here is expressed the truth that salvation is not merely an acknowledgment of the Lord but a re-arrangement of one’s willing and thinking in our daily activities. This re-arrangement we resist on account of our affections and blindnesses. The Lord removes them by using temptations and combats as a Divine Therapy process. We must be willing to suffer mental anguish and doubts as we face our affections in disorder. This one can see in the Mark 11:11 reference--the Lord’s entry into our mind to manage our re-arrangement through the process of gradual regeneration. Without Him and His constant co-Presence before our conscious mind, the process cannot begin, and once begun, cannot go on. Hence the close tie between 1 (the Lord) and 4 (temptations of regeneration).

 

Now consider the parallel passage in Luke:

 

Then he entered the temple area (Luke 19:45)

 

The reference verse is 19:45 which has the number 19 already analyzed in the previous example. It means the Lord’s Work in fullness. The Work referred to is His role in our regeneration as He manages the temptations and the combats we are willing to suffer at any one time. This is the Lord’s Work. The Sabbath rest means that regeneration is far along so that no temptations are necessary. This is the mental state when we enter heaven. Regeneration then continues to eternity, though without temptations (AC 8968). The number 19 signifies the Lord’s Work in Fullness in our mind. The Fullness is proportional to our cooperation, which means our willingness to change everything about our daily willing and thinking.

 

The number 45 refers to temptations as evident from the quote just above

 

forty-five … His intercession for those … who should have goods by means of temptations and combats (AC 2135)

 

From this it is clear that the parallel passage in Luke 19:45 refers to the same think as Mark 11:11. Using the language of spiritual mathematics they both refer to regeneration: specifically, the Lord’s Work in our mind through temptations and combats. The numbers assert that this Divine Work in our willing and thinking, is salvation—a fact taught in the Writings in many places (e.g., TCR 142; AC 986)

 

The human mind is null, when a person is born, but it is formed by things of this world. Therefore it must necessarily be reformed in order to become spiritual. [Mind; Regeneration; Spiritual things] (SE 22)

 

 

No doubt many new methods will be discovered in the future about how to extract knowledge and whole new sciences from the Writings (see Note 8 at end).

 

For additional discussion on the inner sense of the Writings see Chapter 7, Section 5.

 


 

Chapter 3

Theistic Science Revelations in the Writings

 

1. Introduction

 

Every one has intelligence according to his affection for the sciences (CL 207)

 

There are many scientific revelations in the Writings. To mention a few:

 

  1. There are two worlds: spiritual and natural (D. Wis. 12)
  2. Every physical object is constructed from three discrete degrees (DP 32)
  3. The human brain was not split in the early generations on earth (AC 607)
  4. Only the father contributes to the spiritual inheritance line (TCR 103)
  5. Both parents contribute to the inherited inclinations they pass on (CL 202)

 

  1. Our thinking cannot go on without mediation from the spirits as intermediaries (DP 50)
  2. Resuscitation of the spirit takes place within 36 hours of death (LJ 15)
  3. The most ancient people on this planet did not have a split brain (xx)
  4. The will and the understanding are organs in the mind (TCR 279)
  5. All phenomena on earth are effects whose causes are in the spiritual world (D. Wis. 12)

 

  1. All planets are formed by God to be inhabited (EU 1)
  2. Space as vacuum does not exist, but is in fact made of a thin material substance called ether (xx)
  3. The smallest contain the same degrees as the largest (DLW 222-229)
  4. The smaller some thing or operation is examined, the greater is its perfections and the more it contains sub-parts (“the more interiorly things are viewed, the more marvelous the wonders that occur”) (DLW 201)
  5. The simpler substances contain more things than the compound (DP 6). The simplest substance is that from the spiritual Sun, is perfect, and contains infinite things, so that it can be compounded into infinite other less simple substances. (DLW 226)

 

  1. The natural degree contains within itself a representation of the discrete degrees in the spiritual world. (DLW 201)
  2. Sensation is not effected by or in the brain but in the mind corresponding to brain activity (TCR 785)
  3. Books written on earth appear in the spiritual world (xx)
  4. Every child who dies is raised in the spiritual world and enters heaven (DP 324)
  5. Jesus was born from a virgin (TCR 337)

 

  1. There are no machines or engineering sciences on any other inhabited planet in the universe (EU 136)
  2. The natural world will never end (LJ 13)
  3. Human diseases are caused by different spirit societies (SE 4648)
  4. The relationship between the lungs and the heart match exactly the relationship between the will and the understanding (DLW 407)
  5. The micro-world is more perfect than the macro, and therefore the smaller a thing is the larger the number of parts it contains (TCR 280[6]; AC 9666[2])

 

  1. Infinity is not that which has no end but that which has no beginning (DLW 76). Thus time and numbers may be endless, but they have a beginning, thus they’re not infinite.
  2. The spiritual elements from which are constructed the physical elements are infinite and uncreate, having no beginning. They include: love, truth, light, heat, endeavor, and eternity. These spiritual substances are more and more distanced from the spiritual Sun whence they proceed, and progress by discrete degrees (not continuous) outward into the created universe.
  3. The successive discrete degrees by which the world is created exist in simultaneous degrees in the created object. Thus, an atom, rock, and seed still carry within themselves the spiritual elements that created them and without which they would fall back into uncertain. The uncreate substances maintain the existence of the created elements. This is equally true of the goals in our actions through intentional plans (ISB 17)
  4. People on this earth can only be regenerated by science and the sciences of faith (SE 4663)
  5. Etc. etc. This is but a small sample!

