Chapter XXII. Adult Life. – First Degree of Regeneration.

< Chapter XXI. Growth During Youth. ^ Discrete Degrees ^ Chapter XXIII. The Second Degree of Regeneration. >


DURING minority there was an ascent through the degrees of the natural mind C even into its highest b and at the same time a descent of heaven through the degrees of the spiritual mind B into its lowest a, meeting between the two minds. This is shown in the three preceding diagrams.

Standing now at the threshold of adult life man can under the LORD enter heaven if he will and allow heaven to flow down into his natural, by discrete degrees successively. Such is the structure of the mind, such the order of heaven, and such the nature and order of regeneration. (AE 940.)

During minority, the course was upward in the natural mind and downward through the spiritual. Thenceforth, should the man become regenerate, it will be the reverse-up through the spiritual, down through the natural. The first great step in this process is the opening of the lowest or natural degree of the spiritual mind a and elevation of the man into it with the descent of influx thence into the highest degree of the natural mind b, and into c the highest degree of the limbus which is the lowest scat of thought and affection, and thence into word and deed by the gross body.

This first step in adult regeneration, may be elucidated. The lowest degree of the spiritual mind a having been previously stored with good and truth is prepared for the man’s entrance into it; he then rises into it and plants therein the interior seat of his thought and affection. Thus he begins to be a distinctively spiritual man but has not yet become so, especially not permanently so. To ensure this result the highest degree of his natural mind b and the corresponding plane of the limbus c must be cleansed of evil and falsity and appropriate good and truth adopted in their stead. (AC 3539 and 6724.) Evil and falsity can be removed only by combat in obedience to the Divine command to shun them as sins, for the LORD can work in man to remove his disorders only when man co-operates with Him. (AE 790 [b].) This combat is waged by good and truth on the LORD’s side against evil and falsity assaulting on the other. The goods and truths immediately brought into use as the hosts of the LORD in this combat are those;already stored in these degrees (b and c) during youth, But these goods and truths cannot combat and expel the evils and falsities from these degrees except as infilled and animated by the higher goods and truths in a of the spiritual mind. Thus the combat is primarily between the spiritual mind and the evils and falsities of -the natural mind. The spiritual mind however fights from its own goods and truths by the goods and truths of the natural mind. (AC 6724, AE 176, 790.) Then the spiritual rests securely on the natural and the man thereafter holds his interior seat in that lowest degree of the spiritual mind. This degree of the natural mind is now conjoined with the spiritual and makes one with it. The man dying in this state goes to the lowest or natural heaven because he is regenerate to the natural degree of his spiritual mind and to the corresponding degree of his natural mind. This first great step of regeneration requires years for its accomplishment, with most persons, many years. Neither does it always actually commence at twenty-one years of age.

But cannot man be saved unless this degree be completely regenerate in this world? Yes. If the work be well commenced it will be completed in the other world. (TCR 571.) With most who are saved, indeed with an who are properly saved by entering into heaven, that is who cultivate in themselves the heavenly marriage of good and truth, the spiritual mind is opened and as to their interior life they live distinctly and clearly within. There are however a few in whom that mind is neither strictly closed, nor properly open. These acknowledge God and shun as sin but have little or no concern about truths, being content with a few simple ideas. Truth as well as good is requisite to open the spiritual mind and secure elevation into it. As they do not lead a wicked life but a certain species of good life they neither close heaven against themselves nor properly enter it. Their abode after death is in the very lowest part of heaven, or in the outskirt of a superior heaven, where they perform service under direction of those who are in heaven. (DLW 253.)

When a man with the lowest degree of the spiritual mind, opened and the highest of the natural regenerate enters his appropriate heaven the unremoved evils of the two lower degrees of the natural mind are thereafter held in quiescence, chiefly by the goods and truths appropriated in the higher degrees. The like occurs with him who is so far regenerated as to enter the spiritual or middle heaven after death. His lowest natural degree is yet tainted with evil, but the two higher degrees of the natural mind being purified, the evils of this degree are held in quiescence. It is different with him who enters the highest heaven because (as will be seen in Diagram XXIV) every degree of his natural mind is cleansed of evil and filled with good and truth.

There is a difference between evil from the father and evil from the mother. (Chapter XVIII.) The evil which is from the father (resident in the three degrees of the natural mind C and thence in the spiritual-sensual and spiritual-corporeal), cannot be expelled, but only removed from the centre to the circumference and there held in subjection and, as it were, lifeless, to eternity. But the evil from the mother may be dispersed as regeneration descends through the degrees of the limbus. (AC 1414, 1444, 1573.)

