January 18, 2020

The Love of the Use ~ Everyone's Life is in His Love

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As there are few at this day who know what it is to be in external things, and what to be in internal things, and as most people believe that they who are in internal things cannot be in external things, and the converse, I may adduce for the sake of illustration:

• The nourishment of the body and the nourishment of the soul:
One who is in merely external pleasures, makes much of himself, indulges his stomach, loves to live sumptuously, and makes the height of pleasure to consist in eatables and drinkables.
One who is in internal things also finds pleasure in these things, but his ruling affection is to nourish his body with food pleasurably for the sake of its health, to the end that he may have a sound mind in a sound body, thus chiefly for the sake of the health of the mind, to which the health of the body serves as a means.
One who is a spiritual man does not rest here, but regards the health of the mind or soul as a means for the acquisition of intelligence and wisdom - not for the sake of reputation, honors, and gain, but for the sake of the life after death.
One who is spiritual in a more interior degree regards intelligence and wisdom as a mediate end having for its object that he may serve as a useful member in the Lord's kingdom.
One who is a celestial man, that he may serve the Lord. To such a one bodily food is a means for the enjoyment of spiritual food, and spiritual food is a means for the enjoyment of celestial food; and as they ought to serve in this manner, these foods also correspond, and are therefore called foods. Hence it is evident what it is to be in external things alone, and what it is to be in internal things. 
• The character of being in avarice are in external things:
They who love gains and profits merely for the sake of the gold and silver, in the possession of which consists the sole delight of their life, are in outermost or lowest things, for the objects of their love are merely earthly; whereas they who love gold and silver for the sake of some use, lift themselves above earthly things according to the use. 
The very use that a man loves determines his life and distinguishes it from others; an evil use makes the man infernal, and a good use makes him heavenly - not indeed the use itself, but the love of the use, for everyone's life is in his love.
(from Arcana Coelestia 4459:6)

January 15, 2020

Words Signify Things

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Words in the original language signify things is because "words," in the internal sense signify truths of doctrine; and therefore all Divine truth in general is called the "Word," and the Lord Himself, from whom comes all Divine truth, is in the supreme sense the "Word". And because nothing that exists in the universe is anything, that is, is a real thing, unless it is from Divine good by Divine truth, therefore "words" in the Hebrew language mean things also. That nothing in the universe is anything, that is, a real thing, unless it is from Divine good by Divine truth, that is, by the "Word," is plain in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. (John 1:1, 3)
The interior significations of expressions, for the most part, originate in the interior man, which is among spirits and angels; for every man as to his spirit, or as to that very man which lives after the decease of the body, is in company with angels and spirits, although the external man is not aware of this.  Because he is in company with them, he is also with them in the universal language, and thus in the origins of words. Hence there are imparted to words many significations which in the external form appear out of agreement, although in the internal form they are entirely in agreement.  It is the same in a host of cases, as that the understanding is called the inward "sight," light being attributed to it; that attention and obedience are called "hearing" and "hearkening;" that the perception of a thing is called "smelling;" and so forth.
(from Arcana Coelestia 5075)

January 12, 2020

Seeing the Internal Things of the Word

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The historicals [of the Word] are representatives and all the words are significative. The case is the same with all the historicals of the Word, not only with those in the books of Moses, but also with those in the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings. In all these, nothing is apparent but mere history; but although it is history in the sense of the letter, still in the internal sense there are arcana of heaven, which lie stored up and hidden there, and which can never be seen so long as the mind, together with the eye, is kept in the historicals; nor are they revealed until the mind is removed from the sense of the letter.

The Word of the Lord is like a body that contains within it a living soul; the things belonging to the soul do not appear while the mind is so fixed in corporeal things that it scarcely believes that there is a soul, still less that it will live after death; but as soon as the mind withdraws from corporeal things, those which are of the soul and life become manifest. And this also is the reason, not only why corporeal things must die before man can be born anew, or be regenerated, but also why the body itself must die so that he may come into heaven and see heavenly things.

