February 20, 2018

From Things External 'Seeing Things Internal'

Passage from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Sight of the Interior Man
which from
Things External Sees Things Internal
Things internal are led forth, when with the eyes of the body a man contemplates the starry heaven, and thence thinks of the Lord's kingdom. Whenever a man sees anything with his eyes, and sees the things that he looks upon as if he saw them not, but from them sees or thinks of the things which are of the church or of heaven, then his interior sight, or that of his spirit or soul, is "led forth abroad." The eye itself is properly nothing but the sight of his spirit led forth abroad, and this especially to the end that he may see internal things from external; that is, that he may, from the objects in the world, reflect continually upon those which are in the other life; for this is the life for the sake of which he lives in the world. Such was the sight in the Most Ancient Church; such is the sight of the angels who are with man; and such was the Lord's sight.
  • A Representation of the Lord's Kingdom in a Mental View of the Universe
"Heaven" in the Word, in the internal sense, does not signify the heavens which appear to the eyes; but the Lord's kingdom, universally and particularly. When a man who is looking at internal things from external sees the heavens, he does not think at all of the starry heaven, but of the angelic heaven; and when he sees the sun, he does not think of the sun, but of the Lord, as being the Sun of heaven. So too when he sees the moon, and the stars also; and when he sees the immensity of the heavens, he does not think of their immensity, but of the immeasurable and infinite power of the Lord. It is the same when he sees all other things, for there is nothing that is not representative.

In like manner as regards the things on the earth; as when he beholds the dawning of the day he does not think of the dawn, but of the arising of all things from the Lord, and of progression into the day of wisdom. So when he sees gardens, groves, and flower-beds, his eye remains not fixed on any tree, its blossom, leaf, and fruit; but on the heavenly things which these represent; nor on any flower, and its beauty and pleasantness; but on what they represent in the other life. For there is nothing beautiful and delightful in the skies or on the earth, which is not in some way representative of the Lord's kingdom....

The reason why all things in the sky and on earth are representative, is that they have come forth and do continually come forth, that is, subsist, from the influx of the Lord through heaven. It is with these things as it is with the human body, which comes forth and subsists by means of the soul; on which account all things in the body both in general and in particular are representative of the soul. The soul is in the use and the end; but the body is in the performance of them. All effects, whatever they may be, are in like manner representatives of the uses which are the causes; and the uses are representative of the ends which belong to the first principles.

They who are in Divine ideas never come to a stand in the objects of the external sight; but from them and in them constantly see internal things. The veriest internal things themselves are those which are of the Lord's kingdom, thus those which are in the veriest end itself. It is the same with the Word of the Lord; he who is in Divine things never regards the Lord's Word from the letter; but regards the letter and the literal sense as being representative and significative of the celestial and spiritual things of the church and of the Lord's kingdom. To him the literal sense is merely an instrumental means for thinking of these....
(Arcana Cœlestia 1806, 1807)

February 19, 2018

The Divine Lies Hidden in the Word

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word is wonderful in this respect — it is Divine as to every jot, for every word corresponds to some spiritual thing which may be said to be stored up within it, because the spiritual of the Word is made manifest with the angels, when the Word is read by man.

The case herein is this: Each and all things in the natural world have a correspondence with those which are in the spiritual world, and this down to every word. And the Word has been so written that its words in their series involve series of spiritual things, which do not appear to a man unless he is acquainted with correspondences. In this way what is Divine lies hidden in the Word. From this the Word is spiritual, as also it is called.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 10633)

February 17, 2018

What is Meant by the Coming of the Lord

Selection from Emanuel Swedenborg's The Athanasian Creed
Where the Lord, in the presence of His disciples, speaks about the consummation of the age, which is the last period of the Church, towards the end of the predictions regarding its successive states with respect to love and faith, He says this:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.   Matthew 24:29-31
Those who understand these words in accordance with the sense of the letter have no other belief than that at the final period which is called the Last Judgment, all those events will occur as described in that sense. Therefore, they believe not only that the sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall from heaven, that the sign of the Lord will appear in the sky and that He Himself will be seen in the clouds as well as angels with trumpets, but also, as is foretold elsewhere, that the whole visible earth will be destroyed, after which a new heaven with a new earth will come into being. Such is the opinion of most men within the Church at the present day.

But those who so believe do not know the arcana which lie concealed in every particular of the Word. For, in every particular of the Word there is an internal sense in which are discerned, not the natural and worldly matters such as are in the sense of the letter, but spiritual and heavenly things. Moreover, this is true not only of the meaning of groups of words but it is also true of every single word. For the Word has been written by means of pure correspondences to the end that the internal sense may be in every particular....