 

This list is enough to show that some scientific revelations are far ahead of scientific knowledge in society today, and some appear to contradict the current scientific knowledge. And most importantly, note from the list that it is not possible in the Writings to separate what is scientific relating to natural things and what is theological relating to spiritual things.

 

For instance, is the Virgin Birth a scientific revelation or a spiritual one? What about the proposition that physical phenomena are all effects whose causes lie in the spiritual world? This is at the core of almost any other fact or principle in the Writings and is called “the Science of Correspondences.” (AC 9407; SS 9; TCR 202) Is this a scientific or spiritual revelation? Clearly we cannot separate scientific explanations from spiritual because one is actually within the other, and they are mutually interdependent—what happens to one must happen to the other in predetermined correspondential relation.

 

The eye sees the universe, and the mind thinks about it, first that it was created and afterwards by whom it was created. The mind that thinks from the eye thinks that it was created by nature; but the mind that does not think from the eye thinks that it is from God; while the mind that takes the middle path thinks that it is from an Entity of which it has no idea, for it perceives that something cannot exist from nothing. (D. Wis. 12)

 

The material monism of science is a nonduality that Swedenborg fought against in all his works prior and subsequent to Arcana Coelestia. The science that he practiced was always dualist or theistic, and the New Church mind cannot but be thoroughly dualist also. We may at first feel obliged to pick and choose our monism and dualism on the basis of professional roles and days of the week: On Sundays, or when we read the Writings, we are going to think like a dualist. But on weekdays at work we will act like a monist and nondualist, writing articles and giving lectures in a non-New Church environment.

 

From a practical and political standpoint we may not have an overt choice since our colleagues are dead set against dualism and our job performance may depend on not mentioning anything from the Writings in our scientific work and teaching. This I can understand. Note that this is a political issue about academic freedom and the suppression of ideas in relation to survival and one’s career. It may not hurt us to hide or to remain private in order to avoid persecution or rejection, but it does hurt the New Church mind if we confirm scientific monism as a stand in our thoughts about science. In other words, if we deny that the Writings are scientific revelations. This denial hurts the New Church mind, as will be discussed below.

 

2. Swedenborg’s Scientific Dualism

 

Regarding science and philosophy, Swedenborg gave this sad description to spirits who were not familiar with our planet:

 

Spirits from another earth were with me for a considerable time; and I described to them the wisdom of our globe, and told them that among the sciences pursued by the learned is that of analytics, with which they busy themselves in exploring what is of the mind and its thoughts, calling it metaphysics and logic. But I said that men have advanced little beyond terms, and certain shifting rules; and that they argue concerning these terms-as what form is; what substance; what the mind; and what the soul; and that by means of these general shifting rules they vehemently dispute about truths. I then perceived from these spirits that when men inhere in such things as terms, and think concerning these matters by artificial rules, they take away all sense and understanding of a subject.

(…)

[3] Learned men of our earth were present, and could not in the least comprehend these things, although in the life of the body they had discoursed much on such subjects in a philosophical way; and when the spirits just referred to in turn perceived their thoughts, in that they inhered in mere terms, and were inclined to dispute on every point as to whether it is so, they called such things feculent froth. (AC 3348)

 

In the New Church mind there cannot be a nonduality in science just as Swedenborg found it impossible to acknowledge or adopt materialist science from his earliest education and onward. He took the natural facts and information available through observation by scientists who worked within a materialistic orientation. But he did not take their interpretations or theories cast in the nonduality mode. He built up a theistic science to interpret their facts.

 

There is a danger to the New Church mind when confirming scientific nonduality, something that may occur when we think to ourselves that science is nondualist and is to remain immersed in material monism, while the Heavenly Doctrine is dualist or theistic, and is to remain separate from science. As long as we keep the two from interacting, segregating them in our mind, we experience no conflict. And yet we need to consider that the mind cannot contain opposing ideas without the two warring against each other, so that nonduality eventually destroys all duality (xx). Scientific nonduality denies the supernatural world that is affirmed by the duality of the Heavenly Doctrines. In the duality of the Writings there is no separation possible between science and theology just as it is impossible to discover the causes of natural phenomena without invoking spiritual correspondences since the spiritual is the cause of the natural (HH 567).

 

Swedenborg has clearly modeled for us how to understand science and theology together as one unit. He collected all facts that others obtained by scientific observations. Empirical and experimental work can be carried out by anyone, a materialist or a dualist, and the success of both are solely from Divine Providence, not from the intelligence of the monist or dualist. Swedenborg the scientist created scientific explanations for the facts obtained by other scientists. These scientific explanations are rational and verifiable as consistent with the facts or inconsistent. Also, as consistent internally or contradictory. His scientific explanations were always within a theistic framework.

 

Being introduced into the spiritual world, Swedenborg also presented new scientific facts that were never available to any other scientist on this earth, monist or dualist. Still, they were not subjective unverifiable facts like the religious proposals of other theological systems. The empirical facts presented by Swedenborg are actual observations he made during his spiritual “travels.” These facts are objective and shared with thousands of other people who were present and part of the experiment or interview. Swedenborg’s facts were public and verifiable to all those who were present, including spirits, angels, and devils. He also presents observational results of many experiments he was allowed to witness as a participant and observer, so that he may have no doubt as to the reality of this or that phenomenon. One type of experiment is the removal of a belief system in a spirit or angel in order to see the result on his reasoning and perception (CL 216, Mir 7).

