Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

j minister subordinately to the understanding, and these are ^ !the various natural objects called physical; and that there are sensual things which minister subordinately to the will,

jand these are the delights of the senses and of the body:
16. That man maketh but small advances in wisdom, unless
his thinking faculty be elevated above things sensual: that
a wise man's thoughts are thus elevated, and that when this
is the case, he cometli into a clearer light (lumen) and at
length into the light (lux) of heaven, whence he attaineth a
perception of truth, in which intelligence, properly speak-
ing, consists: 17. That this elevation of the mind above
things sensual, and its abstraction from them, was known
to the ancients: 18. That where sensual things are in the
last place, a way is opened by their means for the under-
standing, and truths are eliminated in the way of extrac-
tion; but where sensual things are put in the first place,
that way is closed by them, and man seeth truths only as
objects in a mist, or in the night: 19. That sensual things,
with a wise man, are in the last place, and are subject to
the interiors; but that with a foolish man they are in the
first place, and bear rule: these are they who are properly
called sensual men: 20. That man hath sensual things in
common with the beasts, and sensual things that the beasts
have not : that in proportion as the thinking faculty in man
is elevated above sensual things, so far he is a man; but that
no one is capable of such elevation of the thought above
sensual things, and of Seeing the truths of the church, un-
less he acknowledge a God, and live according to His com-
mandments; for it is God that elevateth and enlighteneth.
II. That Those Three Loves, When They Are In

RIGHT SUBORDINATION, MAKE MAN PERFECT; BUT
WHEN THEY ARE NOT IN RIGHT SUBORDINATION,
THEY PERVERT AND INVERT HIM.

403. Previous to the demonstration of this, it will be expedient to make a few observations on the subordination of these three universal loves, the love of heaven, the love of the world, and the love of self; afterwards on the influx and insertion of one into the other; and lastly, on the state of man according to their subordination. These three loves are, with respect to each other, like the three regions of the body, the highest of which is the head ; the middle, the breast with the belly ; and the third is formed of the knees, the feet, and the soles of the feet. When the love of heaven formeth the head, and the love of the world the breast with the belly, and the love of 9elf the feet with the soles of the feet, man is in a perfect state according to creation; for then the two inferior loves are subservient to the supreme love, just as the body and all its parts are subservient to the head. When, therefore, the love of heaven formeth the head, it descendeth by influx into the love of the world, which consisteth principally in the love of wealth, and by its instrumentality it performeth uses; then by the mediation of this love it descendeth into the love of self, which consisteth principally in the love of dignities, and by these also it performeth uses: thus these three loves, by the influx of one into the other, conspire towards the promotion of uses. Who cannot comprehend, that when man, from a principle of spiritual love, (which is derived from the Lord, and is meant by the love of heaven,) desireth to perform uses, the natural man produceth them by the wealth and other goods of fortune which it possesseth, and the sensual man also lendeth assistance, in its office or employment, and findeth its honour in such production? Who cannot comprehend too, that all the works which a man effecteth by his body, are done according to the state of his mind in the head, and that if the mind be influenced by the love of uses, the body by its members effecteth or produceth them? and the reason of this is, because the will and understanding, taken together, is, with respect to its principles, in the head, and with respect to its principiates or derivatives, in the body, just as a man's will is in his deeds, and his thought in his speech; and, to use comparisons, as the prolific principle of the seed is in all. and every part of a tree, by which it produceth fruits, which are its uses; or as fire and light, when contained in a crystal vessel, transmit their heat and lucidity through it. Where those three loves also are in just and right subordination, spiritual sight in the mind, united with natural sight in the body, by virtue of the influx of light which descendeth through heaven from the Lord, may be compared to an apple growing in Africa, that is transparent even to its center, where its seeds are stored. Something similar is meant by these words of the Lord: "The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, (that, is, good,) thy whole body shall be full of light" Matt. vi. 22, Luke xi. 34. No man of sound reason can condemn riches, or wealth, because they, in the body politic, are like blood in the animal body: nor can he condemn the honours annexed to particular stations and functions, because they are the hands of royalty, and the pillars of society; provided only that the natural and sensual loves of those who enjoy them are in subordination to spiritual love. There are offices of administrations even in heaven, and dignities annexed to them; but then the persons who fill them, are such as find their chief delight in the performance of uses, because they are spiritual men.

