(Continued pt. 24)
AND CHARITY WITHOUT FAITH IS NOT CHARITY,
AND NEITHER HAS LIFE EXCEPT FROM THE LORD.
When it is thus known that the spiritual is inwardly in the natural in those who are in faith in the Lord, and at the same time in charity toward the neighbor, and consequently the natural in them is transparent, it follows that to the same extent man is wise in spiritual things, and therefrom in natural things; for when he thinks about or hears or reads anything, he sees interiorly within himself whether it is the truth or not. This he perceives from the Lord, from whom spiritual light and heat flow into the higher sphere of his understanding.
So far as faith and charity in man become spiritual, he is withdrawn from his own, and ceases to look to himself or to reward or remuneration, and looks solely to the delight in perceiving the truths of faith and doing the good works of love; and so far as this spirituality increases, that delight becomes blessedness. From this is man’s salvation, which is called eternal life. This state of man may be compared with the most beautiful and charming things in the world, and in the Word is compared with them, as for instance, with fruitful trees and the gardens in which they are, with flowery fields, with precious stones, with delicacies, with nuptials and their festivities and rejoicings.
But when the reverse is the case, that is to say, when the natural is inwardly in the spiritual, and consequently the man in his internals is a devil, but in his externals is like an angel, he may be compared to a dead man in a coffin of costly and gilded wood; he may also be compared to a skeleton adorned with clothing like a man, and drawn about in a magnificent carriage; or to a corpse in a sepulchre built like the temple of Diana; and his internal may be pictured even as a nest of serpents in a cavern, and his external as butterflies whose wings are tinted with all kinds of colors, but which nevertheless stick foul eggs to the leaves of useful trees, and so destroy the fruit. Or the internal of such may be compared to a hawk, and their external to a dove, and their faith and charity to a hawk pursuing a fleeing dove, which at length he wearies and then darts upon and devours.
To be continued…