January 30, 2017

The Five Precepts Doctrinal of the Faith and Charity of the New Church

From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The doctrinal ideas of the Church which is meant by the 'New Jerusalem' are as follows:
    (1) There is one God, in whom is the Divine Trinity, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ.
    (2) Saving faith is to believe in Him.
    (3) Evils are to be shunned as sins, because they are of the devil and from the devil.
    (4) Goods are to be done, because they are of God and from God.
    (5) They are to be done by a man as of himself; yet he must believe that they are from the Lord with him and through him.
(Conjugial Love 82)

January 28, 2017

Uses - Simultaneously, One Within the Other

Excerpt from a Memorable Relation ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the beginning and growth of wisdom ... various observations respecting its progress ... as that wisdom with the angels has no limit or end, but grows and increases to eternity
The Seat of Wisdom is in Use
"Man as first created was imbued with wisdom and its love, not for his own sake, but that he might communicate it from himself to others. Therefore it is written in the wisdom of the wise that no one is wise or lives for himself alone, but for others also; whence comes society, which otherwise could not exist. Living for others is being useful. Uses are the bonds of society; these bonds are as many as there are good uses, and in number uses are infinite.
  • (1) There are spiritual uses, which pertain to love of God and love to the neighbor
  • (2) There are moral and civil uses, which pertain to love of the society and community in which a man lives, and of the companions and citizens with whom he lives
  • (3) There are natural uses, which pertain to the love of the world and its necessities
  • (4) There are bodily uses, which pertain to the love of self-preservation for the sake of higher uses.
All these uses are inscribed on man, and follow in order one after another, and when they exist simultaneously one is within the other. Those who are in the first mentioned uses, which are spiritual, are also in those that follow, and such are wise; but those who are not in the first, but are in the second and from these in the subsequent ones, are not so wise, but only seem to be so because of their outward morality and right civil life. Those who are not in the first and second, but are in the third and fourth, are anything but wise, for they are satans, loving the world only, and loving themselves because of the world. Those who are only in the fourth class of uses are the least wise of all, for they are devils, since they live for themselves alone, or if for others, it is solely on account of themselves.

Furthermore, every love has its own delight, for thereby love lives; and the delight of the love of uses is a heavenly delight, which enters the subsequent delights in order, and according to their order of succession exalts them and renders them eternal."

(True Christian Religion 746)

The Lord's New Church in the Heavens and in the Earth

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet (Revelation 12:1) signifies the Lord's New Church in the heavens, which is the New Heaven, and the Lord's New Church about to be upon earth, which is the New Jerusalem. That the Lord's New Church is signified by this "woman," is evident from the particulars in this chapter understood in the spiritual sense; that by "a woman," in other parts of the Word also, the church is signified, may be seen (n. 434); and the church is signified, because the church is called the Bride and Wife of the Lord.
The reason why she was seen "clothed with the sun," is because the church is in love to the Lord, for it acknowledges Him and does His commandments, and this is to love Him (John 14:21-24).
That "the sun" signifies love (see n. 53). The reason why "the moon" was seen under the woman's feet is because the church on earth, which is not yet conjoined with the church in the heavens, is meant. By "the moon" is signified intelligence in the natural man, and faith (n. 423); and by being seen "under the feet," is signified that it is about to be upon earth; otherwise by "feet" is signified the church itself when it is conjoined.
It is to be known, that there is a church in the heavens as well as on earth, for there also is the Word; there are temples also, and preachings in them, and there are ministerial and priestly offices. For all angels there were men, and their departure out of the world was only a continuation of their life; therefore they are also perfected in love and wisdom, everyone according to the degree of the affection of truth and good which he took with him out of the world.
The church among them is here meant by "the woman clothed with the sun," who had upon her head a crown of twelve stars;" but because the church in the heavens cannot subsist, except there be also a church on earth, which is in concordant love and wisdom, and as this was about to be, therefore "the moon was seen under the feet of the woman," which here specifically signifies faith, by which, such as it is at this day, there is no conjunction.

The reason why the church cannot subsist in the heavens unless there is a church on earth in conjunction with it, is because heaven where angels are, and the church where men are, act as one, like the internal and the external with man; and the internal with man cannot subsist with its state, unless an external be conjoined with it; for an internal without an external is like a house without a foundation, or like seed upon the ground and not in the ground, thus like anything without a root; in a word, like a cause without an effect in which it may exist. From these things, it may be seen how absolutely necessary it is that there should be a church somewhere in the world, where the Word is, and where by it the Lord is known.

