The Third Round: The function of the spirits of Mercury ‘in me’ and of the need to move beyond them into the practice of their knowledge (9 mins)

They love real things

Arcana Coelestia 6809… I wondered at this character of the spirits of Mercury, and I therefore asked why they passed by the magnificent features of the places, and only searched out the facts and doings there? They said they have no delight in looking at material, bodily, and earthly things, but only at real ones. From this it at once appeared that the spirits of that earth relate in the Grand Man to the memory of real things when abstracted from things material and earthly.

The husk or sheath

AC 6816. The spirits of Mercury are quite different from the spirits of our earth, for the spirits of our earth care not so much for real things as for material, worldly, bodily, and earthly things. Therefore the spirits of Mercury cannot be together with the spirits of our earth, and so whenever they meet them they flee away; for the spiritual spheres which exhale from the two are almost opposite. The spirits of Mercury have a saying, that they love what is drawn out from things material, and that they do not desire to look at the sheath, but at things stripped of their sheath, thus at interior things.

What are real things?

AC 1025. The material, worldly, and bodily ideas man has when reading the Word become with angels spiritual and celestial ideas. While man is reading about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for example, the angels do not have Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob in mind at all but those real things which are represented and so meant by them.

AC 3485. The representations that come forth in the other life are appearances, but living ones, because they are from the light of life. The light of life is the Divine wisdom, which is from the Lord alone. Hence all things that come forth from this light are real; and are not like those things that come forth from the light of the world. Wherefore they who are in the other life have sometimes said that the things they see there are real things, and the things which man sees are in comparison not real; because the former things live, and thus immediately affect their life, while the latter things do not live, thus do not immediately affect the life, except insofar and in such a manner as the things in their minds which are of this world’s light conjoin themselves fitly and correspondently with the things of the light of heaven.

AC 5075. That nothing in the universe is anything, that is, a real thing, unless it is from Divine good by Divine truth, that is, by the “Word,” is plain in John: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1, 3).

Tendency to love their own intelligence and not apply their knowledge

AC 6813…By reason of their knowledges the spirits of Mercury are more conceited than others, and they were therefore told that although they know innumerable things, still there are infinite things which they do not know; and that if their knowledges should increase to eternity, they would not attain even to a knowledge of generals. They were told also of their conceit and elation of mind, and how unbecoming this is; but they answered that it is not conceit, but only a glorying in their faculty of memory. In this way they can excuse their faults.

AC 6815. I was allowed to insinuate the question whether they did not desire to perform some use by virtue of their knowledges; because it is not sufficient to be delighted with knowledges, seeing that knowledges look to uses, and uses must be the ends. From knowledges alone, I told them, there is no use to them, but only to others to whom they may desire to communicate their knowledges; and it is by no means proper for a man who desires to be wise, to halt in knowledges alone, because these are only instrumental causes, intended to serve in the search for uses, which must be of the life. But they answered that they are delighted with knowledges, and that to them knowledges are uses.

Swedenborg’s own experience

Earths in the Universe 27. The spirits of Mercury, who were with me whilst I was writing and explaining the Word as to its internal sense, and who perceived what I wrote: said that the things which I wrote were in a manner gross, and that almost all the expressions appeared as material; but it was given to reply, that to the men of our earth what was written seemed subtle and elevated, and many things incomprehensible. I added, that many on this earth do not know that it is the internal man which acts into the external, and causes the external to live; and that they persuade themselves from the fallacies of the senses that the body has life, and that in consequence thereof, such as are evil and unbelieving entertain doubt respecting the life after death; also, that the part of man which is to live after death is not by them called spirit, but soul; and that they dispute what soul is, and where is its abode, and believe that the material body, although dispersed to all the winds, is to be joined again to it, in order that man may live as man; with many other things of a like nature. The spirits of Mercury, on hearing these things, asked, whether such men could become angels; and it was given to answer, that those become angels who have lived in the good of faith and charity, and that then they are no longer in external and material things, but in internal and spiritual; and then they come into that state, that they are in a light superior to that in which the spirits from mercury are. That they might know that it was so, an angel was allowed to discourse with them, who had come into heaven from our earth, who had been such when he lived in the world, concerning whom more will be said presently.

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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