THE NATURAL BASIS
CORRESPONDENCE OF THE HEART AND LUNGS--PART 4 THE GIVING OF A NEW WILL
155. The writings show in many places (as we have already seen) that the will corresponds to the heart. In many other places they show that the regeneration of the spiritual man requires the formation of a new will. The student of the Writings may easily become distressed when he finds that these two doctrines are separated and that hardly ever does he learn about the formation of a new heart, although it is mentioned in the literal sense of the Old Testament. It seems as though there ought to be some kind of formation of a new heart to correspond to the new will necessary for regeneration, but a new heart does not grow in the body. As far as I am aware, the only reference in Arcana Coelestia to a new bodily heart is in no. 3470, part of which is as follows.
Thus also it is with man's Natural while it is being regenerated; for natural good is such, that of itself it is not willing to obey and serve rational good as a servant serves a master, but it wants to have the command. In order therefore that it may be reduced to a state of compliance and service, it is harassed by states of vastation and temptation, until its concupiscences become weakened, and then by an influx of the good of faith and charity through the internal man from the Lord, it is tempted, until the good received hereditarily is by degrees extirpated, and a new will is implanted in its place, into which good the truths of faith are then insinuated, which are like new fibres which are inserted into the heart of man, through which fibres new juice is introduced, until a new heart has grown by degrees.156. It is well known that new blood capillaries can appear in muscular tissue when there is a need for an improvement in blood supply and that a heart weakened (for example by lack of exercise) can, in this way grow stronger under a healthy regime. Many living tissues are constantly being broken down and renewed and we do not normally regard this repair and growth as producing a new organ.
157. If the whole of AC 3469 and 3470 is studied it appears possible that the correspondence is at a more external level than that concerned with the giving of a new will. We are here dealing with a man whose will has already led him to a religion of a kind (under Providence of course). Such a religion could be like that of people who live in accordance with doctrine from the literal sense of the Word. Such people are already regenerate as regards interior things; they already have a new will or conscience. The regeneration referred to in these two numbers is the reformation of natural good. As it is a process of gradual improvement and re-arrangement, it corresponds to the gradual renewal of an existing organ, not to the creation of a new one. To appreciate the meaning of the new will required for regeneration, we need to examine the fall of mankind and to understand how the Lord saved a remnant and continues to save us.
158. The fall of the human race reached its tragic end when the Most Ancient Church (MAC) was extinguished among the posterity of the early celestial people. Those people were the wisest of men, for goods and truths flowed into their minds from the Lord as though they had been born with them. For example, in AE 739:6 we read: "For the men of the celestial church are such that they perceive all the goods and truths of heaven from the Lord through influx into their interiors, whence they see goods and truths interiorly, in themselves as though innate,…" The function of truths with them is explained in AC 4489 where it is said that "The varieties and differences of good were to them truths, and hence they knew what all things in general and in particular in the world represented in the Lord's kingdom,…" They acquired cognitions of good and evil from heaven, but they were also allowed to procure knowledges of good and evil from the world. This we learn from AE 739:7 which continues:
for from [the world] their natural man had its knowledge. But they were forbidden to view their knowledges by a posterior way, because it was granted them to see all things which appeared before their eyes in the world in a prior way. To view the world and everything in it in a prior way, and thence to receive knowledges is to regard them from the light of heaven, and in that way to know what they are. Therefore by means of knowledges from the world they were able to confirm heavenly things and thus to strengthen their wisdom.We notice in particular the difference between the progress of a person of the Most Ancient Church and that of spiritual people. The former were regenerated by "assimilating from infancy the good of charity" whereas in respect to Noah (the first spiritual church) the necessity of truth is emphasized. An emphasis is also placed on truth as a necessity for the formation of celestial good in AC 10252, 10266 and 10269, but this is obviously a different celestial, as it is formed or grows from below or from exteriors. It seems like the good from a celestial origin which is the Woman clothed with the Sun (Rev 12).
The prior way by which they were to look at the world is also indicated by what we are given of their internal respiration. This respiration is described in AC 1118 in terms which incline a reader to think in terms of parts of the body, (as lips, ear, mouth) but the passage is speaking of internal respiration. The bodily parts might easily be ascribed to their spiritual body making it easy to understand why the internal respiration was "more applicable and conformable to the very idea of thought." Furthermore, in AC 1119 it is said, "they respired with the angels," also, AC 1121 says their spirit "by means of internal respiration, was joined to heaven," and AC 805, "breathing similar to the angels."