Such also is the case with the Word of the Lord: its corporeal things are those which are of the sense of the letter; and when the mind is kept in these, the internal things are not seen at all; but when the former are as it were dead, then for the first time are the latter presented to view. But still the things of the sense of the letter are similar to those which are with man while in the body, to wit, to the knowledges of the memory that come from the things of sense, and which are general vessels that contain interior or internal things within them. It may be known from this that the vessels are one thing, and the essentials contained in the vessels another. The vessels are natural; the essentials contained in the vessels are spiritual and celestial. So likewise the historicals of the Word, and all the expressions in the Word, are general, natural, and indeed material vessels, in which are things spiritual and celestial; and these in no wise come into view except by the internal sense.

This will be evident to everyone from the mere fact that many things in the Word are said according to appearances, and indeed according to the fallacies of the senses, as that the Lord is angry, that He punishes, curses, kills, and many other such things; when yet in the internal sense they mean quite the contrary, namely, that the Lord is in no wise angry and punishes, still less does He curse and kill. And yet to those who from simplicity of heart believe the Word as they apprehend it in the letter, no harm is done while they live in charity. The reason is that the Word teaches nothing else than that everyone should live in charity with his neighbor, and love the Lord above all things. They who do this have in themselves the internal things; and therefore with them the fallacies taken from the sense of the letter are easily dispelled.

The Most Ancient Church, which was celestial, looked upon all earthly and worldly, and also bodily things, which were in any wise objects of the senses, as being dead things; but as each and all things in the world present some idea of the Lord's kingdom, consequently of things celestial and spiritual, when they saw them or apprehended them by any sense, they thought not of them, but of the celestial and spiritual things; indeed they thought not from the worldly things, but by means of them; and thus with them things that were dead became living.

The things thus signified were collected from their lips by their posterity and were formed by them into doctrinals, which were the Word of the Ancient Church, after the flood.

With the Ancient Church these were significative; for through them they learned internal things, and from them they thought of spiritual and celestial things. But when this knowledge began to perish, so that they did not know that such things were signified, and began to regard the terrestrial and worldly things as holy, and to worship them, with no thought of their signification, the same things were then made representative. Thus arose the Representative Church, which had its beginning in Abram and was afterwards instituted with the posterity of Jacob. From this it may be known that representatives had their rise from the significatives of the Ancient Church, and these from the celestial ideas of the Most Ancient Church.

The nature of representatives may be manifest from the historicals of the Word, in which all the acts of the fathers, Abram, Isaac, and Jacob, and afterwards those of Moses, and of the judges and kings of Judah and Israel, were nothing but representatives. Abram in the Word, as has been said, represents the Lord; and because he represents the Lord, he represents also the celestial man; Isaac likewise represents the Lord, and thence the spiritual man; Jacob in like manner represents the Lord, and thence the natural man corresponding to the spiritual.

But with representatives the character of the person is not considered at all, but the thing which he represents; for all the kings of Judah and of Israel, of whatever character, represented the Lord's kingly function; and all the priests, of whatever character, represented His priestly function. Thus the evil as well as the good could represent the Lord and the celestial and spiritual things of His kingdom; ... the representatives were altogether separated from the person. Hence then it is that all the historicals of the Word are representative; and because they are representative, it follows that all the words of the Word are significative, that is, that they have a different signification in the internal sense from that which they bear in the sense of the letter.
(from Arcana Coelestia 1408-1409)

January 11, 2020

Ceasing from All Effort

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
To Humble Oneself
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. James 4:10
"To humble oneself" is expressed in the original tongue by a word which signifies "to afflict." That "to afflict oneself" is, in the internal sense, to compel oneself, may be seen from very many passages in the Word, and will be treated of in what follows.

That man ought to compel himself to do what is good, to obey the things commanded by the Lord, and to speak truths, which is to "humble himself under" the Lord's hands, or to submit himself to the sovereign power of the Divine good and truth, involves more arcana than can be explained in a few words.

