The Seed Growing Secretly
And He said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed upon the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should sprout and rise up, while he is unaware. For on its own the earth bears fruit, first a blade, then an ear, then full wheat in the ear. But when the fruit is ripe5, straightway he sends in the sickle, because the harvest stands ready.
AE 1006. When a man is in life from the Lord he is in wakefulness; but when he is in life from himself he is asleep; or what is the same, when a man is in spiritual life he is in wakefulness, but when he is in natural life separated from the spiritual he is asleep....
AE 917. “The kingdom of God” means the church of the Lord in the heavens and on the earth. And the implantation of it with all who receive truths and goods from the Lord, not from self, is described by these words, every particular of which corresponds to spiritual things and signifies them.... For “seed” signifies the Divine truth, “to cast seed into the earth” signifies the work of man, “to rise day and night” and finally “to put in the sickle” signifies in every state. The rest signifies the Lord’s work; and the “harvest” the implantation of the church in particular and in general.
For it is to be known, that, although the Lord works all things, and man nothing from self, yet He wills that man should work as if from self in all that comes to his perception. For without man’s cooperation as if from self, there can be no reception of truth and good, thus no implantation and regeneration. For to will is the Lord’s gift to man; and because the appearance to man is that this is from self, He gives him to will as if from self.
AC 5212:4. The “blade” is the first memory-knowledge; the “ear” is the memory-knowledge of truth thence derived; the “wheat” is the derivative good.
AE 1153:9. How all these things flow in and flow through, man knows nothing; and yet he lives, if only he knows what he needs to do and does it.... Moreover, of what consequence is it for a man to know how seed grows up, provided he knows how to plow and harrow the land, to sow the seed, and when he reaps his harvest to bless God?
AC 9587. Through freedom, He bends [man] away from evil; and, through freedom, He bends him to good, leading him so gently and silently that the man knows no otherwise than that everything proceeds from himself.
AE 864. And yet man ought to believe, as the matter really is in itself, that he does these things not from himself but from the Lord; and this is why it is said that he must act not of himself but as if of himself.
The nature of the Lord’s parables
AC 4637. It is very evident that each and all things the Lord spoke in parables are representative and significative of the spiritual and celestial things of His kingdom, and in the highest sense, of the Divine things with Him. And therefore the man who does not know this must suppose that the Lord’s parables have no more in them than ordinary comparisons....
The things which the Lord spoke in these parables appear in the outward form like ordinary comparisons; but in their inward form they are of such a nature as to fill the universal heaven. For there is an internal sense in every particular, which is of such a nature that its spiritual and celestial [i.e., its truth and good] diffuses itself through the heavens in every direction like light and flame. This sense is quite uplifted above the sense of the letter, and flows from the several expressions, and from the several words, even from every jot.
Parables are accommodations to the people hearing them.
SD 3356–3357. That the thoughts and speech of angels, also of angelic spirits, fall into parables. It was further shown, that [their ideas] fall into representations of paradises, vineyards [and] feasts, entirely in accordance with the genius of the people; for it is otherwise with one than with another. Therefore the Lord spoke nearly everything by parables, to [suit] the nature of those who are in the world. He likened heaven to feasts, because they placed heavenly joy in feasts; [it would have been] otherwise for others.
5 Literally, “delivered up”
Questions and Comments
- What’s another example, like the seed growing secretly, where the Lord does amazing things that we only see in retrospect?
- AE 1006: What’s an example of being in natural life separated from the spiritual, when we’re asleep to what is real?
- AE 917: Why is the ability to will as if from self “the Lord’s gift to man”?
- AE 1153:9. Why is it essential for us to bless God for all the good things in our lives?
- AC 4637: What is different about the Lord’s parables as compared with allegories, similes and comparisons in great literature?