December 30, 2015

What Universally Reigns Governs Every Detail

From a passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... if essential and not instrumental things are cared for, they shall have instrumental things in abundance. For example: if truths are cared for, they shall have memory-knowledges in abundance.... In like manner if good is cared for, they shall have truths in abundance. Memory-knowledges, and also truths, must be cared for, but men must regard good as the end. If the eye is upon good as in the end, the man is then in full view of the consequent things, or in the perception of such as are derived from it, which perception is never possible unless good is the end, that is, unless it reigns universally in each and all things.

The case herein is like the body and its soul. A man must by all means care for his body, as that it may be nourished, and clothed, and may enjoy the delights of the world; but all these not for the sake of the body, but for the sake of the soul, namely, that the soul may act in a sound body correspondently and rightly, and may have the body as an organ entirely compliant to it. Thus the soul must be the end. Yet neither must the soul be the end, but only a mediate end, for which the man must care, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the uses which it must perform in both worlds; and when a man has uses as the end, he has the Lord as the end, for the Lord makes disposition for uses, and disposes the uses themselves.

As few know what it is to have as the end, this also shall be told. To have as the end is to love above all other things, for what a man loves, this he has as the end. That which a man has as the end is plainly discerned, for it reigns universally in him; and thus is continually present even at those times when he seems to himself not to be thinking at all about it, for it is seated within and makes his interior life, and thus secretly rules each and all things. As for example, with him who from the heart honors his parents, this honor is present in each and all things that he does in their presence and that he thinks in their absence, and it is also perceived from his gestures and speech. So with him who from the heart fears and honors God, this fear and honor are present in everything that he thinks, and speaks, and does, because it is in him even when it does not seem to be present, as when he is engaged in business that seems to be far from it; for it reigns universally; thus in every detail. That which reigns in man is plainly perceived in the other life, for the sphere of his whole life which exhales from him is thence derived.

From all this it is evident how it is to be understood that God must be always kept before the eyes; not that He must be constantly thought about, but that the fear or the love of Him must reign universally, in which case God is kept before the eyes in every detail. When this is the case the man does not think, speak, or do what is against Him and displeasing to Him; or if he does, that which universally reigns, and lies hidden within, manifests itself and admonishes him.

(Arcana Coelestia 5949)

December 29, 2015

Moving Things To The Circumference

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
 Whatever a man does from freedom in accordance with his thought
is appropriated to him as his, and remains.
This is because man's own (proprium) and his freedom make one. Man's own belongs to his life; and what a man does from his life he does from freedom. Again, man's own belongs to his love, for every one's life is his love; and what a man does from his life's love he does from freedom. From his freedom man acts in accordance with his thought, for the reason that whatever belongs to one's life or love becomes a subject of thought and is confirmed by his thought; and when it has been confirmed he does it from freedom in accordance with his thought.

For whatever a man does, he does from the will by means of the understanding; and freedom belongs to the will, and thought to the understanding. Moreover, from freedom man is able to act contrary to reason, also to act in accordance with reason and not from freedom; but what is so done is not appropriated to the man; it belongs merely to his lips and body, not to his spirit and heart. But whatever is from his spirit and heart, when it comes to be also of the lips and body, is appropriated to him. ...
To be appropriated to man means to enter into his life, and to become a part of his life, consequently to become his own. Yet there is nothing ... that is man's own, it merely seems to him as if it were. Here it needs only to be said that every good that a man does from freedom in accordance with reason is appropriated to him as his, because in the thinking, the willing, the speaking, and the doing, it appears to him to be his; nevertheless, the good is not man's but the Lord's in man.
It is said that whatever one does from freedom in accordance with his thought remains, since nothing that a man has appropriated to himself can be eradicated; for it has come to be of his love and at the same time of his reason, or of his will and at the same time of his understanding, and consequently of his life. It can be removed, but it cannot be eliminated; and when removed it is as it were transferred from the center to the circumference, and there it stays. This is what is meant by its remaining.
For instance, if a man in his boyhood and youth has appropriated to himself a certain evil by doing it from the enjoyment of his love, like fraud or blasphemy or revenge or whoredom, as these things have been done from freedom in accordance with his thought, he has appropriated them to himself; but if he afterwards repents of them, shuns them, and looks upon them as sins that must be hated, and thus refrains from them from freedom in accordance with reason, then the good things to which those evils are opposed are appropriated to him. These goods then constitute the center and remove the evils toward the circumferences further and further, to the extent that he loathes and turns away from them. Nevertheless, they cannot be so cast out as to be said to be extirpated, although by such removal they may appear to be extirpated, which is effected by man's being withheld from evils and held in goods by the Lord. This is true both of all man's inherited evil and of all his actual evil.
Let it be understood, therefore, that these goods are appropriated to man only in the sense that they are always the Lord's in man; and that so far as man acknowledges this the Lord grants that the good may appear to man to be his, that is, that it may appear to man that he loves the neighbor or has charity as if from himself, that he believes or has faith as if from himself, that he does good and understands truths and thus is wise as if from himself. From all this any one who is enlightened can see the nature and strength of the appearance in which the Lord wills man to be; and this the Lord wills for the sake of man's salvation; for without this appearance no one could be saved. ...
(Divine Providence 78 - 79)

December 28, 2015

Good and Truth ~ The Universals of Creation

Passage from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Since then the Lord God the Creator is Love itself and Wisdom itself, and the universe was created by Him, which is therefore as a work proceeding from Him,-it cannot be but that in each and all things created there is something of good and of truth from Him. For what is done and goes forth from any one bears a likeness of him. And reason can also see that it is so, from the order in which each and all things were created in the universe, which is that one thing is for another and that therefore one depends upon another, like the links of a chain. For they are all for the sake of the human race, to the end that from this there may be an angelic heaven, through which the creation returns to the Creator Himself from whom it came. Hence there is a conjunction of the created universe with its Creator, and through conjunction perpetual conservation. It is on this account that good and truth are said to be the universals of creation. That it is so is plain to every one who reflects upon the matter from reason. He sees what relates to good and what relates to truth in every created thing.
(Conjugial Love 85)

December 25, 2015

We are Because God IS

A portion of a passage from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
["I think, therefore I am" coined by the French philosopher René Descartes in his Discourse on Method corrected should be "We are because God is."]*
  • Divine essence is love and wisdom
  • Divine love and wisdom are substance itself and form itself, and the one and only absolute
  • God created the universe and everything in it from Himself and not from nothing
It follows from this that every created thing, and above all the human being and the love and wisdom in him, have real existence, and do not exist only in idea. For unless God were infinite, there would be nothing finite. So, too, unless the infinite were omni- or all- , there would be nothing real. And unless God created all things from Himself, there would be nothing at all.

In a word: We are because God is.

(Divine Providence 46:3)
*added by editor

The Other Christmas Story

We are all aware of the principle story surrounding the Christian biblical account of the Lord’s first advent. The story of God coming to earth and taking on the human form for the purpose of the salvation of man but there is a much more important story here, a much more monumental one for the Lord’s advent. The very creation itself was in jeopardy, our very existence as humans.

Swedenborg writing while his mind was opened into the spiritual world for over 30 years tells us about the other Christmas story. . . what was happening in the spiritual world outside of time and space . . . .the far more monumental one.

Swedenborg writes in The Arcana Coelestia [6373];

“. . .heaven and those things in hell could not be brought by means of that kingdom strong enough to serve as the means by which all things could be preserved in a state of order. And what is more, as a consequence hellish spirits were at the same time breaking out of hell and having dominion over souls who were coming from the world, as a result a situation was coming about in which none but the celestial ones could be saved. At length scarcely these could have been saved if the Lord had not taken on the Human and made that Human within Himself Divine.

