December 28, 2017

As The Tree Falls, It Remains

Selection from Spiritual Diary [min] ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
...if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  Eccl 11:3

As long as people live, they are in the lowest level of order, have a bodily memory, which grows, and in which those things are to take root what belong to the inward memory. Consequently, the more harmony and interaction of good and truth there is in them, and between them, the more of life they have from the Lord, and the more they can be perfected in the other life. But it is that outward or bodily memory in which inward qualities take root. People after death indeed have with them all their outward or bodily memory, in all and the least details, but it can no longer grow, and where it is not functioning, new harmony and interaction cannot be formed. Nevertheless, all things of their inward memory are also grounded in their outward memory, even though it is not permitted them to use it.

This all shows what it means that as the tree falls, so it remains [Eccl. 11:3] not that those imbued with good cannot be perfected: such can be perfected immensely, even unto angelic wisdom, but to the level corresponding to the harmony and interaction that had existed between their inner and outer qualities when they lived in the world.  After the life of the body, no one receives outer, but only inward, and inner qualities.

As for that dogma that the tree remains where it falls, its meaning is not as it is usually explained, but it is the degree of harmony of our inner or spiritual person with our outer or earthly one, that remains as it falls, both of which man has with him in the other life.
The inner or spiritual quality is grounded in his outer or earthly one as its base.
The inner or spiritual person is perfected in the other life, but depending on the harmony it is able to find in the outer or earthly one. But the latter, namely outer or earthly one cannot be perfected in the other life, but remains of the quality it had acquired in the life of the body, and is perfected in that life by the removal of the love of self and of the world, and then by the reception of the good of charity, and of the truth of faith, from the Lord. Hence it is the harmony or disharmony that is the tree, together with its root, that remains after death, where it falls.
(from Spiritual Diary [min] 4645, 4646)

December 27, 2017

He Who Loves Himself Only

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... he who loves himself only loves what is his own [proprium], and therefore immerses all things of his will and his understanding in what is his own [proprium], even so that it is impossible for him to be elevated from it to heaven and to the Lord; consequently he sees nothing from the light of heaven, but solely from the light of the world, which light, separated from the light of heaven, is mere darkness in spiritual things, which are the things of heaven and the church; and for this reason also the more a man loves himself the more he despises, yea, denies spiritual things.

In consequence also of this the internal spiritual mind, by which man is in the light of heaven, is closed up, and this causes the man to be merely natural, and the merely natural man is inclined to evils of every kind. For the evils into which man is born have their seat in the natural man, and these are removed from him only to the extent in which his interior mind, which receives the light of heaven, is opened; moreover, what is man's own [proprium] has its seat in the natural man, and what is man's own [proprium] is nothing but evil.
(From Apocalypse Explained 653:2)

December 23, 2017

The Reasons Why the Lord Willed to be Born on Our Earth, and Not on Another

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• There are many reasons why it pleased the Lord to be born and to assume the Human on our earth, and not on any other, concerning which I have been informed from heaven.

• The principal reason was for the sake of the Word, in that it could be written on our earth, and when written could then be published throughout the whole earth; and once published could be preserved for all posterity; and that thus it might be made manifest even to all in the other life that God had become a Man.

• That the principal reason was for the sake of the Word, is because the Word is truth Divine itself, which teaches man that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death; and which teaches besides how a man must live and believe in order that he may come into heaven, and thus be eternally happy. Without revelation, thus on this earth without the Word, all these things would have been utterly unknown; and yet man has been so created that in respect to his internal man he cannot die.

• That the Word could be written on our earth, is because the art of writing has existed here from the most ancient time, first on wooden tablets, later on parchment, afterward on paper, and finally it could be published in print. This has been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

• That the Word could afterward be published throughout this whole earth, is because there is here an interaction of all nations, both by overland travel and by navigation, to all places on the globe. Therefore the Word once written could be carried from one nation to another, and could be everywhere taught. That there should be such an interaction has also been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

• That the Word once written could be preserved for all posterity, consequently for thousands and thousands of years, and that it has been so preserved, is known.

• That thus it could be made manifest that God has become a Man, is because this is the first and most essential thing for the sake of which the Word was given; for no one can believe in and love a God whom he cannot comprehend under some form; and therefore those who acknowledge the incomprehensible, in their thought fall into nature, and thus believe in no God .... Wherefore it pleased the Lord to be born here, and to make this manifest by the Word, not only in order that it might become known on this globe, but that by this means it might also be made manifest to all in the universe who come into heaven from any earth whatever; for in heaven there is a communication of all.

• Be it known that the Word on our earth, given through heaven by the Lord, is the union of heaven and the world ... to which end there is a correspondence of all things in the letter of the Word with Divine things in heaven; and that in its supreme and inmost sense the Word treats of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens and on earth, and of love and faith from Him and to Him, consequently of life from Him and in Him. Such things are presented to the angels in heaven, from whatever earth they come, when the Word of our earth is read and preached.

• On every other earth truth Divine is made manifest orally through spirits and angels, as has been shown in the preceding chapters, where the inhabitants of the earths in this solar system have been treated of; but this takes place within families; for on most of the earths mankind live separate according to their families. Wherefore Divine truth thus revealed through spirits and angels is not conveyed far beyond the families; and unless a new revelation is constantly following, what has been revealed is either perverted or perishes. It is otherwise on our earth, where truth Divine, which is the Word, remains in its integrity forever.

• Be it known that the Lord acknowledges and receives all, from whatever earth they may be, who acknowledge and worship God under a human form, for God under a human form is the Lord. And because the Lord appears to the inhabitants of the earths in an angelic form, which is the human form, therefore when spirits and angels from these earths hear from the spirits and angels of our earth that God is a Man in actuality, they receive this Word, acknowledge it, and rejoice that it is so....

• To the reasons already adduced may be added that the inhabitants, spirits, and angels of our earth bear relation in the Grand Man to the external and bodily sense ... and the external and bodily sense is the ultimate, into which the interior things of life come to a close, and in which they rest as in their common receptacle .... The case is similar with truth Divine in the letter, which is called "the Word," and which for this reason also has been given on this earth and not on another. And because the Lord is the Word, and is its first and its last, therefore in order that all things might come forth according to order, He also willed to be born on this earth, and to become the Word; according to these words in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All thing were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father. No man hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:1-3, 14, 18)
"the Word" denotes the Divine truth. But this is a secret which will fall into the understanding of only a few.

• That the inhabitants of other earths rejoice when they hear that God took on Himself the Human, and made it Divine, and that thus God is Man in actuality....
(Arcana Cœlestia 9350 - 9361)

December 22, 2017

The Unition of His Human Essence to His Divine Essence

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord united His Human to His Divine and His Divine to His Human by continual temptations and victories; and that by this union He saved the human race. From this the human race has all its salvation.

It is the common opinion that the Father sent the Son to suffer the hardest things even to the death of the cross; and thus that by looking upon the passion and merit of the Son, He has mercy upon the human race. But everyone can know that
Jehovah does not have mercy by any looking upon the Son, for He is mercy itself
but that the arcanum of the Lord's coming into the world is that He united in Himself the Divine to the Human and the Human to the Divine; which could not be done except through the most grievous things of temptations; and thus that by that union it became possible for salvation to reach the human race, in which no celestial and spiritual, or even natural good, any longer remained; and it is this union which saves those who are in the faith of charity.
It is the Lord Himself who shows the mercy.
(Arcana Cœlestia 2854)

December 21, 2017

Changes and Variations of State and Form

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• Those who so believe know nothing whatever about what evil is or what good is.

For they do not know that evil is the delight of the lust of acting and thinking contrary to Divine order, and that good is the delight of the affection of acting and thinking in accordance with Divine order, and that there are myriads of lusts that enter into and compose every single evil, and myriads of affections in like manner that enter into and compose every single good, and that these myriads are in such order and connection in man's interiors that no one can be changed unless at the same time all are changed. Those who do not know this may hold the belief or opinion that evil, which seems also to them to be a single thing, can easily be removed; and good, which also appears to be a single thing, can be brought in in its place. As such do not know what evil is and what good is they must needs be of the opinion that instant salvation and mercy apart from means are possible ....

