January 22, 2021

The Lot of Those After Death, Who are Useless

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A Memorable Relation

Concerning the lot of those after death
who have confirmed themselves in faith alone even to justification, both in doctrine and life.

1. When they are dead and revive as to the spirit, which generally takes place on the third day after the heart has ceased to beat, they appear to themselves in a body like that which they had before in the world, even so that they know no otherwise than that they are living in the former world; yet they are not in a material body, but in a spiritual body, which appears before their senses, which are also spiritual, as if it was material, although it is not.

2. After some days they see that they are in a world where there are various societies instituted, which world is called the world of spirits, and is intermediate between heaven and hell. All the societies there, which are innumerable, are wonderfully arranged according to natural affections, good and evil. The societies arranged according to good natural affections communicate with heaven, and the societies arranged according to evil affections communicate with hell.

3. The novitiate spirit, or the spiritual man, is conducted and introduced to various societies, both good and evil, and is explored whether he is affected by truths, and how; and whether he is affected by falsities, and how.

4. If he is affected by truths, he is withdrawn from evil societies, and introduced into good societies, and also into various ones, until he comes into a society corresponding with his Own natural affection, and there he enjoys the good which agrees with that affection; and this until he has put off his natural affection and has put on a spiritual affection, and then he is elevated into heaven. But this takes place with those who in the world have lived a life of charity, and thus also a life of faith, which consists in believing in the Lord, and shunning evils as sins.

5. But they who have confirmed themselves in doctrine and life even to justification by FAITH ALONE, by reason of their not being affected by truths, but by falsities, and because they have rejected the goods of charity, which are good works, from the means of salvation, are withdrawn from good societies, and introduced into evil societies, and also into various ones, until they come into the society corresponding to the concupiscences of their love; for he who loves falsities cannot but love evils.

6. But because in the world they had feigned good affections in externals, although in their internals there was nothing but evil affections or concupiscences, they are at first kept by turns in externals; and they who in the world presided over companies of men, are here and there set over societies in the world of spirits, in general or in part according to the extent of the offices they had exercised: but because they neither love truth nor justice, nor are capable of being enlightened so as to know what truth and justice are, therefore after some days they are dismissed. I have seen such transferred from one society to another, and some administration given them in each, but after a short time as often are dismissed.

7. After frequent dismissals, some out of weariness will not, and others from the fear of losing reputation dare not, seek for offices anymore, therefore they withdraw, and sit sad, and then they are led away into a desert, where there are cottages, into which they enter, and work of some kind is given them to do, and as they do it, they receive food, and if they do not do it, they are hungry and receive none, wherefore necessity compels. Food there is similar to the food in our world, but it is from a spiritual origin, and is given from heaven by the Lord to all according to the uses they perform; to the idle, nothing is given, because they are useless.

8. After some time they loathe work, and then they go out of the cottages; and if they have been priests, they desire to build; and there appear then immediately heaps of hewn stones, bricks, rafters, and boards, also heaps of reeds and bulrushes, clay, lime, and bitumen, which when they see, the lust of building is kindled, and they begin to construct a house, taking now a stone, and then wood, now a reed, and then clay, and placing them one upon another without order; but in their own sight in order. But what they build by day falls down by night; and the next day they collect from the rubbish, and build again, and this they continue to do, until they are tired of building. This is done, because they have collected together falsities to confirm salvation by faith alone, and such falsities do not build up the church in any other manner.

9. Afterwards from weariness they go away, and sit solitary and idle; and as the idle have no food given them from heaven, as was before observed, they begin to hunger, and they think of nothing else than how they may get food and satisfy their hunger. When they are in this state, there come to them some of whom they ask alms; and they say, Why do ye thus sit idle? come with us to our houses, and we will give you work to do, and we will feed you. And then they rise up gladly, and go with them to their houses, and there each has his work given him, and food for his work. But because all who have confirmed themselves in falsities of faith are unable to do works of good use, but only works of evil use, neither do they do these faithfully, but only so as to appear for the sake of honor or gain; therefore they leave their works, and only love to converse, talk, walk about, and sleep. And then, because they cannot any longer be induced by their masters to work, they are cast out as useless.

