Divine Love and Wisdom, by Emanuel Swedenborg, , tr. by John C. Ager  at sacred-texts.com
The perfection of life, forces, and forms that increase or decrease according to degrees of breadth, that is, continuous degrees, will not be discussed here, because there is a knowledge of these degrees in the world; but only the perfections of life, forces, and forms that ascend or descend according to degrees of height, that is, discrete degrees; because these degrees are not known in the world. Of the mode in which perfections ascend and descend according to these degrees little can be learned from things visible in the natural world, but this can be seen clearly from things visible in the spiritual world. From things visible in the natural world it is merely found that the more interiorly they are looked into the more do wonders present themselves; as, for instance, in the eyes, ears, tongue; in muscles, heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and other viscera; also, in seeds, fruits and flowers; and in metals, minerals and stones. That wonders increase in all these the more interiorly they are looked into is well known; yet it has become little known thereby that the objects are interiorly more perfect according to degrees of height or discrete degrees. This has been concealed by ignorance of these degrees. But since these degrees stand out conspicuously in the spiritual world (for the whole of that world from highest to lowest is distinctly discreted into these degrees), from that world knowledge of these degrees can be drawn; and afterwards conclusions may be drawn therefrom respecting the perfection of forces and forms that are in similar degrees in the natural world.202.
In the spiritual world there are three heavens, arranged according to degrees of height. In the highest heavens are angels superior in every perfection to the angels in the middle heaven; and in the middle heaven are angels superior in every perfection to the angels in the lowest heaven. The degrees of perfections are such, that angels of the lowest heaven cannot attain to the first threshold of the perfections of the angels of the middle heaven, nor these to the first threshold of the perfections of the angels of the highest heaven. This seems incredible, yet it is a truth. The reason is that they are consociated according to discrete, not according to continuous degrees. I have learned from observation that the difference between the affections and thoughts, and consequently the speech, of the angels of the higher and the lower heavens, is such that they have nothing in common; and that communication takes place only through correspondences, which have existence by immediate influx of the Lord into all the heavens, and by mediate influx through the highest heaven into the lowest. Such being the nature of these differences, they cannot be expressed in natural language, therefore not described; for the thoughts of angels, being spiritual, do not fall into natural ideas. They can be expressed and described only by angels themselves, in their own languages, words, and writings, and not in those that are human. This is why it is said that in the heavens unspeakable things are heard and seen. These differences may be in some measure comprehended when it is known that the thoughts of angels of the highest or third heaven are thoughts of ends; the thoughts of angels of the middle or second heaven thoughts of causes, and the thoughts of angels of the lowest or first heaven thoughts of effects. It must be noted, that it is one thing to think from ends, and another to think about ends; that it is one thing to think from causes, and another to think about causes; and that it is one thing to think from effects, and another to think about effects. Angels of the lower heavens think about causes and about ends, but angels of the higher heavens from causes and from ends; and to think from these is a mark of higher wisdom, but to think about these is the mark of lower wisdom. To think from ends is of wisdom, to think from causes is of intelligence, and to think from effects is of knowledge. From all this it is clear that all perfection ascends and descends along with degrees and according to them.203.
Since the interior things of man, which are of his will and understanding, are like the heavens in respect to degrees (for man, as to the interiors of his mind, is a heaven in least form), their perfections also are like those of the heavens. But these perfections are not apparent to any one so long as he lives in the world, because he is then in the lowest degree; and from the lowest degree the higher degrees cannot be known; but they are known after death, because man then enters into that degree which corresponds to his love and wisdom, for he then becomes an angel, and thinks and speaks things ineffable to his natural man; for there is then an elevation of all things of his mind, not in a single, but in a threefold ratio. Degrees of height are in threefold ratio, but degrees of breadth are in single ratio. But into degrees of height none ascend and are elevated except those who in the world have been in truths, and have applied them to life.204.
It seems as if things prior must be less perfect than things subsequent, that is, things simple than things composite; but things prior out of which things subsequent are formed, that is, things simple out of which things composite are formed, are the more perfect. The reason is that the prior or the simpler are more naked and less covered over with substances and matters devoid of life, and are, as it were, more Divine, consequently nearer to the spiritual sun where the Lord is; for perfection itself is in the Lord, and from Him in that sun which is the first proceeding of His Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, and from that in those things which come immediately after; and thus in order down to things lowest, which are less perfect as they are farther removed. Without such preeminent perfection in things prior and simple, neither man nor any kind of animal could have come into existence from seed, and afterwards continue to exist; nor could the seeds of trees and shrubs vegetate and bear fruit. For the more prior anything prior is, or the more simple anything simple is, the more exempt is it from injury, because it is more perfect.205.
