April 29, 2017

Works that Contain Charity in Them

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:  Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.  Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.     (Matt 25:34-40)
What are your works? That this signifies about services and uses... for these are goods. All the goods which are called goods of charity are nothing but uses, and uses are nothing but works for the neighbor, for our country, for the church, for the Lord's kingdom. Moreover regarded in itself charity itself does not become charity until it comes into act and becomes work. For to love anyone, and not do him good when we have the power, is not to love him; but to do him good when we have the power, and to do it from our hearts, this is to love him; and then all things of charity toward him are contained within the very deed or work; for a man's works are the complex of all things of his charity and faith, and are what are called spiritual goods, and indeed become goods by exercise, that is, by means of uses.

As the angels who are in heaven are in good from the Lord, they long for nothing more than to perform uses. These are the very delights of their life, and it is also according to uses that they enjoy bliss and happiness, which likewise the Lord teaches in Matthew:

The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then shall He render to everyone according to his works (Matt. 16:27);

by "works" here are not meant works such as they appear in the outward form, but such as they are in their inward form, namely, such as is the charity contained in them; the angels regard works in no other way.

And because a man's works are the complex of all things of his charity and faith, and the life causes charity to be charity and faith to be faith, thus good, therefore the Lord loved John more than the rest of His disciples, and he lay on His breast at supper (John 21:20); for by him were represented the goods or works of charity; for which reason also the Lord said unto him, "Follow Me," and not to Peter, by whom was represented faith. Wherefore faith, which is "Peter," said with indignation, "Lord, what shall this man do? Jesus said unto him, If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me" (John 21:21-23). By this was also foretold that faith would despise works, and yet that these are near the Lord, as may also be clearly seen from the Lord's words to the sheep and to the goats (Matt. 25:34-46 above), wherein nothing but works are recounted. And that faith would reject the Lord is evident from the representation by Peter when he denied Him thrice; that he did this at night, signifies the last time of the church, when there is no longer any charity; that he did it thrice signifies that this condition is then complete; that it was before the cock crew, signifies before newness of the church would arise, for the twilight and morning which follow the night signify the first of the church.

(Arcana Coelestia 6073)

April 26, 2017

Only One Fountain of Life

From Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me, ye can do nothing. John 15:4, 5.
... from that one fountain of life, which is the Lord, nothing proceeds except Divine Good and Divine Truth which affect each one in accordance with the reception. Those who receive them in faith and life find heaven in them, but those who reject and suffocate them turn them into hell, for they turn good into evil and truth into falsity, thus life into death. The fact also that everything of life is from the Lord ... all things in the universe have reference to good and truth - the life of a man's will, which is the life of his love, relating to good, and the life of a man's understanding, which is the life of his faith, relating to truth. Therefore, since everything good and true comes from above, it follows that so does everything of life.

This being the belief of the angels, they refuse all thanks for the good that they do and are indignant and withdraw if anyone attributes good to them. They are astonished that anyone believes that he is wise from himself or does good from himself. Doing good for one's own sake they do not call good because it is from self; but doing good for the sake of good, they call good from the Divine, and they say it is this good that makes heaven because this Good is the Lord.

Such spirits as have confirmed themselves during their life in the world in the belief that the good that they do and the truth that they believe are from themselves or are appropriated to them as their own - which is the belief of all who attach merit to good actions and claim righteousness to themselves - are not received into heaven. The angels avoid them, regarding them as stupid and as thieves, stupid because they continually have themselves in view and not the Divine, thieves because they would take away from the Lord that which is His. These are opposed to the faith of heaven that the Divine of the Lord present with the angels makes heaven.

(Heaven and Hell 9-11)

April 25, 2017

A Consequent Necessity for the Coming of the Lord

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Grand Man is the Lord's universal heaven; but in the supreme sense the Grand Man is the Lord alone, for heaven is from Him, and all things therein correspond to Him.

Inasmuch as by a life of evil and the consequent persuasions of falsity, the human race had become altogether perverted, and as the lower things with man then began to dominate over the higher, or his natural things over the spiritual, so that Jehovah or the Lord could no longer flow in through the Grand Man, that is heaven, and reduce them into order, there was a consequent necessity for the coming of the Lord into the world, that thereby He might put on the human, and make it Divine, and by it restore order, so that the universal heaven might have relation to Him as the Only Man, and might correspond to Him alone; those who were in evil and thence in falsity being rejected beneath the feet, thus out of the Grand Man.