10. When they are cast out, their eyes are opened, and they see a way leading to a certain cavern. When they are come thither, the door is opened, and they enter, and inquire whether there is any food there; and when they receive for answer that there is, they ask leave to remain, and are told that they may, and are introduced and the door shut after them. And then the overseer of that cavern comes and says to them, Ye cannot go out hence anymore; behold your companions, they all labor, and as they labor food is given them from heaven. I tell you this that ye may know. And their companions also say, Our overseer knows what work each one is fitted for, and assigns it to each one daily; on the day you finish it, food is given you, but if you do not, neither food nor clothing is given; and if anyone does evil to another, he is cast into a corner of the cavern, upon a certain bed of accursed dust, where he is miserably tormented, until such time as the overseer sees signs of repentance in him, and then he is released, and commanded to do his work. He is told also, that everyone after his task is done is permitted to walk about, to converse, and afterwards to sleep. And he is led into an interior part of the cavern, where there are harlots, from among whom each is permitted to take one for his woman, and promiscuous whoredom is forbidden under punishment. Of such caverns, which are nothing but eternal workhouses, the entire hell consists. It has been granted to me to enter into and have a view of some of them, to the end that I might make it known, and they all were seen to be vile, neither did anyone of them know who, or in what office he had been in the world. But the angel who was with me, told me, that this one had been a servant in the world, this a soldier, this a governor, this a priest, this one in dignity, and that in opulence, and yet that none of them knew otherwise than that they had always been servants and had similar companions, for this reason, because they were all interiorly alike, although they had been unlike exteriorly, and interiors consociate all in the spiritual world. Such is the lot of those who have removed the life of charity, and who thence have not lived that life in the world.

11. With respect to the hells in general, they consist merely of such caverns and workhouses, but those inhabited by satans are different from those inhabited by devils. Satans are they who have been in falsities and thence in evils, and devils are they who have been in evils and thence in falsities. Satans appear in the light of heaven like corpses, and some of them black like mummies; and devils appear in the light of heaven of a dark and fiery color, and some of them black like soot; but they are all as to their faces and bodies, monstrous; yet in their own light, which is like the light of a coal fire, they appear not as monsters, but men: this is granted them that they may be consociated.

(Apocalypse Revealed 153)

January 21, 2021

The Faith of the New Church vs The Faith of the Former Church

Selection from Brief Exposition ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The faith of the New Church cannot by any means be together with the faith of the former church, and if they are together, such a collision and conflict will take place that everything of the Church with man will perish.

The reason why the faith of the New Church cannot by any means be together with the faith of the former or present church, is, because they do not agree together in one third, no, nor even in one tenth part. The faith of the former church is described in Revelation (chap. 12) by "the dragon," but the faith of the New Church by "the woman encompassed with the sun, having upon her head a crown of twelve stars, whom the dragon pursued, and at whom he cast water as a flood, that he might swallow her up." These two cannot be together in one city, much less in one house, consequently they cannot be together in one mind; and if they should be together, the unavoidable consequence must be, that the woman would be continually exposed to the anger and insanity of the dragon, and in fear lest he should devour her son; for it is said in Revelation, that:
The dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, in order to devour her offspring, and the woman, after she had brought forth, fled into the wilderness (Rev. 12:1, 4, 6, 14-17).
The faith of the former church is a faith of the night, for human reason has no perception of it; wherefore it is also said, that the understanding must be kept in obedience thereto; yea, it is not known whether it be within man or without him, because —
nothing of man's will and reason enters into it, no, nor charity, good works, repentance, the Law of the Decalogue, with many other things which really exist in the mind of man. ...
But the faith of the New Church enters into a conjugial covenant with all these, and conjoins itself to them; and because it is thus in the heat of heaven, it is also in the light thereof, and is a faith of light.

Now a faith of night and a faith of light cannot be together any more than an owl and a dove in one nest. For in such case the owl would lay her eggs, and the dove hers, and after sitting, the young of both would be hatched, and then the owl would tear in pieces the young of the dove, and would give them to her own young for food; for the owl is a bird of prey.

There is a further reason why the faith of the former church and the faith of the New Church cannot possibly be together, and that is, because they are heterogeneous; for the faith of the former church springs from an idea of three gods, but the faith of the New Church from the idea of one God; and as there hence arises a heterogeneity between them, there must inevitably, if they are together, be such a collision and conflict, that everything of the church would perish; that is, man would either fall into a delirium or into a swoon, as to spiritual things, until at length he would scarcely know what the church is, or whether there be any church.

From what has been said, it follows, that they who have confirmed themselves in the faith of the old church, cannot, without endangering their spiritual life, embrace the faith of the New Church, until they first have disproved its particulars, and thus have extirpated the former faith, together with its offspring or eggs, that is, its dogmas.

(from Brief Exposition 102 - 103)

January 20, 2021

Charity in One's Piety

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

With the man of the church there must be the life of piety, and there must be the life of charity: they must be joined together. The life of piety without the life of charity is profitable for nothing; but the former together with the latter is profitable for all things.
The life of piety is to think piously and to speak piously, to devote oneself much to prayers, to behave humbly at such times, to frequent places of worship, and while there to listen devoutly to the preachings, to engage in the sacrament of the Supper frequently every year, and in like manner in all other things of worship, according to the ordinances of the church.