IN SUCCESSIVE ORDER THE FIRST DEGREE MAKES THE HIGHEST, AND THE THIRD THE LOWEST; BUT IN SIMULTANEOUS ORDER THE FIRST DEGREE MAKES THE INNERMOST, AND THE THIRD THE OUTERMOST. There is successive order and simultaneous order. The successive order of these degrees is from highest to lowest, or from top to bottom. The angelic heavens are in this order; the third heaven there is the highest, the second is the middle, and the first is the lowest; such is their relative situation. In like successive order are the states of love and wisdom with the angels there, also states of heat and light, and of the spiritual atmospheres. In like order are all the perfections of the forms and forces there. When degrees of height, that is, discrete degrees, are in successive order, they may be compared to a column divided into three stories, through which ascent and descent are made. In the upper rooms are things most perfect and most beautiful; in the middle rooms, things less perfect and beautiful; in the lowest, things still less perfect and beautiful. But simultaneous order, which consists of like degrees, has another appearance. In it, the highest things of successive order, which are (as was said above) the most perfect and most beautiful, are in the inmost, the lower things are in the middle, and the lowest in the circumference. They are as if in a solid body composed of these three degrees: in the middle or center are the finest parts, round about this are parts less fine, and in the extremes which constitute the circumference are the parts composed of these and which are therefore grosser. It is like the column mentioned just above subsiding into a plane, the highest part of which forms the innermost of the plane, the middle forms the middle, and the lowest the outermost.206.
As the highest of successive order becomes the innermost of simultaneous order, and the lowest becomes the outermost, so in the Word, "higher" signifies inner, and "lower" signifies outer. "Upwards" and "downwards," and "high" and "deep" have a like meaning.207.
In every outmost there are discrete degrees in simultaneous order. The motor fibers in every muscle, the fibers in every nerve, also the fibers and the little vessels in all viscera and organs, are in such an order. Innermost in these are the most simple things, which are the most perfect; the outermost is a composite of these. There is a like order of these degrees in every seed and in every fruit, also in every metal and stone; their parts, of which the whole is composed, are of such a nature. The innermost, the middle, and the outermost elements of the parts exist in these degrees, for they are successive compositions, that is, bundlings and massings together from simples that are their first substances or matters.208.
In a word, there are such degrees in every outmost, thus in every effect. For every outmost consists of things prior and these of their firsts. And every effect consists of a cause, and this of an end; and end is the all of cause, and cause is the all of effect (as was shown above); and end makes the inmost, cause the middle, and effect the outmost. The same is true of degrees of love and wisdom, and of heat and light, also of the organic forms of affections and thoughts in man (as will be seen in what follows). The series of these degrees in successive order and in simultaneous order has been treated of also in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 38, and elsewhere), where it is shown that there are like degrees in each and all things of the Word.209.
THE OUTMOST DEGREE IS THE COMPLEX, CONTAINANT AND BASE OF THE PRIOR DEGREES. The doctrine of degrees which is taught in this Part, has hitherto been illustrated by various things which exist in both worlds; as by the degrees of the heavens where angels dwell, by the degrees of heat and light with them, and by the degrees of atmospheres, and by various things in the human body, and also in the animal and mineral kingdoms. But this doctrine has a wider range; it extends not only to natural, but also to civil, moral, and spiritual things, and to each and all their details. There are two reasons why the doctrine of degrees extends also to such things. First, in every thing of which anything can be predicated there is the trine which is called end, cause, and effect, and these three are related to one another according to degrees of height. And secondly things civil, moral, and spiritual are not something abstract from substance, but are substances. For as love and wisdom are not abstract things, but substance (as was shown above, n. 40-43), so in like manner are all things that are called civil, moral, and spiritual. These may be thought of abstractly from substances, yet in themselves they are not abstract; as for example, affection and thought, charity and faith, will and understanding; for it is the same with these as with love and wisdom, in that they are not possible outside of subjects which are substances, but are states of subjects, that is, substances. That they are changes of these, presenting variations, will be seen in what follows. By substance is also meant form, for substance is not possible apart from form.210.
From its being possible to think of will and understanding, of affection and thought, and of charity and faith, abstractly from the substances which are their subjects, and from their having been so thought of, it has come to pass, that a correct idea of these things, as being states of substances or forms, has perished. It is altogether as with sensations and actions, which are not things abstract from the organs of sensation and motion. Abstracted, that is, separate, from these they are mere figments of reason; for they are like sight apart from an eye, hearing apart from an ear, taste apart from a tongue, and so forth.211.
Since all things civil, moral, and spiritual advance through degrees, just as natural things do, not only through continuous but also through discrete degrees; and since the progressions of discrete degrees are like progressions of ends to causes, and of causes to effects, I have chosen to illustrate and confirm the present point, that the outmost degree is the complex, containant, and base of prior degrees, by the things above mentioned, that is, by what pertains to love and wisdom, to will and understanding, to affection and thought, and to charity and faith.212.
That the outmost degree is the complex, containant, and base of prior degrees, is clearly seen from progression of ends and causes to effects. That the effect is the complex, containant, and base of causes and ends can be comprehended by enlightened reason; but it is not so clear that the end with all things thereof, and the cause with all things thereof, are actually in the effect, and that the effect is their full complex. That such is the case can be seen from what has been said above in this Part, particularly from this, that one thing is from another in a threefold series, and that the effect is nothing else than the end in its outmost. And since the outmost is the complex, it follows that it is the containant and also the base.213.
