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)

October 28, 2017

Why The Universe Was Created

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• All things that proceed from the sun of the spiritual world, in the midst of which is Jehovah God, have relation to man. Therefore whatever things come forth in that world conspire towards the human form, and exhibit that form in their inmosts — thus all objects there that are presented to the sight are representative of man. Animals of all kinds are seen there, and they are likenesses of the affections of love and consequent thoughts of the angels. The same is true of the trees, flowers, and green fields there.
What affection this or that object represents the angels are permitted to know; and what is wonderful, when their inmost sight is opened, they recognize their own image in them; and this takes place because every man is his own love and his own thought therefrom.
• And because in every man affections and thoughts therefrom are various and manifold, some of them relating to the affection of one animal and some to that of another, the images of these affections become manifest in this way. ...

• From all this the truth is seen that the end of creation was an angelic heaven from the human race, and consequently man, in whom God can dwell as in His receptacle; and this is the reason why man was created a form of Divine order.
Previous to creation God was love itself and wisdom itself and the union of these two in the effort to accomplish uses; for love and wisdom apart from use are only fleeting matters of reason, which fly away if not applied to use.
• The first two separated from the third are like birds flying above a great ocean, which are at length exhausted by flying, and fall down and are drowned. Evidently, therefore, the universe was created by God to give existence to uses — for this reason the universe may be called a theater of uses.

• As man is the chief end of creation, it follows that each and all things were created for the sake of man; and therefore each and all things belonging to order were brought together and concentrated in him, to the end that through him, God might accomplish primary uses.
Love and wisdom apart from their third, which is use, may be likened to the sun's heat and light; which, if they did not operate upon men, animals, and vegetables, would be worthless things; but by influx into and operation upon these they become real.
• For there are three things that follow each other in order — end, cause, and effect. It is known in the learned world that the end is nothing unless it regards the effecting cause, and that the end and this cause are nothing unless an effect is produced.  The end and cause may indeed be contemplated abstractly in the mind, but still only on account of some effect which the end purposes and the cause secures.

• It is the same with love, wisdom, and use. Use is the end which love purposes, and through the cause accomplishes; and when use is accomplished, love and wisdom have a real existence; and in the use they make for themselves a habitation and foundation where they rest as in their home. It is the same with the man who has in him the love and wisdom of God when he is performing uses; and to enable him to perform Divine uses, he was created an image and likeness of God, that is, a form of Divine order.
(True Christian Religion 66 - 67)

October 23, 2017

How Conjunction of Heaven with the World is Effected by means of Correspondences

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
How conjunction of heaven with the world is effected by means of correspondences shall also be told in a few words:
The Lord's kingdom is a kingdom of ends, which are uses; or what is the same thing, a kingdom of uses which are ends. For this reason the universe has been so created and formed by the Divine that uses may be every where clothed in such a way as to be presented in act, or in effect, first in heaven and afterwards in the world, thus by degrees and successively, down to the outmost things of nature. Evidently, then, the correspondence of natural things with spiritual things, or of the world with heaven, is through uses, and uses are what conjoin; and the form in which uses are clothed are correspondences and are conjunctions just to the extent that they are forms of uses. In the nature of the world in its threefold kingdom, all things that exist in accordance with order are forms of uses, or effects formed from use for use, and this is why the things in nature are correspondences.
But in the case of man, so far as he is in accordance with Divine order, that is, so far as he is in love to the Lord and in charity towards the neighbor, are his acts uses in form, and correspondences, and through these he is conjoined to heaven.
To love the Lord and the neighbor means in general to perform uses.
Furthermore, it must be understood that man is the means by which the natural world and the spiritual world are conjoined, that is, man is the medium of conjunction, because in him there is a natural world and there is a spiritual world; consequently to the extent that man is spiritual he is the medium of conjunction; but to the extent that a man is natural, and not spiritual, he is not a medium of conjunction. Nevertheless, apart from this mediumship of man, a Divine influx into the world and into the things pertaining to man that are of the world goes on, but not into man's rational faculty.
(Heaven and Hell 112)

October 22, 2017

Use — The Ends of Creation

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All uses, which are ends of creation are in forms, which forms they take from substances and matters such as are in lands.

