« PreviousContinue »
are no otherwise rewarded for making themselves happy, and the wretched no otherwise punished for making themselves wretched, than by the permission given to all, to remain that which they chose to become.
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE.
APOCALYPSE, i. 12-18.
And I turned to see the voice, which spake with me, and being turned I saw seven golden candlesticks. In a preceding verse, John says of himself, that being in the spirit on the Lord's day he heard a voice behind him; and in the explanation of this passage it was said, that by his hearing a voice behind him was signified a state of mind receptive of divine influx; and that the preparation, by which this state was produced, is that he was in the spirit on the Lord's day. It is produced by man's turning from external things to internal-from self to the Lord; for this influx is constantly flowing in, though it is not constantly perceived; and therefore by a state receptive of it, is not meant a state in which it may flow in, because this does not depend upon the state of man; but what is meant is a state agreeing with the influx-a state which does not pervert, and by perverting conceal the influx; a state, in which man loves the Lord and influx from the Lord, and because he loves it, because he loves it as it is, he will not pervert it; he will not transform it into its opposite. And as every man can tell what he himself wills or loves, so, when he is in the spirit on the Lord's day, and wills that the Lord's will should be done, he is enabled to perceive what the Lord's will is, for his own will makes one with it. In this state man is not a servant, but a friend, because it is made known to him what his Lord doeth. At the dawn of this day, or in the commencement of this state, his understanding is not so much illustrated as his will is warmed. He hears a great voice like a trumpet behind him, saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. His love is full, but undefined, except so far as to exclude all limitation and impureness. But as this influx of love from the Lord to the Lord descends in man through his will into his understanding, his understanding is illustrated; and this is what is meant when it is said that he turned to see the voice which spake with him. It denotes thought from affection-thought concerning the subject of his love, the unfolding of heat in light.
And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks.-Being turned, in the manner now described, he would of course see what was the quality of divine influx; what its endeavour is that man
should be; what it would have him become; what it works within him, and what it would that he should do ;—thus he sees what a true church would be; for he sees what that church is, which cometh down from God out of heaven. The quality of the divine influx, the quality of the church in its coming forth from God, is represented by the visible forms which he saw-the first of which was seven golden candlesticks. A candlestick represents the church by correspondence; for as a burning and shining candle resembles the natural sun, so the true church, or a man in whom the true church is, is an image and likeness of the Lord, who is the spiritual sun, the sun of the spiritual world. And the candlesticks are said to be golden, because this church is filled with love to the Lord; because they do what is good from a love for so doing, that is, they are in good; and this kind of good is represented by gold, for it is among celestial things what gold is among minerals. There appeared to be seven of them, to denote that this church was in the state which results from having passed through what is represented by six days of labour.
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man.-By the Son of Man is signified the Lord as to divine truth or the Word, which is evident from the manner in which this name is used in the sacred writings; as in John, The multitude said to Jesus, how sayest thou that the Son of Man must be exalted? who is this Son of Man? Jesus answered them, yet a little while the light is with you; walk whilst ye have the light, lest the darkness come upon you; whilst ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be sons of the light. From these words it is manifest that by the Son of Man is signified the same as by light; for when they inquired who is this Son of Man? the Lord answered that he was the light in which they should believe; and that the light in which they should believe was the divine truth, can need no confirmation. One like unto the Son of Man was seen in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, because the true church consists of those in whom the Son of Man or divine truth is exalted; of those, who by believing in the light have become the sons of the light. It is said that one like unto the Son of Man appeared in the midst of the candlesticks-because those who are not in the church, have truth not in the midst, but in the circumference. They have only a knowledge of it, and pay no more regard to it than they are obliged to, or than what they deem expedient for extraneous reasons—as that it is conducive to their selfish purposes; therefore truth with them is subservient to them, and is held in the circumference of their thoughts and affections. But with those who are in the church, truth is exalted and made to rule over all other things within them. It is made to be primary with them, and other things are made subordinate and sub
servient to it. They love the truth for its own sake. They love to do what the truth teaches them to do, because it seems good or delightful to them to do it. Thus truth is with them in the midst. And there appears in the midst of seven such golden candlesticks as they are, one like unto the Son of Man.
Clothed with a long garment, signifies the appearance of divine truth proceeding from him. Garments correspond to truths, because as garments clothe the body, so truths are the forms in which goods are made manifest. For goods are those things which are delightful to man, in which he is happy. Now if you were to have a perception in your mind of a situation, condition or state in which you believe that your neighbour would be happy, how would you communicate this perception to him? You would endeavour to describe it to him-to show what it is and to distinguish it from what it is not-to point out the way to it and to mark all those false appearances which would be likely to mislead. But all these directions and descriptions are not the good itself; but with you they are truths from the good; they are all that you can communicate to your neighbour of the perception which you have; and with him they are truths leading to good; they are as clear a manifestation and as complete a donation and appropriation of the good to him as is possible until he makes use of the means. Thus stands the Son of Man, having in his mind and view those blessings, which would give unto man eternal life and make him eternally happy. The garments with which he is clothed, or in other language, the descriptions which he gives of that state of happiness and of the means of arriving at it-the truths proceeding from that good and leading unto it, are his words. Such is the signification of the long garment, in which the Son of Man was invested.