As regards love and wisdom:-Love is the end, wisdom the instrumental cause, and use is the effect; and use is the complex, containant, and base of wisdom and love; and use is such a complex and such a containant, that all things of love and all things of wisdom are actually in it; it is where they are all simultaneously present. But it should be borne in mind that all things of love and wisdom, which are homogeneous and concordant, are present in use, according to what is said and shown above (in chapter, n. 189-194).214.
Affection, thought, and action are also in a series of like degrees, because all affection has relation to love, thought to wisdom, and action to use. Charity, faith, and good works are in a series of like degrees, for charity is of affection, faith of thought, and good works of action. Will, understanding, and doing are also in a series of like degrees; for will is of love and so of affection, understanding is of wisdom and so of faith, and doing is of use and so of work; as, then, all things of wisdom and love are present in use, so all things of thought and affection are present in action, all things of faith and charity in good works, and so forth; but all are homogeneous, that is, concordant.215.
That the outmost in each series, that is to say, use, action, work, and doing, is the complex and containant of all things prior, has not yet been known. There seems to be nothing more in use, in action, in work, and in doing than such as there is in movement; yet all things prior are actually present in these, and so fully that nothing is lacking. They are contained therein like wine in its cask, or like furniture in a house. They are not apparent, because they are regarded only externally; and regarded externally they are simply activities and motions. It is as when the arms and hands are moved, and man is not conscious that a thousand motor fibers concur in every motion of them, and that to the thousand motor fibers correspond thousands of things of thought and affection, by which the motor fibers are excited. As these act deep within, they are not apparent to any bodily sense. This much is known, that nothing is done in or through the body except from the will through the thought; and because both of these act, it must needs be that each and all things of the will and thought are present in the action. They cannot be separated; consequently from a man's deeds or works others judge of the thought of his will, which is called his intention. It has been made known to me that angels, from a man's deed or work alone, perceive and see every thing of the will and thought of the doer; angels of the third heaven perceiving and seeing from his will the end for which he acts, and angels of the second heaven the cause through which the end operates. It is from this that works and deeds are so often commanded in the Word, and that it is said that a man is known by his works.216.
It is according to angelic wisdom that unless the will and understanding, that is, affection and thought, as well as charity and faith, clothe and wrap themselves in works or deeds, whenever possible, they are only like something airy which passes away, or like phantoms in air which perish; and that they first become permanent in man and a part of his life, when he practices and does them. The reason is that the outmost is the complex, containant, and base of things prior. Such an airy nothing and such a phantom is faith separated from good works; such also are faith and charity without their exercise, with this difference only, that those who hold to faith and charity know what is good and can will to do it, but not so those who are in faith separated from charity.217.
THE DEGREES OF HEIGHT ARE IN FULLNESS AND IN POWER IN THEIR OUTMOST DEGREE. In the preceding chapter it is shown that the outmost degree is the complex and containant of prior degrees. From this it follows that prior degrees are in their fullness in their outmost degree, for they are in their effect, and every effect is the fullness of causes.218.
That these ascending and descending degrees, also called prior and subsequent, likewise degrees of height or discrete degrees, are in their power in their outmost degree, may be confirmed by all those things that have been adduced in the preceding chapters as confirmations from objects of sense and perception. Here, however, I choose to confirm them only by the conatus, forces and motions in dead and in living subjects. It is known that conatus does nothing of itself, but acts through forces corresponding to it, thereby producing motion; consequently that conatus is the all in forces, and through forces is the all in motion; and since motion is the outmost degree of conatus, through motion conatus exerts its power. Conatus, force, and motion are no otherwise conjoined than according to degrees of height, conjunction of which is not by continuity, for they are discrete, but by correspondences. For conatus is not force, nor is force motion, but force is produced by conatus, because force is conatus made active, and through force motion is produced; consequently there is no power in conatus alone, nor in force alone, but in motion, which is their product. That this is so may still seem doubtful, because not illustrated by applications to sensible and perceptible things in nature; nevertheless, such is the progression of conatus, force, and motion into power.219.
But let application of this be made to living conatus, and to living force, and to living motion. Living conatus in man, who is a living subject, is his will united to his understanding; living forces in man are the interior constituents of his body, in all of which there are motor fibers interlacing in various ways; and living motion in man is action, which is produced through these forces by the will united to the understanding. For the interior things pertaining to the will and understanding make the first degree; the interior things pertaining to the body make the second degree; and the whole body, which is the complex of these, makes the third degree. That the interior things pertaining to the mind have no power except through forces in the body, also that forces have no power except through the action of the body itself, is well known. These three do not act by what is continuous, but by what is discrete; and to act by what is discrete is to act by correspondences. The interiors of the mind correspond to the interiors of the body, and the interiors of the body correspond to the exteriors, through which actions come forth; consequently the two prior degrees have power through the exteriors of the body. It may seem as if conatus and forces in man have some power even when there is no action, as in sleep and in states of rest, but still at such times the determinations of conatus and forces are directed into the general motor organs of the body, which are the heart and the lungs; but when their action ceases the forces also cease, and, with the forces, the conatus.220.
