Category — Series of sermons or doctrinal classes
A SERIES OF LECTURES
Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Nova Domini Ecclesia Quae Est
The Lord’s New Church Which Is Nova Hierosolyma
Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania
THE STORY OF CREATION IN GENESIS
THE FIRST DAY OF CREATION
THE FIRST DAY
The understanding of truth by the enlightenment of the human mind. The creation of the World of mind and its relation to the world of matter.
Every study which one undertakes involves not only new ideas, but also new words, in a sense a new vocabulary appropriate to the subject. Therefore, if we are to enter more profoundly into the things of religion, we, of necessity, have to master new ideas, and acquire an appropriate usage of words, which to a degree departs in meaning from the same words as used in common speech. In regard to the subject which we will consider, the difficulties of understanding it are not so great as is the case in many technical subjects which the man of medium intelligence readily masters if he is interested in the subject. But when it comes to religion many expect to arrive at essential things without the kind of effort that they would put into the study of some other subject. Yet everything worthwhile requires effort; apart from effort a subject soon grows flat and stale. The kingdom of God is not for the mentally lazy.
The reason that few are willing to spend the energy required in acquiring a knowledge of religion that they would readily spend on other subjects is that their love is weak. While the things of this world grip their interest, the things of eternal life do not grip them sufficiently, wherefore on encountering the first difficulty, they give up.
One seeking truth wishes a calm presentation, and not a highly emotional or oratorical presentation which deprives the mind of the quietness of mood necessary for an unbiased judgment. Religious talks often arouse the emotions to such an extent that one can not see whether what is said is true or not.
The object of these lectures is not to persuade, but to present certain things for your calm consideration.
In this country most persons believe in a God, that is, they are theists and not atheists; but generally speaking, the idea of God is decidedly vague, and there are many shades of opinion varying from those who hold to the strict traditions of our grandparents to the scientist who finds an unknown force or intelligence behind the natural phenomena with which he deals and which he calls God.
Even in the churches the idea of God with the great majority has become somewhat vague. There are few who accept the Bible in the same way as our forefathers did.
Our idea and thence thought of God may be based on three types of approach to the subject:
First, the approach through a written revelation: with the Christians through what is called the Bible. This is sometimes called the historical approach.
Second, the approach through the objective world. This approach may be divided into two kinds: the approach of the scientist who as it were sees God behind the order of the universe, or as the active force within the atom; and the approach of the artistically inclined who see God behind the harmony of creation.
Third, the approach through the subjective world of mind. These feel the presence of God as inspiration from within, as the source of love and wisdom.
With those who believe in God there is generally some thing of all these methods of approach and each has its place; but in the world such as it is at this day, the scientific approach tends to dominate and take a place of importance beyond its due.
The reason for this is that men have fallen into an intensive pursuit of material ends. They have been overcome by an all-pervading desire to satisfy first their material wants at the expense of all else. This pursuit has concentrated the thought on science as the means to this goal with the result that the thought of God has become largely a scientific idea of God.
Science with the exception of psychology deals with the objective world, and even psychology is based largely on objective experiments, which can be scientifically demonstrated on the plane of physical sensation.
To form our ideas according to the objective world, the world around us, is the easiest course, the course requiring the least reflection.
A child, if it were not pointed out to him, would have considerable knowledge of his surroundings before he realized that he had an eye that sees; and when he knows he has an eye he still cannot see his own eye. After growing older a child has a far more extensive knowledge of his environment before he comes to realize that he has a mind which is the means of his being conscious of the world; and even when he grows up, it is hard for him to realize that the actual consciousness of the world around us is within us and not as it appears outside of us, for we appear to see a tree at a distance and are not aware that the sensation is in the eye.
The tendency is to carry something of this childish attitude over into adult life, with the result that the world of material things around us seems to us more real than the world of mind.
It also appears as if the mind were formed and received its activity from the sensations which come to it from the outer world; but that this is a fallacy can be seen from the fact that a more internal activity cannot be caused by a lower type of activity. This may be seen illustrated by the following example:
If a soft iron bar is held in a north and south direction and hammered while so held, it becomes magnetized, that is, it becomes a magnet. The reason for this is that all iron consists of magnetic particles. These particles are normally facing in every direction, so that they neutralize each other; but when the bar is hammered, the earth’s magnetic field brings these particles into alignment with the result that the bar becomes what is called magnetized. The appearance is that the hammering gave to the bar its magnetic force, but the truth is that the hammering merely permitted the magnetic particles so to arrange themselves that their force becomes evident to us.
Another illustration is the electric generator. The turning of the wheels appears to be the source of the electricity, whereas in reality the turning of the wheels so arranges the electrical particles in which the electrical force resides, that the force may be felt and used.
The same is true of the mind. The sensations from the outer world impinging upon the brain do not cause mental activity such as thoughts, affections, things of love and wisdom, but sensations are the means of the things of the mind so arranging themselves that we become conscious of our mind. The case is analogous to the hammer on the iron bar, where the hammering was not the cause of the magnet, but merely the means of the magnetic force, intrinsically present in the particles of the iron, manifesting its activity as magnetic force.
