September 29, 2015

God Blessed - The Presence and Grace of the Lord

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
That "God blessed" signifies the presence and grace of the Lord, is evident from the signification of "to bless."

"To bless" in the Word, in the external sense signifies to enrich with every earthly and corporeal good, according to the explanation of the Word given by those who abide in the external sense - as the ancient and modern Jews, and also Christians, especially at the present day - wherefore they have made the Divine blessing to consist in riches, in an abundance of all things, and in self-glory.

But in the internal sense, "to bless" is to enrich with all spiritual and celestial good, which blessing is and never can be given except by the Lord, and on this account it signifies His presence and grace, which necessarily bring with them such spiritual and celestial good. It is said presence, because the Lord is present solely in charity, .... The Lord is indeed present with every man, but in proportion as a man is distant from charity, in the same proportion the presence of the Lord is - so to speak - more absent, that is, the Lord is more remote.

The reason why grace is mentioned, and not mercy, is for the reason - which as I conjecture, has been hitherto unknown - that celestial men do not speak of grace, but of mercy, while spiritual men do not speak of mercy, but of grace. This mode of speaking is grounded in the circumstance that those who are celestial acknowledge the human race to be nothing but filthiness, and as being in itself excrementitious and infernal; wherefore they implore the mercy of the Lord, for mercy is predicated of such a condition. Those, however, who are spiritual, although they know the human race to be of such a nature, yet they do not acknowledge it, because they remain in their Own, which they love, and therefore they speak with difficulty of mercy, but easily of grace. This difference in language results from the difference in the humiliation. In proportion as anyone loves himself, and thinks that he can do good of himself, and thus merit salvation, the less capable is he of imploring the Lord's mercy. The reason why some can implore grace is that it has become a customary form of speaking, in which there is but little of the Lord and much of self, as anyone may discover in himself while he names the grace of the Lord.
(Arcana Coelestia 981)

September 23, 2015

What Love Dictates

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What are truths of faith from love?
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  (Matt 22:37-40)
Truths of faith from love are truths which love dictates, thus which derive their being from love.  These truths are living, because the things which are from love are living.  Consequently the truths of faith from love are those which treat of love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, for these are the truths which love dictates. The whole Word is the doctrine of such truths; for in its spiritual sense the Word treats solely of things which belong to the Lord and the neighbor, thus which belong to love to the Lord and toward the neighbor. It is from this that the Word is living. This is meant by the statement that "on these two commandments hang the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:34-40); "the Law and the Prophets" denote the Word in its whole complex.

But truths of faith from love are not bare knowledges of such things with man in the memory, and from this in the understanding; but they are affections of life with him; for the things which a man loves and therefore does, are of his life. There are also truths of faith which do not, like the former, treat of love; but which merely confirm these truths more nearly, or more remotely. These truths of faith are called secondary truths.

For the truths of faith are like families and their generations in succession from one father. The father of these truths is the good of love from the Lord and consequently to Him, thus it is the Lord; for whether we say the Lord, or love from Him and consequently to Him, it is the same thing; because love is spiritual conjunction, and causes Him to be where the love is; for love causes him who is loved to be present in itself.

(Arcana Coelestia 9841)

September 22, 2015

Constantly in the Understanding and Constantly in the Will

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Those things with a man which have been impressed by means of faith and charity, or which the man fully believes and loves, are constantly in his thought and will; for he thinks them and wills them, even when he is thinking and busy about other things, and does not suppose them to be present in his mind; for they are among the things which constitute the mind's quality. That this is so is clearly evident from the spiritual sphere which encompasses a spirit or an angel; for when he approaches, it is at once known from this sphere of what faith and of what charity he is, and many things he has at heart, although at the time he is not thinking about them. Such things constitute the mind's life of everyone, and they always keep themselves there. These things could be illustrated by very many things with man; as by the various reflections, by the affections, and by the actions impressed from infancy, and the like, which are continually present and guide, even if nothing is manifestly thought about the matter. The case is the same with love to the neighbor, with love to God, with the love of good and truth, and with faith; they who are in these, constantly will them and think them; for these are in them, and when they are within they are said to be "universally regnant."
(Arcana Coelestia 8067)