But the life of charity is to wish well and to do well to the neighbor, to act from what is just and fair, and from what is good and true, in every work, in like manner in everything we do; in a word, the life of charity consists in performing uses.
The veriest worship of the Lord consists in the life of charity, but not in the life of piety without this. The life of piety without the life of charity is to wish to have regard for oneself alone, not for the neighbor; but the life of piety with the life of charity is to wish to have regard for oneself for the sake of the neighbor. The former life is from love toward self, but the latter is from love toward the neighbor.

That to do what is good is to worship the Lord, is evident from the Lord's words in Matthew: "Everyone who heareth My words, and doeth them, I will compare to a prudent man; but everyone that heareth My words, and doeth them not, shall be compared to a foolish man" (7:24, 26).

Moreover, a man is such as is the life of his charity; but not such as is the life of his piety without this.

Consequently, the life of charity remains with the man to eternity; but not the life of piety, except insofar as the latter is in agreement with the former. That the life of charity remains with the man to eternity, is also evident from the Lord's words in these passages:
The Son of man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He will render to everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).

They shall go forth; they who have done goods, into the resurrection of life; but they who have done evils, into the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29).

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (Matt. 25:31-46.)
By the life through which the Lord is chiefly worshiped, is meant a life according to His injunctions in the Word, for by these man is acquainted with what faith is and what charity is:  this life is the Christian life, and is called spiritual life.

But a life according to the laws of what is just and honorable, without that life, is a civil and a moral life:  this life makes a man to be a citizen of the world; but the other to be a citizen of heaven.

(from Arcana Coelestia 8252 - 8257)

January 18, 2021

The Doctrinals of the New Church

Selection from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

A New Church, meant by the New Jerusalem
coming down from God out of heaven (Revelation 20 - 21)

Those who embrace the doctrinals of that Church,
the Lord will grant love truly conjugial.
Regarded in itself, love is nothing but a desire and thence a striving for conjunction, and conjugial love for conjunction into a one. (excerpt from Conjugial Love 37)
Since the Lord's coming He is reviving conjugial love, as it was among the ancient peoples, because that love comes only from the Lord, and is present with those who are under His guidance becoming spiritual by means of the Word. (excerpt from Conjugial Love 81)
Love Truly Conjugial
Few know from what origin comes forth conjugial love. They who think from the world believe that it comes forth from nature; but they who think from heaven believe that it comes forth from the Divine in heaven.

Love truly conjugial is the union of two minds, which is a spiritual union; and all spiritual union descends from heaven. From this it is that love truly conjugial is from heaven, and that its first being is from the marriage of good and truth there. The marriage of good and truth in heaven is from the Lord; wherefore in the Word the Lord is called the "Bridegroom" and "Husband," while heaven and the church are called the "bride" and "wife;" and therefore heaven is compared to a marriage. (Arcana Coelestia 10167 - 10168)

The Doctrinals of the Faith and Charity of the New Church

I. That there is one God, in whom is the Divine Trinity, and that He is the Lord Jesus Christ.

II. That saving faith is to believe in Him.

III. That evils are to be shunned because they are of the devil and from the devil.

IV. That goods are to be done because they are of God and from God.

V. That these are to be done by man as of himself, but that he must believe that they are done by the Lord with him and through him.

Proof of the first point, that God is one, in whom is the Divine Trinity, and He is the Lord Jesus Christ —

Is not God one and indivisible? Is there not a Trinity? If God is one and indivisible, is He not one person? If one person, is not the Trinity in that person?

That He is the Lord Jesus Christ, I prove by these teachings; That:

He was conceived of God the Father (Luke 1:34, 35); so that as to the soul He is God, and hence, as He Himself says: The Father and He are one (John 10:30).That He is in the Father and the Father in Him (John 14:10, 11). That He that seeth Him and knoweth Him, seeth and knoweth the Father (John 14:7, 9). That no one seeth and knoweth the Father but He who is in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18). That all things of the Father are His (John 3:35; 16:15). That He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no man cometh to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). Thus He is from Him because He is in Him; and according to the teaching of Paul, that: - In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9). And besides we are taught that: - He hath power over all flesh (John 17:2); and that: He hath all power in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18), from which it follows that He is the God of heaven and earth.

