October 29, 2016

A True Faith, A Spurious Faith and A Hypocritical Faith

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
From its cradle the Christian church began to be infested and divided by schisms and heresies, and in the course of time to be torn and mutilated almost like what is said,
Of the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and was surrounded by thieves, who stripped him and beat him and then left him half dead (Luke 10:30).

From this it has come to pass as it is written of that church in Daniel:
At last upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation; and even to the consummation and decision shall it drop upon the devastation (9:27).

Also according to these words of the Lord:
Then shall the end come, when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matt. 24:14, 15).

The lot of that church may be compared to that of a vessel laden with precious merchandise, which immediately on leaving port is driven about by storms, and a little after is wrecked and sunk in the sea, with its precious cargo partly destroyed by the waters, and partly torn by fishes.

October 21, 2016

The Lord's Life Received According to the Quality which Man has Induced on His Soul

Excerpts from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[N]o man has life from himself, and therefore neither can he think and will from himself, for the life of man consists in thinking and willing. For there is one only life, namely, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and this according to the quality which a man has induced on his soul by his life in the world.
[E]veryone has life in accordance with the form of the interiors which he has acquired by willing and acting, thinking and speaking. ...
[T]he influx of life from the Lord, that it flows into all, and that this is evident from heaven, in that heaven resembles a man, and is therefore called the Grand Man of which, and of the correspondence therewith of all things in man ...
[T]he universal heaven has reference to the Lord, and that the Lord is there the center of all the looks, they who are in heaven looking upward to Him, and they who are in hell looking downward from Him. For the Lord appears to those who are in the heavens as a sun above them. ...
[T]he all of life is from the Lord from this fact also, that the soul of man can in the womb so wonderfully form a body, and its manifold members and organs in such a connection, and its interiors according to the image of heaven: this could not possibly be done unless all life were from the Lord, and unless heaven were such as has been described. (Arcana Coelestia 6468)
Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities; but with the good, goods are received as goods, and truths as truths.

This may be compared to the light which flows into objects from the sun, which is diversely modified and variegated in the objects in accordance with the form of their parts, and hence is turned into colors either sorrowful or gladsome, thus in accordance with the quality.

In like manner while a man lives in this world, he induces on the purest substances that belong to his interior a quality, according to which the Lord's life is received.
Be it known that the life from the Lord is the life of love toward the universal human race.
(Arcana Coelestia 6467, 6468)

October 20, 2016

The Pure In Heart Shall See God

From Doctrine of Life ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me he that walketh in the way of the upright, he shall minister unto Me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell in the midst of My house; he that speaketh lies shall not stand before Mine eyes. In the dawning will I cut off all the wicked of the land, to cut off from the city all the workers of iniquity (Ps. 101:6-8).
That unless a man is interiorly sincere, just, faithful, and upright, he is insincere, unjust, unfaithful, and base, is taught by the Lord in these words:
Except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:10).
The "righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees" means the interior righteousness in which is the man who is in the Lord. That he is in the Lord is taught by the Lord Himself in John:
The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given unto them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected into one; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:22-23, 26).
From this it is evident that they are "perfect" when the Lord is in them. These are they who are called:
The pure in heart, who shall see God and, Those who are perfect as is their Father in the heavens (Matt. 5:8, 48).
(Doctrine of Life 84)

October 18, 2016

Good of Spiritual Life vs Delight of Natural Life

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
They who suffer themselves to be regenerated, act from affection according to the precepts of faith; but they who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated, but only to be reformed, do not act from affection, but from obedience. The difference is this. They who act from affection, act from the heart, and thus from freedom, and they also do truth for the sake of truth, and good for the sake of good, and thus they exercise charity for the sake of the neighbor; but they who act from obedience do not thus act from the heart, consequently not from freedom. If they seem to themselves to act from the heart and from freedom, it is for the sake of something of self-glory which causes it to be so perceived; and they do not do truth for the sake of truth, nor good for the sake of good, but for the sake of the delight arising from this glory. Thus they do not practice charity toward the neighbor for the sake of the neighbor, but in order to be seen, and in order to be recompensed. From this it is evident who and of what quality are they who are represented by the sons of Israel, and who and of what quality are they who are represented by the Hebrew menservants.

October 17, 2016

Beware of Covetousness

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.  And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body what ye shall put on.  (Luke 12:15-22)

The Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man. As this must needs seem obscure to those who have not yet gained a clear notion of what correspondence is and what appearance is, they must be illustrated by example, and thus explained. All things of the Word are pure correspondences of spiritual and celestial things, and because they are correspondences they are also appearances; that is, all things of the Word are the Divine goods of the Divine love and the Divine truths of the Divine wisdom, which in themselves are naked, but in the sense of the letter of the Word are clothed. They therefore appear like a man in clothing that corresponds to the state of his love and wisdom. All this makes evident that when a man confirms appearances it is the same as asserting that the clothes are the man. It is thus that appearances are converted into fallacies. It is otherwise when man is seeking for truths and sees them in the appearances.