 

Other experimental procedures he describes include:

 

q       resuscitation under controlled conditions (xx)

q       memory probes (xx)

q       therapy for personality disorders (xx)

q       communicating from a distance (xx)

q       translating between natural and spiritual language (xx)

q       creating special effects for the education of children (xx)

q       recreating special effects with light and sound

q       noting the conditional presence of animals or objects in relation to topics being discussed on reflected on (xx)

q       and many more.

 

Not all facts in science are available to a single person which is why scientists use each other’s facts for building explanations. Some facts are unique or infrequent and cannot be observed except once. Others require elaborate instruments to which some scientists have no access. Many facts reported by Swedenborg are not available to other scientists on earth because the Lord imposes restrictions on anyone accessing the spiritual world directly, Swedenborg being a unique exception for the sake of his mission as revelator. But the facts become observable when the scientist passes on and begins life in the spiritual world. These facts were also observable by the early generations on earth (AE 739) and may be observable once more in the future (HH 250).

 

The New Church mind cannot be different from the mind of Swedenborg because what issued from his mind is the actual arrangement of things in the universe. This is what it means to say that the Writings are the Word of the Second Coming revealing the Divine Rational by which reality is ordered and maintained. It would be a major break in the system to take the position that scientific and doctrinal explanations are not interrelated. Clearly Swedenborg didn’t do this but commingled the science he knew from education and research, and the heavenly doctrines he was explaining rationally. In Swedenborg’s mind the two types of explanations could not be rationally separated. This was possible because Swedenborg’s science was dualist and theistic, in contrast to those who did much of the research he admired.

 

3. The Notion That The Writings Contain Outdated Science

 

The Word is not understood except by a rational man (WH 7)

 

The Writings provide scientists with empirical observations and data that are beyond the natural senses. This is called the “interior science” and is a systematic description of the character and quality of the spiritual world. There is no rational justification for scientists to reject the facts and observations presented in the Writings. The rejection is an automatic expression of a learned historical tradition or prejudice. It Is not made on the basis of rational justifications or objections. The benefits of science to society would be immeasurably enhanced if the simplistic and self-contradictory monist attitude were to be replaced by theistic science.

 

Among New Church people the reasoning is sometimes heard that the Lord leaves science for people to discover through organized knowledge acquired from the natural senses and arranged into rational propositions and consistent explanations. There is a belief that the purpose of the Writings is to make new theological revelations, and these are infallible because from the Lord as the Word. This belief includes the notion that the many illustrations Swedenborg wrote about scientific and natural things represent his attempt to make the theological ideas better understood. These scientific illustrations are not considered to be part of the theological revelations, but as part of a dated scientific outlook and limited knowledge that has no direct impact on modern science and should not be compared with it.

 

You can see that this type of thinking begins to carve up the Word into two parts: the part that our self-intelligence designates as “Swedenborg’s outdated science” and the part that we designate as “enlightened revelation for all times.”

 

But upon more reflection one can see that the Writings cannot be divided into two parts because it is the Word in full, not in part. The Writings say that the Word has an internal series of truths arranged in an infinite Divine order (AC 6620) and that not a single word or concept can be taken away from the literal without breaking the series (AC 9163, AE 545[2]). As a result we accept the awkward expressions and sometimes revolting images in the literal of the Old Testament. We can see by correspondences what spiritual truths they refer to. Similarly, with the Word of the Writings we have a fixed literal text that serves the internal meaning. The Letter of the Writings cannot be divided any more than the Lord’s garment, which were not allowed to be divided by the Roman soldiers (AC 9093; John 19:23-24, Ps 22:18).

 

The literal of the Writings is the Lord’s Divine Rational laid down in the Divine Natural that exists in our natural-rational mind. We behold the Lord spiritually, when we read the Writings as the Word, for the Word is the Lord Himself (LORD 2). But this spiritual is only apparent to us by correspondence, since nothing spiritual can exist in the natural-rational mind. But the Lord creates an interior-natural mind within our natural-rational understanding. What is in this mind is the operation, or reaction by correspondence, to the particular spiritual truths the Lord is implanting in our unconscious spiritual mind.

 

The human rational as to truth is of such a nature that it cannot understand what the Divine is, for the reason that that truth is in appearances; and therefore that which it cannot understand, it does not believe; and by that which it does not believe it is not affected. (AC 2203)

 

What is called the “human rational” here is the natural-rational mind. It is to be distinguished from the “spiritual-rational.” The “human rational” or natural-rational is from self-intelligence and is the result of the as-of self effort to understand and appropriate the truths of the Writings. The human rational of the natural-rational consists of natural-rational correspondences which “is of such a nature that it cannot understand what the Divine is.” But the spiritual-rational correspondences in the interior-natural mind are not from self-intelligence. They are from the Lord and heaven and they are capable of understanding the Divine.

 

After reformation we are granted this dual perception or consciousness of the spiritual. In our natural-rational mind, we are conscious of spiritual truths in a natural-rational way, but in our interior-natural mind, we are conscious of these truths in a spiritual way. This spiritual understanding is also by correspondence and not by direct sensuous perception, as is the case with spirits and angels. Following reformation, we know that the sentences of the Writings contain a literal meaning and a spiritual meaning, but we cannot perceive this at the beginning. We know it because we read what the Writings are saying about the Word, and we apply it to the Writings. But later when we are regenerating, we are enlightened by the Lord and we can now for the first time perceive that there is a spiritual sense.

 

Since we know that the spiritual meaning is arranged in Divine Rational Series (xx), it would be impossible to think that we could use our self-intelligence to break up this Divine Series and to cut out portions of the Writings by calling it “Swedenborg’s outdated science used only for illustration and not part of the theology of the Heavenly Doctrine.”