• Those who believe in instant salvation and mercy apart from means do not know that affections, which belong to the will, are nothing but changes of the state of the purely organic substances of the mind; and that thoughts, which belong to the understanding, are nothing but changes and variations in the form of these substances; and that memory is the state of these changes and variations that remains permanent.

• Who does not acknowledge, when it is stated, that affections and thoughts are possible only in substances and their forms, which are subjects?

And as these exist in the brains, which are full of substances and forms, the forms are called purely organic. No one who thinks rationally can help laughing at the fancies of some that affections and thoughts do not exist in substantiated subjects, but are exhalations modified by heat and light, like images appearing in the air and ether; and yet thought can no more exist apart from a substantial form than sight apart from its form which is the eye, or hearing apart from its form which is the ear, or taste apart from its form which is the tongue. Examine the brain, and you will see innumerable substances, and fibers likewise, and that there is nothing there that is not organized. What other evidence than this ocular proof is needed?

• But it is asked, What is affection there, and what is thought there?

This may be inferred from all things and each thing in the body; in it are many viscera, each fixed in its place, and these perform their functions by changes and variations of state and form. That each is engaged in its own operations is known-the stomach in its own, the intestines in theirs, the kidneys in theirs, the liver, pancreas, and spleen in theirs, and the heart and lungs in theirs; and all of these are moved to their work solely from within, and to be moved from within is to be moved by changes and variations of state and form. All this makes clear that the operations of the purely organic substances of the mind must resemble these, with the difference that the operations of the organic substances of the body are natural, while those of the mind are spiritual; and that the two make one by correspondences.

The nature of the changes and variations of state and form in the organic substances of the mind, which are affections and thoughts, cannot be shown to the eye; nevertheless they may be seen as in a mirror in the changes and variations in the state of the lungs in speaking and singing. There is also a correspondence; for the tone of the voice in speaking and singing, and also its articulations, which are the words of speech and the modulations of singing, are made by the lungs, and tone corresponds to affection and speech to thought. They are also produced therefrom; and this is done by changes and variations in the state and form of the organic substances in the lungs, and from the lungs through the trachea or windpipe in the larynx and glottis, and then in the tongue, and finally in the lips. The first changes and variations of the state and form of the tone take place in the lungs, the second in the trachea and larynx, the third in the glottis by the varied openings of its orifices, the fourth in the tongue by its various adaptations to the palate and the teeth, the fifth in the lips by their varied forms. All this makes clear that mere changes and variations, successively continued, in the state of organic forms, produce tones and their articulations, which are speech and singing. Inasmuch, then, as tone and speech are produced from no other source than the affections and thoughts of the mind (for they exist from these, and never apart from them), it is evident that the affections of the will are changes and variations in the state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and that the thoughts of the understanding are changes and variations in the form of those substances, the same as in the pulmonary substances.

• As affections and thoughts are mere changes in the state of the forms of the mind it follows that memory is nothing else than the state of these changes that is permanent. For all changes and variations of state in organic substances are such that having once become habitual they are permanent. Thus the lungs are habituated to produce various sounds in the trachea, and to vary them in the glottis, to articulate them with the tongue, and to modify them with the mouth; and these organic activities, having once become habitual, are in the organs and can be reproduced. That these changes and variations are infinitely more perfect in the organic structures of the mind than in those of the body ... all perfections increase and ascend with degrees and according to degrees.
(from Divine Providence 279)

December 20, 2017

Which Society Will You Choose?

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[T]he entire heaven is arranged in societies according to the affections of good, and the entire hell according to the lusts of evil opposite to the affections of good.

As to his spirit every man is in some society; in a heavenly society if he is in an affection for good, but in an infernal society if he is in a lust of evil. This is unknown to man so long as he lives in the world; nevertheless he is in respect to his spirit in some society, and without this he cannot live, and by means of it he is governed by the Lord.

If he is in an infernal society he can be led out of it by the Lord only in accordance with the laws of His Divine providence, among which is this,
  • the man must see that he is there,
  • must wish to go out of it,
  • and must try to do this of himself.
This he can do while he is in the world, but not after death; for he then remains forever in the society into which he has inserted himself while in the world. This is the reason why man must examine himself, must recognize and acknowledge his sins and repent, and then must persevere even to the end of his life.
(Divine Providence 278: 6)

December 19, 2017

Let No One Make a Residue of it Till The Morning

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.     Exodus 16:15-19
Let no one make a residue of it till the morning. That this signifies that they should not be solicitous about acquiring it from themselves, is evident from the fact that the manna was to be given every morning, and that worms would be bred in that which was left over, by which is signified that the Lord daily provides necessaries, and that therefore they ought not to be solicitous about acquiring them from themselves. This also is meant by the "daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer, and likewise by the Lord's words in Matthew:
Be not solicitous for your soul, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on; why are ye solicitous about things to put on? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: therefore be ye not solicitous, saying, What shall we eat? and what shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the nations seek; doth not your Heavenly Father know that ye have need of all these things? Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens, and His righteousness; then shall all these things be added to you; therefore be ye not solicitous for the morrow, for the morrow will take care of the things of itself (6:25, 28, 31-34).
In like manner in Luke 12:11, 12, 22-31.

... in the internal sense care for the morrow is treated of, and as this care is not only forbidden, but is also condemned (that it is forbidden is signified by that they were not to make a residue of the manna till the morning, and that it is condemned is signified by that the worm was bred in the residue, and it stank),
he who looks at the subject no deeper than from the sense of the letter may believe that all care for the morrow is to be cast aside, and thus that the necessaries of life are to be awaited daily from heaven;
but he who looks at the subject deeper than from the letter, as for instance he who looks at it from the internal sense, is able to know what is meant by "care for the morrow."

It does not mean the care of procuring for oneself food and raiment, and even resources for the time to come; for it is not contrary to order for anyone to be provident for himself and his own.

But those have care for the morrow who are not content with their lot; who do not trust in the Divine, but in themselves; and who have regard for only worldly and earthly things, and not for heavenly things. With such there universally reigns solicitude about things to come, and a desire to possess all things and to dominate over all, which is kindled and grows according to the additions thus made, and finally does so beyond all measure. They grieve if they do not obtain the objects of their desire, and feel anguish at the loss of them; and they have no consolation, because of the anger they feel against the Divine, which they reject together with everything of faith, and curse themselves. Such are they who have care for the morrow.
Very different is the case with those who trust in the Divine.
These, notwithstanding they have care for the morrow, still have it not, because they do not think of the morrow with solicitude, still less with anxiety. Unruffled is their spirit whether they obtain the objects of their desire, or not; and they do not grieve over the loss of them, being content with their lot. If they become rich, they do not set their hearts on riches; if they are raised to honors, they do not regard themselves as more worthy than others; if they become poor, they are not made sad; if their circumstances are mean, they are not dejected. They know that for those who trust in the Divine all things advance toward a happy state to eternity, and that whatever befalls them in time is still conducive thereto.
Be it known that the Divine Providence is universal, that is, in things the most minute; and that they who are in the stream of Providence are all the time carried along toward everything that is happy, whatever may be the appearance of the means; and that those are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine and attribute all things to Him;
and that those are not in the stream of Providence who trust in themselves alone and attribute all things to themselves, because they are in the opposite, for they take away providence from the Divine, and claim it for themselves.

Be it known also that insofar as anyone is in the stream of Providence, so far he is in a state of peace; also that insofar as anyone is in a state of peace from the good of faith, so far he is in the Divine Providence. These alone know and believe that the Divine Providence of the Lord is in everything both in general and in particular, nay, is in the most minute things of all ... and that the Divine Providence regards what is eternal.