Proof of the second, That saving faith is to believe in Him —

I replied, "I prove it by these words of the Lord Himself: This is the will of the Father, that all who believe in the Son shall have everlasting life (John 6:40). God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). He that believeth in the Son hath everlasting life; but he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the anger of God abideth on him (John 3:36)."

Proof of the third also, and the following ones

What need is there to prove that evils ought to be shunned because they are of the devil and from the devil?' And that goods ought to be done because they are of God and from God?' And that these things ought to be done by man as if of himself, yet that he ought to believe that they are done from the Lord with him and through him?

That these three doctrines are true the whole of the Sacred Scripture confirms from beginning to end. What else does it contain in summary, but admonition to shun evils and do goods, and to believe in the Lord God? And moreover, without these three there is no religion. Is not religion a matter of life? And what is life but the shunning of evils and doing goods? And how can a man do these and believe these except as of himself? Therefore if you take these doctrines away from the church you take from it the Sacred Scriptures, and you also take away religion from it which being removed from the church it is not a church.

(from Conjugial Love 82)

January 17, 2021

Cultivating The Rational

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The genuine rational consists of truths and not of falsities; whatever consists of falsities is not rational.

There are three kinds of truths, civil, moral, and spiritual. —

• Civil truths relate to matters of judgment and of government in kingdoms, and in general to what is just and equitable in them.
• Moral truths pertain to the matters of everyone's life which have regard to companionships and social relations, in general to what is honest and right, and in particular to virtues of every kind.
• Spiritual truths relate to matters of heaven and of the Church, and in general to the good of love and the truth of faith.

In every man there are three degrees of life. —

The rational is opened to the first degree by civil truths, to the second degree by moral truths, and to the third degree by spiritual truths. But it ought to be known that the rational that consists of these truths is not formed and opened by man's knowing them, but by his living according to them; and by living according to them is meant loving them from spiritual affection; and to love truths from spiritual affection is:
• to love what is just and equitable because it is just and equitable
• what is honest and right because it is honest and right
• what is good and true because it is good and true
while living according to them and loving them from the bodily affection is to love them for the sake of self and for the sake of one's reputation, honour or gain. Consequently, so far as man loves these truths from a bodily affection he fails to become rational, for he loves, not them, but himself; and the truths are made to serve him as servants serve their lord; and when truths become servants they do not enter the man and open any degree of his life, not even the first, but merely rest in the memory as knowledges under a material form, and there conjoin themselves with the love of self, which is a bodily love.

From these things it can be confirmed how man becomes rational, namely, that he becomes rational to the third degree by a spiritual love of the good and truth which pertain to heaven and the Church, to the second degree by a love of what is honest and right, and to the first degree by a love of what is just and equitable. These two latter loves also become spiritual from a spiritual love of good and truth, because that love flows into them and conjoins itself to them and forms in them, as it were, its own semblance.

(from Heaven and Hell 468)

January 15, 2021

Turning To One's Own Love

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

• Before the evil are cast down into hell they are devastated of truths and goods, and when these have been taken away they are of themselves carried into hell.
• The Lord does not devastate them, but they devastate themselves.
• Every evil has in it what is false; therefore those who are in evil are also in falsity, although some do not know it. Those who are in evil must needs think what is false when they think from themselves. All who are in hell speak falsities from evil.

All who are in the hells are in evils and in falsities therefrom, and no one there is in evils and at the same time in truths.

For the most part, evil men in the world have some knowledge of spiritual truths, which are the truths of the Church, having been taught them from childhood and later through preaching and the reading of the Word; and afterwards, they have talked about them. Some have even led others to believe that they are Christians at heart because of their knowing how to speak with pretended affection from truths, also how to act honestly as if from spiritual faith. But those among them whose interior thoughts have been hostile to these truths, and who have refrained from doing the evils that were in harmony with their thoughts, only because of the civil laws, or with a view to reputation, honors, and gain, are all of them evil in heart, and are in truths and goods not in respect of their spirit but only in respect of their body.

Consequently, when their externals are taken away from them in the other life, and the internals that their spirit had are revealed, they are wholly in evils and falsities, and not at all in truths and goods.
It is clear that truths and goods resided only in their memory merely as things known, and that they brought them forth therefrom when talking, pretending to the goods seemingly from spiritual love and faith.
When such are let into their internals and thus into their evils they are no longer able to speak what is true, but only what is false, since they speak from evils; for to speak true things from evils is then impossible, since the spirit is nothing but his own evil, and from evil that which is false goes forth.

Every evil spirit is reduced to this state before he is cast into hell. This is called being vastated in respect of truths and goods. Vastation is simply being let into one's internals, that is, into what is the spirit's proprium, or into the spirit itself.