 

Not a single word, nor even a single iota, in its original language, can be taken from the sense of the letter of the Word, without an interruption in the internal sense (WH 11)

 

Instead we need to ask how we can intellectually repair the appearance that these are outdated modes of science. We must consider whether materialistic science as practiced today can really be credited for scientific and engineering achievements. Or are these achievements brought about by the Lord despite the reliance on materialistic thinking? The Writings teach that the learned who are confirmed in rejecting dualism, and rely their thinking only on material ideas, arrive handicapped in the spiritual world and are more “stupid” than the unlearned (AC 4156). Their confirmed materialism prevents them from receiving rational truths in the afterlife, as a result of which they lead themselves into insanities and a tragic life in hell.

 

Clearly we should be asking how to reform materialistic science into dualist science in our mind. We need not wait for the rest of society but can already make the changeover, if not professionally, then personally. In the light of this new context in our mind, how are we to understand the scientific details that appear outdated or in error from the earlier materialistic context? This kind of inquiry will lead us to theistic science.

 

It is most important therefore that we be prudent and withhold ourselves from breaking up the Word. We must acknowledge every word, phrase and sentence as Divine Truth, even the numbers of the paragraphs.

 

The ultimates of the Word are its props and supports; indeed, each word is a prop and a support to its celestial and spiritual truths. (SS 35)

 

A New Church reader of an earlier draft of this book made the following comment regarding this section:

 

Let me take a more moderate view on this. I do believe that much of the science taught in the Writings could be studied quite usefully and lead to some important breakthroughs on the natural level. For example, olive oil corresponds to celestial love, and we are discovering important medicinal uses for olive oil today. Lowering meat intake, and eating fresh fruits and vegetables (like the most ancients) also seems to improve the quality of our health. But these are secondary. Our spiritual development, and the shunning of evils as sins against God should always be primary. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

 

I agree that teaching correspondences from the Writings could be useful to secular scientific enterprises, including psychology, medicine, biology, physics, mathematics, history, art, and others. Swedenborg’s mind was prepared by the Lord since his early childhood (see below). He was able to acquire scientific knowledge in many fields and contribute to them his own theistic interpretation and explanations. Swedenborg was guided in his theistic interpretations by the Lord as much as he was guided in his theological books. When Swedenborg wrote out the Writings he was fully under the guidance of the Lord. It is not possible to think that some portions he wrote by himself, separate from the Lord, while others he wrote from the Lord. So it makes sense to think that Swedenborg’s theistic science was guided by the Lord since the beginning of his education. Thus Swedenborg produced a theistic science that was suitable for being included in portions of the Word he was to write later.

 

4. Dual Concepts in the Writings

 

No doubt you have noted two portions to the theistic science in the Writings: natural scientifics and spiritual scientifics, as discussed below. The theistic science about “natural truths” (ISB 20) are those facts and principles that were imported into the Writings from the Scientific Works. The theistic science about “spiritual and celestial truths” (DLW 237) are those facts and principles that were gathered by Swedenborg from his systematic observations and controlled experiments in the spiritual world. The spiritual and celestial truths are within the natural truths in simultaneous order (TCR 360). It follows from this that the literal of the Writings is composed of these two sub-types of theistic science, and future research in theistic science might succeed in extracting dual concepts, that is, integrated concepts that are natural truths within which are spiritual-celestial truths.

 

An example of this type of dual concept is illustrated in the following passage which also shows the experimental or scientific character of Swedenborg’s observations in the spiritual world:

 

As in the world it is quite unknown that there is a correspondence of heaven or the Grand Man with all things of man, and that man comes forth and subsists therefrom, so that what is said on the subject may seem paradoxical and incredible, I may here relate the things that experience has enabled me to know with certainty.

 

Once, when the interior heaven was opened to me, and I was conversing with the angels there, I was permitted to observe the following phenomena. Be it known that although I was in heaven, I was nevertheless not out of myself, but in the body, for heaven is within man, wherever he may be, so that when it pleases the Lord, a man may be in heaven and yet not be withdrawn from the body.

 

In this way it was given me to perceive the general workings of heaven as plainly as an object is perceived by any of the senses. Four workings or operations were then perceived by me. The first was into the brain at the left temple, and was a general operation as regards the organs of reason; for the left side of the brain corresponds to rational or intellectual things, but the right to the affections or things of the will.

 

[2] The second general operation that I perceived was into the respiration of the lungs, and it led my respiration gently, but from within, so that I had no need to draw breath or respire by any exertion of my will. The very respiration of heaven was at the time plainly perceived by me. It is internal, and for this reason is imperceptible to man; but by a wonderful correspondence it inflows into man's respiration, which is external, or of the body; and if man were deprived of this influx, he would instantly fall down dead.

 

[3] The third operation that I perceived was into the systole and diastole of the heart, which had then more of softness with me than I had ever experienced at any other time. The intervals of the pulse were regular, being about three within each period of respiration; yet such as to terminate in and thus direct the things belonging to the lungs. How at the close of each respiration the alternations of the heart insinuated themselves into those of the lungs, I was in some measure enabled to observe. The alternations of the pulse were so observable that I was able to count them; they were distinct and soft.

