December 31, 2016

Man's Regeneration is an Image of the Lord's Glorification

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[A]s the Lord glorified His natural, it was different in the beginning from what it was in the progression, and at the end. ... For the Lord's glorification proceeded from truth to the good of truth, and finally to good....

This was the process when the Lord made His natural Divine, and the process is similar also when the Lord regenerates man; for it pleased the Lord to make His Human Divine in the same order as that in which He makes man new.... Man's regeneration is an image of the Lord's glorification....

When the Lord makes man new He first instructs him in the truths of faith, for without the truths of faith man does not know what the Lord is, what heaven is, and what hell is, nor even that they exist; and still less does he know the innumerable things relating to the Lord, to His kingdom in heaven, and to His kingdom on earth, that is, to the church; neither does he know what and of what nature are the things opposite to these, which relate to hell.

Before he has learned these things, he cannot know what good is, by which is not meant civil good and moral good, for these are learned in the world by means of laws and statutes, and by reflections upon the morals of men, and therefore the nations outside the church also know such things; but by good is meant spiritual good, which good is called in the Word charity; and this good is in general to will and do good to others for no selfish reason, but from the delight of the affection. This good is spiritual good, and to it no man can attain except by means of the truths of faith, which are taught by the Lord by means of the Word and preachings of the Word.

After a man has been instructed in the truths of faith, he is gradually led by the Lord to will the truth, and also from willing to do it. This truth is called the good of truth, for the good of truth is truth in will and act; and it is called the good of truth because the truth which has been of doctrine then becomes of the life. At last, when the man perceives delight in willing good and in doing it from will, it is no longer called the good of truth, but good; for he is then regenerate, and no more wills and does good from truth, but truth from good; and the truth which he then does is also as it were good, for it derives its essence from its origin, which is good. ... No one who is being regenerated by the Lord can be led to these interior things until the truth with him has become good.

(extract from Arcana Coelestia 4538)

December 25, 2016

And The Word Became Flesh

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word is holy, and in its interiors most holy, is very evident from the fact that in every detail of the Word there is the heavenly marriage, that is, the marriage of good and truth, thus heaven; and that in every detail of the inmost sense there is the marriage of the Lord's Divine Human with His kingdom and church; nay, in the supreme sense there is the union of the Divine Itself and the Divine Human in the Lord. These most holy things are in every detail of the Word - a manifest proof that the Word has descended from the Divine.

That this is so may be seen from the fact that where mention is made of good, mention is made of truth also; and where the internal is spoken of, the external also is spoken of. There are also words which constantly signify good, and words which constantly signify truth, and words which signify both good and truth; and if they do not signify them, still they are predicated of them, or involve them. From the predication and signification of these words it is plain that, as before said, in every detail there is the marriage of good and truth, that is, the heavenly marriage, and in the inmost and supreme sense the Divine marriage which is in the Lord, thus the Lord Himself.

He who does not know that the expressions in the Word are significative of spiritual and celestial things, and that some are said of good, and some of truth, cannot but believe that such expressions are mere repetitions, said merely to fill up, and therefore in themselves useless; and from this it is that they who think wrongly about the Word, regard such expressions as ground for contempt; when yet the veriest Divine things are stored therein, namely, the heavenly marriage, which is heaven itself; and the Divine marriage, which is the Lord Himself. This sense is the "glory" in which the Lord is, and the literal sense is the "cloud" in which is this glory (Matt. 24:30; Luke 21:27).
(Arcana Coelestia 6343:2,4)

December 24, 2016

Truths of Faith maybe multiplied to Infinity

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
This is evident from the fact that the wisdom of the angels of heaven increases to eternity. Moreover, the angels say that there is no end to wisdom, as its source is no other than Divine truths analytically distributed into forms by means of light flowing in from the Lord. Such human intelligence as is truly intelligence is from no other source.

Divine truth may be multiplied to infinity, because the Lord is Divine truth itself, or truth in its infinity, and He draws all men to Himself; but as angels and men are finite they can follow the current of the attraction only according to their measure, although the force of the attraction persists to infinity.

The Lord's Word is a great deep of truths from which comes all angelic wisdom, although to the man who knows nothing of its spiritual and celestial meanings, it appears like the water in a pitcher.

The multiplication of the truths of faith to infinity may be compared to the seed of men, from one of whom may be propagated families to ages of ages. The proliferation of the truths of faith may be compared to the proliferation of seeds in a field or a garden, which may be propagated to myriads of myriads and perpetually.

