(TCR) - True Christian Religion: Containing the Whole Theology of the New Church Predicted by the Lord in Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 21:1-2

TCR 335

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335. Fourth Memorable Relation:
Once when I awakened from sleep in the morning twilight, I saw as it were specters before my eyes in various shapes; and afterward when it was daylight I saw fatuous lights of different forms; some like sheets of paper filled with writing and folded again and again, so that they looked like falling stars which in their descent vanished in the air; and some like open books, some of which shone like little moons, and some burned like candles; among these were some books that ascended to a great height and there perished, and others that fell down to the earth and there crumbled to dust. From these appearances I conjectured that there were those standing below these meteors who dispute about imaginary matters, which they deem of great importance; for in the spiritual world such phenomena appear in the atmospheres from the reasonings of those standing below.
And presently the sight of my spirit was opened, and I saw a number of spirits whose heads were wreathed with leaves of laurel, and their bodies clothed with flowered gowns, which signified that they were spirits who in the natural world had been famed for erudition. As I was in the spirit, I approached and mingled with the assembly. I then heard that they were bitterly and hotly disputing about connate ideas, whether any such were inherent in man from birth, as in beasts.
Those who were in the negative turned away from those in the affirmative, and at length they stood apart from each other like the ranks of two armies ready to fight sword in hand; but as they had no swords, they fought with the points of words.
[2] But suddenly an angelic spirit stood in their midst, and speaking with a loud voice said, "At a short distance from you I heard that you were engaged in hot dispute about connate ideas, whether they are inherent in men as in beasts; but I tell you, that men have no connate ideas, and that beasts have no ideas at all. You are therefore quarreling about nothing, or as the saying is, about goats' wool, or the beard of Time."
Hearing this, they were all enraged and shouted, "Put him out; he talks contrary to common sense."
But when they tried to put him out they saw that he was encompassed with heavenly light which they could not break through; for he was an angelic spirit. They therefore drew back and moved a little way from him; and when the light had been indrawn, the angel said to them, "Why are you angry? First listen, and put together the reasons I shall offer, and form a conclusion from them yourselves. I foresee that those among you who excel in judgment will accede, and will calm the tempests that have arisen in your minds."
At these remarks they said, though still in an indignant tone, "Speak then, and we will listen."
[3] So the angel began and said, "You believe that beasts have connate ideas; and this you have inferred from the fact that their actions seem to proceed from thought; and yet they have no thought whatever, and ideas are only predicable of thought. Furthermore, it is a characteristic of thought that those who think act in this or that manner for this or that purpose. Consider therefore, whether the spider which weaves its web with such perfect art thinks in its little head, I will stretch out my threads in this way, and bind them together with cross-threads, so that my web may not be blown asunder by a violent rush of air; at the inner ends of the threads, which shall form the center of the web, I will prepare a seat for myself, where I shall feel whatever touches my web, and run at once to the spot; so that if a fly gets in, he shall be entangled, and I will rush upon him instantly and bind him fast, and he shall serve me for food. Or again, does a bee think in his little head, I will fly abroad; I know where there are fields in bloom; and there I will get wax from the flowers, and will suck honey from them; and with the wax I will build compact rows of little cells in such a way that I and my companions can go in and out easily, as if by streets; then I will store in them abundance of honey, enough even for the coming winter, so that we may not die - and other marvelous things, in which they not only vie with the political and economical prudence of man, but even surpass it (see above, n. 12)? [4] Again, does the hornet think in his little head, I and my companions will build for ourselves a little house of thin paper, the walls of which we will make within like a labyrinth; and in the inmost we will prepare a kind of forum to which there shall be a way of ingress and of egress, contrived with such art that no living creature except those belonging to our own family, shall find the way to the inmost place where we are assembled? Again, does the silkworm, while it is a grub, think in its little head, Now is the time for me to prepare to spin silk, so that when it is spun, I may fly forth, and in the air, into which I could not ascend before, may sport with my equals and provide myself a posterity? Or do other worms so think, when they creep about the walls, and become nymphs, aureliae, chrysalides, and finally butterflies? Has a fly any idea about having congress with another in some one place and not another? [5] It is the same with larger animals as it is with these smaller ones; with birds and feathered creatures of all kinds when they pair, build their nests, lay their eggs therein, sit on them, hatch their young, provide food for them, care for them until they can fly, and then drive them from the nests as if they were not their own offspring; besides many other things. It is the same also with the beasts of the earth, with serpents and with fishes. Who among you cannot see from the above statements that the spontaneous acts of these creatures do not flow from any thought, of which alone ideas can be predicated? The error that beasts have ideas has come from no other source than a persuasion that they think equally with men, and that speech alone makes the difference between them."
[6] After this, the angelic spirit looked around, and as he saw them still hesitating whether or not beasts have thought, he continued his discourse, and said, "I perceive that from those actions of brute animals that are similar to human actions, there still clings to you the fanciful idea that they possess thought. I will tell you, therefore, the source of those actions. Every beast, every bird, every fish, reptile, and insect has its own natural, sensual, and corporeal love, the abode of which is its head and the brains there; through their brains the spiritual world flows into their bodily senses immediately, and through them determines their actions; this is the reason why their bodily senses are much more exquisite than those of men. That influx from the spiritual world is what is called instinct; and it is called instinct because it exists without the mediation of thought. There are also things accessory to instinct that arise from habit. But their love, through which comes from the spiritual world their determination to action, is a love solely for nutrition and propagation, not for any knowledge, intelligence, or wisdom, by means of which the love in men is gradually developed."
[7] That man has no connate ideas, is manifestly evident from the fact that he has no connate thought; and where there is no thought there are no ideas; for they belong mutually to each other. This may be inferred from new-born infants, in that they can do nothing but suck and breathe. Their being able to suck is not from anything connate, but from a continual sucking in the mother's womb; and they are able to breathe because they are alive, for this is a universal of life. Even their bodily senses are in the utmost obscurity, and from this they gradually work their way out by means of objects; and in like manner their powers of motion by habitual exercise. And as they gradually learn to utter words and pronounce them at first without any idea, there springs up in them some obscure element of fancy; and as this grows clearer an obscure element of imagination is born, and from that, of thought. Along with the forming of this state ideas spring forth, which, as before said, make one with thought; and from no thought, thought is developed by instruction. While, therefore, men have ideas, they are not connate, but are formed, and from them flow their speech and actions.
That nothing is connate with man except a capacity to know, to understand, and to be wise, as also an inclination to love not only these things but also the neighbor and God, may be seen in the Memorable Relation above (n. 48), and also in some Memorable Relations further on.
After this I looked around and saw Leibnitz and Wolff near at hand, who were attending closely to the reasoning advanced by the angelic spirit. Leibnitz then drew near and expressed his concurrence; but Wolff went away both denying and affirming, for he did not excel in interior judgment as Leibnitz did.


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