 

[4] The fourth general operation was into the kidneys, which also it was given me to perceive, but obscurely. From these things it was made manifest that heaven or the Grand Man has cardiac pulses, and that it has respirations; and that the cardiac pulses of heaven or the Grand Man have a correspondence with the heart and with its systolic and diastolic motions; and that the respirations of heaven or the Grand Man have a correspondence with the lungs and their respirations; but that they are both unobservable to man, being imperceptible, because internal. (AC 3884)

 

This passage indicates the nature of Swedenborg’s experimental observations: “I may here relate the things that experience has enabled me to know with certainty.” Swedenborg sometimes refers to the fact that he can’t go further with a topic since it is not allowed him to say more (SE 621), and at other times he mentions that he is allowed to say something for the purpose of clearing up an erroneous belief that is harmful or, uplifting our hope from pessimism (SE 228). In the above passage, he is allowed to describe his sensuous observations in order to dissipate the feeling people have about the Grand Human that it is “paradoxical and incredible.” The rational consciousness we have of the Grand Human remains obscure until we are given the sensuous consciousness of it through Swedenborg’s observations and sensations. The rational within the sensuous completes the idea of the Grand Human so that it may be seen in clear light.

 

The Memorable Relations have a similar function. They give us a sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world within which our rational consciousness of Doctrinal things can rest as an ultimate and be completed in our understanding. Much research lies ahead in the future of theistic science, which extends to the distant future of millennia! Cumulative theistic science research will uncover the layers of meaning in the above passage, and others like it. It stand to reason that these sensuous details are all infilled with rational principles and truths that we can extract through appropriate methods that rely on illustration from the Lord. This enlightenment is given to anyone who reads the Writings as the Word, and to the extent that one is being regenerated through it.

 

5. Scientific Revelations in the Writings

 

Today, a wicked and wily man can be equally a good scientist as a moral and sincere man. The private lives and biographies of great scientists can be filled with good and with evil. The Lord gives natural truths to the good and to the evil. These natural truths are acquired as-of self by self-intelligence and effort so that not the Lord’s Providential actions are seen in them, but our own prudence and ingenuity. But it is entirely different with the acquisition of spiritual and celestial truths, that is, with theistic science. These truths are revealed by the Lord to each individual to the extent that the Lord is acknowledged as the author and giver of the truths.

 

To the extent that we ascribe to the Lord our understanding of spiritual truths, and none of it to ourselves, to that extent the Lord can give us more spiritual truths, and more interior celestial truths. With these more interior rational truths we can clearly see that the earlier natural truths we acquired as-of self were also given from the Lord and not from self-intelligence. We then attribute the marvelous achievements of engineering and medicine not to the rationality or wisdom of material science but to the Lord. The success of science cannot therefore be extended to the usefulness of materialism. Abandoning materialism for dualism is not a loss to the power and utility of science, but an immeasurable gain.

 

The next two passages reveal that the heart beat of animals and people on earth is controlled by the cardiac pulsations of the spiritual angels, which in turn are caused by the speech of celestial angels:

 

I then seemed to myself to be in heaven with my head, but not with my body. In this state it was likewise given me to observe the general respiration of heaven, and what was its nature; it was interior, easy, spontaneous, and corresponding to my respiration as three to one. It was also given me to observe the reciprocations of the pulsations of the heart; and I was then informed by angels that each and every creature on the earth has pulsations of the heart and the consequent respirations; and that the reason why they take place at dissimilar moments is that both the cardiac pulsation and the pulmonary respiration which are in the heavens pass off into something continuous, and thus into endeavor, which is of such a nature as to excite these motions variously in accordance with the state of every subject. (AC 3885)

 

But be it known that the variations in the heavens in respect to pulsations and respirations are manifold, being as many as are the societies; for they are according to the states of thought and affection with the angels; and these are according to their states of faith and love; but the general pulsation and respiration are as above described. Once also it was given me to observe the cardiac pulsation of those who were of the province of the hinder part of the head, and to note one by one the pulsations of the celestial and those of the spiritual in that province. The pulsations of the celestial were tacit and gentle; but those of the spiritual were strong and vibratory. The intervals of the pulsation of the spiritual were to those of the celestial as five to two; for the pulsation of the celestial inflows into that of the spiritual, and thus goes forth and passes into nature.

 

And wonderful to say the speech of the celestial angels is not heard by the spiritual angels, but is perceived under the form of a pulsation of the heart; and this because the speech of the celestial angels is not intelligible to the spiritual angels, for it is produced by affections which are of love; whereas that of the spiritual is produced by intellectual ideas (see n. 1647, 1759, 2157, 3343); and the former belong to the province of the heart, but the latter to the province of the lungs. (AC 3886)

 

These passages illustrate Swedenborg’s scientific sensuous observations of which he made a record in terms of empirical measurements, such as the 3 to 1 ratio of “tacit breathing” between the natural and spiritual mind, and the 5 to 2 ratio of intervals of vibratory cardiac pulsation between celestial and spiritual levels of the mind. These theistic science facts are about spiritual-celestial truths. These breathing rhythms and cardiac pulsations in the spiritual mind were caused by the celestial mind. In other words, celestial speech causes spiritual phenomena by correspondence, and these two “go forth and pass into nature,” which means that they are the cause of all natural phenomena. To put it still another way, the phenomena of nature on earth are created by the speech of angels in the celestial heaven through the ideas of the angels in the spiritual heaven.

 

These facts and considerations can be applied to natural truths since these are created by the speech of celestial angels. What is created in a sequential order of discrete degrees also exists in a simultaneous order in natural events or “motions” (TCR 214). Knowing the causative sequence of action from celestial to natural allows us to inspect and analyze natural phenomena in their simultaneous order of structure and motion, or existence. Dr. Ian Thompson’s articles discuss many details of this process and has created a taxonomy that identifies the systematic of these causal sequences (see Note 12 at end).

