July 31, 2015

What Peace Is

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What peace is ... it is like dawn on the earth, which gladdens minds with universal delight; and the truth of peace is like the light of the dawn. This truth, which is called "the truth of peace," is the very Divine truth in heaven from the Lord, which universally affects all who are there, and makes heaven to be heaven; for peace has in it confidence in the Lord, that He directs all things, and provides all things, and that He leads to a good end. When a man is in this faith, he is in peace, for he then fears nothing, and no solicitude about things to come disquiets him. A man comes into this state in proportion as he comes into love to the Lord.

All evil, especially self-confidence, takes away a state of peace. It is believed that an evil person is at peace when he is in gladness and tranquility because all things succeed with him. But this is not peace; it is the delight and tranquillity of cupidities, which counterfeit a state of peace. But in the other life this delight, being opposite to the delight of peace, is turned into what is undelightful, for this lies hidden within it. In the other life the exteriors are successively unfolded even to the inmosts, and peace is the inmost in all delight, even in what is undelightful with the man who is in good. So far therefore as he puts off what is external, so far a state of peace is revealed, and so far he is affected with satisfaction, blessedness, and happiness, the origin of which is from the Lord Himself.

Concerning the state of peace which prevails in heaven it can be said that it is such as cannot be described by any words, neither, so long as he is in the world, can it come into the thought and perception of man, by means of any idea derived from the world. It is then above all sense. Tranquility of mind, content, and gladness from success, are relatively nothing; for these affect only his externals; whereas peace affects the inmost things of all-the first substances, and the beginnings of substances in the man, and therefrom distributes and pours itself forth into the substantiates and derivatives, and affects them with pleasantness; and affects the origins of ideas, consequently the man's ends of life, with satisfaction and happiness; and thus makes the mind of the man a heaven.
(Arcana Coelestia 8455)

July 30, 2015

What is it to me whether truths are delightful or not?

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 
So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
(Ex 15:21-24)

Saying, What shall we drink? That this signifies that they could not endure truths because they were undelightful by reason of no affection of them, is evident from the signification of "drinking," as being to be instructed in truths and to receive them, and also to be affected with them, and consequently to appropriate them to oneself; here, not to endure them, for the reason that they were undelightful on account of there being no affection of good, which is signified by "the waters being bitter," according to what has been unfolded above. This temptation consists in the fact that they complain and grieve because the truths which had previously been delightful to them, and which thus had made their spiritual life or life of heaven, now seem undelightful to them, insomuch that they can scarcely endure them.
The merely natural man would not believe that such a thing could cause any grief, for he thinks, "What is it to me whether truths are delightful or not? If they are undelightful let them be rejected." But the spiritual man has very different sentiments. It is the delight of his life to be instructed in truths, and to be enlightened in such things as belong to his soul, thus to his spiritual life; and therefore when these fail, his spiritual life labors and suffers, and grief and anxiety ensue. The reason is that the affection of good is continually flowing in through the internal man from the Lord, and calling forth the accordant things in the external man which had previously caused the delight of the affection of truth; and when these things are assaulted by the evils of the love of self and of the world, which the man had also previously perceived as delightful, there arises a conflict of delights or of affections, from which springs anxiety, and from this grief and complaint.

It shall be briefly told how the case is with the temptation that arises through a failing of truth. The nourishment of the spiritual life is good and truth, as the nourishment of the natural life is food and drink. If good fails, it is as if food fails; and if truth fails, it is as if drink fails. The consequent grief is circumstanced like the grief from hunger and thirst. This comparison is from correspondence, for food corresponds to good, and drink to truth; and as there is a correspondence, food and drink also nourish the body better and more suitably when a man at dinner or at breakfast is at the same time in the delight of conversation with others about such things as he loves, than when he sits at table alone without company. When a man is in this state, the vessels in him that receive the food are constricted; but when he is in the first mentioned state, they are open. Such things are effected by the correspondence of spiritual food and natural food. It is said "the delight of conversation with others about such things as he loves," because everything of this kind has relation to good and truth; for there is nothing in the world which has not relation to both. What a man loves, has relation to the good with him; and what instructs him about good, and thus conjoins itself with it, has relation to the truth.

(Arcana Coelestia 8352)

July 23, 2015

'Do This, and You Will Live'

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The literal sense of the Ten Commandments contains general instructions on doctrine and life; but their spiritual and celestial senses contain universal instructions.

