Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/227

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viscera subsist and live, so also do all those in every part of the world with whom there is a religion, and who worship one God and live a good life, and thereby are in that man, and belong to its members and viscera without the thorax, where the heart and lungs are, subsist and live from the conjunction of the Lord and heaven with the church by means of the Word. For the Word in the church, although it exists with few comparatively, is life from the Lord through heaven to all the rest; just as the life of the members and viscera of the whole body is from the heart and lungs. There is also a similar communication. This too is the reason why the Christians among whom the Word is read constitute the breast of that man. They are indeed in the centre of all; and around them are the Papists; and around these are the Mahometans, who acknowledge the Lord as a very great prophet and as a son of God. After these come the Africans; and the nations and peoples in Asia and the Indies form the outermost circumference. Moreover, all who are in that man look towards the centre where Christians are.[1]

The greatest light is in the centre, where the Christians are who are in possession of the Word; for the light in the heavens is Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord as the sun there; and because the Word is that Divine Truth the greatest light is with those who have the Word. From thence as from its centre it diffuses itself around to all the circumferences, even to the outermost; hence the enlightenment of the nations and peoples out of the church also is by means of the Word. (S. S. n. 104-106.)

The same may be illustrated by this experience. There were with me certain African spirits from Abyssinia. On a certain occasion their ears were opened, that they might hear singing in some church in the world from a Psalm of David. They were affected by it with such delight that they joined their voices with those who sung. But presently their ears were closed, so that they could not hear anything from thence; and then they were affected with still greater delight because it was spiritual, and were at the same time filled with intelligence, for that psalm treated of the Lord and of redemption. The reason of their increased delight was, that communication was granted them with the society in heaven which was in conjunction with those who were singing that psalm in the world. From this and much other experience it was evident to me that there is communication with the universal heaven through the Word. For this reason, by the Divine providence of the Lord, there is universal intercourse of the kingdoms of Europe—especially of those in which the Word is read—with the nations out of the church. (ib. n 108.)

  1. See note, p. 417.