« הקודםהמשך »
angels. Hence also may be seen how great their mistake is who believe, that every one is capable of enjoying heavenly blessedness, if he be but admitted into heaven : for it is a prevailing notion at this day, that reception into heaven is an act of mere mercy alone, and like a man's admission here below to a marriage-feast, where he instantly partaketh of the joy and gladness which reign there; but be it known, that in the spiritual world there is a communication of the affections of love, and thence of the thoughts, for man is then a spirit, and the life of a spirit is the affection of love, and the thought thence proceeding; and that it is homogeneous affection which conjoins, but heterogeneous affection which separates, and that this heterogeneity is the cause of the torment which a devil experiences in heaven, and an angel in hell; on this account they are carefully separated according to the diversities, varieties, and differences, of the affections which belong to their love.
623. The THIRD MEMORABLE Relation. It was once permitted me to see three hundred of the clergy and laity together, all reputed men of learning and erudition from their skill in confirming the doctrine of faith alone even to justification, and some still further; and as they entertained a belief, that heaven consists in a mere admission through grace, leave was granted them to ascend into a particular society of heaven, which however was not one of the higher : and as they were ascending they appeared at a distance like calves. When they entered into heaven, they were received by the angels with much civility; but when they began to converse with them, they were seized with trembling, and afterwards with horror, and at length with agony as it were of death, in consequence of which they cast themselves down headlong : and in their fall they appeared like dead horses. The reason of their appearing like calves in their ascent, was, because the natural affection of seeing and knowing, which is of an ex
ulting nature, appears by correspondence like a calf; and the reason of their appearing like dead horses in their descent, was, because the understanding of truth appears by correspondence like a horse, and the understanding of the truth of the church annihilated, like a dead horse.
There were some boys below who saw them in their descent when they appeared like dead horses; and immediately turning away their faces, they said to their master who was with them, “ What strange appearance is this! saw men, and now in their place we see dead horses: as we could not bear to look at them, we have turned away our faces: master, let us not stay longer in this place, but go elsewhere :" so they departed. Then their master as they went along, instructed them in the meaning of a dead horse: “A horse," said he, “ signifies the understanding of truth derived from the Word : all the horses which ye have seen had that signification : for when a man is engaged in meditating on the Word, his meditation appears at a distance like a horse, generous and lively, in proportion as he meditateth spiritually, but on the contrary wretched and dead, in proportion as he meditates materially.” Then the children asked, “ What is meant by meditating on the Word spiritually, and materially?” “I will explain it,” the master replied, " by some particular cases : every one who reads the Word seriously, thinks inwardly in himself about God, about his neighbour, and about heaven; in this case he who thinks about God only from the consideration of person, and not from that of essence, thinks materially; in like manner, he who thinks of his neighbour only from the consideration of his external form, and not from a regard to his quality, thinks also materially ; so again he who thinks of heaven only from the consideration of place, and not from that of love and wisdom, which are the constituents of heaven, he too thinks materially." But the children replied, 66 We have thought of God from the consideration of per
son, of our neighbour from that of his form as a man, and of heaven from that of place as being above us; did we then whilst we were reading the Word, appear to any one like dead horses?” The master answered, “No; as yet ye are but children, and could not think otherwise; but I have perceived in you an affection of knowing and of understanding, and as this is of a spiritual nature, ye have at the same time thought spiritually, for although ye were not aware of it there was a degree of spiritual thought concealed in your material thought. But to return to what I was before observing, that whosoever thinks materially while reading or meditating on the Word, appears at a distance like a dead horse, but he who thinks spiritually, appears like a living horse ; and that to think materially about God is to think of Him from the consideration of person only, and not from that of essence.
There are many attributes of the Divine Essence, as omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, eternity, love, wisdom, mercy, grace, and others; and there are attributes proceeding from the Divine Essence, as creation and conservation, redemption and salvation, illustration and instruction : now every . one who thinks of God from the consideration of person only, maketh three gods, saying, that one God is the Creator and Preserver, another the Redeemer and Saviour, and the third the Illustrator and Instructor; whereas every one who thinks of God from the consideration of essence, maketh but One God, saying, God hath created us, and the same God redeemeth and saveth, and also illustrates and instructs us: this then is the reason why they who think of the trinity of God from the consideration of person, and thus materially, cannot but in the ideas of their thought, which is material, make three gods of One, yet still in contradiction to their thought they are constrained to say, that those three are united by essence, because they too, though by an uncertain glimpse as through a latticed win
dow have entertained some thoughts of God drawn from the consideration of His essence. Wherefore, my children, frame your thoughts from the consideration of essence, and from essence think of person; for to think from person of essence is to think materially not only of person, but of essence also, whereas to think from essence of person is to think spiritually of person also. The ancient gentiles, in consequence of thinking materially about God, and thus too of His attributes, not only made three gods, but multiplied the number even to a hundred; for, of each attribute they made a separate God. Know then, that the material cannot enter into the spiritual, but on the contrary the spiritual enters into the material. The case is similar in respect to thinking of our neighbour from the consideration of external form, and not from that of quality; and likewise in thinking of heaven from the consideration of place, and not from that of love and wisdom, which are the constituents of heaven. The case too is similar with all and every thing contained in the Word; so that he who entertains a material idea of God, of his neighbour, and of heaven, cannot possibly understand any part of its contents; it is to him a dead letter, and he appears at a distance, while he is reading or meditating upon it, like a dead horse. They whom ye saw descending from heaven, who were changed before your eyes into the appearance of dead horses, were such as had closed up the rational sight, in respect to theological subjects or the spiritual things of the church, both in themselves and others, by this peculiar tenet, “ that the understanding must be kept bound in obedience to their faith ; not considering that the understanding, when closed, from a principle of religion, is rendered as blind as a mole, having nothing in it but mere darkness, and that of such a nature as to reject all spiritual light, to shut out its influx from the Lord and from heaven, and to keep it out by putting a bolt against its entrance into the corporeal sensual principle, far beneath the seat of rationality ; in matters
of faith; in other words, it places it near the nose, and fixes it in its cartilage; hence it cannot afterwards so much as perceive the odour: of spiritual things; so that some are reduced to such a state, as to fall into a swoon as soon as ever they perceive such an odour :-by odour I mean perception. These are they who make God to be three; they say indeed, from the consideration of essence, that God is one, but nevertheless when they pray, according to their faith, that God the Father would have mercy on them for the sake of His Son, and would send the Holy Ghost, they manifestly make three gods : nor can they do otherwise, whilst they pray to one to be merciful for the sake of another, and to send a third.” Then their master instructed them concerning the Lord, that He is the one only God, in whom is a Divine Trinity.
624. The Fourth MEMORABLE RELATION, Awaking once out of sleep at midnight, I saw, at some height towards the east, an angel holding in his band a paper, which in the sun's rays appeared of a bright white; and in the middle of it was some writing in golden letters; and I distinguished these words, The MARRIAGE OF GOOD AND TRUTH. From the writing, a bright radiance issued forth, expanding itself into a broad circle around the paper; which radiance, or surrounding sphere, appeared like that of day-dawn in the time of spring. After this I saw the angel descending with the paper in his hand, and in his descent the paper appeared less and less lucid, and the writing, which was The MARRIAGE OF GOOD AND Truth, changed from a golden to a silver tinge, and afterwards to the colour of copper, then to that of iron, and lastly to a rusty and cankered hue; at length the angel appeared to enter into a dark mist, and passing through it, to alight on the earth, and there the paper, although he still held it in his hand, was no longer seen. This happened in the world of spirits, to which all men are gathered immediately on their decease. Then the angel addressing me,