April 16, 2021

The Lord Alone Preserves From Evils

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. (Exodus 15:26)
All the disease that I have put on the Egyptians, I will not put upon thee. That this signifies that they are to be withheld from the evils that pertain to those who are in faith separate and in a life of evil, is evident from the signification of "disease," as being evil (of which below)

from the representation of the Egyptians, as being those who are in faith separate and in a life of evil (see Arcana Coelestia n. 7097, 7317, 7926, 8148)

from the signification of "not to put upon thee," when said of disease, by which evil is signified, as being that they are to be withheld from evil; for Jehovah, that is, the Lord, does not take away evil; but withholds man from it, and keeps him in good (Arcana Coelestia n. 929, 1581, 2256, 2406, 4564, 8206).

From this it is that by "not to put disease upon them" is signified that they are to be withheld from evils.

That "disease" denotes evil, is because in the internal sense are signified such things as affect the spiritual life.

The diseases which affect this life [spiritual life] are evils, and are called cupidities [‘to desire’ - covet] and concupiscences [‘beginning to desire’ - lust].

Faith and charity make the spiritual life. This life sickens when falsity takes the place of the truth which is of faith, and evil takes the place of the good which is of charity - for these bring this life unto death, which is called spiritual death, and is damnation, as diseases bring the natural life unto its death.

Hence it is that by "disease" is signified in the internal sense evil; and by "the diseases of the Egyptians," the evils into which those cast themselves who had been in faith separate and in a life of evil, whereby they had infested the upright, which evils have been treated of in what precedes, where the plagues in Egypt were treated of.

Evils are also meant by "diseases" in other passages in the Word, as in Moses:
If thou wilt keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, Jehovah will remove from thee all sickness, and will not put upon thee all the evil weaknesses of Egypt, which thou hast known; but will give them upon thy haters (Deut. 7:11, 15).
If thou wilt not obey the voice of Jehovah thy God, by keeping to do all His commandments and His statutes, Jehovah will send on thee the curse, the disquiet, and the rebuke, in every putting forth of thy hand which thou doest, until thou be destroyed, because of the wickedness of thy works, whereby thou hast forsaken Me. Jehovah shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until He has consumed thee from upon the land; Jehovah shall smite thee with consumption, and with a hot fever, and with a burning fever, and with a raging fever, and with drought, and with blasting, and with jaundice, which shall pursue thee until thou perish: Jehovah shall smite thee with the ulcer of Egypt, and with the hemorrhoids, and with the scab, and with the itch, that thou canst not be healed. Jehovah shall smite thee with fury, and with blindness, and with amazement of heart. Thou shalt become mad from the look of thine eyes. Jehovah shall smite thee with a sore ulcer, upon the knees, and upon the thighs, whereof thou canst not be healed, from the sole of the foot unto the crown of thy head. He will throw back on thee all the weakness of Egypt, also every disease, and every plague, which is not written in the book of this law. Jehovah shall give thee a trembling heart, consumption of eyes, and grief of soul (Deut. 28:15, 20-22, 27, 28, 34, 35, 60, 61, 65).
By all the diseases here named are signified spiritual diseases, which are evils destroying the life of the will of good, and falsities destroying the life of the understanding of truth; in a word, destroying the spiritual life which is of faith and charity. Moreover natural diseases correspond to such things, for every disease in the human race is from this source, because from sin.
As death is from no other source than sin, and sin is all that which is contrary to Divine order, therefore evil closes the very smallest and most invisible vessels, of which are composed the next larger ones, also invisible; for the vessels which are smallest of all and wholly invisible are continued from man's interiors. Hence comes the first and inmost obstruction, and hence the first and inmost vitiation into the blood. When this vitiation increases, it causes disease, and finally death. If, however, man had lived a life of good, his interiors would be open into heaven, and through heaven to the Lord; and so too would the very least and most invisible little vessels (the traces of the first threads may be called little vessels, on account of the correspondence). In consequence man would be without disease, and would merely decline to extreme old age, even until he became again a little child, but a wise one; and when the body could no longer minister to his internal man or spirit, he would pass without disease out of his earthly body into a body such as the angels have, thus out of the world directly into heaven. (Arcana Coelestia 5726; see also n. 5712)
Moreover every disease corresponds to its own evil. The reason is that everything of man's life is from the spiritual world, and therefore if his spiritual life sickens, evil is derived therefrom into the natural life also, and becomes a disease there. (See what has been said from experience about the correspondence of diseases with evils, Arcana Coelestia n. 5711-5727.)

