« PrécédentContinuer »
ness only as the means to that end. Does not this show that the world is, as the Scripture says, “ turned upside down.”
We should look at life in this way. The world is full of uses, high and low, great and small. We call them trades, professions, busi
But in a light truly philosophical and religious, they will be looked upon as uses—uses performed for society and for the good of mankind. Consider any one of them, and you will see this to be the true view. Take one of the humblest forms of use—as for instance, that of sweeping the streets. How necessary to our comfort is the faithful performance of that use ! The man who “works at it," as it is termed, thinks perhaps only of his eighteen shillings a week, but the philosopher and religious man thinks of the use to society. So with the trade of building houses, manufacturing furniture or clothing, selling groceries or merchandise of any kind—are not these all uses, the faithful or unfaithful performance of which affects our daily comfort and enjoyment !
Now, men in this perverted age are apt to think of their businesses and trades only as means of getting a living or making money, not of serving society. Hence all the selfishness, scrambling for gain, fraud and deception in the world around us.
It all comes from putting profit first and use last-money as the end, and trade only as the means. Hence men do their work unfaithfully, dishonestly, and make unfair profits. This is all perverted order.
See now how the opposite cause would work, and how things would be if the world came into heavenly order.
A man, we will suppose, puts his use first. He loves his use. He wishes, by that use, to be of service to his fellow-men. The result will be, that he will try to perform it well, whatever it is. And in that effort and that thonght, the Lord and angels would be with him, and would inspire content and happiness into his heart. He would not push and drive and overwork himself, because he is working for the Lord, not for self. The Lord is not a hard master, and does not require excessive labours of any man.
But the “world and the devil" and self and the love of money, which as the apostle says, is the “root of all evil,”—these are hard masters and tyrants, and make a man sweat under his burden. Hence so many overworked and oppressed and wretched masters and servants at this day. It is because the love of self, not the love of use, rules all.
The Things which are of the Light of the World. 129
Now, it is time to make a change in this respect, and let each man begin with himself. Let him contemplate the world as one of uses, just as heaven is a world of uses. No one is idle there, but all perform uses for the sake and from the love of ušes, and, as we are instructed, no one who puts self first and use last can find a place in heaven.
Then the same law must be cultivated here: the character is formed for heaven here day by day. Let a man say to himself, “This is the use which I have chosen in life, or to which I have been led under Divine Providence. Let me perform it faithfully and uprightly, and try to take pleasure in it and love it because it is a benefit to mankind.” Or if it happens to be one he cannot make himself love, let him at least fulfil it resignedly and faithfully, and the Lord will bless him in it. “If I do this prudently and wisely," he says to himself, “I shall be supported and my family. I shall not be allowed to want. For the Lord has said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things needful shall be added to you,' and the kingdom of the Lord is a kingdom of uses."
Duty first, and pleasure and profit afterwards : that is the rule. The hand does not labour for itself, but for the whole body :-the stomach does not toil for itself, but for the whole system, and thus it is itself supported. Such is the true order of society. Each should labour for all by performing some use, and then society will make return and support each. This is the order of heaven, and should be the order of the world. Let each one do what he can to bring it back into this order, so that the Lord's “kingdom may come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven."
THE THINGS WHICH ARE OF THE LIGHT OF
In No. 222 of the “Spiritual Diary" there occurs the following striking passage :
“ That there are three solar atmospheres which operate upon the natural mind; not however on the interior. But God Messiah is the Sun in the interior and inmost (mind).
“ 222. There are four natural spheres which arise from the sun; the atmosphere which causes hearing is known. A purer atmosphere separate from the aerial is that which produces sight or causes things to be seen by the reflections of light (nimbi) from all objects: how far this atmosphere penetrates into the natural mind, and whether it presents material ideas, as they are called, or phantasies and imaginations, cannot yet be clearly stated, but it appears probable from various considerations. This, then, will be the first atmosphere which reigns in the natural mind. Another atmosphere, which is a still purer ether, is that which produces the magnetic forces (vires magnetum) which reign not only about the magnet in particular, but also around the whole globe ; but to what extent it is not necessary to describe ; it produces there the situation of the entire terraqueous globe according to the poles of the world, and also many things which are known respecting the elevations and inclinations of the magnet. This sphere in the natural mind appears to produce reasonings (ratiocinia), in which however a spiritual life must needs be present, that they may live, as in the sight and in every other sense [there must be a spiritual principle] that they may perceive. The purest ethereal sphere is that universal sphere in the entire world which is presented (or is active) about the ratiocinations of the same mind : hence that mind is called the natural mind; and its interior operations when perverse are called ratiocinations, but when according to order, they are called simply reason, and is a species of thoughts on account of (or arising from spiritual influx. These spheres arise from the sun, and may be called solar, and are consequently natural. In the interior mind, however, there is nothing natural, but all is spiritual, and in the inmost mind is the celestial principle. These (spheres) are produced by God Messiah alone, and are living, and are to be called spiritual and celestial spheres. Concerning these spheres I conversed this morning with an an angel and was confirmed. Oct. 27, 1747, 0. s.”
