A Sermon by Rev. Kurt Horigan AsplundhPreached in Bryn Athyn February 20, 1994


“There was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord, because Jezebel his wife stirred him up” (I Kings 21:25).

Ahab was the worst of all the evil kings of Israel, but his wife Jezebel was the driving force behind his murders. Her name is synonymous with shameless depravity. A “Jezebel” is a willful and wicked woman. It has been said that behind every celebrated man there stands a good woman. The account of Ahab’s wicked rule testifies that the converse may be true, for behind that infamous man there stood an evil woman.

Jezebel demonstrated cruel willfulness in the matter of Naboth’s vineyard. The king wanted Naboth’s vineyard. It was near his palace and he wanted to turn it into a garden of herbs for his own pleasure. The king offered Naboth a reasonable substitute for his land. However, because this was inherited land which Naboth had no right to trade, he refused the king’s offer.

The king was disappointed and despondent. Jezebel chided him. Was he not king? Why couldn’t he exercise his authority to get whatever he wanted? Then Jezebel took matters into her own hands. She wrote letters in the king’s name, had Naboth falsely accused and murdered, then told Ahab to go take possession of the property.

This is a frightful picture of injustice and the exercise of unlawful influence. It is but one instance of Jezebel’s influence. Apparently, Ahab’s violence against the prophets of the Lord was largely the result of this woman’s persuasion. “There was no one like Ahab who sold himself to do wickedness in the sight of the Lord,” we are told, “because Jezebel his wife stirred him up.” She stirred him up, incited him, and persuaded him to carry out her will. In the end, she perished for her wickedness.

This dark chapter in the history of the kingdom of Israel is included in Scripture to teach a universal principle, not to demean womankind. Clearly, women are not responsible for all evil. They may have an influence on men for evil or for good, motivating them to the one or the other as Jezebel incited Ahab to wickedness, but men as well as women are personally responsible for their own evils.

The account of Jezebel and Ahab is not only a description of the dominion of this woman over her husband. More deeply seen, it is a parable of the relationship between the will and the understanding that exists in each of us. The quality of our life and our actions are the product of this relationship or “marriage.”

Sadly, the marriage of will and understanding often is disorderly, leading to evil results such as those pictured in the account of Ahab and Jezebel. Yet the universal principles of their relationship may be learned from the spiritual sense of the Word. Only as we know this can we develop a new and healthy relationship that will result in something good rather than something evil.

The doctrine of the church teaches that “nothing is more important than to know how the will and understanding make one mind” (TCR 397). Hundreds of passages treat of these two faculties. They describe the relation between them, similar to other relationships in creation such as the relationship between goods and truths, and that between the masculine and feminine forms of mind, and how this relationship is, in fact, like a marriage. Seeing this relationship in parable-like form, as in the account of Ahab and Jezebel, dramatizes it and helps us see how it functions in our life.

Before going to that account, however, let us first review a few basic facts concerning the will and the understanding: “These are distinct from each other,” we are told, “but so created as to be one … ” (TCR 397). ” … the will alone does nothing of itself, but whatever it does it does by the understanding. On the other hand, the understanding alone does nothing of itself, but whatever it does it does from the will” (CL 490). “They make one mind … for there is a marriage between the will and the understanding the same as between good and truth … the will in man [is] the very being of his life, while the understanding is its manifestation therefrom; for good, which belongs to the will, takes form in the understanding, and there presents itself to view” (TCR 397).

In each person, then, two distinct faculties exist, one which receives what is of good or of love, the other which receives what is of truth or of intelligence and wisdom. These faculties do not operate independently, but only in cooperation with each other. They have what biologists would call a “symbiotic” relationship, as where two different organisms work together for mutual advantage. In simpler, more accurate terms, they function in a “marriage.” The relationship of will and understanding is commonly referred to in doctrine as a marriage, like the marriage of good and truth, the marriage of love and wisdom, and the marriage of charity and faith.

In the parable of Ahab and Jezebel, the marriage of the king with his Sidonian princess represents this marriage of will and understanding, albeit in perverted form. As we reflect on the qualities of the pair, we notice that Jezebel embodies the function of will, the king the function of understanding. To elaborate: The woman exercises strength of will, both here and in the earlier accounts of her destruction of the Israelitish prophets. She dominates, even as willfulness often overrules good sense. She stirs up or incites her husband to take action. When Ahab seems helpless in getting the vineyard he wants, she accomplishes the task by letters signed in his name. So it is also with the faculty of will. It is the motivating force of human life. It promotes action from love or from desire, whether good or evil, but depends upon the faculty of understanding to carry it out.

The king, on the other hand, is less passionate. In his quest for the vineyard, he approaches Naboth with a fair offer of another property. His reason accepts Naboth’s refusal because it is in accordance with the law. The refusal leaves him disappointed but powerless. So with the human understanding. It has light, not heat. Without the motivation of will power it accomplishes nothing.

These differences between will and understanding are described in the doctrine as follows: “The understanding is subject to the will … , ” we are told (SS 115f). ” … the will leads the understanding and makes it act as a one with itself, so that if there is anything in the understanding that is not in accord with the will … he then either casts out the truth that is in the understanding, or else by falsifying it forces it into oneness” (D. Life 15).

This principle is shown in Jezebel’s use of the king’s name in getting her way. Ahab was led by Jezebel and allowed her will to rule unchecked by forfeiting any appeal to truth or justice which he knew to be right.

This was not of order. In the account of Ahab and Jezebel we see the “unholy” marriage of an evil will influencing and dominating a compliant understanding. “It is the will that by influx takes the understanding into partnership with itself, and not the reverse” (DLW 244). The will leads the understanding and, we are told, “since the will is the doer in every act, the whole man would plunge headlong into hell if it were not that the Lord has mercy on him” (AC 35).

The human will is corrupted and depraved, accurately pictured by the willfulness and wickedness of Jezebel. What then is the mercy of the Lord to prevent us all from plunging headlong into hell? It is, in fact, the gift of human understanding, the will’s partner.