The highest form of activity we know is mental activity, the activity of affection, thought, love and wisdom, things of which we are subjectively conscious, if we reflect upon them.
It is obvious that the most appropriate thought concerning God is thought which primarily is based on the highest activity.
We can become aware of, that is, the activity of the human things of love and wisdom, and secondarily on the creation of the objective world of matter with its various forms of activity. In a word, that the primary thought of God be a Divinely Human idea, and not primarily a scientific non-human idea; that we think of God as Divine Love and Wisdom and, being such, that he is primarily the origin of mind, and thence of the material world; and that we view the world of matter as the means by which the world of mind manifests itself.
All people have viewed God as being in a human form. This concept was first brought into question by one of the ancient Greek philosophers, who said that if cows were able to portray their gods, they would portray them as cows, etc. This line of thought led to the disparagement of what is called the anthropomorphic idea of God, the idea of God in the form of man. In the Genesis account of creation it is said that God created man in His image and likeness; and if we see that man is primarily man from the form of his mind, and only secondarily from the form of his body, and see the body as a manifestation of the soul on a lower plane, we can see that the idea of God as a Divine Man is the highest concept possible to man, and the only one which is truly appropriate. God is indeed infinitely more than man, but it is only by means of a Divine Human idea, that we can have any appropriate idea of Him, and thus be conjoined to Him by love.
We indeed do not think of God as being spatial, as being a spatial figure seated somewhere in the universe, but if we see Him as Divine Love and Wisdom, and see the body as a representative or manifestation of the soul, we can visualize God as a Divine Man.
If we can see this, it no longer appears strange that man is described as being created in the image and likeness of God. Nor does it appear so strange that the Logos, the Word, the Divine Truth, which was in the beginning, should be made flesh and dwell among us; and we behold His Glory as described in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, where also it is said, that He was the light of the world which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Was not this light the same light of which we read in the first chapter of Genesis, where the first day of creation is described: “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light, and God saw the light that it was good”?
The first chapter of Genesis appears to treat of the creation of the physical universe, the world of the physical creation, the objective world, This in the wisdom of God was so provided in order that children, and all peoples who are in a childish state, may think of God as the Creator of the wonderful world in which we live. For to a child, and to all who are in a childish state, this is the only world which has any reality to them.
Yet the Word of God is also for the wise, for the adult who realizes that the world of mind is just as real and more essential than the world of matter, and that the primary creation is the creation of the world of mind.
That the seven days of creation, essentially, are not a literal description of the creation of the physical universe, is evident from the fact that light is described as being created on the first day, while the sun, moon and stars are said to be created on the fourth day.
That there is a light of the mind in which men see truth, as well as a light of the body in which men see physical objects, is a matter of common thought and speech, as well as of common expression in the Bible or in the Word of God. We have an instinctive feeling that this form of expression is not a mere simile, but that there is a correspondence between the seeing of the eye, and the seeing of the mind, and that the light of the mind is as real a light as the light of the sun.
Concerning the first day of creation we read: “And darkness was upon the faces of the deep and the spirit of God moved upon the faces of the waters. And God said, Let there be light.” Genesis 1:2. Anyone who is willing can feel that the darkness here spoken of is the darkness of the man who is in doubt and obscurity, who is searching for the light of truth, but cannot find it, and therefore feels himself as in a deep, or in an abyss of ignorance, and that the spirit of Cod is the mercy of God, the mercy of our Lord, leading him into the light of truth.
The spirit of God is said to move. The word in the Hebrew also means to brood. As a hen broods over her eggs, the spirit of God moves or broods over the waters.
That waters mean truths is evident from the words of our Lord in the New Testament, but of this we will treat more fully in our next lecture. Here the faces of the waters are the knowledges of the truths of religion we learnt in our childhood, but which appear obscure and dark when we become adult and find that none can satisfactorily explain to us the things we have been taught. It is the Lord’s mercy moving and brooding upon these knowledges of truth that brings to man the first light, which brings him to the first day of the re-creation of his spirit, the first light that God really is, that God is the All in all of life.
The Bible commences with the words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Are we to think here merely of the sky, or where the word “heaven” occurs, are we to think of what our Lord called “the kingdom of heaven within you”? Does “the beginning” merely refer to some ancient time, or does it mean the beginning of man’s awakening when a vision of the kingdom of God is granted to him?
As “heaven” stands for the “kingdom of heaven within you”, so earth stands for the kingdom of earth in man, for the earthly things of the mind, earthly thoughts and affections.
If the Bible is the Word of God, it cannot treat, as to its spirit, of any thing but the things of the spirit.
What importance would many things written in the Bible have if they did not have hidden within them the things of the spirit?
We read “the letter killeth, the spirit giveth life”.
THE SECOND DAY
The distinction between inner and outer thought. Inspiration. Truth and how it purifies the mind.