In this matter, as in many spiritual matters we cannot prove anything. This, as we well know in the New Church, is a dispensation of providence to give us the maximum freedom. The ideas we are playing with are "all," as far as we can keep them pure, derived from the internal sense of the Word, "which is more manifold than anyone could believe; and therefore it does not suffer itself to be limited by times and distinctions" (AC 618).
159. In order to understand how the MAC came to an end we need to know more about the structure of the minds of the members of the MAC. This church was celestial so the following from AC 5113:3 applies to it.
The member of the celestial church was regenerated as to the will part, assimilating from infancy the good of charity; and when he had attained a perception of this, he was led into a perception of love to the Lord, whereby all the truths of faith appeared to him in the intellectual as in a mirror. The understanding and the will made in him a mind completely one; for by the things in the understanding it was perceived what was in the will.This quality of having "a mind completely one" was inherited by his descendants and, (as we are taught by the internal sense of the early chapters of Genesis) when they fell away from the Lord they could not be rescued because they were so simple minded. When their affections led them astray they could not accept any truths contrary to their affections. Thus they denied themselves the means for correction.
160. At this point the whole human race on earth would have died out owing to the lack of a church through which the Lord could flow to give them life. To avoid that end the Lord made special provision for a change in the state of the human mind or spirit. The change is dramatized in the story of Noah, the Flood, and the Ark, the internal sense of which teaches how the changes were made. Of the many passages in the Writings we note merely two which show that the whole human race would have perished without special intervention. In AC 631 we read, "the end of all flesh has come before me." This means that the whole human race would inevitably perish. AC 637 is, in part, as follows:
That "I will destroy them with the earth" signifies that together with the church the human race would perish, is on this account: If the Lord's church should be entirely extinguished on the earth, the human race could by no means exist, but one and all would perish. The church, as before said, is as the heart: so long as the heart lives, the neighboring viscera and members can live; but as soon as the heart dies, they one and all die also. The Lord's church on earth is as the heart, whence the human race, even that part of it which is outside the church, has life. The reason is quite unknown to anyone, but in order that something of it might be known, it may be stated that the whole human race on earth is as a body with its parts wherein the church is as the heart; and that unless there were a church with which as with a heart the Lord might be united through heaven and the world of spirits, there would be disjunction; and if there were disjunction of the human race with the Lord, it would instantly perish.It is clear therefore, that provision had to be made for the setting up of a new church.
161. The Most Ancient Church was celestial (see also Nos. 188 to 190 below and 158 to 159 above), that is, everything with them depended on love to the Lord (which also flowed into them from the Lord). But when that church declined, the whole of mankind was in peril, as explained just above (No. 160). The Lord foresaw the development, of course, and began the necessary changes well in advance, i.e. before the flood. (See AC 401, 519, 521 and 2896.)
162. Most New Church people are aware of the spiritual history of the Most Ancient and Ancient Churches and of the general signification of The Flood. It is not very easy, however, to understand in detail what happened then nor to envisage its continual influence on our own individual and corporate development. Rational conviction comes from within, but in order to see the doctrines clearly in our own minds we can use correspondences. They are, of course, found in the story of The Flood and the Ark since that is part of the Word. However, the Writings can take us further and they have much to say about the correspondences between the mind or spirit which we cannot see, and the body which we can see.
163. The Writings also teach us about the inheritance
of evil tendencies, which would lead us to expect a large residue of such
tendencies to be present with Noah, as indeed the internal sense of the
story confirms. Scientific knowledge of inheritance leads us to expect
that most of the bodily structures of the men of the Ancient Churches would
be derived from, and therefore be the same as or similar to, those in men
of the Most Ancient Church. Thus when we compare the Ancient and Most Ancient
people, we are not dealing with entirely different creatures. It is against
a background of inheritance assumed to be reasonably constant that we view
the spiritual meaning of the story of Noah. A constant background should
render any change easier to observe than if the whole had changed and the
earlier forms had disappeared. Now the spiritual meaning of The Flood and
the survival of Noah and his family indicates a drastic change in the inherited
constitution of the human mind. The change was so fundamental that we would
expect some very remarkable change in bodily structure to correspond with
it and the relatively
The real "ground" with this man is in his intellectual mind, and when it has been prepared the good of charity is insinuated by the Lord, and from this, conscience, from which he afterwards acts, that is, through which the Lord works the good and truth of faith. Thus the Lord makes the intellectual things of this man distinct from those of his will, so they are never united; for if they should be united, he could not but perish eternally. With the man of the Most Ancient Church the things of the will were united to those of the understanding, as they also were with theThe change in mental constitution as well as the condition that made it necessary are very clearly described in AC 927. This passage is included
in full, for it is a beautiful piece of writing.