Judging from the case of Ahab, who represents the understanding, there appears to be little hope for reform. Still, the understanding is the key to hope for our salvation.

As we have seen, the will leads the understanding; however, the understanding is intended to instruct the will. A number of teachings testify to this: ” … the understanding teaches what ought to be done and how it ought to be done. Apart from the understanding, love does not know this,” we are told (DLW 409:11).

Again, “Love becomes spiritual and celestial by a life according to the truths of wisdom which the understanding teaches and requires … Love cannot elevate itself unless it knows truths,” the doctrine says, “and these it can learn only by means of an elevated and enlightened understanding … When, therefore, love puts in practice the truths of light which it understands and speaks, it is elevated” (DLW 422:18).

This is the hope. By a life lived according to truths from the Word, a new will is given by the Lord. The doctrine is that “… a person’s understanding can be uplifted into the light of heaven, which is truth, and can see from it … ” This is of crucial importance. “It is by means of this capacity of the understanding to be uplifted into heaven when as yet the will is not so uplifted that it is possible for a man to be reformed and to become spiritual … ” This is called the “superior endowment of the understanding over the will” (Life 15).

Whereas the will is superior to the understanding in its power, the understanding is superior to the will in its capacity for elevation. By raising a person’s mind into a superior light and objectivity the understanding enables that person, of whatever character, even if evil, “to be able to think and therefore to speak rationally … ” (Life 15).

In the account of Ahab, who represents the understanding, this superior endowment is forfeited. The knowledge of the truth and of right and wrong does not guarantee reform. A clear understanding may be clouded and truths twisted into false reasoning to support an evil will. So we are warned: “The understanding is … blinded by the lusts of evil. As long as the will is in these it moves the understanding to confirm them … ” (DP 144). Reform involves the shunning of evil as well as the understanding of truth. There must be a partnership, a marriage, between an understanding of truth and a will to live it.

“Man is born natural,” we are told, “but in the measure in which his understanding is raised into the light of heaven, and his love conjointly is raised into the heat of heaven, he becomes spiritual and celestial; he then becomes like a garden of Eden, which is at once in spring-like light and spring-like heat” (DLW 422:18).

The doctrine of the marriage of will and understanding has broad application. It has immediate application to our personal life and reformation. It applies to the conjugial relationship. It applies to the life of charity and faith in the church. It applies to all our human relationships. Let us look briefly at some of these applications.

As to our personal life, we are born with an inclination to evils of all kinds with the heart of a Jezebel. Although this is hereditary, we have the ability to change. Let us not forfeit our capacity, as Ahab did, to stand up against and instruct our will. We can read the Word, know the truth, and be instructed in it. Remember ” … love cannot elevate itself unless it knows truths, and these it can learn only by means of an elevated and enlightened understanding … ” The Lord has given us the ability to form a conscience of spiritual truth that stands apart from our self-will. He has given us the freedom to live according to conscience instead of under the dominion of our perverted will. Here we are not seeking compatibility with Jezebel, an unholy marriage in which selfish loves override our sense of truth and justice. “It is quite different with those who are in the good of life,” we are taught. “Such … think from what is good, and love the truth that is in the understanding because it is in accord” (Life 44). Here we seek a partnership between our spiritual understanding and new good loves from the Lord.

Another application of the marriage of will and understanding is in marriage itself. The Heavenly Doctrine describes a special relationship between married partners. Two married partners who are in love truly conjugial are, we are told, “actually forms of the marriage of good and truth or love and wisdom” (CL 66). “The male was created to be the understanding of truth … while the female was created to be the will of good” (CL 100). It is said again that “the male is born to become understanding, and the female to become a will loving the understanding of the male” (CL 159). The true marriage relationship is where the two, being essentially different and distinct, yet become one by conjunction, each loving to think and to will as the other. This relationship is perfected as the husband grows wise from loving to learn and understand, especially the spiritual principles of life revealed by the Lord, and as the wife, at the same time, loves her husband’s wisdom and promotes its good. In this relationship, as it grows, the understanding of the husband seems to give the lead, while the will or love of the wife, which is truly the driving force, operates prudently, almost secretly, as the husband receives that love.

In another application of the marriage of will and understanding, we think of the life of charity and faith that should exist in the church. What are true principles that should apply in our life in the church? There will be many loves, many uses that different people wish to express and do. Will these vie for prominence? How will competing uses be coordinated and be given appropriate attention in the life of the church? A variety of issues will surface as church uses are developed. How will issues be resolved? How will we act in true charity? The answer is, through an understanding of truth.

How fortunate we are in the church to have a standard of truth in the Heavenly Doctrine, a common measure for all ideas and loves. We go to the Word to find truth and direction. In patience, with humility, forbearance, and good will, we should look for Divine guidance in the affairs of the church. We must beware of compulsion, love of dominion, and self-interest. Watch out for the desire to bend the Lord’s teachings to fit what we want them to say. Let us not be satisfied with innovations or traditions, but only with solid, carefully studied doctrine. There should be trust in Providence instead of impatience, the light of truth rather than the heat of emotion.

And finally, in all of our relationships, both within and outside of the church, let there be a recognition of the need for rational balance. The world is taken with extremes and hysteria. The truly rational person will not be caught up with fears and excesses. That person will have the perspective to see that worldly fashions come and go, that fortunes rise and fall, and that our own attitudes and states change from time to time.

The truth is that the Lord’s mercy is great. He seeks our salvation and our eternal happiness. He invites us to the heavenly marriage feast. He invites us to fashion in ourselves a true marriage of will and understanding, even as He Himself united His Divine and His Human. Therefore, “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready … Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” (Rev. 19:7,8) Amen.


Lessons: I Kings 21:1-10, 15-25; Matt. 22 1-10; DLW 422

Divine Love and Wisdom 422.