In the preceding lecture we considered some of the things involved in the first day of creation. It was shown that the seven days of creation, which apparently treat of the creation of the material world, as to their spirit treat of how the Lord God, the Logos, the Word of God, or the Divine Truth, creates the living spirit or the new mind in man. It was also shown that the word “creation” when used in the Word of God, as to its spirit always treats of the creation of the things of the spirit, as in the fifty-first Psalm, where we read: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Verse 10.
It was shown that all true and appropriate thought of God was a thought of Him as being Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, thus as a Divine Man, and that man was thus to be created in His image; also that God, being Divine Good and Divine Truth, descended on earth as the Logos, the Divine Truth, arid became flesh, as described in the first chapter of John.
The first day treats of man being a “void” or “emptiness”, a “deep” or an “abyss”. As long as man pays all his attention to and directs his interests towards material ends, to the satisfaction of his material wants and pleasures, as to his spirit he is void and empty, and he is in darkness as to the things of the spirit; in fact, he is a “deep” or ~‘abyss” of ignorance in relation to all things above the plane of material existence. The spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters is the Lord’s mercy, reviving the things of religion which the man has been taught in his childhood.
Children in states of innocence are delighted when taught about God, about heaven. Things like Christmas, the hearing the story of the birth of the Lord, make a deep impression on them. When a child grows up, such things recede into the background, and man centers his attention on gaining the things of the world. Still these childhood memories and impressions remain, and can be revived. It is these remains of things from a man’s childhood which are the waters over which the spirit of God moves or broods.
If the spirit of God touches these things, a man begins to come into light, into the light that God is, that He is the All in all things of life. It is the dawning of this light which creates in man the things of the first day of his spiritual creation, the beginning of the “creation of a new heart and a new spirit”.
In the first chapter of Genesis we are told that on the second day God made an expanse (translated at times firmament) in the midst of the waters, which was to distinguish between the waters below the expanse and the waters which were above the expanse and that God called the expanse heaven.
If we think of the natural universe, this description has little meaning. Possibly one might think of the waters above as being the clouds and the waters below as being the seas, but to make this kind of distinction before the creation of the sun and moon. which were said to be created on the fourth day, is impossible.
It follows that what is described as taking place on what is called the second day of creation has a hidden meaning, for as it stands it appears to have little sense.
The subject of the second day of creation is the waters. That the Lord Jesus Christ used water as a symbol or representative of something of the spirit is self-evident, for we read that Jesus said: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture bath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38.
The “Scriptures” here referred to are such places as the following:
“With joy shall ye draw water out of the well of salvation.” Is. 12:3.
“They have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.”
“Living waters shall go forth from Jerusalem.” Zech. 14:8.
There are many other places in both the New and the Old Testaments where it is self- evident that waters stand for something of the spirit. Therefore water and washing was chosen as a representative of purification, and is used in the sacrament of baptism.
The meaning of water is most clearly evident in the fourth chapter of John. where we read: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living waters. Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the waters that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the waters that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto Him, ‘Sir, give me this water that I thirst not, neither come hitherto draw.” John 4:10-15
If we are not like the woman of Samaria, but are willing to acknowledge the ancient symbolism or representation of water, we can find an intelligent and important meaning in the distinction made between the waters and the waters on the second day of creation.
Waters stand for and represent truth. There are two things necessary for the sustenance of the life of the body: food and drink; and there are two things necessary for the sustenance of the life of the spirit: truth and good, or, what is the same, wisdom and love, for all living truth is of wisdom, and all living good is of love.
If a man is willing to believe, truths, like a river, will flow out of his inner man: “Rivers of living water out of his belly.”
The subject of the second day of creation is therefore the distinction that is made between truths of a higher order, and truths of a lower order: waters above and below the expanse.
That such a distinction can be made is evident from the distinction between concrete thought and abstract thought
Concrete thought is all thought which is based on the physical senses of hearing, sight, touch, etc. Abstract thought is all thought which is based on man’s awareness of his conscious mind, awareness of his thoughts, feelings, affections, understanding, etc. Abstract truths therefore have to do with man’s mental world, the world which he knows by reflecting on the operations of the mind. Of this world he is aware, not through the physical senses, but directly. Concrete thought, on the other hand, deals with the physical world of his environment.
Another general distinction between truths closely related to the above is the distinction between scientific thought or the facts of science, and religions thought with its truths.
A more profound distinction, however, may be made, which is the essential subject of our consideration of what is involved in this day of creation. A man may have been taught knowledges about religion, about God, etc., from his youth, and yet these knowledges may be largely a matter of memory, of knowing them from having been taught, and may not be a matter of inspiration, of insight, of understanding them in a living way.
