(ML) - Wisdom's Delight in Marriage Love: Followed by Insanity’s Pleasure in Promiscuous Love

ML 380

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380. I will add two Memorable Relations. First:
I was once in amazement at the vast multitude of men who attribute creation and hence all things under and above the sun to nature. Whenever they see anything, they say, from the acknowledgment of their heart, Is not this the work of nature? Asked why they say the work of nature and not of God, when yet at times they themselves, in common with the generality of men say that God created nature, and so can just as well say that the things they see are the works of God as that they are the works of nature, they answer with an inward sound, almost inaudible, "What is God but nature?" From this persuasion respecting the creation of the universe out of nature, and from this insanity as though from wisdom, they all seem so full of their own glory that they look upon those who acknowledge the creation of the universe by God as ants creeping on the ground and treading the beaten Path, and upon some as butterflies flying in the air. Calling their dogmas dreams because they see what they do not see, they say, "Who has seen God, and who does not see nature?"
[2] While I was in amazement at the multitude of such men, an angel stood by my side and said to me, "On what are you meditating?" I answered, "On the multitude of men who believe that nature created the universe." The angel then said: "All hell consists of such men, and they are there called satans and devils, the satans being those who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature and so have denied God, and the devils those who have lived wickedly and so have rejected from their hearts all acknowledgment of God. But I will lead you to gymnasiums in the south-western quarter where are those of them who are not yet in hell."
Taking me by the hand, he then led me; and I saw small houses wherein were gymnasiums, and in their center, one which seemed to be the chief building. It was built of pitch-black stone overlaid with thin plates, as of glass, sparkling as though from gold and silver, like the mineral called glacies mariae (mica), and interspersed here and there with shells which likewise sparkled. [3] We approached this building and knocked, and presently a man opened the door and said, "Welcome." He then ran to a table and bringing four books, he said, "These books are the wisdom which is applauded by multitudes in the kingdoms of today; this book or wisdom by many in France, this by many in Germany, this by some in Holland, and this by some in Britain." He said further, "If you wish to see it, I will make these four books shine before your eyes." He then poured out the glory of his own fame, and, surrounded by this, the books at once shone as though from light; but before our eyes this light immediately vanished. We then asked him, "What are you writing now?" He replied that from his treasures he was now drawing out and setting forth matters of inmost wisdom. "These are in brief: 1. Is nature of* life, or life of* nature? 2. Is the center of* the expanse, or the expanse of* the center? 3. Concerning the center and expanse of nature and of life."
[4] Saying this, he again seated himself at the table, and we walked about in his gymnasium which was spacious. Because there was no daylight there but only the nocturnal light of the moon, he had a candle on the table; and, what surprised me, the candle seemed to be carried around the room and illumine it, though, not having been snuffed, the light it gave out was but little. While he was writing, we saw images in various forms flitting from the table to the walls. In that nocturnal moonlight they seemed like beautiful Indian birds, but when we opened the door, lo, in the sun's daylight they seemed like birds of night with weblike wings; for they were semblances of truth made into fallacies by confirmations which he had ingeniously connected together into a series.
[5] After seeing all this, we went to the table and asked him what he was writing now. He said, "On the first question, Is NATURE OF LIFE, OR LIFE OF NATURE?" Respecting this, he said that he could confirm either one and make it true; but because deep within him was a latent something which he feared, he dared confirm only that nature is of life, that is, from life, and not that life is of nature, that is, from nature. We courteously asked him what that thing was which was deeply latent within him and which he feared. He answered that it was the possibility of being called by clergymen a naturalist and thus an atheist, and by laymen a man devoid of sound reason, "for both laymen and clergymen believe in the proposition from blind faith, or see it with the eyes of confirmers."
[6] From zeal for truth we then addressed him with some indignation, saying: "Friend, you greatly err. Your wisdom, which consists in the gift of clever writing, has seduced you, and the glory of your fame has led you to confirm what you do not believe. Do you not know that the human mind is capable of being elevated above things sensual, being things which are in the thoughts from the bodily senses? and that when elevated, it sees that the things of life are above, and those of nature below? What else is life but love and wisdom? and what else is nature but their receptacle whereby they work out their effects or uses? Can the two be one in any other way than as principal and instrumental? Can light be one with the eye? or sound with the ear? Whence come the sensations of these organs but from life? and their forms but from nature? What is the human body but an organ of life? Is not each and every thing therein formed organically to produce what the love wills and the understanding thinks? Are not the organs of the body from nature, and love and thought from life? and are not these entirely distinct from each other? Elevate the keenness of your genius yet a little higher and you will see, that to be affected and to think is the property of life; and that to be affected comes from love, and to think from wisdom, and both from life; as we said, love and wisdom are life. If you elevate your faculty of understanding a little higher still, you will see that there is no love and wisdom without an origin somewhere, and that the origin is [love and]** wisdom itself, and hence life itself; and these are God from whom is nature."
[7] After this we talked with him about the second question, Is THE CENTER OF THE EXPANSE, OR THE EXPANSE OF THE CENTER? and we asked him why he discusses this. He replied that he discussed it to the end that he might come to some conclusion respecting the center and expanse of nature and of life, thus respecting the origin of the one and the other; and when we asked What his own opinion was, he answered as before, that he could confirm either, but that from fear of the loss of fame he would confirm the proposition that the expanse is of the center, that is, from the center. "Although I know"' he added, "that there was something prior to the sun--something which was everywhere in the Universe; and that these things flowed together into order of themselves, thus into centers."
