November 22, 2017

The Connection of Angles with Man

From Last Judgment ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• The human race is the foundation on which heaven is built, because man is the final creation; and what is created last is the foundation of all that precedes. Creation began with the highest or inmost, because it came from God, and advanced to the lowest or outermost, and there it first halted. The lowest level of creation is the natural world, containing the globe with its lands and seas together with everything on it. On completion of this stage, man was created; and on him was conferred the whole of God's order from first to last. The first principles of that order were conferred upon his inmost nature, the last expressions of it upon his ultimate nature. Thus man was made as a model of God's order. Hence it is that everything in and present with man is of both heavenly and worldly origin. His mental attributes derive from heaven, his bodily attributes from the world. For influences from heaven act upon his thoughts and affections and dispose them in keeping with the way his spirit receives those influences. Influences from the world act upon his senses and appetites and dispose them in keeping with the way his body receives them, but they are adapted to suit the thoughts and affections of his spirit.
• From this ordering of creation, it can be seen that the coherent linkage from first things to last is such that taken together they make up a single unit; in this, prior cannot be separated from posterior, just as cause cannot be separated from the effect produced by it. Thus the spiritual world cannot be separated from the natural world, nor this from the spiritual. In the same way the heaven where the angels are cannot be separated from the human race, nor the human race from that heaven. It has therefore been provided by the Lord that one should perform services for the other, that is, the heaven of angels should perform services for the human race, and the human race for the heaven of angels.

• So it is that the dwellings of angels are in heaven, to all appearance separate from the places where people on earth live; but the angels are still present with human beings in their affections for good and truth. ...

The following words of the Lord mean that the dwellings of angels are with human beings in their affections for good and truth:

He who loves Me, keeps My word, and My Father will love him; and We shall come to him and make Our dwelling with him. John 14:23.

The Father and the Lord also there mean heaven, for where the Lord is, there is heaven. The Divine proceeding from the Lord makes heaven ...

These words of the Lord also mean the same:

The comforter, the spirit of truth, remains among you and is in you. John 14:17.

The Comforter is Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, which is why He is also called the Spirit of truth. Divine truth makes heaven, and also the angels, because they receive that truth. For the Divine proceeding from the Lord being Divine Truth, the source of the heaven of angels....

These words of the Lord too have a similar meaning: The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21.

The kingdom of God is Divine good and truth, which angels receive. The presence of angels and spirits with human beings and in their affections has been granted me to see a thousand times from their presence and dwelling with me. But angels and spirits do not know with which human beings they are, neither do human beings know with which angels and spirits they live; the Lord alone knows and arranges this.

• In short, all affections for good and truth reach out into heaven, and there is thus connexion and linking with those there who have similar affections. All affections for evil and falsity reach out into hell, and there is thus connexion and linking with those there who have similar affections. Affections reach out into the spiritual world, almost as the range of sight reaches out into the natural world. The connexions in either place are much alike, the difference being that in the natural world they are with things, in the spiritual world with communities of angels.

• This makes it plain that the connexion between the heaven of angels and the human race is such that the existence of one is dependent upon the other. The heaven of angels without the human race would be like a house without a foundation, for heaven comes to an end in humanity and rests upon it. The situation is parallel to that in the individual person: his spiritual side, which is where his thoughts and will reside, acts upon his natural side, which is where his sense - impressions and actions take place, and in this they come to an end and stop. If a person did not have a natural side as well as a spiritual, and so was without those final and last stages, his spiritual side, the thoughts and affections of his spirit, would be dissipated, like things lacking boundaries.