(18) Love, when purified by wisdom in the understanding, becomes spiritual and celestial. Man is born natural, but in the measure in which his understanding is raised into the light of heaven, and his love conjointly is raised into the heat of heaven, he becomes spiritual and celestial; he then becomes like a garden of Eden, which is at once in vernal light and vernal heat. It is not the understanding that becomes spiritual and celestial but the love; and when the love has so become, it makes its consort, the understanding, spiritual and celestial. Love becomes spiritual and celestial by a life according to the truths of wisdom which the understanding teaches and requires. Love imbibes these truths by means of its understanding, and not from itself; for love cannot elevate itself unless it knows truths, and these it can learn only by means of an elevated and enlightened understanding; and then so far as it loves truths in the practice of them so far it is elevated; for to understand is one thing and to will is another; or to say is one thing and to do is another. There are those who understand and talk about the truths of wisdom, yet neither will nor practice them. When, therefore, love puts into practice the truths of light which it understands and speaks, it is elevated. This one can see from reason alone; for what kind of a man is he who understands the truths of wisdom and talks about them while he lives contrary to them, that is, while his will and conduct are opposed to them? Love purified by wisdom becomes spiritual and celestial for the reason that man has three degrees of life, called natural, spiritual, and celestial, and he is capable of elevation from one degree into another. Yet he is not elevated by wisdom alone, but by a life according to wisdom, for a man’s life is his love. Consequently, so far as his life is according to wisdom, so far he loves wisdom; and his life is so far according to wisdom as he purifies himself from uncleannesses, which are sins; and so far as he does this does he love wisdom.



A Sermon by Rev. Kurt Horigan AsplundhPreached in Bryn Athyn November 14, 1993


“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:31).

The Word is filled with beautiful promises. The text is one. The Lord, our Savior, promises to draw us to Himself, to lift us from death to life, from earthly life to heavenly life. “I have come,” He said, “that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). This is the yearning of His Divine love: to love others, to desire to be one with them, to foster their happiness (see TCR 43). Drawing people to Himself pictures the Lord’s end and purpose: a heaven from the human race (see DP 27). The Lord’s power to uplift the human spirit is taught throughout the Word. In Exodus He speaks of releasing Israel from Egypt: “I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself” (Exodus 19:4). In the Psalms we are taught that “the Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all those who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:14). Another psalm urges the Lord: “Save Your people, and bless Your inheritance; feed them and lift them up forever” (Psalm 28:9).

When on earth, the Lord took up children in His arms, laid His hands on the crippled woman unable to raise up herself for eighteen years who immediately stood up straight, took the hand of the little daughter of Jairus who lay dead and said to her, “Arise!” and she arose.

In the Heavenly Doctrine we read that “there is actually a sphere proceeding continually from the Lord and filling the entire spiritual and natural worlds which raises all toward heaven” (TCR 652:3). And how tenderly the angels demonstrate the Lord’s uplifting power in their representations to those little children who die and are being taught in heaven: ” … with incomparable prudence and gentleness. In adaptation to the infantile mind they let down little cords almost invisible, very soft and tender, by which they lightened the Lord’s ascent … ” (HH 335).

The presence of a force of elevation in creation is demonstrated even on the natural plane by the upward thrusting of plants toward the natural sun. The human mind is no less attracted to the light and life of a spiritual sun, the source of heavenly life. The difference is that the natural forms of life on earth spontaneously respond to the attraction of the sun, but people may choose to turn away.

Throughout the Word, in a thousand places, we read of elevation from a lower state to a higher, of an uplifting force. If we are like Nicodemus, who came to the Lord by night, we will not understand the Lord’s teaching. Nicodemus could not understand being “born again” because he thought of it only naturally. But human life is marvelously complex. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Life has its flesh and spirit, its surface and substance, its depth and degrees.

Life on the surface and in the flesh is animal-like. It has its purpose and its pleasures, but is only the matrix for the more perfect life of the spirit. We must be “born again.” The Lord has given us the capacity of being raised up and awakened in spirit. ” … man possesses this special privilege above the beasts … ” we are told, a privilege and capacity symbolized by our ability to stand erect and look upward, unlike any animal (see TCR 69). This is our “special privilege” as the highest and most perfect creation of the Lord’s love. How important it is that we learn to exercise this privilege!

“The human mind, like the angelic heaven,” we read, “is divided into three degrees, and may therefore be lifted up into a higher and still higher degree or be let down into a lower and still lower degree; but so far as it is lifted up into the higher degrees it is lifted up into wisdom, because into the light of heaven; and this God only can do. Moreover, so far as the mind is thus lifted up it becomes a man … ” (TCR 69).

What is meant by lifting up the mind? We speak in terms of space, of “higher” or “lower.” What is higher means what is “interior” or within; what is lower means what is “exterior” or on the outside. This also is what is meant by higher or lower degrees.

New Churchmen are familiar with the terminology of degrees. These refer to levels or planes of thought or love that are distinct or differentiated. For example, thought based on sense experience alone is a lower or more exterior degree of thought than rational thought. The higher form of thought is clearer and more true. This can be illustrated by the fact that a conclusion of rational thought may correct a false conclusion based on a sensual appearance. Scientists know, even though it appears otherwise, that the sun does not “rise” or “set.” In a similar way, a just man, from his interior plane of thought, knows that laws are necessary to preserve civil order even though those laws appear arbitrary to a criminal.

The Writings often point to “fallacies of the senses” as the source of many false conclusions. Such “fallacies” permeate our culture and personal life today. The only escape from them is to be elevated by the Lord into higher light, be it rational, spiritual or celestial.

If there is a “special privilege” for man to be capable of elevation, there is a special privilege and responsibility for all those who know of the New Church and acknowledge that its Heavenly Doctrine is the very Word of God. This Word and its doctrine is the essential means for the uplifting of the Christian world! It has the truths by which human minds can be lifted above the fallacies of a sensual culture and thought that are a curse in society today, truths by which human minds can be enlightened from within to see the Lord’s will and the Lord’s way.

What this world needs is the truth. And it needs an army of those who love the truth, who live it, and who proclaim it to the world. For the truth is sorely needed to free those who are bound in the fallacies and evils that grip the world today.

