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did not cast the serpent into hell, before he persuaded him to eat? But, my friend, God did not do so, because by so doing He would have taken away man's free-will, and it is by virtue of free-will that man is man, and not a beast. If this consideration be well digested, it will evidently appear, that those two trees, one of life, and the other of death, represented the free-will of man in spiritual things. Besides, hereditary evil is not a consequence of what Adam did, but is successively communicated to children from their parents, who necessarily entail upon them that inclination to evil which prevaileth in themselves. That this is the case, may be clearly discerned by an attentive observer of the manners, minds, and countenances of chil. dren, nay of whole families descended from one father; but still it depends on each individual in every family, whether he will choose or refuse the evil so propagated, for every one is left to his own free-will. The particular signification of the tree of life, and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, was fully explained in the MEMORABLE RELATION, n. 48, to which the reader is referred.
II. THAT MAN IS NOT LIFE, BUT A RECIPIENT OF Life FROM GOD.
470. It is generally believed, that life is in man, and is his own, consequently, that he is not only a recipient of life, but actually is life: this general belief is grounded in appearance, for he lives, that is, feels, thinks, speaks, and acts, altogether as of himself: this proposition then that man is a recipient of life, and not life itself, must needs appear like some strange doctrine, or like a downright paradox, clashing with all sensible conception, in consequence of its opposition to appearances. The cause of this fallacious belief, which supposeth that man is life, and consequently that life is inherent in him from creation, and afterwards propagated by descent, I have deduced from appearance; but the true ground or cause of the fallacy founded on this appearance is
this, that most at this day are mere natural men, and few respectively are spiritual, and the former judge by appearances, and of course by fallacies, which are diametrically opposite to this truth, that man is not life, but only a recipient of life. That man however is not life, but only a recipient of life from God, may be collected from these plain proofs, that all created things are in themselves finite, and that man, in consequence of being finite, must needs be created out of finite things, wherefore it is said in the book of Genesis, that Adam was made of the dust of the earth, from which also he had his name, Adam signifying the mould or soil of the earth; and in reality every man consisteth only of such things as are in the earth, and are exhaled from it in the atmospheres; what he receives from the atmospheres, he imbibes by his lungs, and through all the pores of his body, and the grosser parts of his composition he receiveth from meats and drinks, which are composed of earthy particles. With respect to the spirit of man, this also is created of things finite; for what is the human spirit but a receptacle of the life of the mind? The finite things of which it consisteth are spiritual substances, which are in the spiritual world, and which are also collated into our earth, and therein lie concealed: unless these were present within, together with material forms, it would be impossible for any seed to be impregnated from its inmost parts, and in consequence vegetate in a wonderful manner without any deviation from its proper order, from its first germination to the production of fruit and new seeds; neither could any insects be procreated out of the effluvia arising from the earth, or out of the perspirable matter exhaling from vegetables, with which the atmospheres are impregnated. How is it possible, according to any rational conception, for infinite to create any thing but what is finite? Can man therefore, since he is finite, be reasonably conceived to be any thing else but a form, which Infinite may vivify from
the life which it possesseth in Itself? This also is signified by these words: "Jehovah formed man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of lives," Gen. ii. 7. God, by reason that He is infinite, is Life in Himself, which life He cannot by any possibility create, and so transcribe it into man, for this would be to make man God; a mad conceit, suggested only by the serpent or devil, and by him instilled into Adam and Eve; for the serpent said, "In the day ye eat of the fruit of this tree, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God," Gen. iii, 5. This dreadful persuasion that God had transfused and transcribed Himself into men, was entertained, as I have been informed from their own lips, by the men of the most ancient church, at the period of its end or consummation; and it is on account of this horrible faith, in thus supposing themselves to be gods, that they lie concealed in a deep cavern, to which no one can approach without being seized with such an interior dizziness, as to cause him to fall down. The reader was apprised in the preceding article, that by Adam and his wife is understood and described the most ancient church.
471. How plain is it for any one to see, if he can but think from reason elevated above the sensualites of the body, that life is not creatable! For what is life, but the inmost activity of love and wisdom, which are in God, and which are God, which life may also be called the very essential living force (vis viva)? He whose eyes are open to see thus far, may also see further, that this life cannot possibly be transcribed into any man, unless love and wisdom be transcribed into him with it; and who denieth, or can deny, that all the good of love, and all the truth of wisdom, are from God alone, and that as man receiveth them from God, in the same proportion he hath life from God, and is said to be born of God, that is, to be regenerated? And on the other
* See note, n. 40.
hand, in proportion as a man doth not receive love and wisdom, or, what amounts to the same, charity and faith, from God, he doth not receive life, which in itself is life, from God, but from hell, which life is no other than inverted life, called in Holy Scripture, spiritual death?
472. From what hath been said above, we may come to this perception and conclusion, that the following things are not creatable: 1. what is infinite: 2. love and wisdom: 3. life: 4. light and heat: 5. activity, considered in itself:-but that the organs receptive of the above, are creatable, and are created. This may be illustrated by the following comparisons: light is not creatable, but its recipient organ, the eye, is creatable: sound also, which is an activity of the atmosphere, is not creatable, but its recipient organ, the ear, is: so neither is heat, which is the primary principle of activity, for the reception of which all the subjects of the three kingdoms of nature are created, but which however, in proportion to their reception of it, do not act, but are acted upon. It is a law of creation, that wherever there are things active, there are also things passive, and that these two should join themselves together into one; if the active were creatable, as the passive are, there would have been no need of the sun, or of the heat and light thence proceeding, but all created things might have subsisted without them; whereas the fact is, that were the sun with its heat and light to be removed, the whole universe of creation would become a chaos. The sun of this world consists of created 'substances, the activity of which produceth fire. These considerations are adduced by way of illustration, and to shew what would be the case with man, supposing that spiritual light, which in its essence is wisdom, and spiritual heat, which in its essence is love, were not to enter into him by influx, and be received by him: for the whole man is nothing but an organized form adapted to the reception of heat and light, both from the natural world and the
spiritual, for the heat and light of both worlds mutually correspond. To deny that man is a form receptive of love and wisdom from God, would be to deny the doctrine of influx, and consequently that all good is from God; in which case conjunction with God must also be denied, so that it would be absurd to talk of man's being the habitation and temple of God.
473. The cause why this is not in some measure apparent to man by rational light, is, because that light is clouded over by the fallacies arising from a belief in the appearances which strike the external senses of the body. Man can draw no other conclusion from his sensible impressions, than that he lives by virtue of a life which is his own; for in the connection subsisting between the instrumental and the principal*, the latter is perceived by the former as its own, or as something belonging to itself, and cannot therefore distinguish it from itself; for the principal cause and the instrumental cause act together as one cause, according to a maxim established and allowed in the learned world. The principal cause is life, and the instrumental cause is the mind of man. It appears also as if beasts possessed in themselves created life; but this is a similar fallacy; for all beasts are organs created to receive light and heat from the natural world and from the spiritual at the same time, every
* The unlearned reader may gain a clear idea of what is here meant by the principal cause and the instrumental cause, if he only considers them in reference to the soul and body, as exercised in every human action; in such case the soul is the principal cause with respect to the body, although it be at the same time the instrumental cause with respect to some higher power, by which itself is moved; and the body is, with respect to the soul, the instrumental cause, although it may operate at the same time as a principal cause, with respect to things subordinate; for it is remarkable that, notwithstanding the body receives all its life and action from the soul, yet it operates as of itself, and perceiveth such life and action as its own; so that however distinct it is in reality from the soul, yet in appearance it is one with it, and thus, as the author expresses it, the instrumental perceiveth the principal as its own.