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Chapter Fourth

We shall now proceed to examine the next general property of nature, namely, heat. As the sensuous property of light corresponds to the understanding of truth, or its opposite, the sensuous property of heat corresponds to a state of goodness in the will, or its opposite. And first, to begin with the proofs which examples taken from the Holy Scripture afford.

Genesis viii. 22. "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." To determine the meaning of the correspondencies contained in this verse, we should know that Noah represented a new church, which sprung from the ruins of the old. The regeneration of that church was represented by his going forth from the ark. Having left the ark, after the subsidence of the waters, he is then said to have built an altar to Jehovah, and to have offered upon it of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, signifying that the worship of that church consisted in an Offering to the Lord of all pure affections, and all holy thoughts. After this the promise is made that, "while the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter and day and night shall not cease;" which words in their spiritual sense, reveal to man what must be his future progressive steps towards regeneration, and also his condition when regenerated. The earth signifies the natural man, and "so long as it remaineth " signifies while there is a capacity for its spiritual culture, this shall be its progress. First come seed-time before harvest, cold before heat, to mark, in the order of the words, that before he is spiritually born again, and while he is only advancing towards it, he will alternate between the insemination of truth in the intellect, and the increase which springs from the love or reception of it, and between the want of charity in the will, the cold that precedes, and a certain measure of charity, the spiritual heat or warmth that follows. For man commences with the insemination of truth, when the earth or natural mind is prepared to receive it, but the will at this time is cold as to all heavenly love and charity, for he himself is the chief object of his own love, and this is wholly incompatible with the disinterested love of others. But to these states succeed the spiritual harvest and the heat of his spiritual summer, and these interior alternations take place until the man is born again of the Lord. But when he actually is regenerated, then a different order is established, for then the summer precedes the winter, and the day the night. When he is born anew of the Lord, neither his winter nor his night are like the cold and darkness of his former state ; for he is, as to his spirit, in the paradise of an equatorial region, in which love is esteemed before light, and in which, though there must be alternations, for without alternations there could be no improvement, the love of self becomes more and more subdued, and thereby made serviceable to the heavenly love which he feels towards the Lord and his neighbour; while the appearances of truth have less and less hold upon the mind by the fuller reception of the heavenly light which disperses those appearances. In such a state there is a continual approximation to the beauty of a perpetual spring, and twilight takes the place of night. Swedenborg, in his incomparable poem, "The Worship and Love of God," describes the paradise of the earliest times as produced by the comparative nearness of the earth to the sun, and the quickness of its revolutions; " for then," he says, " the four seasons, though distinct, by the rapid influx of one into another, were blended into one season, resembling a perpetual spring;" and he illustrates this by the experiment of a thermometer, made to revolve before a hot fire, in a season of intense cold, at various distances, and with a varied velocity. While it is kept at a moderate distance, and turned round with moderate velocity, the fluid in the tube will neither ascend very high, nor sink very low, but will indicate a medium temperature of the atmosphere; for the heat will not be able to raise it, nor the cold to depress it; the elevation and depression being determined by distance and velocity, or by space and time. In heaven therefore, where, spiritually, their circuit is nearer the Heavenly Sun of Love and Wisdom, they have neither winter nor night, but the agreeable alternations of a sweet autumn succeeding to spring and summer, and a placid twilight to morning and mid-day. These are the outward representative effects of their reception of the Lord's Love and Wisdom, by the victory gained over self-love, and the fallacies and delights of the senses. And should not our endeavours be directed to the same Eternal End ? If we really have a desire to live for ever happy, not a day should be lost in forming a little heaven within ourselves by the love and practice of all that is right and pure and good, denying ourselves every gratification which may tend to wound the peace and happiness of another, and in all things doing unto others as we would they should do unto us.