Since the powers of the whole, that is, of the body, are determined chiefly into the arms and hands, which are outmosts, "arms" and "hands," in the Word, signify power, and the "right hand" signifies superior power. And such being the evolution and putting forth of degrees into power, the angels that are with man and in correspondence with all things belonging to him, know merely from such action as is effected through the hands, what a man is in respect to his understanding and will, also his charity and faith, thus in respect to the internal life pertaining to his mind and the external life derived therefrom in the body. I have often wondered that the angels have such knowledge from the mere action of the body through the hands; but that it is so has been shown to me repeatedly by living experience, and it has been said that it is from this that inductions into the ministry are performed by the laying on of the hands, and that "touching with the hand" signifies communicating, with other like things. From all this the conclusion is formed, that the all of charity and faith is in works, and that charity and faith without works are like rainbows about the sun, which vanish away and are dispersed by a cloud. On this account "works" and "doing works" are so often mentioned in the Word, and it is said that a man's salvation depends upon these; moreover, he that doeth is called a wise man, and he that doeth not is called a foolish man. But it should be remembered that by "works" here are meant uses actually done; for the all of charity and faith is in uses and according to uses. There is this correspondence of works with uses, because the correspondence is spiritual, but it is carried out through substances and matters, which are subjects.221.
Two arcana, which are brought within reach of the understanding by what precedes, may here be revealed. The First Arcanum is that the Word is in its fullness and in its power in the sense of the letter. For there are three senses in the Word, according to the three degrees; the celestial sense, the spiritual sense, and the natural sense. Since these senses are in the Word according to the three degrees of height, and their conjunction is effected by correspondences, the outmost sense, which is the natural and is called the sense of the letter, is not only the complex, containant and base of the corresponding interior senses, but moreover in the outmost sense the Word is in its fullness and in its power. This is abundantly shown and proved in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 27-35, 36-49, 50-61, 62-69). The Second Arcanum is that the Lord came into the world, and took upon Him the Human, in order to put Himself into the power of subjugating the hells, and of reducing all things to order both in the heavens and on the earth. This Human He put on over His former Human. This Human which He put on in the world was like the human of a man in the world. Yet both Humans are Divine, and therefore infinitely transcend the finite humans of angels and men. And because He fully glorified the natural Human even to its outmosts, He rose again with the whole body, differently from any man. Through the assumption of this Human the Lord put on Divine Omnipotence not only for subjugating the hells, and reducing the heavens to order, but also holding the hells in subjection to eternity, and saving mankind. This power is meant by His "sitting at the right hand of the power and might of God." Because the Lord, by the assumption of a natural Human, made Himself Divine Truth in outmosts, He is called "the Word," and it is said that "the Word was made flesh;" moreover, Divine Truth in outmosts is the Word in the sense of the letter. This the Lord made Himself by fulfilling all things of the Word concerning Himself in Moses and the Prophets. For while every man is his own good and his own truth, and man is man on no other ground, the Lord, by the assumption of a natural Human, is Divine Good itself and Divine Truth itself, or what is the same, He is Divine Love itself and Divine Wisdom itself, both in Firsts and in Lasts. Consequently the Lord, since His advent into the world, appears as a sun in the angelic heavens, in stronger radiance and in greater splendor than before His advent. This is an arcanum which is brought within the range of the understanding by the doctrine of degrees. The Lord's omnipotence before His advent into the world will be treated of in what follows.222.
THERE ARE DEGREES OF BOTH KINDS IN THE GREATEST AND IN THE LEAST OF ALL CREATED THINGS. That the greatest and the least of all things consist of discrete and continuous degrees, that is, of degrees of height and of breadth, cannot be illustrated by examples from visible objects, because the least things are not visible to the eyes, and the greatest things which are visible seem undistinguished into degrees; consequently this matter does not allow of demonstration otherwise than by universals. And since angels are in wisdom from universals, and from that in knowledge of particulars, it is allowed to bring forward their statements concerning these things.223.
The statements of angels on this subject are as follows: There can be nothing so minute as not to have in it degrees of both kinds; for instance, there can be nothing so minute in any animal, or in any plant, or in any mineral, or in the ether or air, as not to have in it degrees of both kinds, and since ether and air are receptacles of heat and light, and spiritual heat and spiritual light are the receptacles of love and wisdom, there can be nothing of heat and light or of love and wisdom so minute as not to have in it degrees of both kinds. Angels also declare that the minutest thing of an affection and the minutest thing of a thought, nay, the minutest thing of an idea of thought, consists of degrees of both kinds, and that a minute thing not consisting of these degrees would be nothing; for it would have no form, thus no quality, nor any state which could be changed and varied, and by this means have existence. Angels confirm this by the truth, that infinite things in God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, are one distinctly; and that there are infinite things in His infinites; and that in things infinitely infinite there are degrees of both kinds, which also in Him are one distinctly; and because these things are in Him, and all things were created by Him, and things created repeat in an image the things which are in Him, it follows that there cannot be the least finite in which there are not such degrees. These degrees are equally in things least and greatest, because the Divine is the same in things greatest and in things least. That in God-Man infinite things are one distinctly, see above (n. 17-22); and that the Divine is the same in things greatest and in things least (n. 77-82); which positions are further illustrated (n. 155, 169, 171).224.
