(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 35

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35. To this I will add this Memorable Relation:
At one time I was in a state of amazement at the vast multitude of men who ascribe creation, and consequently every thing that is under the sun and every thing above the sun, to nature, saying with a hearty acknowledgment, when they see anything, "Is not this from nature?" And when asked why they say it is from nature and not from God, although they often say, in common with others, that God created nature, and might therefore just as well say that what they see is from God as that it is from nature, they answer with an inner tone that is scarcely audible, "What is God but nature?" All such, from this persuasion that nature created the universe, and from this insanity that appears like wisdom, seem to be elated to such a degree that they look down upon all those who acknowledge the creation of the universe by God as ants that creep upon the ground and keep the beaten track, and upon some as butterflies flying in the air; and the opinions of such they call dreams, because they see what they do not see; and they say, "Who has seen God, and who does not see nature?"
[2] While I was wondering greatly at the multitude of such, an angel stood at my side and said to me, "What are you meditating about?"
I replied, "About the great number of those who believe that nature exists of itself, and is thus the creator of the universe."
And the angel said to me, "All hell consists of such, and those who are there are called satans and devils-satans those who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature, and in consequence have denied God; devils those who have lived wickedly and have thus cast out from their hearts all acknowledgment of God. But I will conduct you to the schools which are in the southwest quarter, where those are who are not yet in hell."
He took me by the hand and led me away; and I saw small houses in which were the schools, and in the midst of them a building which served as headquarters for the rest. This was built of pitch-black stones overlaid with little glass-like plates, sparkling as it were with gold and silver, like what are called selenites, or like mica, with glittering shells here and there interspersed.
[3] We approached this building and knocked, and immediately a person opened the door and said, "Welcome." And he ran to a table and brought four books, and said, "These books are the wisdom that is at this day applauded by many kingdoms; this book or wisdom is applauded by many in France; this by many in Germany; this by some in Holland; this by some in Britain." He said also, "If you wish to see it I will cause these four books to shine before your eyes." And he poured forth the glory of his fame round about; and immediately the books beamed as if with light; but this light quickly vanished from our sight.
We then asked what he was now writing; and he answered that he was bringing out from his treasures and setting forth matters pertaining to the deepest wisdom, which in general are these: (1) Whether nature is a property of life, or life of nature? (2) Whether the center is from the expanse, or the expanse from the center? (3) Respecting the center of the expanse and of life.
[4] After these remarks he seated himself at the table, while we walked about the building, which was spacious. He had a candle on his table, because there was no light of the sun there, but only the nocturnal light of the moon; and what seemed wonderful, the candle seemed to be carried round and round, and to give light; but not having been snuffed it gave but little light. While he wrote we saw images of various forms flying from the table to the walls, which appeared in the nocturnal moonlight there like beautiful eastern birds; but as soon as we opened the door these appeared in the light of day like those birds of night that have membranous wings; for they were resemblances of truth which through confirmations had become fallacies, and had been ingeniously woven by him into a series.
[5] After seeing this, we approached the table and asked him what he was then writing about.
He said about the first question, Whether nature is a property of life, or life of nature? And he said he could prove both sides of this and make them true; but as there was something lurking within that he feared, he dared only to prove that nature is a property of life, in other words, is from life, and not that life is a property of nature, in other words, is from nature.
We asked courteously what it was lurking within that he feared.
He replied that he was afraid of being called a naturalist, and thus an atheist, by the clergy, and a man of unsound reason by the laity, since both of these either believe from a blind faith or see only from the views of those who confirm that faith.
[6] Then with some heat of zeal for the truth we addressed him, saying, "Friend, you are very much deceived; you have been misled by your wisdom, which is a certain talent for writing, and you have been led by the glory of fame into proving what you do not believe. Do you not know that the human mind is capable of being raised above things sensual, which enter into the thought from the bodily senses; and that when the mind has been thus raised up it sees what is from life as above, and what is from nature as beneath? What is life but love and wisdom? And what is nature but the receptacle of these, by means of which they accomplish their effects or uses? Can life and nature be one except as the principal and the instrumental? Can light be one with the eye, or sound with the ear? Are not the sensations of these derived from life, and their forms from nature? What is the human body but an organ of life? Are not all things and each thing therein organically formed for the production of what the love wills and the understanding thinks? Are not the bodily organs from nature, and love and thought from life? And are not these perfectly distinct from each other? Raise the keenness of your intellect a little higher still, and you will see that to be moved by affection and to think belong to life-the former belonging to love and the latter to wisdom and both love and wisdom belong to life; for, as before said, love and wisdom are life. If you will lift your capacity to understand a little higher, you will see that love and wisdom could have no existence without having somewhere an origin, and that that origin is love itself and wisdom itself, and therefore life itself, and these are God, from whom nature is."
[7] Afterwards we talked with him upon the second point, Whether the center is from the expanse or the expanse from the center? asking why he canvassed this. He answered that he did so in order to form a conclusion about the center and the expanse of nature and of life, and so about the origin of each. And when we asked his opinion, he replied, the same as before, that he could prove either of these, but from fear of loss of reputation he would prove that the expanse is of the center, that is, from the center, "although I know," he said, "that there must have been something before there was a sun, and this throughout the whole expanse, and that this of itself flowed together into order, thus towards a center."