Hence they who are in the heavens are said to be in the Lord, even in His Body; for the Lord is the all of heaven, in whom all and each are assigned their provinces and offices.

(Arcana Coelestia 3637)

April 23, 2017

Such As The Use Is, Such Is The Good

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In itself truth is good, because from good; and truth is the form of good, that is to say, when good is formed so as to be perceived intellectually, it is then called truth....

In themselves general memory-knowledges are not goods, nor are they alive; it is the affection of them that causes them to be goods, and to be alive; for when there is this affection they are for the sake of use; since no one is affected by any memory-knowledge or truth except for some use; use makes it a good; and such as the use is, such is the good.

(Arcana Coelestia 3049)

April 21, 2017

Because God is Love Itself and Wisdom Itself He is Life Itself, which is Life in Itself.

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word was with God, and God was the Word. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men (John 1:1, 4).

By "God" here the Divine love is meant, and by "the Word" the Divine wisdom; and strictly speaking "life" means the Divine wisdom, and the life strictly is the light that goes forth from the sun of the spiritual world, in the midst of which sun is Jehovah God.

As fire forms light so does the Divine love form life. In fire there are two properties, burning and shining; from its burning property heat proceeds, and from its shining property, light.

There are two like properties in love, one to which the burning property of fire corresponds, which is a something that inmostly affects the will of man, and another to which the shining property of fire corresponds, which is a something that inmostly affects the understanding of man. This is the source of man's love and intelligence

From the sun of the spiritual world a heat goes forth that in its essence is love, and a light that in its essence is wisdom. These two flow into all things and each thing in the universe, and inmostly affect them, and with men these flow into their will and their understanding, for these two were created to be receptacles of influx - the will a receptacle of love, and the understanding a receptacle of wisdom. Thus it is manifest that the life of man dwells in his understanding, and is such as his wisdom is; and that it is modified by the love of the will.

We also read in John:
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son also to have life in Himself (5:26)

which means that just as the Divine Itself, which was from eternity, has life in itself, so the Human, which He took on in time, has life in itself.

Life in itself is the very and only life, from which all angels and men have life.
This can be seen by human reason from the light that goes forth from the sun of the natural world, in that this light is not creatable, but that forms for receiving it have been created.

For example, the eyes are forms for receiving this light, and light flowing in from the sun is what makes them to see. The same is true of life which (as has been said) is the light that goes forth from the sun of the spiritual world, in that it is not creatable, but flows in unceasingly, and as it illuminates it also vivifies man's understanding.

So in consequence, as sight and life and wisdom are one, wisdom is not creatable, neither is faith, nor truth, nor love, nor charity, nor good; but forms for receiving these have been created; and these forms are human and angelic minds. Therefore let everyone beware of persuading himself that he lives from himself, or that he is wise, believes, loves, perceives truth, and wills and does good, from himself. For so far as anyone is so persuaded he casts his mind down from heaven to earth, and from being spiritual becomes natural, sensual, and corporeal; for he shuts up the higher regions of his mind, and thus makes himself blind in regard to every thing relating to God, heaven, and the church; and then all that he happens to think, reason, and say about these things is done in darkness and consequently in foolishness; while at the same time he adopts a confidence that it all belongs to wisdom. For when the higher regions of the mind, where the true light of life resides, are closed up, the region of the mind below these opens, into which the light of the world only is admitted; and when this light is separated from the light of the higher regions it is a delusive light, in which what is false seems true and what is true seems false, and reasoning from what is false appears to be wisdom, and from what is true to be folly. Then man believes himself to be endowed with the keen vision of an eagle, although he sees what belongs to wisdom no better than a bat sees in the light of day.

(True Christian Religion 39,40)

April 20, 2017

The Human Understanding - A Refining Vessel

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A man's knowledge of God is his mirror of God, and that those who know nothing about God do not see God in a mirror with its face toward them, but in a mirror with its back toward them; and as this is covered with quicksilver, or some dark paste; it does not reflect the image but extinguishes it.

