January 17, 2018

Only Those Who Have Faith Are In Heaven

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is one thing to know truths, and quite another to acknowledge them, and still another to have faith in them.
To know is the first thing of regeneration, to acknowledge is the second, to have faith is the third.
What difference there is between knowing, acknowledging, and having faith is evident from the fact that the worst men may know, and yet not acknowledge, like the Jews and those who attempt to destroy doctrinal things by specious reasoning; and that unbelievers may acknowledge, and in certain states preach, confirm, and persuade with zeal; but none can have faith who are not believers.

Those who have faith — know, acknowledge, and believe — they have charity, and they have conscience. Therefore faith can never be predicated of anyone, that is, it cannot be said that he has faith, unless these things are true of him. This then it is to be regenerate. Merely to know what is of faith is of a man's memory, without the concurrence of his reason. To acknowledge what is of faith is a rational consent induced by certain causes and for the sake of certain ends. But to have faith is of conscience, that is, of the Lord working through conscience. This is abundantly evident from those who are in the other life. Those who only know are many of them in hell. Those who acknowledge are also many of them there, because their acknowledgment in the life of the body has been in certain states only, and when in the other life they perceive that what they had preached, taught, and persuaded others is true, they wonder greatly and acknowledge it only when it is recalled to their memory as what they had preached. But those who have had faith are all in heaven.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 896)

January 16, 2018

The Inexpressible Power of the Word

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Hardly anyone at this day knows that there is any power in truths; for truth is supposed to be nothing more than a statement uttered by someone in authority, which ought for that reason to be obeyed; thus truth is supposed to be like a mere breath from the mouth or sound in the ear; and yet truth and good are the principles of all things in both worlds, the spiritual and the natural; also they are the means by which the universe was created, and through which the universe is preserved, and the means as well by which man was created; therefore these two are the all in all things. That the universe was created by Divine truth, is clearly declared in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and God was the Word; by It were all things made that were made and by It the world was made (John 1:1, 3, 10).
And in David:
By the Word of Jehovah were the heavens made (Ps. 33:6).
In both of these passages "The Word" means the Divine truth. As the universe was created by this truth, so also was the universe preserved by it; for as subsistence is perpetual existence, so preservation is perpetual creation.

It was by means of Divine truth that man was made, because all things in man have relation to understanding and will, the understanding being the receptacle of Divine truth, and the will of Divine good; therefore, the human mind — which consists of those two principles — is nothing but a form of Divine good and Divine truth spiritually and naturally organized. The human brain is that form. And as the whole of man depends upon his mind, so all things of his body are appendages, which are moved by these two principles, and life from them.

From all this it can now be seen why God came into the world as the Word, and became Man, namely, that the work of redemption might be accomplished; for God then, by means of His Human, which was Divine truth, put on all power, overthrew the hells (which had grown up even as far as to the heavens where the angels were), and subjugated them, and reduced them to obedience to Himself, and this was done not by a spoken word but by the Divine Word which is Divine truth. Afterward He opened a great gulf between the hells and the heavens, which no one from hell can cross; if anyone attempts it, at the first step he is tortured like a serpent laid on a sheet of hot iron, or on an ant hill. For at the first approach of the odor of Divine truth the devils and satans instantly cast themselves into the abyss and throw themselves into caves and stop them up so closely that not a crevice is visible. This is because the will of such is in evils, and the understanding in falsities, that is, in what is opposite to the Divine good and the Divine truth. And because the whole of man, as just said, consists of these two principles of life, they are thus from head to foot, completely and grievously overpowered in consequence of their sensation of the opposite.

From all this it can be seen that the power of Divine truth is inexpressible. And as the Word which the Christian church possesses is the containant of Divine truth in three degrees, that Word is evidently what is meant in John (1:1, 3, 10). That its power is inexpressible I could prove by many evidences of experience in the spiritual world.... The following will serve to keep these truths in remembrance:
  • That a church that is in Divine truths from the Lord has power over the hells
  • The Lord's words to Peter refer to such a church:
    Upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
    (Matt. 16:18).
This the Lord said after Peter had confessed,

That He was the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16).
"Rock" here means such truth, for everywhere in the Word "rock" means the Lord in respect to Divine truth.
(True Christian Religion 224)

January 15, 2018

Of These The Human Mind Consists

Selection from New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
THE WILL AND THE UNDERSTANDING
Man has two faculties which make his life; one is called the Will, and the other the Understanding. These faculties are distinct from each other, but are so created that they may be one; and when they are one they are called the Mind. Of these, then, the human mind consists; and the whole life of man is there.