When a man has merely learned the things of religion in the same way as he has learned other subjects, they are together with his knowledges of other subjects in his outer mind. This is why it is first said: “Let there be an expanse or firmament in the midst of the waters and let it distinguish between the waters in the waters.” In this state distinction is made between the truths of religion and other truths, but all on the same plane, with the same faculties of the mind. In the verse following, however, it is said: “God made a distinction between the waters which were under the expanse, and the waters which were above the expanse.” That is, it is seen that a man has higher faculties of the mind, an inner life, and lower faculties of the mind, which have to do with his outer life, and that the living things of religion have to do with the inner or higher faculties of the mind, and that the living truths, called the waters above the expanse, are in these higher faculties.
Therefore it immediately follows, “and God called the expanse heaven”.
The “heaven” here spoken of is “the kingdom of heaven”, which the Lord says is “within you”. All spiritual insight, all genuine inspiration, all living spiritual truths, are in this kingdom of heaven within man. These are the waters above the expanse, whereas truths which have only been learned, and are knowledges in the memory, are the waters under the expanse.
With most persons the things of religion remain with other knowledges in the lower mind. In fact, most persons are unaware of any higher faculty of the mind in which insight, inspiration, the living truths of the spirit, have their seat or reside; and as long as one’s interest is directed mainly to the things of the world, to its pleasures and satisfactions, one remains unconscious of the higher faculties of the mind. It is only when the pursuit of material ends is weakened that such faculties begin to open up.
We read, therefore, in the Writings of Swedenborg: “At the present day this state (the second day) seldom exists without temptations, misfortune or sorrow, by which the things of the body and the world, that is such as are proper to man, are brought into quiescence (or quietness) and as it were die. Thus the things which belong to the external man are separated from those which belong to the internal man.” Arcana Coelestia No. 8.
At the end of each day it is said that the evening and the morning were the first day, second day, etc. Whereas at the end of the first day it is said: “And God called the light day and the darkness he called night.” Every man whose mind is opened to God and to the things of the spirit, finds himself at times in the morning of the things of the spirit, when he sees that God is, and that all that is good and true with him is from God. Such happy states are followed by ones of obscurity and darkness; doubts arise and one falls into the things of self and self-interest. If one has cared for higher things, this condition of mind brings sadness and one raises one’s eyes to a new dawn. Thus life consists of days, each with its morning and evening.
In the morning one is raised into the things of the light of the spirit, the things of God. In the evening one sinks into one’s own selfish thoughts and feelings, and the things of the spirit grow dim.
As the subject of the second day of creation is the waters and the distinction made between the waters, we will here continue the consideration of what is meant by water in the Bible or Word of God.
The first miracle our Lord Jesus Christ did was the miracle of turning water into wine. The water was placed in “pots of stone after the manner of the cleansing of the Jews”. Water and washing, as is self-evident, stood for the purification or cleansing of the spirit. A man by living according to the truth is purified from evil.
The water stood for truths which had been learned, truths in the memory, truths of the letter. These truths are turned in man into living truths of the spirit represented by wine. When a man comes to perceive from the Lord the living spirit of the Word of God, when he sees the teaching of the Word of God in application to the things of his soul, far above the natural appearances of the Bible, above the things of history, time, place and person, sees things universally as treating of the kingdom of God within, then the truths which he has learned are turned from water into wine.
The meaning of the waters below the expanse or firmament and the waters above the expanse which were called heaven, in the second day of creation, is very similar to the meaning of the water and wine of the first miracle of the Lord, where the wine has a similar signification to the waters above the expanse which were called heaven. The waters above the expanse and the wine both stand for the spirit of living truth in contrast to the water below, or the waters in the pots, which stand for truths in the memory, or truths understood naturally, or as to their letter.
We find this same contrast again in the words of John the Baptist: “I baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matt. 3:11. Here John the Baptist stands for the letter of the Word, the first understanding of the Bible or Word of God, calling a man to repentance. whereas the Lord stands for the spirit of the Word, giving inspiration, and a spiritual understanding of the Word, represented by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit; and fire stands for the fire of love, the spiritual love of God and the neighbor.
The Lord said to Nicodemus, “I say unto thee, except man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5.
To be born of water signifies to come into a new life based upon the Word of God, a life of obedience to the commandments of the Lord. But as at first the commandments are understood as to their letter, an external obedience is given to them. In this state a man regards his acts as being of primary importance, but does not take heed to the motives, the spirit behind the acts. This is being born of water, also to be baptized with water; but to be born of the spirit requires far more; to be born of the spirit involves understanding the spirit of the Lord’s commands. To fulfill the spirit, one must not only change one’s life as to its appearances before the eyes of men, but one must search one’s motives, one’s intentions, thoughts and feelings, for these must also be born again of God. The purification of water is the purification of the outward life. The purification of the spirit is the purification of one’s inmost life, a life which few see: the purification of the feelings and thoughts one has in secret.
The sad condition of the world, with its sorrows, its evils, its hatreds, is the result of man’s not suffering God to make an expanse, a firmament, which divides the waters below from the waters above the expanse, the waters above being the kingdom of God in the inner or in the internal man, where the spirit of truth has its abode or dwelling place: truth which is not only a matter of knowledge, but which is living. Purifying truth changes the life, not only the life which is seen by man, but the life of one’s inmost love and intention.
