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Divine Wisdom #1

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In the Lord there is Love and there is Wisdom: Love in Him is Being (Esse), and Wisdom in Him is Existing (Existere) 1 ; nevertheless, these in Him are not two, but one; for the Wisdom is of the Love, and the Love is of the Wisdom, and by reason of this union, which is reciprocal, there results a One. This One is the Divine Love that in the heavens becomes visible to angels as a Sun. The reciprocal union of the Divine Wisdom and the Divine Love is meant by these words of the Lord:

Believest thou not, Philip, that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me (John 14:10-11).


I and the Father are one (John 10:30).

[65.] These two things, which in the Lord are a One, do indeed proceed forth as two distinct things from Himself as a Sun, the Wisdom as light and the Love as heat; yet it is only to outward appearance that they proceed forth as two distinct things: in themselves they are not distinct, the light being of the heat, and the heat being of the light; for just as they are one in the Sun, so they are one in the least point. That which proceeds forth from the Sun is also the Sun in the least parts of it, and consequently is the Sun universally in every point. The expressions "every point" and "least part" are used, but spatial points and spatial parts are not meant, for there is nothing of space in what is Divine, this being spiritual, not natural.

[2] [66.] The fact that Love and Wisdom, in proceeding forth from the Lord as a Sun, are to outward appearance two distinct things, the Wisdom visible as light, and the Love perceptible as heat, has this result that they are received as two distinct things by angels; some angels receive more from the heat, which is Love, and some receive more from the light, which is Wisdom. Accordingly the angels comprising the heavens are distinguished into two kingdoms. Those who have received more from the heat, which is Love, than from the light, which is Wisdom, make one kingdom, and are called celestial angels; the highest heavens consist of these. Whereas those who have received more from the light, which is Wisdom, than from the heat, which is Love, make the other kingdom, and are called spiritual angels; the lower heavens consist of these. These latter are said to have received more from the light, which is Wisdom, than from the heat, which is Love, but this "more" is only an apparent "more," for they are no wiser than in proportion as the love with them makes one with their wisdom; this is the reason spiritual angels are called intelligent rather than wise. These things are concerning the light in the Lord, the light proceeding forth from Him, and the light in angels.

[3] [67.] The Divine Wisdom, appearing in the heavens as light, in its essence is not light: it clothes itself with light, so as to appear before the sight of angels. In its essence that Wisdom is Divine Truth, and the light is the outward appearance of it and the correspondent of it. With the light of wisdom it is the same as with the heat of love, spoken of above. As the light corresponds to the Wisdom, and as the Lord is the Divine Wisdom, therefore also in the Word in many places He is called "light," as in the following:

That was the true light which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9).

Jesus said, I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me, shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12).

Jesus said, Yet a little while is the Light with you: walk while ye have the Light, lest darkness take possession of you.... While ye have the Light, believe in the Light, that ye may be sons of light.... I am come a Light into the world, that whosoever believeth in Me should not abide in darkness (John 12:35-36, 46).

And a number of other places. Furthermore, the Lord's Divine Wisdom was represented by His garments at the transfiguration, in that

their appearance was like light, "shining and white as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them" (Mark 9:3; Matthew 17:2).

"Garments" in the Word signify truths of wisdom; on this account all angels in the heavens appear clothed in accordance with the truths of their knowledge, of their intelligence, and of their wisdom.

[4] [68.] It is evident in heaven, though not in the world, that light is the outward appearance of Wisdom and the correspondent of it, there being no light in heaven other than spiritual light, which is the light of Wisdom, illuminating all things that come into existence there from the Divine Love. The wisdom with angels enables them to understand these in their essence, and the light enables them to see them in their form. The light in each heaven, therefore, is equivalent in degree to the wisdom with angels there. In the highest heavens the light is flame-coloured, flashing as if from lustrous gold: this is because they are in wisdom. In the heavens below these the light is white, shining brightly as if from gleaming silver: this is because they are in intelligence. And in the lowest heavens the light is like the noonday light in the world: this is because they are in knowledge. The light in the higher heavens is brilliant, exactly like a star glittering and shining brightly in itself by night, and there is light continuously because the Sun there does not set. It is this same light that enlightens the Understanding of those men in the world who are in the love of being wise, but it is not seen by them because they are natural, not spiritual; it is possible to see it, for it has been seen by me, but only with the eyes of my spirit. Moreover, it has been granted me to perceive that when I was in the light of the highest heaven, I was in wisdom, when in the light of the second heaven I was in intelligence, and when in the light of the lowest heaven I was in knowledge, whereas, when I was in natural light, I was in ignorance of spiritual things.