"I will not again curse the ground any more on man's account." That this signifies that man would not any more so turn away, as did the man of the posterity of the Most Ancient Church is evident from what has been said before about this posterity. That "to curse" signifies in the internal sense to turn oneself away, may be seen above (n. 223, 245). How the case is with this and with what follows: that man would not anymore so turn away, as did the man of the Most Ancient Church, and that he would not again be able so to destroy himself, is evident from what has already been said about the posterity of the Most Ancient Church who perished and about the new church which is called "Noah." It has been shown that the man of the Most Ancient Church was so constituted that the will and understanding with him formed one mind, or that with him love was implanted in his voluntary part, and thus at the same time faith, which filled the other or intellectual part of his mind. From this their posterity inherited the condition that the will and the understanding made a one; and therefore when the love of self and the consequent164. From these two numbers (AC 875 and 927) we observe that not only were the will part and the understanding part separated from one another, but also that a new will was implanted in the understanding part. This new will is conscience. It is necessary for the regeneration of all spiritual men. It is described briefly at the end of AC 918 in these words:
The conscience which the Lord grants to the spiritual man is, so to speak, a new will, and thus…a person who has been created anew is provided with a new will and from this with a new understanding.The continuation of the old will
165. Since it was the inability to receive a new will that led to the extinction of much of the posterity of the MAC it might be thought that the inherited evil will of mankind was then completely destroyed. Only those like Noah (the Ancient Church) survived in whom a new will could be formed; thus that in Noah and every individual after him the old evil will was destroyed and replaced by a new one (AC 4328). But "altogether destroyed" does not here mean "annihilated," but evil, for it is added that the voluntary, that is the will part, "was nothing but evil." It is clear that the evil will was not destroyed, for it was "preserved from inundation" (AC 641, 642). We also find that "though the will part of (regenerated) man is opposed, yet it cannot but be present" (AC 1044:2), and that although actual and hereditary evil can be modified and rendered harmless, it cannot be abolished (AC 719). It is true that we learn from AC 4328 that the black column shown to Swedenborg signified a Voluntary (approximately equivalent to the will) "altogether destroyed." At this point, however, we have already learned that "destroyed" in Genesis VII:4 signifies a proprium that does not appear and is no longer hurtful, and the proprium is not destroyed but remains (AC 731). Here we take proprium to include the old will because: (1) it "is entirely evil and falsity" and (2) the same phrase (Gen. VII:4) also signifies the final vastation of those who were of the MAC. The virtual equivalence of proprium and the old will in this instance is confirmed in AC 1023 where we find that it is the "corrupt proprium of his will part" from which the "proprium of his intellectual part" is separated. Moreover, in the index to AC under "Proprium" we find, "The voluntary, thus the proprium…4328," where "voluntary" is probably the same as the will.
166. The need for persistence of something of the old will in mankind after the Flood, i.e. for the presence of will in each person before regeneration is brought out in AC 657 where we find the following; "Without influx of the Lord's life into the things of the understanding in man--or rather into things of the will and through these into those of the understanding…life would be impossible to man." The old evil will is even necessary in order that man may be led by means of it to learn and do what is good as an essential preliminary to his reformation. For "he must first learn the truths of faith, and assimilate what is intellectual, and thus from truth learn what is good; and after he has thus learnt it, he is able to think it, and then to will it, and at last to do it; and then a new will is formed in him by the Lord in the intellectual part. By this new will the spiritual man is raised by the Lord into heaven, evil still remaining in the will that is proper to him; which will is then miraculously set aside…" (AC 5113:2). We note that the new will is not given before good is done, which must therefore be from an evil will; and that evil remains in the old will which is "set aside," not destroyed.
167. We conclude then that this proprium or will of evil which is "as if destroyed" actually remains and "is no longer hurtful" and is even "vivified" (AC 719, 731). Therefore the old will is still with man when a new will has been given. The old will is then no longer allowed to express itself in its old evil ways, so the new will of good from the Lord and the old will of evil from man seem to exist side by side. This is a frightening concept, as the evil might at any moment rise up and destroy the good, but we are assured that this is not possible, for man is no longer able so to destroy himself (AC 927 quote above).