All things ... as the sun, atmospheres, and lands, are only means to ends. The ends of creation are those things that are produced by the Lord as a sun, through the atmospheres, out of lands; and these ends are called uses.

• In their whole extent these are all things of the vegetable kingdom, all things of the animal kingdom, and finally the human race, and the angelic heaven which is from it. These are called uses, because they are recipients of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom also because they have regard to God the Creator from whom they are, and thereby conjoin Him to His great work; by which conjunction it comes that, as they spring forth from Him, so do they have unceasing existence from Him. They are said to have regard to God the Creator from whom they are, and to conjoin Him to His great work, but this is to speak according to appearance. It is meant that God the Creator causes them to have regard and to conjoin themselves to Him as it were of themselves....

• Divine Love and Divine Wisdom must necessarily have being and form in other things created by themselves

• All things in the created universe are recipients of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom.

• The uses of all created things ascend by degrees to man, and through man to God the Creator from whom they are.

• Who does not see clearly that uses are the ends of creation, when he considers that from God the Creator nothing can have form, and therefore nothing can be created, except use; and that to be use, it must be for the sake of others; and that use for the sake of self is also for the sake of others, since a use for the sake of self looks to one's being in a state to be of use to others? Whoso considers this is also able to see, that use which is use cannot spring from man, but must be in man from that Being from whom everything that comes forth is use, that is, from the Lord.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 307-308)

October 21, 2017

Since All Have Been Redeemed, All May Be Saved

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Since all have been redeemed, all may be regenerated — Each according to his state.  That this may be understood, something must be premised respecting redemption.

• The Lord came into the world chiefly for these two purposes:
  • 1. To remove hell from angel and from man
  • 2. To glorify His Human
• For before the Lord's coming hell had grown up so far as even to infest the angels of heaven, and also, by interposing itself between heaven and the world, to intercept the Lord's communication with men on earth, so that no Divine truth and good could pass from the Lord to men. Consequently a total damnation threatened the whole human race, and the angels of heaven could not have long continued to exist in their integrity.

• And thus, in order that hell might be cleared away, and this impending damnation be thereby removed, the Lord came into the world, and dislodged hell, subjugated it, and thus opened heaven; so that He could henceforth be present with men on earth, and save those who live according to His commandments, and consequently could regenerate and save them, for those who are regenerated are saved. This is how it is to be understood, that, since all have been redeemed they may be regenerated, and because regeneration and salvation make one, all may be saved.
So the teaching of the church, that without the Lord's coming no man could have been saved, is to be understood in this way, that without the Lord's coming no one could have been regenerated.
• In respect to the other purpose for which the Lord came into the world, namely, to glorify His Human, this was because He thereby became the Redeemer, Regenerator and Savior forever. For it is not to be believed that by redemption once wrought in the world, all men had been thereby redeemed, but that the Lord is perpetually redeeming those who believe in Him and who obey His words.
(True Christian Religion 579)

October 20, 2017

Man is Known by his Works

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• As regards love and wisdom:
    • Love is the end
    • Wisdom the instrumental cause
    • Use is the effect
[U]se is the complex, containant, and base of wisdom and love; and use is such a complex and such a containant, that all things of love and all things of wisdom are actually in it; it is where they are all simultaneously present. But it should be borne in mind that all things of love and wisdom, which are homogeneous and concordant, are present in use.

• Affection, thought, and action are also in a series of like degrees, because all affection has relation to love, thought to wisdom, and action to use.
• Charity, faith, and good works are in a series of like degrees, for charity is of affection, faith of thought, and good works of action.
• Will, understanding, and doing are also in a series of like degrees; for will is of love and so of affection, understanding is of wisdom and so of faith, and doing is of use and so of work; as, then, all things of wisdom and love are present in use, so all things of thought and affection are present in action, all things of faith and charity in good works, and so forth;but all are homogeneous, that is, concordant.