(Apocalypse Revealed 533)

January 22, 2017

Some Summary Ideas about Correspondence

By Rev. Erik Sandstrom
1. Correspondences "come down," rather than "rise up." The lower is derived from the higher, not the other way around.

    E.g., The natural, or literal, sense of the Word is formed from the spiritual, or internal, sense, not the spiritual from the natural. When we explain the natural sense according to correspondences, we are simply unfolding what was already in the living spiritual sense and is constantly there.

2. Correspondence, influx, and discrete degrees are virtually synonymous terms. There can be no influx without corresponding levels, and these levels, or degrees, are discrete. Again: Whenever discrete degrees are in correspondence, there is at once influx. "Influx is effected by correspondences" (DLW 219).

    E.g., Thought and speech correspond (if the person is sincere); thought and speech are on discrete levels; and thought flows into speech, not speech into thought.

3. It follows that true correspondences are dynamic, not static -- not like a graph. There is at once influx, from one discrete degree into another, when these degrees are in correspondence. This law keeps the natural world alive from the spiritual.

    E.g., When the external mind (which speaks and acts) is brought into order by repentance and self-compulsion, then it comes into a state of correspondence with the internal mind (where conscience is); and since there is now correspondence, therefore conscience flows into the external mind and fills it with its essence, so that the external as to quality is like the internal. "Blessed is the man who is in correspondence, that is, whose external man corresponds to his internal man" (AC 2994).

4. There is synonymity between the three terms when there is a state of order, not when there is disorder. When there is disorder, there can be representation, but not correspondence.

    E.g., If an insincere person speaks, then what he says may represent good affections and true concepts, but there is no correspondence with his actual affections and thoughts. Nor is there a straight influx, for the actual affections and thoughts wish to remain in hiding and therefore appoint substitutes to act for them. "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me" (Matt. 15:8, Is. 29:13).

To Repent - To Turn Oneself Away ACTUALLY From Evil

Selection taken from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[M]an's self it is to be known that it is nothing but evil and falsity therefrom; the voluntary self [proprium voluntarium] is evil, and the intellectual self therefrom [proprium intellectuale] is falsity. This self man derives mainly from parents, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, in a long series back, so that at length the hereditary, which is his self, is nothing but evil gradually heaped up and condensed.
For every man is born into two diabolical loves - the love of self and the love of the world - from which loves all evils and all falsities therefrom pour forth as from their own fountains; and as man is born into these loves he is also born into evils of every kind.
Because man, in respect to his self is such, means have been given by the Divine mercy of the Lord, by which man can be withdrawn from his self; these means are given in the Word; and when man cooperates with these means, that is, when he thinks and speaks, wills and acts, from the Divine Word, he is kept by the Lord in things Divine, and is thus withheld from self; and when this continues there is formed with man by the Lord as it were a new self, both voluntary and intellectual, which is wholly separated from man's self; thus man becomes as it were created anew, and this is what is called his reformation and regeneration by truths from the Word, and by a life according to them.

To repent is to actually turn oneself away from evils, because every man is such as his life is, and the life of man consists mainly in willing and consequent doing; and from this it follows that repentance which is merely of the thought and of the lips, and not at the same time of the will and of action therefrom, is not repentance, for then the life remains the same afterwards as it was before. This makes evident that to repent is to actually turn oneself away from evils, and to enter upon a new life.

(Apocalypse Explained 585:1-3)

January 21, 2017

Those Who are Enlightened

Selection taken from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[I]t is granted to the men of the New Church that is called the Holy Jerusalem to behold the Divine truths that are in the Word, not sensually, that is, according to appearances, but spiritually, that is, according to their essences; for this reason the internal sense of the Word, which is spiritual and is solely for those who will be of that church, has been disclosed. From that sense Divine truth is seen such as it is in its own spiritual light, and from that light such as it is in its own natural light.
Divine truth is the Word, and those who are of that church are enlightened by the spiritual light of the Word by influx from the Lord out of heaven, for the reason that they acknowledge the Divine in the Lord's Human, and are in the spiritual affection of truth from Him. They and no others receive spiritual light, which is continually flowing in from the Lord through heaven with all who read the Word. From this they have enlightenment.
How enlightenment is effected shall also be told. Every man in respect to his thoughts and affections is in the spiritual world, consequently he is there in respect to his spirit, for it is the spirit of man that thinks and that is affected. The man who becomes spiritual by being regenerated by the Lord is in respect to his spirit in a heavenly society, while the natural man, that is, one who is not regenerated, is in respect to his spirit in an infernal society; with the latter evils flow in continually from hell, and are also received with delight; but with the former goods flow in continually from heaven, and are also received; and as goods flow into his affection, and through the affection into his thought, from that he has enlightenment.
This enlightenment is what is meant by the spiritual intelligence and circumspection that are signified by "the wings of an eagle" given to the woman, with which she flew into the wilderness.
The spiritual also are comparatively like eagles flying on high; while those who are merely natural are comparatively like serpents who creep on the ground, and see the eagles above them. For this reason the dragon is called a "serpent" in the next verse.

