The Third Round: The difference between the Word is the Lord versus the Word is from the Lord

Arcana Coelestia 981.. that celestial men do not speak of grace, but of mercy, while spiritual men do not speak of mercy, but of grace. This mode of speaking is grounded in the circumstance that those who are celestial acknowledge the human race to be nothing but filthiness, and as being in itself excrementitious and infernal; wherefore they implore the mercy of the Lord, for mercy is predicated of such a condition. Those, however, who are spiritual, although they know the human race to be of such a nature, yet they do not acknowledge it, because they remain in their Own, which they love, and therefore they speak with difficulty of mercy, but easily of grace. This difference in language results from the difference in the humiliation. In proportion as anyone loves himself, and thinks that he can do good of himself, and thus merit salvation, the less capable is he of imploring the Lord’s mercy. The reason why some can implore grace is that it has become a customary form of speaking, in which there is but little of the Lord and much of self, as anyone may discover in himself while he names the grace of the Lord.

2715. There are two arcana here, one, that the good of the spiritual man is comparatively obscure; and the other, that this obscurity is illuminated by the Lord’s Divine Human. As regards the first, that good with the spiritual man is comparatively obscure, this is evident from what was said above concerning the state of the spiritual man in comparison with the state of the celestial man (n. 2708); for by comparing these states the fact becomes manifest. With the celestial, good itself is implanted in their will part, and light comes therefrom into their intellectual part; but with the spiritual all the will part has been destroyed, so that they have nothing of good from it; and therefore good is implanted by the Lord in their intellectual part (see n. 86387589592792810231043104421242256). The will part is what chiefly lives in man, while the intellectual lives from it. As therefore the will part has been so destroyed with the spiritual man as to be nothing but evil, and yet evil flows in from it perpetually and continually into his intellectual part, that is, into his thought, it is evident that the good there is comparatively obscured.

[2] Hence it is that the spiritual have not love to the Lord, as have the celestial, and consequently they have not the humiliation which is essential in all worship, and by means of which good can flow in from the Lord; for an elated heart does not receive at all, but a humble heart. Neither have the spiritual love toward the neighbor, as the celestial have for the love of self and the world continually flows in from their will part, and obscures the good of that love; as must also be evident to everyone if he reflects, by considering that when he does good to anyone it is for the sake of an end in the world; and that therefore, although he is not doing so consciously, still he is thinking of a recompense, either from those to whom he does good, or from the Lord in the other life; thus that his good is defiled by the idea of merit, as also by considering that when he has done any good, if he can make it known and thus set himself above others, he is in the delight of his life. But the celestial love the neighbor more than themselves; nor do they think at all of recompense, nor in any manner set themselves up above others.

[3] Moreover, the good that is with the spiritual has been obscured by persuasions from various principles arising also from the love of self and of the world. The quality of their persuasion even of faith may be seen above (n. 26822689 the end); this likewise is from the influx of evil from their will part.

[4] Moreover that the good with the spiritual man is obscure in comparison, is evident from the fact that he does not know what is true from any perception, as the celestial do, but from instruction from parents and masters, and also from the doctrine into which he was born; and when he superadds anything from himself and from his thought, then for the most part the sensuous and its fallacies, and the rational and its appearances, prevail, and cause him to be scarcely able to acknowledge any pure truth, such as the celestial acknowledge. Nevertheless in those seeming truths the Lord implants good, even if the truths are fallacious, or appearances of truth; but the good becomes obscure from them, being qualified by the truths with which it is conjoined. The case with this is as with the light of the sun flowing into objects. The quality of the objects which receive it causes the light to appear there under the aspect of color, beautiful if the quality of the form and of the reception is becoming and correspondent, but unbeautiful if the quality of the form and of the reception is not becoming, and thus not correspondent. In this manner the good itself is qualified according to the truth.

[5] The same is also manifest from the fact that the spiritual man does not know what evil is. He scarcely believes any other things to be evil than those which are contrary to the precepts of the Decalogue, and is not aware of the evils of affection and thought, which are innumerable; nor does he reflect upon them, nor call them evils. All delights whatever of cupidities and pleasures he regards no otherwise than as good; and the very delights of the love of self he both seeks after, and approves, and excuses, being ignorant that such things affect his spirit, and that he becomes altogether such in the other life.

[6] From this it is in like manner evident that though scarcely anything else is treated of in the whole Word than the good of love to the Lord and of love toward the neighbor, still the spiritual man does not know that good is the essential of faith, nor even what love and charity are in their essence; and that as to what he has learned of faith, which he makes essential, he nevertheless discusses whether it be so, unless he has been confirmed by much experience of life. This the celestial never do, for they know and perceive that it is so. Hence it is said by the Lord in Matthew:

Let your speech be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; what is more than these is of evil (Matthew 5:37).

For the celestial are in the truth itself respecting which the spiritual dispute whether it be so; hence, as the celestial are in the truth itself, they can see from it endless things which belong to that truth, and thus from light see as it were the whole heaven. But as the spiritual dispute whether it be so, they cannot, so long as they do this, come to the first boundary of the light of the celestial, still less look at anything from their light.

Third Round posts are short audio clips taken from Round 3 comments offered in the online Logopraxis Life Group meetings. The aim is to keep the focus on understanding the Text in terms of its application to the inner life along with reinforcing any key LP principles that have been highlighted in the exchanges.


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Liz Coggins
Liz Coggins
1 year ago

Thank you David