It is in accordance with that sense that the words of the Lord, quoted above, concerning His coming in the clouds of heaven, are to be understood. In that passage, by the "sun" which is to be darkened is signified the Lord as to love, by the "moon" the Lord as to faith, by the "stars" cognitions of good and truth or of love and faith, by the "sign" of the Son of man in heaven the manifestation of Divine Truth, by the "tribes of the earth which shall mourn", all things relating to truth and good or to faith and love, by "the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven with power and glory", His presence in the Word and revelation; by "clouds" is signified the sense of the letter of the Word, and by "glory" the internal sense of the Word, by "angels with a trumpet and great voice" is signified heaven whence comes Divine Truth.

Thence it is evident that by those words of the Lord is meant that in the end of the Church when there is no longer any love and consequently no faith, the Lord will open the Word in its internal sense and reveal arcana of heaven....

The man of the Church at this day knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, although they are all set forth and described in the Word. Indeed, many people born within the Church even deny them, saying in their hearts, "Who has come from that world and told us?" Lest, therefore, such a negative attitude, which prevails especially with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted to me to associate with angels and to talk with them as man with man, also to see the things in the heavens as well as in the hells, and this for thirteen years (1747-1758). Now, therefore, from what I have seen and heard I am permitted to describe these things, in the hope that thus, ignorance may be enlightened and unbelief dispelled. Such immediate revelation is now made because that is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord.
(Heaven and Hell 1)
That that [revelation] is the Coming of the Lord, and that it is in consequence of this that the arcana concerning heaven and hell, concerning man's life after death, concerning the Word, concerning the Last Judgment, have been opened by the Lord - this is the doctrine of the church. All these things have been written out in the Latin language, and they have been sent to all the archbishops and bishops of this kingdom [Great Britain], and to some of the nobility; and still not a word has been heard - a sign that they do not interiorly care for the things of heaven and of the church, and that it is now the very end of the church, and indeed that the church is not; for the church is where the Lord is worshiped, and the Word is read with enlightenment, and there are yearly examinations from the assembly.
(from Emanuel Swedenborg's The Athanasian Creed 2)

February 13, 2018

Two Kinds of Affections

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In general, there are affections of truth from two sources, namely, from a natural and from a spiritual source. Those who are in the affection of truth from a natural source look first to self and the world, and thence are natural; but those who are in the affection of truth from a spiritual source look first to the Lord and to heaven, and thence are spiritual.
Man's affection or love looks either downwards or upwards; those who look to self and the world look downwards, but those who look to the Lord and to heaven look upwards.
A man's interiors, which are of his mind, actually look in the same direction as his love or affection does — for love determines them; and such as is the determination of man's interiors, which are of his mind, such after death does the man remain to eternity.

Looking downwards or upwards is looking from love through the understanding, thus through the things that form and make the understanding, which are the knowledges of truth and good.
... no one can be introduced into the church and formed for heaven, except by knowledges from the Word. Without these man does not know the way to heaven, and without these the Lord cannot dwell with him.

It can be seen that without the knowledges of truth and good from the Word no one can know anything of the Lord, of the angelic heaven, or of charity and faith; and that which a man does not know he cannot think, thus cannot will, and accordingly cannot believe and love.
It is evident, therefore, that by means of knowledges man learns the way to heaven.
It can also be seen that without the knowledges of truth and good from the Word the Lord cannot be present with man and lead him — for when man knows nothing of the Lord, of heaven, of charity and faith — his spiritual mind, which is the higher mind, and is intended to see by the light of heaven, is empty, and has nothing from the Divine in it. But the Lord cannot be with man except in His own with man, that is, in the things that are from Him. For this reason it was said that unless a man is in the knowledges of truth and good from the Word and in the life thereof, the Lord cannot dwell with him. From this, taken together, it follows that the natural man can by no means become spiritual without the knowledges of good and truth from the Word.

...those who are in the spiritual affection of truth are also in the life of charity, for from that they have spiritual affection. The spiritual comes to man from no other source than from charity. Those who are in spiritual affection are interested in the Word, and desire nothing more earnestly than to understand it. But as there are innumerable things therein that they do not understand, because the Word in its bosom is spiritual and the spiritual includes infinite arcana, therefore, so long as man lives in the world and then sees from the natural man, he can be but little in the knowledges of truth and good, and in generals only, in which, however, innumerable things may be implanted when he comes into the spiritual world or heaven.