Dispersion of the maternal evil does not involve the rejection of the limbus as an organism but only a change of state by expulsion of impure substances and disorderly forms and the appropriation of other substances pure and orderly. The good and truth of -the paternal degrees rest on corresponding states in this material plane, the limbus, as their ultimate base. Even the gross body becomes purified in proportion to the regeneration of the higher degrees-a change effected by rejection of impure substances and incorporation of material substances pure and orderly.

As the unremoved evil in the two lower degrees of the natural mind with him who dies in the state presented in this diagram is held forever quiescent in those degrees, so the undispersed evil of the two lower degrees of the limbus is held in quiescency by the power of the good appropriated in the regenerated degrees above. “Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours, no man shall be able to stand before you, JEHOVAH your God will lay the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land that you shall tread upon.” (Deut. xi, 24, 25 ; Gen. ix, 2.)

From earliest infancy remains have been stored preparatory for regeneration in after years. (Pages 67, 73, 75-83, 85.) During adult life there are added new good by an internal way and new truth by an external way. This increase continues after death but only of good and truth of the same degree as appropriated during life in the world. After death no new degree can be opened. Angels of a lower heaven never become angels of a higher, nor do the higher fall to a lower. While in the world man acquires a certain measure of good or evil which after death he neither transcends nor falls below. (AC 7984; S.D. 4037-9.)

The cause of this permanence is that the limbus, the plane of the natural memory, then quiesces. During life this lowest mental plane was active and usable under volition and could be changed in quality and thus made the basis of new openings of the higher degrees. But in quiescing after death it becomes fixed. Should a degree higher than that attained in the world be providentially opened it could not be held permanently because this opened state would not be terminated in the limbus. No spiritual degree nor state of a degree can endure except it rest on the limbus, the indestructible base and containant of the whole spirit and of all its states. (DLW 257; D.W. in AE VIII, quoted pp. 54-56.)

Why does the limbus quiesce? When man becomes a spirit he must close the memory of natural things and enter into interior consciousness without which he could not properly inhabit the spiritual world. Were not the limbus then quiescent he would relapse into it and thus be withdrawn from conscious life in the states and scenery of that world. When a spirit for a special purpose experiences temporary activity of his natural memory he is withdrawn from the consciousness and memory of things spiritual. This exercise of the material memory however causes no permanent change of its state. During life the limbus is clothed with the gross body which furnishes a reactive plane for the operation of the natural memory. When this reactive plane is removed by death the natural memory quiesces and the spiritual memory is opened.

Should the limbus not quiesce at death the spirit could not thereafter permanently retain his interiors in due form and order as they would have no unchangeable ultimate; the regenerate could not then be preserved forever in heaven, nor the wicked in hell. (AC 2469 to 2494; S.D. 4037 to 4039.)

Nor does this quiescence merely fix the happy state of the angels in the degree to which they have advanced, but as the Divine acts by universal laws this quiescence also holds the evil in their life’s love without possibility of either descent or ascent to other degrees than those opened in their perverted minds and founded in the limbus during life in the world. “As the tree falls so it lies.”

The fixed state of the limbus fixes the interiors because interiors must be and flow according to exteriors, so that no permanent change can be made in the interior without a corresponding change in the exterior.

“Unless the natural assist, no birth of interior truth exists, for it is the natural which receives into its bosom interior truths when born, since it gives them ability to come forth. In regard to the things which are of spiritual birth, reception must be wholly be in the natural. This is the reason why, during man’s regeneration, the natural is first prepared to receive; and so far as this is made receptive, so far interior goods and truths can be excluded [that is, begotten by the interior, and received and brought forth by the exterior], and multiplied. This also is the reason why, if the natural man be not prepared to receive the goods and truths of faith in the life of the body, he cannot receive them in the other life, thus he cannot be saved. For man has with him in the other life the natural memory or the memory of the external man, but in that life they are not allowed to use it (see 2469 to 2494;) wherefore it is as a foundation plane into which interior goods and truths descend; and if that plane is not receptive of the truths and goods which flow in from the interior, the interior goods and truths are either extinguished, or perverted, or rejected.”-AC 4588.

The quality of man’s affection and thought and thus of his state of life depends entirely on the agreement or disagreement of his natural with his spiritual mind or what is the same on his natural being rightly or wrongly receptive of Divine influx through his interiors.

The spiritual mind is always in true order. But influx thence into the natural mind becomes natural good and truth embodying spiritual and thus regenerating the natural C only so far as the limbus is regenerated. (DP 119, 120.) Hence,

“The thought of spirits and angels is terminated in she natural, for they have all the natural memory and its affections, but they are not allowed to use it. Although they are not allowed to use that memory, still it serves them as a plane or as a foundation, so that the ideas of their thought are therein terminated; hence it is that their thought is such as is the correspondence [or non-correspondence] of their natural with the rational.”-AC 3679.

The natural corresponds or discorresponds causing rationality or insanity according to life in the world which life determines the state of the limbus and this unalterably fixes the state of the spirit or the angel.