That the Lord is the hope for our elevation from the fallacies of the senses and the errors of our natural thought is taught in the Word where we read: ” … the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God … ” (Deut. 28:13). “To make as the head” means, we are told, “to make spiritual and intelligent, and thus to elevate out of the light of the world into the light of heaven; and `to make as the tail’ means to make sensual and foolish, so as not to look to heaven but only to the world … ” (AE 559).

The Writings make several points about the purpose of our elevation into interior planes of thought. These show us the vital importance of the New Church. It is only as we elevate our understanding above natural loves which are inborn, and from that height see those loves, that we can judge their quality, and, if we find them evil, be able to amend, chasten and remove them (see CL 96). Otherwise, we would see no need to change. Without the Heavenly Doctrine this cannot be done.

Again, since we have the ability to raise our understanding, we may see, in the light of heaven, what we must will and do, that we may be “prosperous in the world for a time and blessed after death to eternity” (TCR 588).

“Unless man’s thought can be elevated above sensuous things so that these are seen as below him,” we are told, “he cannot understand any interior thing in the Word, still less such things as are of heaven … for sensuous things absorb and suffocate them” (AC 5089:2).

When an elevation of the mind takes place, we become more closely joined with a heavenly society, receiving the light and wisdom of it. “Moreover, the interiors are actually raised and are then actually withdrawn from the body and from the world,” we are told. “When this is done, the interiors of the man come actually into heaven, and into its light and heat … This communication is what is called influx and enlightenment” (AC 10330:2).

The Heavenly Doctrine warns that there are obstacles that stand in the way of our elevation. Though it is desirable for us to come into association with interior societies of heaven to enjoy the light of their wisdom, our natural tendency is to remain below, immersed in the false ideas and natural loves that are our heritage. This is why it is so important that the Lord continually seeks to lift us up and draw us toward what is more interior. He strives to set our priorities straight. ” … the things of eternal life and of the Lord’s kingdom are set before those which belong to life in the body and to the kingdom of the world. When a man acknowledges the former as the principal and primary, and the latter as the instrumental and secondary, then with him truths and the affections of them are elevated … The contrary happens when the man sets the things of the life of the body and of the kingdom of the world before those of eternal life and the Lord’s kingdom” (AC 4104:3).

The inclination to set the things of the body and the world in higher priority than the things of eternal life is prompted by the influence of so-called sensuous spirits which are said to “abound” in the other life at the present day. “Troops” of them come from our world, we are told, and the influence of their self-indulgent, useless nature “prompts man to indulge his natural inclination, and to live for himself and the world” (AC 6201). It is said that for a man to be uplifted from these spirits, “he must think about eternal life” (Ibid.). It is our clear duty to shake free of these influences and to assist our children in the ability to think about them from the Word.

The elevation from natural to spiritual life is a two-step process. While we live in this world our understanding can be raised even to the light of heaven. This is the first step. Even evil persons can be elevated as to thought. However, the thought cannot remain elevated unless there is also an elevation of our loves. We are taught that “love, which is of the will, is raised only by fleeing from evils as sins, and then by goods of charity, which are uses, which the man thereafter performs from the Lord. Consequently, when love, which is of the will, is not at the same time raised, wisdom, which is of the understanding, however it may have ascended, falls back again down to its own love” (DLW 258).

The process of elevation requires our cooperation with the Lord. It is the Lord who lifts us up, for “no one can look above himself except by means of an elevation by Him who is above” (AC 7607). Nevertheless, in spite of the Lord’s constant desire to lift up our life, He cannot succeed without our efforts at the same time. We are told, “no one can think above sensual things and see the truths of the church unless he acknowledges God and lives according to His commandments … ” (TCR 402:20). Again, “the mind is elevated when it recedes from evil” (AC 2401).

We provide the conditions for elevation and association with interior societies of heaven by our life of regeneration. Fleeing evils and applying the truths of the Word in our life opens our mind to heavenly influence. This should be the first priority of our New Churchmanship.

In addition to this regenerative process which should be our daily endeavor, other specific activities and efforts can have a part in releasing our mind from the weight of material and worldly thought which so quickly dissipates anything spiritual with us.

Swedenborg writes of “an elevation toward the Lord which was like an attraction” he felt when reading the Lord’s prayer (AC 6476). Indeed, the reverent reading of any part of the Word effects a communication with societies of heaven. While we may not experience any conscious attraction, as Swedenborg did, the power of association will have beneficial effect. The same may be said of participation in Divine worship, public or private. And we know there is a special power in the sacrament of the Holy Supper. “Human minds are by that supper conjoined with heavenly minds,” we are told (AC 2177).

The Heavenly Doctrine speaks particularly of the effect of anxious thought about such things as give great concern to most persons, namely, about possessions, acquiring riches, about pleasures, and the like. ” … when such thoughts possess the whole of the mind,” Swedenborg writes, “they carry the lower mind downward, and are like weights which drag it down … Once when I was led through the abodes of heaven,” he says, “and was at the time in a spiritual idea, it happened that I suddenly began to sink into thought about worldly things, and then all that spiritual idea was dissipated and became as naught” (AC 6210, 6291; cf. SD 3624ff).

How easily we are distracted from precious moments of spiritual reflection by the pressing concerns of the world! It takes effort to make time in the day to pray to the Lord, to read His Word, and to reflect on His truths. This is sadly true even on Sundays in today’s world. Yet “thought about eternal life” is one of the few ways we can free ourselves from the influence of the sensuous spirits who prompt us to indulge our natural inclinations and pleasures and to live for ourselves alone and the world (see AC 6201).

The world and the things of the world are powerful attractions to us. Yes, we must live in the world but we do not have to partake of its false attitudes and its vain practices. The Lord said, “I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33) With His help, we can find release from the anxious concerns that trouble us and we can be lifted up.

Are we more oppressed today than Israel was in Egypt? The Lord brought them out of their house of bondage. He said: “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:4-6).

