De Verbo (The Word) #13

De Verbo (Chadwick translation)

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13. XIII. How far indirect revelation made by means of the Word is superior to direct revelation by means of spirits.

It is believed that a person could be more enlightened and wiser, if he had direct revelation by talking with spirits and angels, but the reverse is true. Enlightenment by means of the Word follows an internal path, but enlightenment by means of direct revelation follows an external path. The internal path is through the will into the intellect, the external path is through the hearing into the intellect. A person is enlightened by the Lord by means of the Word to the extent that his will is governed by good. But by hearing he can be taught and so to speak enlightened, even though his will is governed by evil. What enters the intellect of a person who is governed by evil is not inside him, but outside, being only in the memory and not expressed in the way he lives. What is outside him and not expressed in the way he lives little by little disappears, if not earlier, at any rate after death. For a will governed by evil either rejects or chokes it, or falsifies and profanes it. For the will controls the way a person lives, and continually acts upon the intellect, and it looks upon what the intellect has from memory as extraneous.

On the other hand the intellect does not act upon the will, but only indicates how the will ought to act. If therefore someone knew from heaven all that the angels can ever know, or if he knew everything there is in the Word, and everything in all the teachings of the church, and in addition what the church fathers wrote and the councils laid down, and yet his will was governed by evil, he would still after death be regarded as knowing nothing, because he does not wish what he knows. Since evil hates truth, the person himself then rejects those things, and in their place adopts falsities which agree with the evil in his will.

[2] Moreover, no spirit or angel is given permission to teach anyone on this earth about Divine truths; but it is the Lord Himself who teaches each person by means of the Word. How much he is taught depends upon how far he receives in his will good from the Lord, and he receives the more, the more he shuns evils as sins. Also each person is in the company of spirits as regards his affections and the thoughts they inspire. In this company he is as one with them, so that spirits speaking with people draw on his affections to speak and are guided by them. A person cannot speak with other spirits, unless the communities to which he belongs are first removed. This happens only by reforming his will.

Since a person is in the company of spirits who share his religion, the spirits who speak with him confirm all the religious principles he has adopted. So the spirits of the Enthusiast sect confirm all the details of Enthusiast belief the person has adopted; Quaker spirits all the details of Quaker belief, Moravian spirits all the details of Moravian belief, and so on. This leads to confirmations of falsity which can never be eradicated. These facts make it plain that indirect revelation by means of the Word is superior to direct revelation by means of spirits. As regards myself, I was not allowed to learn anything from the lips of a spirit or angel, but only from the lips of the Lord.

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