The numberless inner evils of the natural mind C are enrooted in the limbus D wherein they present themselves as one.

Cupidities within, the man sees not; these are known to the LORD alone. But the LORD can remove them only when man who is together with Him in the limbus fights against them there as seen by the light of truth. Thus their basis is removed, and the inner mind is cleansed. Good and truth can then descend from the spiritual mind into the natural mind C, regenerating it, become enrooted in the limbus, and be rendered as act and speech by the gross body. Good and truth thus implanted in the natural band enrooted in the limbus D are also permanently enjoyable as to their interiors in the spiritual mind B. (DP 119, 120, 125) The “internal man” in these passages of Divine Providence is the natural mind C, the “external man” is the limbus and gross body. (Chapter XV.)

Thus far as to the quiescence of the limbus.

The temporary activity of the limbus above alluded to is caused by the spirit or the angel being for the time so joined to man’s externals as to furnish a reactive base for the purpose.

Another feature of regeneration pertaining alike to him in whom only the first degree of the spiritual mind is opened (as shown in this diagram) and to him whose states are represented in Diagrams XXIII and XXIV, should be especially noted. Since the spiritual mind is formed of spiritual substances of a purer kind and the paternal natural C is formed of spiritual substances of a grosser kind therefore good and truth flow from the spiritual into the natural simply by taking on a more compound form.

But they cannot flow from the natural mind into the limbus and gross body in the same manner, as these are composed of material substances, and hence as already stated undergo renovation by rejection of impure natural substances, and incorporation of such as are pure,

Previous: Chapter XXI. Growth During Youth. Up: Discrete Degrees Next: Chapter XXIII. The Second Degree of Regeneration.


Chapter XIX. Growth During Infancy.

IN this diagram B is the spiritual mind in three degrees answering to the angelic heavens the highest or celestial degree of which is a; C is the natural mind in three degrees answering to the world of spirits, the lowest degree of which is b. For the designation of each degree in the spiritual and natural minds see Diagram XIII. D is the spiritual body consisting of the spiritual-sensual and spiritual-corporeal, E the limbus in three degrees the lowest of which is c, F the gross body as distinct from the limbus. The limbus and gross body together constitute the entire natural or material body.

This diagram illustrates the commencement of two orders of discretely progressive development one from above down in the spiritual mind the other from below up in the natural mind, and shows the origin and nature of the principles by which this development is effected during infancy. In the Writings the periods from birth to manhood are called infancy, childhood and youth, each covering some years. During manhood with him who becomes fully regenerate there are also three periods.

During the period from conception to adult life man is not actually regenerated but is prepared for regeneration to he accomplished in after years. The nature of this preparation is the principal subject of this and the next two diagrams.

Order requires that man be first imbued with celestial principles, afterward with spiritual. The celestial are love of the LORD, charity, innocence and peace; the spiritual, wisdom, intelligence, knowledge and scientifics, or what is the same, truths of every degree. This order however does not exclude another which obtains during reformation preparatory to regeneration, that of being led by truth to good or by the spiritual to the celestial.

Concerning the states and changes during minority, we read-

(1.) The celestials of love and charity and the essential innocence that is in them “are insinuated into man primarily in infancy till childhood, and this without cognitions, for they inflow from the LORD and affect before man knows what love is and what affection is, as appears from the state of infants and afterwards from the state of early childhood; these in man are remains and are stored up for use in after life”. -AC 1450.

(2.) “Celestials are insinuated into man as well without cognitions as with them; celestials without cognitions from infancy to childhood, but celestials with cognitions from childhood to adult age.” -AC 1451.

(3.) ” It is one thing to he in celestials, and another to he in the cognitions of celestials- Infants and children are in celestials more than adults because in love toward their parents and in mutual love and also in innocence [within these loves]; but adults are in the cognitions of celestials more than infants and children, and very many are not even in the celestials of love.”-AC 1453.

(4.) “From first infancy to early childhood man is introduced by the LORD into heaven and indeed among the celestial angels by whom he is kept in a state of innocence, in which state, as is known, infants are till early childhood. When childhood commences he by degrees puts off the state of innocence, but still he is kept in a state of charity by the affection of mutual charity toward his like, which state with many continues even to youth, he is then among spiritual angels. At this time, [youth after childhood and after passing from under spiritual angels], inasmuch as he begins to think from himself and act accordingly, he cannot be kept in charity as before, for he then calls forth hereditary evils by which he suffers himself to be led. When in this state, the goods of charity and innocence which he had received, according to the degrees in which he thinks evils and confirms them by acts, are exterminated; still they are not exterminated but withdrawn by the LORD toward the interiors and there stored up. But as he has not yet known truths, the goods of innocence and charity received in the two former states have not been qualified, for truth gives quality to good and good gives essence to truth, therefore he is from that age by instructions and especially by his own thoughts and confirmations imbued with truths. So far as he is now in the affection of good, so far truths are conjoined to good in him by the LORD and stored up for use.”-AC 5342.