Faith in God enters into man through a prior way, which is from the soul into the higher parts of the understanding; while knowledges about God enter through a posterior way, because they are drawn from the revealed Word by the understanding, through the bodily senses; and these inflowings meet midway in the understanding; and there natural faith, which is merely persuasion, becomes spiritual, which is real acknowledgment. Thus the human understanding is like a refining vessel, in which this transmutation is effected.

(True Christian Religion 11:3)

April 18, 2017

Why Faith Can Never Produce Charity

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[The] will is formed out of goods, and from these man has love and affection ... the understanding is formed out of truths therefrom, and from these man has intelligence and wisdom. And as truths are nothing but forms of good, it follows that the understanding is nothing but a form of its will. The only difference is that the understanding sees and the will feels. From this it is clear that such as man's will of good is, such is his understanding of truth, or what is the same, such as man's love is such is his intelligence. From this it is evident that although the will and the understanding are two faculties of life, still they act as one, and for this reason these two faculties of life are called one mind. This relates to the natural man.

In the spiritual man also there are a will and an understanding, but much more perfect; and these are also called one mind. This therefore is the spiritual mind, and the other is the natural mind. But these are such with the man whose spiritual mind has been opened and formed; but it is altogether different with the man whose spiritual mind is closed, and only the natural mind opened.

The same can be said of charity and faith as has been said of the will and understanding; for the will is the subject and receptacle of charity as it is the subject and receptacle of good, and the understanding is the subject and receptacle of faith because it is the subject and receptacle of truth; for charity derives all that it is from good, and faith derives all that it is from truth; and this is why it is said the good of charity, and the truth of faith. From this it follows that charity and faith act as one, like will and understanding; and that such as the charity is such is the faith. But these are in the natural mind; but in the spiritual mind there is the love of good in place of charity, and the perception of truth in place of faith.

That spiritual love, which is charity, produces faith, can be seen merely from this, that man after death, who is then called a spirit, is nothing but an affection which is of love, and his thought is from that; consequently the whole angelic heaven is arranged into societies according to the varieties of affections; and everyone in heaven, in whatever society he may be, thinks from his affection; and therefore it is affection, which is love, that produces faith, and such faith as the affection is; for faith is nothing but thinking that a thing is so in truth, while affection means love in its continuation. But at the present day man in the world does not know that his thought is from affection and according to it, for the reason that he sees his thought but does not see his affection, and as his thought is his affection in a visible form therefore he knows no otherwise than that thought is the whole mind of man. It was otherwise of old with the ancients where the churches were. Because these knew that love produces all things of thought, therefore charity (which is the affection of knowing truths, of understanding them, and of willing them, and thus of becoming wise) was made by them the chief means of salvation. And as that affection makes one with faith they did not know what faith is.

From this it is evident not only how faith is formed with man but also that faith never can produce charity; but charity, which is spiritual love, forms faith as an effigy of itself, and in it presents an image of itself; and for this reason the nature of faith is known from charity and its goods, which are good works, as the nature of a tree is known from its fruit. By a "tree," however, faith is not meant, but man in respect to his life; while its leaves signify the truths through which there is faith, and its fruits signify goods of life, which are the goods of charity. Besides these arcana respecting the formation of faith by the Lord by means of charity there are innumerable others; but still it is the Lord who works all these arcana, while man knows nothing about it; all that man needs to do is to learn truths from the Word and to live according to them.

(Apocalypse Explained 790:9-14)

April 17, 2017

The Natural Mind is Formed by the Lord 'by means of' The Spiritual Mind

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
When a man's spiritual mind has been opened and formed then the Lord forms the natural mind; for man's natural mind is formed by the Lord by means of the spiritual mind; and for the reason that man's spiritual mind is in heaven, and his natural mind is in the world; for it is only from heaven, and when communication and conjunction with heaven have been effected, that the natural can be formed to the idea of such things as are in heaven. This formation is effected by the Lord by an influx out of the spiritual mind into the natural, by means of which the things that are in the natural mind are so arranged as to correspond to those that are in the spiritual mind. (This correspondence is treated of in many places in the Arcana Coelestia, and also in the work on Heaven and Hell.) These things that are in the natural mind out of the spiritual are called rational truths, moral truths, natural truths, and in general, truths of knowledge [vera scientifica]; while the goods that are in the natural mind out of the spiritual are called affections and desires for those truths, and for thinking about, speaking about, and doing those truths from such affections, and these are in general called uses. All those things that are in the natural mind out of the spiritual mind come under man's intuition and into his perception.