But they who are in the opposite are scarcely willing to hear Providence mentioned, for they ascribe everything to their own sagacity; and what they do not ascribe to this they ascribe to fortune or chance; some to fate, which they do not educe from the Divine, but from nature. They call those simple who do not attribute all things to themselves or to nature. From all this again it can be seen what is the quality of those who have care for the morrow, and what the quality of those who have no care for the morrow.
(Arcana Coelestia 8478)

December 14, 2017

Misuse of Uses

From Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Misuse does not do away with use, even as falsification of truth does not do away with truth except with those who falsify it.
(from Divine Love and Wisdom 331)

December 13, 2017

Looking to Doctrinal Things and Not to A Life According to Doctrinal Things

Excerpts from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In that day he that shall be upon the house, and his vessels in the house, let him not go down to take them away; and let him that is in the field likewise not turn back behind him: Remember Lot's wife (Luke 17:31-32).
When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, foretold by Daniel the prophet, then let them that are in Judea flee into the mountains; let him that is upon the house not go down to take anything out of his house; and let him that is in the field not return back to take his garments (Matt. 24:15-17).
• The "abomination of desolation" denotes the state of the church when there is no love and no charity, for when these are desolated, abominable things predominate.
• That "Judea" denotes the church, and indeed the celestial church, is evident from the Word of the Old Testament throughout, both the historic and the prophetic.
• That the "mountains" into which they shall flee, denote love to the Lord and the consequent charity toward the neighbor.
• That "he who is upon the house," denotes the good of love...
• That to "go down to take anything out of his house," denotes to turn one's self away from good to truth, has also just been stated.
• That "they who are in the field" denote those who are in the spiritual church, is evident from the signification in the Word of a "field."
• That "let him not return back to take his garments," denotes that he should not turn himself away from good to the truth that is of doctrine, is because "garments" signify truths, for truths act as garments in clothing good.

Everyone can see that very different things are meant and that arcana are involved by all that the Lord there said concerning the consummation of the age, as that they who were in Judea should flee into the mountains, that they who were upon the house should not go down to take anything out of the house, and that they who were in the field should not return back to take their garments; and in like manner by its being said that Lot should not look back behind himself, and here that his wife did look back behind him. This is further evident from the signification of a "wife," as being truth; and from the signification of "Lot," as being good; hence it is said "behind him."

Truth is said to turn itself away from good, and to look to doctrinal things, when the man of the church no longer has at heart what kind of a life he lives, but what kind of a doctrine he possesses; when yet it is a life according to doctrine that makes a man of the church, but not doctrine separate from life; for when doctrine is separated from life, then because good, which is of the life, is laid waste, truth, which is of doctrine, is also laid waste, that is, becomes a pillar of salt; which everyone may know who looks only to doctrine and not to life, when he considers whether, although doctrine teaches them, he believes in the resurrection, in heaven, in hell, even in the Lord, and in the rest of the things that are of doctrine.
(Excerpts from Arcana Cœlestia 2454)

December 11, 2017

The Law of Marriages

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All the laws of truth and right flow from celestial beginnings, or from the order of life of the celestial man. For the whole heaven is a celestial man because the Lord alone is a celestial man, and as He is the all in all of heaven and the celestial man, they are thence called celestial.

As every law of truth and right descends from celestial beginnings, or from the order of life of the celestial man, so in an especial manner does the law of marriages.
It is the celestial (or heavenly) marriage from and according to which all marriages on earth must be derived; and this marriage is such that there is one Lord and one heaven, or one church whose head is the Lord. The law of marriages thence derived is that there shall be one husband and one wife, and when this is the case they represent the celestial marriage, and are an exemplar of the celestial man.
This law was not only revealed to the men of the Most Ancient Church, but was also inscribed on their internal man, wherefore at that time a man had but one wife, and they constituted one house. But when their posterity ceased to be internal men, and became external, they married a plurality of wives. Because the men of the Most Ancient Church in their marriages represented the celestial marriage, conjugial love was to them a kind of heaven and heavenly happiness, but when the Church declined they had no longer any perception of happiness in conjugial love, but in pleasure from a number, which is a delight of the external man. This is called by the Lord "hardness of heart" on account of which they were permitted by Moses to marry a plurality of wives, as the Lord Himself teaches:
For the hardness of your heart Moses wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh; wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder (Mark 10:5-9).
(Arcana Cœlestia 162)

December 8, 2017

Heavenly Marriages Induce Forms on the Souls and Minds of their Partner

Selection from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In the natural world it is not so apparent that marriages induce other forms on souls and minds, for here souls and minds are enclosed in a material body, through which the mind rarely shines. Today, moreover, far more than of old, men learn from infancy onward to induce expressions on the face by which they profoundly conceal the mind's affections. For this reason forms of the mind before and after marriage are not known apart. In the spiritual world, however, it is manifest (even in such men) that the forms of soul and mind after marriage differ from what they were before marriage. For spirits and angels, who are nothing but minds and souls in human form, are then stripped of the coverings which were composed of elements from water and earth and of exhalations thence spread on the air. With these removed, the forms of the minds, such as they were within the body, are seen, and it is clearly observable then that the married have certain forms, and the unmarried other forms.

In general, married partners have an inner beauty of countenance, the man receiving from the wife the agreeable glow of her love, and the wife from the man the shining brightness of his wisdom. For the two partners are united in soul. In each appears also a human fullness. This is in heaven, for there are no marriages anywhere else; below heaven [not from heavenly order] there are only matings, which are formed and severed.
(Conjugial Love 192)

December 3, 2017

Love and Charity

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Divine with those who have faith in the Lord is love and charity. By Love is meant love to the Lord; by Charity," love toward the neighbor. Love to the Lord cannot possibly be separated from love toward the neighbor; for the Lord's love is toward the universal human race, which He wills to save eternally and to adjoin wholly to Himself, so that not one of them may perish. He therefore who has love to the Lord, has the Lord's love, and thereby can do no otherwise than love his neighbor.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 2023)

December 1, 2017

How to React with God

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In everything created by God there is reaction.
In Life alone there is action; reaction is caused by the action of Life.
Because reaction takes place when any created thing is acted upon, it appears as if it belonged to what is created. Thus in man it appears as if the reaction were his, because he has no other feeling than that life is his, when yet man is only a recipient of life.

From this cause it is that man, by reason of his hereditary evil, reacts against God. But so far as man believes that all his life is from God, and that all good of life is from the action of God, and all evil of life from the reaction of man, so far his reaction comes to be from [God's] action, and man acts with God as if from himself.
The equilibrium of all things is from action and simultaneous reaction, and in equilibrium everything must be.
These things have been said lest man should believe that he himself ascends toward God from himself, and not from the Lord.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 68)

November 30, 2017

Neighbor Toward Whom 'Works of Charity' are To Be Performed

From Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Jesus said, When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind; then thou shalt be blessed (Luke 14:13-14).

The master of the house said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the lame, and the blind (Luke 14:21).

The Ancient Church distinguished into classes the neighbor or neighbors toward whom they were to perform the works of charity; and some they called "maimed," some "lame," some "blind," and some "deaf," meaning those who were spiritually so. Some also they called the "hungry," the "thirsty," "strangers," the "naked," the "sick," the "captives" (Matt. 25:33-36); and some "widows," "orphans," the "needy," the "poor," and the "miserable;" by whom they meant no other than those who were such as to truth and good, and who were to be suitably instructed, led on their way, and thus provided for as to their souls. But as at this day charity does not make the church, but faith, what is meant in the Word by these persons is altogether unknown; and yet it is manifest to everyone that it is not meant that the maimed, the lame, and the blind are to be called to a feast, and that it was not commanded by the master of the house that such should be brought in, but that those are meant who are spiritually such; also that in every thing spoken by the Lord there is what is Divine, consequently a celestial and spiritual sense.