There cannot be the least thing of love and wisdom, or the least thing of affection and thought, or even the least thing of an idea of thought, in which there are not degrees of both kinds, for the reason that love and wisdom are substance and form (as shown above, n. 50-53), and the same is true of affection and thought; and because there can be no form in which these degrees are not (as was said above), it follows that in these there are like degrees; for to separate love and wisdom, or affection and thought, from substance in form, is to annihilate them, since they are not possible outside of their subjects; for they are states of their subjects perceived by man varyingly, which states present them to view.225.
The greatest things in which there are degrees of both kinds, are the universe in its whole complex, the natural world in its complex, and the spiritual world in its complex; every empire and every kingdom in its complex; also, all civil, moral and spiritual concerns of these in their complex; the whole animal kingdom, the whole vegetable kingdom, and the whole mineral kingdom, each in its complex; all atmospheres of both worlds taken together, also their heats and lights. Likewise things less general, as man in his complex; every animal in its complex, every tree and every shrub in its complex; as also every stone and every metal in its complex. The forms of these are alike in this, that they consist of degrees of both kinds; the reason is that the Divine, by which they were created, is the same in things greatest and least (as was shown above, n.77-82). The particulars and the veriest particulars of all these are like generals and the largest generals in this, that they are forms of both kinds of degrees.226.
On account of things greatest and least being forms of both kinds of degrees, there is connection between them from first to last; for likeness conjoins them. Still, there can be no least thing which is the same as any other; consequently all particulars are distinct from each other, likewise all veriest particulars. In any form or in different forms there can be no least thing the same as any other, for the reason that in greatest forms there are like degrees, and the greatest are made up of leasts. From there being such degrees in things greatest, and perpetual differences in accordance with these degrees, from top to bottom and from center to circumference, it follows that their lesser or least constituents, in which there are like degrees, can no one of them be the same as any other.227.
It is likewise a matter of angelic wisdom that from this similitude between generals and particulars, that is, between things greatest and least in respect to these degrees, comes the perfection of the created universe; for thereby one thing regards another as its like, with which it can be conjoined for every use, and can present every end in effect.228.
But these things may seem paradoxical, because they are not explained by application to visible things; yet things abstract, being universals, are often better comprehended than things applied, for these are of perpetual variety, and variety obscures.229.
Some contend that there can be a substance so simple as not to be a form from lesser forms, and out of that substance, through a process of massing, substantiated or composite things arise, and finally substances called material. But there can be no such absolutely simple substances. For what is substance without form? It is that of which nothing can be predicated; and out of mere being of which nothing can be predicated, no process of massing can make anything. That there are things innumerable in the first created substance of all things, which are things most minute and simple, will be seen in what follows, where forms are treated of.230.
IN THE LORD THE THREE DEGREES OF HEIGHT ARE INFINITE AND UNCREATE, BUT IN MAN THE THREE DEGREES ARE FINITE AND CREATED. In the Lord the three degrees of height are infinite and uncreate, because the Lord is Love itself and Wisdom itself (as has been already shown); and because the Lord is Love itself and Wisdom itself, He is also Use itself. For love has use for its end, and brings forth use by means of wisdom; for without use love and wisdom have no boundary or end, that is, no home of their own, consequently they cannot be said to have being and have form unless there be use in which they may be. These three constitute the three degrees of height in subjects of life. These three are like first end, middle end which is called cause, and last end which is called effect. That end, cause and effect constitute the three degrees of height has been shown above and abundantly proved.231.
That in man there are these three degrees can be seen from the elevation of his mind even to the degrees of love and wisdom in which angels of the second and third heavens are; for all angels were born men; and man, as regards the interiors pertaining to his mind, is a heaven in least form; therefore there are in man, by creation, as many degrees of height as there are heavens. Moreover, man is an image and likeness of God; consequently these three degrees have been inscribed on man, because they are in God-Man, that is, in the Lord. That in the Lord these degrees are infinite and uncreate, and in man finite and created, can be seen from what was shown in Part First; namely, from this, that the Lord is Love and Wisdom in Himself; and that man is a recipient of love and wisdom from the Lord; also, that of the Lord nothing but what is infinite can be predicated, and of man nothing but what is finite.232.
These three degrees with the angels are called Celestial, Spiritual, and Natural; and for them the celestial degree is the degree of love, the spiritual the degree of wisdom, and the natural the degree of uses. These degrees are so called because the heavens are divided into two kingdoms, one called the celestial, the other the spiritual, to which is added a third kingdom wherein are men in the world, and this is the natural kingdom. Moreover, the angels of whom the celestial kingdom consists are in love; the angels, of whom the spiritual kingdom consists are in wisdom; while men in the world are in uses; therefore these kingdoms are conjoined. How it is to be understood that men are in uses will be shown in the next Part.233.