It is to be known that this formation of the two minds with man goes on from his infancy to his old age, and afterwards to eternity; and sometimes from the middle age of man to his last age, and afterwards to eternity; but still in another way after the life in the world than during the life in the world. And as man is formed, so is he perfected in intelligence and wisdom, and becomes a man. For no man is a man from his natural mind; from that he is rather a beast; but he becomes a man through intelligence and wisdom from the Lord, and so far as he is intelligent and wise he is a beautiful man and an angel of heaven. But so far as he rejects, suffocates, and perverts the truths and goods of the Word, thus of heaven and the church, and therefore rejects intelligence and wisdom, so far he is a monster and not a man, because he is so far a devil. From this it can be seen that man is not a man from his parents, but from the Lord, of whom he is born and created anew. This, therefore, is regeneration and a new creation.
(Apocalypse Explained 7,8)

April 16, 2017

The Opening of the Spiritual Mind

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Something shall now be said about its [the spiritual mind's] formation. The spiritual mind is formed from those things that are in man's memory from the Word; for the memory is the storehouse ... but these things are elevated therefrom in this manner:

First, there is given to man the affection of truth, which is called the spiritual affection of truth, which is that man loves truth because it is truth. This affection of truth is then given because when evils are removed man is in goods from the Lord, and good loves truth and truth good, and the two will to be conjoined. This affection is given by the Lord alone, because the Lord in heaven is Divine truth; and it is given by the Word, because the Lord in the church is the Word.

Secondly, those things that are from the Word in man's storehouse ... are drawn forth and purified by the Lord, and genuine truths are there discriminated and separated from falsities; for man's spiritual mind can be formed only out of genuine truths, since heaven is in no other.

Thirdly, those truths are elevated by the Lord in a wonderful manner, and become spiritual; this is effected by the influx of heaven, and thus of spiritual things corresponding to natural; and these truths are there disposed into a heavenly form.

Fourthly, the truths that are elevated into the spiritual mind are not in a natural but in a spiritual form. Truths in a spiritual form are such as are in the spiritual sense of the Word, but truths in a natural form are such as are in the natural sense of the Word.... For this reason, when man after death becomes a spirit and his spiritual mind is opened, he no longer thinks and speaks naturally, but spiritually.

Fifthly, so long as man is living in the world he is wholly ignorant of what he thinks in the spiritual mind; he knows only what he thinks from that mind in the natural; but after death the state is changed, and he then thinks from the spiritual mind, and not from the natural.

(Apocalypse Explained 790:8)

April 14, 2017

How to Acquire Spiritual Faith, which is Faith 'from' Charity

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is known in the world that there is a natural man and a spiritual man, as also that the natural man is worldly and the spiritual man heavenly; but still it is not known what spiritual faith is, and how it differs from natural faith.

(1) That every man has two minds, one natural and the other spiritual; and as it is the mind that wills and thinks, every man has also natural will and thought and spiritual will and thought. The natural mind wills and thinks like a man in the world, and the spiritual mind wills and thinks like an angel in heaven. From this it follows that as faith is in man, it, too, is natural or spiritual; and that natural faith is according to man's will and thought in the world, and spiritual faith is according to his will and thought in heaven. It is said the will and thought, because all things from which man is a man have relation to these two, for from the will he acts, and from the thought he speaks. And as a man acts and speaks either from self or from God, so he wills and thinks either from self or from God. From this it is clear, in the first place, that there is natural faith and spiritual faith; and that natural faith apart from spiritual faith is to think such things as are in the Word from self, while natural faith from spiritual faith is to think such things as are in the Word from God; although this also seems to the man to be from himself.

(2) As every man has two minds, a natural and a spiritual, and the natural mind is opened and formed by such things as are in the world, while the spiritual mind is opened and formed by such things as are in heaven, and as the things that are in heaven are all spiritual, so a man's spiritual mind must needs be opened and formed by such things as are in the Word, in which all things are spiritual because they are Divine. In the Word there are truths that are to be known and thought, and goods that must be willed and done; therefore it is by these goods and these truths that man's spiritual mind is opened and formed. From this it follows, that unless the spiritual mind is opened and formed by truths and goods from the Word it remains closed; and when this is closed the natural mind only is opened and formed by such things as are in the world, from which man, indeed, derives a natural lumen, but such as has in it no wisdom from heaven. From this it is clear, in the second place, that faith is not faith so long as the natural mind only is opened, but that if the thought that a thing is so is called faith it is historical faith, which is nothing but knowledge from which the natural man thinks.

