Spiritual background for EXODUS 3previous - next - text - Exodus - BM Home - Full Page
THE DOCTRINE OF CHARITY
AC 6818. With respect to the Neighbor, more must be said, because without knowing who the neighbor is, no one can know in what way charity must be practised. In the preface to the preceding chapter it was said that every man is the neighbor, but not one in like manner as another; and that he who is in good is more the neighbor than others, thus that it is the good in a man which is to be loved; for when good is loved, the Lord is loved, because it is the Lord from whom is good, who is in good, and who is good itself.
AC 6819. But not only is man in the singular the neighbor, but also man in the plural. For a society, smaller or greater, is the neighbor; our country is the neighbor; the church is the neighbor; the Lord‘s kingdom is the neighbor; and so above all is the Lord. All these are the neighbor who is to be benefited from charity. These also are ascending degrees of the neighbor; for a society of many is the neighbor in a higher degree than is an individual man; our country in a higher degree than a society; in a still higher degree the church; and in a still higher degree the Lord’s kingdom; but in the highest degree the Lord is the neighbor. These ascending degrees are like the steps of a ladder, at the top of which is the Lord.
AC 6820. A society is more a neighbor than an individual man, because it consists of many. Charity is to be practised toward it in like manner as toward an individual man, namely, according to the quality of good in it; thus quite differently toward a society of the upright, from the way in which it is to be practised toward a society of those who are not upright.
AC 6821. Our country is more the neighbor than a society, because it is like a parent; for there the man has been born; it nourishes him, and protects him from harm. Our country is to be benefited from love, according to its necessities, which chiefly regard its sustenance, its civil life, and its spiritual life. He who loves his country, and from good will benefits it, in the other life loves the Lord‘s kingdom; for there the Lord’s kingdom is his country. And he who loves the Lord‘s kingdom, loves the Lord, because the Lord is the all in all of His kingdom; for what is properly called "the Lord’s kingdom" is the good and truth from the Lord in those who are in it.
AC 6822. The church is more the neighbor than our country, because he who has regard for the church, has regard also for the souls and eternal life of the men who are in the country. And the church is cared for when man is led to good, and he who does this from charity, loves the neighbor, for he desires and wills for another, heaven and happiness of life to eternity. Good can be insinuated into another by anyone in his country, but not truth, except by those who are teaching ministers; if others do this, heresies arise, and the church is disturbed and rent asunder. Charity is practised, if through the truth which is of the church, the neighbor is led to good. If in the church anything is called truth which leads away from good, this is not worthy of mention, for it is not truth. Everyone must first obtain for himself truth from the doctrine of the church, and afterward from the Word of the Lord; this must be the truth of his faith.
AC 6823. The Lord‘s kingdom is the neighbor in a higher degree than the church in which one is born; for the Lord’s kingdom consists of all who are in good, both on earth and in the heavens; thus the Lord‘s kingdom is good with every quality of it in the complex; and when this good is loved, everyone who is in good is loved. Thus the whole, which is all good in the complex, is the neighbor in the first degree, and is that Grand Man which has been treated of at the end of many chapters, which Man is a representative image of the Lord Himself. This Man, that is, the Lord’s kingdom, is loved, when from inmost affection those are benefited who are men through that Man from the Lord, thus with whom is the Lord‘s kingdom.
AC 6824. These are the degrees of the neighbor, and according to these degrees charity ascends; but these are degrees in successive order, in which a prior or higher degree is always preferred to a posterior or lower one; and as the Lord is in the highest, and He is to be regarded in every degree as the end to which each tends, therefore He is above all, and is to be loved above all things.
CONTINUATION CONCERNING THE SPIRITS OF THE PLANET MERCURY
AC 6921. At the end of the preceding chapter it was shown that the spirits of the planet Mercury constitute in the Grand Man the memory of things not material; and as they therefore love to know things abstracted from what is material, they are more prompt and quick than other spirits in discerning, thinking, and speaking; for material things are like weights which induce slowness and retard, because they bear the mind downward and immerse it in earthly things, and thus remove it from the spiritual world, whence all clear discernment comes. How prompt these spirits are, can be seen from what follows.
AC 6922. There appeared a white flame of some brightness burning briskly, and this for some time. This flame signified the approach of spirits of Mercury more prompt than the rest. When they came, they instantly ran through the contents of my memory. This all spirits are able to do, and being with a man they are in possession of all things of his memory, (n. 5853, 5857, 5859, 5860). But on account of their quickness I could not perceive what these spirits observed. From time to time I heard them saying, "That‘s so-and-so" As regards what I have seen in the heavens and in the world of spirits, they said that they knew it before. I perceived that a multitude of spirits in association with them was at the back, a little to the left, in the plane of the back of the head.
AC 6923. At another time I saw a multitude of such spirits, but at some distance from me, in front, a little to the right, and they talked with me from there, but through intermediate spirits; for their speech is as quick as thought, which can fall into human speech only through intermediate spirits. And what surprised me, they spoke all together, and yet just as promptly and quickly. Their speech was perceived as an undulation, because it was of many together; and what is remarkable, it fell toward my left eye, though they were to the right. The reason was that the left eye corresponds to knowledges of things abstracted from things material, thus to such as are of intelligence; but the right eye corresponds to those which are of wisdom. They likewise perceived and judged what was heard with the same promptness as that with which they spoke, saying that this was so, and this not so. Their judgment was as it were instantaneous.
