August 6, 2016

Action and Reaction in Understanding the Word

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is granted by the Lord to every man to perceive [to perceive from the Lord of what quality the Word], but yet no one does perceive it unless he wishes as of himself to perceive it. This ability to reciprocate, man must have in order to receive the faculty to perceive the Word; unless a man wishes and does this as of himself no such faculty can be appropriated to him; since, in order that appropriation may be effected, there must be an active and a reactive; the active is from the Lord, so is the reactive, but the latter appears to be from man; for the Lord Himself gives this reactive, and thence it is from the Lord and not from man; but as man does not know otherwise than that he lives from himself, and consequently that he thinks and wills from himself, so he must needs do this as if it were from what is proper to his own life; and when he so acts, it is then first implanted in him, and conjoined and appropriated to him.

He who believes that Divine verities (truths) and goodnesses flow into man apart from such an ability to react or reciprocate, is much deceived, for this would be to let the hands hang down, and to wait for immediate influx; as those think who wholly separate faith from charity, and who say that the goods of charity, which are the goods of life, flow in without any cooperation of man's will, when yet the Lord teaches that He continually stands at the door and knocks, and that man must open the door, and that He enters in to him who opens (Rev. 3:20).

In brief, action and reaction constitute all conjunction, and in action and mere passiveness there is no conjunction; for when the agent or active flows into the mere patient or passive, it passes through and is dissipated, for the passive yields and retires; but when the agent or active flows into a passive that is also a reactive, then they join together and the two remain conjoined. Thus it is with the influx of Divine good and Divine truth into man's will or love; for this reason when the Divine flows into the understanding alone it passes through and is dissipated, but when it flows into the will, where what is man's own (proprium) resides, it remains conjoined.

(Apocalypse Explained 616)