 

6. Sensuous And Rational Content In The Writings

 

Readers of the Writings will notice two types of content in it. The accounts given from his direct observations or interactions with others, serve for the opening of sensuous consciousness in the spiritual mind. These include:

 

q       the Memorable Relations

q       the experiences Swedenborg had in heaven and hell

q       the travels in earths in the universe

q       his conversations in the spiritual world with historical figures and acquaintances

q       his observations of people being resuscitated

q       his visual perception of the form of the Grand Human

q       his view of the spiritual Sun and the Lord appearing amidst it

q       the organic structure of the mind, its levels of thinking, and its parallelisms with the respiratory and circulatory systems of the body

q       his observation of correspondences while reading the Word in the form of environmental representations

q       his experiments in which he systematically introduces or removes some element from a spirit and notes the results

q       his drawings of spiritual regions

q       systematic interviews with spirits and angels to determine their knowledge on some topic

q       etc.

 

As is evident, sensuous consciousness in the spiritual mind consists of facts and data from the many observations and experiments Swedenborg made in the spiritual world. These may be called spiritual scientifics in parallel to natural scientifics. One is the scientific knowledge and research in the spiritual world; the other the scientific knowledge and research in the natural world. The New Church mind acquires a sensuous and scientific knowledge of the spiritual world by learning these facts about it, in the same way that we acquire such knowledge about the physical world. One might say that the learning about the natural world (natural scientifics) is our first education while learning about the spiritual world (spiritual scientifics) is our second education.

 

The New Church mind must have both inasmuch as it is a dual citizen, like Swedenborg. The celestial people of the era of the Most Ancient Church, prior to the Fall, were also dual citizens, that is, had access to facts from both the natural and the spiritual world (AC 597). Sensuous consciousness of the spiritual has been retained with the inhabitants of the other planets (see discussion below). After the Fall, sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world was closed off by the Lord with the people on this earth, the brain was split, and a new way was made for the salvation of all coming generations on this earth. This regeneration is by means of the sciences, as discussed and shown below.

 

Sensuous consciousness to the spiritual mind being eliminated, people had to develop a rational vision of the spiritual world, of the Lord and of heaven. This new rational consciousness is called the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit is Divine truth, proceeding from the Lord, which flows in with man, both immediately from the Lord Himself and mediately through angels and spirits (AE 183)

 

The Holy Spirit signifies strictly the Divine truth (TCR 139)

 

The Divine truth which then proceeded from Him is called the "Paraclete," or "Spirit of Truth."

I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete,* that he may abide with you to eternity, the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, for it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he abideth with you, and is among you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come unto you. These things have I spoken unto you while abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, he shall teach you all things (John 14:16-18, 25-26).

(AC 9199)

 

By the "Comforter," the "Spirit of Truth," and the "Holy Spirit," the Lord meant Himself … The reason why the Lord breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," was that all the breathing of heaven is from the Lord. For angels as well as men have breathing and beating of the heart; their breathing being according to their reception of wisdom from the Lord … (LORD 51)

 

The word "spirit" is used in many passages in the Word, and when said of man, by his "spirit" is signified the good and truth that have been inscribed on his intellectual part, consequently there is signified the life of this part. (AC 9818)

 

7. A Spiritual Sensuous Consciousness

 

The Book of the Writings that angels behold and read is a spiritual sensuous fact before their eyes. This is through the sensuous spirit-body in which everyone awakens in the afterlife. Swedenborg lived a dual life for 27 years so that he was able to objectively describe for us the details of the spiritual sensuous life. These facts about the spiritual world are called the “interior science”  (or spiritual scientifics), and constitute the sensuous consciousness of our spiritual mind. In this sensuous consciousness we behold the Divine Human in the Writings, though only by correspondence in the interior-natural mind. We behold the Divine Rational of the Divine Human when we read the literal of the Writings, but only to the extent that we understand it spiritually. We are not conscious of the spiritual mind while tied to the physical body, but we are conscious of the interior-natural mind that the Lord forms within the natural-rational understanding. We then perceive by higher correspondences, which means that we perceive spiritual topics spiritually. Prior to reformation we can only perceive spiritual topics naturally, since our interior-natural mind isn’t opened until we undergo regeneration.

 

The descriptions we study in the Writings serve for the opening of rational consciousness of spiritual things. These include:

 

q       the correspondences in the Old and New Testaments

q       the Laws of Divine Providence and Permissions by which the Lord manages all events

q       the history and evolution of Churches applied to the development of the individual’s mind

q       identification of who the Lord is in relation to His Threefold Aspect

q       how infinite distinct things in the Lord make a one

q       the connected series of instrumental causes from the spiritual Sun down to molecules

q       discrete degrees in the universe and in the human mind

q       life disciplines needed to be reformed and regenerated through temptations

q       conjugial love in heaven and the spiritual biology of men and women

q       the vertical community and how the Lord associates every individual to spirits

q       explanations about infinity, chance, vacuum, color, natural language, diseases, etc.

q       the structure of all created objects

q       inheritance of psychological and spiritual traits

q       what is uncreate

q       Etc.

 

As a result of our Second Education, these natural-rational things in the Letter become spiritual-rational truths, as reflected in our new reasonings, understandings, and levels of thinking. They are what infills the sensuous consciousness in our spiritual mind, though this process is still unconscious. Both must be present in the spiritual mind in order to be prepared for life in the New Heavens (TCR 1). The Writings provide both for the up building of our spiritual mind. From the Writings we acquire both sensuous and rational consciousness of the spiritual world. The sensuous consciousness is not accessible in this life, but will be in the afterlife. Rational consciousness by itself would not be determined to anything real if it did not have sensuous consciousness to settle in as an ultimate (AC 1476). These two types of consciousness, or level of thinking, are in discrete duality, the rational within the sensuous and interacting only by correspondences (D. Wis. 2).

