The Word is not understood, except by those who are enlightened. The human rational faculty cannot comprehend Divine, nor even spiritual things, unless it be enlightened by the Lord. Thus they only who are enlightened comprehend the Word.
The Lord enables those who are enlightened to understand truths, and to discern those things which appear to contradict each other. The Word in its literal sense appears inconsistent, and in some places seems to contradict itself. And therefore by those who are not enlightened, it may be so explained and applied, as to confirm any opinion or heresy, and to defend any worldly and corporeal love.
They are enlightened from the Word, who read it from the love of truth and good, but not they who read it from the love of fame, of gain, or of honor, thus from the love of self.
They are enlightened who are in the good of life, and thereby in the affection of truth. They are enlightened whose internal is open, thus who as to their internal man are capable of elevation into the light of heaven.
Enlightenment is an actual opening of the interiors of the mind, and also an elevation into the light of heaven.
There is an influx of holiness from the internal, that is, from the Lord through the internal, with those who regard the Word as holy, though they themselves are ignorant of it. They are enlightened, and see truths in the Word, who are led by the Lord, but not they who are led by themselves. They are led by the Lord, who love truth because it is truth, who also are they that love to live according to Divine truths. The Word is vivified with man according to the life of his love and faith. The things derived from one’s own intelligence have no life in themselves, because from man’s proprium there is nothing good. They cannot be enlightened who have much confirmed themselves in false doctrine.
It is the understanding which is enlightened. The understanding is the recipient of truth.
In regard to every doctrine of the church, there are ideas of the understanding and of the thought thence, according to which the doctrine is perceived. The ideas of man during his life in the world are natural, because man then thinks in the natural; but still spiritual ideas are concealed therein, with those who are in the affection of truth for the sake of truth, and man comes into these ideas after death. Without ideas of the understanding, and of the thought thence, on any subject, there can be no perception. Ideas concerning the things of faith are laid open in the other life, and their quality is seen by the angels, and man is then conjoined with others according to those ideas, so far as they proceed from the affection which is of love. Therefore the Word is not understood except by a rational man; for to believe anything without an idea thereof, and without a rational view of the subject, is only to retain in the memory words destitute of all the life of perception and affection, which is not believing. It is the literal sense of the Word which admits of enlightenment.