Like things are signified by "diseases" in other passages, as in Moses:
Ye shall worship Jehovah your God, that He may bless thy bread, and thy waters; and I will take disease away from the midst of thee (Exod. 23:25).
If ye shall reject My statutes, and if your soul loathe My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, while ye make My covenant vain, I will enjoin terror upon you, with consumption, and with burning fever, that shall consume the eyes, and torment the soul (Lev. 26:15, 16)
signifying the decrease of truth, and the increase of falsity; "burning fever" denotes the cupidity of evil. Further in these passages:
Wherefore will ye add a going back? the whole head is diseased, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wound, and scar, and flesh blow, not pressed out, and not bandaged, and not mollified with oil (Isa. 1:5, 6);
that here by "disease," "wound," "scar," and "blow," are meant sins, is hidden from no one.
Woe to the shepherds of Israel, the feeble sheep have ye not strengthened, the sick one have ye not healed, and the broken one have ye not bandaged (Ezek. 34:2, 4).
Mine iniquities are gone over my head, my wounds have putrefied, they have consumed away, because of my foolishness, for my bowels are filled with burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh (Ps. 38:4, 5, 7).
As by "diseases" are signified the corruptions and evils of spiritual life, therefore by the various kinds of diseases are signified also the various kinds of corruptions and evils of that life. (That by "pestilence" is signified the vastation of good and truth, see n. 7102, 7505; and by "leprosy," the profanation of truth, n. 6963.) That in general by "diseases" are signified sins, can also be seen in Isaiah:
A man of sorrows, and known of disease; whence is as it were a hiding of faces from Him. He was despised, and we esteemed Him not: nevertheless He hath borne our diseases, and hath carried our griefs, and through His wounds health hath been given us (53:3-5);
speaking of the Lord.

As diseases represented the hurtful and evil things of the spiritual life, therefore by the diseases which the Lord healed is signified liberation from various kinds of evil and falsity which infested the church and the human race, and which would have led to spiritual death. For Divine miracles are distinguished from other miracles by the fact that they involve and have regard to states of the church and of the heavenly kingdom. Therefore the Lord's miracles consisted chiefly in the healing of diseases. This is meant by the Lord's words to the disciples sent by John:
Tell John the things which ye hear and see: the blind see, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead rise again, and the poor hear the gospel (Matt. 11:4, 5).
Hence it is that it is so often said that the Lord "healed all disease and weakness" (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 14:14, 35, 36; Luke 4:40; 5:15; 6:17; 7:21; Mark 1:32-34; 3:10).

(Arcana Coelestia 8364)

April 15, 2021

The Divine Made Comprehensible

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

"The celestial of the spiritual," ... is meant the Lord. The same may also be said abstractedly of Him, because He [the Lord] is the celestial itself and the spiritual itself, that is, good itself and truth itself.

As regards man, these cannot indeed be conceived of abstractedly from person, because what is natural is adjoined to everything of his thought; nevertheless, when we consider that everything in the Lord is Divine, and that the Divine is above all thought, and altogether incomprehensible even to the angels, consequently if we then abstract that which is comprehensible, there remains being and coming-forth itself, which is the celestial itself and the spiritual itself, that is, good itself and truth itself.

Nevertheless, as man is such that he can have no idea of thought whatever about abstract things unless he adjoins something natural which has entered from the world through the senses (for without some such natural thing his thought perishes as in an abyss and is dissipated), therefore lest what is Divine should perish in man when he is wholly immersed in bodily and earthly things, and with whomsoever it remained it should be defiled by an unclean idea, and together with what is Divine everything celestial and spiritual thence derived should also perish, it pleased Jehovah to present Himself such as He actually is, and such as He appears in heaven, namely, as a Divine Man. For everything of heaven conspires to the human form, as may be seen from what has been shown at the end of the chapters [in the works: Arcana Cœlestia] concerning the correspondence of all things of man with the Grand Man, which is heaven. This Divine, or this of Jehovah in heaven, is the Lord from eternity. The same the Lord took also upon Him when He glorified or made Divine the human in Himself, as is very evident from the form in which He appeared before Peter, James, and John, when He was transfigured —
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  (Matt. 17:1, 2)
and also in which He at times appeared to the prophets. It is from this that everyone is able to think of the Divine Itself as of a Man, and at the same time of the Lord, in whom is all the Divine, and a perfect Trinity, for in the Lord the Divine Itself is the Father, this Divine in heaven is the Son, and the Divine thence proceeding is the Holy Spirit. That these are a one, as He Himself teaches, is hence manifest.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 5110:2,3)

