Charity and Good Works (pt. 4)
v Doctrinal Series v
THE LOVE OF HEAVEN, THE LOVE OF THE WORLD, AND THE LOVE OF SELF.
That these three loves reside in every man from creation and therefore from birth, and that when rightly subordinated they perfect him, and when not, they pervert him…. It may serve for the present merely to state, that-
these three loves are rightly subordinated when the love of heaven forms the head, the love of the world the breast and abdomen, and the love of self the feet and their soles.
… the human mind is divided into three regions.
From the highest region man looks to God, from the second or middle region to the world, and from the third or lowest to himself.
The mind being such it can be raised and can raise itself upward, because to God and to heaven; it can be extended and can extend itself to the sides in all directions, because into the world and its nature; and it can be let downward and let itself downward, because to earth and to hell. In these respects the bodily vision emulates the mind’s vision; it also can look upward, round about, and downward.
The human mind is like a house of three stories which communicate by stairs-
in the highest of which angels from heaven dwell, in the middle men in the world, and in the lowest one, genii.
The man in whom these three loves are rightly subordinated can ascend and descend in this house at his pleasure; and when he ascends to the highest story, he is in company with angels as an angel; and when he descends from that to the middle story he is in company with men as an angel man; and when from this he descends still further, he is in company with genii as a man of the world, instructing, reproving, and subduing them.
In the man in whom these three loves are rightly subordinated, they are also coordinated thus:
The highest love, which is the love of heaven, is inwardly in the second, which is the love of the world, and through this in the third or lowest, which is the love of self; and the love that is within directs at its will that which is without.
So when the love of heaven is inwardly in the love of the world, and through this in the love of self, man from the God of heaven, performs uses in each.
In their operation these three loves are like will, understanding, and action-
the will flows into the understanding, and there provides itself with the means whereby it produces action.
But on these points more will be seen … that these three loves, when rightly subordinated, perfect man, but when not rightly subordinated, pervert and invert him.
In order that what follows … may be so presented in the light of reason as to be clearly seen, it is necessary to premise something respecting the will and understanding, good and truth, love in general, the love of the world and love of self in particular, the external and internal man, and the merely natural and sensual man. These things must be made clear, that the rational sight of man, in his perception of what follows further on, may not be as it were in a dense fog, and in that state be like one wandering through the streets of a city until he knows not the way home. For what is theology separated from the understanding, or with the understanding not enlightened when the Word is read, but like a lamp in the hand giving no light, such as were those of the five foolish virgins who had no oil?
To be continued …