In the Word "seed" means nothing but truth, "field" means doctrine, and "garden" wisdom. The human mind is like soil, in which spiritual and natural truths are implanted like seeds and may be endlessly multiplied. Man derives this from the infinity of God, who is perpetually in man with His heat and light, and the faculty of generating.

(True Christian Religion 350)

December 16, 2016

Those Who are not in Freedom are Interiorly Bound

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
For they who have confirmed themselves in falsity are no longer in any freedom to choose and receive truth; and they who have much confirmed themselves therein are not even in freedom to see truth, still less to acknowledge and believe it; for they are in the persuasion that falsity is truth, and truth falsity.  This persuasion is such that it takes away all freedom to think anything else, and consequently holds the very thought in bonds and as it were in prison....

They are such as not at all to admit truths, but to reflect or strike them back again, and this with hardness according to the degree of the persuasion, especially when the falsity is from evil, or when evil has persuaded them. These are they who are meant in the Lord's parable in Matthew:

Some seeds fell upon the hard way, and the birds came and devoured them (Matt. 13:4);

the "seeds" are Divine truths; the "hard rock" is persuasion; the "birds" are principles of falsity. They who are such do not even know that they are in bonds or in prison, for they are affected with their own falsity, and love it for the sake of the evil from which it springs; hence they suppose that they are in freedom, for whatever is of the affection or love appears free.

But they who are not in confirmed falsity - that is, in the persuasion of falsity - easily admit truths, and see and choose them, and are affected with them, and afterward see falsities as it were beneath themselves, and also see how they who are in the persuasion of falsity are bound. These are in so much freedom - that in view and thought - they can as it were range through the whole heaven to innumerable truths; but no one can be in this freedom unless he is in good; for from good man is in heaven, and in heaven truths appear from good.

(Arcana Coelestia 5096)

December 15, 2016

Faith ~ According to the Love

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The conjunction of good with truths in the natural ... Good flows in through the internal man into the external, and there conjoins itself with the truths that have been instilled through the external man. For the good that flows in through the internal is of love, because there is not any spiritual and celestial good that is not of love, from this it is, and from this it is called good in man.
The love itself which is in good and with good is that which conjoins.
Unless love were within and present, there could not possibly be any conjunction; for love is nothing else than spiritual conjunction, because this is effected by it. The love is from no other source than the Lord, for He is the fountain and origin of all celestial and spiritual love, consequently of all the good thence derived. This love is twofold-celestial and spiritual. Celestial love is love to the Lord, and spiritual love is love toward the neighbor, which is called charity. It is these loves from which is all celestial and spiritual good, and which conjoin themselves with the truths which are called the truths of faith
the truths of faith regarded without love are only words without life; but through love, and thus through conjunction with the good of love, they receive life. It may be seen from this, that there is never anything of faith except with those who are in the good of love, and that the faith is according to the love.
And as there is never anything of faith except with those who are in the good of love, therefore neither is there any confidence or trust.

With all those who are not in love and charity, the trust or confidence which is called the trust or confidence of faith, is either spurious, or such as is also possible with diabolical spirits when they are in a state of fear or of anguish, or in a state of persuasion from the love of self and of the world.  But because at this day men have made faith saving without the goods of charity, and yet see from afar that the truths of faith cannot save, because these exist also with the wicked, therefore they acknowledge confidence and trust, and call this faith, not knowing what it is, and that it is possible even with the wicked, and that there is no spiritual confidence except that which flows in through the good of love and charity - not at the time when the man is in fear and anguish, or in persuasion from the love of self and of the world, but when he is in a state of freedom; and not with any but those in whom good has been conjoined with truths, and inrooted by the previous course of life; thus not in sickness, misfortunes, perils of life, or when death is at hand.  If this confidence or trust which appears in a state of compulsion would save a man, all mortals would be saved; for to this kind of confidence everyone is easily reduced, and there are none to whom the Lord, who wills the salvation of all, would not impart it.

(Arcana Coelestia 4352)

December 14, 2016

Can God Do Just Anything?

A Memorable Relation from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
I saw at a distance a number of persons gathered together with caps on their heads, some with caps bound around with silk - these had belonged to the ecclesiastical order; others had caps with borders ornamented with golden bands - these were civilians; they were all learned and accomplished. I also saw others with turbans; these were not learned.

I drew near, and heard them talking together about the Divine power, as being unlimited, and saying that if it were to proceed according to any established laws of order it would not be unlimited, but limited; and would thus be a power, but not omnipotence. "But who does not see," they said, "that there can be no coercion of law that would compel omnipotence to do thus and so and not otherwise? Certainly, when we think of omnipotence, and at the same time of laws of order in accordance with which it is obliged to proceed, our preconceived ideas of omnipotence fall like a hand when its staff has been broken."