April 14, 2021

In Accordance with the Laws of Order

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Divine omnipotence is in order, and that its government, which is called Providence, is in accordance with order, and that it acts continually and to eternity in accordance with the laws of its order; nor can it act against them or change them one iota, because order, with all its laws, is Himself.
The omnipotent God created the world from the order within Him, that is, into the order in which He is, and in accordance with which He rules. He impressed upon the universe and each and all things of it its own order, upon man his order, upon the beast its order, upon bird and fish and worm, and every tree and even every blade of grass, upon each its own order. But to illustrate by examples, I will mention briefly the following
• The laws of order enjoined upon man are, that he should acquire for himself truths from the Word, and reflect upon them naturally, and as far as he can, rationally, and thus acquire for himself a natural faith.

• The laws of order on the part of God then are, that He will draw near and fill these truths with His Divine light, and thus fill the man's natural faith (which is mere knowledge and persuasion) with a Divine essence. In this and in no other way can faith become saving. It is the same with charity.
But some particulars shall be briefly mentioned.
• God, in accordance with His laws, is able to remit sins to any man only so far as the man, in accordance with his laws, refrains from them.

• God able to regenerate a man spiritually only so far as the man, accordance with his laws, regenerates himself naturally.
God is in an unceasing endeavor to regenerate man, and thus save him, but this He is unable to accomplish except as man prepares himself as a receptacle, and thus levels the way and opens the door for God. A bridegroom cannot enter the chamber of a virgin till she becomes his bride; for she shuts the door and keeps the key to herself within, but when the virgin has become a bride she gives the key to the bridegroom.

God could not by His omnipotence have redeemed men unless He had become Man. Neither could He have made His Human Divine unless that Human had first been like the human of a babe, and then like that of a boy, and unless afterwards the Human had formed itself into a receptacle and habitation, into which its Father might enter, which was done by His fulfilling all things in the Word, that is, all the laws of order therein - so far as He accomplished this, He united Himself to the Father, and the Father united Himself to Him.

(from True Christian Religion 73)

April 10, 2021

The Destructive Nature of the Love of Self

Selections from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

They who are in the loves of self and of the world cannot possibly believe that they are in things so filthy and unclean as they actually are in, for there is a certain pleasure and delight that soothes, favors, and allures, and causes them to love that life, to prefer it to all other life, and thereby to suppose that there is nothing of evil in it.
Whatever favors anyone's love and the life thence derived is believed to be good.
Hence also the rational consents, and suggests falsities which confirm and cause such blindness that they see nothing of the nature of heavenly love; and if they were to see it they would say in their hearts that it is a wretched affair, or a thing of naught, or something of the nature of a phantasy that takes hold of the mind, as in sickness.

But that the life of the love of self and of the world, together with its pleasures and delights, is filthy and unclean, may be seen by everyone who is willing to think from the rational faculty with which he is gifted. The love of self is the source of all the evils that destroy civic society. From it, as from an unclean pit, spring all hatreds, all revenges, all cruelties, nay, all adulteries. For anyone who loves himself either holds in contempt or reviles or hates everybody else who does not serve him or who does not further his interests or who fails to show him favour; and when he hates, he breathes nothing but revenges and cruelties, and this in proportion to the degree in which he loves himself, so that this love is destructive of society and of the human race. That in the other life the love of self is most filthy, and that it is diametrically opposite to the mutual love in which heaven consists.