168. This has been said so many times that it is only necessary to refer to earlier paragraphs (see nos. 87 and 92). But it brings us to a point where we wonder if the "as it were a new will" could have as it were a new heart to correspond to it. We now spend a few minutes on bodily anatomy rather than spiritual (though corresponding), and find that we have two hearts.
169. The diagram shown in Figure 2 will assist the visualization of the two circulations. In reality, the heart and neighboring arteries form a very compact unit making it difficult to follow the flow routes through them and to illustrate the routes in only two dimensions. But by ignoring sizes, shapes, and relative positions, it is possible to draw a simple plan, such as that shown. Figure 3 is a drawing of an actual heart, presented to keep the plan in perspective.
170. It is well known that the circulation of blood through the lungs via the pulmonary arteries is quite separate from the circulation to the rest of the body via the aorta; also that the pulmonary arteries are the only exits from the right side of the heart which side can therefore send blood to the lungs only. So although we are accustomed to speak of it as one heart, the separation of the circulations is so complete that it is reasonable to think of it as two. In placing emphasis on the circulation, we are in agreement with the Writings where the heart is considered to extend itself by means of arteries and veins, for example, "the heart and its extension into the body through arteries and veins" (DLW 399, similarly in 412). The view of the heart as two pumps is also to be found in modern research; Pierre Dejour writes "in…mammals there is a cardiac pump for the low pressure pulmonary circulation and a second cardiac pump for the high pressure systemic circulation."
171. It is clear from Figure 2 that the blood from every part of the body, other than the lungs, drains into the right side of the heart, and all of it is sent to the lungs whence it returns to the left side of the heart and so to the body. Thus the heart is unable to send any blood to the body other than blood received from the lungs. This arrangement might well correspond to man's now being unable to destroy himself by immersing his understanding in his lusts (AC 927).
172. The separation of the two circuits of the blood is extremely important in ensuring efficient oxygenation and removal of carbon dioxide, and in view of its extreme importance we would expect equally important correspondences. This being so, it is remarkable to find so little mention of it in the Writings. The following is the nearest I have observed: "After birth the heart discharges the blood from its right ventricle into the lungs; and, after passing through these, empties it into its left ventricle" (DLW 405). One can only assume that the facts were not widely enough known to be of use, as is said in DLW 405 at the end. On the other hand, the important doctrines were to be made known and the correspondences pointed out as far as possible. Hence we find occasional anatomical references which seem obscure until interpreted into modern modes of thought. This applies to the dual circulation of blood. We read:
In the state together with the heart [the follicular substance of the lungs] is expanded and contracted through the pulmonary arteries and veins, which are from the heart alone; in the state almost separate from the heart, through the bronchial arteries and veins, which are from the vena cava and aorta; these last vessels are external to the heart. This is the case in the lungs because the understanding is able to be raised above the love-proprium, which corresponds to the heart… (DLW 413)In view of what we now know, the important meaning of "from the heart alone" is not that the pulmonary arteries do not come from anywhere else, for this applies to the aorta and vena cava also, but that the pulmonary arteries come from the heart alone, i.e. they are alone as they come from the heart, i.e. they alone come from the right ventricle so that all its blood must go to the lungs. Perhaps this argument will seem to some like semantic hair splitting, but when we consider that this is what Swedenborg wrote in trying to express "Angelic Wisdom" in natural language, we can picture his struggle after seeing with the eyes of his spirit the flow and pulsation of the blood in the lungs and the marvelous inflation of the air follicles. This corresponds to the purification of the impulses of the will and the putting to use of the purified products (AC 3889). He must have seen the spiritual counterparts of physiological mechanisms more clearly than we can envisage the latter even now, and he would have been utterly lost for words without Divine guidance.
173. In thinking about the correspondences of the dual circulation it must not be forgotten that the lungs are nourished by blood supplied from the left side of the heart via the aorta and the bronchial arteries. Most of this blood drains back into the vena cava and so to the right side of the heart with the blood from the rest of the body. This route of blood supply is different from that needed for respiration and it is also the one by which the lungs are nourished during embryonic life. Presumably it could correspond to the affections of the old will when there was external innocence enough to excuse its evils and when its activities stimulated the growth of the understanding. It is perhaps the first conjunction which "comes through an affection for knowing" (DLW 404).