There are certain spirits who during their life in the world, because they had been told that all good is from the Lord, and that a man can do nothing of himself, had held it as a principle not to compel themselves in anything, but to cease from all effort, thinking that as the case was so, all effort would be in vain; and therefore they had waited for immediate influx into the effort of their will, and did not compel themselves to do anything good, going so far that when anything evil crept in, as they felt no resistance from within, they resigned themselves to it also, supposing that it was permissible to do so. But these spirits are as it were devoid of what is their own, so that they have no determination to anything, and are therefore among the more useless, for they suffer themselves to be led alike by the evil and by the good, and suffer much from the evil.

But they who have compelled themselves to resist what is evil and false - although at first they supposed that this was from themselves or from their own power, but were afterwards enlightened to see that their effort was from the Lord, even to the least of all the particulars of the effort - these in the other life cannot be led by evil spirits, but are among the happy. Thus we may see that a man ought to compel himself to do what is good and to speak what is true. The arcanum herein contained is that a man is thus gifted by the Lord with a heavenly Own, for this heavenly Own of man is formed in the effort of his thought; and if he does not maintain this effort by compelling himself (as the appearance is), he certainly does not maintain it by not compelling himself.

That we may see how this is, let it be observed that in all self-compulsion to what is good there is a certain freedom, which is not discerned as such while the man is engaged in this self-compulsion, but still it is within. For instance, in one who is willing to undergo the risk of death for the sake of a certain end, or in one who is willing to suffer bodily pain for the sake of health, there is a willingness and thus a certain freedom from which the man acts, although the dangers and the pains, while he is in them, take away his perception of this willingness or freedom; and such is the case also with those who compel themselves to do what is good: there is a willingness within, and thus a freedom, from which and for the sake of which they compel themselves, that is to say, they do so for the sake of obedience to what the Lord has commanded, and for the sake of the salvation of their souls after death, within which although the man is not aware of it, there is still more interiorly a regard for the Lord's kingdom, and even for the Lord Himself.

This is the case most of all during temptations, for in these-when the man compels himself to resist the evil and falsity which are infused and suggested by evil spirits, there is more of freedom than is possible in any state out of temptations - although at the time the man cannot comprehend this - for there is an interior freedom, from which he wills to subjugate evil, and which is so great as to equal the force and strength of the evil that is assailing him, for otherwise he could not possibly wage the combat. This freedom is from the Lord, who insinuates it into the man's conscience, and by means of it causes him to overcome the evil as from what is his own. Through this freedom man acquires an Own in which the Lord can work what is good. Without an Own acquired, that is, given, through freedom, no man can possibly be reformed, because he cannot receive the new will, which is conscience. The freedom thus given is the very plane into which there is an influx of good and truth from the Lord. Hence it is that they who in temptations do not resist from their own will, or in freedom, give way.
In all freedom there is man's life, because there is his love.
Whatever a man does from love appears to him free. But in this freedom, when the man is compelling himself to resist what is evil and false, and to do what is good, there is heavenly love, which the Lord then insinuates, and through which He creates the man's Own; and therefore the Lord wills that it should appear to the man as his, although it is not his. This Own which man during his bodily life thus receives through what is apparently compulsory, is filled by the Lord in the other life with illimitable delights and happinesses. Such persons are also by degrees enlightened to see and even to be confirmed in the truth, that of themselves they have not compelled themselves one atom, but that all things of the effort of their will, even the smallest, had been from the Lord; and that the reason why it had appeared as if it was of themselves was in order that a new will might be given them by the Lord as their own, and that in this way the life of heavenly love might be appropriated to them. For the Lord wills to communicate to everyone what is His, and therefore He wills to communicate what is heavenly, so that it may appear as the man's, and in him, although it is not his. The angels are in such an Own; and in proportion as they are in the truth that all good and truth are from the Lord, they are in the delight and happiness of this Own.

