The Laws of the Divine Providence
Led by the Word, as if by himself
THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH IS TO BE DRAWN FROM THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD, AND IS TO BE CONFIRMED THEREBY (SS 50).
SS 53. The reason for this is that there and not elsewhere the Lord is present with man, and enlightens him and teaches him the truths of the church. Moreover the Lord never operates anything except in what is full, and the Word is in its fullness in the sense of the letter.
SS 32. The Word—which is in a special sense a Divine work for the salvation of mankind—in respect to its ultimate sense which is natural and is called the sense of the letter is the Basis, the Containant, and the Support of the two interior senses.
SS 34. The human race is the basis, containant, and support of the heavens; and the Word is among men and in them.
SS 39. In the sense of the letter of the Word Divine good and Divine truth are in their fullness, in their holiness, and in their power.
SS 40. The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are in part not naked truths, but appearances of truth, and are as it were likenesses and comparisons taken from things such as exist in nature, and thus accommodated and adapted to the apprehension of the simple and of little children. But being correspondences they are receptacles and abodes of genuine truth; and are like enclosing and containing vessels, as a crystal cup encloses noble wine, and as a silver plate holds palatable food. They are also like garments which clothe, as swaddling clothes do an infant, and a pretty dress a maiden.
SS 41. They who are in Divine truths, and in the faith that the Word within, in its bosom, is Divine holiness—and much more they who are in the faith that it is from its spiritual and celestial senses that the Word is Divine holiness—see Divine truths in natural light while reading the Word in enlightenment from the Lord. For the light of heaven (in which is the spiritual sense of the Word) flows into the natural light in which is its sense of the letter, and illumines man’s intellectual called the rational, and causes him to see and recognize Divine truths, both where they stand in plain view, and where they lie concealed. With some these Divine truths flow in along with the light of heaven; sometimes even when they are not aware of it.
SS 49. The power of Divine truth is directed especially against falsities and evils, thus against the hells. The fight against these must be waged by means of truths from the sense of the letter of the Word. Moreover it is by means of the truths in a man that the Lord has the power to save him; for man is reformed and regenerated and is at the same time taken out of hell and introduced into heaven, by means of truths from the sense of the letter of the Word. This power the Lord took upon Himself, even as to His Divine Human, after He had fulfilled all things of the Word down to its ultimates.
SS 20:3. As Divine things present themselves in the world by correspondences, the Word has been written exclusively by means of them... that which is from the Divine, descending into nature, is turned into such things as correspond to Divine things, and which they then store up and conceal in their bosom.
Questions and Comments
- Three things are necessary in drawing doctrine from the letter of the Word: a knowledge of correspondence, the doctrine of genuine truth, and enlightenment.
- Water corresponds to truth. Try to see different aspects of truth in the water cycle.
- Look for some correspondences in a familiar story such as Psalm 23. Would you understand them if you didn’t also know some genuine truths that applied?
- How does looking for what you should do affect what you see?
- Think of one or two “Aha!” experiences you have had from your reading.
- “The ultimates of the Word are its props and supports, indeed, each word is a prop and support to its celestial and spiritual truths” (SS 35). Do we sometimes “hang on every word” in a conversation? Is it the words or the thought behind them?
- In conversation do the words you use correspond to your thoughts? Affections? Both?
- Give some examples of the power in ultimate actions, such as a hug.
- Do you see the fullness, holiness, and power in a wedding ring as a symbol? What other powerful symbols or correspondences can you think of?