November 27, 2016

Is it not possible for a man to have charity and faith, and yet to be without works?

Selection from a Memorable Relation True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
"Is it not possible for a man to have charity and faith, and yet to be without works? Can a man not have the desire, and may he not think out how to do something, and yet not proceed to accomplish it?"  The angel replied: "He can, but only ideally, and not in reality.  Even then he must endeavor or will to act; and will or endeavor is in itself an act, because it is a continual striving towards action, and this results in outward act as the opportunity to act presents itself.  Therefore, endeavor or will, being as it were an inward act, is accepted by every wise man, because it is accepted by God, just as if it were an outward act, provided it does not fail when opportunity arises."
(True Christian Religion 387:6)

November 23, 2016

Understanding Predestination

Passage from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
To make clear how pernicious the belief in predestination is as generally understood these four propositions must be taken up and established.

First: Any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine love, which is infinite. That Jehovah or the Lord is Divine love, and that He is infinite and the Being (Esse) of all life, and that man was created into the image of God after the likeness of God, has been shown in the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom. And as every man is formed by the Lord in the womb into that image after that likeness (as has also been shown), it follows that the Lord is the heavenly Father of all men, and that men are His spiritual children. Thus is Jehovah or the Lord called in the Word, and men likewise; for He says:

Call no man your father upon the earth, for One is your Father, who is in the heavens (Matt. 23:9);

which means that He alone is the Father in respect to the life; and that the earthly father is the father only in respect to the life's covering, which is the body; therefore in heaven no father is mentioned except the Lord. That men who do not pervert that life are said to be His sons and to be born of Him is also evident from many passages in the Word.

Thus it can be seen that the Divine love is in every man, both the evil and the good; consequently that the Lord who is Divine love can not act towards them otherwise than as a father on the earth acts towards his children, and infinitely more so, because the Divine love is infinite; and again, that He cannot withdraw from any one because every one's life is from Him. He appears to withdraw from the evil; but the evil withdraw from Him, while He from love still leads them. So the Lord says:

Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. What man is there of you who if his son ask for a loaf will give him a stone? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in the heavens give good things to them that ask Him? (Matt. 7:7-11).

And elsewhere that

He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. v. 46).

Moreover, it is admitted in the church that the Lord wills the salvation of all, and the death of no one. All this shows that any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine love.

November 19, 2016

Determining the Spiritual Power Upward, thus to the Lord

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Joshua did as Moses had said to him in fighting against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it was, when Moses lifted up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, that Amalek prevailed. And Moses' hands were heavy, and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat upon it; and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other; and it was, his hands were steady until the setting of the sun. And Joshua weakened Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.  Exodus 17: 10-13

  • What it is to look toward the Lord - What it is to look toward the world and self

  • What it is to look above self, and What to look below self

    • To look above self is to look to the neighbor, to our country, to the church, to heaven, thus to the Lord
    • To look below self is to look to the world and to self
    • To look above self and below self is to have as the end and to love above all things
  • Man is distinguished from brutes by the fact that he can look above self and below self, and that when he looks above self, he is a man, but when below self, he is a beast

  • To look above self is to be elevated by the Lord, for the Lord flows in with every man through the truth which is from Himself, whereby He gives life to man, because the light which is from the Lord is Divine truth, and is life (John 1:4).

  • This Divine truth which is from the Lord flows into the good with man, and by means of it draws the man to itself; for the life which is from the Lord has a power of attracting, because it is from love, since all love has in it this power, inasmuch as it wills to be conjoined, so as to be a one. Then therefore a man is in good, and from good in truth, he is drawn by the Lord, and is conjoined with Him. This is meant by "looking upward to the Lord." But when a man is not in good, thus not in truth from good, then too he is drawn by the Lord, but cannot be elevated, because evils and the derivative falsities turn themselves away. This is meant by "looking downward," or "to self and the world."

    That the Lord draws man to Himself, the Lord Himself teaches in John:  I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself (John 12:32).

    From all this it can now be seen how it is to be understood that when the faith looked toward the Lord, the fighting truth conquered, and that when the faith looked downward from the Lord to self and the world, the falsity conquered, as is signified by Israel prevailing when Moses held up his hand, and by Amalek prevailing when he let down his hand.

    (Arcana Coelestia 8604:2-4)

    November 15, 2016

    The Origin of Things

    Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    [T]here are genera and species of all goods, both spiritual and natural, and also of the derivative sensuous and corporeal goods. So many genera are there of spiritual goods, and so many genera likewise of spiritual truths, that they cannot be numbered; still less can the species of the genera.

    November 11, 2016

    When Charity is Performed from Spirituality

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    What is meant by good and truth natural not spiritual
    and good and truth spiritual natural
    Good in man is from a twofold source - from what is hereditary and hence additional, and also from the doctrine of faith and of charity, or with the Gentiles from their religiosity. Good from the former origin is good natural not spiritual, while good from the latter origin is good spiritual natural. From a like origin is truth, because all good has its own truth adjoined to it.

    November 7, 2016

    The Internals of a Deed

    Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    All things of the three degrees of the natural mind are included in the deeds that are done by the acts of the body. All things of the mind, that is, of the will and understanding of man, are in his acts or deeds, included therein very much as things visible and invisible are in a seed or fruit or egg.  Acts or deeds by themselves appear outwardly as these do, but in their internals there are things innumerable, such as the concurring forces of the motor fibers of the whole body and all things of the mind that excite and determine these forces, all of which ... are of three degrees. And since all things of the mind are in these, so also are things of the will, that is, all the affections of man's love, which make the first degree; all things of the understanding, that is, all thoughts from his perception, which makes the second degree; and all things of the memory, that is, all ideas of the thought nearest to speech, taken from the memory, which compose the third degree. Out of these things determined into act, deeds come forth, in which, seen in external form, prior things are not visible although they are actually therein.
    (Divine Love and Wisdom 277)

    November 4, 2016

    That Which Is Compulsory or Not Free

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Whatever is not from affection is from what is not spontaneous, or not free, for everything spontaneous or free is of affection or love. The same is evident also from the derivation of the expression in the original language, as meaning deficiency; for when ardor of affection is deficient, then freedom ceases; and what is then done is said to be not free, and at last compulsory.

    That all the conjunction of truth and good is effected in freedom, or from what is spontaneous, and consequently all reformation and regeneration; and consequently that in the absence of freedom (that is, by compulsion) no conjunction, and thus no regeneration, can be effected.