September 21, 2015

Purpose, Intention, and End Excuses or Condemns

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is asserted that no man can fulfil the law, and the less so, since he who trespasses against one commandment of the Decalogue trespasses against all. But the meaning of this assertion is different from its sound, for it is to be understood thus:
he who purposely or deliberately acts contrary to one commandment, acts contrary to the rest, since to so act from purpose and deliberation is to deny utterly that it is sin, and when it is said to be sin, to reject the statement as of no account; and he who so denies and rejects the idea of sin gives no thought to anything that is called sin. Those who are unwilling to hear anything about repentance come into this fixed attitude of mind; but on the other hand, those who by repentance have removed some evils that are sins, come into a settled purpose to believe in the Lord and love the neighbor. Such are kept by the Lord in the purpose to refrain from other evils; and if therefore from ignorance or some over-powerful lust, they are led to commit sin, it is not imputed to them, because they did not commit it deliberately, and do not confirm it in themselves.
(True Christian Religion 523)

September 17, 2015

When The Principle of Falsity is in Truth

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... when anyone believes that faith saves without works, truth may indeed exist, but still it is not truth in him, because it does not look to good, nor is it from good. This truth is not alive, because it has in it a principle of falsity, consequently with anyone who has such truth, the truth is but falsity from the principle which rules in it. The principle is like the soul, from which the rest have their life.

On the other hand there are falsities which are accepted as truths, when there is good in them, especially if it is the good of innocence, as with the Gentiles and also with many within the church.
(Arcana Coelestia 4736)

September 11, 2015

The Reasons Why the Lord Willed to be Born on Our Earth, and Not on Another

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There are many reasons why it pleased the Lord to be born and to assume the Human on our earth, and not on any other, concerning which I have been informed from heaven.

The principal reason was for the sake of the Word, in that it could be written on our earth, and when written could then be published throughout the whole earth; and once published could be preserved for all posterity; and that thus it might be made manifest even to all in the other life that God had become a Man.

That the principal reason was for the sake of the Word, is because the Word is truth Divine itself, which teaches man that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death; and which teaches besides how a man must live and believe in order that he may come into heaven, and thus be eternally happy. Without revelation, thus on this earth without the Word, all these things would have been utterly unknown; and yet man has been so created that in respect to his internal man he cannot die.

That the Word could be written on our earth, is because the art of writing has existed here from the most ancient time, first on wooden tablets, later on parchment, afterward on paper, and finally it could be published in print. This has been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

That the Word could afterward be published throughout this whole earth, is because there is here an interaction of all nations, both by overland travel and by navigation, to all places on the globe. Therefore the Word once written could be carried from one nation to another, and could be everywhere taught. That there should be such an interaction has also been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

That the Word once written could be preserved for all posterity, consequently for thousands and thousands of years, and that it has been so preserved, is known.

That thus it could be made manifest that God has become a Man, is because this is the first and most essential thing for the sake of which the Word was given; for no one can believe in and love a God whom he cannot comprehend under some form; and therefore those who acknowledge the incomprehensible, in their thought fall into nature, and thus believe in no God .... Wherefore it pleased the Lord to be born here, and to make this manifest by the Word, not only in order that it might become known on this globe, but that by this means it might also be made manifest to all in the universe who come into heaven from any earth whatever; for in heaven there is a communication of all.

Be it known that the Word on our earth, given through heaven by the Lord, is the union of heaven and the world ...; to which end there is a correspondence of all things in the letter of the Word with Divine things in heaven; and that in its supreme and inmost sense the Word treats of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens and on earth, and of love and faith from Him and to Him, consequently of life from Him and in Him. Such things are presented to the angels in heaven, from whatever earth they come, when the Word of our earth is read and preached.

On every other earth truth Divine is made manifest orally through spirits and angels, as has been shown in the preceding chapters, where the inhabitants of the earths in this solar system have been treated of; but this takes place within families; for on most of the earths mankind live separate according to their families. Wherefore Divine truth thus revealed through spirits and angels is not conveyed far beyond the families; and unless a new revelation is constantly following, what has been revealed is either perverted or perishes. It is otherwise on our earth, where truth Divine, which is the Word, remains in its integrity forever.

