March 24, 2017

Truly Wise or Insane

Selection from Interaction of Soul and Body ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The man who is affected with the love of wisdom is like the garden in Eden, in which there are two trees, the one of life, and the other of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is the reception of love and wisdom from God, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the reception of them from self. The man who receives them in the latter fashion is insane, yet still believes himself to be wise like God; but he that receives them in the former method is truly wise, and believes no one to be wise but God alone, and that a man is wise so far as he believes this, and still more so as he feels that he wills it.

... All the angels of heaven turn the front of the head towards the Lord as a sun, and all the angels of hell turn the back of the head to Him. The latter receive influx into the affections of their will, which in themselves are lusts, and make the understanding favour them; but the former receive influx into the affections of their understanding, and make the will favour them; these, therefore, are in wisdom, but the others in insanity. For the human understanding dwells in the cerebrum, which is behind the forehead, and the will in the cerebellum, which is in the back of the head.

Who does not know that a man who is insane through falsities favours the lusts of his own evil, and confirms them by reasons drawn from the understanding; whereas a wise man sees from truths the character of the lusts of his own will, and restrains them? A wise man does this, because he turns his face to God, that is, he believes in God, and not in himself; but an insane man does the other, because he turns his face from God, that is, he believes in himself, and not in God. To believe in one's self is to believe that one loves and is wise from self, and not from God, and this is signified by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; but to believe in God is to believe that one loves and is wise from God and not from self, and this is to eat of the tree of life -- He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Rev. 2:7).

(Interaction of Soul and Body 9:3-5)

March 23, 2017

What is meant by "the tree of life," what by "the tree of knowledge of good and evil," and what by "eating" of them?

From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A tree signifies man; and its fruit signifies the good of life. By the tree of life, therefore, is meant man living from God, or God living in man. And as love and wisdom, and charity and faith, or good and truth, make the life of God in man, these are meant by the tree of life, and from these man has life eternal. The like is signified by the tree of life of which it is given to eat, in Revelation 2:7:-  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

And Revelation 22:2 & 14:- 
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

By the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is signified the man who believes that he lives of himself, and not from God; thus, that love and wisdom, charity and faith, that is, good and truth, are in man, his own, and not of God, believing this, because he thinks and wills, and speaks and acts in all similitude and appearance as if from himself. And because from this belief man persuades himself that God has imparted Himself or infused His Divine into him, therefore the serpent said:-
God doth know that in the day that ye eat of the fruit of that tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).

By eating of those trees is signified reception and appropriation; by eating of the tree of life, the reception of life eternal; and by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the reception of condemnation, and therefore also both Adam and his wife, together with the serpent, were accursed.


By the serpent is meant the devil as to the love of self and the pride of one's own intelligence. This love is the possessor of that tree; and men who are in pride from this love are such trees. They therefore are in a monstrous error who believe that Adam was wise and did good from himself, and that this was his state of integrity; when in fact Adam was himself accursed on account of that belief, for this is signified by his eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore he then fell from the state of integrity, in which he was by virtue of believing that he was wise and did good from God, and not at all from himself; for this is meant by eating of the tree of life.


The Lord alone when He was in the world was wise of Himself and did good from Himself; because the Divine Itself was in Him and was His by nativity. And therefore also by His own power He became the Redeemer and Saviour.


From all that had been said they formed this conclusion: That by the tree of life, and by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and by eating of them, is signified that life with man is God in him; and that then it is heaven to him and eternal life. And that death to man is the persuasion and belief that the life he has is not God, but himself; from which belief comes hell to him and eternal death, which is damnation.

(Conjugial Love 135)

March 20, 2017

Activity in the World of Spirits

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In general there are with man spirits of such a quality as is the man himself.  If he is avaricious, there are spirits who are avaricious; if he is haughty, there are haughty spirits; if he is desirous of revenge, there are spirits of this character; if he is deceitful, there are the like spirits. Man summons to himself spirits from hell in accordance with his life. The hells are most exactly distinguished according to evils of cupidities, and according to all the differences of evil. Thus there is never any lack of spirits like himself to be called out and adjoined to a man who is in evil.

