Selection from The Divine Providence ~ Emanuel SwedenborgAs few know anything about the enlightenment which affects the understanding of a man who is taught by the Lord, something will now be said about it. There is an interior and an exterior enlightenment from the Lord; and there is an interior and an exterior enlightenment from man. Interior enlightenment from the Lord consists in a man's perceiving at first hearing whether what is said is true or not true; and exterior enlightenment is derived from this in the thought. Interior enlightenment from man is from confirmation alone; and exterior enlightenment from man is from knowledge alone. Something will now be said about each of these.
- A rational man by interior enlightenment from the Lord at once perceives, when he hears them, whether many things are true or not; as, for example, that love is the life of faith, that is, that faith lives from love. By interior enlightenment a man also perceives that what a man loves he wills, and what he wills he does, and consequently that to love is to do; and again, that whatever a man believes from love, this he also wills and does, and consequently that to have faith is also to do; and also that an irreligious man cannot have love to God, and so cannot have faith in God. By interior enlightenment also a rational man perceives the following truths as soon as he hears them: that God is One; that He is omnipresent; that all good is from Him; also that all things have relation to good and truth; and that all good is from Good itself and all truth from Truth itself. These and other similar truths a man perceives interiorly within himself when he hears them; and he has this perception because he has rationality, and this in the light of heaven is what enlightens.
- Exterior enlightenment is enlightenment of thought derived from this interior enlightenment; and thought is in this enlightenment so far as it remains in the perception that it has from interior enlightenment and also so far as it has knowledges of truth and good, for from these it draws reasons for confirmation. Thought from this exterior enlightenment sees a matter on both sides; on the one it sees reasons which confirm it, and on the other appearances which invalidate it; the latter it dispels and the former it stores up.
- Interior enlightenment from man, however, is wholly different. By it a man sees a matter on one side and not on the other; and when he has confirmed it he sees it in a light similar in appearance to the light treated of above, but it is the light of winter. For example, a judge who judges unjustly because of bribes and for the sake of gain, when he has confirmed his decision by the laws and by reasons, sees in his judgment nothing but what is just. Some, indeed, see the injustice, but as they do not wish to see it, they darken the issue and blind themselves, and so do not see it. It is the same in the case of a judge whose decisions are influenced by friendship, by the desire to gain favour, and by the ties of relationship.
- In similar fashion such persons treat everything that they receive from the mouth of a man in authority or a man of celebrity, or that they have hatched out from their own intelligence. They are blind reasoners; for their sight is from falsities, which they confirm; and falsity closes the sight, while truth opens it. Such persons do not see any truth from the light of truth, or any justice from a love of what is just, but only from the light of confirmation, which is a delusive light. In the spiritual world these appear like faces with no head, or like faces that resemble human faces with heads of wood behind them; and they are called rational animals, because their rationality is merely potential. Exterior enlightenment from man is possessed by those who think and speak from mere knowledge impressed upon the memory; and these have but little ability to confirm anything from themselves.
(The Divine Providence 168)