Be it known that the Lord acknowledges and receives all, from whatever earth they may be, who acknowledge and worship God under a human form, for God under a human form is the Lord. And because the Lord appears to the inhabitants of the earths in an angelic form, which is the human form, therefore when spirits and angels from these earths hear from the spirits and angels of our earth that God is a Man in actuality, they receive this Word, acknowledge it, and rejoice that it is so....

To the reasons already adduced may be added that the inhabitants, spirits, and angels of our earth bear relation in the Grand Man to the external and bodily sense ... and the external and bodily sense is the ultimate, into which the interior things of life come to a close, and in which they rest as in their common receptacle .... The case is similar with truth Divine in the letter, which is called "the Word," and which for this reason also has been given on this earth and not on another. And because the Lord is the Word, and is its first and its last, therefore in order that all things might come forth according to order, He also willed to be born on this earth, and to become the Word; according to these words in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All thing were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father. No man hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:1-3, 14, 18)
"the Word" denotes the Divine truth. But this is a secret which will fall into the understanding of only a few.

That the inhabitants of other earths rejoice when they hear that God took on Himself the Human, and made it Divine, and that thus God is Man in actuality....
(Arcana Coelestia 9350 - 9361)

September 6, 2015

Faith in a Visible God

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Men ought to believe, that is, have faith, in God the Savior Jesus Christ, because that is a faith in a visible God within whom is the invisible; and faith in a visible God, who is at once Man and God, enters into a man; for faith in its essence is spiritual but in its form is natural; consequently with man such a faith becomes spiritual-natural. For anything spiritual, in order to be anything with man, must have a recipient in the natural. The naked spiritual does indeed enter into man, but it is not received; it is like the ether, which flows in and out producing no effect, for to produce an effect there must be perception and consequent reception, both of these in his mind; and no such reception is possible with man except in his natural. But on the other hand merely natural faith, or faith destitute of a spiritual essence, is not faith, but only persuasion or knowledge. In externals persuasion emulates faith; but since there is in its internals no spirituality, neither is there anything saving in it. Such is the faith of all who deny the Divinity of the Lord's Human; such was the Arian faith, and such also is the Socinian faith, because both reject the Lord's Divinity. What is faith without an object toward which it is determined? Is it not like gazing into the universe, where the sight falls, as it were, into vacuity and is lost? It is like a bird flying beyond the atmosphere into the ether, where, as in a vacuum, it ceases to breathe. The abiding of this faith in man's mind may be compared to that of the winds in the wings [halls?] of Aeolus, or of light in a falling star. It rises like a comet with a long tail, and like it passes over and disappears.

In a word, faith in an invisible God is actually blind, since the human mind fails to see its God; and the light of that faith, not being a spiritual-natural faith, is a fatuous light; which light is like that of the glow-worm, or like that seen above marshes or sulphurous glebes at night, or like the phosphorescence of rotten wood. From that light nothing comes except what pertains to fantasy, which creates a belief that the apparent is the real, when yet it is not. Faith in an invisible God shines with no other light than this, especially when God is thought to be a Spirit, and spirit is thought to be like ether. What follows but that man regards God as he does the ether? Consequently he seeks God in the universe; and when he does not find Him there, he believes the nature of the universe to be God. This is the origin of the prevailing naturalism of the day. Did not the Lord say,

That no one ever heard the Father's voice or saw His shape?  (John 5:37);

and also,
That no man hath seen God at any time, but that the only begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father hath revealed Him (John 1:18).

No man hath seen the Father, save He who is with the Father, He hath seen the Father (John 6:46).

Also that no one cometh unto the Father, but through Him (John 14:8).

That He who sees and knows Him sees and knows the Father (John 14:7-12).

