36. The wisdom that comes to perception is a perception of truth from an affection for it, especially a perception of spiritual truth; for there is civil truth, moral truth and spiritual truth. Those who are in the perception of spiritual truth from an affection for it are also in the perception of moral and civil truth, for of these perceptions the affection of spiritual truth is the soul. I have sometimes conversed with angels about wisdom; and they said that wisdom is conjunction with the Lord, because the Lord is Wisdom itself; and that a man attains that conjunction who casts hell out from himself, and that he attains it so far as he casts out hell.
They said also that they picture to themselves wisdom as a palace, magnificent and highly adorned, the ascent to which is by twelve steps, and that no one reaches the first step unless from the Lord through conjunction with Him. Further, they said that everyone ascends according to the measure of the conjunction; and as he ascends he perceives that no one is wise from himself, but only from the Lord, and that the things in which he is wise, compared with those in which he is not wise, are as a few drops of water to a great lake. By the twelve steps leading to the palace of wisdom are signified principles of good conjoined to those of truth, and principles of truth conjoined to those of good.