Interaction SB (Hartley) n. 12

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12. X


This follows as a conclusion from the principle established above, that the soul clothes itself with a body as a man clothes himself with a garment. For the soul flows into the human mind, and through this into the body, bearing with it the life which it continually receives from the Lord, and transferring it thus indirectly into the body, where, by means of the closest union, it causes the body, as it were, to live. From this, and from a thousand testimonies of experience, it is evident that what is spiritual, united to what is material, as a living force with a dead force, causes a man to speak rationally and to act morally.

[2] It appears as if the tongue and lips speak from a certain life in themselves, and as if the arms and hands act in a like manner; but it is the thought, which in itself is spiritual, which speaks, and the will, which is likewise spiritual, which acts, and each by means of its own organs, which in themselves are material, because taken from the natural world. That this is the case appears in the light of day, provided this consideration be attended to: Remove thought from speech, is not the mouth in a moment dumb? So, remove will from action, and do not the hands in a moment become still?

[3] The union of spiritual with natural things, and the consequent appearance of life in material objects, may be compared to excellent wine in a clean sponge, to the sweet must in a grape, to the delicious juice in an apple, and to the aromatic odour in cinnamon. The containing fibres of all these are material substances, which of themselves have neither taste nor smell, but derive them from the fluids in and between them; thus, if you squeeze out those juices, they become dead filaments. It is the same with the organs of the body, if life be taken away.

[4] That a man is a rational being by virtue of the union of spiritual things with natural is evident from the analytical processes of his thought; and that he is a moral being from the same cause is evident from the excellences of his conduct and the propriety of his demeanour. These he possesses by virtue of his faculty of being able to receive influx from the Lord through the angelic heaven, where there is the very abode of wisdom and love, thus of rationality and morality. Hence it may be perceived that the union in a man of what is spiritual with what is natural causes him to live as a spiritually natural man. The reason that he lives in a similar and yet dissimilar manner after death is that his soul is then clothed with a substantial body, just as in the natural world it was clothed with a material body.

[5] It is believed by many that the perceptions and thoughts of the mind, being spiritual, flow in unassisted and not by means of organized forms. Those thus dream, however, who have not seen the interiors of the head, where the perceptions and thoughts are in their beginnings, and who are ignorant that the brains are there, interwoven and composed of the grey and white matter, together with the glands, ventricles, and divisions, and all surrounded by the covering membranes; and who likewise do not know that a man thinks and wills sanely or insanely according to the sound or distorted condition of all those organs; consequently, that he is rational and moral according to the organic structure of his mind. For the rational sight of a man, which is the understanding, without forms organized for the reception of spiritual light, would be an abstract nothing, just as his natural sight would be without eyes; and so in other instances.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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