. . .he goes on,

By doing this the Lord brought all things into a state of order, first those in Heaven and then those in hell.”

What becomes clear here is that the salvation of man is actually about the restoring of order in the spiritual world and not about the Divine scapegoating for man’s sins. It is also clear from Swedenborg that if God had not taken on this role, the heavens would have eventually been decimated leaving an overwhelming presence of hellish spirits. These being in absolute conflict with the Divine attributes, the God of infinite love and wisdom could not have allowed that to have happened and would have terminated his Divine proceeding ending the existence of everything in the natural and spiritual worlds. . . . . none of us nor the universe around us would have continued to exist beyond that point absent the Lord’s advent.

So the advent of the Lord was for the purpose of saving man but in a much more profound sense than portrayed in the literal sense of the word. It was the rescue of the entire creation itself.
This article was written by Ron Vath. It is my prayer as we celebrate the Lord bowing the heavens and coming down that we keep these thoughts in the forefront of our thinking this season. Merry Christmas – Mike Cates

December 21, 2015

The Power of Truth from Good

A portion of a passage from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
He was called "the son of the right hand" because "son" signifies truth, and "right hand" signifies the power of truth from good, and in the spiritual world, truth that is from good in the natural man has all power.  All the power the spiritual man has is in this, because the effecting cause is in the spiritual man, and the effect is in the natural, and all the power of the effecting cause puts itself forth through the effect. (That all the power of the spiritual man is in the natural, and through the natural, see Arcana Coelestia, n. 9836.) For this reason he was called "Benjamin," that is, "the son of the right hand."

"Bethlehem" has a like signification, namely, truth conjoined to good in the natural man, David too was born there, and also anointed as king (1 Sam. 16:1-14; 17:12); for David as king represented the Lord in respect to truth from good, and this, too, is signified by "king" ....  For the same reason the Lord was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1, 5, 6) because He was born a king, and truth conjoined to good was with Him from birth. For every infant is born natural, and the natural, because it is next to the external senses and the world, is first opened, and this with all men [the natural] is ignorant of truth and desirous of evil; but in the Lord alone the natural had a desire for good and a longing for truth; for the ruling affection in man, which is his soul, is from the father; and with the Lord, the affection or soul from the Father was the Divine Itself, which is the Divine good of the Divine love.
(Apocalypse Explained 449)

December 19, 2015


Portion of a passage from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
By "brethren" in the internal sense are signified those who are in similar good and truth, that is, in a similar affection of good and truth. For in the other life all are consociated in accordance with the affections, and those who are consociated constitute a brotherhood. Not that they call themselves brethren, but that they are brethren by conjunction.
In the other life it is good and truth that produce that which on earth is called relationship by blood and by marriage; and therefore there is a correspondence between the two things; for regarded in themselves goods and truths acknowledge no other father than the Lord, for they are from Him alone. Hence all who are in goods and truths are in brotherhood; but still there are degrees of relationship according to the quality of the goods and truths. These degrees are signified in the Word by "brothers," "sisters," "sons-in-law," "daughters-in-law," "grandsons," "granddaughters," and by other family names.

On earth they are so named with reference to a common parentage, however they may differ in regard to affections; but this brotherhood or relationship is dissipated in the other life, and unless they have been in similar good on earth, they there come into other brotherhoods. At first indeed they for the most part come together, but in a short time are separated; for in that world it is not wealth that keeps men together, but as just said, affections, the quality of which is then manifest as in clear day, and also the kind of affection which one has had toward another.

And as these are manifest, and as everyone's affection draws him to his society, those who have been of a discordant disposition are dissociated; and all the brotherhood and friendship which had been of the external man are obliterated on both sides, and that which is of the internal man remains.

(Arcana Coelestia 4121)

December 16, 2015

Why Man Desires Recompense for the Good He Does

A portion from passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man's own righteousness, or his own merit
...truth without good is attended with such self-merit, because when anyone does good, not from the good of truth, he always desires to be recompensed, because he does it for the sake of himself; whereas when anyone does truth from good, this good is then enlightened by the light that is from the Lord. ...

In man there is no pure good, that is, good with which evil is not mingled; nor pure truth, with which falsity is not mingled. For man's will is nothing but evil, from which there continually flows falsity into his understanding; because, as is well known, man receives by inheritance the evil successively accumulated by his progenitors, and from this he produces evil in an actual form, and makes it his own, and adds thereto more evil of himself. But the evils with man are of various kinds; there are evils with which goods cannot be mingled, and there are evils with which they can be mingled; and it is the same with the falsities. Unless this were so, no man could possibly be regenerated. The evils and falsities with which goods and truths cannot be mingled are such as are contrary to love to God and love toward the neighbor; namely, hatreds, revenges, cruelties, and a consequent contempt for others in comparison with one's self; and also the consequent persuasions of falsity. But the evils and falsities with which goods and truths can be mingled are those which are not contrary to love to God and love toward the neighbor.

For example: If anyone loves himself more than others, and from this love studies to excel others in moral and civic life, in memory-knowledges and doctrinal things, and to be exalted to dignities and wealth in pre-eminence to others, and yet acknowledges and adores God, performs kind offices to his neighbor from the heart, and does what is just and fair from conscience; the evil of this love of self is one with which good and truth can be mingled; for it is an evil that is man's own, and that is born hereditarily; and to take it away from him suddenly would be to extinguish the fire of his first life. But the man who loves himself above others, and from this love despises others in comparison with himself, and hates those who do not honor and as it were adore him, and therefore feels a consequent delight of hatred in revenge and cruelty-the evil of such a love as this is one with which good and truth cannot be mingled, for they are contraries. ...
(From Arcana Coelestia 3993)

December 14, 2015

Love, Wisdom, Use Becoming Real

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the end of creation was an angelic heaven from the human race, and consequently man, in whom God can dwell as in His receptacle; and this is the reason why man was created a form of Divine order.
Previous to creation God was love itself and wisdom itself and the union of these two in the effort to accomplish uses; for love and wisdom apart from use are only fleeting matters of reason, which fly away if not applied to use.
The first two separated from the third are like birds flying above a great ocean, which are at length exhausted by flying, and fall down and are drowned.  Evidently, therefore, the universe was created by God to give existence to uses; and for this reason the universe may be called a theater of uses.  And as man is the chief end of creation, it follows that each and all things were created for the sake of man; and therefore each and all things belonging to order were brought together and concentrated in him, to the end that through him, God might accomplish primary uses.
Love and wisdom apart from their third, which is use, may be likened to the sun's heat and light; which, if they did not operate upon men, animals, and vegetables, would be worthless things; but by influx into and operation upon these they become real..
For there are three things that follow each other in order, namely, end, cause, and effect; and it is known in the learned world that the end is nothing unless it regards the effecting cause, and that the end and this cause are nothing unless an effect is produced.  The end and cause may indeed be contemplated abstractly in the mind, but still only on account of some effect which the end purposes and the cause secures.  It is the same with love, wisdom, and use; use is the end which love purposes, and through the cause accomplishes; and when use is accomplished, love and wisdom have a real existence; and in the use they make for themselves a habitation and foundation where they rest as in their home.  It is the same with the man who has in him the love and wisdom of God when he is performing uses; and to enable him to perform Divine uses, he was created an image and likeness of God, that is, a form of Divine order.
(True Christian Religion 66 - 67)

Truth of Doctrine Elevated Out of the Natural

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
When the truth which is to be initiated and conjoined with good is elevated out of the natural, it is separated from what is therein; ... Truth is separated when the man no longer from truth regards good, but from good truth; or what is the same, when he no longer from doctrine regards life, but from life doctrine.