(5.) “From infancy to childhood and sometimes to early youth, man imbibes goods and truths by instructions from parents and masters, for he eagerly seizes them and believes in simplicity, innocence helps them forward and fits them in the memory but places them in the first threshold, for infantile and childish innocence is not the internal innocence which affects the rational but is external innocence affecting only the exterior natural. But when man advances in age and begins to think not as before from parents and masters, but from himself, he then again takes up and as it were ruminates upon what he had learned and believed, and either confirms them, or doubts about them, or denies them.”-AC 5135.

(6.) “Man’s rational is begotten by celestial Divine good as a father…. but not conceived by spiritual truth as a mother [but by the affection of knowledges in the natural. (See AC 1895.)]

… Man is not born into any knowledge nor into any rational, but only into the faculty of receiving them. [He learns in an external way and as he learns he becomes rational.] There continually inflows something from the interior [into the natural], which receives the things that enter and are insinuated [or imbibed] [from without] and arranges them. That which inflows and receives and arranges is celestial Divine good from the LORD. Hence [the things which enter from without have “their life and their order.”-AC 2557. (To see why “not spiritual truth,” but an “affection of knowing, in the natural, is the mother in this case, consult the whole number; and also Nos. 1895, 1902, and 1910.)

(7.) “As soon as man is born he is introduced [by the LORD] into a state of innocence that it may be a plane of the remaining states, and the inmost in them;….. next he is introduced into a state of the affection of celestial good, that is of love toward his parents, which at this time, is instead of love to the LORD;…. afterwards he is introduced into a state of the affection of spiritual good, or of mutual love, that is, of charity toward his like; as he advances further in age, he is introduced into a state of the affection of truth.”- AC 3183. At length other states follow till the last which is that of true wisdom signified by old men. In this state is the innocence of infancy ; and thus the first state and the last are united.

(8.) “Goods of three kinds are signified by remains, viz.: goods of infancy, goods of ignorance, and goods of intelligence. [Infancy, is from nativity to the age of instruction and knowledge; ignorance, when he begins to be instructed and to know; and intelligence when he reflects from himself on good and truth.]

“The good of infancy is from infancy to the tenth year; the good of ignorance [that is man being ignorant is instructed] from the tenth to the twentieth; from this year man begins to become rational, to have the faculty of reflecting on good and truth and to procure the good of intelligence.”-AC 2280. The ages here specified for these three kinds of good are only general approximations.

(9.) Cognitions with man never come in childhood from his interior but from objects of the senses, especially from hearing. Cognitions are learned and implanted in the memory according to the influx of the internal man,” [that is, the external, by good flowing into it from the LORD through the internal, is gifted with an affection for knowledge, which good not only gives to the external the affection for knowledge but by that affection arranges all the knowledge acquired and implants it properly in the memory.]- AC 1460.

(10.) “The external man cannot be brought to correspondence and concordance with the internal except by knowledges. The external man is corporeal and sensual, nor does it receive anything celestial and spiritual unless cognitions be implanted therein as in soil, in which cognitions celestials may have their recipient vessels.”-AC 1461

(11.) States of innocence, charity and mercy which man receives from the LORD in infancy and childhood, and the knowledges and truths of faith, are what are called remains and are preserved with man when man (in adult age) is about to be regenerated “these states are the beginnings of regeneration and man is led into them, for the LORD operates by them. “-AC 1050. (See AC 10110.)

The state of boyhood extending from the fifth year to the twentieth (AC 10225) is generally subdivided into childhood and youth as in Diagrams XX and XXI.

The development and preparation of the spiritual mind B progresses through its three discrete degrees successively from above down; the preparation and development of the natural mind C progresses through its three discrete degrees from below up. This diagram illustrates the accomplishment of the first step in these two directions. These processes meet midway between the natural and the spiritual mind at adult age. This diagram represents man at the close of infancy and at the beginning of childhood. Infancy and childhood, though distinct, measurably coexist-infancy subsiding and childhood commencing.

Comparing this with Diagram XVIII (“Man at Birth”) we see a remarkable growth and change mostly in a b c and F, the other parts having attained a moderate advancement.

From this and the next two diagrams we see that the growth of the spiritual mind is from above down and of the natural from below up.

While the LORD by inscrutable influences directly from Himself and mediately through the highest angels deposits the initials of love and thence of wisdom in the plane a, He at the same time acts upon the ultimates through the intermediate degrees and also immediately, imbuing them with what is celestial in its external form. Hence arise external growth as well as external loves, innocence and peace with the infant and at the same time internal development and a storing of love, innocence and peace corresponding to them; but the internal are imperceptible.