Similar is the meaning of the Lord's words in Mark:
If thy foot cause thee to stumble, cut it off; it is good for thee to enter into life lame, rather than having two feet to be cast into the gehenna of fire, into fire unquenchable (Mark 9:45; Matt. 18:8); by the "foot which must be cut off" if it caused stumbling, is meant the natural, which is constantly opposing itself to the spiritual - that it must be destroyed if it attempt to impair truths; and thus that on account of the disagreement and dissuasion of the natural man, it is better to be in simple good, although in the denial of truth. This is signified by "entering into life lame."
(from Arcana Cœlestia 4302:5-6)

November 29, 2017

There is No Charity Apart from Works of Charity

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Those who are in charity, that is, in love to the neighbor (from which is the delight in pleasures that is alive), pay no regard to the enjoyment of pleasures except on account of the use.
For there is no charity apart from works of charity; it is in its practice or use that charity consists.
He who loves the neighbor as himself perceives no delight in charity except in its exercise, or in use; and therefore a life of charity is a life of uses. Such is the life of the whole heaven;
for the kingdom of the Lord, because it is a kingdom of mutual love, is a kingdom of uses.
Every pleasure therefore which is from charity, has its delight from use. The more noble the use, the greater the delight. Consequently the angels have happiness from the Lord according to the essence and quality of their use.

And so it is with every pleasure - the more noble its use, the greater its delight. For example, the delight of conjugial love: because this love is the seminary of human society, and thereby of the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, which is the greatest of all uses, it has in it so much delight that it is the very happiness of heaven. It is the same with all other pleasures, but with a difference according to the excellence of the uses, which are so manifold that they can scarcely be classed in genera and species, some having regard more nearly and directly, and some more remotely and indirectly, to the kingdom of the Lord, or to the Lord.

From these things it is further evident that all pleasures are granted to man, but only for the sake of use; and that they thus, with a difference from the use in which they are, partake of heavenly happiness and live from it.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 997)

November 27, 2017

The Performance of Uses is Chiefly The Exercises of Charity

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
"to serve the Lord" denotes to perform uses, is because true worship consists in the performance of uses, thus in the exercises of charity. He who believes that serving the Lord consists solely in frequenting a place of worship, in hearing preaching there, and in praying, and that this is sufficient, is much mistaken.

The very worship of the Lord consists in performing uses; and during man's life in the world uses consist in everyone's discharging aright his duty in his station, thus from the heart being of service to his country, to societies, and to the neighbor, in dealing sincerely with his fellow, and in performing kind offices with prudence in accordance with each person's character. These uses are chiefly the works of charity, and are those whereby the Lord is chiefly worshiped.

Frequenting a place of worship, hearing sermons, and saying prayers, are also necessary; but without the above uses they avail nothing, because they are not of the life, but teach what the life must be. The angels in heaven have all happiness from uses, and according to uses, so that to them uses are heaven.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 7038)

November 25, 2017

External Worship Being Merely The Effect

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Abram pitched his tent, and came and dwelt in the oak-groves of Mamre that are in Hebron, and there he built an altar to Jehovah. (Genesis 13:18)

And there he built an altar to Jehovah. That this signifies worship from that state, is evident from the signification of "an altar," as being a representative of all worship in general.... By worship, in the internal sense, is meant all conjunction through love and charity.

When a man is in love and charity he is continually in worship, external worship being merely the effect. The angels are in such worship; with them, therefore, there is a perpetual Sabbath; and from this the Sabbath, in the internal sense, signifies the Lord's kingdom. But man, while in the world, ought not to be otherwise than in external worship also; for by external worship internal things are excited, and by means of external worship external things are kept in holiness, so that internal things can flow in. And besides, man is thus imbued with knowledges, and is prepared for receiving celestial things, and is also gifted with states of holiness, although he is unaware of this; which states of holiness are preserved to him by the Lord for the use of eternal life, for in the other life all the states of his life return.
(Arcana Cœlestia 1618)

November 22, 2017

The Connection of Angles with Man

From Last Judgment ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• The human race is the foundation on which heaven is built, because man is the final creation; and what is created last is the foundation of all that precedes. Creation began with the highest or inmost, because it came from God, and advanced to the lowest or outermost, and there it first halted. The lowest level of creation is the natural world, containing the globe with its lands and seas together with everything on it. On completion of this stage, man was created; and on him was conferred the whole of God's order from first to last. The first principles of that order were conferred upon his inmost nature, the last expressions of it upon his ultimate nature. Thus man was made as a model of God's order. Hence it is that everything in and present with man is of both heavenly and worldly origin. His mental attributes derive from heaven, his bodily attributes from the world. For influences from heaven act upon his thoughts and affections and dispose them in keeping with the way his spirit receives those influences. Influences from the world act upon his senses and appetites and dispose them in keeping with the way his body receives them, but they are adapted to suit the thoughts and affections of his spirit.
• From this ordering of creation, it can be seen that the coherent linkage from first things to last is such that taken together they make up a single unit; in this, prior cannot be separated from posterior, just as cause cannot be separated from the effect produced by it. Thus the spiritual world cannot be separated from the natural world, nor this from the spiritual. In the same way the heaven where the angels are cannot be separated from the human race, nor the human race from that heaven. It has therefore been provided by the Lord that one should perform services for the other, that is, the heaven of angels should perform services for the human race, and the human race for the heaven of angels.

• So it is that the dwellings of angels are in heaven, to all appearance separate from the places where people on earth live; but the angels are still present with human beings in their affections for good and truth. ...

The following words of the Lord mean that the dwellings of angels are with human beings in their affections for good and truth:

He who loves Me, keeps My word, and My Father will love him; and We shall come to him and make Our dwelling with him. John 14:23.

The Father and the Lord also there mean heaven, for where the Lord is, there is heaven. The Divine proceeding from the Lord makes heaven ...

These words of the Lord also mean the same:

The comforter, the spirit of truth, remains among you and is in you. John 14:17.

The Comforter is Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord, which is why He is also called the Spirit of truth. Divine truth makes heaven, and also the angels, because they receive that truth. For the Divine proceeding from the Lord being Divine Truth, the source of the heaven of angels....

These words of the Lord too have a similar meaning: The kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21.

The kingdom of God is Divine good and truth, which angels receive. The presence of angels and spirits with human beings and in their affections has been granted me to see a thousand times from their presence and dwelling with me. But angels and spirits do not know with which human beings they are, neither do human beings know with which angels and spirits they live; the Lord alone knows and arranges this.

• In short, all affections for good and truth reach out into heaven, and there is thus connexion and linking with those there who have similar affections. All affections for evil and falsity reach out into hell, and there is thus connexion and linking with those there who have similar affections. Affections reach out into the spiritual world, almost as the range of sight reaches out into the natural world. The connexions in either place are much alike, the difference being that in the natural world they are with things, in the spiritual world with communities of angels.

• This makes it plain that the connexion between the heaven of angels and the human race is such that the existence of one is dependent upon the other. The heaven of angels without the human race would be like a house without a foundation, for heaven comes to an end in humanity and rests upon it. The situation is parallel to that in the individual person: his spiritual side, which is where his thoughts and will reside, acts upon his natural side, which is where his sense - impressions and actions take place, and in this they come to an end and stop. If a person did not have a natural side as well as a spiritual, and so was without those final and last stages, his spiritual side, the thoughts and affections of his spirit, would be dissipated, like things lacking boundaries.

• There is a similar event when a person passes from the natural world into the spiritual, which happens at death. Then, since he is a spirit, he stands not on his own base, but upon the common base, namely, the human race. Anyone unfamiliar with the secrets of heaven might think that angels can exist without human beings and human beings without angels. But I can emphatically state from all my experience of heaven, and from all my conversations with angels, that there is no angel or spirit who exists without a human being, and no human being without a spirit or angel; there is a mutual and reciprocal link. These considerations establish firstly that the human race and the heaven of angels make up a single unit, and depend on each other for their continued existence, so that one cannot be taken away from the other.
(Last Judgment 9)

November 21, 2017

Believing ... How Life is Lived

Excerpt from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... charity is everything that pertains to life, and faith everything that pertains to doctrine; consequently, charity is willing and doing what is just and right in every work, and faith is thinking justly and rightly; and faith and charity are conjoined, the same as doctrine and a life in accordance with it, or the same as thought and will; and faith becomes charity when that which a man thinks justly and rightly he also wills and does, and then they are not two but one.
(From Heaven and Hell 364)