For example: doctrine teaches the truth that no one is to be held in hatred; for whoever holds another in hatred, kills him every moment. In early life a man scarcely admits the truth of this, but as he advances in age and is being reformed, he accounts this as one of the doctrinal things according to which he ought to live. At last he lives according to it; and then he no longer thinks from the doctrine, but acts from the life. When this is the case, this truth of doctrine is elevated out of the natural, and indeed is separated from the natural and implanted in good in the rational; and this being effected he no longer suffers the natural man by any of its sophistry to call it in doubt; nay, he does not suffer the natural man to reason against it.
(Arcana Coelestia 3182)

December 2, 2015

In Compelling Oneself There is Freedom

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... to "humble and afflict oneself" denotes to submit to the sovereign control of the internal man, ... that this is to compel oneself; also that in compelling oneself there is freedom, that is, what is spontaneous and voluntary, by which compelling oneself is distinguished from being compelled. ... without this freedom, that is, spontaneity or willingness, man cannot possibly be reformed and receive any heavenly Own; and further that there is more of freedom in temptations than out of them, although the contrary appears to be the case, for the freedom is then stronger in proportion to the assaults of evils and falsities, and is strengthened by the Lord in order that a heavenly Own may be conferred upon the man; and for this reason the Lord is more present with us while we are in temptations. ... the Lord never compels anyone; for he who is compelled to think what is true and do what is good is not reformed, but thinks falsity and wills evil all the more. All compulsion has this effect, as we may see from the records and examples of life, for from them we know these two things: that consciences do not suffer themselves to be compelled, and that we strive after what is forbidden. Moreover everyone desires to pass from non-freedom into freedom, for this belongs to man's life.

Hence it is evident that anything which is not from freedom, that is, which is not from what is spontaneous or voluntary, is not acceptable to the Lord; for when anyone worships the Lord from what is not free, he worships from nothing that is his own, and in this case it is the external which moves, that is, which is moved, from being compelled, while the internal is null, or resistant, or is even contradictory to it. While man is being regenerated, he, from the freedom with which he is gifted by the Lord, exercises self-compulsion, and humbles and even afflicts his rational, in order that it may submit itself, and thereby he receives a heavenly Own, which is afterwards gradually perfected by the Lord, and is made more and more free, so that it becomes the affection of good and thence of truth, and has delight, and in both the freedom and the delight there is happiness like that of angels. This freedom is what the Lord speaks of in John:
The truth shall make you free; if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:32, 36).

The nature of this freedom is utterly unknown to those who do not possess conscience, for they make freedom consist in doing as they please and in the license of thinking and speaking what is false, of willing and doing what is evil, and of not compelling and humbling, still less of afflicting such desires; when yet the very reverse is the case, as the Lord also teaches in the same gospel:
Everyone that committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34).

This slavish freedom they receive from the infernal spirits who are with them and who infuse it, and when they are in the life of these spirits they are also in their loves and cupidities, and an impure and excrementitious delight breathes upon them, and when they are being as it were carried away by the torrent, they suppose themselves to be in freedom, but it is infernal freedom. The difference between this infernal freedom and heavenly freedom is that the one is that of death, and drags them down to hell, while the other, or heavenly freedom, is of life and uplifts them to heaven.

That all true internal worship comes from freedom, and none from compulsion, and that if worship is not from freedom it is not internal worship, is evident from the Word, as from the sacrifices that were freewill offerings or vows, or offerings of peace or of thanksgiving; which were called "gifts" and "offerings" (concerning which see Num. 15:3, etc.; Deut. 12:6; 16:10-11; 23:23-24). So in David:
With a free-will offering will I sacrifice unto Thee; I will confess to Thy name, O Jehovah, for it is good (Ps. 54:6).

So again from the contribution or collection which they were to make for the Tabernacle, and for the garments of holiness, spoken of in Moses:
Speak unto the sons of Israel, and let them take for Me an offering; from every man whom his heart impels willingly ye shall take My offering (Exod. 25:2).

And again:
Whosoever is of a willing heart let him bring it, Jehovah's offering (Exod. 35:5).

Moreover the humiliation of the rational man, or its affliction (from freedom, as before said), was also represented by the affliction of souls on days of solemnity, as mentioned in Moses:
It shall be a statute of eternity unto you; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, ye shall afflict your souls (Lev. 16:29).

And again:
On the tenth of the seventh month, this is the day of expiations; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; every soul that shall not have afflicted itself in that same day, shall be cut off from his peoples (Lev. 23:27, 29).
It was for this reason that the unleavened bread, in which there was nothing fermented, is called the "bread of affliction" (Deut. 16:2-3).

"Affliction" is thus spoken of in David:
Jehovah, who shall sojourn in Thy tent? who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness; he that sweareth to afflict himself, and changeth not (Ps. 15:1-2, 4).

That "affliction" denotes the mastering and subjugation of the evils and falsities that rise up from the external man into the rational, may be seen from what has been said. Thus "affliction" does not mean that we should plunge ourselves into poverty and wretchedness, or that we should renounce all bodily delights, for in this way evil is not mastered and subjugated; and moreover some other evil may be aroused, namely, a sense of merit on account of the renunciation; and besides, man's freedom suffers, in which alone, as in ground, the good and truth of faith can be inseminated.

(Arcana Coelestia 1947)

November 30, 2015

Higher Thought ~ Lower Thought

From Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word in the purely spiritual sense does not derive anything from the idea of time nor from the idea of space, because times and spaces in heaven do indeed appear like times and spaces in the world, but still they are not there; wherefore the angels cannot measure times and spaces, which there are appearances, otherwise than by states, according to their progressions and changes; from which it may appear that in the purely spiritual sense by "quickly" and "at hand" is not meant quickly and near as to time, but quickly and near as to state; this may indeed appear as if it were not so, the reason is because with men, in every idea of their lower thought, which is merely natural, there is something from time and space; but it is otherwise in the ideas of the higher thought, in which men are when they revolve natural, civil, moral, and spiritual things in interior rational light, for then spiritual light, which is abstracted from time and space, flows in and enlightens. You may experience this and thus be confirmed, if you will, by only attending to your thoughts; when you will also be convinced that thought is higher and lower, inasmuch as simple thought cannot survey itself, except from some higher thought; and if man did not have a higher and a lower thought, he would not be a man but a brute.
(Apocalypse Revealed 947:2)

November 28, 2015

Deluded are They Who Remain in the Sense of the Letter Alone

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
How greatly they are deluded who remain in the sense of the letter alone, and do not search out the internal sense from other passages in the Word in which it is explained, is very evident from the many heresies, every one of which proves its dogmas from the literal sense of the Word; especially is this manifest from that great heresy which the insane and infernal love of self and the world has drawn from the Lord's words to Peter:
    I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it; and I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth shall be bound in the heavens, and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth shall be loosed in the heavens (Matthew 16:15-19).
They who press the sense of the letter think that these things were said of Peter, and that power so great was given him; although they are fully aware that Peter was a very simple man, and that he by no means exercised such power; and that to exercise it is contrary to the Divine. Nevertheless, as owing to the insane and infernal love of self and the world they desire to arrogate to themselves the highest power on earth and in heaven, and to make themselves gods, they explain this according to the letter, and vehemently defend it; whereas the internal sense of these words is, that Faith itself in the Lord, which exists solely with those who are in love to the Lord and in charity toward the neighbor, has that power; and yet not faith, but the Lord from whom faith is. By "Peter" there is meant that faith, as everywhere else in the Word. Upon this is the Church built, and against it the gates of hell do not prevail. This faith has the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and it shuts heaven lest evils and falsities should enter in, and opens heaven for goods and truths. This is the internal sense of these words.