It has been told me from heaven, that in the Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, before His assumption of a Human in the world, the two prior degrees existed actually, and the third degree potentially, as they do also with angels; but that after the assumption of a Human in the world, He put on over these the third degree, called the natural, thereby becoming Man, like a man in the world; but with the difference, that in the Lord this degree, like the prior degrees, is infinite and uncreate, while in angel and in man they are all finite and created. For the Divine which, apart from space, had filled all spaces (n. 69-72), penetrated even to the outmosts of nature; yet before the assumption of the Human, the Divine influx into the natural degree was mediate through the angelic heavens, but after the assumption it was immediate from Himself. This is the reason why all churches in the world before His Advent were representative of spiritual and celestial things, but after His Advent became spiritual-natural and celestial-natural, and representative worship was abolished. This also was the reason why the sun of the angelic heaven, which, as was said above, is the first proceeding of His Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, after the assumption of the Human shone out with greater effulgence and splendor than before the assumption. And this is what is meant by these words in Isaiah: In that day the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days (30:26). This is said of the state of heaven and of the church after the Lord's coming into the world. Again, in the Apocalypse: The countenance of the Son of man was as the sun shineth in his strength (1:16); and elsewhere (as in Isaiah 60:20; 2 Sam. 23:3, 4; Matt. 17:1, 2). The mediate enlightenment of men through the angelic heaven, which existed before the coming of the Lord, may be compared to the light of the moon, which is the mediate light of the sun; and because after His coming this was made immediate, it is said in Isaiah, That the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun (30:26); and in David: In His days shall the righteous flourish, and abundance of peace until there is no longer any moon (72:7). This also is said of the Lord.234.
The reason why the Lord from eternity, that is, Jehovah, put on this third degree by the assumption of a Human in the world, was that He could enter into this degree only by means of a nature like human nature, thus only by means of conception from His Divine and by birth from a virgin; for in this way He could put off a nature which, although a receptacle of the Divine, is in itself dead, and could put on the Divine. This is meant by the Lord's two states in the world, which are called the state of exinanition and the state of glorification, which are treated of in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Lord.235.
Of the threefold ascent of the degrees of height this much has been said in general; but these degrees cannot here be discussed in detail, because (as was said in the preceding chapter) there must be these three degrees in things greatest and things least; this only need be said, that there are such degrees in each and all things of love, and therefrom in each and all things of wisdom, and from both of these in each and all things of use. In the Lord all these degrees are infinite; in angel and man they are finite. But how there are these three degrees in love, in wisdom, and in uses cannot be described and unfolded except in series.236.
THESE THREE DEGREES OF HEIGHT ARE IN EVERY MAN FROM BIRTH, AND CAN BE OPENED SUCCESSIVELY; AND, AS THEY ARE OPENED, MAN IS IN THE LORD AND THE LORD IN MAN. That there are three degrees of height in every man, has not until now become known for the reason that these degrees have not been recognized, and so long as they remained unnoticed, none but continuous degrees could be known; and when none but continuous degrees are known, it may be supposed that love and wisdom increase in man only by continuity. But it should be known, that in every man from his birth there are three degrees of height, or discrete degrees, one above or within another; and that each degree of height, or discrete degree, has also degrees of breadth, or continuous degrees, according to which it increases by continuity. For there are degrees of both kinds in things greatest and least of all things (as was shown above, n. 222-229); for no degree of one kind is possible without degrees of the other kind.237.
These three degrees of height are called natural, spiritual, and celestial (as was said above, n. 232). When man is born he comes first into the natural degree, and this grows in him, by continuity, according to his knowledges and the understanding acquired by means of knowledges even to the highest point of understanding, which is called the rational. Yet not by this means is the second degree opened, which is called the spiritual. That degree is opened by means of a love of uses in accordance with the things of the understanding, although by a spiritual love of uses, which is love towards the neighbor. This degree may grow in like manner by continuous degrees to its height, and it grows by means of knowledges of truth and good, that is, by spiritual truths. Yet even by such truths the third degree which is called the celestial is not opened; for this degree is opened by means of the celestial love of use, which is love to the Lord; and love to the Lord is nothing else than committing to life the precepts of the Word, the sum of which is to flee from evils because they are hellish and devilish, and to do good because it is heavenly and Divine. In this manner these three degrees are successively opened in man.238.
So long as man lives in the world he knows nothing of the opening of these degrees within him, because he is then in the natural degree, which is the outmost, and from this he then thinks, wills, speaks, and acts; and the spiritual degree, which is interior, communicates with the natural degree, not by continuity but by correspondences, and communication by correspondences is not sensibly felt. But when man puts off the natural degree, which he does at death, he comes into that degree which has been opened within him in the world; he in whom the spiritual degree has been opened coming into that degree, and he within whom the celestial degree has been opened coming into that degree. He who comes into the spiritual degree after death no longer thinks, wills, speaks, and acts naturally, but spiritually; and he who comes into the celestial degree thinks, wills, speaks, and acts according to that degree. And as there can be communication between the three degrees only by correspondences, the differences of love, wisdom, and use, as regards these degrees are such as to have no common ground by means of anything continuous. From all this it is plain that man has three degrees of height that may be successively opened in him.239.
