(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 461

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461. Third Memorable Relation
I was once carried away in spirit to the southern quarter of the spiritual world, and into a certain paradise there; and I saw that this paradise excelled all that I had before surveyed. This was because a garden signifies intelligence, and because all those who are pre-eminent in intelligence are conveyed to the south. The garden of Eden, in which were Adam and his wife, has no other significance; so their expulsion therefrom involved expulsion from intelligence, and thus also from integrity of life. While I was walking in this southern paradise, I noticed certain persons sitting under a laurel eating figs. I turned to them and asked them for some figs, which they gave me; and lo, in my hand the figs became grapes.
As I wondered at this, an angelic spirit who stood near me said, "The figs became grapes in your hand because figs by correspondence signify the goods of charity and of faith therefrom in the natural or external man, while grapes signify the goods of charity and of faith therefrom in the spiritual or internal man; and this has happened to you because you love spiritual things; for in our world all things occur and come forth, and are also changed, in accordance with correspondences."
[2] Then suddenly there came upon me a desire to know how man can do good from God, and yet do it altogether as if of himself. I therefore asked those who were eating the figs how they understood the matter.
They said that they could understand it only in this way, that God effects this inwardly in man and through man when he is ignorant of it; because if man were conscious of it, and in that state were to do good, he would do only apparent good, which inwardly is evil. "For all that goes forth from man goes forth from his own [proprium], and this is evil from birth; and how can good from God and evil from man be conjoined, and thus conjointly go forth into act? What is man's own in matters pertaining to salvation constantly breathes forth a sense of merit, and so far as it does this, it detracts from the Lord His own merit; and this is the height of injustice and impiety. In a word, if the good which God works in man, were to inflow into man's willing and thence into his doing, the good would assuredly be defiled and also profaned, and this God never permits. Man can think, indeed, that the good he does is from God, and can say that it is essentially God's; but still that it is so we do not comprehend."
[3] Then I opened my mind and said, "You do not comprehend this because you think from appearance, and thought confirmed from appearance is fallacy. To you there is such appearance and consequent fallacy because you believe everything that a man thinks and wills and does and says therefrom, is in himself, and consequently from himself, when in fact there is no part of them in him except the state to receive what inflows. Man is not life in himself, but an organ receptive of life. The Lord is life in Himself, as He says in John:
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (5:26 besides elsewhere, as in John 11:25; 14:6, 19).
[4] "There are two things that constitute life, namely, love and wisdom, or what is the same thing, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by man as if they were his; and because they are so felt by man they go forth from man as if they were his. Their being so felt by man is the Lord's gift, to the end that what flows in may affect man, and so be received and remain. But inasmuch as all evil likewise flows in, not from God but from hell, and is received with delight (because man is such an organ by birth), so good is received from God only in proportion as evil is removed by man as if of himself; and this is done by repentance coupled with faith in the Lord. [5] That love and wisdom, charity and faith, or, more generally speaking, the good of love and charity, and the truth of wisdom and faith, flow in, and that what flows in appears in man to be wholly his own, and thus goes forth from his own, all this can clearly be seen from the sense of sight, of hearing, of smell, of taste, and of touch. All things that are felt in the organs of those senses flow into those organs from without and are felt within them. It is the same in the organs of the internal senses, with the sole difference that spiritual things, which are not manifest, flow into the former. In a word, man is an organ receptive of life from God; consequently, so far as he refrains from evil, he is a recipient of good.
"The power to refrain from evil the Lord gives to every man, because He gives him the power to will and to understand; and whatever man does from his will in accord with his understanding, or, what is the same, from freedom of will in accord with reason of the understanding, is permanent. It is by means of this that the Lord brings man into a state of conjunction with Himself, and in that state reforms, regenerates, and saves him.
[6] "The life that flows into man is life that goes forth from the Lord, which life is also called the Spirit of God, and in the Word the Holy Spirit, and this life is said to enlighten and vivify man, and even to work in him. But his life is varied and modified according to the organization induced by means of his love. You may also know that all the good of love and charity, and all the truth of wisdom and faith flow in, and are not in man [originally]. This may be known from the fact that he who thinks that there is anything of the kind in man by creation must needs conclude at last that God has infused Himself into man, and thus that men are partly gods; and yet those who so think from faith become devils, and with us smell like corpses.
[7] "Furthermore, what is man's action but the mind acting? For what the mind wills and thinks it does and says by means of its organ the body; so when the mind is led by the Lord, action and speech are also led by Him; and these are by Him when man believes in Him. If this were not so, explain, if you can, why the Lord, in thousands of places in His Word, has commanded man to love his neighbor, to perform the good works of charity, to bear fruit like a tree, and to keep the commandments, and all this that he may be saved. And again, why He has said that man shall be judged according to his deeds or works, those who do good to heaven and life, and those who do evil to hell and death. How could the Lord have said such things, if all that goes forth from man must need be a matter of merit, and therefore evil? Be it known to you, then, that if the mind is charity, the action is charity also; but if the mind is faith alone, which is faith separate from spiritual charity, the action also is that faith."
[8] Hearing this, those sitting under the laurel said, "That you have spoken rightly we comprehend, and yet do not comprehend."
I replied, "You comprehend that I have spoken rightly from the general perception that man has from the influx of light from heaven when he hears any truth; but your failure to comprehend is from the self-perception that man has from the influx of light from the world. In wise men these two kinds of perception, internal and external, or spiritual and natural, make one. You also can make them one if you look to the Lord and put away evils."
Because they understood this, I plucked some twigs from a vine and handed them to them, saying, "Do you believe that this is of me, or of the Lord?"
They said that it was from me, but of the Lord. And lo, the twigs put forth grapes in their hands.
But as I withdrew I saw under a green olive tree around which a vine had entwined itself, a cedar table on which there was a book. I looked and lo, it was a book written by me, entitled Arcana Coelestia and I said that it was fully shown in that book that man is not life but an organ receptive of life; also that life cannot be created and when so created be in man, any more than light in the eye.


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