The Four Ages

- from the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg
Revelation through the Ages - continued

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But when not even natural good remained with the man of the church, the Lord came into the world and reduced into order all things in the heavens and in the hells, to the end that man may receive influx from Him out of heaven and be enlightened; and that the hells should not be able to hinder, and infuse thick darkness. Then a fourth church began, which is called the Christian Church In this church their information about heavenly things, or about those of eternal life, is effected solely by means of the Word. Thereby man has influx and enlightenment; for the Word has been written by means of mere correspondences, and by means of mere representatives, which signify heavenly things.

Into these come the angels of heaven when the man of the church reads the Word; consequently there is effected through the Word the conjunction of heaven with the church, or of the angels of heaven with the men of the church; but only with those therein who are in the good of love and of charity. But inasmuch as the man of this church also has extinguished this good, therefore neither can he be informed by any influx, and by enlightenment therefrom, except about a few truths, which however do not cohere with good. Therefore these times are what are called Iron, for "iron" denotes truth in the ultimate of order. But when truth is of such a quality, it is then such as is described in Daniel:

From this it can be seen in what manner revelations have succeeded one another from the most ancient ages to the present time; and that at this day revelation is given solely through the Word, and genuine revelation solely with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of truth, and not with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of honors and profit as ends. For, if you will believe it, the Lord is the Word itself, because the Word is Divine truth, and Divine truth is the Lord in heaven, because it is from the Lord. Wherefore they who love Divine truth for the sake of Divine truth, love the Lord; and with those who love the Lord heaven flows in and enlightens them. Whereas they who love Divine truth for the sake of honors and profit as ends, turn themselves away from the Lord to themselves and to the world, for which reason there can be with them no influx and enlightenment. Moreover as these, when dwelling on the sense of the letter, keep the mind fixed upon themselves and their own reputation and glory, they apply this sense to such things as favor their own loves.

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