As all things in the universe, which are according to Divine order, have relation to good and truth, so all things with man have relation to the will and the understanding; for good with man is of his will, and truth with him is of his understanding; for these two faculties, or these two lives of man, are their receptacles and subjects. The will is the receptacle and subject of all things of good, and the understanding the receptacle and subject of all things of truth. Goods and truths with man are nowhere else; and because goods and truths with man are nowhere else, so neither are love and faith elsewhere; for love is of good, and good is of love; and faith is of truth, and truth is of faith.

Since, then, all things in the universe have relation to good and truth, and all things of the church to the good of love and the truth of faith; and since man is man from those two faculties, therefore they also are treated of in this doctrine; otherwise man could have no distinct idea of them, on which to found his thought.

The will and the understanding also constitute the spirit of man; for his wisdom and intelligence, and his life in general, reside in them; the body is only obedience.

Nothing is more important to know than how the will and the understanding make one mind. They make one mind as good and truth make one; for there is a similar marriage between the will and the understanding as there is between good and truth. What is the quality of that marriage may fully appear from what has been quoted above, concerning good and truth, namely, as good is the very esse of a thing, and truth the existere of a thing thence derived, so the will with man is the very esse of his life, and the understanding the existere of life thence; for good, which is of the will, forms and renders itself visible in the understanding.

They who are in good and truth have will and understanding, but they who are in evil and in falsity have not will and understanding; but instead of will they have cupidity, and instead of understanding they have science. For the truly human will is the receptacle of good, and the understanding is the receptacle of truth; for which reason will cannot be predicated of evil, nor can understanding be predicated of falsity, because they are opposites, and opposites destroy each other. Hence it is, that the man who is in evil and thence in falsity, cannot be called rational, wise, and intelligent.

With the evil, also, the interiors of the mind, in which the will and the understanding principally reside, are closed. It is believed that the evil also have will and understanding, because they say that they will, and that they understand; but their willing is only cupidity, and their understanding is only knowing.
(New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine 28-34)

January 14, 2018

Spiritual Sight

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Spiritual sight abstracted from such things as are of the world is nothing else than a perception of truth, or of the things of faith; and therefore in the internal sense nothing else is signified by "seeing." For the internal sense comes forth when the things of the world are removed, because the internal sense relates to such things as are of heaven. The light of heaven, by which is sight there, is Divine truth from the Lord, which appears before the eyes of the angels as light, a thousand times brighter than the midday light in the world; and as this light has life in it, therefore at the same time that it illumines the eyesight of the angels, it illumines also the sight of their understanding, and causes a perception of truth in accordance with the amount and quality of the good in which they are.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 5400)

January 12, 2018

Rewarded According to Their Doings

Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves.

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings.

Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.
(Isaiah 3:9-11)

January 11, 2018

The Greatest in Heaven

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In heaven, he is greatest who is least, because he who would be the least has the greatest happiness, and consequently is the greatest, for what is it to be the greatest except to be the most happy? it is this that the powerful seek by power, and the rich by riches.

Heaven does not consist in desiring to be the least in order to be the greatest, for in that case the person is really aspiring and wishing to be the greatest; but that heaven consists in this, that from the heart we wish better for others than for ourselves, and desire to be of service to others in order to promote their happiness, and this for no selfish end, but from love.
(Arcana Cœlestia 452)

January 7, 2018

Perception in Spiritual Things

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There is with every man a capacity of perceiving whether a thing is so or is not so. The capacity of drawing a conclusion within himself, or in his own mind, causes a thing to be perceived. This capacity is utterly impossible unless there is influx from the spiritual world. In this gift one man excels another. They who excel less are they who within themselves or in their own mind conclude and thus perceive but little; but say that a thing is so because others in whom they have faith have said so. But they who excel more are they who see, not from others, but from themselves, that the thing is so; for in very deed, the perception which exists with every man is one in worldly things, but not at the present day with anyone in spiritual things. The reason is that the spiritual which flows in and causes perception has been obscured and almost extinguished by the delights of the love of the world and of self; and therefore neither do they care for spiritual things, except insofar as is of duty and of custom; and if fear from duty, and delight from custom, were taken away, they would spurn, feel aversion for, and even deny them.