While (a b D c F) are rapidly growing and their appropriate principles are being deposited, the other faculties also slightly increase. During the reign of innocence in the external of the infant, “the interiors are forming for use.” (AC 10225.) Through the innocence in the infant in its perceptible and conscious operation is merely external (as is also the love to parents and others in which love that innocence inheres) yet it flows in “through the interiors,” into the externals, where it produces the palpable and other effects mentioned in the Writings. (HH 277.) This innocence thus flowing in with the Divine life in it must cause some growth and deposit of its initial forms as remains in those internals which correspond to the externals now developing and receiving remains. This agrees with the law that the LORD works from Himself in first principles and by Himself in last principles to order and arrange intermediates, which law involves that He works at the same time by principles just below the first and just above the last. (DP 124, 125, 220.) So He comes down the steps through the spiritual mind at the same time that He goes up the steps of the natural mind, while preparing man for regeneration. The natural must be developed in its three degrees and stored before the first step in adult regeneration can be taken. This development must be from without in, first the sensual in infancy, second the scientific in childhood, and third the natural rational in youth or adolescence. These steps cannot be taken without corresponding ones in the spiritual mind. Regeneration requires the action of the spiritual mind to excite the reaction of the natural mind, but the spiritual cannot act without suitable development and supply of spiritual and celestial goods and truths from which to act and with which to flow into the natural mind.

The lowest degree of the natural mind b which is developed and imbued with celestial influences during the state of infancy, is the corporeal and sensual. Corporeal sensations and sensual affections and ideas are being formed and treasured as remains and as a base for future states to be developed and for processes to be effected by the higher faculties operating in the lower.

That these externals are formed, enlivened and gifted from appropriate and corresponding internals, is clear from Arcana Coelestia,

“The internal man with every one [meaning the inmost] is of the LORD alone, for there the LORD stores up goods and truths with which He gifts man from infancy: hence by means of those He flows into the interior or rational man, [elsewhere called the spiritual mind] and through this into the exterior.”-AC 1707

The lowest plane of the limbus c is developed and imbued with love, innocence and peace. This degree coincides with the lowest of the natural mind b and with it responds to the highest degree of the spiritual mind a. Each degree of the natural mind composed of spiritual substances must have a corresponding degree in the limbus which is the ultimate of the natural mind and is formed of natural substances; and as the spiritual mind rests at last on the limbus there must be a degree in the limbus answering to each degree of the spiritual mind, otherwise the limbus would be abnormal and unadapted. The natural body and the spiritual body the natural mind and the spiritual mind have each its three degrees.

We read, “The internal by degrees elevates the natural to itself” (AC 6239.) The work here diagramed is in part the work of the internal preparing the external for regeneration. Such preparation must of course be by degrees successively. Hence the limbus must be developed and prepared by degrees. The trinality of the limbus thus comports with the trinality of all else in man and with the trinality of everything in the universe.

That truth from the LORD flows immediately into the external man C D E F, as well as mediately through the higher degrees to develop and store the external appears from Arcana Coelestia

“From the LORD proceeds Divine Truth immediately and mediately. What proceeds immediately is above all the understanding of the angels. But what proceeds mediately is adapted to the angels in the heavens, and also to men, for it passes through heaven, and hence puts on angelic quality, and human quality; but into this truth also the LORD inflows immediately, and thereby leads angels and men both mediately and immediately; for all and singular things are from the First Esse and the order is so instituted that the First Esse may be present in the derivatives both mediately and immediately.”-AC 7004.

This shows that the external degrees are developed and filled by intermediate Divine operation and that the external is formed and stored through the internal and of course each external degree by its corresponding internal as in the diagrams.

The growth of each degree involves its formation and storage with two Divine principles- the Divine celestial which is love and all its attributes, and the Divine spiritual which is wisdom and all its attributes. The recipient of the celestial is the will, and that of the spiritual the understanding. The will and the understanding are in each of the three degrees of the natural mind and in each of the spiritual mind. Hence celestials which are of the will do not flow into the highest degree of the spiritual mind a without celestial spirituals which are of the understanding, for these must be with the celestials. And as both celestials and celestial spirituals flow into and develop the degree a during this period, so they both flow thence through the intermediates into the ultimates and develop them, namely, the sensual degree of the natural mind, b, the spiritual body D, the lowest degree of the limbus, c, and the body F; thus affecting even the body with love and wisdom from the highest degree of the spiritual mind.

The two important truths, first that the external mind is developed and stored in part by influx from the internal mind, and second that while the external is consciously growing and being stored the internal is being unconsciously developed and filled, are involved in the following teaching, –

“Cognitions with man never come in childhood from the interior, but from objects of the senses, especially from hearing. There are with the external man recipient vessels, and these are formed by cognitions, the internal man inflowing and assisting. Cognitions are learned and implanted in the [external] memory according to the influx of the internal man.”-A. C. 1460.