[8] We then addressed him again with indignant zeal, and said, "Friend, you are insane." Hearing this he drew his seat from the table, and looked at us timidly, and then gave us his attention, but with laughter. We went on to say, "What can be more insane than to say that the center is from the expanse? By your center we understand the sun, and by your expanse the universe; thus are you not contending that the universe came into existence without the sun? Does not the sun produce nature and all its properties, and do not these depend solely on the light and heat from the sun through the atmospheres? Where, then, could these have been previously? But the origin of these we will discuss hereafter. Are not the atmospheres and all things on the earth like surfaces, of which the sun is the center? What would all these be without the sun? Could they subsist for one moment? What, then, could they have been before the sun was formed? Could they have had any existence? Is not subsistence perpetual existence? As the subsistence, then, of all things of nature is from the sun, it follows that their existence is from the same source. This everyone sees, and from the evidence of his own eyes acknowledges.
[9] Does not the posterior have both its existence and its subsistence from the prior? If the surface were the prior and the center the posterior, would not the prior subsist from the posterior, and would not that be contrary to the laws of order? How can the posterior produce the prior, or the exterior the interior, or the grosser the purer? How then can the surface things which constitute the expanse produce the center? Who does not see that this is contrary to the laws of nature? We have presented these evidences from rational analysis to prove that the expanse has its existence from the center, and not the reverse, although everyone who thinks rightly can see this without these evidences.
You have said that the expanse of itself flowed together towards the center. Was it by chance that it did this in such a marvelous and amazing order that one thing is for the sake of another, and each and all things for the sake of man and his eternal life? Is nature, from any love through any wisdom, capable of premeditating ends, contemplating causes, and thus providing effects, that such things may exist in their order? Or is nature capable of converting men into angels, of making a heaven of these, and causing those who are there to live forever? Put these things together and reflect, and your idea of nature's existence from nature will fall to the ground."
[10] After this we asked him what he had thought and what he still thought about the third question, On the center and the expanse of nature and of life; whether he believed the center and the expanse of life to be the same with the center and expanse of nature?
He said that he was perplexed; that he had formerly believed life to be an interior activity of nature, and that this was the source of love and wisdom, which essentially constitute man's life, and that this activity is produced by the sun's fire, through its heat and light, by means of the atmospheres; but now from what he had heard of the life of men after death he was in doubt; and this doubt carried his mind sometimes upwards and sometimes downwards; and when upwards he acknowledged a center of which he had formerly known nothing; and when downwards he saw the center which he had supposed to be the only one; and he believed life to be from the center of which he had before known nothing, and nature to be from the center which he had formerly supposed to be the only one, each center having an expanse round about it.
[11] This, we said, would answer if he would look from the center and expanse of life to the center and expanse of nature, and not the reverse. And we informed him that above the angelic heaven there is a sun which is pure love, in appearance fiery, like the sun of the world; and that from the heat going forth from that sun angels and men have their will and love, and from its light their understanding and wisdom; and whatever is from that sun is called spiritual; while whatever proceeds from the sun of the world is a containant or receptacle of life, and is called natural; thus the expanse pertaining to the center of life is called the spiritual world, having its subsistence from its own sun, while the expanse pertaining to the center of nature is called the natural world, having its subsistence from its sun. Since, then, spaces and times cannot be predicated of love and wisdom, and since states take the place there of spaces and times, it follows that there is no extension in the expanse about the sun of the angelic heaven although this expanse is in the extension of the natural sun, and in the living subjects there in accordance with their reception, while their reception is in accordance with forms and states.
[12] Then he asked, "What is the origin of the fire of the sun of the world or of nature?"
We answered that it is from the sun of the angelic heaven, which is not fire, but the Divine love that most nearly goes forth from God, who is in the midst of that sun. As he seemed surprised at this we set it forth in this way: "Love in its essence is spiritual fire; and for this reason in the Word, in its spiritual sense, fire signifies love; and it is on this account that priests in churches pray that heavenly fire, by which they mean love, may fill the hearts of men. The fire of the altar and the fire of the candlestick in the tabernacle represented among the Israelites no other than the Divine love. The heat of the blood, or the vital heat of men and of animals in general, is from no other source than the love that constitutes their life. Therefore man is enkindled, grows warm, and is inflamed when his love is exalted to zeal or excited to anger and passion. Since, then, spiritual heat, which is love, produces in men natural heat, even so far as to enkindle and inflame their faces and limbs, it is clear that the fire of the natural sun sprang from no other source than the fire of the spiritual sun which is the Divine love. [13] And since, furthermore, the expanse, as has just been said, originates in the center, and not the reverse, and the center of life, which is the sun of the angelic heaven, is the Divine love most nearly going forth from God, who is in the midst of that sun; and since the expanse of that center, which is called the spiritual world, is from that origin; and since from that spiritual sun the sun of the world sprang, and from it its expanse, which is called the natural world, it is plain that the universe was created by God." After this we departed; and he accompanied us out of the hall of his school, and talked with us about heaven and hell and the Divine auspices with a new intellectual sagacity.


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