Furthermore, "the wings of an eagle" that were given to the woman signify the understanding of truth; for all who are of that church have the understanding enlightened and from this they are able to see truth from the light of truth, that is, whether a thing be true or not true. Because they see truth in this way they acknowledge it, and receive it with the affection which is of the will. By this the truths they have are made spiritual; and in consequence the spiritual mind, which is above the natural mind, is opened with them; and when this is opened it receives angelic sight, which is the sight of truth itself from its own light.

On the other hand, those who are not of that church, who are they who do not acknowledge the Divine in the Lord's Human, and who do not love truth because it is truth, that is, spiritually, cannot have the understanding so enlightened as to be able to see whether a thing be true or not; but they see appearances of truth as genuine truths, and confirm them as genuine truths from the sense of the letter of the Word; and yet most things in that sense of the Word are appearances of truth; and if these are confirmed as genuine truths they are falsified, and falsified truths are falsities. Because they are unable to see truths from the light of truth, and thus apprehend them in the understanding, they are in an obscure, yea, in a blind faith about what is to be believed; and a blind faith is like an eye that sees little or nothing. Yea a blind faith is not faith, but only a persuasion; and as such a persuasion is from another, either from some master or preacher, or from the Word not understood, it is a historical faith, which is natural and not spiritual. Because such persons do not see truths they also say and wish that the doctrinals of the church should not be approached or regarded with any understanding, but that they should be received with that obedience that is called the obedience of faith; and whether the things that are received with a blind obedience are true or false is not known.

Such things cannot open the way to heaven, for in heaven nothing is acknowledged as truth except what is seen, that is, understood. Moreover, the light of heaven is such that by it truths appear before the understanding of the mind, as objects in the world appear before the sight of the eye; consequently when those in the world who have seen truths only from a blind sight of faith are conveyed into heaven to the angels, they see nothing at all, not even the angels there, much less the magnificent things they have. Then their understanding also becomes stupefied and their eyes are darkened and thus they withdraw.

It is to be known that this is true of all such as have separated charity from faith; but all those who have not separated them, but have lived the life of faith which is called charity, have a desire to see truths; consequently when they come into the spiritual world, which takes place at death, it is granted them to see truths, and this for the reason that they have their spiritual mind opened, and are therefore in the light of heaven, into which they are actually admitted, after their departure from the natural world.

From this it can be seen what is signified by "the wings of an eagle," namely, the understanding of truth; and as "the woman" means the New Jerusalem, therefore the wings being given to her signifies that the understanding of truth was given, and will be given, to those who will be of that church.

(Apocalypse Explained 759:2-5)

January 18, 2017

How the Most Essential Thing of the Church is To Be Understood

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is said in the church that from the three who are called "Father, Son, and Holy Spirit," there comes forth one Divine, which is also called "one God;" and that from the Father proceeds the Son, and from the Father through the Son proceeds the Holy Spirit; but what this proceeding or going forth means, is as yet unknown.

January 16, 2017

Christians in Heart and NOT in Profession Only

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
With those who are in the truth of faith the case is this: No one is admitted into the Lord's kingdom unless he is in the good of faith, for the good of faith is of the life, and the life of faith remains, but not the doctrine of faith, except insofar as it makes one with the life; nevertheless they who are in the truth of faith (that is, who profess faith and call it essential, because they have so learned) and yet are in the good of life (that is, who are Christians in heart and not in profession only), are in the Lord's spiritual kingdom. For anyone may easily be persuaded that faith is the essential when he has been so taught by his instructors and has imbibed this opinion in his childhood, and because they who are reputed most learned and the heads of the church say so, some of whom are afraid to speak of the good of life because their life condemns them; moreover the things that belong to faith flow in perceptibly, but not so those which belong to charity. ...
(Arcana Coelestia 3242)