174. From all this it must now be clear that the
heart is effectively two pumps and so is able to correspond to two wills,
one being the old will or proprium, the other the new will given by the
Lord in the understanding. It seems very strange to suggest that two such
different wills as the old and new could be related to the two sides of
one heart, but we have already observed (nos. 165-167) that good from the
Lord and evil from man continue side by side. A very remarkable record,
lending some conformation, occurs in AC 10808 where we find: "they showed
me their idea about evil in man and good from the Lord: how they are kept
separate. They set one quite near the other, but still separated, yet bound
together in a remarkable way, so that good led evil and bridled it…" This
is reminiscent of the two sides of the heart which are bound together firmly
but still separated, and which beat in such manner that one part follows
another. Each contraction of the heart is initiated in the sinuatrial
175. Since it is the new (separated) will and the "new understanding from it" which introduce new purifying truths into the regenerated mind, and since such truths can correspond to oxygen (nos. 245-247), one might consider that perhaps the right side of the heart corresponds to the new will, and the lungs, opened at birth by the flow of blood through the pulmonary artery correspond to the new understanding from the new will. Fetal circulation and the heart of the fetus are illustrated in Figure 7 and Figure 8. It is not to be supposed, however, that one side of the heart necessarily corresponds to evil; it might more acceptably correspond to the good state of the MAC. Still, it is remarkable that one side receives partially vitiated blood, and the other the refreshed blood from the lungs.
176. Having seen that the bodily heart may well correspond to the double will of the spiritual being we now ask what can correspond to the single will of people who lived before the Flood. Is there a suitable man having a suitable heart of a different kind? Indeed there is! Every unborn child has but one heart and one circulation.
177. A hint of a possible correspondence between the heart of an unborn child and the will of the Most Ancient people was given just above. This might seem a strange idea at first but there are many considerations which make the examination of the concept a worth-while exercise. It is not put forward as doctrine. It is just a view of some fragments of scientific knowledge to be examined in the light of arcana revealed from heaven. We will therefore collect first those fragments concerning the anatomy of the fetal heart to see how it differs from that of a child after birth. Then we will review some of the parallels between the anatomy and physiology on one hand and the psychology of regeneration on the other.
Block Diagram of Fetal Circulation
Block diagram of fetal circulation to show how most of the blood by-passes the lungs by means of the foramen ovale and the ductus arteriosus. To be compared with Figure 2. See also Figure 8.
Drawn by Richard Morris.
178. There are two arrangements that make the four chambers of the heart of a fetus into one heart effectively. The first is merely a hole. The septum between the right and left atria is perforated so that the blood flowing into the heart can be divided between them. The second arrangement is a duct from the pulmonary trunk to the aorta. This enables blood to flow from the right ventricle to the aorta, thus joining the blood from the left ventricle. The hole between the atria is the foramen ovale, the duct connecting the pulmonary trunk and the aorta is the ductus arteriosus (see Figures 7 and 8).
179. Figure 7 has been prepared in the same way as
Figure 2 to show diagrammatically how the foramen ovale allows blood to
pass directly from one side of the heart to the other. Also how the ductus
arteriosus sends most of the blood from the right ventricle to join that
from the left in the aorta, instead of sending it to the lungs. A more
realistic diagram is shown in Figure 4.
180. When the baby is born, the ductus arteriosus becomes constricted and during subsequent weeks it gradually closes. The foramen ovale is closed also, and as inspection of Figure 7 will show, these changes effectively change the one heart into two. Now it is no longer possible for the right heart to send its blood anywhere except into the lungs. The left heart sends all its blood to the rest of the body. So the new baby has, as it were, a new heart. The lungs have not been used at all before the birth so they too are new.
181. Once we are accustomed to thinking of the heart as will and the lungs as understanding we cannot help comparing the condition after birth to the condition of the spiritual person after rebirth. Just as the heart after birth cannot avoid sending its blood through the lungs before sending it to the body, so the regenerate man is obliged to submit the wishes of his loves to the scrutiny of his intellect. This scrutiny is sometimes cursory, and sometimes he imagines he is acting spontaneously from love.
182. It may seem improbable that the changes at birth could correspond to the mental changes associated with Noah because the anatomy applies to all men, whether regenerate or not. But the mental change also applies to all men so that regeneration might be possible for each. The changes foreseen and provided by the Divine are already present with Him. The natural correspondences can begin or continue as the Lord may provide. It would seem that the spiritual aspect of any such process as the one we are looking at, might make it independent of time and perhaps of other limitations, rather like the spiritual sense of the Word. From AC 618 we learn that the internal sense of the Word "is more manifold than anyone could believe; and therefore it does not suffer itself to be limited by times and distinctions."