404. Man however acquireth a totally different state and condition, if the love of the world, or of riches, form the head, that is, if it be the governing love; for then the love of heaven is banished from the head, and taketh up its abode in the body. The man with whom this is the case placeth the world before heaven; he worships God, indeed, but then merely from a principle of natural love, which placeth merit in all its worship; and he doeth good to his neighbour, but then it is with a view to receive recompence: to such persons the things of heaven are like varments, which make them appear bright and shining in the sight of men, but dark and obscure in the sight of angels; for when the love of the world possesses the internal man, and the love of heaven the external, then the former love darkeneth all things relating to the church, and hideth them as under a veil. There is nevertheless a great variety in this love: it is more pernicious in proportion as it inclines to avarice, when immersed in which the love of heaven becomes black; the like consequence attendeth it when it inclines to pride or self-conceit, and an assumption of pre-eminence over others: but it is not so pernicious where it inclines to prodigality; and less so still, where the end it regards is worldly splendour, as palaces, stately furniture, rich clothes, numerous attendants, brilliant equipage, and other objects of a similar nature: for the quality of every love is determined by the end which it principally regards. This love may be likened to crystal of a blackish hue, which suffocates the light, and variegates it only into dark and faint colours. It is also like a mist and a cloud, which intercepts the rays of the sun; or like new wine before it hath undergone fermentation, which is pleasant to the taste, but prejudicial to the stomach. A person under the influence of this love, appears, when viewed from heaven, like a man that is hunchbacked, walking with his head inclined and looking on the ground, and who, if he lifts his head towards heaven, does it by a violent retorsion of the muscles, and presently after relapses into his former inclined attitude. Such persons were in the ancient church called Mammons, and by the Greeks Plutos.

405. But if the love of self, or the love of dominion, j formeth the head, then the love of heaven passeth through the body to the feet, and in proportion as the love of self increases, the love of heaven descendeth through the ankles to the soles of the feet; and if the love of self increaseth yet further, it then passeth through the shoes, and is trod

den under foot. There is a love of dominion grounded in the love of our neighbour, and there is a love of dominion grounded in the love of self; they, who are under the influence of the former love, seek dominion for the purpose of promoting public and private uses; to these, therefore, authority is also entrusted in the heavens. Emperors, kings, dukes, and all such as are born and educated to the exercise of dominion, in case they humble themselves before God, are sometimes less influenced by the love of dominion \ grounded in the love of self, than others who are of mean extraction, and who seek pre-eminence and distinction above others from a principle of pride or self-conceit. But with those who are in the love of dominion grounded in the love of self, the love of heaven is made into a kind of foot-stool, on which they rest their feet at such times as they appear before the vulgar, but which, when they are retired from common observation, they throw into a corner, or cast out of their doors; the reason is, because they love themselves alone, and consequently immerse their wills and thoughts in their proprium or selfhood, which, considered, in itself, is hereditary evil, and this is diametrically opposed to the love of heaven. The evils which attend those who are in the love of dominion grounded in the love of self, are in general these: contempt of others, envy, enmity against those who do not shew them favour and respect, hostility on that account, hatred, revenge, unmercifulness, rage, and cruelty: and where such evils abound, there also is contempt of God and of divine things, which are the truths and goods of the church; which if such persons seem to honour, it is only with their lips, to secure themselves from ecclesiastical censure and public defamation. But this love operates differently with the clergy and with the laity; with the clergy it climbeth up, when indulged without restraint, until it possesseth them with the lust of becoming gods; but the laity it possesseth with the lust of becoming kings: in

« AnteriorContinuar »