July 30, 2015

What is it to me whether truths are delightful or not?

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 
So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
(Ex 15:21-24)

Saying, What shall we drink? That this signifies that they could not endure truths because they were undelightful by reason of no affection of them, is evident from the signification of "drinking," as being to be instructed in truths and to receive them, and also to be affected with them, and consequently to appropriate them to oneself; here, not to endure them, for the reason that they were undelightful on account of there being no affection of good, which is signified by "the waters being bitter," according to what has been unfolded above. This temptation consists in the fact that they complain and grieve because the truths which had previously been delightful to them, and which thus had made their spiritual life or life of heaven, now seem undelightful to them, insomuch that they can scarcely endure them.
The merely natural man would not believe that such a thing could cause any grief, for he thinks, "What is it to me whether truths are delightful or not? If they are undelightful let them be rejected." But the spiritual man has very different sentiments. It is the delight of his life to be instructed in truths, and to be enlightened in such things as belong to his soul, thus to his spiritual life; and therefore when these fail, his spiritual life labors and suffers, and grief and anxiety ensue. The reason is that the affection of good is continually flowing in through the internal man from the Lord, and calling forth the accordant things in the external man which had previously caused the delight of the affection of truth; and when these things are assaulted by the evils of the love of self and of the world, which the man had also previously perceived as delightful, there arises a conflict of delights or of affections, from which springs anxiety, and from this grief and complaint.

It shall be briefly told how the case is with the temptation that arises through a failing of truth. The nourishment of the spiritual life is good and truth, as the nourishment of the natural life is food and drink. If good fails, it is as if food fails; and if truth fails, it is as if drink fails. The consequent grief is circumstanced like the grief from hunger and thirst. This comparison is from correspondence, for food corresponds to good, and drink to truth; and as there is a correspondence, food and drink also nourish the body better and more suitably when a man at dinner or at breakfast is at the same time in the delight of conversation with others about such things as he loves, than when he sits at table alone without company. When a man is in this state, the vessels in him that receive the food are constricted; but when he is in the first mentioned state, they are open. Such things are effected by the correspondence of spiritual food and natural food. It is said "the delight of conversation with others about such things as he loves," because everything of this kind has relation to good and truth; for there is nothing in the world which has not relation to both. What a man loves, has relation to the good with him; and what instructs him about good, and thus conjoins itself with it, has relation to the truth.

(Arcana Coelestia 8352)