True Christian Religion #401

True Christian Religion (Chadwick translation)

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401. (v) THE INTERNAL MAN AND THE EXTERNAL MAN.

1. Man has been created so that he should be simultaneously in the spiritual and natural worlds. The spiritual world is the abode of angels, the natural world that of men. Since man has been so created, he has been endowed with an internal and an external, the internal to allow him to be in the spiritual world, the external to allow him to be in the natural one. His internal is what is called the internal man, the external what is called the external man.

[2] 2. Every person has an internal and an external, but there is a difference here between the good and the wicked, The good have their internal in heaven and its light, the external in the world and its light. For the good the light of the world is enhanced by the light of heaven, so that for them the internal and external act as one, like cause and effect, or prior and posterior. But the wicked have their internal in hell and its light, and this light is thick darkness compared to the light of heaven, though their external may enjoy light similar to that enjoyed by the good. So the situation is reversed, and this enables the wicked to talk and teach about faith, charity and God without being motivated by faith, charity and God, as the good are.

[3] 3. It is the internal man who is called spiritual, because he is in the light of heaven, which is spiritual light; it is the external man who is called natural, because he is in the world's light, which is natural light. If a person has his internal in the light of heaven and his external in the world's light, he is spiritual in both respects, since spiritual light coming from within enhances the natural light and makes it like its own. The reverse, however, happens in the case of the wicked.

[4] 4. The internal spiritual man regarded in essence is an angel of heaven; and while he lives in the body, he is also in company with angels, although unaware of it, and after the dissolution of the body goes to join them. In the case of the wicked, however, the internal man is a Satan, and while he lives in the body is also in company with satans, and after the dissolution of the body goes to join them.

[5] 5. The interiors of the mind in the case of spiritual people are really lifted towards heaven, for heaven is their primary aim; in the case of the purely natural, the interiors of the mind are turned away from heaven and towards the world, for this is their primary aim.

[6] 6. Those who cherish only a general notion about the internal and external man believe that it is the internal man who thinks and wills, and the external who speaks and acts, since thinking and willing are internal, but speaking and acting are external. But it needs to be known that when what a person thinks or wills concerning the Lord and what is His is good, and when what he thinks and wills concerning the neighbour and what is his is good, then this thinking and willing proceed from a spiritual internal, because they are the result of faith in truth and of love for good. But when his thinking and willing about them is evil, then they proceed from a hellish internal, because they are the result of faith in falsity and of love for evil. In short, in so far as a person feels love for the Lord and love towards the neighbour, to that extent is he in the spiritual internal, and this is the source of his willing and thinking, and also of his speaking and acting. But in so far as a person feels self-love and love for the world, to that extent his thinking and willing come from hell, despite the fact that he speaks and acts differently.

[7] 7. The Lord has provided and ordained that in so far as a person allows heaven to guide his thinking and willing, to that extent his spiritual man is opened up and developed. A path is opened to heaven reaching to the Lord, and his development is to conform with what is heavenly. On the other hand, however, in so far as a person allows not heaven but the world to guide his thinking and willing, to that extent his internal spiritual man is shut off, and the external is opened up and developed. The path is opened to the world, and his development is to conform with what is hellish.

[8] 8. Those who have their internal spiritual man opened up to heaven and to the Lord enjoy the light of heaven and enlightenment from the Lord, so that they possess intelligence and wisdom. They see truth by truth's light and experience good by their love for good. Those, however, who have their internal spiritual man shut off do not know what the internal man is, nor do they believe in the Word or life after death, or anything to do with heaven and the church. Since they enjoy only natural light, they believe nature is self-created instead of created by God, and they see falsity as truth and experience evil as good.

[9] 9. The internal and external I have been speaking of are the internal and external of a person's spirit; his body is merely an extra external, within which the others come into existence, for the body does nothing of itself, but as the result of the spirit in it. It needs to be known that after its release from the body a person's spirit thinks and wills, and speaks and acts, just as before. Thinking and willing is then his internal, speaking and doing his external.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

True Christian Religion 454


   Parallel Passages:

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 46

Other New Christian Commentary

Internal and External 1

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