December 4, 2019

The Mule of the Wilderness

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Representative of one who is endowed with such a rational
In the Word there is frequent mention of horses, horsemen, mules, and asses; and as yet no one has known that these signify things of the intellect, of the reason, and of memory-knowledge. That these animals and their riders have such a signification will of the Lord's Divine mercy be fully confirmed in the proper places. Of the same class is the "onager," for this is the mule of the wilderness or wild-ass, and it signifies man's rational; not however the rational in its whole complex, but only rational truth. The rational consists of good and truth, that is, of things belonging to charity and of things belonging to faith, and it is rational truth that is signified by the "wild-ass."

The man whose rational is of such a character that he is solely in truth - even though it be the truth of faith - and who is not at the same time in the good of charity, is altogether of such a character. He is a morose man, will bear nothing, is against all, regards everybody as being in falsity, is ready to rebuke, to chastise, and to punish; has no pity, and does not apply or adapt himself to others and study to bend their minds; for he looks at everything from truth, and at nothing from good.
(from Arcana Coelestia 1949)

November 29, 2019

Love Makes the Life of Man

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man.

For such as the love and wisdom are, such are the will and understanding, since the will is the receptacle of love, and the understanding of wisdom, as has been shown above; and these two make the man and his character. Love is manifold, so manifold that its varieties are limitless; as can be seen from the human race on the earths and in the heavens. There is no man or angel so like another that there is no difference.  Love is what distinguishes; for every man is his own love. It is supposed that wisdom distinguishes; but wisdom is from love; it is the form of love; love is the esse of life, and wisdom is the existere of life from that esse.

In the world it is believed that the understanding makes the man; but this is believed because the understanding can be elevated, as was shown above, into the light of heaven, giving man the appearance of being wise; yet so much of the understanding as transcends, that is to say, (so much as is not of the love, although it appears to be man's and therefore to determine man's character), is only an appearance. For so much of the understanding as transcends is, indeed, from the love of knowing and being wise, but not at the same time from the love of applying to life what man knows and is wise in. Consequently, in the world it either in time passes away or lingers outside of the things of memory in its mere borders as something ready to drop off; and therefore after death it is separated, no more of it remaining than is in accord with the spirit's own love.

Inasmuch as love makes the life of man, and thus the man himself, all societies of heaven, and all angels in societies, are arranged according to affections belonging to love, and no society nor any angel in a society according to anything of the understanding separate from love. So likewise in the hells and their societies, but in accordance with loves opposite to the heavenly loves. From all this it can be seen that such as the love is such is the wisdom, and consequently such is the man.

It is acknowledged, indeed, that man is such as his reigning love is, but only in respect to his mind and disposition, not in respect to his body, thus not wholly. But it has been made known to me by much experience in the spiritual world, that man from head to foot, that is, from things primary in the head to the outmosts in the body, is such as his love is. For all in the spiritual world are forms of their own love; the angels forms of heavenly love, the devils of hellish love; the devils deformed in face and body, but the angels beautiful in face and body. Moreover, when their love is assailed their faces are changed, and if much assailed they wholly disappear. This is peculiar to that world, and so happens because their bodies make one with their minds. The reason is evident from what has been said above, that all things of the body are derivatives, that is, are things woven together by means of fibers out of first principles, which are receptacles of love and wisdom. Howsoever these first principles may be, their derivatives cannot be different; therefore wherever first principles go their derivatives follow, and cannot be separated. For this reason he who raises his mind to the Lord is wholly raised up to Him, and he who casts his mind down to hell is wholly cast down thither; consequently the whole man, in conformity to his life's love, comes either into heaven or into hell.

That man's mind is a man because God is a Man, and that the body is the mind's external, which feels and acts, and that they are thus one and not two, is a matter of angelic wisdom.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 368-369)

November 23, 2019

A Man Shall Be Judged According To His Deeds

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All things of the three degrees of the natural mind are included in the deeds that are done by the acts of the body.

