De Verbo (The Word) # 2

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2. II. The Word is inwardly alive.

When the Word is read by a person who treats it as holy, then in the second heaven its natural sense becomes spiritual, and in the third celestial, as the natural is successively shed. This happens because there is a correspondence between the natural, spiritual and celestial, and the Word is written by means of nothing but correspondences. The Word's natural sense is as it is in the literal sense, all of which becomes spiritual, and then celestial, in the heavens. And when it becomes spiritual, then it there lives from the light of truth in it, and when it becomes celestial it lives from the flame of good in it. For the spiritual ideas of the angels of the second heaven derive from the light there, which is in essence Divine truth; but the celestial ideas of the angels of the third heaven derive from the flame of good, which is in essence Divine good. For in the second heaven the light is brilliant white, and this enables the angels there to think; and in the third heaven the light is flame-like, and this enables the angels there to think.

The thoughts of angels are utterly different from those of people on earth. Their thinking takes place by means of light, either brilliant white or flame-like; these are beyond the range of a natural description. These facts make it clear that the Word is inwardly alive, and so is not dead but living for a person who has holy thoughts about the Word when he reads it. Moreover, everything in the Word is made alive by the Lord, for it becomes life with the Lord, as the Lord says in John:

The words I speak to you are spirit and life. John 6:63.

The life which flows from the Lord through the Word is the light of truth working on the intellect, and the love of good working on the will. This love and that light linked together make the life of heaven for a person, what is called everlasting life. The Lord too teaches:

The Word was God. In Him was life and His life was the light of men. John 1:4.

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