The twelve apostles, like the twelve tribes of Israel, represented nothing else than all the things of such faith .... Peter represented faith itself, James charity, and John the goods of charity .... in like manner as did Reuben, Simeon, and Levi, the firstborn sons of Jacob, in the representative Jewish and Israelitish Church, which is plain from a thousand passages in the Word. And as Peter represented faith, the words in question were said to him. From this it is manifest into what darkness those cast themselves, and others with them, who explain all things according to the letter; as those who so explain these words to Peter, by which they derogate from the Lord and arrogate to themselves the power of saving the human race.
(Arcana Coelestia 2759a) 

November 27, 2015

The Inexpressible Power of the Word

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Hardly anyone at this day knows that there is any power in truths; for truth is supposed to be nothing more than a statement uttered by someone in authority, which ought for that reason to be obeyed; thus truth is supposed to be like a mere breath from the mouth or sound in the ear; and yet truth and good are the principles of all things in both worlds, the spiritual and the natural; also they are the means by which the universe was created, and through which the universe is preserved, and the means as well by which man was created; therefore these two are the all in all things. That the universe was created by Divine truth, is clearly declared in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and God was the Word; by It were all things made that were made and by It the world was made (John 1:1, 3, 10).
And in David:
By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made (Ps. 33:6).
In both of these passages "The Word" means the Divine truth. As the universe was created by this truth, so also was the universe preserved by it; for as subsistence is perpetual existence, so preservation is perpetual creation.

It was by means of Divine truth that man was made, because all things in man have relation to understanding and will, the understanding being the receptacle of Divine truth, and the will of Divine good; therefore, the human mind, which consists of those two principles, is nothing but a form of Divine good and Divine truth spiritually and naturally organized. The human brain is that form. And as the whole of man depends upon his mind, so all things of his body are appendages, which are moved by these two principles, and life from them.

From all this it can now be seen why God came into the world as the Word, and became Man, namely, that the work of redemption might be accomplished; for God then, by means of His Human, which was Divine truth, put on all power, overthrew the hells (which had grown up even as far as to the heavens where the angels were), and subjugated them, and reduced them to obedience to Himself, and this was done not by a spoken word but by the Divine Word which is Divine truth. Afterward He opened a great gulf between the hells and the heavens, which no one from hell can cross; if anyone attempts it, at the first step he is tortured like a serpent laid on a sheet of hot iron, or on an ant hill. For at the first approach of the odor of Divine truth the devils and satans instantly cast themselves into the abyss and throw themselves into caves and stop them up so closely that not a crevice is visible. This is because the will of such is in evils, and the understanding in falsities, that is, in what is opposite to the Divine good and the Divine truth. And because the whole of man, as just said, consists of these two principles of life, they are thus from head to foot, completely and grievously overpowered in consequence of their sensation of the opposite.

From all this it can be seen that the power of Divine truth is inexpressible. And as the Word which the Christian church possesses is the containant of Divine truth in three degrees, that Word is evidently what is meant in John (1:1, 3, 10). That its power is inexpressible I could prove by many evidences of experience in the spiritual world; but as these evidences would surpass belief, or appear incredible... The following will serve to keep these truths in remembrance: That a church that is in Divine truths from the Lord has power over the hells, and that the Lord's words to Peter refer to such a church:
Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).  This the Lord said after Peter had confessed, That He was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16).
"Rock" here means such truth, for everywhere in the Word "rock" means the Lord in respect to Divine truth.

(True Christian Religion 224)

November 24, 2015

Influx is Varied According to the Form of the Receiving Vessel

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The spiritual in its first origin is the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord's Divine Human; which truth has in it Divine good, because the Divine truth comes forth from the Lord's Divine Human, which is Divine good. The Divine truth, in which is Divine good, is the spiritual itself in its origin, and is the life itself which fills heaven, nay, which fills the universe; and where there is a subject, there it flows in. But in its subjects it is varied according to their form. In the subjects which agree with good, it presents spiritual life; but in the subjects which disagree with good, it presents life opposed to spiritual life, which in the Word is called "death." From this it is now plain what spiritual life is, namely, that it is to be in truths from good, which proceed from the Lord.
(Arcana Coelestia 6685)
===='s regeneration is an image of the Lord's glorification. A man who is being regenerated, like the man who is born, passes through the ages - infancy, childhood, youth or early manhood, and adult age; for a man who is being regenerated is born anew. When he is an infant, the truths in him have indeed life, but not yet spiritual life. It is only general truths without particulars and singulars with which good is then conjoined; consequently there is only exterior conjunction, not interior. Interior conjunction is effected successively, as the man advances into the following ages. It is the state of this infancy which is signified by the children being tender, and also by the words which now follow: "and the flocks and the herds are suckling with me, and if they drive them on in one day, all the flocks will die."
(Arcana Coelestia 4377)

November 23, 2015

The Quality of Men Within the Church When They Make Prudence to Consist in Cunning

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The evil, who have been alienated from truth and good, as being cunning;
for that which the evil do from cunning, and also from deceit, they call prudence.

Of the cunning which is signified by "prudence," something may here be related. All who are in evil call cunning "prudence," and make intelligence and wisdom to consist in nothing else. They who are of this character in the world become worse in the other life, and there act continually from cunning against things good and true; and those are recognized as intelligent and wise among them who seem to themselves able to invalidate and destroy truths by falsities, no matter by what art or wickedness.
From this it can be seen what is the quality of men within the church when they make prudence to consist in cunning: that they have communication with the hells.
Those who are true men of the church are so far removed from cunning that they absolutely abhor it; and those of them who are as the angels, desire that if it were possible their minds should be open, so that what they think may be manifest to everyone; for they intend nothing but good toward their neighbor, and if they see evil in anyone they excuse it.

It is otherwise with those who are in evil; these are afraid lest anything which they think and will should show itself; for they intend nothing but evil to the neighbor; if good, it is for the sake of self; and if they do what is good, it is only in the outward form, that they may appear good for the sake of gain and honor; for they know that what is good and true, just and fair, and also what is honorable, have a strong hidden power of attracting minds, even of those who are evil.
(Arcana Coelestia 6655)

November 21, 2015

In Delight there is Life

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Pleasure not only affects man, but also sustains him, like food

Pleasure without delight is not pleasure, but is something without life, and only from delight is and is called pleasure. Such also as is the delight, such is the pleasure. Corporeal and sensuous things are in themselves only material, lifeless, and dead; but from delights which come in order from the interiors, they have life. From this it is evident that such as is the life of the interiors, such is the delight in the pleasures, for in the delight there is life. The delight in which there is good from the Lord is alone living, for it is then from the very life of good; ...

Some think that no one ought ever to live in the pleasures of the body and its senses who wishes to be happy in the other life, but that all these should be renounced on the ground that they are corporeal and worldly, withdrawing man and keeping him away from spiritual and heavenly life. But those who think so and therefore reduce themselves to voluntary misery while they live in the world, are not well-informed as to what the real case is. No one is forbidden to enjoy the pleasures of the body and its senses, that is, the pleasures of possession of lands and wealth; the pleasures of honor and office in the state; the pleasures of conjugial love and of love for infants and children; the pleasures of friendship and of interaction with companions; the pleasures of hearing, or of the sweetness of singing and music; the pleasures of sight, or of beauties, which are manifold, as those of becoming dress, of elegant dwellings with their furniture, beautiful gardens, and the like, which are delightful from harmony of form and color; the pleasures of smell, or of fragrant odors; the pleasures of taste, or of the flavors and benefits of food and drink; the pleasures of touch. For these are most external or bodily affections arising from interior affections, as already said.
Interior affections, which are living, all derive their delight from good and truth; and good and truth derive their delight from charity and faith, and in this case do so from the Lord, thus from life itself; wherefore the affections and pleasures therefrom are living. And since genuine pleasures have this origin, they are denied to no one. Indeed, when they are from this origin their delight indefinitely surpasses delight not from this source, which is in comparison unclean.
For example, the pleasure of conjugial love, when it has its origin from true conjugial love, surpasses immeasurably pleasure that has not this origin, so much so that those who are in true conjugial love are in heavenly delight and happiness, since it comes down from heaven. This was acknowledged by the men of the Most Ancient Church. The delight from adulteries felt by adulterers was to those men so abominable that when they thought of it they shuddered. From all this it is evident what is the nature of the delight that does not flow from the true fountain of life, or from the Lord.

