November 30, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

November 29, 2017

There is No Charity Apart from Works of Charity

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

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

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

November 27, 2017

The Performance of Uses is Chiefly The Exercises of Charity

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

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

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

November 25, 2017

External Worship Being Merely The Effect

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

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

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

November 22, 2017

The Connection of Angles with Man

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

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

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

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

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

These words of the Lord also mean the same:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 21, 2017

Believing ... How Life is Lived

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

November 19, 2017

The Elevation of Truth into the Rational

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

November 18, 2017

Understanding the Lord's Omnipresence Denuded of Time and Space

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

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

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

November 16, 2017

The Substances or Forms are the Determining Subjects

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

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

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

November 14, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 13, 2017

See Truths in Appearances

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• The Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man. As this must needs seem obscure to those who have not yet gained a clear notion of what correspondence is and what appearance is, they must be illustrated by example, and thus explained.
All things of the Word are pure correspondences of spiritual and celestial things, and because they are correspondences they are also appearances; that is, all things of the Word are the Divine goods of the Divine love and the Divine truths of the Divine wisdom, which in themselves are naked, but in the sense of the letter of the Word are clothed. They therefore appear like a man in clothing that corresponds to the state of his love and wisdom. All this makes evident that when a man confirms appearances it is the same as asserting that the clothes are the man. It is thus that appearances are converted into fallacies. It is otherwise when man is seeking for truths and sees them in the appearances.
• Since, then, all uses, that is, the truths and goods of charity that a man does to the neighbor, may be done either in accordance with these appearances or in accordance with the truths themselves in the Word, when he does them in accordance with the appearances confirmed in himself he is in fallacies; but when he does them in accordance with truths he does them as he ought. All this makes clear what is meant when it is said that the Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man.
(Divine Providence 220:6 ,7)

November 10, 2017

Matters of Real Belief

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 9, 2017

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

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

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

November 8, 2017

When Prayer is Not Needed

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

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

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

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

November 5, 2017

Two Opposing Spheres

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

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

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

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

November 4, 2017

The Created Universe - An Image Representative of God-Man

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

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

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

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

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

November 3, 2017

Everyone's Life Remains After Death To Eternity

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 2, 2017

Degrees of Affections and of Uses

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

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

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

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

November 1, 2017

Affection First Become Something When In Act

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

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

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

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

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

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