Since there are in man three degrees of love and wisdom, and therefore of use, it follows that there must be in him three degrees, of will, of understanding, and of result therefrom, thus of determination to use; for will is the receptacle of love, understanding the receptacle of wisdom, and result is use from these. From this it is evident that there are in every man a natural, a spiritual, and a celestial will and understanding, potentially by birth and actually when they are opened. In a word the mind of man, which consists of will and understanding, is from creation and therefore from birth, of three degrees, so that man has a natural mind, a spiritual mind, and a celestial mind, and can thereby be elevated into and possess angelic wisdom while he lives in the world; but it is only after death, and then only if he becomes an angel, that he enters into that wisdom, and his speech then becomes ineffable and incomprehensible to the natural man. I knew a man of moderate learning in the world, whom I saw after death and spoke with in heaven, and I clearly perceived that he spoke like an angel, and that the things he said would be inconceivable to the natural man; and for the reason that in the world he had applied the precepts of the Word to life and had worshiped the Lord, and was therefore raised up by the Lord into the third degree of love and wisdom. It is important that this elevation of the human mind should be known about, for upon it depends the understanding of what follows.240.
There are in man from the Lord two capacities whereby he is distinguished from beasts. One of these is the ability to understand what is true and what is good; this is called rationality, and is a capacity of his understanding. The other is an ability to do what is true and good; this is called freedom, and is a capacity of his will. For man by virtue of his rationality is able to think whatever he pleases, either with or against God, either with or against the neighbor; he is also able to will and to do what he thinks; but when he sees evil and fears punishment, he is able, by virtue of his freedom, to abstain from doing it. By virtue of these two capacities man is man, and is distinguished from beasts. Man has these two capacities from the Lord, and they are from Him every moment; nor are they taken away, for if they were, man's human would perish. In these two capacities the Lord is with every man, good and evil alike; they are the Lord's abode in the human race; from this it is that all men live for ever, both the good and evil. But the Lord's abode in man is nearer as by the agency of these capacities man opens the higher degrees, for by the opening of these man comes into higher degree of love and wisdom, thus nearer to the Lord. From this it can be seen that as these degrees are opened, man is in the Lord and the Lord in him.241.
It is said above, that the three degrees of height are like end, cause, and effect, and that love, wisdom, and use follow in succession according to these degrees; therefore a few things shall be said here about love as being end, wisdom as being cause, and use as being effect. Whoever consults his reason, if it is enlightened, can see that the end of all things of man is his love; for what he loves that he thinks, decides upon, and does, consequently that he has for his end. Man can also see from his reason that wisdom is cause; since he, that is, his love, which is his end, searches in his understanding for its means through which to attain its end, thus consulting its wisdom, and these means constitute the instrumental cause. That use is effect is evident without explanation. But one man's love is not the same as another's, neither is one man's wisdom the same as another's; so it is with use. And since these three are homogeneous (as was shown above, n. 189-194), it follows that such as is the love in man, such is the wisdom and such is the use. Wisdom is here spoken of, but by it what pertains to man's understanding is meant.242.
SPIRITUAL LIGHT FLOWS IN WITH MAN THROUGH DEGREES, BUT NOT SPIRITUAL HEAT, EXCEPT SO FAR AS MAN FLEES FROM EVILS AS SINS AND LOOKS TO THE LORD. It is evident from what has been shown above that from the sun of heaven, which is the first proceeding of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom (treated of in Part Second), light and heat proceed - light from its wisdom, and heat from its love; also that light is the receptacle of wisdom, and heat of love; also that so far as man comes into wisdom he comes into that Divine light, and so far as he comes into love he comes into that Divine heat. From what has been shown above it is also evident that there are three degrees of light and three degrees of heat, that is, three degrees of wisdom and three degrees of love, and that these degrees have been formed in man in order that he may be a receptacle of the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, thus of the Lord. It is now to be shown that spiritual light flows in through these three degrees in man, but not spiritual heat, except so far as man shuns evils as sins and looks to the Lord - or, what is the same, that man is able to receive wisdom even to the third degree, but not love, unless he flees from evils as sins and looks to the Lord; or what is still the same, that man's understanding can be raised into wisdom, but not his will, except so far as he flees from evils as sins.243.
That the understanding can be raised into the light of heaven, that is, into angelic wisdom, while the will cannot be raised into the heat of heaven, that is, into angelic love, unless man flees from evils as sins and looks to the Lord, has been made plainly evident to me from experience in the spiritual world. I have frequently seen and perceived that simple spirits, who knew merely that God is and that the Lord was born a man, and who knew scarcely anything else, clearly apprehended the arcana of angelic wisdom almost as the angels do; and not these simple ones alone, but many also of the infernal crew. These, while they listened, understood, but not when they thought within themselves; for while they listened, light entered from above, and when they thought within themselves, no light could enter except that which corresponded to their heat or love; consequently when they had listened to and perceived these arcana, as soon as they turned their ears away they remembered nothing, those belonging to the infernal crew even rejecting these things with disgust and utterly denying them, because the fire of their love and its light, being delusive, induced darkness, by which the heavenly light entering from above was extinguished.244.
