(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 695

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695. Fourth Memorable Relation:
At the present day most of those who believe in a life after death, also believe that in heaven their thoughts will be nothing but devotions, and their words nothing but prayers; and that all these, together with the expressions of the face and the actions of the body, will be nothing but glorification of God, thus their houses will be houses of worship or sacred chapels, and they themselves will all be priests of God.
But I can affirm that the holy things of the church do not occupy the minds or homes of men there any more than in the world where God is worshiped, although worship there is purer and more interior; while the various matters pertaining to civil prudence and to rational learning are to be found there in their excellence.
[2] One day I was taken up to heaven, and was conducted to a certain society there, where the Sophi were who in ancient times excelled in learning because of their deep reflection and meditation upon such subjects as were both rational and useful, and who were now in heaven, because they had believed in God and now believed in the Lord, and loved their neighbor as themselves. Afterwards I was introduced into an assembly of these, and was there asked where I came from; and I explained to them that in body I was in the natural world, but in spirit in their world.
Hearing this, those angels were delighted, and asked, "In the world where you are in body what do they know and understand about influx?"
When I had recalled to mind what I had gathered on that subject from the discourses and writings of celebrated men, I replied, that as yet they knew nothing about any influx from the spiritual world into the natural, but only of the influx of nature into her subjects, as of the sun's heat and light into living bodies, and also into trees and shrubs, which are all thereby made to live; and, on the other hand, of the influx of cold into the same objects, whereby they are deprived of life; and furthermore, of influx of light into the eye, from which comes sight, of sound into the ear, from which comes hearing, of odor into the nostrils, from which comes smell; and so on.
[3] As to anything beyond this, the learned of this age reason diversely about the influx of the soul into the body and of the body into the soul, and about this they are divided into three parties, one holding that there is an influx of the soul into the body, which they call occasional influx, because of its occurring whenever anything strikes the bodily senses; another, that there is an influx of the body into the soul, which they call physical influx, because the objects fall upon the bodily senses, and therefrom upon the soul; the third, that there is a simultaneous and instantaneous influx into the body and soul together, which they call pre-established harmony. Nevertheless, each one thinks that the kind of influx he advocates takes place within nature. Some believe the soul to be a particle or drop of ether, some that it is a little ball or spark of light, and others that it is some entity that hides itself in the brain. But this or that which they think the soul to be, while they indeed call it spiritual, yet by spiritual they mean nothing more than a purer natural; for they know nothing about the spiritual world, or its influx into the natural; and therefore they remain within the sphere of nature. In this sphere they go up and down, and lift themselves up into it like eagles in the air; and those who thus abide in nature are like the inhabitants of some island in the sea who are unaware that there is any land beyond their own, or are like fishes in a stream which do not know that there is air above their waters. When therefore they hear any mention made of a world distinct from their own, where angels and spirits dwell, and are told that all influx into men is from that world, as well as the interior influx into trees, they stand amazed as if they were listening to some visionary reports of ghosts, or to the nonsense of astrologers.
[4] In the world where I am when in the body, with the exception of the philosophers, our people do not think about or mention any influx but that of wine into cups, of food and drink into the stomach, of taste into the tongue, and also, perhaps, of the influx of the air into the lungs, and so on; and if they hear anything said about an influx of the spiritual world into the natural, they say, "Let it flow in if it will; what advantage or use is there in knowing it?" And they go away; and if they afterwards speak about what they have heard respecting that influx, they play with it as some play with pebbles between their fingers.
[5] Afterwards I talked with these angels about the wonderful effects that spring from the influx of the spiritual world into the natural, such as the turning of grubs into butterflies, and the wonders relating to bees and drones, and silk-worms, and also spiders; and I said that the inhabitants of the earth attribute these things to the light and heat of the sun; thus to nature; and, what I have often wondered at, they confirm themselves by means of these in favor of nature, and by these confirmations bring sleep and death upon their minds, and become atheists.
I then related some wonderful things about plants, as that they all progress in proper order from seed to new seed again, just as if the earth knew how to conform and adapt its elements to the prolific principle of the seed, and from this to bring forth the germ, to expand the germ into a stem, from this to send forth branches and clothe them with leaves, then to embellish them with flowers to form the interiors of the flowers to form the rudiments of the fruit and bring it forth, and through the fruit, in order that it may be born again, to produce seed like offspring. But because these things from being seen continually and from their yearly recurrence, have become familiar, usual, and common, men do not regard them as anything wonderful, but as mere effects of nature; and they so think solely for the reason that they do not know that there is any spiritual world, and that it operates from within and actuates each and all things that come forth and take form in the world of nature and on the natural earth, operating as the human mind operates upon the senses and motions of the body; and that the particular things in nature are like tunics, sheaths, and clothing which engirdle spiritual things, and proximately produce effects correspondent to the end designed by God the Creator.


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