It is well known that the Ten Commandments are called in the Word the Law par excellence, because they contain everything concerning doctrine and life, not only everything which concerns God, but also everything which concerns man. That is why the law was written on two tablets, one dealing with God, the other with man. It is also well known that the whole of doctrine and life relate to love to God and love towards the neighbour. The whole of these loves is contained in the Ten Commandments. This is the teaching of the whole Word, as is evident from these words of the Lord:

Jesus said, You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself. The law and the prophets depend upon these two commandments. Matt. 22:35-37, 40.
The law and the prophets mean the whole Word. And further:
A lawyer testing Jesus said, Master, what must I do to inherit everlasting life? And Jesus said to him, What is written in the law? What is your reading of it? And he in answer said, You are to love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself. And Jesus said, Do this, and you will live, Luke 10:25-28.
Now since love to God and love towards the neighbour are the whole of the Word; and since the first tablet of the Ten Commandments contains in summary form the whole of love to God, and the second tablet contains the whole of love towards the neighbour, it follows that they contain the whole of doctrine and life. A look at the two tablets makes it plain that they are so linked that God from His tablet has man in view, and man in his turn from his has God in view. Thus there is a reciprocal viewing, such that on God's part He never fails to keep man in view and perform the actions needed for his salvation; and if a person accepts and does the things laid down in his tablet, the link becomes reciprocal. Then, as the Lord's words promised to the lawyer, 'Do this, and you will live.'
(True Christian Religion 287)

July 22, 2015

A Theology of Life

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... no one is saved because of knowing about the Lord. We are saved because we live by his commandments. Further, the Lord is known to everyone who believes in God because the Lord is the God of heaven and earth, as he tells us in Matthew 28:18 and elsewhere.
Particularly, people outside the church have more of a concept of a personal God than Christians do; and people who have a concept of a personal God and lead good lives are accepted by the Lord. Unlike Christians, they believe in God as one in both person and essence. Further, they think about God as they lead their lives. They treat evils as sins against God; and people who do this are thinking about God as they lead their lives.
Christians get the commandments of their religion from the Word, but not many of them actually take any commandments of life from it. 

Catholics do not read it, and Protestants who believe in faith separated from charity pay no attention to what it says about life, only to what it says about faith. Yet the whole Word is nothing but a theology of life.
(Divine Providence 330:6-7)

July 19, 2015

The Things that Truly Affect Man's Mind

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A man acquires a life by all the things he is persuaded of, that is, which he acknowledges and believes. That of which he is not persuaded, or does not acknowledge and believe, does not affect his mind.

... no one can profane holy things unless he has been so persuaded of them that he acknowledges them, and yet denies them. Those who do not acknowledge may know, but are as if they did not know, and are like those who know things that have no existence. Such were the Jews about the time of the Lord's advent, and therefore they are said in the Word to be "vastated" or "laid waste" that is, to have no longer any faith. Under these circumstances it does men no injury to have the interior contents of the Word opened to them, for they are as persons seeing, and yet not seeing; hearing, and yet not hearing; whose hearts are stopped up; of whom the Lord says in Isaiah:
Go and tell this people, Hearing hear ye, but understand not, and seeing see ye, but know not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and smear their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, so that they be healed (Isa. 6:9-10).
That the mysteries of faith are not revealed until men are in such a state, that is, are so vastated that they no longer believe (in order, as before said, that they may not be able to profane them), the Lord also plainly declares in the subsequent verses of the same Prophet:
Then said I, Lord, how long? And He said, Even until the cities are desolated, so that there be no inhabitant; and the houses, so that there be no man, and the ground be utterly desolated, and Jehovah have removed man (Isa. 6:12).
He is called a "man" who is wise, or who acknowledges and believes. The Jews were thus vastated, as already said, at the time of the Lord's advent; and for the same reason they are still kept in such vastation by their cupidities, and especially by their avarice, that although they hear of the Lord a thousand times, and that the representatives of their church are significative of Him in every particular, yet they acknowledge and believe nothing. This then was the reason why the antediluvians were cast out of the garden of Eden, and vastated even until they were no longer capable of acknowledging any truth.
(Arcana Coelestia 303)

July 17, 2015

There is No Life when Faith is Separated from Charity

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Faith is to know and think these truths; and charity is to will and do them.

... truth is called faith when man knows and thinks it;
... truth becomes charity when man wills and does it.

