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For the New Jerusalem Magazine.
[In the year 1790, a New Church monthly periodical was issued at London, entitled the New Jerusalem Magazine, but for want of support its publication ceased with the 6th number. It appears to have been conducted with considerable ability. Its principal value, however, we conceive to have consisted in its being a medium of communicating to the world numerous extracts from Swedenborg's diary, letters, and unpublished treatises. A great proportion of its pages is filled with these extracts; all which are interesting, and some of them present views of truth which we do not recollect to have seen in the works which Swedenborg has published. As it is not probable that these extracts will be published, in connexion with the works to which they belong, for a great number of years, and as there are but very few copies of the Magazine which contains them in this country, we have thought that we could not more usefully appropriate a portion of our pages than to the republication of a selection of them from time to time.
In relation to the following, the editors of the Magazine remark that they "here lay before their readers a close translation of a short treatise on the Sacred Scripture, which was left by the author in Latin manuscript." We infer from this lan
guage, and the absence of all appearances to the contrary, that this treatise is complete, and that they published the whole of it. We shall do likewise.]
From the New Jerusalem Magazine of 1790.
CONCERNING THE SACRED SCRIPTURE OR THE WORD OF THE LORD, FROM EXPERIENCE.
That the Word inwardly is living.
WHEN the Word is read by a man who esteems it holy, its natural sense then becomes spiritual in the second heaven, and celestial in the third heaven, thus it is successively stripped of its natural (sense); the reason is, because the natural, spiritual, and celestial (senses) correspond to each other, and the Word is written by mere correspondences. The natural sense of the Word is such as it is in the sense of the letter, every particular of which becomes spiritual, and afterwards celestial in the heavens; and when it becomes spiritual it then lives in heaven from the light of truth therein, and when it becomes celestial, it lives from the flame of good therein: for spiritual ideas with the angels of the second heaven, derive their origin from the light existing there, which in its essence is divine truth; but the celestial ideas with the angels of the third heaven, derive their origin from the flame of good, which in its essence is divine good. For in the second heaven there is a white light, from which the angels, who are in that heaven, think, and in the third heaven there is a flaming light, from which the angels, who are in that heaven think. The thoughts of angels differ entirely from the thoughts of men, they think by lights either of a white or flaming nature, which can never be described in natural words. From this it appears, that the Word is inwardly living, consequently that it is not dead, but alive with that man, who, while reading the Word, thinks holily
concerning it. Moreover every part of the Word is vivified by the Lord; because with the Lord it becomes life, as the Lord says in John, The words which I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life, vi. 63. The life, which by means of the Word flows in from the Lord is the light of truth in the understanding, and the good of love in the will; this love and that light constitute together the life of heaven, which life with man is called eternal life. The Lord even teaches, that God was the Word, in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John i. 4.
Concerning the Difference in general, between the Natural, the Spiritual, and the Celestial.
There are three heavens, the lowest, the middle, and the highest, in the lowest heaven they are natural, but their natural quality is either from the spiritual which belongs to the middle heaven, or from the celestial which belongs to the third heaven. In the second heaven they are spiritual, and in the third heaven, celestial; there are also intermediate angels who are called celestial-spiritual, from these are the preachers in the third heaven. The difference between the natural, the spiritual, and celestial, is such, that there is no ratio between them, for which reason the natural can in no wise by any approximation approach towards the spiritual, nor the spiritual towards the natural; hence it is that the heavens are distinct. This it has been given me to know by much experience; I have often been sent into the company of the spiritual angels, at which time I conversed with them in a spiritual manner, and then retaining in my memory what I had been conversing about, when I returned into my natural state, in which every man is in this world, then I was desirous to recall it to remembrance, and describe it, but I could not, it was impossible; there were no expressions, nor even ideas of thought by which I could express it, they were spiritual ideas of thought and spiritual expressions, so remote from natural ideas of thought and natural expressions, that they did not approximate in the least. What is wonderful, when I was in that heaven and conversing with the angels, then I knew no otherwise than that I spoke in like manner as I speak with men; but afterwards I found that the thoughts and the discourses were so unlike that they could not be made to approach each other, consequently that there is no ratio betwixt them. There is a similar difference between the spiritual and celestial; that there was a similar difference has been told me, and that it was of such a nature, that there is given no proportion or approximation between them; but as I could not be confirmed in this by my own experience, unless I had been absolutely an angel of the middle heaven, wherefore it has been granted to some angels of the middle heaven to be in company with angels of the third heaven, and
then to think and speak there with them, also to retain in their memory what they had been thinking and speaking of, and afterwards to return into the second heaven, and they told me from that heaven, that they were not able to express a single idea or a single word of their former state, and that it was impossible, and lastly they said, that there was no proportion or approximation between them.