The evil spirits with man are indeed from the hells, but while they are with him they are not in hell, but taken out from thence. The place where they then are is midway between hell and heaven, and is called the World Of Spirits.... In this world called the world of spirits there are also good spirits who likewise are with man. Into that world also come men immediately after death, who after tarrying a while there, are either sent away into the lower earth, or are let down into hell, or taken up into heaven, each one according to his life. In that world, the hells are terminated above, being there closed or opened at the good pleasure of the Lord; and in that world, heaven is terminated below; thus it is an interval that distinguishes heaven from hell. From this it may now be known what the world of spirits is. When evil spirits who are with man are in that world, they are not in any infernal torment, but are in the delights of the love of self and of the world, as also of all the pleasures in which the man himself is; for they are in every thought and every affection of the man; but when they are sent back into their hell, they return into their former state.

(Arcana Coelestia 5851, 5852)

March 19, 2017

Life 'Variously Received' According to the Form of the Receiving Vessel

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The influx from the spiritual world into man is in general of such a nature that man cannot think or will anything of himself, but everything flows in; good and truth from the Lord through heaven, thus through the angels who are with the man; evil and falsity from hell, thus through the evil spirits who are with the man; and this into the man's thought and will. This I know will appear a very great paradox because it is contrary to the appearance; but experience itself shall declare how the matter stands.

No man, spirit, or angel ever has any life from himself, thus neither can he think and will from himself; because in thinking and willing is the life of man, and speaking and acting is the life thence derived. For there is one only life, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and indeed according to the quality which a man has induced on his soul by his life. Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities, but with the good they are received - goods as goods, and truths as truths. This may be compared to the light of the sun flowing into objects, which is modified and varied in them diversely according to the form of the parts, and thus is turned into colors, some sad and some cheerful. While a man lives in the world he induces a form on the purest substances of his interiors, so that it may be said that he forms his soul, that is, its quality; and according to this form is received the life of the Lord, which is the life of His love toward the universal human race.

(Arcana Coelestia 5846,5847)

March 16, 2017

Taught By The Lord

Passages from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14).

Every man is a man not from his face and body but from the good of his love and the truths of his wisdom; and because a man is a man from these, every man is also his own truth and his own good, or his own love and his own wisdom; and without these he is not a man.


But

[T]he Lord is Good itself and Truth itself, or, what is the same, Love itself and Wisdom itself; and these are the Word which in the beginning was with God and which was God, and which was made flesh.
Therefore to be taught from the Word is to be taught by the Lord Himself, because it is to be taught from Good itself and from Truth itself, or from Love itself and from Wisdom itself, which are the Word; but everyone is taught according to the understanding appropriate to his own love; what is taught beyond this does not remain.

All those who are taught by the Lord in the Word are instructed in a few truths while in the world, but in many when they become angels. For the interiors of the Word, which are Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, are implanted at the same time but are not opened in a man until after his death, when he is in heaven where he is in angelic wisdom; and this in comparison with human wisdom, that is, his former wisdom, is ineffable.


Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, which constitute angelic wisdom, are present in all things of the Word in general and in particular.

(Divine Providence 172:4,5)

March 14, 2017

The Natural Life Without The Spiritual Life

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[T]he essential life of man is his spiritual life, for it is through this that he is a man and is distinguished from beasts, which have only natural life. In man the natural life without the spiritual life is dead, since it has not in itself heaven, which is called "life" and "eternal life," but has hell, which is spiritually called "death." In the Word, the "dead" mean those who live a natural life only, and not at the same time a spiritual life; also "death," in reference to man, means a lack of the faculty of understanding truth and perceiving good; and this lack exists when the internal spiritual man has not been formed, for this is formed by means of truths from good. In that internal man the ability to understand truth and perceive good has its seat, for that man is in heaven and in its light, and he who is in the light of heaven is a living man. But when the natural man only has been formed, and not at the same time the spiritual, there is no faculty of understanding and perceiving the truths and goods of heaven and the church, because that man has no light from heaven. For this reason such a man is called "dead."
(Apocalypse Explained 694)

March 13, 2017

When External Worship is the Effect

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
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 - 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 Coelestia 1618)

March 11, 2017

Every Good Use is in Form a Man

Selection from On Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

So far as man is in the love of use, so far is he in the Lord, so far he loves the Lord and loves the neighbor, and so far he is a man.