All things of the mind, that is, of the will and understanding of man, are in his acts or deeds, included therein very much as things visible and invisible are in a seed or fruit or egg. Acts or deeds by themselves appear outwardly as these do, but in their internals there are things innumerable, such as the concurring forces of the motor fibers of the whole body and all things of the mind that excite and determine these forces, all of which, as shown above, are of three degrees. And since all things of the mind are in these, so also are things of the will, that is, all the affections of man's love, which make the [first degree]; all things of the understanding, that is, all thoughts from his perception, which makes the [second degree]; and all things of the memory, that is, all ideas of the thought nearest to speech, taken from the memory, which compose the [third degree]. Out of these things determined into act, deeds come forth, in which, seen in external form, prior things are not visible although they are actually therein. That the outmost is the complex, containant, and base of things prior ... and that degrees of height are in fullness in their outmost.

The acts of the body when viewed by the eye, appear thus simple and uniform, as seeds, fruits, and eggs do, in external form, or as nuts and almonds in their shells, yet they contain in themselves all the prior things from which they exist, because every outmost is sheathed about and is thereby rendered distinct from things prior. So is each degree enveloped by a covering, and thereby separated from other degrees; consequently things of the first degree are not perceived by the second, nor those of the second by the third. For example: The love of the will, which is the [first degree] of the mind, is not perceived in the wisdom of the understanding, which is the [second degree] of the mind, except by a certain enjoyment in thinking of the matter. Again, the [first degree], which is, as just said, the love of the will, is not perceived in the knowledge of the memory, which is the [third degree], except by a certain pleasure in knowing and speaking. From all this it follows that every deed, or bodily act, includes all these things, although externally it appears simple, and as if it were a single thing.

This is corroborated by the following:
The angels who are with man perceive separately the things that are from the mind in the act, the spiritual angels perceiving those things therein that are from the understanding, and the celestial angels those things therein that are from the will. This appears incredible, but it is true. It should be known, however, that the things of the mind pertaining to any subject that is under consideration, or before the mind, are in the middle, and the rest are round about these according to their affinities therewith. The angels declare that a man's character is perceived from a single deed, but in a likeness of his love, which varies according to its determinations into affections, and into thoughts therefrom. In a word, before the angels every act or deed of a spiritual man is like a palatable fruit, useful and beautiful, which when opened and eaten yields flavor, use, and delight. ....

It is the same with man's speech.
The angels recognize a man's love from his tone in speaking, his wisdom from his articulation, and his knowledge from the meaning of the words. They declare, moreover, that these three are in every word, because the word is a kind of resultant, involving tone, articulation, and meaning. It was told me by angels of the third heaven that from each successive word that a man speaks in discourse they perceive the general state of his disposition, and also some particular states. That in each single word of the Word there is something spiritual from the Divine wisdom, and something celestial from the Divine love; and that these are perceived by angels when the Word is devoutly read by man....

The conclusion is, that in the deeds of a man whose natural mind descends through three degrees into hell there are all his evils and his falsities of evil; and that in the deeds of a man whose natural mind ascends into heaven there are all his goods and truths; and that both are perceived by the angels from the mere speech and act of man. From this it is said in the Word that a man "shall be judged according to his deeds," and that he shall render an account of his words.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 277 -281)
(Emphasis added)

November 19, 2019

Raised Above the Animus

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is a law of the divine providence that man should be led and taught by the Lord from heaven by means of the Word and by means of doctrine and preachings from the Word, and this to all appearance as if by himself.

The appearance is that man is led and taught by himself; but the truth is that he is led and taught by the Lord alone. Those who confirm in themselves the appearance and not also the truth are unable to put away from themselves evils as sins; but those who confirm in themselves both the appearance and the truth are able to do so, for in appearance it is man who puts away evils as sins, but in truth it is the Lord. This latter class can be reformed, the former cannot.