FIRST SERIES. Nr. 14.
September 13th 1891. Reference: H.D. 260.
“John (the Baptist) represented the Word, and by his food, as also by his clothing . . . the Word in the external sense was represented“, A.C. 7643.
Therefore the Word when only seen in the external sense is not the Light which enlightens every man coming into the world. Not the external sense, but “the internal sense is the very Doctrine of the Church”, H.D. 260. “It is to be known that the true doctrine of the Church is what is here called the internal sense, for in that sense are truths such as the angels in heaven have. Among the priests and among the men of the Church there are those who teach and learn truths from the literal sense of the Word and there are those who teach and learn from Doctrine from the Word which is called the doctrine of the faith of the Church. The latter differ exceedingly from the former in perception, but they cannot be distinguished by the vulgar, because the latter and the former speak almost similarly from the Word. But those who teach and learn the literal sense of the Word alone without the regulating doctrine of the Church, do not grasp any but those things which are of the natural or external man; but they who teach and learn from the true doctrine from the Word also understand those things which are of the spiritual or internal man. The reason is because the Word in the external or literal sense is natural; but in the internal sense it is spiritual“, A.C. 9025. Hence that sense is not the light, but testifies concerning the light.
Of what quality John the Baptist taught is signified by that ‘the lesser in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than he’ “, A.C. 9372. Therefore “when he spake concerning the Lord Himself, Who was the Divine Truth Itself or the Word, he said that he himself was not anything, since the shade is separated when the Light Itself appears”, A.C. 9372. Hence we are taught that “In the internal sense is the soul and life of the Word, which does not appear unless the sense of the letter as it were vanishes away“, A.C. 1405. For “The things which the sense of the letter are for the most part worldly, corporeal, and earthly, which can never make the Word of the Lord”, A.C. 1540.
Such is the character of that sense of the Word which John the Baptist represents, and it is really that sense which he said was not the Light. Still John the Baptist, or rather, that which he represented, is necessary to testify concerning the Light. Which necessity is thus expressed in the Writings: “Still the sense of the letter represents truths and presents the appearances of truth in which man can be while he is not in the light of truth”, A.C. 1984.
Such is the case when the Word is first presented to us. Such is the use which the literal forms of each Divine Revelation perform with regard to those truths which we do not as yet know, of which there are always an infinity. At first we only see John the Baptist, not the true Light, not the Lord Himself. Thus it is with regard to the Revelation in which the Lord has effected His New Advent. At first in the literal forms thereof we only see a man speaking about the Lord. While we are in this state we do not see the Light of the Lord‘s New Advent, but at most only testimony concerning that Light. We come into the Light Itself only when we see that the Lord Himself in The Divine Human is there present with us. In the text — ” ‘Light’ signifies Divine Truth; wherefore the Lord is there called `the Light which enlightens every man’ ; and `to testify concerning the Light’ signifies acknowledgement of His Divine Human, from which Divine Truth proceeds”, A.E. 27.
Mere testification concerning the Light cannot establish the New Church. If the New Church is to be really formed with us, it must be from the Light Itself, proceeding from the Lord’s Divine Human. We must see that that Human is presented to us in the Evangel of the Lord‘s New Advent if we would really dwell in the Light thereof. Without, there can only be the merely external appearance of a Church, because “the internal of the Word is also the internal of the Church, as also the internal of Worship“, H.D. 260.
“For he who averts himself from the internal of the Word, he also averts himself from the internal of the Church, and also from the internal of worship; since the internal of the Church, and the internal of worship are from the internal of the Word“, A.C. 10460.
“For the Word teaches of what quality the man of the Church must be, or of what quality the Church with man must be, and also of what quality worship with man must be. For the goods and truths of love and faith are what make the internal Church, and also internal worship; those the Word teaches, and those are the internals of the Word“, A.C. 10460. Those make the very teaching of the Church, and they are the particulars which belong to the laws of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbor, without which, indeed, those laws can only lie understood in a merely natural manner.
The Light of the Word as distinguished from the external sense thereof is also called the glory with which it was prophesied that the Lord would come in His New Advent — That prophesy has now been fulfilled — that glory has been revealed in the Writings. The New Church is to live in that Light and not in the clouds of the Old and New Testament — the clouds in which He made His First Advent and which relatively only testified concerning the Light which was about to come in the consummation of the age. The Light Itself is now presented to us which is the glory of the Lord‘s New Advent. But though, for the New Church the former clouds no longer obscure, yet neither has the Lord come now without clouds, although relatively so. In His New Advent, effected in the Writings, He has manifested Himself in rational statements, literally presented, that is, presented in written form — hence we call them the Writings.