Since, then, all uses, that is, the truths and goods of charity that a man does to the neighbor, may be done either in accordance with these appearances or in accordance with the truths themselves in the Word, when he does them in accordance with the appearances confirmed in himself he is in fallacies; but when he does them in accordance with truths he does them as he ought. All this makes clear what is meant when it is said that the Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man.

(Divine Providence 220: 6-7)

October 14, 2016

How Angels View Nations

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In the Most Ancient and in the Ancient Church, the many families which acknowledged one father constituted one nation. But as to "nations" signifying in the internal sense the worships of the church, and this in respect to the goods or evils in the worship, the case is this: when families and nations are viewed by the angels, they have no idea of a nation, but only of the worship in it; for they regard all from the quality itself, that is, from what they are. The quality or character of a man, from which he is regarded in heaven, is his charity and faith. This anyone may clearly apprehend if he considers that when he looks at any man, or any family, or nation, he thinks for the most part of what quality they are, everyone from that which is dominant in himself at the time.  The idea of their quality comes instantly to mind, and in himself he estimates them from that.  Still more is this the case with the Lord; and, from Him, with the angels, who cannot but regard a man, a family, and a nation, from their quality in respect to charity and faith.  And hence it is that in the internal sense by "nations" nothing else is signified than the worship of the church, and this in respect to its quality, which is the good of charity and the derivative truth of faith.  When the term "nations" occurs in the Word, the angels do not abide at all in the idea of a nation, in accordance with the historical sense of the letter, but in the idea of the good and truth in the nation that is named.

October 13, 2016

External Worship Wherein is What is Profane

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
(Luke 13:23-28)
... the quality of external worship is precisely in accordance with the interiors; the more innocent the interiors are, the more innocent is the external worship; but the more foul the interiors are, the more foul is the external worship; and the more profane the interiors are, the more profane is the external worship. In a word, the more of the love of the world and of self there is in a man who is in this external worship, the less there is that is living and holy in his worship; the more hatred toward the neighbor there is in his love of himself and of the world, the more profanity there is in his worship; the more malice in his hatred, the more still of profanity there is in his worship; and the more deceit in his malice, the more profanity yet is there in his worship.
(Arcana Coelestia 1182)

October 8, 2016

The Faculty Gained in the World for Receiving

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Everyone, whether damned or saved, has a certain measure which is capable of being filled. The evil, or they who are damned, have a certain measure of evil and falsity; and the good, or they who are saved, have a certain measure of good and truth. In the other life this measure is filled with everyone; but some have a greater measure, some a less. This measure is acquired in the world by means of the affections which are of the love. The more anyone has loved evil and the derivative falsity, the greater is the measure he has gained for himself; and the more anyone has loved good and the derivative truth, the greater is his measure. The limits and degrees of the extensions of this measure are clearly seen in the other life, and cannot there be surmounted, but they can be filled, and also actually are filled, namely, with goods and truths in the case of those who have been in the affection of good and truth, and with evils and falsities in the case of those who have been in the affection of evil and falsity. Hence it is evident that this measure is the faculty gained in the world for receiving either evil and falsity, or good and truth.

... It is described by the Lord in the parables of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, and of the pounds in Luke 19:12-27, and finally in these words:

To everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance, but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him (Matt. 25:29).

He said unto them that stood by, Take away from him the pound, and give it to him who hath the ten pounds: they said to him, Lord, he hath ten pounds. I say to you, that unto everyone that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not even that which he hath shall be taken from him (Luke 19:24-26).

That everyone's measure is filled, the Lord also teaches in another place in Luke:

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom (Luke 6:38).
(Arcana Coelestia 7984:3,4)

October 6, 2016

Things that Go Forth Therefrom Into the Mouth and Out of the Mouth

From  Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Not that which entereth into the mouth maketh the man unclean, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this maketh the man unclean. Whatsoever goeth into the mouth passeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught. But the things that proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart. Out of the heart go forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies (Matthew 15:11, 17-19).

"That which entereth into the mouth" means in the literal sense food of every kind, which, after its use in the body, goes out through the belly into the draught; but in the spiritual sense, "that which entereth into the mouth" signifies all things that enter into the thought from the memory, and also from the world, and these also correspond to food; while the things that enter into the thought, and not also into the will, do not render a man unclean; for the memory, and thought therefrom, are to man only as a way of entrance to him, since the will is the man himself. The things that merely enter the thought and go no further are cast out as it were through the belly into the draught, "the belly" signifying from correspondence the world of spirits, from which thoughts flow in with man, and the "draught" signifying hell.

