(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 8944

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8944. It is believed in the world that a man is able to know from the light of nature, thus without revelation, many things that belong to religion; as that there is a God, that He is to be worshipped, and also that He is to be loved, likewise that man will live after death, and many other things that depend upon these; and yet these things being such as are from self-intelligence. But I have been instructed by much experience that of himself, and without revelation, man knows nothing whatever about Divine things, and about the things that belong to heavenly and spiritual life. For man is born into the evils of the love of self and of the world, which are of such a nature that they shut out the influx from the heavens, and open influx from the hells; thus such as make man blind, and incline him to deny that there is a Divine, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death. This is very manifest from the learned in the world, who by means of knowledges have carried the light of their nature above the light of others; for it is known that these deny the Divine, and acknowledge nature in place of the Divine, more than others; and also that when they speak from the heart, and not from doctrine, they deny the life after death, likewise heaven and hell, consequently all things of faith, which they call bonds for the common people. From this it is plain what is the quality of the light of nature without revelation. It has also been shown that many who have written upon natural theology, and from the light of their nature have skillfully confirmed those things which belonged to the doctrine of their church, in the other life at heart deny these same things more than others do; and also deny the Word itself, which they attempt utterly to destroy; for in the other life hearts speak. It has also been shown that the same can receive nothing of influx out of heaven, but only from the hells. Hence it was plain what is the quality of the light of nature without revelation; consequently what is the quality of that which comes from man's own intelligence.
[2] But two considerations have arisen which bring the mind into doubt upon this subject: first, that the ancients who were Gentiles nevertheless knew that there is a Divine, that this is to be worshiped, and that man as to the soul is immortal; second, that these things are known also to many nations at this day, with whom there is no revelation. But as regards the ancients, they did not know these things from the light of their own nature, but from revelation, which had spread from the church even unto them; for the Lord's church had been in the land of Canaan from the most ancient times (see n. 3686, 4447, 4454, 4516, 4517, 5136, 6516). From this source such things as pertained to Divine worship spread to the nations round about, and likewise to the neighboring Greeks, and from these to the Italians or Romans. From this source both Greeks and Romans had knowledges about the Supreme Deity, and the immortality of the soul, of which their learned men wrote.
[3] As regards the nations at this day who also know that there is a Divine, and that there is a life after death, these have not had this knowledge from the light of their own nature, but from a religiosity derived by them from ancient times, which had been founded on such things as had spread in various ways from the church, which had revelation. This was of the Lord's Divine Providence. Moreover, those of them who from their religiosity acknowledge a Divine over all things, and from their religiosity perform the duties of charity to their neighbor, when instructed in the other life receive the truths of faith, and are saved (see n. 2589-2604).


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