The New Church too has been borne up to the Lord on eagles’ wings. We are told that the woman John saw who was clothed with the sun and who gave birth to the Man Child was given “two wings of a great eagle” (Rev. 12:14). This woman represents the New Church; her Child, the doctrine of the church. It is by this church and its Heavenly Doctrine that we can be brought to the Lord Himself. And if we will indeed obey His voice and keep His covenant, we will be a “special treasure,” a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation for the healing of all the nations. Amen.


Lessons: Exodus 19:1-8; John 3:1-16; HH 335-336 (parts); AC 6476

Heaven and Hell 335-336 (parts)



335. Children … [in heaven] … are taught chiefly by representatives suited to their capacity. These are beautiful and full of wisdom from within, beyond all belief. In this way an intelligence that derives its soul from good is gradually instilled into them … Afterwards I saw a representation by the angels of the Lord’s descent to those that are “bound,” and of His ascent with these into heaven, and this with incomparable prudence and gentleness. In adaptation to the infantile mind they let down little cords almost invisible, very soft and tender, by which they lightened the Lord’s ascent, always with a holy solicitude that there should be nothing in the representation bordering upon anything that did not contain what is spiritual and heavenly.

336. It was also shown how tender their understanding is. When I was praying the Lord’s Prayer, and from their understanding they flowed into the ideas of my thought, their influx was perceived to be so tender and soft as to be almost solely a matter of affection; and at the same time it was observed that their understanding was open even from the Lord, for what flowed forth from them was as if it simply flowed through them. Moreover, the Lord flows into the ideas of little children chiefly from inmosts, for there is nothing, as with adults, to close up their ideas, no principles of falsity to close the way to the understanding of truth, nor any life of evil to close the way to the reception of good, and thereby to the reception of wisdom.

Arcana Coelestia 6476

Whenever I have been reading the Lord’s Prayer, I have plainly perceived an elevation toward the Lord which was like an attraction, and at the same time my ideas were open, and from this there was effected a communication with some societies in heaven; and I noticed that there was an influx from the Lord into every detail of the prayer, thus into every idea of my thought that was from the meaning of the things in the prayer. The influx was effected with inexpressible variety, that is, not the same at one time as another; hence also it was made evident how infinite are the things contained in the prayer, and that the Lord is present in every one of them.



A Sermon by Rev. Kurt Horigan Asplundh (Palm Sunday)Preached in Bryn Athyn April 12, 1992


“Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it …” (Luke 19:41).

We observe what is called “Palm Sunday” as a day of jubilation, a day in which the Lord was hailed as a king as He made His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem.

Crowds of people from the city came out to meet Him and the disciples as He rode toward the gates. News of His recent miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead excited many of them. Others were convinced He was the promised Messiah, come at last to redeem Israel. Was He not approaching on the colt of a donkey in symbolic testimony of His kingship?

His disciples rejoiced on this day and praised God for all the mighty works they had seen. They cried out joyfully: “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Luke 19:38). They spread their garments on the roadway in adoration. Many in the multitudes coming from Jerusalem, caught up in the spirit of the event, cut down palm branches and strewed them in the roadway, crying out: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9)

Some of the leaders of the Jews who strongly objected to what was going on called on the Lord to rebuke His disciples for stirring up the people like this, but the outcry was spontaneous and could not be muted. The Lord said to them: “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).

Years before, certain wise men from the east had troubled the rulers in Jerusalem with their question: “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” Now the Lord was riding into that city openly being proclaimed as king. His followers echoed the very words of the angels who surprised the shepherds on the night of His birth: “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” they said.

In such a day of rejoicing there was a remarkable contrast. The people rejoiced. The Lord wept. His tears were not tears of joy but of grief. He saw the city and wept over it.

The Lord knew what lay ahead. He knew this celebration would be short-lived. The expectations of the people were all wrong. They wanted an earthly king, fame and fortune for their land. He had come to bear witness to the truth. He had come to bring spiritual order and peace to the minds and hearts of those who would receive Him. He had come to conquer the passions and appetites of hell that held men in bondage, not to conquer their national enemies. He foresaw what would happen not only to Himself but to Jerusalem and, more deeply, to the spirit of religion Jerusalem represented. He prophesied destruction: ” …the days will come upon you,” he warned, “when your enemies will …surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children within you, to the ground …” (Luke 19:43). These were hard words, hard realities. The Lord wept.

The doctrine for the New Church shows that weeping is a sign of love as well as grief. The Lord wept here for His people. His infinite mercy yearned for their salvation and happiness. The Lord’s weeping was expressive of His mercy and pity, for “mercy is love grieving,” we are told (AC 5480).

There are but two times recorded in the Word that the Lord wept openly. One is here. The other was when He stood outside the tomb of Lazarus before bringing him back to life. Those who saw Him weeping there said: “See how He loved him” (John 11:36). His tears were taken as evidence of the depth of His love for Lazarus.

The Lord’s grief over Jerusalem is thought to express His compassion for that city and its people. Both times the Lord wept show grief for the loss of something loved: for Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha; for Jerusalem and its inhabitants. But there is more to these events than that. The fact is, the Lord loves the whole human race believer and gentile. He cares for all of us, and our pain and failure are the objects of His mercy.

The salvation of all is the Lord’s deepest love and His constant end in view. Lazarus and the people of Jerusalem, objects of His grief, represent all those who are ignorant of truths and all those who have falsified the truths they have. It is little wonder the Lord wept. Neither gentile nor Jew could be saved by the existing religion. The Lord’s love was assaulted by this reality. This doubt that people could be raised up to spiritual life was His grievous temptation.

We also grieve when someone we love seems to be lost or doing what invites failure or unhappiness. Doubt about what we hope for them brings us into states of grief and temptation.

It appeared to the Lord that the powers of hell could frustrate His Divine end. As He entered Jerusalem, the objective observer might say, “He has succeeded. He has gained the victory.” But what a hollow victory for the King of heaven to be hailed as nothing more than the king of the Jews. He had not come to fulfill our selfish ambitions or to cater to our greed. He came to teach us to beware of covetousness; to lay up treasures in heaven instead; not to love our neighbor and hate our enemy, but to love even the enemy and those who persecute us. “If … [only] you had known …the things that make for your peace!” He said. “But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).

