241. THE INTERNAL SENSE
The most ancient people, being celestial men, were so constituted that every object they beheld in the world or upon the face of the earth, they indeed saw, but they thought about the heavenly and Divine things the objects signified or represented. Their sight was merely an instrumental agency, and so consequently was their speech. Anyone may know how this was from his own experience, for if he attends closely to the meaning of a speaker's words, he does indeed hear the words, but is as if he did not hear them, taking in only the sense; and one who thinks more deeply does not attend even to the sense of the words, but to a more universal sense. But the posterities that are here treated of were not like their fathers, for when they beheld the objects in the world and on the face of the earth, as they loved them, their minds cleaved to them, and they thought about them, and from them about things heavenly and Divine. Thus with them what is sensuous began to be the principal, and not as with their fathers the instrumental. And when that which is of the world and of the earth becomes the principal, then men reason from this about the things of heaven, and so blind themselves. How this is may also be known by anyone from his own experience; for he who attends to the words of a speaker, and not to the sense of the words, takes in but little of the sense, and still less of the universal import of the sense, and sometimes judges of all that a man says from a single word, or even from a grammatical peculiarity.