 

In Heaven and Hell we read:

 

The arcana revealed in the following pages relate to heaven and hell, and also to the life of man after death. The man of the church at this date knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, although all these matters are set forth and described in the Word; and yet many of those born within the church refuse to believe in them, saying in their hearts, "Who has come from that world and told us?" Lest, therefore, such a spirit of denial, which especially prevails with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted me to associate with angels and to talk with them as man with man, also to see what is in the heavens and what is in the hells, and this for thirteen years; so now from what I have seen and heard it has been granted me to describe these, in the hope that ignorance may thus be enlightened and unbelief dissipated. Such immediate revelation is granted at this day because this is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord. (HH 1)

 

8. External And Interior Theistic Science

 

When the Word is opened the Lord appears (AE 612)

 

Swedenborg’s science published as his Scientific Works was first written in his natural mind separated from the spiritual mind. But afterwards, his science was written in dual mode, having been given direct sensuous access to both worlds. The two versions of theistic science he wrote are structurally related so that he first wrote the external theistic science of the sensuous world on earth, and later, the interior science of the sensuous aspects of the spiritual world.

 

The Writings contain two visible types of subject matter in its literal sentences: the external theistic science from Swedenborg’s Scientific Works, and the interior theistic science of the spiritual world. The two are intermingled. The external theistic science in the Writings are scientific revelations about the natural world that were not known before. The interior theistic science consists of revelations about the spiritual world, also not known before. Note well: the external theistic science and the interior theistic science both appear in the literal, and therefore only a natural understanding is possible from these descriptions. A spiritual understanding of them is possible only by enlightenment, as discussed in Chapter 1.

 

The science written in the Writings, both external and interior, contains a sensuous and a rational portion. Similarly, the natural version of science in the Scientific Works contain a sensuous and a rational portion. Swedenborg uses the facts and experiments of certain “gifted and talented” scientists to gather accurate data of natural objects and phenomena. He then analyzes this factual database by means of rational principles of reasoning, that he also describes (xx). This is the rational consciousness of the natural world, or the natural-rational level of thinking. This precise approach in the natural mind yields cumulative progress and is without the errors of conjecture or bias (xx).

 

The Scientific Works were composed through the natural-sensuous mind, which is the middle portion of the external natural mind. The Writings on the other hand, were composed through the natural-rational mind which is in the upper portion of the external rational mind. The Writings were written by the Lord through the conscious as-of self mind of Swedenborg.  There is no other way that the Word can be written. As a result of the Writings being written by the Lord, it has infinite series of truths in its internal sense. The study and research of these infinite series in the internal sense of the Writings is called the interior theistic science.

 

Clearly then, the Scientific Works used by the Lord in the Writings had to be created by the Lord through Swedenborg’s unconscious mind in such a way that they later could serve as contaminants of the infinite series of the Word.

 

The Lord would not have included anything from the Scientific Works had these Works not also been prepared by the Lord to be appropriate vessels for writing the Word of the Writings.

 

The natural external scientifics of the Scientific Works are imported by the Lord and woven into the literal framework or fabric of the Letter of the Writings. At the level of the Letter of the Writings, or its literal meaning, the spiritual interior scientifics of the Memorable Relations and of the Doctrinal expositions are commingled by the Lord with the natural external scientifics of the Scientific Works. The matrix and fabric of the Letter makes these two types of scientifics an integral part of each other. One cannot subsist without the other. It is not possible to take away the natural scientifics of the Writings since it was woven by the Lord into the Letter of the Word.

 

It was necessary therefore that Swedenborg’s Scientific Works, in their minutest detail, be directed, selected, and actualized by the Lord independently of Swedenborg’s own will and understanding. Swedenborg went through the intellectual effort of as-of self organization and interpretation of data and the creation of theory and rational explanatory accounts. But he attributed the success of his findings or the merit of his explanations solely and entirely to the Lord (xx). The Lord was responsible for the direction and fruitfulness of his reasoning and thought sequences.

 

The two types of scientifics (natural and spiritual) which make up the literal meaning of the Writings are both Divine because every detail of the Word is Divine (xx). The surface words, expressions, and sentences are arranged in a perfect and infinite series so that nothing can be taken away without destroying the series that is within (xx). It’s obvious that an infinite spiritual-rational series must be present within the finite natural-rational expressions of the Letter.

 

The literal of the Writings in heaven is not the same as the literal of the Writings on earth. The difference is that which exists between natural languages and spiritual language (xx). Still, the inner series within the literal of both is the same because this is the Lord’s Divine Rational.

 

The external and interior theistic science that is written in the literal of the Writings, contain the spiritual-rational truths or correspondences that are in our spiritual mind, but we are conscious of it by correspondence in our interior-natural mind that the Lord creates within the natural-rational when we undergo and complete our reformation.

 

The New Church mind is first built up by the theistic science in the Writings through the details we read in its external and interior science in the Letter. If we try to understand the Scientific Works prior to our understanding of the Writings, we only get a materialistic understanding of the Scientific Works. What was written first by Swedenborg can only be understood appropriately when being studied second. This is because the natural is to be understood by infilling it with the spiritual, and not the other way round, which is compared in the Writings to “drunkenness”:

 

They are called "drunkards" who believe nothing but what they apprehend, and for this reason search into the mysteries of faith. And because this is done by means of sensuous things, either of memory or of philosophy, man being what he is, cannot but fall thereby into errors. For man's thought is merely earthly, corporeal, and material, because it is from earthly, corporeal, and material things, which cling constantly to it, and in which the ideas of his thought are based and terminated.

