The Laws of the Divine Providence
Led by the Word, as if by himself
The words which I speak to you are spirit, and are life. John 6:63
AC 9025:4. Memory or general truth is truth from the literal sense of the Word. And as this varies, and as it were contradicts itself, according to the appearance, it must sometimes invalidate the spiritual truths which are of the doctrine of the church. These are invalidated when the thought comes into doubt from passages in the Word which are in conflict with each other.
SS 5. The spiritual sense of the Word is not that sense which shines forth from the sense of the letter while one is studying and unfolding the meaning of the Word with intent to confirm some tenet of the church. This is the literal sense of the Word. The spiritual sense does not appear in the sense of the letter, being within it as the soul in the body, as thought in the eyes, and as affection in the face, which act as a one, like cause and effect. It is this sense chiefly which renders the Word spiritual, not for men only, but for angels also; and therefore by means of this sense the Word gives communication with the heavens.
HH 310. If this sense were known to man, and if man in reading the Word were to think in accordance with some knowledge of it, he would come into interior wisdom, and would be still more conjoined with heaven, since by this means he would enter into ideas like the ideas of the angels.
SS 26. No one can see the spiritual sense except from the Lord alone, nor unless from Him he is in genuine truths... To this sense a man can do violence if he has a knowledge of correspondences, and wishes by means of it and from self-intelligence to investigate the spiritual sense of the Word. For through some correspondences with which he is acquainted he may pervert the meaning of it, and may even force it to confirm what is false, and this would do violence to Divine truth, and also to heaven.
AC 1776. It may seem a paradox, but still it is most true, that the angels understand the internal sense of the Word better and more fully when little boys and girls are reading it, than when it is read by adult persons who are not in the faith of charity. The cause has been told me, and is that little boys and girls are in a state of mutual love and innocence, and thus their most tender vessels are almost heavenly, and are simply capacities for receiving, which therefore can be disposed by the Lord; although this does not come to their perception, except by a certain delight suited to their genius.
AC 3690:2. All the histories of the Word are truths more remote from essential Divine doctrinal things, but still are of service to little children and older children, in order that thereby they may be by degrees introduced into the interior doctrinal matters of truth and good; and at last to Divine things themselves; for within them, in their inmost, is the Divine. While children are reading them and are affected by them from innocence, the angels who are with them are in a happy celestial state, being affected from the Lord with the internal sense, consequently with those things which the historical facts represent and signify; and it is the celestial happiness of the angels that flows in and causes the delight with the children.
Questions and Comments
- “It is solely a universal affirmative, with which man is imbued as to truths by the Lord, as that the Word is the Word, that the Lord is the Lord, that Providence is in the most singular things. When one is in this principle, although he is but obscurely aware of its existence, innumerable affirmatives are insinuated by the Lord” (SD 4533). How does this relate to reading the Word?
- Can you give an example of reading the Word to prove something, versus reading to learn how to apply it to life?
- Can you really see the spiritual sense if you aren’t looking to apply what you see?
- “There are many means by which man, as he progresses in his early years, is prepared for the church and introduced into it; but the means whereby the church is established in man are acts of repentance” (TCR 510). How do you encourage your children to read and apply the Word every day?
- “If the Word is read even by a little child, the Divine things therein are perceived by the angels” (AC 2899). What does reading the Word “do” for children? Does it still “do” it for adults?
- How do you inspire and help those who are slow readers? (Adults also can have difficulty with reading.)