These literal, written, and printed, forms, so far cloud over the spiritual sense which they convey, that that sense is not really revealed therein to any but those who are enlightened by the Lord and thus enabled to receive them rationally, so as to be able to see the glory therein, the Lord Himself in His Divine Human with the Light proceeding therefrom. This is by no means nakedly apparent to everyone who glances at the literal forms of the Writings, nor yet to anyone who studies them merely in the light of self-intelligence; but only appears to those who study them in their own light, really desiring to be taught things which are above and contrary to anything self-intelligence could devise. Only when we come thus to see that the Lord‘s Divine Human is there presented to us, and rejoice in the Light which can proceed from nowhere but His Divine Human, only then can we begin to realize that John the Baptist, that is the external form of the Word which he represents, is not the Light, but only testifies concerning the Light. No Divine Revelation can do more than testify concerning the Light until we see the Lord Himself in such Revelation — then only do we begin to come into the Light Itself.
The things which are in the literal sense are compared in the Writings to the little bits of colored glass which are placed without any order in an optical cylinder, such as we call a kaleidoscope, but which when viewed through the cylinder represent a beautiful form. So is it with the letter of the Word, especially with the Prophetical Word of the Old Testament, when viewed by the light of the spiritual sense. Another illustration is given from the spiritual world:
“There are spirits who are willing to hear nothing concerning the interiors of the Word, yea however much they can understand still they are unwilling. These are especially they who have placed merit in works, and who therefore have done goods from the love of self and of the world, or for the sake of dignity or opulence to be acquired to themselves, and fame thence, thus not for the sake of the Lord’s Kingdom. Such in the other life will more than others to enter into heaven, but they remain outside, for they are unwilling to be imbued with knowledges of truth and thus to be affected with good, by interpreting the sense of the Word from the letter according to their own phantasies, and by producing whatever by assent favors their cupidities. Such were represented by a little old woman of unsightly face, but still pallidly snowy, in which were inordinate (features) by which she was deformed. But in truth, they who admit and love the interiors of the Word were represented by a girl in her first virgin age or in the flower of youth, becomingly clothed, with wreaths and heavenly ornaments“, A.C. 1774.
Such is the difference between those who cling to the external of the Word which is not the light; and those who love to come to the Light Itself which is revealed in the internal sense of the Word.
“The Word in the whole complex is an image of heaven, because the Word is the Divine Truth, and Divine Truth makes heaven; and because heaven refers to one man, the Word is in that respect like the image of a, man”, H.D. 260. In that image and by it “is represented Heaven in its complex, not of such quality as it is, but of such quality as the Lord wills that it may be, namely that it may be the likeness of Himself”, A.C. 1871.
The quality which the Lord wills that heaven may he is that of His Divine Human. It is therefore in respect to that that the Word in its whole complex is like the image of a man.
“The Word of the lord when it is read by a man who loves the Word and lives in charity, even by a man who from a simple heart believes what is written, and neither has formed principles against the truth of faith which is in the internal sense, it is presented by the Lord before the angels, in such beauty, and in such pleasantness, also with representatives, and this with inexpressible variety according to every state of those in whom they then are, that the single things are perceived as it were to have life, which is the life which is in the Word, and from which the Word is born when it is let down from heaven. On account of this cause the Word of the Lord is such that although it appears rude in the letter, still within it conceals spiritual and celestial things, which appear before good spirits andangels when it is read by man”, A.C. 1767.
“Within in the single things of the Word is the spiritual sense, which treats concerning the Lord’s kingdom, and within in that sense is the Divine, for the Word in its inmost sense treats concerning the Lord alone. Hence is the sanctity and life of the Word, and from no other source“, A.C. 8943.
From this passage we can see, not only that there is an inmost sense within the spiritual, here called the Divine, but sometimes called the celestial sense, but that both those senses are given in the Writings, and that not only where they specifically give the celestial, spiritual, and natural senses of the Decalogue, but everywhere they can be understood either in application to the Lord’s Kingdom, or in application to the Lord Himself in the glorification of His Human. The one is the spiritual, the other the celestial sense. Thus the celestial sense is not only everywhere within the spiritual sense as given in the Writings, but it is opened there to all who come into any rational understanding of them. Thus is the Light Itself opened to the New Church.
The Word of the Lord is like a Divine Man, the literal sense is as it were its body, but the internal sense is as it were its soul; hence it is evident that the literal sense lives by the internal sense. It appears as if the literal sense vanishes away or dies”, A.C. 8943 As we have already seen it always must so appear as the spiritual sense is really received, “but it is the contrary, it does not vanish away, still less does it die, but by the internal sense it lives”, A.C. 8943. “The spiritual sense lives in the literal sense as the spirit of man in his body, also the spiritual sense similarly survives when the literal sense passes away, hence the spiritual sense can be called the soul of the Word”, A.C. 4857.