This relates alike to infancy, childhood and youth. The doctrine is that the external is formed and filled so that it can act from the influx of the internal. From this it follows that the internal during the same time grows and becomes receptive, else it could not act and impart.

This formation and storage during infancy, childhood and youth as well as the operations of Providence therein are imperceptible, as set forth in the following –

“The rational is in the internal man [in B] and what transpires therein is unknown to the natural [that is, to C, and all below it.].. Man, who lives a merely natural life, can know nothing of what transpires in his internal man. The LORD disposes such things while man is entirely ignorant of it. Hence too it is that man knows not [perceptibly] how he is regenerated.”-AC 3570. This can be known only from Doctrine.

During infancy hereditary evil is mostly quiescent, less so during childhood represented in the next diagram, and still less in youth. Were hereditary evil not quiescent, man could not he imbued with love and instructed by truth by which he may be reformed and regenerated. Before regeneration hereditary evil is within and the goods and truths of remains in the natural man are without, after regeneration the reverse.

As regeneration and the preparation for it proceed by three great distinct degrees and as each degree of the spiritual mind and each of the natural is composed of less and yet lesser degrees, so each step is a progressive work. (Diagrams XIV and XVII.)

The work accomplished in infancy may be summarized under two heads, (1.) Organic growth, and (2.) Storing of the several degrees.

(1.) A marked development of the highest degree of the spiritual mind, of the lowest degree of the natural mind, of the spiritual body, of the lowest degree of the limbus, of the gross body, and a moderate growth of the germs of the other degrees. (See the diagram.)

(2.) Storing the developed degree of the spiritual mind with the initial forms of celestial love and wisdom in which dwell innocence and peace, and gifting the lowest parts of the natural with the celestial ultimates of those higher faculties.

The ultimate celestial states (just mentioned) whose presence is indicated by the tinge of red in b D c and F include the innocence and peace which imparts that celestial tenderness and sweetness so observable in infants, and also love of parents, mutual love, confidence and obedience, with the external delights; appropriate to this age which embraces the first five years.

During this period and largely through childhood and youth hereditary evil is held quiescent. Potent among the forces effecting this are the states of celestial innocence and peace.

Previous: Supplement. Up: Discrete Degrees Next: Chapter XX. Growth During Childhood.

Chapter XVI. The Limbus Retained After Death


THIS diagram illustrates the limbus surrounding the whole spirit of man after death and serving as a cutaneous envelop to hold the spirit securely in form to eternity.

F is the gross material body now rejected, the spirit being separated from it and risen into conscious life in the spiritual world.

The natural or external memory of man in the world is seated in the limbus the extreme ultimate of the natural mind. This memory consisting of the states impressed upon the limbus during life in the world, remains after death but is quiescent.

If this diagram be taken to represent the whole angelic heaven, E is their aggregate limbus. Extending the view, E represents the limbus of the spirits of this earth and all earths in the universe regenerate or unregenerate.

Previous: Chapter XV. The Limbus. Up: Discrete Degrees Next: Chapter XVII. All the Degrees in Trines.


Chapter XV. The Limbus.

THIS diagram presents a view of the LIMBUS which man derives from the purest substances of the natural world and which he retains as a cutaneous envelop of his spiritual body after death. This cutaneous envelop is called Limbus in the Latin of True Christian Religion TCR 103 where we read, –

“The soul which is from the father is the man himself, and the body, which is from the mother, is not in itself the man, but from him. The body is only the clothing of the soul woven of such [substances] as are of the natural world; but the soul is of such [substances] as are in the spiritual world. Every man after death lays aside the natural [body] which he carried from the mother, and retains the spiritual which was from the father, together with a certain Limbus of the purest [substances] of nature around it.”

The degrees A B C and D combined, represent the whole of the spiritual part of man, that is, all which is composed of spiritual substances (TCR 103, DLW 388), A representing the supreme degree or soul-proper; B the internal or spiritual mind with all its degrees; C the external or natural mind with its degrees; and D the spiritual body, consisting of the spiritual sensual and spiritual corporeal as shown in Diagram XIII.

The Limbus E and gross body F together constitute the entire natural or material body; the limbus being nearer to the spirit and invisible to the natural eye, the gross body more external and rejected at death. E is drawn in green to distinguish it from the spiritual structures above, F consisting of gross natural substances is drawn in dark.