But faith in the Lord God the Savior is different; He, being God and Man, can be approached and be seen in thought. Faith in Him is not indeterminate, but has an object from which and to which it proceeds and when once received is permanent, as when anyone has seen an emperor or king, as often as the fact is recalled the image returns. That faith's sight is like one's seeing a bright cloud, and in the midst of it an angel who invites the man to him, so that he may be raised up into heaven. Thus does the Lord appear to those who have faith in Him; He draws near to every man so far as man recognizes and acknowledges Him, which he does, so far as he knows and keeps the Lord's commandments, which are, to shun evils and do good; and at length the Lord comes into man's house, and together with the Father who is in Him, makes His abode with man, according to these words in John:

Jesus said, He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him and will manifest Myself to him and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him (14:21, 23).

The foregoing was written in the presence of the Lord's twelve apostles, who were sent to me by the Lord while I was writing it.

(True Christian Religion 339)

September 4, 2015

Hypotheses Respecting Faith and Freedom of Choice

Selection from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Conjunction with the Lord is a reciprocal conjunction, that is, that the Lord is in man and man in the Lord. That conjunction is reciprocal, Scripture teaches and reason also sees. As to His conjunction with His Father, the Lord teaches that it is reciprocal, for He says to Philip:

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me (John 14:10, 11).
That ye may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father (John 10:38).
Jesus said, Father, the hour is come glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee (John 17:1).
Father, all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine (John 17:10).

The same is said by the Lord respecting His conjunction with man, namely, that it is reciprocal; for He says:

Abide in Me and I in you; he that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit (John 15:4, 6).
He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, abideth in Me and I in him (John 6:66).
In that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:20).
He that keepeth the commandments of Christ abideth in Him, and He in him (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God (1 John 4:15).
If anyone hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me (Apoc. 3:20).

From these plain statements it is clear that the conjunction of the Lord and man is reciprocal; and because it is reciprocal it necessarily follows, that man ought to conjoin himself to the Lord, in order that the Lord may conjoin himself to man; and that otherwise conjunction is not effected, but withdrawal and a consequent separation, yet not on the Lord's part, but on man's part. In order that such reciprocal conjunction may exist, there is granted to man freedom of choice, giving him the ability to walk in the way to heaven or in the way to hell. From this freedom that is given to man flows his ability to reciprocate, which enables him to conjoin himself with the Lord, and also with the devil. ...

It is to be lamented that the reciprocal conjunction of the Lord and man, although it stands out so clearly in the Word, is unknown in the Christian church. It is unknown because of certain hypotheses respecting faith and freedom of choice. The hypothesis respecting faith is that it is bestowed upon man without his contributing anything toward the acquisition of it, or adapting and applying himself, any more than a stock, to the reception of it. The hypothesis respecting freedom of choice is that man does not possess a single grain of freedom of choice in spiritual things. But that the reciprocal conjunction of the Lord and man, on which depends the salvation of the human race, may not remain longer unknown, necessity itself enjoins its disclosure, which may be best effected by examples, because they illustrate.

There are two kinds of reciprocation by which conjunction is effected: - one is alternate and the other mutual. The alternate reciprocation by which conjunction is effected, may be illustrated by the action of the lungs in breathing. Man draws in the air and thereby expands the chest; then he expels the inhaled air and thereby contracts the chest. This inhalation and the consequent expansion is effected by means of the pressure of the air proportionate to its column; while the expulsion and the consequent contraction are effected by means of the ribs by the power of the muscles. Such is the reciprocal conjunction of the air and the lungs, and on it depends the life of all bodily sense and motion, for these swoon when respiration ceases.

Reciprocal conjunction, which is effected by alteration, may also be illustrated by the conjunction of the heart with the lungs and of the lungs with the heart. The heart from its right chamber pours the blood into the lungs, and the lungs pour it back again into the left chamber of the heart; thus is that reciprocal conjunction effected on which the life of the whole body is altogether dependent. There is a like conjunction of the blood with the heart, and vice versa. The blood of the whole body flows through the veins into the heart, and from the heart it flows out through the arteries into the whole body; action and reaction effect this conjunction. There is a like action and reaction (by which there is a constant conjunction) between the embryo and the mother's womb.

