From Swedenborg's Works


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.


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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From Swedenborg's Works


Divine Love #19

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The reason for this is that "to love" is "to will," and "to will" is "to do." That "to love" is "to will" has been established just above; but that "to will" is "to do," has now to be established.

Regarded in itself the Will is not love, but the receptacle of love, and such a receptacle that it not only receives love, but also takes on its states, and assumes forms in accordance with them. For everything of a man's life flows in, because a man is not life, but a recipient of it; and consequently, because love is life, he is a recipient of love. This may be illustrated by man's organs of sense; for the eye is a recipient of light, but it is not light, nevertheless it is formed for receiving all variations of light; the ear is a recipient of sound and of its modulation and articulation, but it is not sound; likewise with man's other external senses. It is similar with the internal organs of sense, these being varied and actuated by spiritual light and heat; consequently it is similar with the Will: this is the receiving-organ for spiritual heat, which in its essence is love. This receiving-organ is in every part of man, but it is in its primes in the brains. These primes, or beginnings, or heads, are the cortical and cineritious substances, as they are called, in the brains. Commencing from these substances, by means of fibres, as if by rays, it descends from everywhere in the brains into every part of the face and every part of the body, and there, in accordance with its form, an animate spiritual form which has been treated of elsewhere, 1 it coils and winds in circles. In this way is actuated each and everything in face and body, from initial things to ultimate things, and in the ultimate things are presented the effects. It is well known that everything is put in motion as the result of effort, and that when the effort ceases, the motion ceases. So every volition of a man's Will is a living effort in him, and it acts in the ultimates of the body by means of the fibres and nerves, these latter being in themselves nothing else but perpetuated efforts continued from their beginnings in the brains right down to the ultimates in the different parts of the body, where the efforts become acts. These things are mentioned to make known what the Will is, namely, that it is the receptacle for love, in a continual effort to act, which effort is stimulated and determined into act by the love that flows in and is received.

[57.] From the above now it follows, that "to love," because it is "to will," is "to do;" for whatever a man loves, that he wills, and what he wills, that, if possible, he does; and even when he does not do it owing to its being impossible, still it is in interior act, which is not manifest. For there can be no effort or Will with any one, unless it is also in ultimates; and being in ultimates, it is in interior act; this act, however, is unperceived by any one even by the man himself, because it has its existence in his spirit. It is on account of this that the Will and act are a one, and that Will is accounted as act; but not in the natural world, for, in the natural world, interior acts of the Will are not apparent; it is so in the spiritual world, however, where these are apparent. For, in the spiritual world, every one acts in accordance with his love; those who are in a heavenly love act sanely: those who are in an infernal love act insanely, or, if they refrain from acting in this way on account of some fear, still interiorly their Will is active, and is only being restrained by them from breaking out. Moreover this interior action only ceases when the Will for it ceases. And so, Will and act being a one, and Will being the effort of love, it follows that nothing else is meant by "loving" in the Word than "doing," consequently by "loving the Lord and loving the neighbour" is meant "doing uses to the neighbour from love derived from the Lord." That this is so, the Lord Himself teaches in John:

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

Also in John:

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

And again:

Three times the Lord said to Peter, Lovest thou Me?, and three times Peter replies that he does love Him, and the Lord in reply said three times, 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 not anything unless it has existence, and it becomes something by existing. So also with "loving" and "doing," or "willing" and "acting," there being no such thing as loving and not doing, nor any such thing as willing and not acting; they have indeed no existence, for it is by "doing" and by "acting" that they have existence. Consequently, it is only when any one does and acts, that love and Will first exist.

It is in this way and in no other that the Lord and the neighbour are loved.


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