November 19, 2017

The Elevation of Truth into the Rational

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man is never born into any truth, not even into any natural truth—as that he should not steal, should not kill, should not commit adultery, and the like; still less is he born into any spiritual truth—as that there is a God, and that he has an internal which will live after death. Thus of himself man knows nothing that relates to eternal life.
      Man learns both these kinds of truth; otherwise he would be much worse than a brute animal; for from his hereditary nature he loves himself above all and desires to possess all things in the world. Hence unless he were restrained by civil laws and by fears for the loss of honor, of gain, of reputation, and of life, he would steal, kill, and commit adultery, without any perception of conscience. That this is the case is very evident; for a man, even when instructed, commits such crimes without conscience, nay, defends them, and by many considerations confirms himself in the commission of them so far as he is allowed; what then would he not do if he had not been instructed?
      The case is the same in spiritual things; for of those who are born within the church, who have the Word, and are constantly instructed, there are still very many who ascribe little or nothing to God, but everything to nature; thus who do not at heart believe that there is any God, and therefore do not believe that they shall live after death; and who accordingly have no wish to learn anything relating to eternal life.
      From all this it is evident that man is born into no truth, but that he has all to learn, and this by an external way, namely, that of hearing and seeing. By this way truth has to be insinuated, and implanted in his memory; but so long as the truth is there only, it is merely memory-knowledge;
and in order that truth may pervade the man it must be called forth thence, and be conveyed more toward the interiors;
for his human is more internal, being in his rational; for unless man is rational, he is not man; and therefore according to the quality and the measure of a man's rational, such is the quality and the measure of the man.
      Man cannot possibly be rational unless he possesses good. The good whereby man surpasses the animals, is to love God, and to love the neighbor; all human good is from this. Into this good truth must be initiated and conjoined, and this in the rational.
Truth is initiated into good and conjoined with it when man loves God and loves his neighbor, for then truth enters into good, inasmuch as good and truth mutually acknowledge each other, all truth being from good, and having respect to good as its end and as its soul, and thus as the source of its life.
      But truth cannot without difficulty be separated from the natural man, and be thence elevated into the rational; for in the natural man there are fallacies, and cupidities of evil, and also persuasions of falsity; and so long as these are there and adjoin themselves to the truth, so long the natural man detains truth with himself, and does not suffer it to be elevated from itself into the rational; ... The reason is that the natural man puts truth in doubt, and reasons about it as to whether it is so; but as soon as the cupidities of evil and persuasions of falsity, and the derivative fallacies, are separated by the Lord, and the man begins from good to be averse to reasonings against truth, and to be superior to doubts, then truth is in a state to depart from the natural and to be elevated into the rational, and to put on a state of good; for then truth becomes of good and has life.
      For the better comprehension of this, let us take examples. It is a spiritual truth that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from hell: this truth must in many ways be confirmed and illustrated before it can be elevated out of the natural man into the rational, nor can it ever be elevated until the man is in the love of God; for before this it is not acknowledged, consequently is not believed.
      The case is similar in regard to other truths, as in regard to the truth that the Divine Providence is in the veriest singulars; and that unless it is in these, it is not in what is universal.
      Again: in regard to the truth that man first begins to live when that perishes which in the world he believes to be the all of life; and that the life which he then receives is relatively ineffable and unlimited; and that he is altogether ignorant of this so long as he is in evil - these and similar truths can never be believed, unless the man is in good; for it is good which comprehends, because the Lord through good flows in with wisdom.
(Arcana Cœlestia 3175)

November 18, 2017

Understanding the Lord's Omnipresence Denuded of Time and Space

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• Spaces and times must be removed from the ideas, in order that the Lord's Omnipresence with all men, collectively and severally, as well as his omniscience of things present and future may be understood.

• Since however spaces and times can be removed with difficulty from the ideas of thought in the natural man, it is better that the simple should not think of the Divine Omnipresence and Omniscience from the reasoning of the understanding; it is sufficient for them to believe in simplicity from religion.
     If such a man thinks from reason, let him acknowledge in his own mind that they exist, because they belong to God, God being everywhere and infinite; and because the Word also teaches this.
     If again he thinks of them from nature, and from the spaces and times belonging to it, let him acknowledge again in his own mind that they have a miraculous origin.
     But because at the present day naturalism has almost deluged the church, and can be dispersed only by means of rational arguments which will enable man to see that this is the case, these Divine [attributes] shall therefore be placed in their true light, and cleared of the darkness with which nature overspreads them. This can be done moreover, because, as previously said, the understanding with which man is endowed, is capable of elevation into the interior light of heaven, provided only, from love he desires to know truths.
     All naturalism arises from thinking of Divine subjects from the properties of nature, which are matter, space, and time. The mind which clings to these properties, and unwilling to believe anything that it does not understand, is bound to obscure its understanding, and from the thick darkness into which it has plunged it, deny that there is any such thing as Divine Providence, and affirm as a consequence that omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience have no existence. These attributes are, nevertheless, precisely as religion teaches, both within nature and above it, but they cannot be comprehended by the understanding unless space and time are removed from its ideas in thinking on the subject; for these properties of matter are, in some way or other, inherent in every idea of thought. If therefore they are not removed, no other thought can be formed than that nature is everything, that it is self-existent, that life is from it, that its inmost is that which is called God, and that all beside it is imaginary.
     I know that men will also be astonished to hear that there is any existence possible where there is neither time nor space; that the Divine itself exists apart from them; and that spiritual beings are not in them, but merely in the appearances of them - though Divine spiritual things are nevertheless the very essences of all things that have ever existed or that do exist - and that natural things without spiritual things are like bodies without souls, which become mere carcases.

• Every man who has become a naturalist, by means of thought from nature, remains such also after death; and he calls all the objects that he sees in the spiritual world natural, because they are similar to those in the natural world. Men of this kind are however enlightened and taught by angels that these objects are not natural, but that they are the appearances of natural things, and they are convinced so far as to affirm that this is the case. Still they relapse and worship nature, as they had done in the world, until at length, separating themselves from the angels, they fall into hell, and cannot be rescued from it to eternity (in aeternum). The reason of this is that their souls are not spiritual but natural, like that of the beasts, with the faculty nevertheless of thinking and speaking, because they were born men. Now because the hells at this day, more than at any former period, are filled with men of this class, it is of importance that darkness so dense caused by nature closing and barring up the entrance to men's understandings, should be removed by means of rational light derived from spiritual.
(Apocalypse Explained 1220:2, 3)

November 16, 2017

The Substances or Forms are the Determining Subjects

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All things in the mind of man have been arranged into series, and as it were into bundles; and into series within series, or into bundles within bundles. That there is such an arrangement, is plain from the arrangement of all things in the body, where fibers are seen arranged into bundles, and glandules into clusters, and this everywhere in the body, and still more perfectly in the purer parts not discernible by the naked eye. This bundling is especially to be seen in the brain, in the two substances there, one of which is called cortical and the other medullary. It is not dissimilar in the purer things, and finally in the purest of all, where the forms which receive them are the very forms of life.

• That forms or substances are recipient of life can be seen from every single thing that appears in living creatures; and also that recipient forms or substances are arranged in the way most suitable for the influx of life. Without the reception of life in substances, which are forms, there would be no living thing in the natural world, nor in the spiritual world. Series of the purest filaments, like bundles, constitute these forms. It is the same with those things therein which are highly modified; for modifications receive their form from the forms which are the substances in which they are, and from which they flow, because the substances or forms are the determining subjects.

• The reason why the learned have regarded the things belonging to man's life, that is, to his thought and will, as being devoid of recipient substances or forms, has been that they believed life or the soul to be something either flamy or ethereal, thus such as after death would be dissipated; hence comes the insane notion of many, that there is no life after death.
(Arcana Cœlestia 7408)

November 14, 2017

'Turning About' Man's Freedom, Man's Good, Man's Mind, Man's Understanding and Will

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
So far as man is removed from evils he is removed from hell - for evils and hell are one; so far as he is removed from these he enters into goods and is conjoined with heaven - for goods and heaven are one. Man thus becomes another man; his freedom, his good, his mind, and his understanding and will, are turned about, for he becomes an angel of heaven.