It must be known that man cannot be purified from evils and the consequent falsities, unless the unclean things that are in him come forth as far as into the thought, and are there seen, recognized, discerned, and put away. This makes evident that "that which entereth into the mouth" signifies in the spiritual sense what enters into the thought from the memory and from the world; while "that which cometh out of the mouth" signifies in the spiritual sense thought from the will or from love; for the "heart," from which thought goes forth into the mouth and from the mouth, signifies man's will and love; and as the love and will constitute the whole man, for the man is such as his love is, so the things that go forth therefrom into the mouth and out of the mouth are what make the man unclean. That these are evils of every kind is evident from the things enumerated. Such is the meaning of these words of the Lord in the heavens.

(Apocalypse Explained 580:2,3)

October 4, 2016

When the Sense of the Letter of the Word is delightful, but the Internal Sense Undelightful

From  Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And the voice which I heard from heaven again spake with me, and said, Go, take the little book that is open in the hand of the angel that standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, saying unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take and eat it up; and it shall make bitter thy belly, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the hand of the angel and ate it up; and it was in my mouth like honey, sweet. And when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter.  (Revelation 10:8-10)
When the sense of the letter of the Word is delightful,
but the internal sense, in which are the truths themselves, it was undelightful

It is to be known that the understanding of the Word perishes in the church by degrees, as the man of the church from internal becomes external; and from internal he becomes external as he falls away from charity, consequently as he falls away from the life of faith.

When the man of the church is such he may, indeed, take delight in reading the Word, but yet he takes no delight in the truth itself, which belongs to the interior sense of the Word; for it is the life itself of faith, which is charity, that produces the affection of interior truth and makes it delightful. Therefore the Word as to the sense of the letter may be loved, but for the reason that it can be drawn over to confirm the falsities arising from the love of self and of the world, for such is the Word in the letter.

From this it comes that in the end of the church there is scarcely any understanding of truth. Truths from the Word are indeed then spoken with the mouth, but yet there is no idea of truth. It has been granted me to test whether this is so in the case of many in the spiritual world, and it was found that although, so far as they had spoken from the Word they had spoken truths, yet they had no understanding of them; thus they were like empty vessels and like tinkling bells, speaking only from such things as they drew forth from the memory, and not at all from any perception of the understanding. When man is such he cannot inwardly possess anything celestial or spiritual, but only what is natural, from the body and the world, and when this is separated from what is celestial and spiritual it is infernal. From this it can be seen what is meant ... by the little book given to John to eat being in his mouth sweet as honey, but that his belly was made bitter from.

(Apocalypse Explained 614:2)

October 2, 2016

What Is Meant By Affection

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Affection is nothing else than love, but is what is continuous of it. For from love a man is affected either with evil and falsity, or with good and truth. As this love is present and is within all things in general and particular that belong to him, it is not perceived as love, but is varied according to its matter in hand, and according to the man's states and their changes; and this continually in everything that he wills, thinks, and does. It is this continuous of love that is called affection; and it is this continuous that reigns in a man's life and makes all his delight, and consequently his very life; for man's life is nothing else than the delight of his affection; and thus is nothing else than the affection of his love. Love is man's willing, and derivatively is his thinking, and thereby his acting.
(Arcana Coelestia 3938:8)

October 1, 2016

Forms of Charity

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
They who are in mutual love in heaven are continually advancing to the springtime of their youth, and to a more and more gladsome and happy spring the more thousands of years they live, and this with continual increase to eternity, according to the advance and degree of mutual love, charity, and faith. Those of the female sex who have died in old age and enfeebled with years, and who have lived in faith in the Lord, in charity toward the neighbor, and in happy conjugial love with their husbands, after a succession of years come more and more into the bloom of youth and early womanhood, and into a beauty that surpasses all idea of beauty such as is ever perceptible to the natural sight; for it is goodness and charity forming and presenting their own likeness, and causing the delight and beauty of charity to shine forth from every least feature of the countenance, so that they are the very forms of charity: some have beheld them and been amazed.

The form of charity, as is seen to the life in the other world, is such that it is charity itself that portrays and is portrayed, and this in such a manner that the whole angel, and especially the face, is as it were charity, the charity both plainly appearing to the view and being perceived by the mind. When this form is beheld, it is unutterable beauty that affects with charity the very inmost life of the beholder's mind. Through the beauty of this form the truths of faith are presented to view in an image, and are even perceived from it.

Such forms, or such beauties, do those become in the other life who have lived in faith in the Lord, that is, in the faith of charity. All the angels are such forms, with countless variety, and of such is heaven.

(Arcana Coelestia 553)