And as the love of self is the source of hatreds, revenges, cruelties, and adulteries, it is the source of all things that are called sins, wickednesses, abominations, and profanations, and therefore when this love is in the rational part of man, and is in the cupidities and phantasies of his external man, the influx of heavenly love from the Lord is continually repelled, perverted, and contaminated. It is like foul excrement, which dissipates, nay, defiles, all sweet odor; it is like an object that turns the continually inflowing rays of light into dark and repulsive colors. It is like a tiger, or a serpent, which repels all fondling, and kills with bite and poison those who offer it food; or like a vicious man who turns even the best intentions of others, and their very kindnesses, into what is blameworthy and malicious. (from Arcana Coelestia 2045)

Those within the church who are in falsity, and at the same time are in the love of self, are most especially those who profane holy things; but they who are in any other love whatever not so much, for the love of self is the most foul of all, because it is destructive of society, and thus of the human race. That it is also diametrically opposed to mutual love, in which heaven consists, and thus is destructive of heavenly order itself, may be seen from the evil spirits and genii in the other life; and also from the hells, in which nothing reigns but the love of self; and because the love of self reigns there, so do all kinds of hatreds, revenges, and cruelties, because these are derived from it.

Mutual love in heaven consists in the fact that they love the neighbor more than themselves, the effect of which is that the whole heaven represents as it were one man; for by means of mutual love all are so consociated by the Lord, and hence it is that the happinesses of all are communicated to each one, and those of each one to all. Consequently the heavenly form is such that everyone is as it were a kind of center, thus a center of communications, and consequently of happinesses, from all; and this in accordance with all the differences of mutual love, which are innumerable. And because those who are in that love perceive the highest happiness in being able to communicate to others that which flows into them, and this from the heart, the communication becomes perpetual and eternal; and on this account, as the Lord's kingdom increases, so the happiness of each angel increases. As the angels are in distinct societies and abodes, they do not think of this; but the Lord thus disposes all things both in general and in particular. Such is the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens.

Nothing else endeavors to destroy this form and this order than the love of self, and therefore all in the other life who are in the love of self are more deeply infernal than others, for the love of self communicates nothing to others, but extinguishes and suffocates their delights and happinesses. Whatever delight flows into them from others, they receive to themselves, concentrate it within themselves, turn it into the filthiness of self, prevent its going any further, and thus destroy all that tends to unanimity and consociation. From this comes disunion, and consequently destruction. And as every such person desires to be served, courted, and adored by others, and loves no one but himself, hence comes dissociation, which is determined and puts itself forth into lamentable states, so that they perceive nothing to be more delightful than to torture others, in direful modes and by phantasies, from hatred, revenge, and cruelty. When such persons come to any society where mutual love resides, they are cast down of their own accord, like impure and dead weights in a pure and living aura, because all the influent delight is terminated in themselves; and because they exhale a foul idea of self, their delight is there turned into a cadaverous stench, by which they are made sensible of the hell of self, besides being seized with terrible anguish.

From this we can see that it is the nature of the love of self to be destructive not only of the human race, but also of heavenly order; and thus that there is nothing in it but impurity, filthiness, profaneness, and hell itself - however little this may appear to those who are in it. They are in the love of self who despise others in comparison with themselves, and hate those who do not favor, serve, and pay a kind of worship to them; and who find a cruel delight in revenge, and in depriving others of honor, reputation, wealth, and life. They who are in the love of self are in these evils; and they who are in these evils may know that they are in the love of self. (from Arcana Coelestia 2057)

April 7, 2021

The Supreme Among the Doctrinal Things of the Church

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Most Ancient Church, which was celestial, and which above all others was called Man, adored the Infinite Being, and the derivative Infinite Coming-forth; and because, from the things which could be perceived in their internal man and those which could be felt in their external, and from the visible things in the world, the men of that church could have no perception of the Infinite Being, but could have some perception of the derivative Infinite Coming-forth, they therefore adored the Infinite Coming forth in which is the infinite being. The Infinite Coming-forth in which is the Infinite Being they perceived as a Divine Man, because they knew that the Infinite Coming-forth was brought forth through heaven from the Infinite Being; and as heaven is the Grand Man, corresponding to each and all things that are in man, they therefore could have no other idea of perception concerning the Infinite Coming-forth from the Infinite Being, than as of a Divine Man; for whatever from the Infinite Being passes through heaven as the Grand Man is attended with an image thereof in each and all things. When that celestial church began to fall away, they foresaw that the Infinite Coming-forth could no longer have influx into the minds of men, and that so the human race would perish; therefore it was revealed to them that One should be born who would make the Human in Himself Divine, and in this way become the same Infinite Coming-forth as had been before, and would at last become one with the Infinite Being as also it had been before. From this came their prophecy in Genesis concerning the Lord (Gen. 3:15).