That the pleasures above mentioned are never denied to man, and that so far from being denied they are then first really pleasures when they come from their true origin, may also be seen from the fact that very many who have lived in power, dignity, and opulence in the world, and who had all pleasures in abundance, both of the body and of the senses, are among the blessed and happy in heaven, and with them now the interior delights and happinesses are living, because they have had their origin in the goods of charity and the truths that are of faith in the Lord. And since they had regarded all their pleasures as coming from charity and faith in the Lord, they regarded them from use, which was their end. Use itself was the most delightful thing to them, and from this came the delight of their pleasures.
(Arcana Coelestia 995)

November 20, 2015

Goods and Truths are Either of the Lord or Not of the Lord

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Goods and truths are either of the Lord or not of the Lord. Those which are of the Lord are those which the man does for the sake of his neighbor, for the sake of his country, for the sake of the church, and for the sake of the Lord's kingdom, thus for the sake of good and truth itself, and especially for the sake of the Lord. These goods and truths are those which are of the Lord; but the truths and goods which are not of the Lord are those which a man does for the sake of himself as the end, and for the sake of the world as the end. These latter sometimes appear like the former in the outward form, but in the inward form they are quite different; for these lead to self, but those away from self. The truths and goods which are not of the Lord are also for the most part those which a man does in a state of misfortune, of sickness, of grief, and of fear, and not in a free state, for these also are for the sake of self. All truths and goods do indeed flow in from the Lord, but when the goods and truths of the Lord are bent with a man to himself, they then become the man's and belong to him to whom they are bent, for they become goods of the love of self and of the world. Such are the goods of all the evil among themselves. From all this it is evident what goods and truths are meant by those which are of the Lord, and by those which are not of the Lord.
(Arcana Coelestia 7564)

November 19, 2015

Man's Mind is the Man Himself.

From Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man's mind is the man himself.  For the primary texture of the human form, that is, the human form itself with each and every thing thereof, is from first principles continued from the brain through the nerves, in the manner described above. It is this form into which man comes after death, who is then called a spirit or an angel, and who is in all completeness a man, but a spiritual man. The material form that is added and superinduced in the world, is not a human form by itself, but only by virtue of the spiritual form, to which it is added and superinduced that man may be enabled to perform uses in the natural world, and also to draw to himself out of the purer substances of the world a fixed containant of spiritual things, and thus continue and perpetuate life. It is a truth of angelic wisdom that man's mind, not alone in general, but in every particular, is in a perpetual conatus toward the human form, for the reason that God is a Man.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 388)

November 17, 2015

Created to Perform Uses

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As man was created to perform uses, and this is to love the neighbor, so all who come into heaven, however many there are, must do uses. All the delight and blessedness of these is according to uses and to the love of uses. Heavenly joy is from no other source. He who believes that such joy is possible in idleness is much deceived. No idle person is tolerated even in hell. Those who are there are in workhouses and under a judge who imposes tasks on the prisoners that they must do daily. To those who do not do them neither food nor clothing is given, but they stand hungry and naked; thus are they compelled to work there. The difference is that in hell uses are done from fear, but in heaven from love; and fear does not give joy, but love does. Nevertheless it is proper to vary occupations in different ways in company with others, and these serve as recreations, which are also uses. It has been granted me to see many things in heaven, many things in the world, and many things in the human body, and to consider at the same time their uses; and it has been revealed that every particular thing in them, both great and small, was created from use, in use, and for use; and that the part in which the ultimate that is for use ceases is separated as harmful and is cast out as condemned.
(Apocalypse Explained 1194)
see a previous post on entitled: Loving Uses for the Sake of Uses

The Use the Lord Performs through Man

Passages from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Inasmuch as the end of creation is an angelic heaven out of the human race, and thus the human race itself, all other created things are mediate ends, and these, as having relation to man, with a view to his conjunction with the Lord, refer themselves to these three things in him, his body, his rational, and his spiritual. For man cannot be conjoined to the Lord unless he be spiritual, nor can he be spiritual unless he be rational, nor can he be rational unless his body is in a sound state. These three are like a house; the body like the foundation, the rational like the superstructure, the spiritual like those things which are in the house, and conjunction with the Lord like dwelling in it. From this can be seen in what order, degree, and respect uses (which are the mediate ends of creation) have relation to man, namely:
    (1) for sustaining his body
    (2) for perfecting his rational
    (3) for receiving what is spiritual from the Lord. 
  • Uses for sustaining the body relate to its nourishment, its clothing, its habitation, its recreation and enjoyment, its protection and the preservation of its state. ... in like manner, the uses for habitation, also for recreation, enjoyment, protection, and preservation of state. ... There are many things, to be sure, which are not used by man; but what is superfluous does not do away with the use, but ensures its continuance. Misuse of uses is also possible, but misuse does not do away with use, even as falsification of truth does not do away with truth except with those who falsify it.
  • Uses for perfecting the rational are all things that give instruction about the subjects above mentioned, and are called sciences and branches of study, pertaining to natural, economical, civil and moral affairs, which are learned either from parents and teachers, or from books, or from interaction with others, or by reflection on these subjects by oneself. These things perfect the rational so far as they are uses in a higher degree, and they are permanent as far as they are applied to life. ...
  • Uses for receiving the spiritual from the Lord, are all things that belong to religion and to worship therefrom; thus all things that teach the acknowledgment and knowledge of God and the knowledge and acknowledgment of good and truth and thus eternal life, which are acquired in the same way as other learning, from parents, teachers, discourses, and books, and especially by applying to life what is so learned; and in the Christian world, by doctrines and discourses from the Word, and through the Word from the Lord.  These uses in their full extent may be described under the same heads as the uses of the body, as nourishment, clothing, habitation, recreation and enjoyment, and preservation of state, if only they are applied to the soul; as nutrition to goods of love, clothing to truths of wisdom, habitation to heaven, recreation and enjoyment to felicity of life and heavenly joy, protection to safety from infesting evils, and preservation of state to eternal life. All these things are given by the Lord according to the acknowledgment that all bodily things are also from the Lord, and that a man is only as a servant and house-steward appointed over the goods of his Lord.

  • That such things have been given to man to use and enjoy, and that they are free gifts, is clearly evident from the state of angels in the heavens, who have, like men on earth, a body, a rational, and a spiritual. They are nourished freely, for food is given them daily; they are clothed freely, for garments are given them; their dwellings are free, for houses are given them; nor have they any care about all these things; and so far as they are rational-spiritual do they have enjoyment, protection, and preservation of state. The difference is that angels see that these things, - because created according to the state of their love and wisdom, - are from the Lord; but men do not see this, because their harvest returns yearly, and is not in accord with the state of their love and wisdom, but in accord with the care bestowed by them.

