True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 387

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387. The third experience.

When the two angels were out of sight, I saw a garden on the right containing olives, figs laurels and palm-trees, planted in order in accordance with their correspondences. As I looked in that direction I saw angels and spirits walking among the trees in conversation. One of the angelic spirits then looked back and saw me. (Angelic spirits is what those in the world of spirits are called who are being prepared for heaven.) He came out of the garden to me and said: 'Would you like to come with me into our park? You will hear and see wonders.'

So I went with him, and then he said to me: 'These whom you see' (for there were many of them) 'are all in possession of the love of truth, and thus in the light of wisdom. There is also here a palace, which we call the Temple of Wisdom; but no one can see it who thinks himself very wise, much less one who thinks he is wise enough, even less one who thinks he is wise on his own account. The reason is that these people do not have a love of genuine wisdom to enable them to receive the light of heaven. Genuine wisdom is when a person sees by the light of heaven that what his knowledge, intelligence and wisdom embrace compared with what they do not are as a drop of water is to the ocean, consequently virtually nothing. Everyone in this parkland garden, who by perception and sight acknowledges within himself that his wisdom is comparatively so small, can see the Temple of Wisdom. For it is the internal light in a person's mind, not the external light without the internal, which allows him to see it.'

[2] Now because I had often thought this, and knowledge, then perception and finally internal light led me to acknowledge that man's wisdom is so scanty, I was suddenly allowed to see the temple. Its form was remarkable. It stood up high above the ground, four-square, with walls of crystal, a roof of translucent jasper elegantly arched, the substructure of various precious stones. There were steps leading up to it of polished alabaster, and at the sides of the steps figures of lions with cubs. Then I asked whether I might go inside, and I was told I might. So I went up, and when I got inside I saw what looked like cherubs flying beneath the roof, but they quickly vanished. The floor on which I was walking was made of cedar planks, and the whole temple with its translucent roof and walls was built as a form for light to play upon.

[3] The angelic spirit came in with me, and I repeated to him what I had heard from the two angels about love and wisdom, and about charity and faith. Then he said: 'Did they not also talk about the third?' 'What third?' I said.

'It is the good of use,' he replied. 'Love and wisdom without the good of use are nothing; they are mere mental abstractions, which are only realised, when they are employed in use. Love, wisdom and use make an inseparable group of three. If they are separated, none of them is anything. Love is nothing without wisdom, but in wisdom it is formed to some purpose; and the purpose to which it is formed is use. Therefore when love by means of wisdom is put to use, it actually exists, because it is realised in action. These three are exactly like end, cause and effect; the end is nothing unless by means of the cause it is realised in the effect. Take one of the three away, and the whole falls to pieces and becomes as if it had never been.

[4] 'It is much the same with charity, faith and deeds. Charity without faith is nothing, nor is faith without charity, nor are charity and faith without deeds; but in deeds they are something, and the nature of that something is determined by the use the deeds serve. It is much the same with affection, thought and performance; and it is much the same with will, understanding and action. For will without understanding is like the eye without the power of sight, and either of them without action is like the mind without the body. The truth of this can be clearly seen in this temple, because the light we enjoy here is the light which enlightens the interiors of the mind.

[5] 'Geometry too proves that there is nothing complete and perfect unless it is triple. For a line is nothing unless it becomes an area, nor is an area anything unless it becomes a solid. So one must be multiplied by the other for them to come into existence; and they come into existence jointly in the third. Just as in this case, so it is with every single created thing; they reach their end in the third term. This now is why three in the Word means complete and utterly. In view of this I cannot help being surprised at some people professing belief in faith alone, some in charity alone, and some in deeds alone, when in fact one without the other is nothing, and so are one together with another but without the third.'

[6] But then I put the question: 'Cannot a person have charity and faith and still do no deeds? Could a person not be fond of something and think about it, and yet not do it?' The angelic spirit* replied to me: 'This is impossible, except as a mental abstraction; it cannot actually happen. He will still be striving and wanting to do it; and the will or effort is in itself an act, because it is a continuing impulse to action, and it becomes an act when externalised by being directed towards an object. Therefore effort and will, as an internal act, is accepted by every wise man, because it is accepted by God, exactly as if it were an external act, provided there is no failure to act when the opportunity arises.'

* The Latin has here 'angel', but cf. AR 875.8.

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