256. THE NATURAL DEGREE OF THE HUMAN MIND REGARDED IN ITSELF IS CONTINUOUS, BUT BY CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE TWO HIGHER DEGREES IT APPEARS WHEN IT IS ELEVATED AS IF IT WERE DISCRETE.
Although this is hardly comprehensible, by those who have as yet no knowledge of degrees of height, it must nevertheless be revealed, because it is a part of angelic wisdom; and while the natural man is unable to think about this wisdom in the same way as angels do, nevertheless it can be comprehended by his understanding, when it has been raised into the degree of light in which angels are; for his understanding can be elevated even to that extent, and enlightened according to its elevation. But this enlightenment of the natural mind does not ascend by discrete degrees; but increases in a continuous degree, and as it increases, that mind is enlightened from within by the light of the two higher degrees. How this occurs can be comprehended from a perception of degrees of height, as being one above another, while the natural degree, which is the lowest, is a kind of general covering to the two higher degrees. Then, as the natural degree is raised up towards a degree of the higher kind, the higher acts from within upon the outer natural and illuminates it. This illumination is effected, indeed, from within, by the light of the higher degrees, but the natural degree which envelops and surrounds the higher receives it by continuity, thus more lucidly and purely in proportion to its ascent; that is, from within, by the light of the higher degrees, the natural degree is enlightened discretely, but in itself is enlightened continuously. From this it is evident that so long as man lives in the world, and is thereby in the natural degree, he cannot be elevated into very wisdom, such as the angels have, but only into higher light, even up to angels, and can receive enlightenment from their light that flows in from within and illuminates. But these things cannot as yet be more clearly described; they can be better comprehended from effects; for effects present causes in themselves in clear light, and thus illustrate them, when there is some previous knowledge of causes.