    These things are called uses, because through man they have relation to the Lord; nevertheless, they must not be said to be uses from man for the Lord's sake, but from the Lord for man's sake, inasmuch as in the Lord all uses are infinitely one, but in man there are no uses except from the Lord; for man cannot do good from himself, but only from the Lord, and good is what is called use. The essence of spiritual love is doing good to others, not for the sake of self but for the sake of others; infinitely more is this the essence of Divine Love. It is like the love of parents for their children, in that parents do good to their children from love, not for their own sake but for their children's sake. This is especially manifest in a mothers love for her offspring. Because the Lord is to be adored, worshiped and glorified, He is supposed to love adoration, worship, and glory for His own sake; but He loves these for man's sake, because by means of them man comes into a state in which the Divine can flow in and be perceived; since by means of them man puts away that which is his own, which hinders influx and reception, for what is man's own, which is self-love, hardens the heart and shuts it up. This is removed by man's acknowledging that from himself comes nothing but evil and from the Lord nothing but good; from this acknowledgment there is a softening of the heart and humiliation, out of which flow forth adoration and worship.

    From all this it follows, that the use which the Lord performs for Himself through man is that Man may be able to do good from love, and since this is the Lord's love, its reception is the enjoyment of His love. Therefore, let no one believe that the Lord is with those who merely worship Him, He is with those who do His commandments, thus who perform uses; with such He has His abode, but not with the former.
    (Divine Love and Wisdom 330 - 335)

    November 15, 2015

    To What Love Has The Soul Become

    From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    ... no thought is possible to man except from some affection of his life's love; and that thought is nothing but the form of affection. Since, then, man sees his thought, but cannot see his affection, for that he feels, it follows that it is from sight, which is in the appearance, and not from affection, which comes into feeling and not into sight, that man concludes that his own prudence does all things. For affection is evident only through a certain delight in thought and satisfaction in reasoning about it; and this satisfaction and delight then make one with the thought in those who from self-love or love of the world believe in their own prudence; and thought floats on in its delight like a ship in the current of a stream, to which the master pays no attention, regarding only the sail he spreads.

    ... a man may reflect upon a delight of his external affection while that delight is acting as one with the delight of some bodily sensation. Nevertheless, he does not reflect upon the fact that this delight is from a delight of his affection in his thought. For example: when a fornicator sees a lewd woman his eye glows with the fire of lasciviousness, and from that fire he feels a delight in the body. And yet in his thought he feels no delight of his affection or lust except a certain longing connected with the body. So a robber in a forest when he sees travelers; or a pirate on the sea when he sees vessels; and so on. Evidently it is these delights that rule the man's thoughts and the thoughts are nothing apart from them; yet they seem to him to be nothing but thoughts; when in fact, thoughts are nothing but affections so composed into forms by his life's love as to be presented in light; for all affection is in heat, and thought is in light.

    Such are the external affections of thought, which manifest themselves in bodily sensation, but rarely in the thought of the mind.  But the internal affections of thought, from which the external affections have their existence, never manifest themselves before man. Of these man knows no more than one sleeping in a carriage knows of the road, or than one feels the revolution of the earth. Considering, then, that man knows nothing of the things that are going on in the interiors of his mind, which are too limitless to be numbered, and yet those few externals that do come within the view of his thought are produced from the interiors, and the interiors are governed by the Lord alone by His Divine providence, and only those few externals by the Lord and man together, how can any one say that his own prudence does all things? If you were to see but one idea of thought laid open you would see wonderful things, more in number than tongue can express.

    That in the interiors of man's mind there are things too limitless to be numbered is clear from the infinite things in the body, from which nothing comes to sight or feeling except action only in much simplicity; and yet in this thousands of motor or muscular fibers concur, thousands of nerve fibers, thousands of blood-vessels, thousands of lung cells, all of which must co-operate in every action, thousands of cells in the brains and spinal cord, and many more yet in the spiritual man, which is the human mind, in which all things are forms of affections and of their perceptions and thoughts. Does not the soul, which directs the interiors, direct also the actions from them?  Man's soul is nothing else than the love of his will and the love therefrom of his understanding. The quality of that love is the quality of the whole man; and that is determined by the way in which the externals are disposed, in which man and the Lord co-operate. Consequently, if man attributes all things to himself and to nature the love of self becomes the soul; but if he attributes all things to the Lord, love to the Lord becomes the soul; and this love is heavenly, while the other is infernal.
    (Divine Providence 198 - 199)

    November 11, 2015

    The Whole Man is in Every One of the Ideas of His Thought, Which Are Of His Worship

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Man is not man from his face, nor even from his speech, but from understanding and will; such as are his understanding and his will, such is the man. It is known that when he is born he has nothing of understanding and nothing of will; and also that his understanding and his will are formed by degrees from infancy; from this a man becomes a man, and such a man as are the understanding and the will that have been formed in him. The understanding is formed by means of truths, and the will by means of goods, insomuch that his understanding is nothing else than a composition of such things as bear relation to truths, and his will is nothing else than the affection of such things as are called goods. From this it follows that a man is nothing but the truth and good from which his two faculties have been formed.

    Each and all things of his body correspond to these, as can be seen from the fact that the body instantly does that which the understanding thinks and the will wills; for the mouth speaks in accordance with the thoughts, the face changes in accordance with the affections, and the body makes movements in accordance with the commands of both. From this it is evident that a man is wholly such as are his understanding and his will, thus such as he is in respect to truths and in respect to goods; for as before said, truths constitute his understanding, and goods his will; or what is the same, a man is his own truth and his own good.

    That this is so appears openly with spirits; these are nothing else than their own truths and their own goods which they had put on when they lived in the world as men; and yet they are human forms. Consequently from their face shines forth the quality of the truths and goods which they have; and this is also perceived from the sound and disposition of their speech, and from their gestures, especially from their spoken words; for their spoken words are not such as are with men in the world, but are in perfect harmony with their truths and goods, so as to proceed from these quite naturally. In this speech are spirits and angels when they are conversing together; and in respect to his spirit, man is in a like speech during his life in this world, although he is then unaware of it; for he thinks from similar ideas, as has also been observed by some learned men who have called these ideas immaterial and intellectual. After death, when the man becomes a spirit, these ideas become words. From all this it is again evident that a man is not anything else than his own truth and his own good. Hence it is that after death a man remains such truth and good as he has become.

    It is said "such truth and good as he has become," and thereby is also meant such falsity and evil as he has become; for evil men call falsity truth and evil good. This is a secret which must by all means be known, in order that it may be known how the case is with Divine worship; but besides this there is one secret more, namely, that in every idea of thought proceeding from a man's will there is the whole man. This moreover follows from the former, for a man thinks from his truth and wills from his good, which are himself. That this is so can be seen from the following experience. When the angels perceive a single idea of a man, or a single idea of a spirit, they at once know the quality of the man or of the spirit.

    These things have been said in order that it may be known how the case is with Divine worship ... namely, that the whole man is in each and all things of his worship, because his truth and good are there, which are himself. ... From all this it also follows that it is the same whether you say that Divine worship consists of these truths and goods, or that man consists of them, because as before said the whole man is in every one of the ideas of his thought, which are of his worship.

    (Arcana Coelestia 10298)

    November 5, 2015

    Man's OWN is Nothing but the Love of Self and of the World

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    There are two so-called loves and their cupidities that obstruct the influx of heavenly love from the Lord; for when these loves reign in the interior and in the external man, and take possession thereof, they either reject or suffocate, and also pervert and contaminate, the inflowing heavenly love; for they are utterly contrary to heavenly love.... But insofar as these loves are removed, so far the heavenly love flowing in from the Lord begins to appear, nay, to give light in the interior man; and so far he begins to see that he is in evil and falsity; next that he is actually in uncleanness and filthiness; and finally that this has been his Own. They who are becoming regenerate are those with whom these loves are being removed.

    Observation of this removal is possible also with the unregenerate, for when the cupidities of these loves are quiescent in them, as sometimes occurs when they are in holy meditation, or when the cupidities are lulled, as happens when they are in misfortunes, in sicknesses, and diseases, and especially at the moment of death, then, because bodily and worldly things are lulled and as it were dead, they observe something of heavenly light and the consequent comfort. But with these persons there is not removal of the cupidities in question, but only a lulling of them, for when they return into their former state, they at once relapse into the same cupidities.