183. It might seem difficult to think that the baby's
new heart corresponds to the new will of the spiritual man because the
spiritual man receives his new will in his understanding (see quotation
above; nos. 163, 164) and the baby's "new" heart is exactly where the old
one was. However, it has already been established that the kingdom of the
heart includes all the blood vessels, and even the blood itself (nos. 72
to 76). This means that the pulmonary and bronchial arteries and veins
and the capillaries connecting them as well as the blood flowing through
them would be a kingdom of the heart within the lungs. It may be satisfactory
to think of this kingdom as of the heart itself, but there is another important
consideration. In spiritual matters it is not correct to think spatially
and "in" has a spiritual meaning independent of space as when we may be
in heaven and heaven in us. This suggests that the new will which the Lord
forms in the understanding does not necessarily have to be enclosed and
surrounded by the understanding. It could correspond to a heart closely
conjoined with the lungs--more closely than before but
184. We have just said that the new will in the understanding would
correspond to a heart closely conjoined with the lungs, and indeed, after
birth the conjunction is closer because the flow through the pulmonary
arteries is full and free. However, we now find a serious challenge, for
we read that although the will and understanding of men of the MAC were
united, in the spiritual man they are never united (AC 875). The corresponding
heart and lungs work closely together; indeed many paragraphs in DLW are
devoted to elucidating the steps towards union and their meaning. Moreover
from AC 3887-9 we learn about "the influx of all things of the heart into
those of the lungs," about "the influx of the will into the understanding,
and of the understanding into the will"; and about "the union between the
heart and the lungs." One reason for the difference may be that the will
that is never united is the old will which is like that of the Most Ancient
people and is set aside in the Spiritual
185. In DLW the relationship between the heart and lungs is described as conjunction and union and a marriage. In order to see what is meant in the Writings by marriage, we turn to Conjugial Love, where we find: "two married partners in heaven are not two but one angel" (CL 52), "two married partners are there called two when they are husband and wife, but one, when they are named angels" (CL 177), "the wife becomes the husband's and the husband the wife's; thus they both become one man" (CL 196), "The husband is in the bride-chamber of the understanding, and the wife in the bride-chamber of the will" (CL 270). These and many other passages show that although the union is very close, the husband and wife retain their individuality. So in marriage we find a conjunction and a distinction and these ideas can be further clarified by reference to the corresponding circulations.
186. In the embryo, as we have seen, the circulation is absolutely one unit--any particle can go anywhere from anywhere. The circulation is one unit, i.e. it is unit-ed. After birth it is not unit-ed as we have already seen, for the blood from the right side of the heart must go to the lungs before the left side can send it to the body. In this way the embryo shows how the will and understanding could really be one unit, and the adult circulation shows how the will and understanding can be distinct as well as being interdependent. However, the circulation is like will and understanding also in this respect: the separation is not 100% complete, for 1 or 2% of the blood finds its way through small connections between the bronchial and pulmonary systems. The amount may well vary between individuals. The connections are said to be more numerous in the very young. The understanding is also more easily swayed by the "old" will.
187. We have seen that many of the descendants of the MAC gradually lost the faculty of internal respiration and so suffocated themselves because they could not begin external respiration. The Ancient Church (Noah) which followed them consisted at first of the few who could respire in an external manner. Thus the change necessary for the establishment of the Ancient Church was the institution of external breathing because the internal respiration was no longer possible. In order to understand this change we need to examine internal respiration as well as the external that followed.