• His freedom, which before had been a freedom to think and will evil, becomes a freedom to think and will good, which in itself is essential freedom. Until a man is in this freedom he does not know what freedom is, for from the freedom of evil he felt the freedom of good to be slavery; but now from the freedom of good he feels the freedom of evil to be slavery, as it is in itself.

• The good that man had before done, since it was from the freedom of evil, could not be good in itself, for it had in it the love of self or of the world. Good can have no other, origin than love; therefore such as the love is such is the good; yet even when the love is evil its delight is felt as good, although it is evil. But after this change the good that man does is good in itself, because it is from the Lord who is good itself, as has been said above.

• The mind of man, before it was conjoined to heaven was turned backwards, because it had not been led out of hell. When it is in a state of reformation, it looks from truth to good, thus from left to right, which is contrary to order. But when the mind has been conjoined to heaven it is turned forwards and lifted up to the Lord and looks from right to left, that is, from good to truth, which is according to order. Thus a turning is brought about.

• It is the same with the understanding and will, since the understanding is a recipient of truth, and the will a recipient of good. Before man has been led out of hell the understanding and will do not act as one; for man then sees and acknowledges from the understanding many things that he does not will, because he does not love them. But when man has been conjoined to heaven the understanding and will act as one, for the understanding then becomes the will's understanding; for when the turning has been effected whatever a man wills he loves, and whatever he wills from love he thinks. Thus when a man has been removed from evils by resistance and combat against them as if from himself, he comes into the love of truth and good; and then everything that he wills and consequently does he also thinks and consequently speaks.
(Apocalypse Explained 1168)

November 13, 2017

See Truths in Appearances

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• 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)

November 10, 2017

Matters of Real Belief

Selection from The Doctrine of Faith ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• The knowledges of truth and of good are not matters of real belief until the man is in charity but are the storehouse of material out of which the faith of charity can be formed.

• From his earliest childhood man has the affection of knowing, which leads him to learn many things that will be of use to him, and many that will be of no use. While he is growing into manhood he learns by application to some business such things as belong to that business, and this business then becomes his use, and he feels an affection for it. In this way commences the affection or love of use, and this brings forth the affection of the means which teach him the handling of the business which is his use. With everybody in the world there is this progression, because everybody has some business to which he advances from the use that is his end, by the means, to the actual use which is the effect. But inasmuch as this use together with the means that belong to it is for the sake of life in this world, the affection that is felt for it is natural affection only.

• But as every man not only regards uses for the sake of life in this world, but also should regard uses for the sake of his life in heaven (for into this life he will come after his life here, and will live in it to eternity), therefore from childhood everyone acquires knowledges [cognitiones] of truth and good from the Word, or from the doctrine of the church, or from preaching, which knowledges are to be learned and retained for the sake of that life; and these he stores up in his natural memory in greater or less abundance according to such affection of knowing as may be inborn with him, and has in various ways been incited to an increase.

• But all these knowledges [cognitiones], whatever may be their number and whatever their nature, are merely the storehouse of material from which the faith of charity can be formed, and this faith cannot be formed except in proportion as the man shuns evils as sins. If he shuns evils as sins, then these knowledges become those of a faith that has spiritual life within it. But if he does not shun evils as sins, then these knowledges are nothing but knowledges [cognitiones], and do not become those of a faith that has any spiritual life within it.

• This storehouse of material is in the highest degree necessary, because faith cannot be formed without it, for the knowledges [cognitiones] of truth and good enter into faith and make it, so that if there are no knowledges, faith cannot come forth into being, for an entirely void and empty faith is impossible. If the knowledges are scanty, the faith is consequently very small and meager; if they are abundant, the faith becomes proportionately rich and full.

• Be it known however that it is knowledges[cognitiones] of genuine truth and good that constitute faith, and by no means knowledges of what is false, for faith is truth, ... and as falsity is the opposite of truth, it destroys faith. Neither can charity come forth into being where there are nothing but falsities, for ... charity and faith make a one just as good and truth make a one. From all this it follows that an absence of knowledges of genuine truth and good involves an absence of faith, that a few knowledges make some faith, and that many knowledges make a faith which is clear and bright in proportion to their abundance. Such as is the quality of a man's faith from charity, such is the quality of his intelligence.

• There are many who possess no internal acknowledgment of truth, and yet have the faith of charity. These are they who have had regard to the Lord in their life, and from religion have avoided evils, but have been prevented from thinking about truths by worldly cares and by their businesses, as well as by a lack of truth on the part of their teachers. But inwardly, that is, in their spirit, they still are in the acknowledgment of truth, because they are in the affection of it, and therefore after death, when they become spirits and are instructed by angels, they acknowledge truths and receive them with joy. Very different is the case with those who have had no regard to the Lord in their life, and have not from religion avoided evils. Inwardly, that is, in their spirit, they are in no affection of truth, and consequently are in no acknowledgment of it, and therefore after death, when they become spirits and are instructed by angels, they are unwilling to acknowledge truths, and consequently do not receive them. For evil of life inwardly hates truths, whereas good of life inwardly loves them.

• Knowledges [cognitiones] of good and truth that precede faith appear to some to be things of faith (or real belief), but still are not so. Their thinking and saying that they believe is no proof that they do so, and neither are such knowledges things of faith, for they are matters of mere thought that the case is so, and not of any internal recognition that they are truths; and the faith or belief that they are truths, while it is not known that they are so, is a kind of persuasion quite remote from inward recognition. But as soon as charity is being implanted, these knowledges become things of faith, but no further than as there is charity in the faith. In the first state, before charity is felt, faith appears to them as though it were in the first place, and charity in the second; but in the second state, when charity is felt, faith betakes itself to the second place, and charity to the first. The first state is called Reformation, and the second Regeneration. In this latter state a man grows in wisdom every day, and every day good multiplies truths and causes them to bear fruit. The man is then like a tree that bears fruit, and inserts seeds in the fruit, from which come new trees, and at last a garden. He then becomes truly a man, and after death an angel, in whom charity constitutes the life, and faith the form, beautiful in accordance with the quality of the faith; but his faith is then no longer called faith, but intelligence. From all this it is evident that the whole sum and substance of faith is from charity, and nothing of it from itself; and also that charity brings forth faith, and not faith charity. The knowledges of truth that go before are like the store in a granary, which does not feed a man unless he is hungry and takes out the grain.

• We will also say how faith is formed from charity. Every man has a natural mind and a spiritual mind: a natural mind for the world, and a spiritual mind for heaven. In respect to his understanding, man is in both minds, but not in respect to his will, until he shuns and is averse to evils as sins. When he does this his spiritual mind is opened in respect to the will also; and when it has been opened there inflows from it into the natural mind spiritual heat from heaven (which heat in its essence is charity), and gives life to the knowledges of truth and good in the natural mind, and out of them it forms faith. The case here is just as it is with a tree, which does not receive any vegetative life until heat inflows from the sun, and conjoins itself with the light, as takes place in spring time. There is also a full parallelism between the quickening of man with life and the growing of a tree, in this respect, that the latter is effected by the heat of this world, and the former by the heat of heaven. It is for this reason also that man is so often likened by the Lord to a tree.

• From these few words it may be considered settled that the knowledges of truth and good are not really things of faith until the man is in charity, but that they are the storehouse of material out of which the faith of charity can be formed. With a regenerate person the knowledges of truth become truths, and so do the knowledges of good, for the knowledge of good is in the understanding, and the affection of good in the will, and what is in the understanding is called truth, and what is in the will is called good.
(Doctrine of Faith 25-33)

November 9, 2017

Reception of God's Love is in Accordance with the State of the Mind

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And He taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in His doctrine, Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Mark 4:2-9)
• How the case is with man's rational in regard to multiplication and fruitfulness cannot be understood unless we know how the case is with influx, of which it may be said in a general way that in everyone there is an internal man, a rational man which is intermediate, and an external man, as before said. It is the internal man that is his inmost from which he is man, and by which he is distinguished from brute animals, which have not such an inmost; and it is as it were the door or entrance for the Lord, that is, for what is celestial and spiritual from the Lord, into man. What is going on there cannot be comprehended by the man, because it is above all his rational, from which he thinks. That rational which appears as man's own is subject to this inmost, or to this internal man, and into this rational through the internal man there inflow from the Lord the heavenly things of love and of faith, and through this rational they inflow into the memory-knowledges that are in the external man; but the things that inflow are received in accordance with the state of each person.