Those who confirm in themselves the appearance and not also the truth are all interior idolaters, since they are worshipers of self and the world. If they have no religion they become worshipers of nature and thus atheists; while if they have a religion they become worshipers of men and also of images. Such at the present day are meant by those described in the first commandment of the Decalogue, who worship other gods. But those who confirm in themselves both the appearance and the truth become worshipers of the Lord; for they are raised up by the Lord out of what is their own (proprium), which is in the appearance, and are brought into the light in which is truth and which is truth; and the Lord enables them to perceive interiorly that they are led and taught by Him, and not by themselves.

To many, the rational of both classes seems to be the same, but it is different. The rational of those who are both in the appearance and in the truth is a spiritual rational, while the rational of those who are in the appearance apart from the truth is a natural rational. This natural rational may be likened to a garden as it is in the light of winter, while the spiritual rational may be likened to a garden as it is in the light of spring.
(Divine Providence 154)

November 17, 2019

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; but as these evidences would surpass belief, or appear incredible ... 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, and that 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)

At the Perception of the Rational Good

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The separation thereof from the memory-knowledges,
in the natural man, at the perception of rational good
What it is to be separated from the natural man - the affection of truth is separated therefrom when it is no longer a matter of memory-knowledge, but becomes of the life; for when it becomes of the life, by habit the man becomes imbued with it like his disposition or nature; and when he is thus imbued with it, it then flows forth into act as it were spontaneously, and this without his thinking about it from any memory-knowledge; nay, when it becomes of the life it can then exercise command over the memory-knowledges, and draw from them innumerable things which confirm. Such is the case with all truth:
• in the first age it is a matter of memory-knowledge
• but as the man advances in age, it becomes of the life.
The case herein is like that of children when they are learning to walk, to speak, to think, also to see from the understanding, and to conclude from the judgment; which things, when by habit they have become voluntary, and thus spontaneous, vanish from among matters of memory-knowledge, and flow forth of their own accord.

So also is it with those things which are of the knowledges of spiritual good and truth with men who from the Lord are being regenerated or born again: in the beginning such men are not unlike children, and at first spiritual truths are to them mere memory-knowledges; for doctrinal things, when being learned and inserted in the memory, are nothing else; but these are successively called forth thence by the Lord, and are implanted in the life, that is, in good; for good is life. When this has been effected there takes place as it were a turning round, namely, that the man begins to act from good, that is, from life, and no longer as before from memory-knowledge. Thus he who is being born anew is in this respect like a child (although the things imbibed are of the spiritual life); until he no longer acts from what is doctrinal, or truth; but from charity, or good; and when this is the case, he then for the first time is in a blessed state, and is in wisdom.
(Arcana Coelestia 3203)
Appearances of Truth 
Brides veiled their faces on their first coming to the bridegroom, in order that they might represent appearances of truth.
The veil with which brides covered the face when they first saw the bridegroom, as being appearances of truth for among the ancients brides represented the affections of truth, and bridegrooms the affections of good; or what is the same, brides represented the church, which was called a "bride" from the affection of truth; the affection of good which is from the Lord being the bridegroom, and hence all through the Word the Lord Himself is called the "bridegroom."
Appearances of truth are not truths in themselves, but they appear as truths... The affection of truth cannot approach the affection of good except through appearances of truth; nor is it stripped of appearances until it is being conjoined; for then it becomes the truth of good, and becomes genuine insofar as the good is genuine.

Good itself is holy, because it is the Divine proceeding from the Lord, and flows in by the higher way or gate in man; but insofar as its origin is concerned, truth is not holy; because it flows in by a lower way or gate, and at first is of the natural man; but when it is elevated thence toward the rational man it is by degrees purified; and at the first sight of the affection of good it is separated from memory-knowledges, and puts on appearances of truth, and thus comes near to good; an indication that such is its origin, and that it could not endure the first sight of Divine good until it has entered into the bridegroom's chamber (that is, into the sanctuary of good), and the conjunction has been effected; for then truth no longer looks at good from appearances, or through appearances; but it is looked at from good apart from them.