188. The internal respiration enjoyed by the MAC was not some miraculous way of causing the body to survive without oxygen, for, in AC 805 we read that the internal respiration was "similar to that of angels." This must mean that it was respiration of the soul or spirit. A fuller account of internal respiration is given in AC 1118-9, parts of which are here reproduced. As in many other passages, the Writings are inviting us to think carefully. The nature of internal respiration is expressed partly by the properties of the speech associated with it. Therefore we include below some of the statements from AC 1118 and 1119 concerning speech:
AC 1118. There was shown me by a certain influx which I cannot describe, the nature of their speech when they lived in the world. It was not articulate, like the vocal speech of our time, but tacit, being produced not by external but by internal respiration. I was also permitted to perceive the nature of their internal respiration--that it proceeds from the navel towards the heart, and so through the lips, without sound; and that it did not enter the ear of nother and strike upon what is called the drum of the ear by an external way, but by a certain way within the mouth, in fact by a passage there which is now called the Eustachian tube. And it was shown me that, by such speech, they could much more fully express the sentiments of the mind and the ideas of thought than can possibly be done by articulate sounds, or vocal words, which likewise are directed by the respiration, but external. For there is nothing in any word that is not directed by means of the respiration. But with them this was done much more perfectly, because by internal respiration; which, because it is interior, is at once far more perfect, and more applicable and189. As the speech produced by internal breathing was tacit, i.e. silent, it would not affect the bodily ear no matter what route it took, whether through the external meatus or through the Eustachian tube. Possibly changes of air pressure from the breathing of one person into the mouth of another could relay meaningful symbols. Movements of the lips were used "besides" the speech of internal respiration, which shows they, the lips, were not used to produce the speech. It is worth emphasizing that the breathing "silently flowed into a kind of external and thus tacit speech perceived by another in his interior man" (emphasis added). One way of looking at these statements is to suppose that the silent speech was a transfer of ideas like that which occurs in heaven, as is actually said in AC 607. Thus the bodily organs mentioned in AC 1118 could refer to the spiritual body and not to the earthly body. Then it is easier to see why the speech from internal respiration is "far more perfect and more
applicable and conformable to the very ideas of thought." Also the word "external" and especially "a kind of external" used above is perhaps being used in a comparative sense, as in AC 4286 (where all angels are distinguished into internal and external), and not in an absolute sense to mean physical things.
190. It is true that in AC 607 many details are mentioned
concerning muscular fibres in the lips. Such details may incline the reader
to think of the lips as of the earthly body. Nevertheless, the expression
by the lips and face is here so closely linked with internal respiration
that perhaps now, more than 200 years later, the transmission of ideas
by facial expression is not so incredible to those who accept the Writings.
For instance, how long would it take to describe in words what you receive
in two seconds (let alone a whole minute) from the face of a loved one?
How much more, and how much more clearly would you perceive if you had
also the internal respiration for the transfer of ideas? Thus it might
have been that the essential transfer was by the communication between
souls and that the expression of the face was a confirmation in ultimates.
It may, however, seem inconsistent to think of the ears as belonging to
the spiritual body and the lips to the physical body. On the other hand,
we all have both and obviously the people of the MAC were conscious of
both. In view of all these things it seems reasonable to
191. We have seen earlier (AC 3887 and nos. 72-76 herein) how the lungs and heart are united in every extremity of the body because the blood caries oxygen from the lungs to every part. It is therefore quite logical to relate the proceeding of the respiration (as described just above) to the flow of blood. It then becomes almost obvious that it is the circulation of the fetus that is being described, for the blood that is to be refreshed in the placenta is pumped by the heart of the fetus through the aorta and umbilical arteries towards the navel, thence to the placenta and then back through the umbilical vein and vena cava (and the liver) to the breast where the heart is. In reality, the mother's lungs are providing air for the fetus since it is her lungs that introduce oxygen into her blood and it is her blood which carries the oxygen to the placenta where it can diffuse into the blood of the fetus. This blood is kept absolutely separate from that of the mother, yet the barriers to mixing are so marvelously designed that everything the fetus needs can get across.
192. The anatomy and physiology of the fetus and the womb have, like all other things, not been created out of nothing. Is it too great a stretch of the imagination to see the internal respiration of the angels, spirits of Mars and people of the MAC as represented by the respiration of the fetus? Or should not the great gentleness and beauty of the celestial heavens have some correspondence in material bodies even now?