• That the outmost in each series, that is to say, use, action, work, and doing, is the complex and containant of all things prior, has not yet been known. There seems to be nothing more in use, in action, in work, and in doing than such as there is in movement; yet all things prior are actually present in these, and so fully that nothing is lacking. They are contained therein like wine in its cask, or like furniture in a house. They are not apparent, because they are regarded only externally; and regarded externally they are simply activities and motions. It is as when the arms and hands are moved, and man is not conscious that a thousand motor fibers concur in every motion of them, and that to the thousand motor fibers correspond thousands of things of thought and affection, by which the motor fibers are excited. As these act deep within, they are not apparent to any bodily sense. This much is known, that nothing is done in or through the body except from the will through the thought; and because both of these act, it must needs be that each and all things of the will and thought are present in the action. They cannot be separated; consequently from a man's deeds or works others judge of the thought of his will, which is called his intention.

• It has been made known to me that angels, from a man's deed or work alone, perceive and see every thing of the will and thought of the doer; angels of the third heaven perceiving and seeing from his will the end for which he acts, and angels of the second heaven the cause through which the end operates. It is from this that works and deeds are so often commanded in the Word, and that it is said that a man is known by his works.

• It is according to angelic wisdom that unless the will and understanding, that is, affection and thought, as well as charity and faith, clothe and wrap themselves in works or deeds, whenever possible, they are only like something airy which passes away, or like phantoms in air which perish; and that they first become permanent in man and a part of his life, when he practices and does them. The reason is that the outmost is the complex, containant, and base of things prior. Such an airy nothing and such a phantom is faith separated from good works; such also are faith and charity without their exercise, with this difference only, that those who hold to faith and charity know what is good and can will to do it, but not so those who are in faith separated from charity.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 213 -216)

October 19, 2017

Man's Capacities to THINK Either With or Against God and His Ability to DO What is True and Good

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• There are in man from the Lord two capacities whereby he is distinguished from beasts.

• One of these is the ability to understand what is true and what is good; this is called rationality, and is a capacity of his understanding.

• The other is an ability to do what is true and good; this is called freedom, and is a capacity of his will.

• For man by virtue of his rationality is able to think whatever he pleases, either with or against God, either with or against the neighbor; he is also able to will and to do what he thinks; but when he sees evil and fears punishment, he is able, by virtue of his freedom, to abstain from doing it. By virtue of these two capacities man is man, and is distinguished from beasts.
Man has these two capacities from the Lord, and they are from Him every moment; nor are they taken away, for if they were, man's human would perish.
• In these two capacities the Lord is with every man, good and evil alike; they are the Lord's abode in the human race; from this it is that all men live for ever, both the good and evil. But the Lord's abode in man is nearer as by the agency of these capacities man opens the higher degrees, for by the opening of these man comes into higher degree of love and wisdom, thus nearer to the Lord. From this it can be seen that as these degrees are opened, man is in the Lord and the Lord in him.

• [T]he three degrees of height are like end, cause, and effect, and that love, wisdom, and use follow in succession according to these degrees; therefore a few things shall be said here about love as being end, wisdom as being cause, and use as being effect.

• Whoever consults his reason, if it is enlightened, can see that the end of all things of man is his love; for what he loves that he thinks, decides upon, and does, consequently that he has for his end. Man can also see from his reason that wisdom is cause; since he, that is, his love, which is his end, searches in his understanding for its means through which to attain its end, thus consulting its wisdom, and these means constitute the instrumental cause. That use is effect is evident without explanation.

• But one man's love is not the same as another's, neither is one man's wisdom the same as another's; so it is with use. And since these three are homogeneous ... it follows that such as is the love in man, such is the wisdom and such is the use. Wisdom is here spoken of, but by it what pertains to man's understanding is meant.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 240-241)

October 18, 2017

The Development of the Mind by Degrees

Selection from  Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• These three degrees of height [natural, spiritual, and celestial] are in every man from birth, and can be opened successively; and, as they are opened, man is in the Lord and the Lord in man.