• There is a similar event when a person passes from the natural world into the spiritual, which happens at death. Then, since he is a spirit, he stands not on his own base, but upon the common base, namely, the human race. Anyone unfamiliar with the secrets of heaven might think that angels can exist without human beings and human beings without angels. But I can emphatically state from all my experience of heaven, and from all my conversations with angels, that there is no angel or spirit who exists without a human being, and no human being without a spirit or angel; there is a mutual and reciprocal link. These considerations establish firstly that the human race and the heaven of angels make up a single unit, and depend on each other for their continued existence, so that one cannot be taken away from the other.
(Last Judgment 9)

November 21, 2017

Believing ... How Life is Lived

Excerpt from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... charity is everything that pertains to life, and faith everything that pertains to doctrine; consequently, charity is willing and doing what is just and right in every work, and faith is thinking justly and rightly; and faith and charity are conjoined, the same as doctrine and a life in accordance with it, or the same as thought and will; and faith becomes charity when that which a man thinks justly and rightly he also wills and does, and then they are not two but one.
(From Heaven and Hell 364)

November 19, 2017

The Elevation of Truth into the Rational

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man is never born into any truth, not even into any natural truth—as that he should not steal, should not kill, should not commit adultery, and the like; still less is he born into any spiritual truth—as that there is a God, and that he has an internal which will live after death. Thus of himself man knows nothing that relates to eternal life.
      Man learns both these kinds of truth; otherwise he would be much worse than a brute animal; for from his hereditary nature he loves himself above all and desires to possess all things in the world. Hence unless he were restrained by civil laws and by fears for the loss of honor, of gain, of reputation, and of life, he would steal, kill, and commit adultery, without any perception of conscience. That this is the case is very evident; for a man, even when instructed, commits such crimes without conscience, nay, defends them, and by many considerations confirms himself in the commission of them so far as he is allowed; what then would he not do if he had not been instructed?
      The case is the same in spiritual things; for of those who are born within the church, who have the Word, and are constantly instructed, there are still very many who ascribe little or nothing to God, but everything to nature; thus who do not at heart believe that there is any God, and therefore do not believe that they shall live after death; and who accordingly have no wish to learn anything relating to eternal life.
      From all this it is evident that man is born into no truth, but that he has all to learn, and this by an external way, namely, that of hearing and seeing. By this way truth has to be insinuated, and implanted in his memory; but so long as the truth is there only, it is merely memory-knowledge;
and in order that truth may pervade the man it must be called forth thence, and be conveyed more toward the interiors;
for his human is more internal, being in his rational; for unless man is rational, he is not man; and therefore according to the quality and the measure of a man's rational, such is the quality and the measure of the man.
      Man cannot possibly be rational unless he possesses good. The good whereby man surpasses the animals, is to love God, and to love the neighbor; all human good is from this. Into this good truth must be initiated and conjoined, and this in the rational.
Truth is initiated into good and conjoined with it when man loves God and loves his neighbor, for then truth enters into good, inasmuch as good and truth mutually acknowledge each other, all truth being from good, and having respect to good as its end and as its soul, and thus as the source of its life.
      But truth cannot without difficulty be separated from the natural man, and be thence elevated into the rational; for in the natural man there are fallacies, and cupidities of evil, and also persuasions of falsity; and so long as these are there and adjoin themselves to the truth, so long the natural man detains truth with himself, and does not suffer it to be elevated from itself into the rational; ... The reason is that the natural man puts truth in doubt, and reasons about it as to whether it is so; but as soon as the cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity, and the derivative fallacies, are separated by the Lord, and the man begins from good to be averse to reasonings against truth, and to be superior to doubts, then truth is in a state to depart from the natural and to be elevated into the rational, and to put on a state of good; for then truth becomes of good and has life.
      For the better comprehension of this, let us take examples. It is a spiritual truth that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from hell: this truth must in many ways be confirmed and illustrated before it can be elevated out of the natural man into the rational, nor can it ever be elevated until the man is in the love of God; for before this it is not acknowledged, consequently is not believed.
      The case is similar in regard to other truths, as in regard to the truth that the Divine Providence is in the veriest singulars; and that unless it is in these, it is not in what is universal.
      Again: in regard to the truth that man first begins to live when that perishes which in the world he believes to be the all of life; and that the life which he then receives is relatively ineffable and unlimited; and that he is altogether ignorant of this so long as he is in evil - these and similar truths can never be believed, unless the man is in good; for it is good which comprehends, because the Lord through good flows in with wisdom.
(Arcana Cœlestia 3175)

November 18, 2017

Understanding the Lord's Omnipresence Denuded of Time and Space

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• Spaces and times must be removed from the ideas, in order that the Lord's Omnipresence with all men, collectively and severally, as well as his omniscience of things present and future may be understood.