The Lord wept because so often we fail to see the things in life that make for our peace. Yet it was for this that He came on earth. It is the Lord’s truths which describe a perfect peace, a heavenly peace which the Lord wills to give us. As He said: “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace” (John 16:33). “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27). The things that belong to peace which were hidden from the eyes of the leaders of the Jewish Church are those things which belong to eternal life and happiness, which are from the Lord alone; for peace, the Writings say, “means heaven and heavenly joy through conjunction with the Lord” (AE 365:9).

As the church rejected the Lord and did not acknowledge His Divinity, it could not see or appreciate those things from Him which could bring people eternal life and lasting peace. Therefore the Lord wept out of grief and pity.

On Palm Sunday the Lord wept for Jerusalem. He has since established a New Jerusalem in place of the old. As the Lord wept for Jerusalem, He warned about the coming destruction of the city. This was a prophecy of a judgment to come. The city itself was actually attacked and its temple destroyed, but the Lord’s words refer to a deeper judgment on the faith and traditions of the religion that had its center in Jerusalem. None can find refuge and peace in the truths of a new religion until the false doctrines of the old have been exposed and rejected. “They will not leave in you one stone upon another,” the Lord warned. Stones of falsity which are built up into protective walls must be cast down to reveal the evil loves that are hidden within each life.

The Lord did not weep for the fall of the city Jerusalem, which actually took place at the hands of Roman conquerors in the year 70 A.D., but for the fall and destruction of the church signified by that city. This was the “time of visitation” to which the Lord referred. The Lord did not weep for the falsities and evils of the church which He saw represented in Jerusalem but for the fact that the truths and goods of the church had been lost. “The `day of visitation’ denotes the coming of the Lord,” we are told, “and enlightenment then; but in respect to the Jewish nation, as they did not acknowledge it, it denotes the last time of the representatives of the church with them; for when Jerusalem was destroyed, the sacrifices ceased, and that nation was scattered” (AC 6588:5). Jerusalem had lost its spiritual use.

The Lord rode into Jerusalem, triumphant and yet merciful. He did not despise or reject Jerusalem, although Jerusalem despised and rejected Him; He grieved over it and had pity on its people. There is another sense in which the weeping over Jerusalem is the Lord’s mercy for you. Jerusalem signifies a religion. In an individual sense it signifies your religion or your religious state of mind. There is a Palm Sunday for you and me. Perhaps we come out to meet the Lord with joyful hosannas because we believe the Lord is on our side and will accomplish what we want, making us feel smug and self-righteous. Our enemies will fall. Our attitudes will be justified. We will be taken up to the Lord in heaven to sit at His right hand. We will be blessed. What a euphoric and gratifying feeling. Does the Lord grieve when this is the way we receive Him?

Or perhaps we are like the Pharisees who want to quiet the disciples and stop the march to the city. This represents our denial of the Lord and His truth. We don’t want our conscience pricked by His new teachings. We are satisfied with our traditional beliefs and attitudes. We dislike change. We secretly fight it and seek to silence the truths that call for it. Whether we listen to the King or not, the truths remain solid and as undeniable as the stones of the ground. “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40).

We all have states of hard-heartedness, of conceit and vainglory, for we all have evils yet to be overcome. Still, the Lord is a merciful conqueror. He does not take our souls by storm, but enters meek and lowly, riding upon the colt. His love grieves over our evils. This is not because we can bring Him harm or detract from His perfection, but because He knows, better than we know, the harm and grief we bring upon ourselves.

He knows also the peace and joy of heaven which He wills for us all. So He weeps, saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes” (Luke 19:42).

This is not the end of it. The Lord went on to achieve total victory over the hells, allowing the death of everything merely human in Himself, so that He might rise in splendor and great glory as our Lord and our God.

The truths once hidden from the eyes of all are now revealed. We too must come to see them, must be willing to see them and to humble ourselves before our King, spreading our garments and palms along the way He is to walk. This is subordinating the things of our own intelligence to the wisdom of the Lord. He has come riding on a donkey, the ancient symbol of royalty. Spiritually this means He comes to rule in our minds with Divine truth accommodated to rational understanding. These are the truths revealed in the Heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem. In them, truly, the “heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1). Of them it can be said: “Behold, your King is coming …” (John 11:15). “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matt. 21:9). Amen.


Lessons: Luke 19:29-48; AC 2781:7-9

Arcana Coelestia 2781:7-9

…”Rejoice, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy King cometh unto thee. He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding upon an ass, and upon a young ass, the son of she-asses. His dominion shall be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:9,10). That the Lord, when He came to Jerusalem, willed to ride upon these animals is known from the Evangelists, as in Matthew: “Jesus sent two disciples, saying unto them, `Go into the village that is over against you, and straightway ye shall find a she-ass tied, and a colt with her; loose them, and bring them unto Me.’ This was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying, `Tell ye the daughter of Zion, behold thy King cometh unto thee, meek, sitting upon a she-ass, and upon a colt the son of a beast of burden.’ And they brought the she-ass and the colt, and put their garments upon them, and set Him thereon” (21:1,2,4,5,7);

To “ride upon an ass” was a sign that the natural was made subordinate; and to “ride upon a colt, the son of a she-ass” was a sign that the rational was made subordinate. (That the “son of a she-ass” signified the same as a “mule” has been shown above, at the passage from Gen. 49:11.) From this their signification, and because it belonged to the highest judge and to a king to ride upon them, and at the same time that the representatives of the church might be fulfilled, it pleased the Lord to do this, as is thus described in John: “On the next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet Him, and cried, `Hosanna, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel.’ And Jesus, having found a young ass, sat thereon as it is written, `Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold thy King cometh sitting on the colt of a she-ass.’ These things understood not His disciples at the first, but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things unto Him” (12:12-16; Mark 11:1-12; Luke 19:28-41).