A man who is in the affection of truth from a spiritual origin knows many more things than he knew before; for the general knowledges that he has are like vessels that can be filled with many things, and they are also actually filled when he comes into heaven. That this is so can be seen merely from this, that all the angels in heaven are from the human race, and yet they possess wisdom such as could be described only by what is unutterable and incomprehensible, as is well known.... This fullness of intelligence and wisdom is what is meant by the words of the Lord in Luke:
Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall be given into your bosom (Luke 6:38)
and in Matthew:
Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly (Matt. 13:12; 25:29)
and in Luke:
The lord said to the servant who from the pound given him gained ten pounds, Because thou hast been faithful in a very little, thou shalt have authority over ten cities (Luke 19:16, 17).
(from Apocalypse Explained 112)

The Affection of Truth from the Delight of 'Natural' Affection

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
By natural delight is meant the delight that flows forth from the love of self and the love of the world.

They who are in the affection of truth from this, are they who learn the doctrinal things of the church, which are called the truths of faith, either for the sake of gain, or for the sake of honors, and not for the sake of life. ...
everything which has its origin from the love of self, or from love of the world, is not free, but servile
How the case is with the affections of truth that originate from these loves, is described in the internal sense in what now follows.

Bear in mind that the genuine affection of truth is willing and longs to know the veriest truths of faith for the sake of good use as the end, and for the sake of life; but the affection of truth that is not genuine desires and longs for truths for the sake of self, thus for seeking honors, and for hunting gains. They who are in the affection of truth from this origin do not care whether the truths they know are genuine, provided they are such as they can pass off as truths; and therefore they stick in the mere confirmation of the doctrinal things of the church in which they were born, whether these be true or not true. They are also in darkness in respect to truths themselves; for worldly ends which are gains, and bodily ends which are honors, completely blindfold them.

But they who are in the genuine affection of truth, that is, who long to know truths for the sake of good use, and for the sake of life, also abide in the doctrinal things of the church until they arrive at the age when they begin to think for themselves; then they search the Scriptures and supplicate the Lord for enlightenment, and when they are enlightened they rejoice from the heart. For they know that if they had been born where there is another doctrine of the church, nay, the greatest heresy, without searching the Scriptures from the genuine affection of truth, they would have remained in that doctrine....

From this it is plain who and of what quality they are who are in the genuine affection of truth, and who and of what quality they are who are in an affection of truth that is not genuine.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 8993:2-4)

February 11, 2018

The Face of Truth Turned into the Face of Good

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is to be known that no man has any spiritual good from the Lord, except through truths from the Word; for the truths of the Word are in the light of heaven, and its goods are in the heat of that light; wherefore, unless the understanding is in the light of heaven through the Word, the will cannot come into the heat of heaven.
Love and charity cannot be formed except through truths from the Word
a man cannot be reformed except through truths therefrom. The church itself with man is formed by them; but not by those truths in the understanding alone, but by a life according to them; the truths thus enter into the will, and become goods. Thus the face of truth is turned into the face of good; for that which is of the will and thus of the love is called good, and everything which is of the will or love is also of man's life.
(from Apocalypse Revealed 832:2)

February 10, 2018

The Destructive Nature of the Love of Self and the Love of the World

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
They who are in the loves of self and of the world cannot possibly believe that they are in things so filthy and unclean as they actually are in, for there is a certain pleasure and delight that soothes, favors, and allures, and causes them to love that life, to prefer it to all other life, and thereby to suppose that there is nothing of evil in it — for whatever favors anyone's love and the life thence derived is believed to be good. Hence also the rational consents, and suggests falsities which confirm and cause such blindness that they see nothing of the nature of heavenly love; and if they were to see it they would say in their hearts that it is a wretched affair, or a thing of naught, or something of the nature of a phantasy that takes hold of the mind, as in sickness.

But that the life of the love of self and of the world, together with its pleasures and delights, is filthy and unclean, may be seen by everyone who is willing to think from the rational faculty with which he is gifted. The love of self is the source of all the evils that destroy civic society. From it as from an unclean pit spring all hatreds, all revenges, all cruelties, nay, all adulteries — for he who loves himself, despises, vituperates, or hates, all others who do not serve him, or do him honor, or favor him; and when he hates, he breathes nothing but revenges and cruelties, and this in proportion to the degree in which he loves himself, so that this love is destructive of society and of the human race. That in the other life the love of self is most filthy, and that it is diametrically opposite to the mutual love in which heaven consists....

And as the love of self is the source of hatreds, revenges, cruelties, and adulteries, it is the source of all things that are called sins, wickednesses, abominations, and profanations, and therefore when this love is in the rational part of man, and is in the cupidities and phantasies of his external man, the influx of heavenly love from the Lord is continually repelled, perverted, and contaminated. It is like foul excrement, which dissipates, nay, defiles, all sweet odor; it is like an object that turns the continually inflowing rays of light into dark and repulsive colors; and it is like a tiger, or a serpent, which repels all fondling, and kills with bite and poison those who offer it food; or like a vicious man who turns even the best intentions of others, and their very kindnesses, into what is blameworthy and malicious....
(from Arcana Cœlestia 2045)