(3) That the spiritual mind may be opened and formed it must have a storehouse from which it may draw its supplies; since unless man has such a storehouse he is empty, and in emptiness there can be no Divine operation. This storehouse is in the natural man and it is its memory, in which everything knowable can be stored up and can be drawn forth from it. In this storehouse for the formation of the spiritual man there must be truths that are to be believed and goods that are to be done, both of them from the Word and from doctrine and preaching from the Word. These man must learn even from infancy. But all these things, however abundant they may be, although they are from the Word, are natural until the spiritual mind is opened; for they are mere knowledge. Thought from this storehouse is what is called faith by those who separate faith from good works in doctrine and in life.

(4) The spiritual mind is primarily opened by man's abstaining from doing evils because they are contrary to the Divine commandments in the Word. If man abstains from evils from any other fear than this the spiritual mind is not opened. The following are the reasons why this is what opens the spiritual mind: First, that the evils with man must be removed before communication and conjunction with heaven can be granted him; since evils, which are all in the natural man, keep heaven closed, and yet heaven must be opened, for otherwise man remains natural. The second reason is that the Word is from the Lord, and consequently the Lord is in the Word, even so that He is the Word; for the Word is Divine truth all of which is from the Lord. From this it follows that he who abstains from doing evils because they are contrary to the Divine commandments in the Word abstains from them from the Lord. The third reason is, that as far as evils are removed so far goods enter. That this is so can be seen by man from natural lumen alone, for when lasciviousness is removed chastity enters; when intemperance is removed temperance enters; when deceit is removed sincerity enters; when hatred and the delight of revenge are removed love and the delight of love and friendship enter; and so in other cases; and this for the reason that the Lord enters, and heaven with Him, so far as man from the Word abstains from doing evils, since he then abstains from them from the Lord.

(5) But this shall be illustrated by examples. Take for illustration the four commandments of the Decalogue, "thou shalt not commit adultery," "thou shalt not steal," "thou shalt not kill," "thou shalt not bear false witness." These commandments are Divine, since they are in the Word. When anyone shuns and averts himself from adultery because of the fear that it is against the Lord, against heaven, and against the spiritual life, to be in accord with which is eternal felicity, he loves chastity and loves his consort, because true conjugial love is chastity itself. When anyone shuns and averts himself from theft because of a like fear as from adultery, he loves sincerity, and loves the good of the neighbor as his own good. When anyone shuns and averts himself from murders or from deadly hatred from a like fear he loves the neighbor and is in charity. When anyone shuns and averts himself from false testimony because of a like fear he loves justice and loves truthfulness, and this from the Lord, because from the Word; consequently when after death he becomes a spirit he is like an angel of heaven, and therefore becomes an angel of heaven. But when one does not shun adultery from such a holy fear, but from a fear for his reputation, and thus of the loss of honor and gain, or from a fear of the law, or of disease, or because of weakness, he is still unchaste, since he merely fears the world and the loss of his prosperity in the world, and does not fear the Lord, and thus does not fear the loss of heaven and of eternal life. In like manner when anyone abstains from thefts, from murders or deadly hatreds, and from false testimonies, from natural fear only and not from spiritual fear, he abstains from these from self and not from the Lord; and he who does this from self still remains in them; and no one can be withdrawn from these except by the Lord. From this it can be seen that the spiritual mind with man is opened by this, that from the Word he abstains from doing evils; and that it is opened in the same degree in which he abstains from them by shunning and turning away from them.

(Apocalypse Explained 790:3-7)

April 12, 2017

The Particulars of the Universals of the Christian Faith

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Jehovah God is love itself and wisdom itself, or is good itself and truth itself; and in respect to Divine truth, which is the Word, and which was God with God. He came down and took on the Human for the purpose of reducing to order all things that were in heaven, and all things in hell, and all things in the church - because at that time the power of hell prevailed over the power of heaven, and upon the earth the power of evil over the power of good, and in consequence a total damnation stood threatening at the door. This impending damnation Jehovah God removed by means of His Human, which was Divine truth, and thus He redeemed angels and men, and thereupon He united, in His Human, Divine truth with Divine good or Divine wisdom with Divine love; and so, with and in His glorified Human, He returned into His Divine in which He was from eternity. All this is meant by these words in John:
The Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh (1:1, 14);

and in the same:
I came out from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go unto the Father (16:28);

and also by these words:
We know that the Son of God is come, and has given us understanding that we may know the True; and we are in the True, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and life eternal (1 John 5:20).