But there is no such reciprocal conjunction of the Lord and man. That is a mutual conjunction, which is effected not by action and reaction, but by cooperation. For the Lord acts, and from Him man receives action, and operates as if of himself, even by the Lord from himself. This operation of man from the Lord is imputed to him as his own, because he is held constantly by the Lord in freedom of choice. The freedom of choice resulting from this is the ability to will and to think from the Lord, that is, from the Word, and also the ability to will and to think from the devil, that is, contrary to the Lord and the Word. This freedom the Lord gives to man to enable him to conjoin himself reciprocally with the Lord, and by conjunction be gifted with eternal life and blessedness, since this, without reciprocal conjunction, would not be possible.

This reciprocal conjunction, which is mutual, may also be illustrated by various things in man and in the world. Such is the conjunction of soul and body in every man; such is the conjunction of will and action, also of thought and speech; such is the mutual conjunction of the two eyes, the two ears, and the two nostrils. That the mutual conjunction of the two eyes is in a manner reciprocal, is evident from the optic nerve, in which fibers from both hemispheres of the cerebrum are folded together, and thus folded together they extend to both eyes. It is the same with the ears and nostrils.

There exists a like reciprocal and mutual conjunction between light and the eye, between sound and the ear, odor and the nose, taste and the tongue, touch and the body; for the eye is in the light and the light in the eye, sound is in the ear and the ear in the sound, odor is in the nose and the nose in odor, taste is in the tongue and the tongue in taste, and touch is in the body and the body in touch. ... in short, such is the reciprocal conjunction of the end and the cause, and such also is that of the cause and the effect.

(Conjugial Love 371)

September 1, 2015

Re-born; from the Former to the New Life

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... It is known that man is born into the nature of his parents, and of his grandfathers, and also of those who have been his ancestors for ages; thus he is born into the hereditary evil of them all successively accumulated, insomuch that as regards what is from himself he is nothing but evil. The result of this is that as to both understanding and will man has been utterly destroyed; and of himself wills nothing of good, and consequently understands nothing of truth; and therefore that which he calls good and believes to be good, is evil; and that which he calls truth and believes to be truth, is falsity. For example: loving himself above others; desiring better for himself than for others; coveting what belongs to another; taking thought for himself alone, and not for others except for the sake of himself. As of himself man is desirous of these things he therefore calls them goods, and also truths; and what is more, if anyone injures or endeavors to injure him in respect to these goods and truths as he calls them, he hates him, and also burns with revenge toward him, desires and even seeks his ruin, and feels delight in it, and this in proportion as he actually confirms himself in such things, that is, in proportion as he more frequently brings them into actual exercise.

When such a person comes into the other life he has the same desires; the very nature which he has contracted in the world by actual life remains, and the delight just referred to is plainly perceived. For this reason such a man cannot be in any heavenly society, in which everyone desires better for others than for himself, but has to be in some infernal society where the delight is similar to his own.  This nature is that which must be rooted out while the man lives in the world, which cannot possibly be done except by the Lord through regeneration; that is, by his receiving a totally new will and derivative new understanding; or in other words by being made new in respect to both these faculties. But in order that this may be effected, the man must first of all be reborn as a little child, and must learn what is evil and false, and also what is good and true; for without knowledge he cannot be imbued with any good; for from himself he acknowledges nothing to be good but what is evil, and nothing to be true but what is false.

To this end such knowledges are insinuated into him as are not altogether contrary to those which he had before; as that all love begins from self; that self is to be taken care of first and then others; that good is to be done to such as appear poor and distressed outwardly, no matter what may be their inward character; in like manner that good is to be done to widows and orphans simply because they are so called; and lastly, to enemies in general, whoever they may be; and that thereby a man may merit heaven. These and other such knowledges are those of the infancy of his new life, and are of such a nature that while they derive somewhat from his former life or the nature of his former life, they also derive somewhat from his new life into which he is thereby being introduced; and hence they are such as to admit into them whatever things are conducive to the formation of a new will and a new understanding. These are the lowest goods and truths, from which those who are being regenerated commence, and because these admit into themselves truths that are more interior or nearer to Divine truths, by their means there may also be rooted out the falsities which the man had before believed to be truths.