We are taught “that the Word is pure in the internal sense and that it does not so appear in the sense of the letter”, H.D. 260. That it often appears impure in the sense of the letter of the Old Testament is evident from many places which may be recalled. That such teaching also has application to the literal forms of the Writings may also be evident from the way that the Second part of CONJUGIAL LOVE appears to those who have not rationally grasped the spiritual sense which underlies the laws there given. That the Light Itself comes from what is pure there, thus from the internal sense, must he evident, and even those things in the Word which appear impure to those who view them only in the light of the world, are yet holy from the internal things which they involve, and from the Divine Light which is seen by those who are made spiritually rational thereby to shine through. Hence the life, the holiness, and the Light of the Word are from its internal sense, for the sake of which we must be willingto continually recede from the external senseand thus to pass from John the Baptist to the Lord Himself. It is only in this way that we can approach nearer to the Lord and thus to the Light Itself. It is sufficient if, before we recede from John, we accept his testimony concerning the Light and obey his call to repentance. We must ever remember the declaration concerning him, which is concerning the external of the Word which he represented, that he was not the Light, but that he might testify concerning the Light. Each Divine Revelation appears at first only to testify concerning the Light, but if we approach the internal we will learn that every Divine Revelation is a manifestation of the Light Itself, thus of the Lord Himself. Therefore it was that John was enabled to prophesy “He must increase but I decrease”, John III, 30.
“Our Father who art in the Heavens, hallowed be Thy Name.” (Matt. 6:9)
While we preached a series of sermons on the Lord’s Prayer some years ago, the most essential things of worship are of such great importance that it is good to reconsider them from time to time; we will therefore again take the Lord’s Prayer as a text for this and the following sermons.
Swedenborg once saw the Lord’s Prayer represented as a pyramid commencing from the highest point and descending to its base. In the Greek the Prayer commences with the word “[pater]*” “Father.” Father represents the Lord as the Divine Love, thus the Lord as the source of all things. It is the Lord’s Divine Love which rules in all things of the Prayer. It spooks of Our Father who art in the heavens. The Lord is present in the Heavens as Divine Love in Human form; or what is the same, He has His dwelling place in the inmost reception of the human mind, that is, in the celestial degree, whence comes the Doctrine which is the Name of the Lord, and which is spiritual from a coеlestial origin. The second phrase of the Lord’s Prayer is therefore, “Hallowed be Thy Name.”
The Prayer commences with “Our Father” of “Father of us.” Calling the Lord “Our Father” expresses a desire to be His children. The Lord in a sense is the Father of all, both the good and the evil, but with the evil the Lord above the Heavens is their Father; where there is no reception of the Lord’s Divine Love, Ho is not their “Father in the Heavens.” It is only by regeneration that men become the children of Their Father in the Heavens.
To desire to be truly the children of the Lord, implies a desire not to be led by oneself, but by the Lord it implies an acknowledgment that one has neither the strength nor the wisdom to lead oneself; it also implies a total trust that the Lord provides everything necessary with infinite Love and Wisdom and that man can provide nothing. It implies that man willingly and with Love accepts all things whether they be obvious blessings, or punishments and temptations, as being in the Mercy of the Lord, and necessary for the salvation of the man. The evil as well as the good are willing to ascribe their obvious blessings to God; but only the good are willing to perceive and love their trials, their punishments, their sorrows, the apparent rejection of their prayers, as being of the Mercy of the Lord for the sake of their salvation; not that such things are from the Lord, but they are in the Mercy of the Lord for the sake of the salvation of man.
In the other world many from the Christian world commence by worshipping the Lord, but when they come into trials, when their prayers are not answered, when the Lord appears to shame them, they first resent the things of the Lord, and afterwards hate the Lord. A man or woman of the Church will not consciously to himself hate the Lord. Yet he may hate the things of the Lord in another; particularly will he hate the true things of justice in so far as they shame him, and deprive him of what he considers his duo, his honor, and his just reward. In so far as one hates these true things of justice in another, so far in the other life he comes into open hatred of the Lord.
Read the first sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Read the second sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Read the third sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Read the fourth sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Read the fifth sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Read the sixth sermon on the Lord’s Prayer by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Series of 5 doctrinal classes on the Conjugial Love and the relation of man and woman in the church T. Pitcairn
We read concerning the Most Ancient Church, “The highest happiness and deliciousness were their marriages, and whatever admitted of the comparison they likened to marriage, in order that in this way they might perceive its felicity. Being also internal men, they were delighted only with internal things. External things they merely saw with the eyes, but thought of the things represented. So that outward things were nothing to them save from these they could in some measure reflect on internal things and from these to celestial things, and thus to the Lord Who was their all, and consequently to the celestial marriage, from which they perceived the happiness of marriage to come. And therefore they called the understanding in the spiritual man the male, and the will the female, and when these acted as one, they called it a marriage.” (A.C. 54).
In the above number the essence and quality of true marriage is given. But such marriage and its happiness can only exist with regenerate men and women. Let us ever keep this marriage as our goal and believe the Lord’s promise, given in “Conjugial Love”, that such conjugial love will be given to the New Church; for the whole future of the Church with us depends upon this one thing.
To begin with, we are not regenerated men and women, but are to be regenerated. We must see the order of the relation of man and woman before regeneration, in order that we may be led, in an orderly way, into a marriage as it exists after regeneration.