And girt about the paps with a golden girdle, signifies the conjoining influence of divine good; because by breast and by paps, when predicated of the Lord, are signified the divine good, and therefore by the golden girdle, which girded them, is signified the proceeding and conjoining influence of divine good or divine love. Thus it is the united influence of divine good and divine truth, that makes a church of him, who receives them. It is the divine good, that, by giving truths and the recipients of truths their true spirit and life, binds them together in mutual affection, and unites them by love to the Lord.
And his head and hairs bright white, as white wool, as snow.— The head is the most noble and principal part of the man. It is that which is first formed and all the other parts are formed through it as a medium. There is where the influx of divine love and wisdom is first received-consequently where affections and thoughts originate, whence they descend through the other
parts of the body, and come forth in the form of words and actions. Therefore, by head, when the Lord is spoken of, are signified the divine love and wisdom in their inmost or most essential principles; and by hairs are signified the divine love and wisdom in their lowest and most external mode of existence, where they manifest no more of the essential divine life, than hairs do of the life of man. That the Lord glorified his humanity, or made it divine from highest principles to lowest, is evident from its being said of the Son of Man that his head and his hairs were bright white; and that the true church thus esteems him, that he is thus glorified in their view, and that they are a church because he is thus glorified in them, appears from its being said that the Son of Man so appeared in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. As white wool has reference to the divine good, because sheep and lambs, on which wool is found, correspond to good affections; and by snow is signified truth, because snow is from water, which corresponds to truth.
And his eyes as a flame of fire.—By the eyes of the Son of Man is signified divine wisdom; and since the wisdom of the Lord is not speculative knowledge, but wise and orderly operation, therefore by the eyes of the Lord are signified the divine providence, which has for its end a heaven from the human race, and worketh hitherto, and now worketh, and will work evermore to accomplish this end. His eyes appeared as a flame of fire, because divine wisdom is one with divine love, and because it so appears to the true church, in the midst of whom the Son of Man is here represented to be. The warmth of the spirit-its vital heat is love. And natural fire corresponds to spiritual fire, which is divine love; and because the divine wisdom knows of nothing that ought to be done, of nothing that it would be good to do, which the divine love does not operate to effect; therefore the eyes of the Son of Man appear as a flame of fire-their wisdom being derived from love.
And his feet like to fine brass, as though they burned in a furnace. By feet are signified external natural principles. By brass is signified natural good. All the metals represent different qualities of good or of love. Gold corresponds to the highest, or to celestial good; silver corresponds to truth derived from that good: thus to spiritual good; brass corresponds to natural good, and iron to natural truth. And it is said of the Son of Man that his feet were like to fine brass, as though they burned in a furnace, because he made his natural principle, represented by feet, divine; and because he was to be so lifted up in the church, represented by the seven golden candlesticks, as to appear in his true light, or to be seen in his glory. As Moses lifted up the the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so is the Son of Man lifted up in
them, and it is by means of the faith which so lifts him up, that they are saved from perishing, and are brought into possession of eternal life. For in proportion as the Son of Man is lifted up in us, love for ourselves and faith in ourselves is diminished. The natural man is governed by the love of self and a love of the world thence derived. These two loves may be considered as the natural man himself, for all that he is or does is derived from them. He may profess to have and may appear to have some regard to the Lord and to his neighbour; but all his regard to them and all that he does for them is for the sake of himself. When he looks unto the Lord, it is not from any love to the Lord, but it is to the end that the Lord may favour him and grant him prosperity in his selfish and worldly concerns; and when he performs actions that are beneficial to his neighbour, it is not from any love to his neighbour, not from a love of doing him good, but it is in hope of receiving as much again. And in this case what reward does he deserve? Natural justice grants him as much again-it grants that for which and from which his works were done; but he lays up no treasure in heaven. His works all begin and end in self.-But with those who are represented by the seven golden candlesticks, in the midst of whom was seen one like to the Son of Man, this natural principle is brought into subjection and subordination to the spiritual. The love of self and the world is brought into subordination to the Lord and the neighbour. They seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness in all that they do, even in those works which appear to concern themselves and their own welfare exclusively, such as providing food and clothing and habitations for themselves: these things they do not provide and make use of from love to themselves, but from love to others. Their ruling desire is to be serviceable to others, and to contribute to the welfare and happiness of others, and food and clothing are necessary for themselves in order that they may be able to perform these services. For this reason do
they labour to obtain them; and it is because they have this end in view, that they can enjoy them. Even their sensual appetite derives its delight from the same source and looks to the same end; and life itself becomes a servant to this ruling love. the natural principle is lifted up. Whereas it was dead in respect to divine life, because it looked to itself and loved itself alone; it is now alive because it receives life from love to the Lord. And it does not, like a black substance, absorb and appropriate to itself all that it receives, but like the polished brass, which represents the feet of the Son of Man, it would be unseen, if it did not make itself visible by reflecting beautiful images of every thing around it. The natural principle of those who are represented by the seven golden candlesticks, is thus elevated by