He who would have perception in spiritual things must be in the affection of truth from good, and must continually long to know truths. Thereby his intellectual is enlightened, and when the intellectual has been enlightened, then it is given him to perceive something inwardly within himself. But he who is not in the affection of truth, knows that which he knows to be so, from the teaching of the church to which he joins his faith, and because a priest, presbyter, or monk has said so. From all this it is evident what perception is, and that it exists in worldly things, but not in spiritual things; as is further evident from the fact that everyone remains in the doctrine in which he was born, even they who were born Jews, and also they who are outside the church, although they live within it. Moreover they who are in any heresy, if told the veriest truths, and if these were also confirmed, they would nevertheless perceive not one whit of their truth: they would appear to them as falsities.
(Arcana Cœlestia ~5937)

January 5, 2018

Enlightenment from the Lord

Selection from Doctrine of the Sacred Scriptures ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Genuine truth, which is to be the source of doctrine, is manifest in the sense of the letter of the Word only to those who are enlightened by the Lord.

Enlightenment comes from the Lord alone and is granted to those who love truths because they are truths, and who apply them to the uses of life; with others, there is no enlightenment in the Word.

Enlightenment comes from the Lord alone, because the Lord is in all things of the Word.

Enlightenment is granted to those who love truths because they are truths, and who apply them to the uses of life because they are in the Lord, and the Lord in them. For the Lord is His own Divine Truth; and when this is loved because it is Divine Truth — and this is loved when it is applied to use — then the Lord is present in it with man. These things the Lord also teaches in John:
At that day ye shall know ... that ye are in me, and I in you.
He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he is it that loveth me ... and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him ... And I will come to him and make my abode with him
.
  John 14:20, 21, 23
And in Matthew:
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.  Matt. 5:8
These are they who are enlightened when they read the Word, and with whom the Word is lucid and transparent.
(Doctrine of the Sacred Scriptures 57)

January 4, 2018

By Virtue of Influx from the Internal, Perception in the External

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The natural subsists and lives by virtue of influx from the internal, that is, through the internal from the Lord. For without influx thence the natural has no life, because it [the natural] is in the nature of this world, and from this derives all that it has.  The nature of this world is utterly devoid of life; and therefore in order that the natural with man may live, there must be influx from the Lord, not only immediate from Him, but also mediate through the spiritual world, consequently into man's internal, for this is in the spiritual world.  Then from this there must be influx into the natural, in order that this may live. The natural of man is formed to receive life therefrom. ... By virtue of influx from the internal there comes forth perception in the external or natural ... for influx and perception correspond to each other.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 6063)

January 3, 2018

The Truth of Faith is Subordinated to the Good of Charity

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... truth and good cannot but be obscure, and perchance of such a nature as not to be acknowledged; especially with those who put the truths of faith in the first place, and the good of charity in the second; and who consequently think much about doctrinal things, but not about the goods of charity; and think of eternal salvation as being from the former [truths of faith], but not from the latter [goods of charity]. They who think in this manner can in no wise know, still less perceive, that the truth of faith is subordinated to the good of charity.
The things which man thinks, and from which he thinks, affect him.
If he should think from the goods of charity, he would then plainly see that the truths of faith are in the second place and he would then also see the truths themselves as in light; for the good of charity is like a flame that gives light, and thus enlightens each and all things which the man had before supposed to be true; and he would also perceive how falsities had intermingled themselves, and had put on the appearance of being truths.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 4245)

