« ПредишнаНапред »
closed, so that the members of the church know not what is contained within, whether it be altogether empty, or whether it be full of genii from hell, or of angels from heaven. They have, besides, been confused by the fallacies involved in this circumstance, that man can ascend with the understanding almost into the light of heaven, and can thence think and speak on spiritual subjects with intelligence, let the love of his will be of what quality it may: the ignorance of this truth hath also buried in oblivion every thing that concerns regeneration and renovation.
606. Hence it may be concluded, that the unregenerate man is as a person who sees imaginary objects in the night, and believes them to be men; and afterwards, whilst he is regenerating, he is like the same person who discerns by the dawning light that the objects of the night were phantastical, and when he is regenerate he sees them by the clear light of day to be the offspring of delirium. The unregenerate man is like one who is in a dream, and the regenerate man like one who is awake, according to the representation given in the Word, where natural life is compared to sleep, and spiritual life to a state of wakefulness. The unregenerate man is understood by the foolish virgins, who had lamps and no oil, and the regenerate by the wise virgins, who had lamps and oil in them; by lamps are meant such things as relate to understanding, and by oil such things as relate to love. The regenerate are like the lights of the candlestick in the tabernacle; and they are also like the shew-bread there, with the frankincense upon it; and it is declared of them that they shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and as the stars for ever and ever, Dan. xii. 3. An unregenerate man is like one who is in the garden of Eden, and eats of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and for that reason is cast out of the garden; nay, he is that very tree; but a regenerate man is like one who is in that garden, and eats of the tree of life; that he is permitted to eat of it appears from this pas
sage in the Revelation: "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God," chap. ii. 7: By the garden of Eden is meant intelligence in things spiritual proceeding from the love of truth, as may be seen in the APOCALYPSE REVEALED, n. 90. In a word, an unregenerate man is a child of the wicked one, and a regenerate man is a child of the kingdom, Matt. xiii. 38: a child of the wicked one there mentioned, is a child of the devil, and a child of the kingdom is a child of the Lord. IX. THAT A REGENERATE MAN IS IN COMMUNION WITH THE ANGELS OF HEAVEN, AND AN UNREGENERATE MAN IN COMMUNION WITH SPIRITS OF HELL. 607. The reason why every man is in communion, in other words in consociation, with angels of heaven or with spirits of hell, is, because he is born to become spiritual; but this is not possible, unless he be in some kind of conjunction with those who are spiritual. That man, as to his mind, is in both worlds, the natural and the spiritual, is shewn in the Treatise on HEAVEN and HELL. But with this conjunction, neither man, nor angel, nor spirit, is acquainted, for man, during his life in the world, is in a natural state, and angels and spirits are in a spiritual state, and on account of the distinction between natural and spiritual, they are invisible to each other. The nature and quality of this distinction is described in a memorable relation, in the Treatise on CONJUGIAL LOVE, n. 326 to 329*; from which it appears, that they are not conjoined as to thoughts, but as to affections, and on these scarcely any one reflects, because they are not in the light in which the understanding is, and with it its derivative thought, but in the heat in which the will is, together with the affection of its love. This conjunction of men with angels and spirits, by the affections of love, is so close, that were they plucked assunder, and thus separated from
* The greater part of the memorable relation here alluded to is also given above, n. 280.
each other, men would fall instantly into a swoon, and if the conjunction were not presently restored, they would expire. When it is said that man by regeneration is rendered spiritual, it is not meant that he is rendered spiritual as an angel, but that he is rendered spiritual-natural, in other words, that there is a spiritual principle within his natural, just as thought is in speech, and as will is in action, for when one ceases, the other ceases also; in like manner the spirit of man is in all and every thing that is done in the body, and it is this which impels the natural to do what it does: the natural, considered in itself, is passive, or a dead power, but the spiritual is active, or a living power; the passive or dead power cannot act of itself, but must be acted upon by the active or living power. As man lives continually in communion with the inhabitants of the spiritual world, therefore, when he departs out of the natural world, he is immediately introduced among his like, with whom he hath been associated whilst in the former world; hence it is that every one after death seems to himself as if he were still alive in the world, for he then comes into consort with his like as to the affections of his will, whom he then acknowledgeth, just as kins-folk and relations acknowledge each other in the world; and this is the meaning of what is said in the Word concerning those who die, that they are taken and gathered to their Hence then it may appear, that a regenerate man is in communion with angels of heaven, and the unregenerate with spirits of hell.