[8] At this, again addressing him from indignant zeal, We said, "Friend, you are insane." When he heard this, he drew his seat back from the table and looked at us timidly, and then pricked up his ears--but he was laughing. We then continued, saying: "What is more insane than to say the center is from the expanse? --by your center we understand the sun, and by your expanse we understand the universe--thus that the universe came into existence without the sun? Does not the sun make nature and all the properties thereof, these being dependent solely on the heat and light proceeding from the sun by its atmospheres? Where Were they before?--as to whence they were, this we will tell you in the discussion that follows. Are not the atmospheres and all things on the earth like surfaces, and the sun their center? What are all these without the sun? could they subsist for a single moment? What then were they all prior to the sun? could they have subsisted? is not subsistence perpetual existence? Since, therefore, the subsistence of all things of nature is from the sun, it follows that their existence is also from the sun. This is seen and acknowledged by every one from his own observation. [9] As the posterior exists from the prior, does it not also subsist therefrom? If the surface were the prior, and the center the posterior, Would not the prior subsist from the posterior? Yet this is contrary to the laws of order. How can things Posterior produce things prior? or things exterior, things interior? or things grosser, things purer? How then can surfaces, which make the expanse, produce centers? Who does not see that this is against the laws of nature? We have brought forward these arguments from rational analysis to establish the truth that the expanse exists from the center, and not the reverse, though every one who thinks rightly sees this without them. You have said that the expanse flowed together into the center of itself. Is it then by chance that it flowed into so marvelous and stupendous an order that one thing exists for the sake of another, and each and every thing for the sake of man and his eternal life? Can nature provide such things from any love, by any wisdom? from men make angels? and from angels, heaven? Suppose this, and then think, and your idea of the existence of nature from nature will fall."
[10] After this we asked him what he had thought and what he now thinks about the third question, THE CENTER AND EXPANSE OF NATURE AND OF LIFE, whether he believed the center an expanse of life to be the same as the center and expanse of nature. He said that he hesitated, and that previously he had thought that the interior activity of nature is life; that from this are the love and wisdom which essentially make man's life, and that the fire of the sun produces them by its heat and light by the mediation of the atmospheres; but that, from what he had heard about the eternal life of men, he was now in doubt, and this doubt carried his mind now upwards, now downwards; When upwards, he acknowledged a center of which he had previously known nothing, and when downwards, he saw the center which he had believed to be the only center; and [that he now wished to think] that life is from the Center of which he had previously known nothing, and nature from the center which he had previously believed to be the only center; also that each center has an expanse around it.
[11] To this we said that that was good, provided only he wished also to look at the center and the expanse of nature from the center and expanse of life, and not the reverse. We then instructed him that above the angelic heaven is a sun which is pure love, in appearance fiery like the sun of the world; that from the heat proceeding from that sun, angels and men have will and love, and from the light, understanding and wisdom; and that the things belonging to life are called spiritual, while those which proceed from the sun of the world are containants of life and are called natural; and furthermore, that the expanse of the center of life is called the SPIRITUAL WORLD Which subsists from its own sun, and the expanse of nature is called the NATURAL WORLD which subsists from its own sun. "Now because spaces and times cannot be predicated of love and wisdom, but instead thereof states, the expanse around the sun of the angelic heaven is not an extense but yet is in the extense of the natural sun and in living subjects there, according to their reception, their reception being according to their forms."
[12] "But then"' he asked, "from whence is the fire of the sun of the world or of nature?" We answered, "It is from the sun of the angelic heaven, which is not fire but is Divine Love proximately proceeding from God who is Love itself."
He wondered at this, so we demonstrated it as follows: "Love in its essence is spiritual fire. Hence it is, that in the word in its spiritual sense fire signifies love. Therefore, in temples, priests pray that heavenly fire, by which they mean love, may fill their hearts. The fire of the altar in the tabernacle with the Israelites, and also the fire of the candlestick represented nothing else than Divine Love. The heat of the blood, that is, the vital heat of men and of animals in general is from no other source than the love which makes their life. Hence, when a man's love is exalted into zeal, anger, and wrath, he is enkindled, grows hot, and is inflamed. Therefore, from the fact that, with men, spiritual heat which is love produces natural heat, even to the enkindling and inflaming of their faces and limbs, it can be manifest that the fire of the natural sun came into existence from no other source than the fire of the spiritual sun, which is Divine Love. [13] Now since, as we said before, the expanse arises from the center and not the reverse, and the center of life, which is the sun of the angelic heaven, is Divine Love proximately proceeding from God, who is in the midst of that sun; and since from this is the expanse of that center, being that expanse which is called the spiritual world; and since from that sun, the sun of the world came into existence and therefrom the expanse thereof which is called the natural world; it is evident that the universe was created by the one God."
After these words we departed, and he accompanied us beyond the area of his gymnasium and talked with us about heaven and hell and about Divine auspices, from a new sagacity of ingenuity.
* i.e., from; see subsections 5 and 7.
** See the same Memorable Relation in True Christian Religion, no. 35.


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