The true order of marriage was destroyed by the fall; the fall took place by the proprium, represented by the woman, from her own love, being unwilling to believe what was revealed, unless they saw it confirmed by sensual and scientific things, and that the rational represented by the man consented. That is they departed from the true marriage in which as we read above: “They were delighted only with internal things. External things they merely saw with their eyes, but thought of the things represented. So that external things were nothing to thorn save as from these they could in some measure reflect on internal things and from those to celestial things, and thus to the Lord Who was their all.”
As a result of the fall, that is as a result of turning away from internal things to external things, the command was given that her “obedience shall be to thy man and he shall rule over thee,” concerning which we read: “By man is meant one who is wise and intelligent. Here however man denotes the rational, because in consequence of the destruction of wisdom and intelligence by eating of the tree of science, nothing else was loft, for the rational is imitative of intelligence, being as it were its semblance. As every law and precept comes forth from what is celestial and spiritual, as from its true beginnings, it follows that this law of marriage does so, which requires that the wife, who acts from desire, which is of her proprium, rather than from reason, like the man, should be subject to his prudence.” (A.C.265,6)
And further: “The reason why daughters signify the things of the will, and, where there is no will of good, cupidities; and why sons signify the things of the understanding, and where there is no understanding of the true, phantasies, is that the female sex is such, end so formed , that the will or cupidity reigns in them more than the understanding. Such is the entire disposition of their fibers, and such their nature. Hence the marriage of the two is like that of the will and understanding in every man, and since, at this day, there is no will of good, but only cupidity, and still something intellectual, or rational can be given, this is why so many laws were enacted in the Jewish Church concerning the prerogative of the man and the obedience of the wife.” (A.C.568)
In Conjugial Love number 56 we read: “I know that you are a wise man, and what has a wise man or wisdom to do with a woman? At this our host- with a certain indignation changed countenance. And ha put forth his hand, and lo! immediately other wise men wore present from neighboring houses, to whom he said jestingly: Our neighbor here asked the question, What has a wise man or wisdom to do with woman? At this they all laughed and said, What is a wise man or wisdom without a woman, or without love. The wife is the love of a wise man’s wisdom.”
In the Church there must be the wise and the simple, or internal and external man and women. Where there are not both internal men and internal women, who are both in wisdom the Church in time perishes.
Concerning wisdom we read: “In heaven those are called wise who are in good, and those are in good who apply the Divine Trues at once to life; for as soon as the Divine true comes to be of life it becomes good.” (348).
“All who have acquired intelligence and wisdom are in heaven Whatever a. man acquires in the world abides… .and it is further increased and filled out, but within and not beyond the degree of his desire for the true and its good, those with little affection and desire receiving but little and yet as much us they are capable of receiving within that degree, while these with much affection and desire receive much.” (348)
A sermon on Exodus 20:1-2 by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn.
“And God spake all these words, saying, I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of servants,”
The contents of the twentieth chapter of Exodus, which contains the Ten Commandments, is given in the Arcana Coelestia as follows: “In this chapter the subject treated of in the internal sense is the Divine True things which are to be implanted in the good with those who are of the Lord’s Spiritual Church. The Ten Commandments of the Decalogue denote these trues. The commandments concerning sacrifices, and concerning, the altar, which follow in this chapter denote the external trues which are of worship.” (A.C. 8859).
The eighteenth and nineteenth chapters of Exodus treat of the ordering of the mind by Divine Good, from first to last, and the preparation for the reception of Divine True from the Lord out of heaven in good, with those who are of the spiritual Church. This has been the subject of our doctrinal classes. These Divine True things which are now to be implanted are the Ten Commandments in their internal sense. Until there is good ground in which the Ten Commandments in their internal sense can be implanted, the essence of the Ten Commandments cannot be given to the Spiritual Church. It is evident that the good here spoken of is not the good, of life which is out of living according to the Ten Commandments in their internal sense, for prior to the giving of the Commandments in their internal sense, such good is not possible. What then is the good, in which the internal sense of the Commandments is to be implanted?
This good is expressed in the nineteenth chapter by the words of people: “All that Jehovah hath spoken we will do.” (Ex. 19:8)
The good in this state involves a desire and longing for a new life according to the new trues contained in the Ten Commandments. Such a desire and such a longing can only come from a perception that the life we are now in is not truly life, and that we therefore need the trues of eternal life if we are not to spiritually die. This alone is the good ground which con receive the true things which ore to be revealed. All the preceding chapters of Exodus, all the temptations described are for the sake of preparing this good ground.
As long as the old life rules in man, and as long as the old life is felt by man as real life, and therefore as delightful he does not as yet have in him the good, which can receive the internal sense of the Ten Commandments. It is only after man has been led through temptations even to despair that the old life ceases to have a hold on man and he comes to long for a new life. When this desire or longing has become sufficiently strong The Divine True of the internal sense of the Decalogue can be received in this good…
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