[5] [69.] In order that I might know in what light the learned in the world are at this day, there appeared before me two ways: one was called the Way of Wisdom, the other the Way of Folly. At the end of the Way of Wisdom stood a palace in light: at the end of the Way of Folly stood something resembling a palace, but it was in shadow. Some three hundred learned men had been assembled together and were given the choice of going which way they wished. Two hundred and sixty were seen to take the Way of Folly and only forty the Way of Wisdom. Those who took the Way of Wisdom entered the palace in light, in which were magnificent things: they were given garments of fine linen, and became angels. Those, on the other hand, who took the Way of Folly were desirous of entering what had looked like a palace when in shadow-but behold, it was an actors' stage where they donned theatrical costumes, and, wearing masks, posed as soothsayers, and became fools. I was afterwards told that at this day the foolish learned who are in natural light are, relatively to the wise learned who are in spiritual light, as many and as foolish; and that all who have a love for discerning whether a thing is true that some one else says, have spiritual light: whereas those who have a love merely for confirming what someone else has said, have natural light.

Notes de bas de page:

1. Swedenborg uses the two terms Esse and Existere in the sense respectively of "Being" and "that by which Being has manifest existence." See On the Divine Love 19 [57.].

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.

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Divine Love #19

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In the Word to love means to perform uses, because love is will, and to will is to do. That to love is to will has been shown just above; but that to will is to do remains to be shown. The will viewed in itself is not love, but is a receptacle of love, and such a receptacle that it not only receives it but also takes on its states and assumes forms in accordance with those states; for everything of man's life flows in, since man is not life but a recipient of life, consequently he is a recipient of love, for love is life. This can be illustrated by the organs of man's senses. The eye is not light but a recipient of light formed to receive all varieties of light. The ear is not sound but a recipient of sound and of its modulation and articulation. The same is true of man's other external senses. And the same is true of the internal organs of sense, which are modified and moved by spiritual light and heat; and consequently the same is true of the will, which is a receptacle of spiritual heat, which in its essence is love. This receptacle is in man throughout; but in its first principles it is in the brains. These first principles or beginnings or heads are the substances that are called cortical and cineritious. From these through ray-like fibers it descends on every side into all things of the face and all things of the body, and there performs its gyrations and circlings in accordance with its form, which is the spiritual animal form that has been treated of elsewhere. And thus each and all things therein from things first to ultimates are moved, and in ultimates effects are presented. It is well known that everything is put in motion by an endeavor (conatus); and that when the endeavor ceases the motion ceases. Thus every voluntary action of man's will is a living endeavor in man, and it acts in ultimates by means of fibers and nerves, which in themselves are nothing else than perpetual endeavors continued from the beginnings in the brains even to the ultimates in the bodily parts, where endeavors become acts. These things have been presented to make known what the will is, and that it is the receptacle of love in a perpetual endeavor to act; and this endeavor is excited and determined into acts by the love that flows in and is received.

[2] From all this it now follows that to love is to do because it is to will; for whatever a man loves that he wills; and what he wills that he does if it is possible; and if he does not do it because it is not possible, it still comes into interior act, which is not made manifest. For no endeavor or volition can exist in man unless it comes into ultimates; and when it is in ultimates it is in interior act, although this act is not perceived by anyone, not even by the man himself, because it exists in his spirit. From this it is that volition and act are a one, and that the volition is counted as the act. This does not apply to the natural world, because in that world the interior act of the will does not appear, but it applies to the spiritual world, for there it is seen. For all in the spiritual world act according to their loves; those who are in heavenly love act sanely; those who are in infernal love act insanely; and if because of any fear they do not act, their will is interiorly active, but is restrained by them from breaking forth; nor does this action cease until the volition ceases. Since, then, the will and the act are a one, and will is the endeavor of love, it follows that in the Word "to love" has no other meaning than to do; thus that "to love the Lord and to love the neighbor" means to perform uses to the neighbor from love which is from the Lord. That this is so the Lord Himself teaches in John:

He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; but he that loveth Me not keepeth not My words (John 14:21, 24).

In the same:

Abide ye in My love. If ye have kept My commandments ye shall abide in My love (John 15:9-10).

And in the same:

The Lord said three times to Peter, Lovest thou Me? and three times Peter answered that he loved; and the Lord three times said to him Feed My lambs and My sheep (John 21:15-17).

Moreover, there are two things that cannot be separated; namely, being (esse) and existing (existere). Being is nothing unless it exists; and it becomes something by existing. So it is with loving and doing, or with willing and acting; for to love, and not do, and to will and not act, are impossible, for they do not exist; but they exist in doing and acting; consequently, when man does and acts, then love and will have being. In this and in no other way is the Lord loved and the neighbor loved.

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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.