The same thing happens in the world. A man not altogether stupid, and who has not confirmed himself in falsities from the pride of self-intelligence, hearing others speak on some exalted matter, or reading something of the kind, if he is in any affection of knowing, understands these things and also retains them, and may afterwards confirm them. A bad man as well as a good man may do this. Even a bad man, though in heart he denies the Divine things pertaining to the church, can still understand them, and also speak of and preach them, and in writing learnedly prove them; but when left to his own thought, from his own infernal love he thinks against them and denies them. From which it is obvious that the understanding can be in spiritual light even when the will is not in spiritual heat; and from this it also follows that the understanding does not lead the will, or that wisdom does not beget love, but only teaches and shows the way, - teaching how a man ought to live, and showing the way in which he ought to go. It further follows that the will leads the understanding, and causes it to act as one with itself; also that whatever in the understanding agrees with the love which is in the will, the love calls wisdom. In what follows it will be seen that the will does nothing by itself apart from the understanding, but does all that it does in conjunction with the understanding; moreover, that it is the will that by influx takes the understanding into partnership with itself, and not the reverse.245.
The nature of the influx of light into the three degrees of life in man which belong to his mind, shall now be shown. The forms which are receptacles of heat and light, that is, of love and wisdom in man, and which (as was said) are in threefold order or of three degrees, are transparent from birth, transmitting spiritual light as crystal glass transmits natural light; consequently in respect to wisdom man can be raised even into the third degree. Nevertheless these forms are not opened except when spiritual heat conjoins itself to spiritual light, that is, love to wisdom; by such conjunction these transparent forms are opened according to degrees. It is the same with light and heat from the sun of the world in their action on plants on the earth. The light of winter, which is as bright as that of summer, opens nothing in seed or in tree, but when vernal heat conjoins itself to that light then the heat opens them. There is this similarity because spiritual light corresponds to natural light, and spiritual heat to natural heat.246.
This spiritual heat is obtained only by fleeing from evils as sins, and at the same time looking to the Lord; for so long as man is in evils he is also in the love of them, for he lusts after them; and the love of evil and the lust, abide in a love contrary to spiritual love and affection; and such love or lust can be removed only by fleeing from evils as sins; and because man cannot flee from evils from himself, but only from the Lord. He must look to the Lord. So when he flees from evils from the Lord, the love of evil and its heat are removed, and the love of good and its heat are introduced in their stead, whereby a higher degree is opened; for the Lord flowing in from above opens that degree, and then conjoins love, that is, spiritual heat, to wisdom or spiritual light, from which conjunction man begins to flourish spiritually, like a tree in spring-time.247.
By the influx of spiritual light into all three degrees of the mind man is distinguished from beasts; and, as contrasted with beasts, he can think analytically, and see both natural and spiritual truth; and when he sees them he can acknowledge them, and thus be reformed and regenerated. This capacity to receive spiritual light is what is meant by rationality (referred to above), which every man has from the Lord, and which is not taken away from him, for if it were taken away he could not be reformed. From this capacity, called rationality, man, unlike the beasts, is able not only to think but also to speak from thought; and afterwards from his other capacity, called freedom (also referred to above), he is able to do those things that he thinks from his understanding. As these two capacities, rationality and freedom, which are proper to man, have been treated of above (n. 240), no more will be said about them here.248.
UNLESS THE HIGHER DEGREE WHICH IS THE SPIRITUAL IS OPENED IN MAN, HE BECOMES NATURAL AND SENSUAL. It was shown above that there are three degrees of the human mind, called natural, spiritual, and celestial, and that these degrees may be opened successively in man; also, that the natural degree is first opened; afterwards, if man flees from evil as sins and looks to the Lord, the spiritual degree is opened; and lastly, the celestial. Since these degrees are opened successively according to man's life, it follows that the two higher degrees may remain unopened, and man then continues in the natural degree, which is the outmost. Moreover, it is known in the world that there is a natural and a spiritual man, or an external and an internal man; but it is not known that a natural man becomes spiritual by the opening of some higher degree in him, and that such opening is effected by a spiritual life, which is a life conformed to the Divine precepts; and that without a life conformed to these man remains natural.249.
There are three kinds of natural men; the first consists of those who know nothing of the Divine precepts; the second, of those who know that there are such precepts, but give no thought to a life according to them; and the third, of those who despise and deny these precepts. In respect to the first class, which consists of those who know nothing of the Divine precepts, since they cannot be taught by themselves they must needs remain natural. Every man is taught respecting the Divine precepts, not by immediate revelations, but by others who know them from religion, on which subject see The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem Concerning the Sacred Scriptures (n. 114-118). Those of the second class, who know that there are Divine precepts but give no thought to a life according to them, also remain natural, and care about no other concerns than those of the world and the body. These after death become mere menials and servants, according to the uses which they are able to perform for those who are spiritual; for the natural man is a menial and servant, and the spiritual man is a master and lord. Those of the third class, who despise and deny the Divine precepts, not only remain natural, but also become sensual in the measure of their contempt and denial. Sensual men are the lowest natural men, who are incapable of thinking above the appearances and fallacies of the bodily senses. After death they are in hell.250.
As it is unknown in the world what the spiritual man is, and what the natural, and as by many he who is merely natural is called spiritual, and conversely, these subjects shall be separately discussed, as follows: (1) What the natural man is, and what the spiritual man. (2) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is opened. (3) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is not opened and yet not closed. (4) The character of the natural man in whom the spiritual degree is entirely closed. (5) Lastly, The nature of the difference between the life of a man merely natural and the life of a beast.