• Since however spaces and times can be removed with difficulty from the ideas of thought in the natural man, it is better that the simple should not think of the Divine Omnipresence and Omniscience from the reasoning of the understanding; it is sufficient for them to believe in simplicity from religion.
     If such a man thinks from reason, let him acknowledge in his own mind that they exist, because they belong to God, God being everywhere and infinite; and because the Word also teaches this.
     If again he thinks of them from nature, and from the spaces and times belonging to it, let him acknowledge again in his own mind that they have a miraculous origin.
     But because at the present day naturalism has almost deluged the church, and can be dispersed only by means of rational arguments which will enable man to see that this is the case, these Divine [attributes] shall therefore be placed in their true light, and cleared of the darkness with which nature overspreads them. This can be done moreover, because, as previously said, the understanding with which man is endowed, is capable of elevation into the interior light of heaven, provided only, from love he desires to know truths.
     All naturalism arises from thinking of Divine subjects from the properties of nature, which are matter, space, and time. The mind which clings to these properties, and unwilling to believe anything that it does not understand, is bound to obscure its understanding, and from the thick darkness into which it has plunged it, deny that there is any such thing as Divine Providence, and affirm as a consequence that omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience have no existence. These attributes are, nevertheless, precisely as religion teaches, both within nature and above it, but they cannot be comprehended by the understanding unless space and time are removed from its ideas in thinking on the subject; for these properties of matter are, in some way or other, inherent in every idea of thought. If therefore they are not removed, no other thought can be formed than that nature is everything, that it is self-existent, that life is from it, that its inmost is that which is called God, and that all beside it is imaginary.
     I know that men will also be astonished to hear that there is any existence possible where there is neither time nor space; that the Divine itself exists apart from them; and that spiritual beings are not in them, but merely in the appearances of them - though Divine spiritual things are nevertheless the very essences of all things that have ever existed or that do exist - and that natural things without spiritual things are like bodies without souls, which become mere carcases.

• Every man who has become a naturalist, by means of thought from nature, remains such also after death; and he calls all the objects that he sees in the spiritual world natural, because they are similar to those in the natural world. Men of this kind are however enlightened and taught by angels that these objects are not natural, but that they are the appearances of natural things, and they are convinced so far as to affirm that this is the case. Still they relapse and worship nature, as they had done in the world, until at length, separating themselves from the angels, they fall into hell, and cannot be rescued from it to eternity (in aeternum). The reason of this is that their souls are not spiritual but natural, like that of the beasts, with the faculty nevertheless of thinking and speaking, because they were born men. Now because the hells at this day, more than at any former period, are filled with men of this class, it is of importance that darkness so dense caused by nature closing and barring up the entrance to men's understandings, should be removed by means of rational light derived from spiritual.
(Apocalypse Explained 1220:2, 3)

November 16, 2017

The Substances or Forms are the Determining Subjects

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All things in the mind of man have been arranged into series, and as it were into bundles; and into series within series, or into bundles within bundles. That there is such an arrangement, is plain from the arrangement of all things in the body, where fibers are seen arranged into bundles, and glandules into clusters, and this everywhere in the body, and still more perfectly in the purer parts not discernible by the naked eye. This bundling is especially to be seen in the brain, in the two substances there, one of which is called cortical and the other medullary. It is not dissimilar in the purer things, and finally in the purest of all, where the forms which receive them are the very forms of life.