• That there are three degrees of height in every man, has not until now become known for the reason that these degrees have not been recognized, and so long as they remained unnoticed, none but continuous degrees could be known; and when none but continuous degrees are known, it may be supposed that love and wisdom increase in man only by continuity. But it should be known, that in every man from his birth there are three degrees of height, or discrete degrees, one above or within another; and that each degree of height, or discrete degree, has also degrees of breadth, or continuous degrees, according to which it increases by continuity. For there are degrees of both kinds in things greatest and least of all things...  for no degree of one kind is possible without degrees of the other kind.

These three degrees of height are called natural, spiritual, and celestial.

• When man is born he comes first into the natural degree, and this grows in him, by continuity, according to his knowledges and the understanding acquired by means of knowledges even to the highest point of understanding, which is called the rational. Yet not by this means is the second degree opened, which is called the spiritual. That degree is opened by means of a love of uses in accordance with the things of the understanding, although by a spiritual love of uses, which is love towards the neighbor. This degree may grow in like manner by continuous degrees to its height, and it grows by means of knowledges of truth and good, that is, by spiritual truths. Yet even by such truths the third degree which is called the celestial is not opened; for this degree is opened by means of the celestial love of use, which is love to the Lord; and love to the Lord is nothing else than committing to life the precepts of the Word, the sum of which is to flee from evils because they are hellish and devilish, and to do good because it is heavenly and Divine. In this manner these three degrees are successively opened in man.

• So long as man lives in the world he knows nothing of the opening of these degrees within him, because he is then in the natural degree, which is the outmost, and from this he then thinks, wills, speaks, and acts; and the spiritual degree, which is interior, communicates with the natural degree, not by continuity but by correspondences, and communication by correspondences is not sensibly felt. But when man puts off the natural degree, which he does at death, he comes into that degree which has been opened within him in the world; he in whom the spiritual degree has been opened coming into that degree, and he within whom the celestial degree has been opened coming into that degree. He who comes into the spiritual degree after death no longer thinks, wills, speaks, and acts naturally, but spiritually; and he who comes into the celestial degree thinks, wills, speaks, and acts according to that degree. And as there can be communication between the three degrees only by correspondences, the differences of love, wisdom, and use, as regards these degrees are such as to have no common ground by means of anything continuous. From all this it is plain that man has three degrees of height that may be successively opened in him.

• Since there are in man three degrees of love and wisdom, and therefore of use, it follows that there must be in him three degrees, of will, of understanding, and of result therefrom, thus of determination to use; for will is the receptacle of love, understanding the receptacle of wisdom, and result is use from these. From this it is evident that there are in every man a natural, a spiritual, and a celestial will and understanding, potentially by birth and actually when they are opened. In a word the mind of man, which consists of will and understanding, is from creation and therefore from birth, of three degrees, so that man has a natural mind, a spiritual mind, and a celestial mind, and can thereby be elevated into and possess angelic wisdom while he lives in the world; but it is only after death, and then only if he becomes an angel, that he enters into that wisdom, and his speech then becomes ineffable and incomprehensible to the natural man. I knew a man of moderate learning in the world, whom I saw after death and spoke with in heaven, and I clearly perceived that he spoke like an angel, and that the things he said would be inconceivable to the natural man; and for the reason that in the world he had applied the precepts of the Word to life and had worshiped the Lord, and was therefore raised up by the Lord into the third degree of love and wisdom. ...
(Divine Love and Wisdom 236-239)

October 8, 2017

The Neighbor Who Is To Be Loved

Selection from New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrines ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor.  (Leviticus 19:15)
     It shall first be shown what the neighbor is, for it is the neighbor who is to be loved, and towards whom charity is to be exercised. For unless it be known what the neighbor is, charity may be exercised in a similar manner, without distinction, towards the evil as well as towards the good, whence charity ceases to be charity: for the evil, from benefactions, do evil to the neighbor, but the good do good.