From the love of uses we are taught what is meant by loving the Lord and loving the neighbor, also what is meant by being in the Lord and being a man.
  • To love the Lord means to do uses from Him and for His sake.
  • To love the neighbor means to do uses to the church, to one's country, to human society and to the fellow-citizen.
  • To be in the Lord means to be a use.
  • And to be a man means to perform uses to the neighbor from the Lord for the Lord's sake.
To love the Lord means to do uses from Him and for His sake, for the reason that all the good uses that man does are from the Lord; good uses are goods, and it is well known that these are from the Lord. Loving these is doing them, for what a man loves he does. No one can love the Lord in any other way; for uses, which are goods, are from the Lord, and consequently are Divine; yea they are the Lord Himself with man. These are the things that the Lord can love. The Lord cannot be conjoined by love to any man, and consequently cannot enable man to love Him, except through His own Divine things; for man from himself cannot love the Lord; the Lord Himself must draw him and conjoin him to Himself;
Therefore loving the Lord as a Person, and not loving uses, is loving the Lord from oneself, which is not loving.
He that performs uses or goods from the Lord performs them also for the Lord's sake. These things may be illustrated by the celestial love in which the angels of the third heaven are. These angels are in love to the Lord more than the angels in the other heavens are; and they have no idea that loving the Lord is anything else than doing goods which are uses, and they say that uses are the Lord with them. By uses they understand the uses and good works of ministry, administration, and employment, as well with priests and magistrates as with merchants and workmen; the good works that are not connected with their occupation they do not call uses; they call them alms, benefactions, and gratuities.

March 10, 2017

All Uses have for a Basis the Natural World

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The doctrinal things of memory-knowledges are doctrinal things from the literal sense of the Word, and are especially serviceable to those who are being initiated for the first time into more interior truths of the church, such as that widows, orphans, and the poor in the streets are the especial objects of beneficence; and also the precepts of the Decalogue.These and more are doctrinal things of memory-knowledges ...

Such doctrinal things, being the first that a man learns, afterward serve him as an ultimate plane; for when progress is being made to more internal things, they become ultimates. Moreover celestial and spiritual things actually terminate in these, for they as it were stand and rest upon them; because the spiritual world has as it were its feet and soles of the feet in the natural world, and with man in respect to his spiritual life has them in the doctrinal things of memory-knowledges, in like manner as the internal sense of the Word has them in its literal sense.

---
Lower things ought to serve interior ones. The lower things are the truths of the church in the natural, which are represented by the sons of Jacob; but that which is interior is spiritual good, which is represented by Israel their father. This being more interior, or what is the same, higher, ought to be served by exterior or lower things.
For lower things are formed for nothing else than to be things of service, for they are formed for the interior to live and act in them and through them, and indeed so that if the interior is taken away from them, they are nothing but vessels without life and action, thus altogether dead.
This is the case with the body relatively to its spirit, and therefore when the spirit withdraws, the body at once dies. Such also is the case with the external man relatively to the internal, and also with the internal man relatively to the Lord; for the internal man has been formed to receive life from the Lord, and is nothing else than an organ of His life. Consequently it is formed to serve the Lord for all the uses that love to Him and charity toward the neighbor demand, first in the natural world, and afterward in the spiritual world.
(Arcana Coelestia 5945;5947)

March 5, 2017

All Things of the Word Treat of the Lord

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Genesis 26:4, 5. And I will cause thy seed to be multiplied as the stars of the heavens, and I will give unto thy seed all these lands; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because that Abraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.

And kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws. That this signifies by means of continuous revelations from Himself - that is to say, as by means of temptations, so also by means of these revelations the Lord united the Divine Essence to the Human - is evident from the fact that these words, "keeping His charge, commandments, statutes, and laws," involve all things of the Word, namely, "charge," all things of the Word in general; "commandments," the internal things; "statutes," the external things; and "laws," all things specifically. Inasmuch as this is predicated of the Lord, who from eternity was the Word, and from whom all these things are, in the internal sense it cannot be signified that He observed these things, but that He revealed them to Himself when He was in a state of unition of the Human with the Divine.


These things do indeed appear at first view rather remote from the sense of the letter, and even from the proximate internal sense; but still when the words are read by man, this is their sense in heaven; ... in its ascent toward heaven the sense of the letter is put off; and instead of it another heavenly sense comes into view, so different that it cannot be known to be from the same source. For they who are in heaven are in the idea that in the internal sense all things of the Word treat of the Lord; and also that all things of the Word are from the Lord; likewise that when He was in the world the Lord thought from the Divine and thus from Himself, and acquired for Himself all intelligence and wisdom through continuous revelations from the Divine; and therefore from the above words they perceive nothing else.

For "keeping the charge, commandments, statutes, and laws" is not predicable of the Lord, because He Himself was the Word, consequently He Himself was the charge, He Himself was the commandment, He Himself the statute, and He Himself the law; for all these things have respect to Him as the First from whom they are derived, and as the Last to whom they tend.
Therefore in the supreme sense by the above words nothing else can be signified than the unition of the Lord's Divine with the Human, through continuous revelations from Himself. (That differently from other men the Lord thought from the Divine, thus from Himself, and that He acquired for Himself intelligence and wisdom by means of continuous revelations from the Divine.

March 3, 2017

Which Rules and Which Serves

Selection from New Jerusalem Heavenly Doctrine ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Everyone has an internal man and an external man; the internal is what is called the spiritual man, and the external is what is called the natural man, and each is to be regenerated, that the man may be regenerated. With the man who is not regenerated, the external or natural man rules, and the internal serves; but with the man who is regenerated, the internal or spiritual man rules, and the external serves. Whence it is manifest that the order of life is inverted with man from his birth, namely, that serves which ought to rule, and that rules which ought to serve. In order that man may be saved, this order must be inverted; and this inversion can by no means exist, but by regeneration from the Lord.

What it is for the internal man to rule and the external to serve, and vice versa, may be illustrated by this: If a man places all his good in pleasure, in gain, and in pride, and has delight in hatred and revenge, and inwardly in himself seeks for reasons which confirm them, then the external man rules and the internal serves. But when a man perceives good and delight in thinking and willing well, sincerely, and justly, and in outwardly speaking and doing in like manner, then the internal man rules and the external serves.

(NJHD 179 -180)

March 2, 2017

Prayers are Such as is the Character of the Man in Respect to His Life

From the Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Worship does not consist in prayers and in external devotion, but in a life of charity; prayers are only its externals, for they proceed from the man through his mouth, consequently men's prayers are such as they themselves are in respect to life. It matters not that a man bears himself humbly, that he kneels and sighs when he prays; for these are externals, and unless externals proceed from internals they are only gestures and sounds without life.
In each thing that a man utters there is affection, and every man, spirit, and angel is his own affection, for their affection is their life; it is the affection itself that speaks, and not the man without it; therefore such as the affection is such is the praying.
Spiritual affection is what is called charity towards the neighbor; to be in that affection is true worship; praying is what proceeds. From this it can be seen that the essential of worship is the life of charity, and that its instrumental is gesture and praying; or that the primary of worship is a life of charity, and its secondary is praying. From this it is clear that those who place all Divine worship in oral piety, and not in practical piety, err greatly.