GRASSES >> Knowledge of the Duties of Life

GR837 The Grains are only the nobler grasses, maturing seeds which are useful for food. They are related to the humbler grasses comparatively as fruit trees are to their allied  flowering shrubs. To the grasses we owe the summer beauty of our meadows and hillsides and lawns, and also the greater part of the food of the domestic animals. The green pastures in which the sheep lie down are pastures of grass and other flowering herbage, which are correspondences of the teachings by which the Lord feeds His flock.

The grains are correspondences of duties done from various good motives; and the grasses which are so like the grains, but are themselves food for the humbler animals, and do not develop large, nutritious seeds which shall be food for man, correspond to knowledge about the duties of life which the grains represent, yet not themselves teaching duties to be immediately done. The instruction of children in the broader aspects of life, which they like to know about, and to imitate in many childish plays, but which do not yet present duties to them, is like the grass of the field. The mind is nourished by it before it is prepared for the full satisfactions of useful life from duty to the Lord or from duty to the neighbor. And so also are they who are preparing for the heavenly life nourished in the introductory states before they enter into that life. They are instructed concerning it, while they are yet in their natural states; and love to learn about it, and perhaps to learn very much, before they undertake its duties. And such instruction of the natural man before the satisfactions of the real life are received is like the grass and herbage with which the good animals are nourished. For the good animals correspond to such innocent, natural feelings.

Swedenborg tells us that “when there is discourse in heaven concerning instruction and teaching from the Word, then in the world of spirits, where spiritual things appear naturally, meadows green with grass, herbage, and flowersare represented to the sight, and also flocks there; and this occurs with every variety according to the quality of the discourse in heaven concerning instruction and teaching” (Arcana Coelestia #5201 ). And, again, “to find pasture is to be taught, illustrated, and nourished in Divine truths” (Apocalypse Revealed #914).

In Apocalypse Explained #507, it is said that the green grass signifies the “scientific truth . . . by which spiritual truth is confirmed, and which has life from spiritual good”; where by scientific truth is meant truth about good life and heaven and the Church, learned as a child learns it. The beauty of an innocent, childlike mind, full of images and hopes of heaven and heavenly life, by which the innocent, natural feelings are delighted and satisfied, is the beauty of spiritual pastures of grass and herbage, with the sheep and the lambs feeding in them. 


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