From these words it is clear that without the Lord's coming into the world no one could have been saved. It is the same today; and therefore without the Lord's coming again into the world in Divine truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved.

(1) God is one, in whom is a Divine trinity, and the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ is that one.
(2) Saving faith is to believe in Him.
(3) Evils should not be done, because they are of the devil and from the devil.
(4) Goods should be done, because they are of God and from God.
(5) These should be done by man as if by himself; but it should be believed that they are done by the Lord in man and through man.

The first two are matters of faith, the next two of charity, and the fifth of the conjunction of charity and faith, thus of the conjunction of the Lord and man.

(True Christian Religion 3)

April 10, 2017

Two Universals of the Christian Faith

Selection from Doctrine of Faith ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Christian Faith in its universal idea or form is this: The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to subdue the hells, and to glorify His Human; and without this no mortal could have been saved; and they are saved who believe in Him.

It is said "in the universal idea or form" because this is what is universal of the Faith, and what is universal of the Faith is that which must be in all things of it both in general and in particular.

  • It is a Universal of the Faith that God is One in Person and in Essence, in whom is the Trinity, and that the Lord is that God.
  • It is a Universal of the Faith that no mortal could have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world.
  • It is a Universal of the Faith that He came into the world in order to remove hell from man, and He removed it by combats against it and by victories over it; thus He subdued it, and reduced it into order and under obedience to Himself.
  • It is also a Universal of the Faith that He came into the world in order to glorify the Human which He took upon Him in the world, that is, in order to unite it to the all-originating Divine [Divino a Quo]; thus to eternity does He hold in order and under obedience to Himself hell subjugated by Himself.
And inasmuch as neither of these mighty works could have been accomplished except by means of temptations even to the uttermost of them, which was the passion of the cross, He therefore underwent this uttermost temptation. These are the Universals of the Christian Faith concerning the Lord.

The Universal of the Christian Faith on the part of man is that he believe in the Lord, for through believing in Him there is effected conjunction with Him, by which comes salvation. To believe in Him is to have confidence that He will save, and as no one can have this confidence except one who lives aright, therefore this also is meant by believing in Him.

(Doctrine of Faith 34-36)

April 8, 2017

The Use of Those Who have Conjoined Evil and Falsity

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord's Divine providence causes both the evil and the falsity to be serviceable in the way of equilibrium, of relation, and of purification, and thus in the conjunction of good and truth in others.
The Lord's Divine providence continually labors to unite truth with good, and good with truth in man, because such union is the church and is heaven; for there is such a union in the Lord and in all things that go forth from the Lord.
From that union heaven is called a marriage, and the church is called a marriage, and in consequence the kingdom of God is likened in the Word to a marriage. From that union the Sabbath in the Israelitish Church was the most holy thing of worship, for it signified that union. For the same reason in each and in all things of the Word there is a marriage of good and truth. The marriage of good and truth is from the marriage of the Lord with the church; and this is from the marriage of love and wisdom in the Lord; for good pertains to love, and truth to wisdom. From all this it can be seen that the unceasing object of the Divine providence is to unite good to truth and truth to good in man, for thus man is united to the Lord.

But inasmuch as many have sundered or are sundering this marriage, especially by the separation of faith from charity, since faith is of truth and truth is of faith, and charity is of good and good is of charity, and inasmuch as they thereby conjoin evil and falsity in themselves, and have thus become or are becoming opposite [to good and truth], the Lord provides that such shall still be of service for the conjunction of good and truth in others, as means of equilibrium, relation and purification.

The conjunction of good and truth in others is provided by the Lord, by means of the equilibrium between heaven and hell; for there is a constant exhalation from hell of evil and falsity together, while from heaven there is a constant exhalation of good and truth together. In this equilibrium every man is held as long as he lives in the world; and by means of it he is held in freedom to think, to will, to speak, and to do, and in this it is possible for him to be reformed.

