Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/193

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THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.

and the affection of the will in action. And if it may be compared with such things as appear before the eyes in the natural world, the spiritual sense is in the natural sense as the whole brain is within its meninges or matres, or as the young shoots of a tree are within its barks and rinds, nay, as all things for the generation of the chick are within the shell of the egg, and so on. But that there is such a spiritual sense of the Word within its natural sense has been divined by no one hitherto. It is therefore necessary that the mystery, which is eminent above all the mysteries yet revealed, should be opened to the understanding. (T. C. R n. 192, 193.)

Since it was predicted that at the end of this church also darkness would arise, from the non-recognition and acknowledgment of the Lord as the God of heaven and earth, and from the separation of faith from charity, therefore, lest through this the genuine understanding of the Word should perish, it has pleased the Lord now to reveal the spiritual sense of the Word; and to make manifest that the Word in that sense, and from that in the natural sense, treats of the Lord and of the church, yea of these only; and many other things by which the light of truth from the Word, almost extinguished, may be restored. That at the end of the church the light of truth would be almost extinguished is predicted in many places in the Apocalypse; and is also meant by these words of the Lord in Matthew: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then . . . they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and glory" (xxiv. 29, 30). By the sun here the Lord as to love is meant; by the moon, the Lord as to faith; by the stars, the Lord as to cognitions of good and truth; by the Son of Man, the Lord as to the Word; by a cloud, the literal sense of the Word; and by glory, its spiritual sense, and its shining through the literal sense. (S. S. n. 112.)

 

What the Spiritual Sense of the Word is.

The spiritual sense of the Word is not that which shines forth from the sense of the letter while one is searching and explaining the Word to confirm some dogma of the Church; this sense may be called the literal and ecclesiastical sense of the Word. But the spiritual sense does not appear in the sense of the letter; it is within it interiorly, as the soul is in the body, as the thought of the understanding is in the eyes, and as the affection of love is in the countenance, which act together as cause and effect. It is this sense chiefly, which renders the Word spiritual, not