Genesis xviii. 1. "And the Lord appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre : and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day." Abraham, to whom Jehovah appeared, represents the celestial man; Isaac the spiritually-rational, and Jacob the natural. The confirmation in a celestial state of mind is signified by Abraham's sitting. A tent signifies a holy state of worship, for in the early ages of the world, they celebrated their worship in tents. The ark was therefore placed in a tabernacle or tent. Abraham is said to have seen Jehovah as he was sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day ; for the heat of the day is when the sun's rays are most powerful, and the sensations of heat and light are the strongest; and this, in the case of Abraham, represents the marriage union of goodness and truth in the celestial man. In this state of mind the Lord appears. But he appears as three men, and these three men are, by those who take the literal account as the foundation of their doctrines, supposed to have been the personal Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who are still addressed, on account of their mysterious union, in the singular number, as Jehovah; but in the spiritual sense all distinction of Person vanishes, and we have instead the fulness of the Lord's manifestation according to the state which Abraham represented.

We find, then, by the examination of various passages, that this, as well as every other natural property, or object of the senses, has a twofold meaning. It has a heavenly signification when it corresponds to heavenly love or charity, but it has an opposite signification when it represents the love of the natural man, which is a corruption of the Divine Love in him, that love being concentred in himself, instead of flowing forth and manifesting itself in the love of others. Heat then, or warmth, represents the condition of the will, as light docs that of the intellect; or, tracing these effects to their spiritual causes, light, which, in its various modifications and refractions, constitutes our objects of sight, represents the state of the natural intellect, in its connection with the heavenly light of the Divine Wisdom, or in its separation from it; and heat, or warmth, which, in its various modifications, communicates those properties which belong to the sense of touch, represents the state of the natural will in its connexion with the Divine Life, the life of love and charity, or in its separation from it by the lusts of evil.

To see clearly the connexion between natural effects and spiritual causes, it will be necessary at first to take our example from those early records which are to be found in the Holy Scripture. There is no real difference, indeed, between the facts that daily occur to us, and those that happened ages ago to the Jews in Palestine; for nature is as much a representative theatre of effects now, as it was then. There has been no alteration of the mode in which nature is produced, but at this day, just as much as ever, " the natural world becomes extant and perpetually exists, that is, subsists, through the spiritual world "not of space, but of state"from the Divine Essence" (Arcana Coelestia, n. 10196). It is not therefore actually necessary for us to go back to distant ages, but we might, supposing that we were sufficiently enlightened, take any recent events, as the wars which have been waged between nations in our own times, and trace their signification; for we know that "all wars, although they are themselves of a civil nature, are in heaven the representatives of. the states of the church, and correspond to them. Such were the wars, described in the Word, which the children of Israel waged with various nations, and such too are all wars at the present day " (The Divine Providence, n. 251). But though nature, and the events in nature, are as much created through man now, as when the Israelites went out of Egypt, or received the two tables of the covenant by the hand of Moses, or entered the promised land, it is much easier to see the signification of facts long past, than those with which we are ourselves intimately connected, and, as it were, closely surrounded. It would appear as if the objects required intellectually to be removed to some little distance from ourselves, before we can readily understand their true bearings and proportions.

Taking then, as an example of the signification of heat, or warmth, the miracle performed by Elisha on the Shunammite's son, we find in the fourth chapter of the Second Book of Kings, that, when the prophet raised the Shunammite's son to life, "he went up, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed to the Lord. And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands, and he stretched himself upon the child, and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro, and went up and stretched himself upon him, and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes."

Before we shall be able to comprehend the spiritual meaning of this miracle, it will be necessary for us to go over briefly a few of the circumstances which preceded the actual restoration of the child to life. The Shunammite woman and her husband represent the will and the intellect of the natural man, and the circumstances which occurred to them in their intercourse with Elisha previous to the birth of their son, represent the changes which the natural mind undergoes preparatory to the formation of the spiritual man by the birth of interior truth. The frequent journeys of Elisha past their door, represent the revelation of the Divine Truth in different, but progressive states of life, before it is received and makes its abode in the natural mind. Elisha is called by the Shunammite "a holy man of God," and the name God, which in the original language is a word expressive of power, signifies the Divine Truth, and "a holy man of God," that condition of the mind which is receptive of the Divine Truth, and therefore fitted to display its power in the ultimate or representative form. . On this account Elisha preeminently signifies the Divine Truth.