Be it known, however, that neither with man, nor indeed with an angel, are any truths ever pure, that is, devoid of appearances; for all both in general and in particular are appearances of truth; nevertheless they are accepted by the Lord as truths, provided good is in them. To the Lord alone belong pure truths, because Divine; for as the Lord is Good itself, so He is Truth itself. ...

But what appearances are may be clearly seen from those passages of the Word where it speaks according to appearances. There are however degrees of appearances of truth.
• Natural appearances of truth are mostly fallacies; but with those who are in good they are not to be called fallacies, but appearances, and even in some respects truths; for the good which is in them, and in which is the Divine, causes another essence to be in them.
• But rational appearances of truth are more and more interior; in them are the heavens, that is, the angels who are in the heavens.
In order that some idea may be formed of what appearances of truth are, let the following examples serve for illustration.
  • I. Man believes that he is reformed and regenerated through the truth of faith; but this is an appearance; he is reformed and regenerated through the good of faith, that is, through charity toward the neighbor and love to the Lord.
  • II. Man believes that truth enables us to perceive what good is, because it teaches; but this is an appearance; it is good that enables truth to perceive, for good is the soul or life of truth.
  • III. Man believes that truth introduces to good when he lives according to the truth which he has learned; but it is good which flows into truth, and introduces it to itself.
  • IV. It appears to man that truth perfects good, when yet good perfects truth
  • V. Goods of life appear to man to be the fruits of faith; but they are the fruits of charity. From these few examples it may in some measure be known what appearances of truth are.
Such appearances are innumerable.
(Arcana Coelestia 3207)

November 16, 2019

The Life of the Rational Man

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is to be known concerning the rational man in general that it is said to receive life, to be in the womb, and to be born, when the man begins to think that the evil and falsity in himself is that which contradicts and is opposed to truth and good, and still more is this the case when he wills to remove and subjugate this evil and falsity. Unless he can perceive and become sensible of this, he has no rational, however much he may imagine that he has. For the rational is the medium that unites the internal man with the external, and thereby perceives from the Lord what is going on in the external man, and reduces the external man to obedience, nay, elevates it from the corporeal and earthly things in which it immerses itself, and causes the man to be man, and to look to heaven to which he belongs by birth; and not, as do brute animals, solely to the earth in which he is merely a sojourner, still less to hell. These are the offices of the rational, and therefore a man cannot be said to have any rational unless he is such that he can think in this manner; and whether the rational is coming into existence is known from his life in his use or function.

To reason against good and truth, while they are denied at heart, and only known by hearing about them, is not to have a rational - for many can do this who openly rush without any restraint into all wickedness. The only difference is that those who suppose that they have a rational and have it not, maintain a certain decorum in their discourse and act from a pretended honorableness, in which they are held by external bonds, such as fear of the law, of the loss of property, of honor, of reputation, and of life. If these bonds, which are external, were to be taken away, some of these men would rave more insanely than those who rush into wickedness without restraint, so that no one can be said to have a rational merely because he can reason. The fact is that those who have no rational usually discourse from the things of sense and of memory-knowledge much more skillfully than those who have it.

This is very clearly evident from evil spirits in the other life, who although accounted as being preeminently rational while they have lived in the body, yet when the external bonds which caused their decorum of discourse and their pretended honorableness of life are taken away, as is usual with all in the other life, they are more insane than those who in this world are openly so, for they rush into all wickedness without horror, fear, or shame. Not so those who while they lived in this world had been rational, for when the external bonds are taken away from them, they are still more sane, because they have had internal bonds - bonds of conscience - by which the Lord kept their thoughts bound to the laws of truth and good, which were their rational principles.
(Arcana Coelestia 1944)