     It is a common opinion at this day, that every man is equally the neighbor, and that benefits are to be conferred on everyone who needs assistance; but it is in the interest of Christian prudence to examine well the quality of a man's life, and to exercise charity to him accordingly. The man of the internal church exercises his charity with discrimination, consequently with intelligence; but the man of the external church, because he is not able thus to discern things, does it indiscriminately.

     The distinctions of neighbor, which the man of the church ought altogether to know, are according to the good which is with everyone; and because all good proceeds from the Lord, therefore the Lord is the neighbor in the highest sense and in a supereminent degree, and the origin is from Him. Hence it follows that so far as anyone has the Lord with himself, so far he is the neighbor; and because no one receives the Lord, that is, good from Him, in the same manner as another, therefore no one is the neighbor in the same manner as another. For all who are in the heavens, and all the good who are on the earths, differ in good; no two ever received a good that is altogether one and the same; it must be various, that each may subsist by itself. But all these varieties, thus all the distinctions of the neighbor, which are according to the reception of the Lord, that is, according to the reception of good from Him, can never be known by any man, nor indeed by any angel, except in general, thus their genera and species: neither does the Lord require any more of the man of the church, than to live according to what he knows.
(New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 84 - 86)

October 7, 2017

Without Spiritual Temptation, No Regeneration

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
     They who have not been instructed about man's regeneration suppose that a man can be regenerated without temptation; and some that he has been regenerated when he has undergone one temptation. But be it known that without temptation no one is regenerated, and that many temptations follow on, one after another. The reason is that regeneration takes place to the end that the life of the old man may die, and the new heavenly life be insinuated, which shows that there must needs be a fight, for the life of the old man resists, and is not willing to be extinguished, and the life of the new man cannot enter except where the life of the old man has been extinguished. Hence it is evident that there is a fight on both sides, and this fight is a fiery one, because it is for life.

     He who thinks from enlightened reason can see and perceive from this that no man can be regenerated without a fight, that is, without spiritual temptation; and also that he is not regenerated by one temptation, but by many. For very many kinds of evil have made the delight of his former life, that is, have made his old life; and it is impossible for all these evils to be suddenly and simultaneously mastered, because they cling to the man very firmly, having been rooted in parents from time immemorial, and consequently are innate in him, besides having been confirmed in him from his infancy through his own actual evils. All these evils are diametrically opposite to the heavenly good that is to be insinuated, and that is to make the new life.
(Arcana Cœlestia 8403:2,3)

October 6, 2017

The Lord's Foresight and Providence

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As regards foresight and providence in general, it is foresight relatively to man, and providence relatively to the Lord. The Lord foresaw from eternity what the human race would be, and what would be the quality of each member of it, and that evil would continually increase, until at last man of himself would rush headlong into hell. On this account the Lord has not only provided means by which man may be turned from hell and led to heaven, but also from providence He continually turns and leads him.

The Lord also foresaw that it would be impossible for any good to be rooted in man except in his freedom, for whatever is not rooted in freedom is dissipated on the first approach of evil and temptation. This the Lord foresaw, and also that man of himself, or from his freedom, would incline toward the deepest hell; and therefore the Lord provides that if a man should not suffer himself to be led in freedom to heaven, he may still be bent toward a milder hell; but that if he should suffer himself to be led in freedom to good, he may be led to heaven. This shows what foresight means, and what providence, and that what is foreseen is thus provided.

