Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/423

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THE CHURCH.

things; and little concerning internal things, because they could not comprehend them. Those who were in natural good received these things devoutly; and those times were therefore called the brazen age, for brass signifies such good. But when not even natural good remained with the man of the church, the Lord came into the world and reduced all things in the heavens and in the hells to order; to the end that man may receive influx from Him out of heaven, and be enlightened, and that the hells should not prevent and let in thick darkness. Then a fourth church began which is called Christian. In this church information concerning heavenly things, or concerning the things that relate to eternal life, is communicated solely by means of the Word; through this man has influx and enlightenment. For the Word was written by pure correspondences and pure representatives, which signify heavenly things,—into which the angels of heaven come when man reads the Word. Hence by means of the Word a conjunction of heaven with the church is effected, or of the angels of heaven with the men of the church; but only with those therein who are in the good of love and of charity. But because the man of this church has even extinguished this good, he cannot therefore be informed by any influx, and by enlightenment from the Word,—except concerning some truths which are not connected with good. Hence these times are what are called the iron age; for iron denotes truth in the ultimate of order. But when truth is such it is of the quality described in Daniel: "Thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay; they shall mingle themselves by the seed of man, but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay" (ii. 43). From these facts it may be seen how revelations have succeeded from the most ancient times down to the present; and that at this day revelation is only given through the Word. But genuine revelation is with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of truth, and not with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of honour and gain as ends. For, if you will believe it, the Lord is the Word itself, since the Word is Divine truth, and Divine truth, because from the Lord, is the Lord in heaven. They therefore who love Divine truth for the sake of Divine truth love the Lord; and heaven flows in with those who love the Lord, and enlightens them. But they that love Divine truth for the sake of honour and gain as ends, turn themselves away from the Lord to themselves and to the world; and therefore with them there can be no influx and enlightenment. They also, because in the sense of the letter they keep their minds fixed upon themselves and upon their own fame and glory, interpret that sense in conformity with such things as favour their loves. (A. C. n. 10,355.)