ICE >> Truth without uses, DEW >> Truth of Peace
SNOW >> Wisdom of Life from the Bible, HAIL >> Truth without Charity
A certain degree of love for the Lord, or for the neighbor, is necessary to keep the streams of thought concerning good life running. In a state of indifference and coldness we cease to apply it to life, and our collected stores of truth exist only as hard fixed knowledge of what we have been thinking, or have perceived to be true. Our streams are frozen to ice, till the returning love of use sets them flowing again. In our cool state we do not make much use of the truth; still, we take an intellectual pleasure in skimming over it, as upon skates or sleighs, and use it as a common ground of communication with others—all the more readily for our want of tenderness towards it. We also use it when any immoderate zeal or passion, as of summer heat or fever, is excited, which, by the application of cool passionless truth, is tempered down to healthful moderation.
When the sun goes down in a clear, bright sky—full of moisture, as a very clear sky always is—the leaves and the grass, and the surface of the ground, as they cool, condense the moisture in little drops all over themselves, from which they drink as much as they will for their refreshment, and keep themselves warm with the rest. And so at the end of a state of labor in which the mind has been intently thinking and loving spiritual truth, with repose come pleasant views of the work of life, of friends, and of the community, suggesting everywhere useful applications of the truth we have been thinking and loving. Every growing plant in the mind is revived by such perceptions, and though not warmed by the immediate presence of the sun, is kept from losing too much of its heat by the delight of knowing the truth.
The dew is “sweeter and pleasanter than showers,” Swedenborg says, “whence the grass and the crops of the fields are gladdened.” “The truth of peace,” he calls it, spiritually; and says that “it is the Divine truth from the Lord in heaven, and affects universally all who are there, and makes heaven to be heaven” (Arcana Coelestia #8455). Hoarfrost is the dew made white and solid by cold. It is the “truth of peace” regarded as a good thing in itself, and not applied at once to good uses (Arcana Coelestia #8459).
Snow is frozen cloud, which falls pure and white upon the earth, gently covering it from cold, and preserving its life till the sun renews its energies. When the zeal for use is past, and the mind needs rest, relapsing into a quiet natural state, with no thought of work, there may still be delight in learning truth, which is then loved for its own beauty, and as a good thing in itself; it is, like the snow, white, beautiful, comparatively solid, and may be accumulated. It keeps the mind from cooling down into evil and death, by interesting it in the truth as an object of desire, and thus preserving its vitality as a garment does the warmth of the body.In this form, truth affords easy means of communication and transportation; for, in this comparatively cool state, we meet others easily on the common ground of intellectual delight in truth alone; and the stores of experience and useful love, which we might not be able to communicate when the affections are warmer, may be readily produced and imparted.
Truths of moral philosophy, proverbs, pithy sayings as to what men do or ought to do, may be ice in various forms. Similar truth as to wisdom of life from the Bible may be snow from heaven; as when one says abstractly, the Bible regards this or that as right or wrong. Such truth as to the Bible standards may be accumulated indefinitely.
When recalled in warmer states, these stores of truth may be most useful to spiritual fruitfulness; for, “As the rain cometh down, and the snow, from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth” (Isaiah 55:10, 11).
Hail is rain carried up so high that it is frozen, and then pelted down to the destruction of tender plants. Yet, when melted, it turns to rainwater. It is like truths of the Word carried up by intense conceit into its own state of great self-exaltation, made hard by the total absence of charity, and cast at men as truths of a pitiless Divine Justice. When interpreted and softened by kindness, these same truths may be melted into gentle, beneficent truth of life.
Author: JOHN WORCESTER 1875