• That forms or substances are recipient of life can be seen from every single thing that appears in living creatures; and also that recipient forms or substances are arranged in the way most suitable for the influx of life. Without the reception of life in substances, which are forms, there would be no living thing in the natural world, nor in the spiritual world. Series of the purest filaments, like bundles, constitute these forms. It is the same with those things therein which are highly modified; for modifications receive their form from the forms which are the substances in which they are, and from which they flow, because the substances or forms are the determining subjects.

• The reason why the learned have regarded the things belonging to man's life, that is, to his thought and will, as being devoid of recipient substances or forms, has been that they believed life or the soul to be something either flamy or ethereal, thus such as after death would be dissipated; hence comes the insane notion of many, that there is no life after death.
(Arcana Cœlestia 7408)

November 14, 2017

'Turning About' Man's Freedom, Man's Good, Man's Mind, Man's Understanding and Will

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
So far as man is removed from evils he is removed from hell - for evils and hell are one; so far as he is removed from these he enters into goods and is conjoined with heaven - for goods and heaven are one. Man thus becomes another man; his freedom, his good, his mind, and his understanding and will, are turned about, for he becomes an angel of heaven.

• His freedom, which before had been a freedom to think and will evil, becomes a freedom to think and will good, which in itself is essential freedom. Until a man is in this freedom he does not know what freedom is, for from the freedom of evil he felt the freedom of good to be slavery; but now from the freedom of good he feels the freedom of evil to be slavery, as it is in itself.

• The good that man had before done, since it was from the freedom of evil, could not be good in itself, for it had in it the love of self or of the world. Good can have no other, origin than love; therefore such as the love is such is the good; yet even when the love is evil its delight is felt as good, although it is evil. But after this change the good that man does is good in itself, because it is from the Lord who is good itself, as has been said above.

• The mind of man, before it was conjoined to heaven was turned backwards, because it had not been led out of hell. When it is in a state of reformation, it looks from truth to good, thus from left to right, which is contrary to order. But when the mind has been conjoined to heaven it is turned forwards and lifted up to the Lord and looks from right to left, that is, from good to truth, which is according to order. Thus a turning is brought about.

• It is the same with the understanding and will, since the understanding is a recipient of truth, and the will a recipient of good. Before man has been led out of hell the understanding and will do not act as one; for man then sees and acknowledges from the understanding many things that he does not will, because he does not love them. But when man has been conjoined to heaven the understanding and will act as one, for the understanding then becomes the will's understanding; for when the turning has been effected whatever a man wills he loves, and whatever he wills from love he thinks. Thus when a man has been removed from evils by resistance and combat against them as if from himself, he comes into the love of truth and good; and then everything that he wills and consequently does he also thinks and consequently speaks.
(Apocalypse Explained 1168)

November 13, 2017

See Truths in Appearances

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• The Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man. As this must needs seem obscure to those who have not yet gained a clear notion of what correspondence is and what appearance is, they must be illustrated by example, and thus explained.
All things of the Word are pure correspondences of spiritual and celestial things, and because they are correspondences they are also appearances; that is, all things of the Word are the Divine goods of the Divine love and the Divine truths of the Divine wisdom, which in themselves are naked, but in the sense of the letter of the Word are clothed. They therefore appear like a man in clothing that corresponds to the state of his love and wisdom. All this makes evident that when a man confirms appearances it is the same as asserting that the clothes are the man. It is thus that appearances are converted into fallacies. It is otherwise when man is seeking for truths and sees them in the appearances.
• Since, then, all uses, that is, the truths and goods of charity that a man does to the neighbor, may be done either in accordance with these appearances or in accordance with the truths themselves in the Word, when he does them in accordance with the appearances confirmed in himself he is in fallacies; but when he does them in accordance with truths he does them as he ought. All this makes clear what is meant when it is said that the Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man.
(Divine Providence 220:6 ,7)