 

To think and reason therefore from these concerning Divine things, is to bring oneself into errors and perversions; and it is as impossible to procure faith in this way as for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. The error and insanity from this source are called in the Word "drunkenness." Indeed the souls or spirits who in the other life reason about the truths of faith and against them, become like drunken men and act like them (AC 1072)

 

To investigate the spiritual from the perspective of the natural is not permitted and leads only to false and insane notions about the spiritual world and about the Lord. Instead, we must investigate the natural from the spiritual. To understand the Scientific Works properly, which is about the natural world, we must consider them from the spiritual-rational perspective. This perspective is the internal sense of the Writings. In other words, to investigate the meaning of the Scientific Works that forms portions of the Letter of the Writings, we must treat them as having an interior meaning since the Lord made them part of the Word. The extraction of the interior meaning of the Scientific Works in the Letter is a major area of research for theistic science. But this is true of all the portions of the Letter such as the Memorable Relations and the Doctrinal expositions which are interior scientifics. Theistic science research teaches the appropriate method of extracting the Spiritual Doctrine from these Doctrinal expositions.

 

In other words, sensuous consciousness of the natural world cannot be used to investigate sensuous consciousness of the spiritual world (see also Volume 1 Chapter 4 Section 5 on “near death experiences”). Similarly, the rational principles within the sensuous facts written in the Scientific Works cannot be properly understood without first knowing about the rational principles of the spiritual world written in the Writings and called the interior scientifics. Our first education in childhood is the natural-sensuous knowledge of the two worlds that we acquire through the school curriculum and religion. Our second education begins when we start reasoning from ourselves about the two worlds, thus developing our rational consciousness.

 

Sensuous consciousness of the natural world is at first learned from materialistic science in the school curriculum. At this point there is a clash in our mind between this materialistic sensuous and the spiritual sensuous facts and truths we learn from the Writings. We do not resolve this contradiction, we just lay it aside or ignore it. But at some point the contradiction must be resolved in order to enter heaven. There needs to be a changeover in the adult New Church mind from materialistic science to dualist science. The Scientific Works are essential for engineering this cognitive makeover or fundamental paradigm shift. When this makeover begins, then for the first time we are learning and investigating theistic science.

 

Prior to this, our sensuous and rational consciousness of the spiritual world from the Writings is only in a natural form. It cannot be completed until the interior-rational of the spiritual mind is opened. This opening activity is then consciously experienced by correspondence in the interior-natural mind. Then for the first time, we can behold the Divine Human in completion, even if only by correspondence. This is the deeper meaning of the Second Coming, namely, the infilling of the First Coming in the New Church mind by means of the Second Coming in the New Church mind.

 

Swedenborg’s Scientific Works can be called “theistic science,” but not in full. The Scientific Works are the external portion of theistic science. The internal portion is the interior science about the spiritual world, to which Swedenborg had no access while he wrote the Scientific Works . Together they complete theistic science in the same way as the First and Second Coming of the Lord together constitute the completion of the human race. Now everything has been given to the human race by which we can form theistic science as the genuine and ultimate science. I predict that as theistic science grows in recognition and participation, only those parts and aspects of the current materialistic science will be retained which have the character identified by Swedenborg in the Scientific Works (e.g., EAK Preface, xx).

 

Note that the Scientific Works of Swedenborg cannot be classified together with the science of any of his contemporaries. Newton’s and Swedenborg’s book by the same title, Principia, illustrate the difference. Newton’s Principia is monist or nondualist, even though he acknowledges that the mechanical laws he has described have been created by God and it is to God that one needs to pay homage for nature’s orderliness and rationality. Having made this religious confession at the outset, God then disappears from the rest of the system that he builds. Although Newton was a believer, his intellectual attitude was that natural science has its own sphere of operation and laws that must be discovered by research and God should be left out of the equations. This view has continued with modern scientists like Einstein, and contemporary scientists who are New Church members—as will be illustrated below. In contrast to this “scientific monism” Swedenborg’s Principia is a “scientific dualism” that keeps God around and puts the spiritual into every equation, if not mathematically, then rationally (xx).

 

Note that the Lord allowed Swedenborg to carry his theistic science into every book of the Writings, interweaving spiritual facts with natural facts, as for example when he discusses the exact parallelisms between mental organic functioning and physical, between how the will and the understanding interact and the parallel interaction between the heart and lungs. This structural integration was not merely an analogy, though they are used for “illustration” (xx). The particular scientific details of how the circulatory interacts with the respiratory are precisely parallel to the details of how the will and the understanding interact. This strict methodological operational parallelism between spiritual and natural phenomena is a structural integration in theistic science. The Science of Correspondences is such an integration. The principle that individual psychological development recapitulates racial history is also a strict parallelism that is integrated into the fabric of the Word and its three layers of internal meaning (AC 1024[2]). Also, that the regeneration of the individual on earth affects the regeneration of the Grand Human and of people on other earths—as discussed below under the Perizonius Thesis.

 

There was no break in Swedenborg’s relationship to the science written in the Scientific Works and the science given in the Writings. The first was the external portion of the second, as discussed above. We can note that he continued to distribute copies of The Economy of the Animal Kingdom (EAK) after his spiritual enlightenment, and after he resigned his government office as senior mining assessor on June 2, 1747. In his resignation letter to the King of Sweden, Swedenborg gave this reason for his early retirement: