Opening the Mouth of the Well

Passages from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Word is said to be closed when it is understood solely as to the sense of the letter, and when all that is in this sense is taken for doctrine.  And it is still more closed when those things are acknowledged as doctrinal things which favor the cupidities of the love of self and of the world; for these especially roll a great stone upon the mouth of the well, that is, close up the Word; and then mankind do not know, neither do they desire to know, that there is any interior sense in the Word, when yet they may see this from many passages where the sense of the letter is unfolded as to the interior sense; and also from the doctrinal things received in the church, to which by various explications they refer all the sense of the letter of the Word.

For insofar as a man is immersed in loves of self and of the world, and in the cupidities of these loves, so far the Word is closed to him; for these loves have self as their end, which end kindles a natural lumen, but extinguishes heavenly light, so that men sharply see the things of self and the world, but not at all those of the Lord and His kingdom; and when this is the case, they may indeed read the Word, but it is with the end of acquiring honors and riches, or for the sake of appearance, or from the love and consequent habit of it, or from piety, and yet not from a purpose of amending the life. To such persons the Word is in various ways closed; to some so much that by no means are they willing to know anything but what their doctrinal things dictate, whatever these may be.

For example: should anyone say that the power of opening and shutting heaven was not given to Peter, but to the faith of love, which faith is signified by Peter’s keys, inasmuch as the love of self and of the world opposes this, they will by no means acknowledge it. And should anyone say that saints ought not to be worshiped, but the Lord alone, neither do they receive this. Or if anyone should say that by the bread and wine in the Holy Supper is meant the Lord’s love toward the universal human race, and the reciprocal love of man to the Lord, this they do not believe. Or should anyone assert that faith is of no avail unless it is the good of faith, that is, charity, this they explain inversely; and so with everything else. They who are of this character cannot see one whit of the truth that is in the Word, nor are they willing to see it, but abide obstinately in their own dogma; and are not even willing to hear that there is an internal sense wherein is the sanctity and glory of the Word, and even when they are told that it is so, from their aversion thereto they loathe the bare mention of it. Thus has the Word been closed, when yet it is of such a nature as to lie open even into heaven, and through heaven to the Lord, and it is closed solely in relation to man, insofar as he is in the evils of the love of self and of the world in respect to his ends of life, and in the consequent principles of falsity. …

As regards the Word being opened to the churches, and being afterwards closed, the case is this: in the beginning of the setting up of any church, the Word is at first closed to the men of it, and is afterwards opened, the Lord so providing; and thus they learn that all doctrine is founded on the two commandments-that the Lord is to be loved above all things, and the neighbor as themselves.

The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.                                                                         Mark 12:29-31

When these two commandments are regarded as the end, the Word is opened; for all the Law and the Prophets, that is, the whole Word, so depend on these commandments that all things are derived from them and therefore all have reference to them. And whereas the men of the church are then in the principles of truth and good, they are enlightened in everything they see in the Word; for the Lord is then present with them by means of angels, and teaches them (although they are unaware of this), and also leads them into the life of truth and good.

This may be seen also from the case of all churches, in that they were such in their infancy, and worshiped the Lord from love, and loved the neighbor from the heart. But in process of time churches withdraw from these two commandments, and turn aside from the good of love and charity to the so—called things of faith, thus from life to doctrine; and insofar as they do this, so far the Word is closed. …

(Arcana Coelestia 3769; 3773)

About mike

The Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race, an angelic heaven would be formed. The reason for my creation was to perform Divine uses - The Divine Providence looks to eternal ends. My gain, honor or reputation no longer could be the focal point of what drives the engine. One day I will lay aside this material body and will wake up in the spiritual world never to return; there will be a continuation of life, and my ruling love will be what guides me to my final situation. 'Where a tree falls, there will it lay' (Ecc 11:3) We only have a few years in these bodies compared to eternity. What is fossilized on our souls in this short period is important to how we spend eternity. We are not left to blind faith, The Lord has come in His Word to reveal rationally how we can be made 'a vessel of honor, able for the master's use.' I truly hope the post create a thirst. If I can be of service, please do not hesitate to email me. --Mike
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