(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 696

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696. Fifth Memorable Relation:
I once prayed to the Lord for permission to talk with the disciples of Aristotle, also with the disciples of Descartes and Leibnitz, in order that I might learn their views of the Interaction between the Soul and the Body. When I had ceased praying, nine men approached, three of them disciples of Aristotle, three of Descartes, and three of Leibnitz; and they stood round about me, - the adorers of Aristotle on my left, at my right the followers of Descartes, and behind me the adherents of Leibnitz. Far away and widely separated from each other there seemed to be three men crowned with laurel, and by a perception flowing in from heaven, I recognized them as those great leaders or teachers themselves; while behind Leibnitz a man stood holding on to the skirt of his garment, who was said to be Wolf.
[2] When these nine men saw each other they at first saluted and spoke to each other in gentle tones. But just then a spirit with a torch in his right hand rose up from the lower regions, and waved the torch before their faces; and thereupon the three parties became enemies, and looked at each other with fierce countenances; for the lust of altercation and dispute seized them. The Aristotelians, who were also schoolmen, began by saying, "Who does not see that objects flow in through the senses into the soul, as one passes through a door into a chamber, and that the soul thinks in accordance with that influx? When the lover sees the beautiful virgin or bride does not his eye sparkle and hear the love of her to his soul? When a miser sees bags of money, is there not a burning for them in all his senses and from these is not this order transferred to his soul, exciting the desire to possess them? When a vain man hears another praising him, does he not prick up his ears, and do not these transmit the praises to his soul? Are not the senses of the body like entrance-halls, through which alone there is ingress to the soul? From these facts and innumerable others like them, who can draw any other conclusion than that influx is from nature, or is physical?"
[3] To these remarks the followers of Descartes, holding their fingers to their foreheads a while and then withdrawing them, replied by saying, "Alas you speak from appearances; do you not know that it is not the eye but the soul that loved the virgin or bride; and likewise that the senses of the body do not desire the money in the bags from themselves, but from the soul; and again, not otherwise do the ears drink in the praise of flatterers? Is not perception the cause of sensation? And perception belongs to the soul, not to the organ. Tell us, if you can, what is it but the thought that causes the tongue and lips to speak? And what is it but the will that causes the hand to work? Yet thought and will belong to the soul. So what is it but the soul that causes the eye to see, the ear to hear, and the other organs to feel, to attend to objects and turn toward them? From these facts and innumerable others like them anyone who is wise above the sensual things of the body concludes that influx is not from the body into the soul, but from the soul into the body; this we call occasional and also spiritual influx."
[4] On hearing this the three men who stood behind the former triads and who were adherents of Leibnitz, raised their voice and said, "We have heard the arguments of both sides and have compared them, and have perceived that in many respects the last arguments are the stronger, while in many other respects the first are the stronger. Therefore, with your permission we will settle the dispute."
When asked how they would do this, they said, "There is no influx of the soul into the body, not of the body into the soul, but there is a unanimous and instantaneous operation of the two together, which a celebrated author has designated by the beautiful term, preestablished harmony."
[5] After all this the spirit again appeared with the torch in his hand, but this time in his left hand, and he waved the torch at the backs of their heads, whereby the ideas of all of them became confused, and they cried out, "Neither our souls nor our bodies know what side we should take; therefore let us decide the dispute by lot; we will adopt whichever comes out first."
And they took three pieces of paper, on one of which they wrote the words, Physical influx; on the second, Spiritual Influx; and on the third, Preestablished Harmony. They put the three papers in a cap, and chose one of their number to draw. He put his hand into the cap and drew out the paper on which was written, Spiritual Influx. When they saw this and read it, they all said, - some speaking in a clear and flowing and some in a faint and restrained tone, "We adopt that, because it came out first." But then an angel suddenly stood near and said, "Do not think that the paper that was for Spiritual Influx came out by chance; it came providentially; for you, with your confused ideas do not see its truth; but the truth offered itself to the hand of him who drew the lot, in order that you might adopt it."


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