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Chapter 5 The Relation of the Intellect to the Love

We know of no principle in the philosophy of mind, attended with more far-reaching consequences that the intellect is derived from the will of love, as taught originally by Swedenborg, but now adopted by some of the leading thinkers of the age. One has remarked: “That the intellectual aspect is not the noblest aspect of man, is a heresy which I have long iterated with a constancy due to a conviction. There never will be a philosophy capable of satisfying the demands of humanity, until the truth be recognized that man is moved by his emotions, not by his ideas: using his intellect only as an eye to see the way. In other words, the intellect is the servant, not the lord of the heart.” (Comte’s Philosophy of the Sciences, by G. H. Lewes, p. 5.)

As in the divine Being, Wisdom is evolved from love, as light from heat, so in man, made after a divine type, the understanding is derived from the will, truth from goodness, thought from affection, faith from charity. It must be acknowledged that this is contrary to the first appearance arising from a casual glance at the subject. The reason why it appears that thought is not generated by affection is, that the former comes more distinctly under the observation of consciousness than the latter. The love is nearer the center of our being, and is hence more concealed from our perception. Yet it is easy to conceive, that if our lovc-nature were annihilated or suppressed, all life, all thought, all consciousness would perish with it.

The will and the understanding sustain the relation of substance and form. Our thoughts are the boundary of our affection, and give them coloring or quality. It is also a matter of consciousness, that our thoughts are always busy with the objects of our affections. That which we love is spontaneously and perpetually recurring to our thoughts. What we love the most, fills the largest place in our thoughts. If love is not the ruling element of our life, why is this so? Our system of truth or faith will always exhibit a tendency to adjust itself in harmony with the nature of our ruling love. If we are confirmed in the love of what is evil or what is morally disorderly, the truth we receive is thereby changed to falsity.

We do not deny that the intellect may have a certain reflex influence upon the love. They may be the correlative forces of our spiritual organism, like action and reaction, or heat and light, or like the positive and negative principles in magnetism. One cannot exist without the other. They should mutually balance each other. This is a state of spiritual harmony and freedom. For freedom and harmony are
The same, being the perfect equilibrium of the two forces of will and understanding, or sensibility and intellect.

This is also a state of spiritual health. The fundamental idea of mental disease, is a loss of balance between the intellectual and affectional departments of the mind. Such is its origin and nature. Some false idea is pushed to undue prominence, or some feeling becomes inordinate and predominant. To restore the balance, the lost harmonious equilibrium, is to effect the cure of the soul. To restore the lost harmony, should be the steady aim of him who ministers to a mind diseased. To maintain it in ourselves, should be our constant study.

Such is the mysterious relation of the soul and body, that every mental condition records itself in the bodily organism, — first in the brain, and then in the organs that have sympathetic connection with those parts of the cerebral system. The healthy and happy equipoise in the mental powers, can be effected by magnetizing away the false notion, or the disorderly feeling, by a judicious and intelligent treatment of the part of the brain where it is recorded.

If love is the inmost essence of our being, and the fountain in us of all vitality and activity, if it be “a well of water in us, springing up into everlrrsting life,” then to regulate our loves is the great object, the grand result, we should study to achieve. It also follows from this doctrine that every man’s interior character is shaped by his prevailing affectional states, for the ruling love is the impelling force in the mental economy. It makes the laws for the intellectual powers to execute.

A genuine faith, instead of producing love or charity, is generated by it. This view of the mind and its invisible subtle forces, overturns from its foundations the great error of the religious world in all ages, that salvation is by faith alone. A man is saved, not by the belief of a tenet, but by a predominant holy love. His restoration from a state of moral, intellectual, and bodily disorder, commences not so much in the credence given to a dogma, as in the first dawning of a proper state of the oaffections. And when this condition becomes confrmed by the law of habit, a soul is saved either in the church or out of it.

No faith can save us if it has not its vital root in love. The doctrine of this chapter is not an idle speculation, without practical value, but there is inclosed in it the principle that shall issue in the highest well-being of the race here and hereafter. In this world even, our ruling love is our life, and a knowledge of it is the key that may open to our perception, our whole interior character, and to a great extent, our physical condition.


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