    With the evil also, bodily and worldly things can be lulled, and they can then be as it were uplifted into a kind of heavenliness, as sometimes takes place with souls in the other life, especially those newly arrived, who intensely desire to see the glory of the Lord, because they had heard so much about heaven while they lived in the world. The external things above referred to are then lulled in them, and in this way they are carried into the first heaven and enjoy their desire. But they cannot remain long, because there is only a quiescence of the bodily and worldly things, and not a removal of them, as with the angels.

    Be it known that heavenly love is continually inflowing into man from the Lord, and that nothing else obstructs and impedes it, and causes its reception by the man impossible, except the cupidities of those loves and the falsities derived from them.
    (Arcana Coelestia 2041)

    November 3, 2015

    When Use is in the First Place and Rules

    Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    The uses through which men and angels have wisdom
    To love uses is nothing else than to love the neighbor, for use in the spiritual sense is the neighbor. This can be seen from the fact that everyone loves another not because of his face and body, but from his will and understanding; he loves one who has a good will and a good understanding, and does not love one with a good will and a bad understanding, or with a good understanding and a bad will. And as a man is loved or not loved for these reasons, it follows that the neighbor is that from which everyone is a man, and that is his spiritual. Place ten men before your eyes that you may choose one of them to be your associate in any duty or business; will you first find out about them and choose the one who comes nearest to your use? Therefore he is your neighbor, and is loved more than the others. Or become acquainted with ten maidens with the purpose of choosing one of them for your wife; do you not at first ascertain the character of each one, and if she consents betroth to you the one that you love? That one is more your neighbor than the others. If you should say to yourself, "Every man is my neighbor, and is therefore to be loved without distinction," a devil-man and an angel-man or a harlot and a virgin might be equally loved. Use is the neighbor, because every man is valued and loved not for his will and understanding alone, but for the uses he performs or is able to perform from these. Therefore a man of use is a man according to his use; and a man not of use is a man not a man, for of such a man it is said that he is not useful for anything; and although in this world he may be tolerated in a community so long as he lives from what is his own, after death when he becomes a spirit he is cast out into a desert.

    Man, therefore, is such as his use is. But uses are manifold; in general they are heavenly or infernal. Heavenly uses are those that are serviceable more or less, or more nearly or remotely, to the church, to the country, to society, and to a fellow-citizen, for the sake of these as ends; but infernal uses are those that are serviceable only to the man himself and those dependent on him; and if serviceable to the church, to the country, to society, or to a fellow citizen, it is not for the sake of these as ends, but for the sake of self as the end. And yet everyone ought from love, though not from self-love, to provide the necessaries and requisites of life for himself and those dependent on him.

    When man loves uses by doing them in the first place, and loves the world and self in the second place, the former constitutes his spiritual and the latter his natural; and the spiritual rules, and the natural serves. This makes evident what the spiritual is, and what the natural is. This is the meaning of the Lord's words in Matthew:
    Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens* and its justice, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
    "The kingdom of the heavens" means the Lord and His church, and "justice" means spiritual, moral, and civil good; and every good that is done from the love of these is a use. Then "all things shall be added," because when use is in the first place, the Lord, from whom is all good, is in the first place and rules, and gives whatever contributes to eternal life and happiness; for, as has been said, all things of the Lord's Divine providence pertaining to man look to what is eternal. "All things that shall be added" refer to food and raiment, because food means everything internal that nourishes the soul, and raiment everything external that like the body clothes it. Everything internal has reference to love and wisdom, and everything external to wealth and eminence. All this makes clear what is meant by loving uses for the sake of uses, and what the uses are from which man has wisdom, from which and according to which wisdom everyone has eminence and wealth in heaven.
    (Apocalypse Explained 1193)

    * Photolithograph has "kingdom of the heavens." Schmidius also has it. The Greek is "Kingdom of God."

    November 2, 2015

    The Great Gulf Fixed

    Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    The friendship of love among the evil is intestine hatred of each other.
    ... every man has an internal and an external ... his internal is called the internal man and his external the external man. To this may be added, that the internal man is in the spiritual world, and the external in the natural world. Man was so created in order that he might be associated with spirits and angels in their world, and might thereby be able to think analytically, and after death be transferred from his own world to another. By the spiritual world both heaven and hell are meant. As the internal man is in company with spirits and angels in their world, and the external man with men, it is evident that man can be affiliated both with the spirits of hell and with the angels of heaven. By this capacity and power man is distinguished from beasts. Man is essentially [in se] such as he is in his internal man, not such as he is in his external, for the internal man is his spirit, and this acts through the external. The material body with which his spirit is clothed in the natural world, is an accessory for the sake of procreation and for the sake of the formation of the internal man; for the internal man is formed in the natural body as a tree in the soil, or as seed in fruit. ...

    But what the evil man is as to his internal man, and what the good man is as to his, may be seen from the following brief description of hell and heaven, for the evil man's internal is conjoined with the devils in hell, and the good man's with angels in heaven. Hell from its loves is in the delights of all evils, that is, in the delights of hatred, revenge, murder, plunder and theft, of railing and blasphemy, of denial of God and profanation of the Word. Such delights lurk in lusts upon which man does not reflect. These lusts blaze in these delights like lighted torches; and are what is meant in the Word by infernal fire. But the delights of heaven are the delights of love towards the neighbor and of love to God.

    Inasmuch as the delights of hell are opposite to the delights of heaven, there is between them a great interspace, into which the delights of heaven flow from above, and those of hell from beneath. While man is living in the world he is in the middle of this interspace, in order that he may be in equilibrium, and thus in a state of freedom to turn either to heaven or to hell. This interspace is what is meant by "the great gulf fixed" between those who are in heaven and those who are in hell (Luke 16:26).

    From this it can be seen what the friendship of love is among the evil, namely, that in their external man it is posturing and mimicry and pretenses of morality, in order that they may spread their nets and discover opportunities for gratifying their loves' delights, with which their internal man is on fire. Nothing but fear of the law and consequent fears for their reputation and life withholds them and restrains their actions. Consequently their friendship is like a spider in sugar, a viper in bread, a young crocodile in a cake of honey, or a snake in the grass.

    Such is the friendship of the evil with everyone. But among those confirmed in evil, such as thieves, robbers, and pirates, friendship is intimate so long as they are with one mind bent on acquiring plunder; for they then embrace each other like brothers, enjoy themselves with feasting, singing, and dancing, and conspire to destroy others; yet each one within himself regards his companion as one enemy regards another; this, too, is what a cunning robber sees and fears in his fellow. Evidently, therefore, among such there is no friendship, but intestine hatred.

    Any man who has not openly connected himself with evildoers and committed robberies, but has led a civil moral life for the sake of various uses as ends, and yet has not curbed the lust residing in his internal man, may suppose that his friendship is not of such a nature. Nevertheless, from many exemplifications in the spiritual world, it has been granted me to know with certainty that it is such, in different degrees, with all who have rejected faith and despised the holy things of the church, regarding those as nothing to them, but only for the common herd. In some of these the delights of infernal love have lain hidden like fire in smoldering logs covered with bark; in some like coals under ashes; in some like waxen torches that blaze up when fire is applied to them; and in others in other ways. Such is every man who has rejected from his heart the things of religion. The internal man of such is in hell; but being ignorant of this because of their pretended morality in externals so long as they live in the world they acknowledge no one as their neighbor except themselves and their own children; they regard others either with contempt - and then they are like cats lying in wait for birds in their nests - or with hatred, and then they are like wolves when they see dogs that they may devour. These statements are made to show from its opposite what charity is.