From all this it is now evident that all and everything in the church of that period was representative of the Lord, and therefore of the celestial and spiritual things that are in His kingdom even to the she-ass and the colt of a she-ass by which the natural man as to good and truth was represented. The reason of the representation was that the natural man ought to serve the rational, and this the spiritual, this the celestial, and this the Lord; such is the order of subordination.



A Sermon by Rev. Kurt Ho. AsplundhPreached in Bryn Athyn January 26, 1992


“And Elijah said to [the widow] … ‘Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son'” (I Kings 17:13).

Two striking personalities are involved in a struggle in this part of the Word. One is Elijah, the prophet; the other is Ahab, King of Israel.

Elijah was the prototype of the zealous prophets, a fearsome man of God whose dramatic confrontations with Ahab angered and troubled the king.

Ahab earned the condemnations heaped on him by Elijah. This powerful king, we are told, “did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him” (I Kings 16:33). Following in the footsteps of Jeroboam, first to rule over the divided kingdom, Ahab served and worshipped Baal. He had built altars and temples and maintained 450 prophets of Baal in his kingdom. He was urged on in his pagan idolatry by Jezebel, his wife.

So Elijah was sent by the Lord to confront the king, prophesying drought and famine: “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word,” he said (I Kings 17: 1). Thus began a three-and-a-half-year drought in Israel.

The conflict between Elijah and Ahab signifies the conflict between truth and evil. Ahab saw Elijah as his bitter enemy, for truth is ever the enemy of evil. Jezebel, too, representing especially the love of evil, held hatred for the prophet who challenged her idolatrous worship. The king and queen represent the harsh rule of the natural man, the selfish and worldly desires that grip us and lead our way of life. Elijah the prophet represents the leading of the Word of the Lord and its truths.

Whenever we allow the undisciplined loves and reasonings of the natural man to dominate our life, we are allowing a Jezebel and an Ahab to rule us. As a result, there will be spiritual drought and famine for us. While Ahab ruled, there was no rain.

“Rain” in the Word signifies “the inflowing Divine,” especially the influx of “Divine truth out of heaven” (AE 644:5). Drought is the deprivation of this. When truth fails, goods of life wither and die. Inevitably, drought is followed by famine. In life, failure to receive truth results in a lack of good.

The state of our life pictured in this account is an unregenerate state, a lack of spiritual good and truth. These qualities cannot enter our mind because of the opposition there. The Lord wills to bless us to nourish us with good, to instruct us with truth but we prevent it. The prophecy is fulfilled: “There shall not be dew nor rain these years … “

The Lord sends the prophet to touch our lives. For us today it is His truth revealed in the Word. This truth comes first as a warning to counter the comfortable false attitudes we hold and the evils we enjoy. Like the words of outspoken Elijah, the truth at first seems harsh and confrontive. The warning is that no spiritual good or truth can be received while we remain in evil and falsity. This general warning actually applies to each of us in a specific way. For one the prophecy may be: “You will not know the spiritual blessings of peace or contentment until you overcome selfish ambition.” For another: “Your marriage will be empty until you shun wandering lusts.” For yet another: “Your life will be unhappy drudgery as long as you remain lazy and indolent.”

Evil has many forms, having its own particular form in each of us. The Word, however, speaks to our personal states. Whatever the evil that grips us, the Divine principle is the same: until the evil that rules is exposed and shunned, the blessings of heaven cannot be received.

As soon as our way of life is challenged we take offense. That is, the evil spirits influencing our life cause us to react negatively to the judgment. This is portrayed in Jezebel’s fury against Elijah.

Another common reaction is pictured in Ahab’s response when he saw Elijah. The drought had continued three and a half years, and by this time had caused great hardship. The king cried out accusingly: “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” (I Kings 18:17). Ahab blamed the drought on the prophet. Don’t we often do the same, looking for some outside cause of our unhappiness? Elijah replied: “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and have followed the Baals” (I Kings 18:18).

When we have broken a Divine law and suffer the consequences, we should not be angry with the law but with ourselves for having disobeyed. The Lord’s laws look only to our eternal welfare and happiness. He never condemns or punishes. We judge ourselves by defying His law. It is of the mercy of the Lord that He has given the Word. Through it we can know our faults and seek to overcome them, cooperating with the Lord.

During the drought, Elijah withdrew first to the brook Cherith, a small brook near the Jordan from which he could drink. When the brook failed, Elijah went beyond the borders of Israel to Zarephath in Sidon. The Lord sent him there to a widow who would provide for him. When Elijah found this woman, she was gathering sticks at the gate of her city. She was preparing to cook a last meal for herself and her son, for she had but a handful of flour and a little oil left. The famine had spread to this country as well.

He asked her first for a cup of water. As she was going to get it, he called for her to bring him a morsel of bread too. She then explained her plight, that she and her son faced starvation. Surprisingly, Elijah did not retract his request. In spite of her lack, he still asked that she first make him a small cake before making her own. “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son” (I Kings 17:13).

She could not know that a miracle would take place if she fulfilled the prophet’s request. For when she went to make the cakes for herself and her son, there was enough flour and oil. And ever after that day, even to the end of the famine, whenever she went to the bin for flour or the jar for oil, she was not disappointed. There was always enough for the next meal.

The Writings expound the meaning of this miracle of the flour and oil that did not fail. Spiritually it teaches how the Lord sustains us through times of temptation when our evils and falsities of life are to be met and overcome. Consider some of the correspondences involved. From the Writings we learn that “the famine … represented the vastation of truth in the church; the widow in Zarephath represented those outside the church who desire truth; the cake which she was to make for him first represented the good of love to the Lord … whom, out of the little she had, she was to love above herself and her son … Elijah represents the Word, by means of which such things are done … ” (AC 4844:12).

By “Sidon,” we are taught, are signified “exterior knowledges of spiritual things.” Is it not true that when our understanding of truth is obscured by other interests and we lack enlightenment from the Word, as signified by the drying up of the brooks and rivers of the land, that we are left with only the shell of understanding? We may know about spiritual things but fail to see their application or inner force. This state of mind is represented by the widow a woman without a husband. What is the significance of this?

