Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

How to read the Word to understand it

“He who believes that the Word is Divine and spiritual everywhere, ought by all means, to believe that there lies hidden in the single things there an arcanum of heaven; but that hitherto it has not been known where this arcanum lies hid, is because it has not been known that the internal sense which is spiritual and Divine is in the single things there, and that there are angel9 with each man who perceive his thoughts and who grasp the Word spiritually when it is read by man; and that through them from the Lord the holy then inflows and thus that through them there is conjunction of Heaven with man, and thence the conjunction of the Lord through Heaven with man. For this cause such a Word has been to man, through which it can thus be provided for his salvation by the Lord; and not otherwise.” (Arcana Coelestia 10137.)

“By revelation is meant illustration when the Word is read, and perception then; for they who are in good and desire the true, they are so taught out of the Word. But they who are not in good cannot be taught out of the Word, but can only be confirmed in such things in which they have been instructed from infancy, whether these are true or false. The cause that there is revela¬tion to those who are in good, and no revelation to those in evil, is that all and single things in the Word in the internal sense treat of the Lord and His Kingdom, and the angels who are with man perceive the Word according to the in¬ternal sense. This is communicated to the man who is in good and who reads the Word and desires the True out of affection. Thence he has illustration and perception; for with those who are in good and thence in the affection of the true, the intellectual of the mind has been opened to heaven, and their soul, that is, their internal man, is in consort with angels.” (Arcana Coelestia 8694.)

“The Word in the letter is like a casket, in which in order lie precious stones, pearls and diamonds. The man who holds the Word holy and reads it for the sake of uses of life, the thoughts of his mind are comparatively as one who holds such a casket in his hand and sends it toward Heaven; and this, in its ascent is opened, and the precious things therein come to the angels who are deeply delighted out of the sight and exploration of them. Their delight is communicated with man, and makes consociation, and also communication of perceptions. For the sake of this consociation with the angels and at the same time conjunction with the Lord, the Holy Supper has been instituted, in which the Bread in Heaven is the Divine Good, and the Wine the Divine True, both from the Lord. Such correspondence is out of Creation to the end that the Angelic Heaven might make one with the Church in the lands, and in general the Spiritual World with the natural world, and the Lord conjoin Himself with each at the same time.” ‘(True Christian Religion 238. See also A.E. 1067:3)

In any real reading of the Word there is a circle of life in which the Lord’s life is given to man. In a mind which is not closed to Heaven, the sense of the letter is taken up from the Word, and then it ascends into Heaven, being seen as to its celestial and spiritual things by the angels who are with the” man who is reading. Their delights and their perceptions are then communicated to the man, according to the state of the affection with which he reads. This is the circle by which the Lord’s life is given through Heaven to the man of the Church. In this circle is the real function of the Word of the Lord in providing the salvation of man, the salvation of the Church, and the salvation of the human race. Outside of this circle all reading of the Word is of no use, and indeed is an abuse of the Word. This circle of life through the reading of the Word can be with a man whether he knows of it or not, whether he is in any way conscious of it or not, provided his mind is in any way open to Heaven. But for those of this Church this order, this circle, should be acknowledged, because in the acknowledgment of it there is protection against many evil and false things.

The Word is Divine, celestial and spiritual. And in acknowledging the circle of life within it, we can acknowledge chat the celestial and spiritual, the Heaven within the Word, is its real life, and that if man does not in some way receive of that Heaven in the Word, he not only receives nothing good and true from it, but is in some way abusing it.

Read the full doctrinal class on the reading of the Word by Rev. P.N.Odhner

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