There are some passages in the Worship and Love of God, which seem to say that these solar atmospheres have something to do with the illuminations of the natural mind.
“Into our minds also two lights flow in, one which is called spiritual from the Supreme and His Love, the other natural from the sun of our world and its heat; these lights meet together in our minds.”W. & L. 56.
“It is very clear that it [the spiritual principle] doth not flow in through the doors of the sight, or by the way of images, which contain in them nothing of spiritual light, but that these being enlightened and excited by their own light are elevated upwards so as to meet and be conjoined with spiritual light.”—W. & L. 46, note (f).
“Thought is a certain species of discourse with a man's self; for since the operations of our minds are real activities or changes of state by variations of form, it follows that they also constitute a species of interior speech; for our speech itself is in like manner effected by variations of the form of the larynx, glottis, palate, tongue, and mouth; and in place of the air whence sound from the latter is derived, in the former is the most pure air which is called ether, and which agrees in all its nature with air, but is more perfect, so that there is no other difference between them than according to the perfection of the acting substances and principles. Unless this was the case, and the same also in respect to vision, it would be impossible for us to perceive what we think, still less to discourse with ourselves and to utter the same.” -W. & L. 52, note (p).
Is there anything in the writings of Swedenborg published by himself after the opening of his spiritual sight, tending to confirm the point, which he only suggests as probable in the “ Spiritual Diary."
Here there at once present themselves those numerous passages in the “ Arcana" and elsewhere in whieh “the light of the world,” and the things which are of the light of the world,” or which are “in” that light, are spoken of. For it is plain, from the most cursory inspection of them, that they refer not only to objects of outward vision, but also to things we take cognizance of by mental vision. Witness the following
“Things which are of the natural mind are for the most part in the light of the world, which light also is called the lumen of nature." – A. C. 7130.
Those things which are stored up in the memory, and in the memory appear before the understanding, appear in the light of the world, which is called natural lumen."--A. C. 9227.
“Scientifics are in a light nearly the same as that in which man's sensual principle of sight is.”—A. C. 6004.
Looking at these passages, which could easily be multiplied, we might think that the point under investigation was to be settled in the affirmative. But a little further investigation makes it doubtful whether Swedenborg really comprehended anything of solar origin in the “light of the world,” when he speaks of the natural mind as being in it, and seeing from it. For let us observe, that, in two of
the above extracts, he identifies it with the light (lumen) of nature. But of this lumen we read,
“With the former" (the regenerate man)" scientifics receive illustration from the light of heaven, but with the latter" (the unregenerate) “from the light which flows in through spirits who are in falses and evils, which light indeed is from the light of heaven, but with them it becomes opaque like the light of evening or night.” A. C. 4967.
“ The internal sensual principle which is nearest to the sensuals of the body has a most gross lumen. This lumen prevails in the hells, and through it principally the hells flow in into men.
When man is in this lumen his thought is nearly in the same lumen as his external sight, and is at such times almost in the body.”—A. C. 6310.
The angels themselves are occasionally in this lumen
“If an idea derived from space and time intervenes with them” (the angels) “shade and darkness immediately come over their minds, because they fall in such case from the light of heaven into the lumen of nature, which to them is darkness.”—A. C. 8918.
Moreover, the light of the world is coupled with the heat of this world in the following passages, so that we can infer from the latter what we are to understand by the former. But the heat of this world is identified with love.
They who are in the loves of self and the world, consequently in the heat only of the light of the world, are only affected with evils and falses.”—A. C. 3224.
Still we have the following :
“So far as man is principled in love so' far he is in vital heat; the body nevertheless is in the heat of the world, and also the interior sensual principle, but vital heat flows in to this latter heat and vivifies it. The case is the same with its purities and grossnesses as with lights.”—A. C. 6314.
It must be admitted that some force will have to be applied to this passage before it can be turned away from looking towards the affirmation of the point in question.
“ That man” (the external) “is affected with truths which are of the light of the world, and with the good which is the heat of that light, which also is love, but the love of such things as are in the world.”—A. C. 9383.
As the heat of the world is called love in this passage, it plainly is not heat of solar origin that we are to understand by it—so that we