The Writings teach that a woman in a true marriage loves the wisdom of her husband, and that he is created with the particular love of acquiring intelligence or wisdom. The wife loves that wisdom of his and longs to conjoin herself with it. She longs to turn that truth to good ends, to clothe her love with his wisdom.

The widow’s longing is unfulfilled because she has no man to provide that truth. She lacks the means for carrying out her will.

All of this relates to the signification of the widow to whom Elijah was sent. By “a widow” is signified “one who is in good and longs for truth” (AC 9198:7). This woman to whom the prophet was sent signifies those who are in a simple desire for good or charity without the wisdom to carry it out. They may have exterior knowledges of spiritual things, but no real insights by which they can make them come alive.

The widow represents each one of us, man or woman, when we are in this state. Our spiritual life is starving. Hereditary evils represented by Ahab and Jezebel rule our natural life. We are suffering famine but have become resigned to die.

Into this desperate plight the Lord sends Elijah the Word. How different the role of Elijah with this widow is from that which he played in the presence of Ahab. In the one case, Elijah represents the truth exposing and judging what is evil; in the other case, he represents the truth leading and bringing new life. What Elijah represents in this story is the same as what the truth of the Word represents in our life. It has a dual function: to expose, confront, and warn us of evil; and to instruct, lead and nourish a new life.

When Elijah found the woman, she was gathering sticks. These pieces of wood signify what the Writings call “the good of merit.” The good of merit is a motivation in our life. It is acting from a desire for reward. Many may devote their lives to good works for the sake of reward or recognition. This is common. Acting for the sake of reward is an obvious motivation with children. Nor should we entirely dismiss the value of such efforts. The good of merit, however, is not the genuine good of the church. We must acquire a deeper and more altruistic motivation. Genuine good is from a love of serving the Lord and our neighbor without thought of reward. We do not easily make the transition from a selfish to an unselfish motivation.

Notice that the woman did not hesitate to fetch the prophet a little water in a cup. Because she was willing to do this representing her desire to be instructed in truth he then asked her for bread. At this she hesitated, torn by a difficult decision. There was only enough flour and oil to make one last cake. Her choice seemed to be between this prophet and herself and her son. It seemed impossible that she could feed him first without depriving herself of the last food she had.

So it seems to us at every crossroad of life. We face a difficult decision. Yes, we are willing to consider the truth of the Word. We can learn its teachings and think about its applications. This is like getting the cup of water, and it does not require us to change anything about our life. But when we are asked for bread and it seems as though there is not enough to go around, we are facing a different question. It makes a difference for us.

It was at this point in the incident, while the woman hesitated, that Elijah spoke encouraging words: “Do not fear … For thus says the Lord God of Israel: `The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth'” (I Kings 17:13f). This was both a command and a promise. She should make the prophet’s cake first. If she did, she would not lack what she needed for herself and her son.

The cake which the woman first was to make for Elijah signifies an attitude of mind and heart that should be first: a willingness to love the Lord above ourselves, to serve others before ourselves. We are called upon by the Lord to subordinate self-love and the desire to find reward. It is more important to love what is of use and to act accordingly in our life. Doctrine teaches that true charity is loving uses. If we are willing to give of ourselves, hoping for nothing again, we open a pathway of heavenly influx. The Lord said to “do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great … Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over … ” (Luke 6:35,38).

If we can act according to the Lord’s great commandments loving Him with all our heart and soul, and our neighbor as ourself we are assured spiritual food. When we share what little of truth and good we know and appreciate, we never deprive ourselves of these staples of spiritual life. In this, spiritual treasures differ from material treasures. We can take a truth, apply it and teach it, using it in many ways, and it remains with us indeed it is strengthened within us by its very use. On the other hand, if we seek to hide it away selfishly, we will soon lose it.

The same is true of our life’s loves. If we share them, they grow and are confirmed in us. If we hoard them, they will wither and die. So it was that the widow was enriched by an unending supply of flour and oil as soon as she was willing to give Elijah his cake first. By this is signified the spiritual miracle that takes place with everyone who seeks first the kingdom of God and His justice. All the necessary things of life will be added.

What will be our response to the teachings of the Lord? Will we have the spirit of Ahab and Jezebel offended by His truths, bitter that He has caused our troubles? Or will we seek Him in the spirit of the widow of Zarephath from a longing for truth and with a willingess to apply His truth? In this spirit, we can overcome the forces of evil that trouble our life and cause us pain and suffering.

The Lord said: “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow” (Luke 4:24-26). Amen.


Lesson: I Kings 17:1-16; Luke 4:16-32; AC 9198:7,8

Arcana Coelestia 9198:7,8

Obedience, and the longing of good for truth, are described by her [a widow woman] giving water to the prophet at his bidding, and afterward by her first making a cake for him out of her own little supply, and then for herself and her son; and that thereby she was enriched with the good of truth is signified by “the barrel of meal not being consumed, and the cruse of oil failing not”; for in the internal sense “water” denotes truth (n. 2702, 3058, 3424, 4976, 5668, 8568); “meal,” truth from good (n. 2177); “oil,” the good of love (n. 886, 4582, 4638); and “a cake” made of these, truth conjoined with its good (n. 7978). From all this it is clear that “a widow” denotes one who is in good and longs for truth. Good and its longing for truth is described by the charity toward the prophet, which was greater than toward herself and her son. “The prophet,” as before shown, denotes the doctrine of truth.

From all this it is evident what is the nature of the Word, namely, that it conceals within itself the secret things of heaven, which are not apparent in the letter, when yet in every word which the Lord Himself spoke when He was in the world, and which He had before spoken through the prophets, there are things heavenly and wholly Divine, and raised above the sense of the letter; and this not only in each word, but also in each syllable of the words, nay, in every point of each syllable. But who believes that this is so? Nevertheless it is a certain fact, of which I have received full and unquestionable proof, concerning which of the Lord’s Divine mercy elsewhere.