Charity and Good Works (pt. 10)
v Doctrinal Series v
THE LOVE OF HEAVEN, THE LOVE OF THE WORLD, AND THE LOVE OF SELF.
(6) The merely natural and sensual man.
As there are few that know who are meant by sensual men, and what their nature is, and yet it is important to know it, therefore they shall be described:
1. He is called a sensual man who judges of all things by the bodily senses, and who believes in nothing except what he can see with his eyes and touch with his hands, calling this something real, and rejecting everything else; consequently, the sensual man is the lowest natural man.
2. The interiors of his mind, which see from the light of heaven, are closed, so that he there sees nothing of the truth that pertains to heaven and the church, since he thinks in outermosts, and not interiorly from any spiritual light.
3. Because he is in gross natural light he is inwardly opposed to the things of heaven and the church, although outwardly he may advocate them with a zeal proportionate to the dominion he may thereby secure.
4. Sensual men reason keenly and ingeniously, because their thought is so near to speech as to be almost in it, and, as it were, on the lips, and because they place all intelligence in speech from memory only.
5. Some of them can confirm whatever they wish, and can confirm falsities dexterously; and after confirming them they believe them to be truths; but their reasoning and confirming are from the fallacies of the senses, which captivate and persuade the common people.
6. Sensual men are more shrewd and crafty than others.
7. The interiors of their minds are loathsome and foul, because through them they communicate with the hells.
8. Those who are in the hells are sensual, and the deeper they are the more sensual. The sphere of infernal itself with the sensual things of man from behind.
9. Sensual men do not see any genuine truth in light, but reason and dispute about everything, as to whether it is so or not; and these disputes when heard at a distance from them are like the gnashings of teeth, which viewed in themselves are the collision of falsities with each other, and also of falsity and truth. This therefore makes plain what is meant in the Word by the “gnashing of teeth,” because reasoning from the fallacies of the senses corresponds to the teeth.
10. Accomplished and learned men who have deeply confirmed themselves in falsities, and still more those who have confirmed themselves against the truths of the Word, are more sensual than others, although they do not appear so to the world. Heretical doctrines have been introduced chiefly by such sensual men.
11. The hypocritical, the deceitful, the voluptuous, the adulterous, and the avaricious, are for the most part sensual.
12. Those who reason from sensual things only, and against the genuine truths of the Word and consequently of the church, were called by the ancients serpents of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
As sensual things mean the things presented to the bodily senses and imbibed through those senses, it follows:
13. That by means of sensual things man communicates with the world, and by means of things rational above the sensual he communicates with heaven.
14. Things sensual furnish such things from the natural world as are of service to the interiors of the mind in the spiritual world.
15. There are sensual things that minister to the understanding, and these are the various natural studies called physics; and there are sensual things that minister to the will, and these are the delights of the senses and the body.
16. Unless the thought is elevated above natural things man has but little wisdom. The wise man thinks above sensual things; and when thought is elevated above what is sensual it enters into clearer light, and finally into the light of heaven; from this man has perception of truth which is properly intelligence.
17. The elevation of the mind above sensual things, and its withdrawal therefrom, was known to the ancients.
18. When sensual things are in the last place, by means of them a way is opened for the understanding, and truths are disengaged by a kind of extraction; but when sensual things are in the first place they close the way, and man sees truths only as in a mist, or as at night.
19. In a wise man sensual things are in the last place, and are subject to more interior things; but in an unwise man they are in the first place and have dominion. Such as these are they who are properly called sensual.
20. In man there are sensual things that he has in common with beasts, and others not so. To the extent that one thinks above sensual things, he is a man; but no one can think above sensual things and see the truths of the church, unless he acknowledges God and lives according to His commandments; for it is God who elevates and enlightens.
To be continued …