(DLW) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Love and Wisdom

DLW 424

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424. (19) Love, when defiled in the understanding and by it, becomes natural, sensual, and corporeal. Natural love separated from spiritual love is the opposite of spiritual love; because natural love is love of self and of the world, and spiritual love is love to the Lord and love to the neighbor; and love of self and the world looks downward and outward, and love to the Lord looks upward and inward. Consequently when natural love is separated from spiritual love it cannot be elevated above what is man's own, but remains immersed in it, and so far as it loves it, is glued to it. Then if the understanding ascends, and sees by the light of heaven such things as are of wisdom, this natural love draws down such wisdom, and joins her to itself in what is its own; and there either rejects the things of wisdom or falsifies them or encircles itself with them, that it may talk about them for reputation's sake. As natural love can ascend by degrees and become spiritual and celestial, in the same way it can descend by degrees and become sensual and corporeal, and it does descend so far as it loves dominion from no love of use, but solely from love of self. It is this love which is called the devil. Those who are in this love are able to speak and act in the same manner as those who are in spiritual love; but they do this either from memory or from the understanding elevated by itself into the light of heaven. Nevertheless, what they say and do is comparatively like fruit that appears beautiful on the surface but is wholly rotten within; or like almonds which from the shell appear sound but are wholly worm-eaten within. These things in the spiritual world are called fantasies, and by means of them harlots, there called sirens, make themselves appear handsome, and adorn themselves with beautiful garments; but when the fantasy is dissipated the sirens appear like ghosts, and are like devils who make themselves angels of light. For when that corporeal love draws its understanding down from its elevation, as it does when man is alone and thinks from his own love, then he thinks against God in favor of nature, against heaven in favor of the world, and against the truths and goods of the church in favor of the falsities and evils of hell; thus against wisdom. From this the character of those who are called corporeal men can be seen: for they are not corporeal in understanding, but corporeal in love; that is, they are not corporeal in understanding when they converse in company, but are so when they hold converse with themselves in spirit; and being such in spirit, therefore after death they become, both in love and in understanding, spirits that are called corporeal. Those who in the world had been in a supreme love of ruling from the love of self, and had also surpassed others in elevation of understanding, then appear in body like Egyptian mummies, and in mind gross and silly. Who in the world at the present day is aware that this love in itself is of such a nature? Yet a love of ruling from love of use is possible, but only from love of use for the sake of the common good, not for the sake of self. It is difficult, however, for man to distinguish the one love from the other, although the difference between them is like that between heaven and hell. The differences between these two loves of ruling may be seen in the work on Heaven and Hell (n. 551-565).


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