• Now unless the rational submits itself to the Lord's goods and truths, it either suffocates, or rejects, or perverts the things that flow in; and this is still more the case when they flow into the sensuous knowledges of the memory. This is what is meant by seed falling on a highway, or upon a rocky place, or among thorns, as the Lord teaches (Matt. 13:3-7; Mark 4:3-7; Luke 8:5-7). But when the rational submits itself and believes the Lord, that is, His Word, the rational is then like good ground or earth, into which the seed falls and bears much fruit.
(Arcana Coelestia 1940:2, 3)

November 8, 2017

When Prayer is Not Needed

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Why criest thou unto Me? speak unto the sons of Israel, that they set forward. And thou, lift up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and cleave it asunder; and the sons of Israel shall come into the midst of the sea on the dry. And I, behold I harden the heart of the Egyptians, and they shall come after them; and I will be glorified in Pharaoh, and in all his army, in his chariots, and in his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am Jehovah, when I am glorified in Pharaoh, in his chariots, and in his horsemen. Exodus 15-18.

Why criest thou unto Me? That this signifies that there was no need of intercession, is evident from the signification of "crying unto Jehovah," as being to intercede, namely, for liberation from temptation. Hence "Why criest thou unto Me?" denotes why dost thou intercede when there is no need of intercession? and therefore it follows, "speak unto the sons of Israel, that they go forward," by which is signified that they shall have aid, but that still the temptation will be continued, even until they are prepared.

• As to there being no need of intercession, the case is this. They who are in temptations are wont to slack their hands and betake themselves solely to prayers, which they then ardently pour forth, not knowing that prayers will not avail, but that they must fight against the falsities and evils which are being injected by the hells. This fight is performed by means of the truths of faith, which help because they confirm goods and truths against falsities and evils. Moreover in the combats of temptations, the man ought to fight as of himself, but yet acknowledge and believe that it is of the Lord. If man does not fight as of himself, the good and truth which flow in through heaven from the Lord are not appropriated to him; but when he fights as of himself, and still believes that it is of the Lord, then they are appropriated to him. From this he has an own [proprium] that is new, which is called the heavenly own, and which is a new will.

• Moreover they who are in temptations, and not in some other active life than that of prayers, do not know that if the temptations were intermitted before they had been fully carried through, they would not be prepared for heaven, and thus could not be saved. For this reason, moreover, the prayers of those who are in temptations are but little heard; for the Lord wills the end, which is the salvation of the man, which end He knows, but not the man;
the Lord does not heed prayers that are contrary to the end, which is salvation.
He who conquers in temptations is also confirmed in the truth stated above; whereas he who does not conquer entertains a doubt with respect to the Divine aid and power, because he is not heard; and then sometimes, because he slacks his hand, he partly yields. From all this it can be seen what is meant by there being no need of intercession, namely, that prayer is not to be relied upon. For in prayer from the Divine it is always thought and believed that the Lord alone knows whether it is profitable or not; and therefore the suppliant submits the hearing to the Lord, and immediately after prays that the will of the Lord, and not his own, may be done, according to the Lord's words in His own most grievous temptation at Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39, 42, 44).
(Arcana Coelestia 8179)

November 5, 2017

Two Opposing Spheres

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• Evil continually breathes forth and ascends out of hell, and good continually breathes forth and descends out of heaven, because everyone is encompassed by a spiritual sphere; and that sphere flows forth and pours out from the life of the affections and the thoughts therefrom. And as such a sphere flows forth from every individual, it flows forth also from every heavenly society and from every infernal society, consequently from all together, that is, from the entire heaven and from the entire hell.
Good flows forth from heaven because all there are in good; and evil flows forth from hell because all there are in evil.
• The good that is from heaven is all from the Lord; for the angels in the heavens are all withheld from their [own] proprium, and are kept in the Lord's [own] proprium, which is Good Itself. But the spirits in the hells are all in their proprium, and everyone's proprium is nothing but evil; and because it is nothing but evil it is hell.

• From these things it can be confirmed that the equilibrium in which angels in the heavens and spirits in the hells are kept is not like the equilibrium in the world of spirits.

• The equilibrium of angels in the heavens exists in the degree in which they have wished to be in good, or in the degree in which they have lived in good in the world, and thus also in the degree in which they have held evil in aversion.

• But the equilibrium of spirits in hell exists in the degree in which they have wished to be in evil, or have lived in evil in the world, and thus in heart and spirit have been opposed to good.
(Heaven and Hell 591)

November 4, 2017

The Created Universe - An Image Representative of God-Man

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• All things in the universe were created from the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom of God-Man.

• So full of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom is the universe in greatest and least, and in first and last things, that it may be said to be Divine Love and Divine Wisdom in an image. That this is so is clearly evident from the correspondence of all things of the universe with all things of man. There is such correspondence of each and every thing that takes form in the created universe with each and every thing of man, that man may be said to be a sort of universe.

There is a correspondence of —
  • his affections, and thence of his thoughts, with all things of the animal kingdom
  • of his will, and thence of his understanding, with all things of the vegetable kingdom
  • of his outmost life with all things of the mineral kingdom.
That there is such a correspondence is not apparent to any one in the natural world, but it is apparent to every one who gives heed to it in the spiritual world. In that world [the spiritual world], there are all things that take form in the natural world in its three kingdoms, and they are correspondences of affections and thoughts, that is, of affections from the will and of thoughts from the understanding, also of the outmost things of the life, of those who are in that world, around whom all these things are visible, presenting an appearance like that of the created universe, with the difference that it is in lesser form.

• From this it is very evident to angels, that the created universe is an image representative of God-Man, and that it is His Love and Wisdom which are presented, in an image, in the universe. Not that the created universe is God-Man, but that it is from Him; for nothing whatever in the created universe is substance and form in itself, or life in itself, or love and wisdom in itself, yea, neither is man a man in himself, but all is from God, who is MAN, Wisdom and Love, also Form and Substance, in itself. That which has Being-in-itself is uncreate and infinite; but whatever is from Very Being, since it contains in it nothing of Being-in-itself, is created and finite, and this exhibits an image of Him from whom it has being and has form.

• Of things created and finite Esse [Being] and Existere [Taking Form] can be predicated, likewise substance and form, also life, and even love and wisdom; but these are all created and finite. This can be said of things created and finite, not because they possess anything Divine, but because they are in the Divine, and the Divine is in them. For everything that has been created is, in itself, inanimate and dead, but all things are animated and made alive by this, that the Divine is in them, and that they are in the Divine.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 52, 53)
[emphasis by editor]

November 3, 2017

Everyone's Life Remains After Death To Eternity

Excerpt from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• Every one's own life remains with him after death, is known in the Church from the Word, as from these passages there:

The Son of man shall come ... and shall render then to every one according to his deeds (Matthew xvi. 27);

I saw the books opened, and all were judged according to their works (Revelation xx. 12, 13).

In the day of judgment God shall render to every man according to his works (Romans ii. 6, 2 Corinthians v. 10).

•The works according to which judgment is rendered to every one are the life, for the life does them, and they are in accord with the life. ... every one is examined there as to what his life has been and that the life which he contracted in the world remains with him to eternity. ... no one's life can be changed after death inasmuch as it has been organized in accord with his love and hence with his works, and that if it were changed, the organism would be torn apart, which could never be; likewise that an alteration in organization is possible only in the material body, and not at all in the spiritual body, after the other has been cast off.
To an evil man the evil of his life is then imputed and to a good man the good of his life.
Imputation of evil is not accusation, incrimination, inculpation and judgment as in the world, but is a process of the evil itself. For those who are evil separate of their own free will from the good, for the two cannot be together. The delights of an evil love are averse to the delights of good love, and delights in the other world exhale from every one like odors from a plant on earth; for they are no longer absorbed and concealed by a material body, but flow forth freely from their loves into the spiritual aura. Inasmuch as evil is perceived there as in its odor, it is this which accuses, incriminates, inculpates and judges, not before a judge, but before every one who is in good. This is what is meant by imputation. Moreover an evil man chooses companions with whom he may live in his delight, and being averse to the delight of good, he betakes himself of his own accord to his like in hell.