This Limbus, man does not cast off at death but retains as a permanent cutaneous envelop of his spiritual body. The substances of the limbus are the natural substances meant in Divine Love and Wisdom, where we read-

“The natural mind of man consists of spiritual substances and at the same time of natural substances; from its spiritual substances, thought is produced but not from its natural substances; these [natural] substances recede, [or pass from activity to quiescence] when man dies but not the spiritual substances, wherefore that same natural mind after death when man becomes a spirit or an angel, remains in a form similar to that in which it was in the world. The natural substances of this mind, which as was said recede by death, make the cutaneous envelop of the spiritual body in which spirits and angels are. By such envelop, which is taken from the natural world, their spiritual bodies [permanently] subsist, for the natural is the [fixed] containing ultimate.”- DLW 257.

The limbus is described in the same work as something fixed containing the spiritual organism:

“The material form [or natural body of man] which is added and superinduced [upon his spirit] in the world, is not a human form of itself, but from the human form of the spirit, added to and superinduced [upon the spirit] that man may do uses in the natural world, and also that he may carry with him [after death] from the purer substances of the world, something fixed containing his spirituals, and so continue and perpetuate life.”- DLW 388.

And in Divine Providence, we read, –

“Man by death puts off the grosser [substances] of nature and retains the purer which latter are next to his spiritual, and these are then his containants.”-DP 220.

The necessity of a limbus composed of natural substances to keep the spiritual body in form and order arises from the difference between natural substances and spiritual substances. This difference also necessitates the natural world to contain and preserve the spiritual world. The substances of which the bodies of spirits and angels are composed, being interior and evanescent, not ultimate and fixed like material substances, require an envelop of natural substances to hold them permanently in form. But even this natural cutaneous envelop could not preserve the spiritual body of an angel or spirit, in form, were not the envelop itself contained within and resting upon something firmer and more solid than itself, that is, upon the finer substances and through them upon the grosser substances of the natural body of man. (LJ 9.) The evanescence of spiritual substances may be illustrated by the escapement and diffusion of fluids in the natural world. The whole physical universe is related to the spiritual universe as man’s physical body to his spirit, and the highest or inmost plane of this physical universe is related to the spiritual universe as man’s limbus to his spirit. The inmost plane being the nearest covering of the spiritual universe must be the medium by which the life of the spiritual world flows into and operates upon all lower natural substances which constitute the gross physical body of the universe. (Read attentively D. W. in AE VIII, 4, 5.)

Inasmuch as the bodies of men rest on the earth, and spirits and angels through the limbus rest on men, it follows that angels and spirits rest mediately upon the earth itself as the last foundation. (LJ 9.) Angels and spirits rest on men by means of their limbus because the natural substances composing the limbus are joined with the lowest spiritual substances and are in a sense intermediate between the spiritual and the grosser and palpable natural organisms of men. The limbus must be kept in form by connection with natural substances coarser and firmer than itself in graded structures even down to earthly solids.

When we say the limbus is composed of the purest substances of nature we mean the purest of the human body; the substances of the natural sun and others proximately emanating therefrom are doubtless prior to these.

On the nature of spiritual substance on the one hand and material on the other, on the intermediate nature of the Limbus and its use in giving permanence to the existence of angels and spirits and connecting them with men, we read in Divine Wisdom,

“The angelic mind cannot be procreated, and through procreation be multiplied except in man.

“He who knows the quality of substances in the spiritual world, and the quality respectively of matters in the natural world, can easily see that there is no procreation of angelic minds nor can be, except in those and from those who inhabit the ultimate work of creation, the earth. But because the quality of substances in the spiritual world in relation to matters in the natural world is unknown [it shall now be told]. Substances in the spiritual world appear as if they were material, but they are not; and because they are not material therefore they are not constant. They are correspondences of the affections of the angels, and with the affections or the angels they are permanent, and with them they are separated [that is, on the cessation of the affections, the substances composing the object are dispersed, and the Object vanishes, see D. L. W. 344; TCR 78]. Similar would it have been with the angels, had they been created there. But besides, there is not, nor can be, with the angels any procreation and thence multiplication other than a spiritual one, which is that of wisdom and of love, such as is also of the souls of men who are generated anew or regenerated. But in the natural world there are matters, by which and from which procreations and afterwards formations can take place, thus multiplication of men and thence of angels.

Spirits and angels hence derive substance and life to eternity.

“The reason is that every angel and spirit from having been first born a man in the world derives substance, for he retains with himself from the inmost [substances] of nature a medium between the spiritual and the natural by which he is finited [that is, definitely terminated and fixed in form] so that he may subsist and be permanent; by this medium he has something related to the things which are in nature and also correspondent to them.

“By this also spirits and angels can be adjoined, and conjoined to the human race, for there is conjunction and where there is conjunction there must be a medium.

“That there is such a medium the angels know, but because it is from the inmost [substances] of nature and the words of languages are from the ultimates of nature it cannot be described except by abstract [terms].” –D.W. in AE VIII, 3, 4, 5, (See also DLW 344; 6 to 9.)