    (True Christian Religion 454 - 455)

    October 31, 2015

    The Distinction Between Natural and Spiritual Faith and Charity

    Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    There are two worlds, a natural and a spiritual; and in each world there is a sun, and from each sun heat and light go forth; but the heat and light from the sun of the spiritual world have life within them; this life is from the Lord who is the midst of that sun; while the heat and light from the sun of the natural world have nothing of life in them; they simply serve the former heat and light as receptacles for the conveying of these to man, as instrumental causes always subserve their principal causes. It must be understood, therefore, that all things spiritual are from the heat and light of the sun of the spiritual world. These are spiritual because they contain in them spirit and life; while all things natural are from the heat and light of the sun of the natural world, which viewed in themselves are without spirit and life.

    Since then faith is a matter of light, and charity of heat, it is plain that so far as a man is in the heat and light that go forth from the sun of the spiritual world, he is in spiritual faith and charity; while so far as he is in the light and heat that go forth from the sun of the natural world, he is in natural faith and charity. Evidently, therefore, as spiritual light is inwardly in natural light as in its receptacle or casket, and spiritual heat in like manner within natural heat, so also is spiritual faith inwardly in natural faith, and spiritual charity inwardly in natural charity; and this is effected in the degree that man advances from the natural to the spiritual world; and this he does so far as he believes in the Lord who is light itself, the way, the truth, and the life, as He Himself teaches.

    This being so, it is clear that when man is in spiritual faith, he is also in natural faith. For as just said, spiritual faith is inwardly in natural faith; and as faith is a matter of light, it follows that by that implanting of spiritual faith man's natural becomes, as it were, transparent, and according to the nature of its conjunction with charity, beautifully colored. This is because charity is ruddy and faith shining white; charity is ruddy from the flame of spiritual fire, and faith shining white from the splendor of the light therefrom.

    The contrary happens when the spiritual is not inwardly in the natural, but the natural inwardly in the spiritual; which is the case with men who reject faith and charity. With such the internal of their mind, in which they are when left to their own thoughts, is infernal, and they think from hell, although they do not know it; while the external of the mind of such, from which they converse with their companions in the world, is in a manner spiritual, but it is filled full of such unclean things as are in hell; consequently they are in hell, for compared with the former class they are in an inverted state.

    When it is thus known that the spiritual is inwardly in the natural in those who are in faith in the Lord, and at the same time in charity toward the neighbor, and consequently the natural in them is transparent, it follows that to the same extent man is wise in spiritual things, and therefrom in natural things; for when he thinks about or hears or reads anything, he sees interiorly within himself whether it is the truth or not. This he perceives from the Lord, from whom spiritual light and heat flow into the higher sphere of his understanding.

    So far as faith and charity in man become spiritual, he is withdrawn from his own, and ceases to look to himself or to reward or remuneration, and looks solely to the delight in perceiving the truths of faith and doing the good works of love; and so far as this spirituality increases, that delight becomes blessedness. From this is man's salvation, which is called eternal life. This state of man may be compared with the most beautiful and charming things in the world, and in the Word is compared with them, as for instance, with fruitful trees and the gardens in which they are, with flowery fields, with precious stones, with delicacies, with nuptials and their festivities and rejoicings.

    But when the reverse is the case, that is to say, when the natural is inwardly in the spiritual, and consequently the man in his internals is a devil, but in his externals is like an angel, he may be compared to a dead man in a coffin of costly and gilded wood; he may also be compared to a skeleton adorned with clothing like a man, and drawn about in a magnificent carriage; or to a corpse in a sepulchre built like the temple of Diana; and his internal may be pictured even as a nest of serpents in a cavern, and his external as butterflies whose wings are tinted with all kinds of colors, but which nevertheless stick foul eggs to the leaves of useful trees, and so destroy the fruit. Or the internal of such may be compared to a hawk, and their external to a dove, and their faith and charity to a hawk pursuing a fleeing dove, which at length he wearies and then darts upon and devours.
    (True Christian Religion 360 - 361)

    October 30, 2015

    Thinking from Good and Truth

    From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    To think and conclude from the interior and prior is to think from ends and causes to effects; but to think and conclude from the exterior or posterior, is from effects to causes and ends. This progression is against order, but the other is according to order. For to think and conclude from ends and causes is from goods and truths seen in the higher region of the mind; but to think and conclude from effects is to conjecture causes and ends from the lower region of the mind, where the sensual things of the body are with their appearances and fallacies, which in itself is nothing but to confirm falsities and lusts, and after confirmation to see and believe them to be the verities of wisdom and goodnesses of its love.
    (Conjugial Love 408)

    October 28, 2015

    Preservation Depends on the State of the Ultimates

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Jehovah said unto the prophet, Buy thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins; but thou shalt not draw it through water. So I bought a girdle, and put it upon my loins. Then the word of Jehovah was made unto me, saying, Take the girdle, and go to Euphrates, and hide it in a hole of the rock. At the end of many days I went to Euphrates, and took again the girdle, and behold it was corrupt, it was profitable for nothing. Then said Jehovah, This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, and are gone after other gods, shall be even as this girdle, which is profitable for nothing (Jer. 13:1-10).
    In the spiritual sense by "the linen girdle" is here meant the good of the church, which encloses and holds together in connection the truths in it. Because the good of the church was at that time non-existent, and the truths were consequently dispersed, it is said that it should "not be drawn through water;" for "water" denotes the truth which purifies and thus restores. "The hole of the rock in which the girdle was hid" denotes truth falsified; "the Euphrates" denotes the extension and boundary of the celestial things of good in their ultimate.

    He who does not know the nature of the Word, may suppose that this is only a comparison of the people and their corruption with the girdle and its corruption; but in the Word all comparisons and metaphorical sayings are real correspondences. Unless everything in this passage had a correspondence, it would never have been commanded that the girdle should not be drawn through water, that it should be put upon the loins, and that the prophet should go to the Euphrates, and should hide it there in a hole of the rock. It is said that the girdle should be "put upon the loins," because from correspondence "the loins" signify the good of celestial love; thus the placing of the girdle upon the loins denotes conjunction with the Lord through the good of love by the mediation of the Word.
    (from Arcana Coelestia 9828)

    The preservation of good and truth forever with all exertion and power - thus the preservation of the heavens

    ... all preservation depends on the state of the ultimates, for all the interior things cease there, and form a plane there in which they may subsist. Ultimates are like the soles and the feet, on which the whole body stands, and are also like the hands and the arms, by means of which the body exerts its powers, and into which the body transfers its forces. It is also from this that the hands and the arms, as well as the soles and the feet, correspond to the ultimates of heaven.
    That power and strength reside in ultimates was represented in the Ancient Church by the hair with the Nazirites, in which resided their strength, as is plain from Samson (Judges 14-16), and also their sanctity.
    That power resides in ultimates, and also the conservation of the interiors in their state, can be understood by those who know how the case is in nature with things successive and thence simultaneous; namely, that successive things at last form in ultimates what is simultaneous, in which these successive things are in a like order side by side. Wherefore simultaneous things, which are ultimate, serve successive things, which are prior, as corresponding supports on which they may lean, and thus by means of which they may be preserved.
    (from Arcana Coelestia 9836)

    October 26, 2015

    When Knowledges Become Truths

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Knowledges are nothing else than the truths of the natural man, but which have not yet been made his own; the multiplication of such truths is here meant. Knowledges do not become truths in man until they are acknowledged by the understanding, which takes place when they are confirmed by him; and these truths do not become his own until he lives according to them; for nothing is made man's own except that which becomes of his life, for thus he himself is in the truths, because his life is in them.
    (Arcana Coelestia 5276)