But they who despise and reject all good and truth, and who are willing to believe nothing that is repugnant to their cupidities [yearnings] and reasonings, cannot compel themselves; and thus cannot receive this Own of conscience, or new will. From what has been said above, it is also evident that to compel oneself is not to be compelled; for no good ever comes from compulsion, as when a man is compelled by another man to do what is good; but it is evident that in the case we are now considering the self-compulsion comes from a certain freedom that is unknown to the man, since from the Lord there is never any compulsion. Hence it is a universal law that all that which is good and true is inseminated in freedom, for otherwise the ground cannot possibly receive and cherish that which is good, and in fact there is no ground in which the seed can grow.
(from Arcana Coelestia 1937)

January 10, 2020

What Man Does In Secret

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is a common thing in the Word for Jehovah to question a man, and for men to reply, although Jehovah knew all before, not only what is done, but also the causes and the ends, and thus all the least and inmost things. But as man is not aware of this, and believes that no one can possibly know what he does in secret when no one sees it, and still less what he thinks, therefore the matter takes place according to the man's belief. But still it is really true that even ordinary spirits perceive a man's thoughts better than does the man himself; angelic spirits still more interior things of his thoughts; and angels things even more interior, namely, the causes and the ends, of which the man knows but little. It has been given me to know this by much and continual experience lasting many years.

As spirits and angels perceive these things, what must be the case with the Lord, or Jehovah, who is infinite, and who gives to all their ability to perceive?
(from Arcana Coelestia 1931)

January 7, 2020

Concerning Man's Freedom (Part 6)

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Spirits fresh from this world severely torment themselves by trying to comprehend how no one can do good of himself, or think truth of himself, except from the Lord; believing that thus they would be like machines, having no control of anything; and that if this is really so they should let their hands hang down, and suffer themselves to be acted upon. But they were told that they ought by all means to think, to will, and to do good of themselves; and that in no other way could they have an Own that is heavenly, and heavenly freedom; but that still they should acknowledge that the good and truth are not from them, but from the Lord: and they are instructed that all the angels are in such an acknowledgment, nay, in the perception that it is so; and the more exquisitely they perceive that they are led by the Lord, and thus are in the Lord, the more are they in freedom.

He who lives in good, and believes that the Lord governs the universe, and that all the good which is of love and charity, and all the truth which is of faith, are from the Lord alone; nay, that life is from Him, and thus that from Him we live, move, and have our being, is in such a state that he can be gifted with heavenly freedom, and together with it with peace; for he then trusts solely in the Lord and has no care for other things, and is certain that all things are tending to his good, his blessedness, and his happiness to eternity. But he who believes that he governs himself is continually disquieted, being borne along into cupidities, and into solicitude respecting future things, and thus into manifold anxieties; and because he so believes, the cupidities of evil and the persuasions of falsity also adhere to him.

Good spirits wondered exceedingly that the man of the church at this day does not believe that all the evils and falsities within him flow in from hell, and all the goods and truths from the Lord; when yet he has learned this from the Word, and also from the doctrine of faith; and, when anyone has done a grievous evil, everybody says that he has suffered himself to be led by the devil; and when anyone has done good, that he has suffered himself to be led by the Lord.
(Arcana Coelestia 2891-2893)

January 6, 2020

Concerning Man's Freedom (Part 5)

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Evil spirits cannot possibly apprehend that they do not live from themselves, and that they are only organs of life; still less that there is no life except that which is from good and truth; and still less that they do not begin to live until the life of the cupidities of evil and of the persuasions of falsity, in which they are, is extinguished. They believe that if they were deprived of these there could be nothing of life remaining; whereas the truth is that when they have lost the life of the cupidities of evil and of the persuasions of falsity, they then first begin to live; and that the Lord, together with the good and truth in which life solely consists, is not till then received; and that intelligence and wisdom, and thus the veriest life, then flow in, and are afterwards immensely increased; and this with delight, blessedness, and happiness, and thus with inmost joy, and with ineffable variety, to eternity.

The evil spirits who are with man, through whom he communicates with hell, regard him no otherwise than as a vile slave; for they infuse into him their cupidities and their persuasions, and thus lead him whithersoever they will. But the angels through whom man communicates with heaven, regard him as a brother, and insinuate into him affections of good and truth, and thus lead him by freedom, not whither they will, but whither it pleases the Lord. From this we can see of what kind the one freedom is, and of what kind the other; and that it is slavery to be led by the devil, and freedom to be led by the Lord.
(Arcana Coelestia 2889-2890)