193. When the later generations of those who descended from the MAC fell, internal respiration ceased, and in a few, as mentioned above, it was replaced by external respiration. From the internal sense of those parts of the Word it seems as though the external respiration was that of the mind and not of the body. Those people who perished were not literally drowned. If their bodily lungs did fail it was because their spirit failed. It is the failure of the spirit which is described in the internal sense, as one may deduce from AC 608 which is as follows:
When internal respiration ceased, external respiration gradually succeeded, almost like that of the present day; and with external respiration a language of words, or of articulate sound, into which the ideas of thought were determined. Thus the state of man was entirely changed, and became such that he could no longer have similar perception, but instead of perception another kind of dictate which may be called conscience; for it was like conscience, though a kind of intermediate between perception and the conscience known to some at this day. And when such determination of the ideas of thought took place, that is to say, into spoken words, they could no longer be instructed, like the most ancient men, through the internal man, but through the external. And, therefore, in place of the revelations of the Most Ancient Church, doctrinal things succeeded, which could first be received by the external sense, and from them material ideas of the memory could be formed, and from these, ideas of thought, by which and according to which they were instructed. Hence it was that this church which followed had an entirely different genius from that of the Most Ancient Church, and if the Lord had not brought the human race into this genius, or into this state, no man could have been saved.Reading this, one gradually becomes aware that, although external breathing and external senses are mentioned, the important change was in the mind or spirit, when perception was changed into "a kind of dictate which may be called conscience." Conscience needs knowledge, cognition and doctrine. It "is formed by means of the truths of faith, for that which a man has heard, acknowledged, and believed makes the conscience in him" (AC 1077). Later (AC 9112-9121) many more points of doctrine are shown concerning conscience. For example, conscience is really the new will given by the Lord, but it still needs the knowledge derived through the bodily senses, i.e. by the external way. Hence it was that instead of drawing in the truth of heaven, mankind had to draw in external ideas by means of the senses of the body. Under the influences of heaven, i.e. the Lord, the external ideas or "material ideas of the memory" could develop into ideas of thought which could serve for
instruction. It was because they could no longer receive the ideas of heaven that the Lord gave them truths "dressed up" or disguised or encoded in words of earthly language. The essential change was the loss of internal instruction and the arising of external instruction.
It is worth emphasizing that "doctrinal things succeeded which could first be received by the external senses." It is clear from very many places in the Writings that these doctrinal things were vessels capable of receiving internal truths, thus even Divine Truths and life from the Lord. They were a new means whereby spiritual things could be received, as the heart, linked with the lungs, enables the body to receive oxygen. In several places we find wind or breath corresponding to spirit (AC 97, DLW 383), so that air flowing into the lungs could correspond to a Divine influx through an external means such as the learning of doctrine by hearing, reading or example. These things involve the use of the senses.
194. At this point it becomes of special interest to think about the relation between birth, rebirth, the womb and the change in respiration when a child is born. It is so well known in the New Church that birth and rebirth correspond to one another that extensive quotations are not necessary. Perhaps parts of AC 4918 and 9042 as follows will suffice:
and that "coming forth from the womb" denotes to be reborn or regenerated.195. The change in respiration of a child as it is being born means, of course, that it no longer receives oxygen dissolved in blood through the womb but through its own lungs. To see what might be the spiritual things to which this could correspond, we look at the meaning of "womb" in the Word. The womb is where good and truth lie conceived (AC 4918) and, by derivation, often signifies the church. Most of the explanations found in the AC seem to refer to the regeneration of the spiritual man. The specifically celestial quality which one associates with the embryo appears only by implication. For example, we find that "in the genuine sense" the womb "signifies the inmost of conjugial love in which is innocence," and innocence and the inmost of conjugial love are surely the inmost of heaven, which, in its turn is the celestial. "Those things are called celestial which are in the inmost of heaven" (AC 8945). Now we associate the celestial especially with the fetus, for we find the following in AC 5052:
The Lord instills marriage love through the inmost heaven the angels of which are in peace beyond all others. Peace in heaven may be compared to spring time in the world which renders all things joyous, for in its origin peace is essentially celestial. The angels of the inmost heaven are wisest of all, and their innocence gives them a childlike appearance, for they love infants much more than do their fathers and mothers. They are present with infants in the womb, and through them the Lord cares for the nutrition and development of the infants therein;It is clear then that a whole series of senses are signified by "womb." (This is not surprising because: (a) it is generally so with the Word and (b) the regeneration which is meant by birth is a process which must be repeated often for each one of us.) But, as noted just above, in the genuine sense the womb means the celestial. The MAC was celestial. It had internal respiration, and the people were wiser than we are now (AC 6876) and had external knowledges by which their perceptions were confirmed. There is, however, something of similarity in the way the fetus receives all it needs through the womb, and the way the MAC received all it needed (for perception and love) through heaven; enough similarity, perhaps even of correspondence, to arouse our wonder and reverence as well as to confirm our belief in the revelation we have been given. There is also a link with Dr. Woofenden's feeling that some early part of the Bible must correspond to prenatal life (See New Philosophy LXXXIV, 1981, p. 7: see also the very useful letter by J. and J. Pendleton, New Church Life, October, 1982, p. 471).