When a man after death is such, he is no longer a man-spirit, as he was in his first state, but is truly a spirit; for he is truly a spirit who has a face and body corresponding to his internals which pertain to his mind (animus), that is, has an external form that is a type or effigy of his internals. A spirit is such after he has passed through the first and second states; consequently, when he is looked upon, his character is at once known, not only from his face but also from his body, and even more so from his speech and movements; and as he is then in himself he can be nowhere else than where his like are.

For in the spiritual world, there is a complete sharing of affections and the thoughts therefrom, and in consequence, a spirit is conveyed to his like as if of himself, since it is done from his own affection and its delight. In fact, he turns himself in that direction; for thus he inhales his own life or draws his breath freely, which he cannot do when he turns another way. It ought to be known that this sharing with others in the spiritual world is effected in accordance with the turning of the face, and that each one has constantly before his face those who are in a love like his own, and this in every turning of the body.

In consequence of this, all infernal spirits turn themselves backwards from the Lord towards the dense blackness and the darkness that are there in place of the sun and moon of this world, while all the angels of heaven turn themselves to the Lord as the Sun of heaven and as the Moon of heaven. From these things now it can be established that all who are in the hells are in evils and in falsities therefrom; also that they are turned to their own loves.

(from Heaven and Hell 551 - 552)

January 14, 2021

The Faith of The New Heaven and The New Church

Selection from Brief Exposition ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Stand in the gate of the house of Jehovah, and proclaim there this word: Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, the God of Israel: Render good your ways and your words; trust ye not upon the words of a lie, saying, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah is here [that is, the church]. Will ye steal, kill, commit adultery, and swear falsely, and after that come and stand before Me in this house, whereon My name is called, and say, we are delivered, whilst ye do all these abominations? Is not this house become a den of robbers? Even I behold, I have seen, saith Jehovah.  Jeremiah (7:2-4, 9-11)


That the Lord from eternity who is Jehovah, came into the world that He might subdue the hells, and glorify His Human; and that without this no mortal could have been saved; and that they are saved who believe in Him.

It is said in the universal form, because this is the universal of faith, and the universal of faith is what must enter into each and all things.

It is a universal of faith, that God is one in essence and Person, in whom is the Trinity, and that the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ is He.

It is a universal of faith, that no mortal could have been saved, unless the Lord had come into the world. It is a universal of faith, that He came into the world to remove hell from man, and He removed it by combats against it, and by victories over it; thus He subdued it, and reduced it to order, and under obedience to Himself.

It is a universal of faith, that He came into the world to glorify the Human which He assumed in the world, that is, to unite it with the Divine from which it was; thus, having subdued hell, He keeps it in order and under obedience to Himself to eternity. Inasmuch as both these could only be effected by means of temptations admitted into His Human, even to the last, which was the passion of the cross, therefore He endured that.

These are the universals of faith concerning the Lord.

The universal of Christian faith on man's part is, that he should believe in the Lord, for by believing in Him conjunction with Him is effected, and by conjunction salvation. To believe in Him, is to have confidence that He will save; and because none can have such confidence but he who lives well, therefore this is also meant by believing in Him.


That Jehovah God is love itself and wisdom itself, or that He is good itself and truth itself; and that as to the Divine truth itself, which is the Word, and which was God with God, He came down and assumed the Human, for the purpose of restoring to order all things which were in heaven, and all things which were in hell, and all things which were in the church; inasmuch as at that time, the power of the devil, that is, of hell, prevailed over the power of heaven, and on earth the power of evil over the power of good; and thence a total damnation stood before the door and threatened. This impending damnation Jehovah God removed by His Human, which was the Divine truth, and thus He redeemed both angels and men; and afterwards He united in His Human the Divine truth to the Divine good, and thus He returned into His Divine, in which He was from eternity, together with His glorified Human. This is signified by these words in John:
The Word was with God, and God was the Word; and the Word became flesh (John 1:1, 14).
And by this in the same:
I went forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and go to the Father (John 16:28).
Hence it appears, that without the coming of the Lord into the world, no one could have been saved. The case is similar at this day; wherefore, unless the Lord come again into the world in Divine truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved.

The particulars of faith on the part of man are these:

I. That God is one, in whom is the Divine Trinity, and that He is the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ.
II. That saving faith is to believe in Him.
III. That evils ought to be shunned, because they are of the devil and from the devil.
IV. That goods ought to be done, because they are of God and from God.
V. And that they should be done by man as of himself, but that he must believe that they are from the Lord with him and through him.

The first two have relation to faith; the next two to charity; and the fifth respects the conjunction of charity and faith, and thereby of the Lord and man.

(Brief Exposition 116 - 117)