It has therefore been sometimes granted me, to be among the angels of the middle and of the highest heaven, and to hear them conversing with one another, at which time I was in an interior natural state, removed from worldly and corporeal things, viz. when waking after my first sleep; then I heard things unutterable and inexpressible, as we read happened to Paul; and sometimes I was admitted into the perception and understanding of the subjects they were conversing upon; the subjects they conversed upon were full of mysteries, concerning the Lord, redemption, regeneration, providence, and other similar things: after which it was given me to understand, that I could not utter or describe those mysteries by any spiritual or celestial expression, but that nevertheless they might be described even to a rational capacity by words of natural language. And it was told me, that there is not any divine arcana existing, which may not be perceived, and even expressed naturally, although in a general and imperfect manner; and moreover, that they, who in a natural manner, by means of their rational understanding, perceive those things from the affection of truth, may afterwards when they become spirits perceive and speak of them in a spiritual manner, and when they become angels in a celestial manner, but no others. For a single divine truth naturally perceived and loved, is like a crystal or porcelain cup, which is afterwards filled with wine, and with such wine as the nature of the truth was, and as it were of such a taste as the affection of the truth was. That such a difference exists, which may be termed unlimited, between the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, may clearly appear from the difference between the thoughts of men and angels, as well as from the difference of their speech and operations, and also from the difference of their writings; from all which as from so many confirmations it will appear, what the quality is of each, and in what manner the perfections in every thing ascend and pass from the world into heaven and from heaven into the world.
In relation to thoughts; all the thoughts of man, together with every singular idea thereof, derive somewhat from space, time, person, and matter, which appear in natural light or the light of the world, for nothing can be thought without light, in like manner as nothing can be seen without light, and natural light or the light of the world is dead, inasmuch as it is from the sun, which
is pure fire; nevertheless the light of heaven every where and constantly flows into and vivifies that light, communicating perception and understanding of the object. The mere light of the world cannot communicate any thing perceptive and intellectual, or yield any natural or rational lumen; but the light of the world communicates and yields it from the light of heaven, because the light of heaven is from its sun, which is the Lord and thence life itself. The influx of heavenly light into the light of the world is like the influx of the cause into the effect; the nature of this influx shall be explained elsewhere. From this it appears, what the quality of natural thought is, or what quality the ideas of men's thoughts are, namely, that they inseparably cohere with space, time, personality and matter, consequently such thoughts or ideas of thoughts are very limited and bounded and thus of a crass nature, and may be called material. But the thoughts of the angels of the middle heaven are all independent of space, time, personality and matter, for which reason they are unlimited and unbounded; the objects of their thoughts are spiritual like the thoughts themselves, for which reason they think concerning those objects spiritually and not naturally. But with regard to the angels of the highest heaven, they have no thoughts, but perceptions of the things which they hear and see; instead of thoughts they have affections, which with them are varied, in like manner as thoughts are varied with the spiritual angels.
As to what regards speech; the speech of man is like the ideas of his thoughts, for the ideas of his thoughts become expressions when they pass into speech; for which reason the speech of man in every expression partakes of space, time, personality and matBut the speech of the angels of the middle heaven is also like the ideas of their thought, for the words of speech express them. But the speech of the angels of the highest heaven is from the variation of their affections; but when they are speaking with the spiritual angels, they speak in a similar manner, but not so when conversing with each other: forasmuch as such is the nature of the speech of angels, and such the nature of the speech of men, therefore they differ so much from each other, that they possess nothing in common; their difference is such, that a man cannot understand a single expression of an angel, nor an angel a single expression of a man. I have heard the speech of angels, and retained the expressions, and I afterwards examined, whether any expression coincided with any word of human languages or speech, and there was not one. Spiritual speech is the same with all, and is implanted in every man, and he enters into it, as soon as he becomes a spirit.
In respect to writing; it is similar to their speech. The writing of the spiritual angels as to the letters resembles the writing of
men in the world, but every letter signifies a thing, so that you would assert, if you saw it in a natural state, that it consisted merely of letters; but writing in the highest heaven has no resemblance as to letters, for with them letters are drawn in various curvatures, not unlike the letters of the Hebrew language, but every where inflected, and not consisting merely of lines. Every letter implies a thing, of which they have a perception from affection, and not from any thought. Hence it is that a natural man comprehends nothing of spiritual writing, nor a spiritual man (an angel) of natural writing; neither does a spiritual angel comprehend any thing of celestial writing, nor a celestial angel of spiritual writing, unless he is in company with a spiritual angel.
Their operations, which are manifold, are similar, for every one is employed in some work. In what manner the spiritual angels operate cannot be described to a natural angel; nor can it be described to a spiritual angel, in what manner the celestial angels operate; for herein they differ as widely as in their thoughts, speech, and writing.
Hence it may clearly appear what the difference is between the natural, the spiritual, and the celestial, viz. that it is of such a nature as not to agree in any respect except by correspondences; which is also the reason that men are ignorant, that they are in consociation with spirits, and spirits that they are in consociation with men, when nevertheless the consociation is continual; for man cannot live a single instant, unless he is in the midst of spirits as to his thoughts and affections; neither can a spirit or angel live a single moment unless they are with man, the reason is, because there is a perpetual conjunction from primitives to ultimates, (a primis ad ultima) consequently from the Lord to man; and conjunction from creation is effected by correspondences, and flows in through angels and spirits. Every thing celestial flows into the spiritual, and the spiritual into the natural, and terminates and subsists in its ultimate, which is corporeal and material. Without such an ultimate into which the intermediate things flow, there is no subsistence, otherwise than like a house built on the top of a rock, wherefore the basis and the foundation of the heavens is the human race.
[To be Continued.]