This is described in John in these words:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us; and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-4, 14);
the "Word" is the Divine truth, which in its essence is the Infinite Coming-forth from the Infinite Being, and is the Lord Himself as to His Human. This very Human it is from which truth Divine now proceeds and flows into heaven, and through heaven into the minds of men; consequently which rules and governs the universe, as it has ruled and governed it from eternity; for it is one and the same with the Infinite Being, because He conjoined the Human with the Divine, which was done by this, that He made the Human in Himself also Divine. From this it is now evident that the supreme of truth Divine is the Lord's Divine Human, and hence that the supreme among the doctrinal things of the church is that His Human is Divine. (Arcana Coelestia 4687)
There are two essentials which constitute the church, and hence two principal things of doctrine - one, that the Lord's Human is Divine; the other, that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor make the church, and not faith separate from love and charity. (Arcana Coelestia 4723)
All the Divine truth in the whole heaven proceeds from no other source than the Lord's Divine Human. That which is from the Divine Itself cannot flow in immediately with any angel, because it is Infinite; but only mediately through the Lord's Divine Human, as is also meant by these words of the Lord, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth" (John 1:18). For this reason also the Lord as to the Divine Human is called Mediator.

This also was from eternity, for the Divine being, without flowing through heaven and becoming thence the Divine coming-forth, could not be communicated to any angel, still less to any spirit, and less still to any man. That the Lord as to the Divine Itself is the Divine being, and as to the Divine Human is the Divine Coming-forth. Neither could the Lord's Human itself have received any influx from the Divine Being, unless in Him the Human had been made Divine; for that which receives the Divine being must also be Divine. From these few things it may be seen that Divine truth does not proceed immediately from the Divine Itself, but from the Lord's Divine Human.

This also do they extinguish in themselves who battle for faith alone and do not live a life of faith; for they believe that the Lord's Human is purely human, not unlike the human of another man; and hence many of them deny the Divine of the Lord, however they may profess Him with the lips. But those who live a life of faith, on bended knees and with humble hearts adore the Lord as God the Savior, and do not then at all think from doctrine of the distinction between the Divine and the human nature; and they do the same in the Holy Supper. Hence it is plain that with them the Lord's Divine Human is in their hearts.

(from Arcana Coelestia 4724)

April 3, 2021

Him That Contended

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

By His own power the Lord reduced the universal heaven into order,
and subjugated the hells, and at the same time made the Human in Himself Divine.

The power of saving the human race is power over the heavens and over the hells.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. (Matthew 28:18)
Jesus said to the seventy who said that the demons were obedient to them, Behold I give you power to tread upon serpents and upon scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; that nothing at all shall harm you. All things have been delivered to Me by My Father (Luke 10:19, 22).
By these words is described the power of the Lord over the hells; "demons" denote those who are in the hells; "serpents and scorpions" denote evils and the falsities of evil; "to tread upon them" denotes to destroy these evils and falsities; the hells are also meant by "the enemy over which they were to have power."

That the Lord acquired this power when He was in the world, is evident in Isaiah:
Who is this that cometh from Edom, marching in the multitude of his strength, great to save? Mine own arm performed salvation to Me; therefore He became their Savior (Isa. 63:1, 5, 8).
that these things are said of the Lord, is known in the church.

(from Arcana Coelestia 10019)

When the Lord was in the world and glorified His Human, He first made it Divine truth, and by degrees the Divine good of the Divine love; thereafter, from the Divine good of the Divine love, He operates in heaven and in the world, and gives life to angels and men, which is effected by means of the Divine truth that proceeds from the Divine good of the Divine love of His Divine Human — for from this the heavens have come forth, and from it they perpetually come forth, that is, subsist; or what is the same, from it the heavens have been created and from it they are perpetually being created, that is, preserved; for preservation is perpetual creation, as subsistence is perpetual coming-forth.