In Divine Providence we read, –

“The natural and temporal are the outmosts and ultimates into which man first enters, which he does at birth in order that he may afterwards be introduced into things interior and superior; for outermosts and ultimates are containants, and these are in the natural world. This is why no angel or spirit was created immediately, but why all were first born men and so introduced [into things interior or superior]; hence they have the outermosts and ultimates which in themselves are fixed and established, within which and by which interiors can be held together in connection. But man first puts on the grosser [substances] of nature; his body is from them but by death he puts them off, and retains the purer [substances] of nature which are nearest to spiritual [substances] and these then are his containants. Furthermore in outermosts or ultimates, all things interior or superior are together; wherefore every operation of the LORD is from firsts and ultimates together, thus in fullness. But as the outermosts and ultimates of nature cannot receive the spiritual and eternal things to which the human mind is formed, as these are in themselves, and yet man was born to become spiritual and live forever, therefore man puts off the ultimates, and retains only the natural interiors which meet and accord with the spirituals and celestials and subserve them as containants. This is done by the rejection of temporal and natural ultimates, which is the death of the body.”-.DP 220.

In the above we have the reason of the universal order of creation-the finer in the grosser, the active in the inert, the first in the last, the spiritual in the natural. This difference of substances is necessary, for were there no active, fluid, evanescent substances there would be no life, force, or motion; and were there no solid, inert substances there would he no stability and duration of form.

From the foregoing we see that

Because substances in the spiritual world are evanscent and matters in our world are stable and constant especially in ultimates, the whole spiritual universe acquires organic permanence solely by the natural universe clothing and sustaining it.

And we see that

Inasmuch as the human spirit in its rudimental form as an offshoot from the soul of the father is an organism of spiritual substances evanescent in their nature (DLW 432; TCR 103; CL 220), it must (when begotten) be immediately fixed by taking on the primordial rudimentary form of the material body from the purest elements of nature supplied for the purpose by the mother, thus securing permanence and subsequent growth.

And we further see that

Man does not at death cast off the whole of his material form but only the gross mass and retains the purest part which was nearest his spirit, as a limbus or cutaneous envelop to hold his spirit in endless duration, and as a medium conjoining him with man in the world, thus preserving both; spirits and angels resting on men and men receiving influx from them. Hence man at death, when he becomes a spirit, is not utterly separated from the material world since he does not reject ALL he has taken on from this world but remains (to the extent of his limbus) unconsciously connected with it: all this is to secure the Divine end of creation, an ever increasing and ever enduring heaven of human beings.

There is a difference between the states of the limbus of those who die in infancy and of those who die in adult age. In Heaven and Hell we read:

“They who die adult have and carry with them a plane acquired from the earthly and material world. This plane is their [external or natural] memory, and its bodily, natural affection. This remains fixed, and is then quiescent; but still it serves their thought after death as an ultimate plane, for the thought flows into it. Hence such as that plane is and such as is the correspondence of the rational with the contents of that plane such is the man after death. But those who died infants and were educated in heaven have not such a plane, but a spiritual natural plane: because they derive nothing from the material world and the earthly body they cannot be in so gross affections and hence thoughts; for they derive all from heaven.”- HH 345.

We must not infer from the above that those who die in infancy retain no limbus from nature to preserve their spiritual organism. The meaning is they have not a merely natural memory, that is a memory formed in the plane of the limbus by the use of the natural senses as those have who grow up in this life. But while growing up in the other life, their memory is formed in a spiritual structure just within the plane of the spiritual senses and is called spiritual natural because it is in a spiritual plane resting upon the natural. Should their limbus he insufficient for adult stature, it will necessarily be increased as they advance.

As all living organisms undergo change by a resolution and passing off of their substances and renewal by appropriation of new substances, so must it be with the limbus.

We must not suppose that the limbus is taken into the spiritual world. It is natural and must remain in the natural world. Man as to his spirit being of the spiritual world even from birth and unconsciously an inhabitant there during life in the body, does not go into that world at death but merely awakens to manifest presence there by the opening of his spiritual senses. This is because the spiritual and the natural worlds are not separated by distance but are together and conjoined like soul and body.

How can spirits move from place to place in the spiritual world while clothed with a cutaneous envelop of natural substances? Change of locality in that world is effected by change of state. Swedenborg so traveled there as to his spirit while clothed with the gross body even. (See E.U. 127, HH 192, 195.) A fuller answer to this question is given at the end of Chapter XXIII.

The mental functions of the Limbus will be presented in Chapters XVIII to XXIV.

The meaning of the statement “This limbus with those who come after death into heaven is below and the spiritual above, but with those who come into hell the limbus is above and the spiritual below,” etc., (TCR 103) will be best understood after study of the mental functions of the limbus above referred to. (See Diagram XXIV.)