When they saw me near, some of them ran up, and said with some vehemence, "Are you the man who has circumscribed God by laws, as by chains?  How insolent!  Thus also you have torn to pieces our faith, upon which our salvation is based, in the center of which we place the righteousness of the Redeemer, and over this the omnipotence of God the Father, and add as an appendix the operation of the Holy Spirit, with its efficacy depending upon the absolute impotence of man in things spiritual; so that he only needs to speak of the fullness of justification which is in that faith by virtue of God's omnipotence. But we have heard that you see in our faith nothing but emptiness, because you see in it nothing of Divine order on the part of man."

Having heard this, I opened my mouth, and speaking with a loud voice, said
Learn the laws of Divine order, and then lay open that faith and you will see a vast desert, and in it the long and crooked Leviathan, and round about it nets tangled in an inextricable knot. But do as it is said Alexander did when he saw the Gordian knot, that he drew his sword and cut it apart and thus loosed its entanglements, and then dashing it upon the ground trampled its strands under foot."

December 11, 2016

Reciprocity Required for Covenant

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
So far as man refrains from evils and shuns and turns away from them as sins, good flows in from the Lord.

The good that flows in is the affection of knowing and understanding truths, and the affection of willing and doing goods. But man cannot refrain from evils by shunning and turning away from them of himself, for he himself is in evils from his birth, and thus from nature; and evils cannot of themselves shun evils, for this would be a like a man's shunning his own nature, which is impossible; consequently it must be the Lord, who is the Divine good and the Divine truth, who causes man to shun them. Nevertheless, man ought to shun evils as if of himself, for what a man does as if of himself becomes his and is appropriated to him as his own; while what he does not do as if of himself in no wise becomes his or is appropriated to him. What comes from the Lord to man must be received by man; and it cannot be received unless he is conscious of it, that is, as if of himself. This reciprocation is a necessity to reformation. This is why the ten commandments were given, and why it is commanded in them that man shall not worship other gods, shall not profane the name of God, shall not steal, shall not commit adultery, shall not kill, shall not covet the house, wife, or servants of others, thus that man shall refrain from doing these things by thinking, when the love of evil allures and incites, that they must not be done because they are sins against God, and in themselves are infernal. So far, therefore, as a man shuns these evils so far the love of truth and good enters from the Lord; and this love causes man to shun these evils, and at length to turn away from them as sins. And as the love of truth and good puts these evils to flight, it follows that man shuns them not from himself but from the Lord, since the love of truth and good is from the Lord. If a man shuns evils merely from a fear of hell they are withdrawn; but goods do not take their place; for as soon as the fear departs the evils return.

December 9, 2016

The Lord in Mercy Adjoins Man to Himself

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In order that a more distinct idea may be formed concerning the union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence, and concerning the Lord's conjunction with the human race through the faith of charity, it may be well ... to call the former Union, but the latter Conjunction.

Between the Lord's Divine Essence and His Human Essence there was a Union; but between the Lord and the human race there is a Conjunction, through the faith of charity, as is evident from the fact that Jehovah or the Lord is Life, and that His Human Essence also was made Life ... and between Life and Life there is Union. Whereas man is not Life, but a recipient of life ... when Life flows into a recipient of life, there is conjunction; for it is adapted to the recipient as is the active to the passive, or as that which is in itself alive to that which is in itself dead, and which lives therefrom.  The principal and the instrumental - as they are termed - do indeed appear to be conjoined together as if they were a one, but still they are not a one; for the former is by itself, and the latter is by itself. Man does not live from himself, but the Lord in mercy adjoins man to Himself and thereby causes him to live to eternity; and because the Lord and man are thus distinct, it is called conjunction.

(Arcana Coelestia 2021)

December 8, 2016

Why Heaven Appears as a Grand Man

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord, who alone is Man, and from whom angels, spirits, and the inhabitants of earth are called men, does Himself, by His influx into heaven cause the universal heaven to represent and bear relation to a man, and by influx through heaven and from Himself immediately into the individuals there, cause each one to appear as a man, the angels in a more beautiful and resplendent form than can be described; and in like manner by His influx into the spirit of man. Nay, with an angel, a spirit, and a man who lives in charity toward the neighbor and in love to the Lord, the very smallest things of thought bear relation to a man, for the reason that this charity and this love are from the Lord, and whatever is from the Lord bears relation to a man. Moreover it is these things that make man.