Several circumstances are related of the kindness of the Shunammite to the prophet, which represent the gradual increase of affection for the Divine Truth. At length she says to her husband, " Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God," which signifies that the natural mind was beginning to acknowledge the Divine origin of that Truth, which was about to be received both by the intellect and the will. The Shunammite then proposes to her husband that they should build a little chamber for him on the wall, and to this he assents; and the proposal and assent represent the first spiritual marriage union of the will and the intellect, by their concurrent reception of the Divine Truth. But as vet it is only an external reception, for the chamber was constructed on the wall of their house, and it is not a full reception, for it is called a little chamber.

The consequence of this kindness shown to Elisha is the birth of a son, signifying the production from such a marriage of the will and intellect, of interior or spiritual truth. But in the course of time, "when the child is grown," he goes out to his father into a field where they are reaping, and while there he is struck by the heat of the sun, and, being carried home, dies on his mother's knees. Without stopping to investigate the interior meaning of the many circumstances which happened before the child was restored to life, all of which, when spiritually interpreted, are of exceeding beauty and interest, it may be sufficient to mention here that the child's death, evidently supposed to be by a stroke of the sun, while he was in the field along with his father, represents the perception communicated to the natural mind, of the death of spiritual truth, and of the cause of its extinction. Spiritual truth becomes extinct when it is applied merely to the formation of a doctrine, and not to the purposes of life; or when it serves the intellect of the natural man, instead of elevating and purifying the affections; or when it spiritually goes. forth to the father in the field, instead of remaining with its mother at home.

On the arrival of Elisha, with his servant Gehazi and the Shunammite, it is said that the dead child was laid upon Elisha's bed, and his bed signifies that state of the natural mind which is receptive of the Divine Truth, and which by its communication -with the Essential Life, becomes the means of communicating the life of heavenly love to interior truth. The manner, in which this spiritual resurrection is effected, is then described. He first prays to Jehovah, or the Lord, which signifies the uniting of the Divine Truth, represented by Elisha, with the Divine Goodness signified by Jehovah. He then lies upon the child, representing the influx, from the Divine Love, into that Truth which was about spiritually to live. He puts his mouth upon the child's mouth, his eyes upon the child's eyes, and his hands upon the child's hands, and stretches himself upon him; which, spiritually interpreted, represent the influx, by means of the Divine Truth, of that love .which, by reception, communicates life to the spiritual man; for the child, when it is restored to life by Elisha, represents the goodness as well as the truth, the charity as well as the faith of the spiritual mind or man. When he had done this, the flesh of the child waxed warm ; and here the warmth, or heat, has an opposite signification to that solar heat, which, as it was destructive to spiritual truth, signified the fire of self- love, with the lusts of evil; this warmth, imparted by Elisha, represented the influx and the reception of the Lord's Life, the Life of Love and Charity. But not as yet is the child restored to consciousness. To be spiritually conscious of that Infinite Mercy, which by regeneration raises us to life, it must be seen and manifested to the intellect. To effect this, Elisha must representatively return, and walk in the house to and fro, and again ascend and stretch himself upon the child ; for the walking of the prophet in the house of the Shunammite and her husband, represents a further change in the life of the natural man, produced by the Presence of the Divine Truth ; and his re-ascent to the chamber a further elevation of the mind by the union of the intellect with the will, and by the consequent manifestation to the former of the interior changes which had been produced in the latter by its reception of Heavenly Love.

But as the natural consciousness is restored when Elisha the second time stretches himself upon him, therefore the lungs resume their functions, for the child sneezes seven times, and sneezing is a violent action of the muscles of the thorax, which, in this instance, appears to have expelled the unwholesome air with which the cells were loaded, and to have admitted a fresh supply for the purifying of the blood, and for the restoration and continuance of pulmonic action. These natural phenomena were effects corresponding to the awakened consciousness of the intellect. But the child sneezes seven times, which signifies a holy state of the intellect, or the completion of its heavenly union with the regenerated will; and last of all, the child opens its eyes, and the opening of the eyes signifies the opening of the spiritual sight to a perception of Divine Truth itself, which imparts to him, who is born again, the life and happiness of heaven.

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