608. It is to be observed, that there are three heavens, distinct from each other, according to the three degrees of love and wisdom; and that man, according to his regeneration, is in communion with the angels of those three heavens; and it is on this account that the human mind is distinguished into three degrees or regions, according to the heavens: but of these three heavens, and of their distinction, according to the three degrees of love and wisdom, more
as one man.
may be seen in the Treatise on HEAVEN and HELL, n. 29; and likewise in the small Tract on the INTERCOURSE BETWEEN THE SOUL AND THE BODY, n. 16, 17. We shall at present only illustrate, by a kind of comparison, the nature of those three degrees, according to which the three heavens are distinguished from each other: they are like the head, the body, and the feet in man, the highest heaven constituting the head, the middle the body, and the last the feet for the universal heaven is in the Lord's sight That this is actually the case, was proved to me by ocular demonstration, for it was given me to see one society of heaven, which consisted of ten thousand angels, as one man; how much more then must this be the case with the universal heaven when viewed by the Lord! On this ocular demonstration and experience, more may be seen in the Treatise on HEAVEN and HELL, n. 59, &c. Hence too it is evident how this truth, acknowledged in all Christian countries, is to be understood, namely, that the church constitutes the body of Christ, (and that Christ is the life of that body. This too will serve to illustrate the position that the Lord is the All in All of heaven, for He is the life in that body; in like manner too the Lord is the All in All of the church with such as acknowledge Him alone to be the God of heaven and earth, and believe in Him: that He is the God of heaven and earth, He Himself teacheth in Matthew xxviii. 18; and that all people ought to believe in Him, John iii. 15, 36, chap. vi. 40, chap. xi. 25, 26.
609. The distinction of the three degrees of the heavens, and consequently of the three degrees of the human mind, is capable of receiving some illustration from comparisons with material things in the world; for those three degrees, in their respective states of excellence, are like gold, silver, and copper; with which metals a comparison also is made in the case of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. ii. 31, &c. Those three degrees are likewise distinct from
each other, in their respective purity and goodness, as a ruby, a sapphire, and an agate; and likewise as an olive-tree, a vine, and a fig-tree; and so in other instances. It is to be observed too, that gold, a ruby, and an olivetree, signify, in the Word, celestial good, which is the good of the highest heaven; and silver, a sapphire, and a vine, spiritual good, which is the good of the middle heaven; and copper, an agate, and a fig-tree, natural good, which is that of the last heaven: that there are three degrees, the celestial, the spiritual, and the natural; was shewn above.
610. To what has been already said this particular shall be added; that the regeneration of man is not effected in a single moment, but by successive degrees from the beginning to the end of his life in the world, and that it is continued and perfected after death; and as he is reformed by combats and victories over the evils of his fleshly nature, therefore the Son of Man saith to each of the seven churches, that He will give gifts to him that overcometh; as to the church of Ephesus, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life," Rev. ii. 7; to the church of Smyrna, "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death," Verse 11; to the church in Pergamos, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna," verse 17; to the church in Thyatira, “To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations," verse 26; to the church in Sardis, "He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment,” iii. 5 to the church in Philadelphia, "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of God," Verse 12; to the church of the Laodiceans, "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in My throne," verse 21. Lastly, let this further particular be added; that in proportion as a man is regenerated, or in proportion as regeneration is perfected in him, he does not attribute anything of good and truth, that is of charity and faith, to himself, but to the Lord; for the truths which he successively imbibes manifestly inculcate that doctrine.