On the other hand, in hell, because they who are there are in things contrary to charity and celestial love, in their own light they do indeed appear like men, but in the light of heaven as dreadful monsters, in some of whom scarcely anything of the human form is recognizable. The reason is that the Lord's influx through heaven is not received, but is either rejected, or extinguished, or perverted, causing them to have such an appearance. They are in like manner such forms in the smallest things of their thought or in their ideas; for such as anyone is in the whole, such he is in part; these being analogous and homogeneous. That form in which they appear is also the form of the hell in which they are; for every hell has its own form, which in the light of heaven is like a monster; and those of them who appear from this light show by their form from what hell they are.

(Arcana Coelestia 6626)

December 6, 2016

- No Power Against Truth

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
"I will send My fear before thee ..." (Exodus 23:27) is signified the terror of those who are in the evils of falsity on account of the truths of good.

The case herein is this. All power in the spiritual world is from the truths which are from good, thus from the truths which proceed from the Lord. This can be plainly seen from the fact that the Lord disposes all things in heaven, and all things in hell, and also all things in the world, by means of the truths which are from Himself; for the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is that very thing through which all things have come into existence, and through which all things subsist.

That this is so is not comprehended by those who think solely from what is material, as those think who ascribe the origin and maintenance of all things to nature. These can have no idea about truths except that they are devoid of power, being matters of mere thought, concerning which they perceive nothing essential, and still less anything substantial; although they know that the thought directs the whole body, and excites its parts to motion, precisely in accordance with its own quality; likewise that there is nothing in the universe that does not bear relation to the truth which is from good. ...

From all this it is evident that the angels have power from the truth Divine which is from the Lord, and that from this they are called "powers." ...

Seeing that truth has all power, it follows that falsity from evil has no power whatever, because it is the privation of truth from good, thus the privation of power. Consequently they who are in hell - all there being in falsities from evil - have no power whatever; and therefore thousands of them can be driven away, cast down, and dispersed by one angel of heaven, much as a mote in the air is driven away by the breath of the mouth. From all this it can be seen why those who are in the evils of falsity feel terror on account of the truths of good. This terror is called "the terror of God" (Gen. 35:5; Job 13:21).  And in these passages:

I will put My terror in the land of the living; when he shall be made to lie down in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that are slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude (Ezek. 32:32).

If he shall reject My statutes, and if your soul shall abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, I will send dismay into their hearts, that the sound of a driven leaf may chase them; and they may flee as one fleeth from the sword; and may fall when none pursueth (Lev. 26:15, 36);

here is described the terror of those who are in the evils of falsity, and in the falsities of evil. It is said that "the sound of a leaf shall chase them, and they shall flee as one fleeth from the sword" because "leaf" signifies truth, and "sword" signifies truth fighting against the falsity of evil. That such have no power whatever against truth, is signified by "they shall fall when none pursueth."

(Arcana Coelestia 9327)

December 3, 2016

Each Moment - A New Beginning of Those that Follow

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As regards foresight and providence in general, it is foresight relatively to man, and providence relatively to the Lord.

The Lord foresaw from eternity what the human race would be, and what would be the quality of each member of it, and that evil would continually increase, until at last man of himself would rush headlong into hell. On this account the Lord has not only provided means by which man may be turned from hell and led to heaven, but also from providence He continually turns and leads him. The Lord also foresaw that it would be impossible for any good to be rooted in man except in his freedom, for whatever is not rooted in freedom is dissipated on the first approach of evil and temptation. This the Lord foresaw, and also that man of himself, or from his freedom, would incline toward the deepest hell; and therefore the Lord provides that if a man should not suffer himself to be led in freedom to heaven, he may still be bent toward a milder hell; but that if he should suffer himself to be led in freedom to good, he may be led to heaven. This shows what foresight means, and what providence, and that what is foreseen is thus provided.

And from this we can see how greatly the man errs who believes that the Lord has not foreseen, and does not see, the veriest singulars appertaining to man, and that in these He does not foresee and lead; when the truth is that the Lord's foresight and providence are in the very minutest of these veriest singulars connected with man, in things so very minute that it is impossible by any thought to comprehend as much as one out of a hundred millions of them; for every smallest moment of man's life involves a series of consequences extending to eternity, each moment being as a new beginning to those which follow; and so with all and each of the moments of his life, both of his understanding and of his will. And as the Lord foresaw from eternity what would be man's quality, and what it would be to eternity, it is evident that His providence is in the veriest singulars, and as before said governs and bends the man to such a quality; and this by a continual moderating of his freedom.

(Arcana Coelestia 3854)