But they who are being regenerated do not learn such truths simply as memory-knowledges, but as life, for they do these truths; but that they do them is from the beginning of the new will which the Lord insinuates entirely without their knowledge; and insofar as they receive of this new will, so far they receive of these knowledges, and bring them into act, and believe them; but insofar as they do not receive of the new will, so far they are indeed capable of learning such things, but not of bringing them into act, because they care merely for memory-knowledge, and not for life.

This is the state of infancy and childhood in respect to the new life which is about to succeed in place of the former life; but the state of the adolescence and youth of this life is that regard is no longer had to any person as he appears in the external form but to his quality in respect to good; first in civil life, next in moral life, and lastly in spiritual life; and good is that which the man then begins to hold and love in the prior place, and from good to love the person; and at last, when he is still further perfected, he takes care to do good to those who are in good, and this in accordance with the quality of the good in them, and at last he feels delight in doing good to them, because he feels delight in good, and pleasantness in the things that confirm it. These confirmatory things he acknowledges as truths; and they also are the truths of his new understanding, which flow from the goods which are of his new will.

In the degree that he feels delight in this good, and pleasantness in these truths, he has a feeling of what is undelightful in the evils of his former life, and of what is unpleasing in its falsities; and the result is that a separation takes place of the things which are of the former will and the former understanding from the things that are of the new will and the new understanding; and this not in accordance with the affection of knowing such things, but in accordance with the affection of doing them. Consequently the man then sees that the truths of his infancy were relatively inverted, and that the same had been by little and little brought back into a different order, namely, to be inversely subordinate, so that those which at first were in the prior place are now in the posterior place; thus that by those truths which were the truths of his infancy and childhood, the angels of God had ascended as by a ladder from earth to heaven; but afterwards, by the truths of his adult age, the angels of God descended as by a ladder from heaven to earth.

... all goods and truths descend from the Lord, and ascend to Him; that is, that He is the first and the last; for man has been so created that the Divine things of the Lord may descend through him down to the ultimates of nature, and from the ultimates of nature may ascend to Him; so that man might be a medium that unites the Divine with the world of nature, and the world of nature with the Divine; and that thus the very ultimate of nature might live from the Divine through man as the uniting medium; which would be the case if man had lived according to Divine order.

That man was so created is evident from the fact that as to his body he is a little world, for all the arcana of the world of nature are stored within him; for every hidden property there is in the ether and its modifications is stored within the eye; and every property in the air is stored within the ear; and whatever invisible thing floats and acts in the air is in the organ of smell where it is perceived; and whatever invisible thing there is in waters and other fluids is in the organ of taste; and the very changes of state are in the sense of touch everywhere in the body; besides that things still more hidden would be perceived in his interior organs if his life were in accordance with order. Hence it is evident that there would be a descent of the Divine through man into the ultimate of nature, and from the ultimate of nature there would be an ascent to the Divine, if with faith of heart, that is, with love, man would only acknowledge the Lord as his first and last end.

In such a state were the most ancient people, who were celestial men; for whatever they apprehended by any sense was to them a means for thinking concerning the things of the Lord; thus concerning the Lord and His kingdom; and from this came the delight they derived from things worldly and terrestrial .... Moreover when they thus contemplated the lower and ultimate things of nature, these appeared before their eyes as if they were alive; for the life from which they descended was in their internal sight and perception, and the objects presented to their eyes were as images of this life; which images, although inanimate, to them were thereby animated. Such is the perception the celestial angels have regarding all things in the world; as has frequently been given me to perceive; and hence also little children have such a perception .... From all this we can see what is the quality of those through whom the Divine things of the Lord descend down to the ultimates of nature, and from the ultimates of nature ascend to Him, and represent the Divine communication and the consequent conjunction which in the supreme sense are signified by the "angels ascending and descending on the ladder set on the earth, whose head reached unto heaven, and upon which stood Jehovah."
(Arcana Coelestia 3701-3702)