And from this we can see how greatly the man errs who believes that the Lord has not foreseen, and does not see, the veriest singulars appertaining to man, and that in these He does not foresee and lead; when the truth is that the Lord's foresight and providence are in the very minutest of these veriest singulars connected with man, in things so very minute that it is impossible by any thought to comprehend as much as one out of a hundred millions of them;

for every smallest moment of man's life involves a series of consequences extending to eternity, each moment being as a new beginning to those which follow; and so with all and each of the moments of his life, both of his understanding and of his will.
And as the Lord foresaw from eternity what would be man's quality, and what it would be to eternity, it is evident that His providence is in the veriest singulars, and as before said governs and bends the man to such a quality; and this by a continual moderating of his freedom.
(Arcana Cœlestia 3854:2,3)

October 5, 2017

The Church WITH a People or The Church IN a People

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is one thing for the church to be with a people, and another for the church to be in a people — as for example, the Christian Church is with those who have the Word, and from doctrine preach the Lord; but still there is nothing of the church in them unless they are in the marriage of good and truth, that is, unless they are in charity toward the neighbor, and thence in faith; thus unless the internals of the church are in the externals. The church is not in those who are solely in externals separate from internals; neither is it in those who are in faith separate from charity, nor in those who acknowledge the Lord from doctrine and not life. Hence it is plain that it is one thing for the church to be with a nation, and quite another to be in the nation.

... [T]he shade of the understanding is in these things may be seen from the fact that at this day scarcely anyone knows what the internal of the church is. And who knows that charity toward the neighbor consists in willing, and from willing in acting, and hence that faith consists in perceiving? ... They who do not know that charity is the internal and thus the essential of the church, stand very remote from the first step toward the understanding of such things, and therefore very far from the innumerable and ineffable things that are in heaven, where the things relating to love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor are the all of life, and consequently the all of wisdom and of intelligence.
(Arcana Cœlestia 4899)

October 4, 2017

Why Scarcely Anyone Knows What the Heavenly Is

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[T]hose who were of the Ancient Church — their doctrinals were doctrinals of love and charity, which contained innumerable things that at this day are wholly obliterated. From these doctrinals they knew what charity to exercise, or what duty they owed the neighbor, thus who were called widows, who orphans, who sojourners, and so on. Their knowledges of truth and memory-knowledges were to know what the rituals of their church represented and signified; and those who were learned among them knew what the things on the earth and in the world represented; for they knew that universal nature was a theater representative of the heavenly kingdom. Such things elevated their minds to heavenly things, and their doctrinals led to life.

But after the church turned aside from charity to faith, and still more after it separated faith from charity, and made faith saving without charity and its works, men's minds could no longer be elevated by knowledges to heavenly things, nor by doctrinals be led to life; and this to such a degree that at last scarcely anyone believes that there is any life after death, and scarcely anyone knows what the heavenly is. That there is any spiritual sense in the Word which does not appear in the letter, cannot be believed. In this way men's minds have been closed.

(Arcana Cœlestia 4844:17)

October 3, 2017

A Shell Without A Kernel

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.  And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.  So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.  And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.  So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand.  And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.  And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son.  For thus saith the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth.  And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days.  And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Elijah.       (1 Kings 17:1-16)

What is related of Elijah, that when there was a famine for want of rain in the land he was sent to Zarephath to a widow, and that he asked of her a little cake, which she was first to make and to give to him, and was afterwards to make for herself and her son, and that then the barrel of meal with her was not consumed, and the cruse of oil did not fail, was representative, like all the other things related of Elijah, and in general all that are in the Word.

• The famine that was in the land because there was no rain, represented the vastation of truth in the church...
• The widow in Zarephath represented those outside of the church who desire truth.
• The cake which she was to make for him first, represented the good of love to the Lord... whom, out of the little she had, she was to love above herself and her son.
• The barrel of meal signifies truth from good...
• The cruse of oil charity and love...
• Elijah represents the Word, by means of which such things are done ...

This is meant also, in the internal sense, by the Lord's words in Luke:
No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there was a great famine over all the land; but unto none of them was Elijah sent, except to Zarephath of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow (Luke 4:24-26);
that is, to those without the church who desire truth. But the widows within the vastated church, to whom Elijah was not sent, are they who are not in truth, because not in good, for wherever there is no good there is also no truth, however much truth may appear with them in outer form like truth, and yet be as a shell without a kernel.
(Arcana Cœlestia 4844:12, 13)