Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/214

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is truths angelic and human, are of a threefold degree. (A. C. n. 3362.)

If man were not instructed by appearances he would never suffer himself to be instructed at all; what is contrary to the appearance he does not believe nor comprehend, unless late in life when his judgment is ripened and he is gifted with the faith of charity, (ib. n. 1838.)

Many things in the Word, and more than any one could believe, are spoken according to appearances, and according to the fallacies of the senses; as where it is said that Jehovah is in wrath, anger, and fury, against the wicked; that He rejoices to destroy them and blot them out; yea, that He slays them. But these things were said that persuasions and evil lusts might not be broken, but bent; for to speak otherwise than as man conceives,—that is according to appearances, fallacies, and persuasions,—would have been to sow seed in the water, and to say that which would instantly be rejected. But yet these forms of speech may serve as common vessels within which there are things spiritual and celestial; for it can be insinuated into them that all things are from the Lord; afterwards that the Lord permits, but that all evil is from diabolical spirits; then that the Lord provides and disposes that evils may be turned into good; and finally that nothing but good is from the Lord. Thus the sense of the letter vanishes as it ascends, and the sense becomes spiritual, afterwards celestial, and at last Divine. (ib. n. 1874)

Rational human truth does not comprehend things Divine, because these are above the sphere of its understanding. For this truth communicates with the knowledges that are in the natural man; and in so far as it looks from these at the things above itself it does not acknowledge them. For this truth is in appearances which it cannot put off; and appearances are those [forms] which are from things of sense, which induce a belief as if things Divine themselves were also such,—when yet these are removed from all appearances,—and when they are spoken of this rational truth cannot believe them, because it cannot comprehend them. For example: when it is said that man has no life but what is from the Lord, the rational supposes from appearances that then man cannot live as of himself; when yet he then first truly lives when he perceives that his life is from the Lord. The rational, from appearances, supposes the good that a man does is from himself; when yet there is nothing of good from himself but from the Lord. The rational, from appearances, believes that a man merits salvation when he does good; when yet of himself a man can merit nothing, but all merit is the Lord's. From appearances man supposes that when