Truth is like a seed; viewed out of the ground it is merely a seed, but when it passes into the ground it becomes a plant or a tree, and puts on its own form and thus takes another name. Truth is also like a garment, which apart from man is merely a piece of cloth fitted to the body, but when it is put on it becomes clothing in which is a man. It is the same with truth and charity. So long as truth is known and thought it is merely truth, and is called faith; but when a man wills and does it, it becomes charity, just as a seed becomes a plant or a tree, or a piece of cloth becomes clothing in which is a man.

Moreover, knowledge and thought therefrom are two faculties distinct from the will and the act therefrom, and they may be separated; for a man may know and think many things that he does not will and thus does not do. When these are separated they do not constitute the life of man; when they are conjoined they do constitute it. It is the same with faith and charity. All this can be made more clear by comparisons. In the world light and heat are two distinct things, which may be separated or may be conjoined; in the winter season they are separated, in the summer season they are conjoined. When separated they do not produce vegetable life, that is, they do not produce anything; but when conjoined they do produce and bring forth.

Again, the lungs and the heart in man are two distinct things whose motions may be separated or may be conjoined. They are separated in swooning and suffocation; and when separated they do not constitute the life of man's body, but when conjoined they do constitute it.  It is the same with man's knowledge and thought therefrom to which faith pertains, and with will and deed to which charity pertains, the lungs and also light correspond to faith therefrom, and the heart and also heat correspond to the will and to charity therefrom.

From all this it can be seen that in faith separated from charity there is no more of life than in knowing and thinking separated from willing and doing; in this the only life is that man wills to think, and makes himself speak and believe accordingly.
(Divine Wisdom xi:14(6))

July 14, 2015

Are There Few That Be Saved?

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... The man of the church supposes that all who are out of the church, and are called Gentiles, cannot be saved, because they have no knowledges of faith, and are therefore wholly ignorant of the Lord, saying that without faith and without knowledge of the Lord there is no salvation, and thus he condemns all who are out of the church. Indeed many of this sort who are in some doctrine, even if it be heresy, suppose that all outside this, that is, all who do not hold the same opinion, cannot be saved; when in fact the case is not so at all. The Lord has mercy toward the whole human race, and wills to save and draw to Himself all who are in the universe.

The mercy of the Lord is infinite, and does not suffer itself to be limited to those few who are within the church, but extends itself to all in the whole world. Their being born out of the church and being thus in ignorance of faith, is not their fault; and no one is ever condemned for not having faith in the Lord when he is ignorant of Him. Who that thinks aright will ever say that the greatest part of the human race must perish in eternal death because they were not born in Europe, where there are comparatively few? And who that thinks aright will say that the Lord suffered so great a multitude to be born to perish in eternal death? This would be contrary to the Divine, and contrary to mercy. And besides, those who are out of the church, and are called Gentiles, live a much more moral life than those who are within the church, and embrace much more easily the doctrine of true faith, as is still more evident from souls in the other life. The worst of all come from the so-called Christian world, holding the neighbor in deadly hatred, and even the Lord. Above all others in the whole world they are adulterers.

It is not so with those from other parts of the world. Very many of those who have worshiped idols are of such a disposition as to abhor hatred and adultery, and to fear Christians because of their being of this character and desirous of tormenting everyone. Indeed Gentiles are so disposed as to listen readily, when taught by angels about the truths of faith, and that the Lord rules the universe, and to be easily imbued with faith and thus to reject their idols. For this reason Gentiles who have lived a moral life and in mutual charity and innocence, are regenerated in the other life. While they live in the world the Lord is present with them in charity and innocence, for there is nothing of charity and innocence except from the Lord. The Lord also gives them a conscience of what is right and good according to their religion, and insinuates innocence and charity into that conscience; and when there is innocence and charity in the conscience, they easily suffer themselves to be imbued with the truth of faith from good. The Lord Himself said this, in Luke:
And one said unto Him, Lord, are they few that be saved? and He said unto them, Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and yourselves cast forth without; and they shall come from the east and the west, and from the north and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God; and behold, there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last (Luke 13:23, 28-30).
By "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" are here meant all who have love, as shown above.
(Arcana Coelestia 1032)

