July 17, 2016

Seeing from the Light of Heaven, or Seeing from Fatuous Light

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All and each of the things the Lord said were representative of Divine things, consequently of the celestial and spiritual things of His kingdom, and thus were adapted to the apprehension of men, and at the same time to the understanding of spirits and angels; wherefore those things which the Lord said, filled and continue to fill the whole heaven. From this it is evident of what use and importance it is to know the internal sense of the Word. Moreover, without this sense anyone can confirm from the Word whatever dogma he pleases; and because such is the appearance of the Word to those who are in evil, they therefore deride it, and are ready to believe anything rather than that it is Divine.
(Arcana 4677:10)
The dispelling and annihilating of the appearances of truth takes place after truth itself has been rejected; for truth itself shines forth of itself in the mind, and however it may be extinguished, still appears, especially in those who are in good. This is also clearly seen by those who have annihilated truth in themselves, wherefore also they endeavor to dispel and to annihilate these appearances.

Take as an example for the sake of illustration - who does not see that to will well and do well is the veriest Christian life?  And if anyone is told that this is charity, he cannot but affirm it; and those who affirm it will even say that they know what this is, because this is of the life.  But as regards thinking this or that to be true, even from confidence (as they are willing to do who are in faith separate), they will say that they do not know what it is, for they have no other perception of it than as of smoke which vanishes.  As faith alone and the confidence from it appear of this character to everyone who thinks seriously about it, especially to the good, therefore such persons labor to dispel and annihilate even these appearances, by thus paring off whatever touches them more nearly, and whatever is round about this Divine truth.  This is signified by stripping Joseph of the tunic that was on him.

The same persons also believe that those are wiser than all others, who having once accepted a dogma, whatever it may be, can confirm it by various things, and by various reasonings make it appear like truth.  But nothing could be less the part of a wise man; it is what everyone can do who possesses any ingenuity, and the evil more skillfully than the upright.  For to do this is not the part of a rational man, inasmuch as a rational man can see, as from above, whether that which is confirmed is true or false; and because he sees this, he regards confirmations of falsity as of no account, and they appear to him as simply ludicrous and empty, no matter how much anyone else believes them to have been taken from the school of wisdom itself.  In a word, nothing is less the part of a wise man, nay, nothing is less rational, than to be able to confirm falsities; for it is the part of a wise man and it is rational, first to see that a thing is true, and then to confirm it.  In fact to see what is true is to see from the light of heaven, which is from the Lord; but to see what is false as true is to see from a fatuous light, which is from hell.

(Arcana Coelestia 4741)