Apocalypse Explained (Whitehead) n. 970

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970. And they became blood, signifies that it was destroyed by falsifications. This is evident from the signification of "blood," as being truth falsified (see above, n. 966); therefore that "the rivers and fountains became blood" signifies that the faculty of understanding the truths of the Word was destroyed by falsifications. Every man has the faculty of understanding truths, for it is this faculty by which man is distinguished from beasts; and this remains with every man, even with the evil, since it is the spiritual part of man and the most essential means of his regeneration. For man is regenerated by the Lord by means of truths, and if he were not able to understand truths he could not receive them and thus be reformed; for to receive what he is not able to understand does not profit. That this is so has been proved by experience in the spiritual world. There was a discussion among the spirits whether everyone has the faculty of understanding truths; and an infernal spirit was taken as a witness whether he could understand the truths of heaven, and it was found that he understood them when he heard them just as well as a good spirit, and yet that he was not willing to understand them, for he turned away from them because they were opposed to the evils and the falsities therefrom that were delightful to him. And it was said that man through that faculty has conjunction with the Lord, since that faculty is proper to man. That faculty is said to have been destroyed by falsifications, because those who have falsified the Word are not willing to understand truths themselves; and those who are not willing are as it were not able, although they would be able if they were willing. For the mind of such rejects truths, and like one deaf does not hear them so long as it clings to things opposite. But when these opposite things are removed it is as if the ears of the deaf were opened. All this has been said to make known what is meant by the destruction of the faculty of understanding the truths of the Word by falsifications.

(Continuation respecting the Fifth Commandment)

[2] It has been said above that communication with heaven is not given before the evils and the falsities therefrom with which the natural mind is stopped up have been removed; for these are like black clouds between the sun and the eye, or like a wall between the light of heaven and the dim light of a candle in a chamber. For so long as a man is in the dim light of the natural man only he is like one shut up in a chamber where he sees by a candle. But as soon as the natural man has been purified from evils and falsities therefrom he is as if he saw through windows in the wall the things of heaven from the light of heaven. For as soon as evils have been removed, the higher mind, which is called the spiritual mind, is opened, and this, viewed in itself, is a type or image of heaven. Through this mind the Lord flows in and enables man to see from the light of heaven, and through this He also reforms and at length regenerates the natural man, and implants in it truths in the place of falsities and goods in the place of evils. This the Lord does through spiritual love, which is the love of truth and good. Man is then placed in the midst between two loves, between the love of evil and the love of good; and when the love of evil recedes the love of good takes its place. It is solely through the life according to the commandments of the Decalogue, that is, through refraining from the evils there enumerated because they are sins, and finally shunning them as infernal, that the love of evil recedes. [3] In a word, so long as man does not refrain from evils because they are sins the spiritual mind is shut; but as soon as he refrains from evils because they are sins the spiritual mind is opened, and with that mind heaven also. And when heaven is opened man comes into another light as to all things of the church, heaven, and eternal life; although so long as man lives in this world the difference between this and the former light is scarcely noticeable, and for the reason that in the world man thinks naturally even about spiritual things, and until he passes from the natural into the spiritual world spiritual things are enclosed in natural ideas; but in the spiritual world spiritual things are disclosed, perceived, and made evident.

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