January 14, 2017

Anxiety on Account of the Deprivation of the Truth and Good

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Distress of spirit denotes a state near to despair, can be seen from the fact that they who are in a state near to despair are in internal anxiety, and are then actually in shortness of breath. In the external sense this condition is a compression of the breast, and from this as it were a difficulty of breathing; but in the internal sense it is anxiety on account of the deprivation of the truth which is of faith, and of the good which is of charity, and from this is a state near to despair. ... That the deprivation of spiritual truth and good gives birth to such anxiety, and consequently to such distress, cannot be believed by those who are not in faith and charity; for these suppose that to be in distress on this account is weakness and sickliness of mind. The reason is:  they do not place anything real in faith and charity, nor therefore in those things which belong to their souls and to heaven, but only in wealth and eminence, thus in the things of the body and the world. They also think:
"What are faith and charity but mere words? What is conscience even? To feel distressed by these things is the same as being distressed by such things as a man sees within him from the silly creations of his fancy, and which he imagines to have some existence, although they have not any. Wealth and high position we can see with our eyes, and we know that they exist by the pleasure they afford, for they excite in our whole bodies an expansion and a fullness of joy."
So think merely natural men, and so do they speak among themselves.

But spiritual men think differently, for these have their chief life in their spirit, thus in the things that belong to their spirit, that is, in faith and charity; and therefore when they believe themselves deprived of the truths and goods of faith and charity, they are affected with anguish, as are they who are in the anguish of death, for they see before them spiritual death, that is, damnation.

As before said, to the merely natural these persons appear weak and sickly in spirit, but they are strong and healthy; whereas they who are merely natural appear to themselves strong and healthy, and also are so as to the body, but as to the spirit they are quite weakly, because spiritually dead. If they could see what kind of a spirit they have, they would acknowledge it to be so; but they do not see the spirit until the body has died.

(Arcana Coelestia 7217)

January 6, 2017

When Civil Laws were made Laws of Religion

From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[O]ne must not kill, must not commit adultery, must not steal, must not bear false witness. These precepts are civil laws of justice in all kingdoms on earth, for without them no kingdom could stand.

But by some they are obeyed from fear of legal penalties, by some from civil obedience, and by some from religion also; and those by whom they are obeyed from religion also, are saved. 
The reason is because then God is in them, and the man in whom God is, is saved.

Who does not see that with the sons of Israel, before their departure from Egypt, it was among their laws that one must not kill, or commit adultery, or steal, or bear false witness? for without these laws their community or society could not have stood. And yet the same laws were promulgated by Jehovah God upon Mount Sinai with a stupendous miracle; but the cause of this promulgation was that these same laws might be made laws of religion also; thus that men might obey them not only for the sake of the good of society but also for the sake of God; and that when they obeyed them from religion for the sake of God, they might be saved.

(Conjugial Love 351)

January 5, 2017

The Sun of Heaven Never Sets

Excerpt from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the Lord is the "morning" because He is the Sun of heaven, and the Sun of heaven never sets, but is always rising; hence also the Lord is called the "east" ...
(from Arcana Coelestia 10134:10) 

January 1, 2017

When Good Reduces Truths into Order, Falsities are Removed

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Before a man by regeneration from the Lord comes to good, and does truth from good, he has very many falsities mixed with truths; for he is introduced by means of truths of faith respecting which in his first age he had no other ideas than those of infancy and childhood; which ideas, as they arise from the external things of the world and the sensuous things of the body, cannot but be classed among fallacies, and consequently among falsities. These also become actual, for what a man believes, he does. ...They remain with a man until he is regenerate, that is, until he acts from good, and then the good that is, the Lord through the good reduces into order the truths so far learned, and when this is done, falsities are separated from the truths and are removed.

Of all this the man is quite ignorant, and yet there is such a removal and rejection of falsities from his earliest childhood even to his last age, and this with every man, but especially with him who is being regenerated. The like takes place even with a man who is not being regenerated, for when he becomes an adult, and his judgment has attained its maturity, he then regards the judgments of his childhood as vain and absurd, and thus as removed far away from him. But the difference between the regenerate man and the unregenerate is that the regenerate regards those things as removed from him which do not agree with the good of faith and charity, but the unregenerate those which do not agree with the delight of the love in which he is. The latter therefore for the most part regards truths as falsities and falsities as truths.

(from Arcana Coelestia 4551)