• Imputation of good is accomplished similarly. This takes place with those who had acknowledged in the world that all good in them is from the Lord and none from themselves. After these have been prepared, they are admitted into the interior delights of good, and then a way is opened to them into heaven to the society whose enjoyments are homogeneous with theirs. This is done by the Lord.
(from Conjugial Love 524)

November 2, 2017

Degrees of Affections and of Uses

Selection from Divine Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• There are continuous degrees and there are discrete degrees. Both of these are in every form in the spiritual world and in the natural world. All are acquainted with continuous degrees; few, however, have any knowledge of discrete degrees, and those who have no knowledge of these grope as in the dark when they are investigating the causes of things....

• Continuous degrees, which all know about, are like the degrees from light to shade, from heat to cold, from rarity to density. Such gradations of light, of heat, of wisdom and of love, are in every society of heaven within itself.
      They who are in the midst of a society are in clearer light than those who are in the ultimates, the light diminishing according to distance from the center even to the ultimates.
      It is the same with wisdom; those who are in the midst or center of a society are in the light of wisdom, while those who are in the ultimates or circumferences are in the shade of wisdom and are simple.
      It is the same with love within societies. The affections of love, which make the wisdom of those in societies and the uses of the affections which make their life, continually lessen from the midst or center even to the ultimates or circumferences.

• Such are continuous degrees. But discrete degrees are wholly different. These do not advance in one plane to the sides around, but from highest to lowest; and for this reason they are called descending degrees.
      They are separated as efficient causes and effects are, which in their turn become efficient causes even to the lowest effect.
      They are also like a producing force in relation to the forces produced, which in turn become producing even to the last product.
      In a word, they are degrees of the formation of one thing from another; thus they are the degrees from first or highest to last or lowest, where formation subsists.
      Therefore things prior and posterior, also things higher and lower, are such degrees. All creation was effected through such degrees, and all production is by means of them, and likewise all composition in the nature that belongs to this world; for in analyzing anything that is composite you will see that one thing therein is from another, even to the very last, which is the general of them all.

• The three angelic heavens are distinguished from each other by such degrees and in consequence one is above another.
      The interiors of man, which belong to his mind, are distinguished from each other by such degrees;
      so, too, are light which is wisdom and heat which is love, in the heavens of angels and in the interiors of men;
      the same is true of the light itself that proceeds from the Lord as a sun, and of the heat itself that also proceeds from Him;
and for this reason the light in the third heaven is so refulgent, and the light in the second heaven is of such shining whiteness as to exceed the noonday light of the world a thousand fold.
      The same is true of the wisdom, for in the spiritual world light and wisdom are in equal degree of perfection.
      The same is true of the degrees of affections; and as this is true of the degrees of affections, it is true also of the degrees of uses, for the subjects of affections are uses.
      It is to be known further that in every form, both spiritual and natural, there are both discrete and continuous degrees. Without discrete degrees there is not that within a form that constitutes a cause or soul, and without continuous degrees there is no extension or appearance of it.
(Divine Love xi)

November 1, 2017

Affection First Become Something When In Act

Selection from Divine Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There are as many affections as there are uses.

• There are many things that bear witness that the Divine love is life itself, and that love therefrom with man is his life. Among these proofs, this is especially clear, namely, that man's spirit is nothing but affection, consequently that man after death becomes in affection — an angel of heaven if he be an affection of good use, and a spirit of hell if he be an affection of evil use. For this reason the whole heaven is divided into societies according to the genera and species of affections; and likewise, in an opposite manner, hell. From this it is that whether you speak of affections or of societies in the spiritual world, it is the same.

• By affections are meant the continuations and derivations of love. Love may be compared to a fountain, and affections to the streams issuing from it. Love may also be compared to the heart, and affections to the vessels leading out and continued from it; and it is well known that the vessels that convey blood from the heart resemble their heart in every point, so as to be as it were extensions of it - from this is the circulation of the blood from the heart through the arteries, and from the arteries into the veins, and back to the heart. So with affections — for these are derived and continued from love, and produce uses in forms, and in these proceed from the firsts of the uses to their ultimates, and from these they return to the love from which they started: from all which it is plain that affection is love in its essence; and that use is love in its form.

• The conclusion from this is, that the objects, that is, the ends of affections, are uses, therefore also their subjects are uses, and that the very forms in which affections exist are effects which are effigies of the affections; in which they proceed from the first end to the last, and from the last end to the first, and by them they perform their works, offices, and exercises.

• From what has now been said, who cannot see that-
affection alone is not anything, but that it becomes something by being in use; and that affection for use is nothing but an idea, unless it be in form; and that affection for use in form is nothing but a potency, the affection first becoming something when it is in act
This act is the very use that is meant, which in its essence is affection.

• Now, since affections are the essence of uses, and uses are the subjects of affections, it follows that there are as many affections as there are uses.
(Divine Love IX)

October 30, 2017

The Purpose of Creation — The Existence of an Angelic Heaven

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• All things created by the Lord are uses, and that they are uses in that order, degree, and respect in which they have relation to man, and through man to the Lord from whom [they are]. It remains now that some things should be said in detail respecting uses.

• By man, to whom uses have relation, is meant not alone an individual but an assembly of men, also a society smaller or larger, as a commonwealth, kingdom, or empire, or that largest society, the whole world, for each of these is a man. Likewise in the heavens, the whole angelic heaven is as one man before the Lord, and equally every society of heaven; from this it is that every angel is a man. ... This makes clear what is meant by man in what follows.

• The end of the creation of the universe clearly shows what use is. The end of the creation of the universe is the existence of an angelic heaven; and as the angelic heaven is the end, man also or the human race is the end, since heaven is from that. From which it follows that all created things are mediate ends, and that these are uses in that order, degree, and respect in which they have relation to man, and through man to the Lord.

• 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.
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.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 327-330)

October 29, 2017

What Heaven Is

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Looking to what is infinite and eternal in the formation of the angelic heaven — that it may be before the Lord as one man, which is an image of Himself — is the inmost of the Divine providence.
The entire heaven is as one man before the Lord and likewise each society of heaven. It is from this that each angel is a man in complete form, and this because God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, is Man.
• in consequence there is a correspondence of all things of heaven with all things of man. ...

• As in the Lord's sight the entire heaven is as one man, so heaven is divided into as many general societies as there are organs, viscera, and members in a man. Each general society is divided into as many less general or particular societies as there are larger divisions in each of the viscera and organs. From this it is evident what heaven is:
Since the Lord is the very Man, and heaven is His image, to be in heaven is called being in the Lord. ...
• From all this, the arcanum, which may be called angelic, can in some measure be seen, namely, that every affection for good and at the same time for truth is in its form a man; for whatever goes forth from the Lord, by its derivation from His Divine love is an affection for good, and by its derivation from His Divine wisdom is an affection for truth. The affection for truth that goes forth from the Lord appears in angel and in man as a perception and consequent thought of truth, for the reason that attention is given to the perception and thought, and little to the affection from which these spring, although they go forth from the Lord as one with affection for truth.

• Since, then, man by creation is a heaven in the least form, and consequently an image of the Lord, and since heaven consists of as many affections as there are angels, and each affection in its form is a man, it follows that:
It is the continual aim of the Divine providence that man may become a heaven in form and consequently an image of the Lord, and since this is effected by means of the affection for good and truth, that he may become such an affection. This, therefore, is the continual aim of the Divine providence.
• But its inmost is that man may be in this or that place in heaven, or in this or that place in the Divine heavenly man; for thus is he in the Lord. This is accomplished, however, only with those whom the Lord can lead to heaven. And as the Lord foresees this, He also provides continually that man may become such; for thereby every one who permits himself to be led to heaven is prepared for his own place in heaven.
(Divine Providence 64-66)