January 2, 2018

Seven Things Which Might Be Known

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The things which they might have known of themselves had they chosen to use their reason, are the following:
  • First, that when man is divested of his body, he comes into the full exercise of a much more enlightened understanding than when living in the body, for the reason that while he is in the body, corporeal and worldly things occupy his thoughts, which induce obscurity; but when he is divested of the body, such things do not interfere, and it is with him as with those who are in interior thought by abstraction of the mind from the things of the outward senses. From this they might know that the state after death is much more clear-sighted and enlightened than the state before death; and that when a man dies, he passes comparatively from shade into light, because he passes from the things of the world to those of heaven, and from the things of the body to those of the spirit. But wonderful to say, although they are able to understand all this, they nevertheless think the contrary, namely, that the state of life in the body is relatively clear, and that the state of life after being divested of the body is relatively obscure.
  • The Second thing that they may know if they will use their reason, is that the life which man has procured for himself in the world follows him; that is, he is in such a life after death. For they may know that without dying altogether no one can put off the life which he has acquired from infancy; and that this life cannot be changed into another in a moment, still less into an opposite one. For example: he who has acquired a life of deceit, and has found in this the delight of his life, cannot put off the life of deceit, but is still in that life after death. He who is in the love of self, and thereby in hatred and revenge against those who do not serve him, and those who are in other such evils, remains in them after the life of the body; for these are the things which they love, and which constitute the delights of their life, and consequently their veriest life; and therefore such things cannot be taken away from them without at the same time extinguishing all their life. And so in other cases.
  • The Third thing which a man may know of himself, is that when he passes into the other life he leaves many things behind which have no place there, such as cares for food, for clothing, for a place of abode, and also for gaining money and wealth, as well as for being exalted to dignities, all of which are so much thought of by man in the life of the body; but in the other life are succeeded by others that are not of this earthly kingdom.
  • Therefore the Fourth thing a man can know is that he who in the world has thought solely of such worldly things, so that he has been wholly possessed by them, and has acquired delight of life in them alone, is not fitted to be among those whose delight is to think about heavenly things, that is, about the things of heaven.
  • From this follows also a Fifth thing; namely, that when the externals of the body and the world are taken away, the man is then such as he has been inwardly; that is, he so thinks and so wills. If his thoughts have inwardly been deceits, machinations, aspiration for dignities, for gains, and for fame thereby; if they have been hatreds and revenges and the like, it can be seen that he will still think such things, thus the things that belong to hell, however much he might for the sake of the before-mentioned ends have concealed his thoughts from men, and thus appeared outwardly to be worthy, while leading others to believe that he had not such things at heart. That all such externals, or simulations of worth, are also taken away in the other life, may likewise be known from the fact that outward things are put off together with the body, and are no longer of any use. From this everyone may conclude for himself what kind of a man he will then appear to the angels.
  • The Sixth thing that may be known is that heaven, or the Lord through heaven, is continually working and inflowing with good and truth; and that if there is not then in men-in their interior man which lives after the death of the body-some recipient of good and truth, as a ground or plane, the good and truth that flow in cannot be received; and for this reason man while living in the body ought to be solicitous to procure such a plane within himself; but this cannot be procured except by thinking what is good toward the neighbor, and by willing what is good to him, and therefore doing what is good to him, and thus by acquiring the delight of life in such things. This plane is acquired by means of charity toward the neighbor, that is, by means of mutual love; and is what is called conscience. Into this plane the good and truth from the Lord can inflow, and be received therein; but not where there is no charity, and consequently no conscience; for there the inflowing good and truth pass through, and are turned into evil and falsity.
  • The Seventh thing that a man can know of himself, is that love to God and love toward the neighbor are what make man to be man, distinct from brute animals; and that they constitute heavenly life, or heaven; while their opposites constitute infernal life, or hell.

But the reason why a man does not know these things is that he does not desire to know them, because he lives the opposite life, and also because he does not believe in the life after death; and likewise because he has taken up with principles of faith, but none of charity; and consequently believes in accordance with the doctrinal teachings of many, that if there is a life after death, he can be saved by faith, no matter how he has lived, even if his faith is received in his dying hour.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 3957)