The conjunction of good and truth is provided by the Lord by means of relation; since the quality of a good is known only by its relation to what is less good, and by its contrariety to evil. From this comes all power to perceive and to feel, since from this comes the quality of these powers; for thereby every thing enjoyable is perceived and felt from the less enjoyable and by means of what is not enjoyable, every thing beautiful from the less beautiful and by means of the unbeautiful; and likewise every good, which is of love, from the less good and by means of evil; and every truth, which is of wisdom, from the less true and by means of falsity. In every matter, from the greatest to the least of it, there must be variety; and when there is variety also in its opposite from its least to its greatest, and there is equilibrium between them, then there is relation according to degrees on both sides; and the perception and sensation of the thing either increase or diminish. But an opposite, as we should know, may take away perceptions and sensations or may exalt them; when it mingles itself it takes away; but when it does not mingle itself it exalts; and for this reason the Lord exactly separates good and evil in man, that they may not be mingled, just as He separates heaven and hell.

In others the conjunction of good and truth is provided by the Lord by means of purification, which is effected in two ways, one by temptations, and the other by fermentations. Spiritual temptations are nothing else than combats against the evils and falsities that are exhaled from hell and affect man. By these combats man is purified from evils and falsities, and good is conjoined to truth in him, and truth to good. Spiritual fermentations are effected in many ways, both in the heavens and on the earth; but in the world it is not known what they are or how they are effected. For there are evils and falsities together that do a work, when introduced into societies, like that of leaven put into meal, or ferments into new wine, by which heterogeneous things are separated and homogeneous things are conjoined, and purity and clearness are the result. These are meant by these words of the Lord:-

The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till it was all leavened (Matt. xiii. 33; Luke xiii. 21).

(Divine Providence 21-24)

April 4, 2017

Why the Worshipers of Self are Raised to the Higher Offices

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The reason why the Divine Providence permits the wicked at heart to be advanced to dignities and to acquire wealth - The impious or wicked can perform uses equally with the pious or the good; and, indeed, with greater zeal, for they have regard to themselves in the uses, and they regard the honours as uses. Therefore, whatever the height to which the love of self mounts up there burns within it the consuming desire of performing uses for the sake of its own glory. With the pious or good there is no such fire unless it is kindled from below by some feeling of honour. Therefore, the Lord governs the wicked at heart who are in positions of dignity by the reputation of their name, and moves them to perform uses to the community or country, society or city in which they dwell, and also to the fellow-citizen or neighbour with whom they associate. This is the Lord's government, which is called the Divine Providence, with such; for the Lord's kingdom is a kingdom of uses; and where there are but few who perform uses for the sake of uses He causes worshippers of self to be raised to the higher offices, in which everyone is moved to do good by means of his own love. ...

This is established also by these words of the Lord:

The lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this age (A.V. world) Are in their generation wiser than the children of light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations. Luke 16:8, 9.

It is clear what is meant by these words in the natural sense; but in the spiritual sense by the mammon of unrighteousness are meant the rational conceptions of truth and good possessed by the wicked, which they employ solely to acquire for themselves dignities and wealth. It is these knowledges of which the good or the children of light are to make themselves friends, and which shall receive them into everlasting habitations. That many are lovers of self and the world, and that few are lovers of God, the Lord teaches in these words:

Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: but narrow and strait is the way (A.V. because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way) which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matt. 7:13, 14.

It makes no difference whether the general is an upright man or not because the wicked perform uses as well as the good, and the wicked from their own zeal with more ardour than the good. Especially is this the case in wars because the wicked man is more crafty and cunning in contriving devices; and from a love of glory he takes more delight than a good man in killing and plundering those whom he knows and declares to be his enemies. The good man is prudent and zealous only in defence, and rarely does he exercise his prudence and zeal in attacking others. It is the same with spirits of hell and angels of heaven; the spirits of hell attack while the angels of heaven defend themselves. Hence is deduced this conclusion, that it is allowable for anyone to defend his country and his fellow-citizens against invading enemies, even by means of wicked generals, but that it is not allowable to make oneself an enemy without cause. When the cause is to seek glory alone it is in itself diabolical, for it springs from the love of self.
(Divine Providence 250:3,5; 252:2)