AC 6924. There was a spirit from another earth who, being a prompt and ready speaker, could speak with them skilfully. They judged in a moment of what he spoke, saying that this was too elegantly expressed, and that too artfully, so that they merely attended to whether they heard anything from him which was unknown to them before, thus rejecting such things as obscure the discourse, which are chiefly all affectations of elegance and erudition; for these hide the real things, and present instead thereof words, which are their material forms.
AC 6925. The spirits of the earth Mercury do not stay in one place, or within the sphere of the spirits of one world, but wander through the universe. The reason of this is that they relate in the Grand Man to the memory of real things, which memory must be continually enriched. Hence it is given them to wander about, and everywhere to acquire for themselves knowledges. If while thus journeying they meet with spirits who love material, that is, bodily and earthly things, they shun them, and betake themselves where they do not hear such things. From this it can be seen that their mind is uplifted above sensuous things, and thus that they are in interior light. This it was also given actually to perceive when they were near me, and were speaking with me. I then observed that I was withdrawn from sensuous things, insomuch that the light of my eyes began to grow dull and obscure.
AC 6926. The spirits of that earth go in companies and bands, and when assembled together, form as it were a globe; they are joined together by the Lord in this way in order that they may act as a one, and that the knowledges of each may be communicated to all, and the knowledges of all to each. That these spirits wander through the universe to acquire knowledges of things was made evident to me also from the fact that once, when they appeared very remote from me, they spoke with me from thence, and said that now they were gathered together, and that now they were going outside the sphere of this solar world into the starry heaven, where they know that there are such as do not care for earthly and bodily things; but for things abstracted therefrom, with whom they desire to be. It was said that they themselves do not know whither they are going; but that they are carried by the Divine guidance where they can be instructed about such things as they do not yet know, and which agree with the knowledges they already have. It was said further that they do not know how they meet the companions with whom they are conjoined, and that this also is done under the Divine guidance.
AC 6927. Because of their thus journeying through the universe, and so being able to know more than others about the worlds and earths outside the sphere of our solar system, I have also talked with them on this subject. They said that in the universe there are very many earths inhabited by men, and they wondered that it should be supposed by any, whom they called men of little judgment, that the heaven of the omnipotent God consists only of the spirits and angels who come from one earth, when yet these are so few that relatively to the omnipotence of God they are scarcely anything, even if there be myriads of worlds and myriads of earths. They said further that they know of there being earths in the universe numbering more than hundreds of thousands; and yet what is this to the Divine which is infinite?
AC 6928. The spirits of the earth Mercury are quite different from those of our earth, for the spirits of our earth, especially when newly in the other life, love bodily and earthly, that is material things, and desire to know such things in the other life. In order therefore that they may be able to be with good spirits who do not care for such things, they are kept in places which are beneath the soles of the feet, and are called in the Word the "lower earth,"’ and this even till they are averse to bodily and earthly things, and so put them off. When this is effected, they are taken up into heaven, initiated into things interior, and become angels.
AC 6929. When spirits of Mercury were with me while I was writing and unfolding the Word as to the internal sense, and perceived what I was writing, they said that the things I was writing were very gross, and that almost all the expressions appeared as it were material; but it was given to answer that to the men of our earth the things that have been written seem subtile and elevated, and many of them incomprehensible. I added that very many on this earth do not know that it is the internal man which acts upon the external, and causes this to live; and that they persuade themselves from fallacies of the senses that the body lives of itself, consequently that the whole man is to die when he dies as to the body, and in this way they cherish inward doubts as to the life after death; also that that part of man which is to live after the death of the body, they do not call the spirit, but the soul; and they dispute what the soul is, and where is its seat, and believe that it must be joined again to the material body, in order that the man may live, besides many like things. When the spirits of Mercury heard this, they asked whether such can become angels? to which it was given me to reply that those become angels who have lived in the good of faith, and in charity; and that then they are no longer in external and material things, but in internal and spiritual things, and that when they come to this state, they are in a light above that in which the spirits from Mercury are. To convince them that it is so, an angel was allowed to converse with them who was in heaven from our earth, and who had been such when he lived in the world, of which in what follows.
AC 6930. There was afterward sent to me from the spirits of Mercury a long irregular paper consisting of a number of papers stuck together, which appeared as if printed with type such as there is on this earth. I asked whether they have such things among them? but they said that they have not; but that they know there are such papers on our earth. They were unwilling to say more, but it was given to perceive that they were thinking that in this earth the knowledges of things are of this nature, thus separate from the man himself, except when the man keeps his eye and thus his mind on such papers. In this way they were ridiculing among themselves the men of this earth, as if they knew nothing except from papers; but they were instructed how the case herein is. After some time they returned, and sent to me another paper, also as it were printed like the former, yet not so stuck together and rude, but becoming and neat. They said that they had been further informed that on our earth there are such papers, and books made of them.
AC 6931. From what has thus far been said about the spirits of the earth Mercury, it is very manifest that spirits retain what they see and hear in the other life, and can be instructed equally as when they were men, thus in the things that belong to faith, and in this way can be perfected. The purer spirits and angels are, the more readily and fully do they take in, and the more perfectly retain in the memory, what they hear. And as this goes on to eternity, it is evident that they are continually increasing in wisdom. But the spirits of Mercury are continually increasing in the memory-knowledge of things, yet not in wisdom from it, because they love knowledges, which are means, but not uses which are ends, as was related of them above (n. 6814, 6815).
AC 6932. The subject of the spirits of the earth Mercury will be continued at the end of the following chapter. previous - next - text - Exodus - BM Home - Full Page