(from Arcana Coelestia 10076:5)

Reducing The Universal Heaven Into Heavenly Order

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:24-29)
And Jacob asked and said, Tell I pray thy name. That this signifies the angelic heaven and its quality, may be seen from the representation of Jacob, as being the Lord as to the Divine natural (of which above); and from the signification of "God," whose name he asked, and also of "men," with whom as a prince he contended and prevailed, as being truths and goods, and thus those who are in truths and goods (see n. 4287). And because the angelic heaven is heaven from truths and goods, it is specifically this which is signified by the "God and men" with whom the Lord prevailed. Occasionally also in the Word the angels are called "gods," and this from truths and goods, as in David:
God stood in the congregation of god, He judged in the midst of the gods. I said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High (Ps. 82:1, 6);
where it is plainly evident that the "congregation of god," and the "gods," denote the angelic heaven.

In the same:
Who in the sky can be compared unto Jehovah? Who among the sons of the gods can be likened unto Jehovah? (Ps. 89:6).
Confess ye to the God of gods; confess ye to the Lord of lords (Ps. 136:2-3).
From these passages, as also from the fact that no one can contend as a prince with God and prevail, and likewise from the fact that he who is called "God" was not willing to reveal his name, it is evident that it was the angelic heaven with which the Lord fought. That a deep secret lies hidden in these words is plainly evident from the words themselves: "Wherefore is this that thou dost ask after my name?" for if it had been Jehovah God, He would not have concealed his name; nor would Jacob have asked, "What is thy name?" for to ask the name implies that it is another or others than God Himself.

That the Lord in temptations at last fought with the angels themselves, nay, with the whole angelic heaven, is a secret that has not yet been disclosed.

But the case with regard to this matter is that the angels are indeed in the highest wisdom and intelligence, but have all wisdom and intelligence from the Divine of the Lord. From themselves, or from what is their own, they have nothing of wisdom and intelligence. So far therefore as they are in truths and goods from the Divine of the Lord, so far they are wise and intelligent. That the angels have nothing of wisdom and intelligence from themselves, they themselves openly confess; nay, they are indignant if anyone ascribes to them anything of wisdom and intelligence, for they know and perceive that this would be to take away from the Divine that which is Divine, and to claim for themselves that which is not theirs, and thus to incur the crime of spiritual theft. The angels also say that all that is their own is evil and false, both from their heredity and from actual life when they were men in the world; and that the evil and falsity is not separated or wiped away from them, they being thus justified, but that it all remains with them, and that it is by the Lord that they are withheld from evil and falsity and are kept in good and truth. All the angels confess these things, and no one is admitted into heaven unless he knows and believes them; for otherwise they cannot be in the light of wisdom and intelligence which is from the Lord, consequently not in good and truth. From this it may also be known how it is to be understood that heaven is not pure in the eyes of God, as we read in Job 15:15.

This being the case, in order that the Lord might reduce the universal heaven into heavenly order, He admitted into Himself temptations from the angels also, who, insofar as they were in what is their own, were so far not in good and truth. These temptations are the inmost of all, for they act solely into the ends, and with such subtlety as cannot possibly be noticed. But insofar as they are not in what is their own, so far they are in good and truth, and so far cannot tempt. Moreover the angels are continually being perfected by the Lord, and yet can never to eternity be so far perfected that their wisdom and intelligence can be compared to the Divine wisdom and intelligence of the Lord; for they are finite, and the Lord is infinite; and there is no comparison between what is finite and what is infinite. From all this it can now be seen what is meant by the god with whom Jacob as a prince contended; as also why he was not willing to reveal his name.

(from Arcana Coelestia 4295)

April 2, 2021

Refuse Not Him That Speaketh

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
(Genesis 3:14-15)
The Most Ancient Church, called "Man," was celestial; and if this church had remained in its integrity, the Lord would have had no need to be born a man. But as soon as this church began to decline, the Lord foresaw that the celestial church would wholly perish from the world; and on that account the prediction was then made concerning the Lord's coming into the world (Gen. 3:15). After the time of that church there was no longer a celestial church, but a spiritual church; for the Ancient Church which was after the flood was a spiritual church. This church, that is, those who were of the spiritual church, could not have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world. This is meant by the Lord's words in Matthew: They that are well have no need of a physician, but they that are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Matt. 9:12-13).  Also by these words in John: And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd (John 10:16). Also by the parable of the hundred sheep, in Matt. 18:11-13.

. . . with the Lord when in the world, all the states of the church were represented, and also in what manner those who belonged to the church were to be saved by Him, and for this reason the same states of the church are likewise signified by these same names.
Hebrews 11:39 - 12:1-29:
. . . And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh.

For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.

(from Arcana Coelestia 2661)