Divine Love # 1

Por Emanuel Swedenborg
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This is evident from its being frequently asked, What is Love? The reason for this ignorance is that love is not apparent to the sight of the Understanding, and it is the Understanding that is the receptacle for the light of heaven; whatever enters into that light is seen interiorly, for a man is aware of what he is thinking, and so he speaks of this or that thing as being in the "light" of his Understanding, or of such and such a thing that he "sees" it to be so; moreover he prays that God will enlighten him and give him illustration. There is indeed a light that is spiritual, to which natural light corresponds; it is from that light that a man says in reference to his Understanding that he sees, and that a wise man also prays God to enlighten him and give him illustration, that is, to give him understanding. As, therefore, it is the Understanding, and not the love, that presents itself by means of thought so as to be seen, man is unable to have any idea of the love. But as love is the very soul or life of thought, therefore thought, if deprived of love, grows cold and lifeless, like a flower deprived of heat; for love kindles, enlivens and animates thought. Direct your attention to your own mind and consider whether you would be able to think apart from some affection that is of love, and you will discover within yourself that you cannot. From this it is evident that love is the life of the Understanding, and so of the thought; and being the life of the Understanding and so of the thought, it is also the life of the whole man; for it is the life of all sense and of all motion, thus it is the life of the organs by means of which sense and motion come into existence; that it is also the life of the other viscera will be seen below.

[2] Another reason for the ignorance as to what love is, is that the love in a man is a universal life; by a universal life is meant a life that is present in the smallest individual things, for it is on account of its being in these that it is called universal, just as what is general is so called on account of its parts. What is thus universal is only perceived as a one, and this, without a perception of each individual thing, is obscure. It may be compared to light so bright that it blinds. Such, too, is the universal Divine in the smallest individual things of the world; on which account this also is so obscure to man that it is not visible to the naked eye, but only to "the eye that is shut;" for everything in the world is the work of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, and the wisdom in the smallest individual things of it is Divine light so bright that it blinds, as said above.

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