July 13, 2015

The Regenerate Man Relative To The Unregenerate Man

Selection from Arcana Coelestia Emanuel Swedenborg
    With the regenerate man there is a conscience of what is good and true, and he does good and thinks truth from conscience; the good which he does being the good of charity, and the truth which he thinks being the truth of faith.
    The unregenerate man has no conscience, or if any, it is not a conscience of doing good from charity, and of thinking truth from faith, but is based on some love that regards himself or the world, wherefore it is a spurious or false conscience.
    With the regenerate man there is joy when he acts according to conscience, and anxiety when he is forced to do or think contrary to it;
    but it is not so with the unregenerate, for very many such men do not know what conscience is, much less what it is to do anything either according or contrary to it, but only what it is to do the things that favor their loves. This is what gives them joy, and when they do what is contrary to their loves, this is what gives them anxiety.
    With the regenerate man there is a new will and a new understanding, and this new will and new understanding are his conscience, that is, they are in his conscience, and through this the Lord works the good of charity and the truth of faith.
    With an unregenerate man there is not will, but instead of will there is cupidity, and a consequent proneness to every evil; neither is there understanding, but mere reasoning and a consequent falling away to every falsity.
    With the regenerate man there is celestial and spiritual life;
    but with the unregenerate man there is only corporeal and worldly life, and his ability to think and understand what is good and true is from the Lord's life through the remains before spoken of, and it is from this that he has the faculty of reflecting.
    With the regenerate the internal man has the dominion, the external being obedient and submissive;
    but with the unregenerate the external man rules, the internal being quiescent, as if it had no existence.
    The regenerate man knows, or has a capacity of knowing on reflection, what the internal man is, and what the external;
    but of these the unregenerate man is altogether ignorant, nor can he know them even if he reflects, since he is unacquainted with the good and truth of faith originating in charity.
Hence may be seen what is the quality of the regenerate, and what of the unregenerate man, and that they differ from each other like summer and winter, and light and darkness; wherefore the regenerate is a living, but the unregenerate a dead man.
(Arcana Coelestia 977)

July 4, 2015

Spiritual Truths Can Be Seen By the Understanding

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
...  all the truths of the Word, which are the truths of heaven and of the church, can be seen by the understanding, in heaven spiritually, in the world rationally; for a truly human understanding is the sight itself of these truths, for it is separated from what is material, and when separated it sees truths as clearly as the eye sees objects; it sees truths as it loves them, for as it loves them it is enlightened. The angels have wisdom in consequence of seeing truths; when, therefore, it is said to any angel that this or that must be believed although it is not understood, the angel answers, Do you think that I am insane, or that you are God whom I am to believe if I do not see? It may be falsity from hell.
(Apocalypse Explained 1100d)

July 3, 2015

What I Love, That I Do

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man has thought from light and thought from love, and that thought from light makes man's presence in heaven, but thought from love makes man's conjunction with heaven, and for the reason that love is spiritual conjunction. Therefore, when man's thought from light becomes his thought from love, he is introduced into heaven as to a marriage, and so far as love is the primary agent in thought from light or leads that thought, man enters heaven as a bride enters the bride-chamber, and is wedded. For the Lord is called in the Word a "bridegroom" and a "husband," and heaven and the church are called a "bride" and a "wife." "To be wedded" means to be conjoined to heaven in some society of it; and one is so far conjoined to heaven as he has acquired in the world intelligence and wisdom from the Lord through the Word, thus so far as he has learned by means of Divine truths to think that there is a God, and that the Lord is that God. And yet one who thinks from few truths, thus from little intelligence, although he is conjoined with heaven when he thinks from love, is conjoined in its lower parts only.

By love, love to the Lord is meant, and loving the Lord does not mean loving Him as a Person, for by such a love only man is not conjoined to heaven, but by the love of Divine good and Divine truth, which are the Lord in heaven and in the church; and these two are not loved by knowing them, thinking about them, understanding them, and speaking them, but by willing and doing them for the reason that they are commanded by the Lord, and thus because they are uses. Nothing prior is full until it has been done; and the end for the sake of which the thing is done is the love; consequently the love of knowing a thing, of thinking about it, and of understanding it springs from a love of willing and doing it. Tell me why you wish to know and understand anything except for the sake of an end which you love. The end that is loved is the deed. If you say, it is for the sake of faith, this is faith alone, or faith merely of the thought separated from actual faith which is the deed, which is nothing. You are greatly deceived if you think that you believe in God, when you are not doing the things pertaining to God; for the Lord teaches in John:
    He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and I will make My abode with him. But he that loveth Me not keepeth not My words (John 14:21, 23-24).
In a word, loving and doing are one; therefore where loving is mentioned in the Word doing is meant, and where doing is mentioned loving also is meant; for what I love, that I do.
(Apocalypse Explained 1099b)