Goodness is the reality underlying life and truth is how life becomes manifest from that goodness. So goodness finds the manifestation of its life in truth, and truth finds the underlying reality of its life in goodness. Thus everything good has its own truth and everything true has its own goodness, because goodness apart from truth has no manifestation and truth apart from goodness has no reality. Further, goodness gets its form and character from truths, and correspondingly truth is the form and character of goodness and so truth and goodness need to be joined together in order to be anything at all. So goodness is constantly engaged in the longing and effort to join truths to itself. Some illustrations of this. Correspondingly, truths also strive to join themselves to some goodness. The joining is reciprocal—goodness with truth and truth with goodness. Goodness acts and truth reacts, though it does this as an effect of goodness. Truths focus on the good they can do as their origin and aim.
The joining of truth with goodness parallels the successive phases of our lives beginning in infancy. We gather truths first as information, and then as the basis for rational thinking; ultimately we put them to use in deciding how to live our lives. It is also like a child: it is conceived, lives in the womb, is born, matures, and eventually gains wisdom. It is also like seeds and soil and like the relationship of water to bread. Our first feeling of love for truth is not genuine, but as we are perfected it is purified. Still, forms of goodness and truth that are not genuine serve to lead us to forms of goodness and truth that are, at which point we abandon the earlier forms.
Further, we are led to what is good by means of truths, and not in their absence. If we do not learn or accept truths, goodness cannot flow into us, so we cannot become spiritual. The joining of goodness and truth progresses as our knowledge grows. For all of us, our acceptance of truths depends on our rational capacity.
The truths of our earthly self are in the form of information. The information and concepts we have are like containers. Truths are containers of goodness because they are receptive to it.
Goodness flows in through an inner way for us, or through the soul, while what is true flows in from the outside through our hearing and sight; and they are joined together within us by the Lord. Truths are lifted up from the earthly self and sown in what is good in the spiritual self, and this is how truths become spiritual. Then they flow back into the earthly self; goodness in the spiritual self flows directly into goodness in the earthly self but flows indirectly into the truth in the earthly self. In brief, how amply and well truths are joined to what is good in us depends on how amply and well we focus on what is good in the way we lead our lives. The joining takes place in one way for heavenly people and in another way for spiritual people. More on the joining together of goodness and truth and on how it takes place; and also on how what is good on the spiritual level is given form through truths.
from New Jerusalem, Section 23 (Continued)