February 4, 2023

Freedom of Choice to Become Spiritual

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Man's will and understanding are in this freedom of choice; nevertheless in both worlds — the spiritual and the natural — the doing of evil is restrained by laws; because otherwise society in both worlds would perish.

Every man can know that he has freedom of choice in spiritual things merely by observing his own thought. Is not any man able to think in freedom about God, the Trinity, charity and the neighbor, faith and its operation, and about the Word and all its teachings, and, when he has studied theology, about the particulars of these subjects? And who cannot think and even draw conclusions, and teach and write, either for or against these things? If man were deprived of this freedom for a single moment, could he continue to think; would not his tongue be dumb, and his hand powerless? Therefore, my friend, you may if you choose, by merely observing your own thought, reject and detest that absurd and hurtful heresy, which at this day has induced upon Christendom a lethargy respecting the heavenly doctrine of charity and faith, and of salvation thereby, and eternal life.

The reasons why this freedom of choice resides in man's will and understanding are the following:
    (1) Because these two faculties must first be instructed and reformed, and then by means of these, the two faculties of the external man, which cause him to speak and act.
    (2) Because these two faculties of the internal man constitute his spirit which lives after death, and which is subject only to Divine law, the primary thing of which is, that man should think of the law, should practice and obey it of himself, although from the Lord.
    (3) Because, as to his spirit, man is midway between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil, and therefore in equilibrium, and in consequence of this he has freedom of choice in spiritual things. But so long as man lives in the world, he is as to his spirit in equilibrium between heaven and the world, and then he is scarcely aware that so far as he withdraws from heaven and draws nearer to the world, he draws near to hell. He is aware of this and yet not aware, in order that even in this respect he may be in freedom, and may be reformed.
    (4) Because these two - the will and the understanding - are the two receptacles of the Lord, the will the receptacle of love and charity, the understanding the receptacle of wisdom and faith, and each one of these is made active by the Lord while man is in complete freedom, in order that there may be a mutual and reciprocal conjunction between them, whereby salvation is effected.
    (5) Because all the judgment that is effected in man after death is in accord with the use he has made of freedom of choice in spiritual things.
The conclusion from all this is that freedom of choice itself in spiritual things resides in the soul of man in all perfection, and from that it flows, like a stream into a fountain, into his mind - into the two parts of it, which are the will and the understanding - and through these into the bodily senses, and into speech and actions; for in man there are three degrees of life, the soul, the mind, and the sentient body.  All that is included in the higher degree is more perfect than that which is in a lower degree. It is this freedom of man, through which, in which, and with which, the Lord is present in him, and UNCEASINGLY URGENT TO BE RECEIVED, but He in no way sets aside or takes away this freedom, since, as said above, whatever man does in spiritual things, that is not done from freedom, does not endure. It may therefore be said that the Lord's abode in man is this freedom of man which is in his soul.

It is evident without explanation that the doing of evil, in both the spiritual and the natural world, is restrained by laws, since otherwise society would everywhere cease to exist. Nevertheless, it must be made clear that without such external bonds, not only would society cease to exist, but the whole human race would perish. For man is enticed by two loves - the love of ruling over all, and the love of possessing the wealth of all. These loves, if uncurbed, rush onward to infinity. The hereditary evils into which man is born have arisen principally from these two loves; nor was the sin of Adam any other than a desire to become as God, which evil the serpent infused into him, as it is written; therefore in the curse pronounced upon him it is said:
That the earth should bring forth the thorn and the thistle to him (Gen. 3:5, 18)
which means all evil and falsity therefrom. All who are enslaved by these loves, look upon themselves as the one only object, in which and for which all others exist. Such have no pity, no fear of God, no love for the neighbor; consequently they are unmerciful, inhuman and cruel, and are possessed by an infernal lust and greed for robbing and plundering, and by craft and cunning in working out their purposes. Such evils are not innate in the beasts of the earth; these do not slaughter and devour each other, except from the love of satisfying their hunger or defending themselves. Therefore a wicked man, viewed with reference to these loves, is more inhuman, fiercer, and worse than any beast.

That man is inwardly such, is manifest in seditious disturbances when the bonds of law are loosed, and also in massacres and pillaging, when the signal is given to soldiers that they are free to satiate their fury upon the conquered or besieged; from which scarcely anyone desists until the drum beats the order to do so. From all this it is clear that if no fear of legal penalties restrained men, not only society, but the whole human race, would be destroyed. But none of these evils can be removed except by the true use of freedom of choice in spiritual things, and this is done by directing the mind to reflection upon the state of life after death.

But this shall be still further illustrated by comparisons, as follows: Without some kind of freedom of choice in all created things, both animate and inanimate, no creation could have taken place; for without freedom of choice in natural things for beasts there would be no choice of food conducive to their nourishment, and no propagation and preservation of offspring; thus, no beasts. If the fishes of the sea and the shellfish at its bottom, had no such freedom, there would be no fish or shellfish. In like manner, unless this freedom were in every insect, there would be no silk-worm yielding silk, no bee furnishing wax and honey, no butterfly sporting with its consort in the air, feeding on the juices of flowers, and representing, after he has shed his exuviae as a worm, the happy state of man in the heavenly realm.

Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in the earth's soil, in the seed sown in it, in all parts of the tree that has grown out of it, and in its fruit, and again in the new seed, there would be no plant life. Unless there were something analogous to freedom of choice in every metal, and in every stone both precious and common, there would be no metal or stone, or even a grain of sand; for even this freely absorbs the ether, emits its natural exhalations, throws off its worn-out elements and restores itself with new. From this there is a magnetic sphere about the magnet, an iron sphere about iron, a coppery one about copper, a silver sphere about silver, a golden one about gold, a stony sphere about stone, a nitrous sphere about niter, a sulfur sphere about sulfur, and a different sphere about every particle of dust. From this sphere the inmost of every seed is impregnated, and its prolific principle vegetates; for without such an exhalation from every least particle of the earth's dust, there would be no beginning of germination and no continuance of it. How could the earth, except by what is exhaled from it, penetrate with dust and water to the inmost center of a grain sown in it, as into a grain of mustard seed, for example:
Which is less than all seeds, but when it is grown, it is greater than herbs, and becometh a tree? (Matt. 13:32; Mark. 4:30-32).
Since freedom has been thus implanted in all created subjects, in each according to its nature, why should not freedom of choice have been implanted in man according to his nature, that he may become spiritual? This is the reason that free will in spiritual things is given to man, from the womb to the last hour of his life in the world, and afterward to eternity.

(True Christian Religion 497-499)

January 28, 2023

Faith, which is of Love and Charity

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
— Love, and the faith derived from it are the internal of the church —

No other faith is meant as being the internal of the church than that which is of love or charity, that is, which is from love or charity.

Faith, in a general sense, is all the doctrinal teaching of the church. But doctrine [doctrinale] separated from love or charity, by no means makes the internal of the church, for doctrine is only knowledge which is of the memory, and this exists also with the worst men, and even with infernals. But the doctrine that is from charity, or that is of charity, does make the internal of the church, for this is of the life. The life itself is the internal of all worship; and so is all doctrine that flows from the life of charity. That it is this faith which is the internal of the church, may be seen from this consideration alone, that he who has the life of charity is acquainted with all things of faith. If you will, just examine all doctrinal things, and see what and of what quality they are; do they not all pertain to charity, and consequently to the faith that is from charity?

Take only the Precepts of the Decalogue —
    The first of these is to worship the Lord God. He who has the life of love or of charity worships the Lord God, because this is his life.
    Another precept is to keep the Sabbath. He who is in the life of love, or in charity, keeps the Sabbath holy, for nothing is more sweet to him than to worship the Lord, and to glorify Him every day.
    The precept, "Thou shalt not kill," is altogether of charity. He who loves his neighbor as himself, shudders at doing anything that injures him, still more at killing him.
    So too the precept, "Thou shalt not steal;" for he who has the life of charity would rather give of his own to his neighbor, than take anything away from him.
    And so with the precept, "Thou shalt not commit adultery;" he who is in the life of charity the rather guards his neighbor's wife, lest anyone should offer her such injury, and regards adultery as a crime against conscience, and such as destroys conjugial love and its duties.
    To covet the things that are the neighbor's is also contrary to those who are in the life of charity; for it is of charity to desire good to others from one's self and one's own; such therefore by no means covet the things which are another's.
These are the precepts of the Decalogue which are more external doctrinal things of faith; and these are not only known in the memory by him who is in charity and its life, but are in his heart; and he has them inscribed upon himself, because they are in his charity, and thus in his very life; besides other things of a dogmatic nature which he in like manner knows from charity alone - for he lives according to a conscience of what is right. The right and the truth which he cannot thus understand and explore, he believes simply or from simplicity of heart to be so because the Lord has said so; and he who so believes does not do wrong, even though what he thus accepts is not true in itself, but apparent truth.

As for example, if anyone believes that the Lord is angry, punishes, tempts, and the like. Or if he holds that the bread and wine in the Holy Supper are significative, or that the flesh and blood are present in some way in which they explain it-it is of no consequence whether they say the one thing or the other, although there are few who think about this matter, or even if they do think about it, provided this is done from a simple heart, because they have been so instructed, and nevertheless live in charity: these, when they hear that the bread and wine in the internal sense signify the Lord's love toward the whole human race, and the things which are of this love, and man's reciprocal love to the Lord and the neighbor, they forthwith believe, and rejoice that it is so.

Not so they who are in doctrinal things and not in charity; these contend about everything, and condemn all whoever they may be that do not say (they call it "believe") as they do.

From all this everyone can see that love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are the internal of the church.

(from Arcana Coelestia 1798)

January 26, 2023

What Charity is in The Heavens

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In heaven all who perform uses from affection for use — because of the communion in which they live — are wiser and happier than others; and with them performing uses is acting sincerely, uprightly, justly, and faithfully in the work proper to the calling of each. This they call charity.

Observances pertaining to worship they call signs of charity, and other things they call obligations and favors, saying that when one performs the duties of his calling sincerely, uprightly, justly, and faithfully, the good of the community is maintained and perpetuated, and that this is to "be in the Lord," because all that flows in from the Lord is use, and it flows in from the parts into the community, and flows out from the community to the parts. The parts there are angels, and the community is a society of them.

(Divine Love and Wisdom 431)

January 23, 2023

How the Lord Performs Uses in Man

Selection from Divine Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
— How the Lord performs uses with man —

It is known that man from himself can do nothing good that is good in itself, but he can do this from the Lord, consequently he can perform no use that in itself is use, for use is good. From this it follows that the Lord does every use that is good by means of man. It has been shown elsewhere that the Lord wills that man should do good as if from himself; but how man is to do good as if from himself is also taught by the truths of the Word, and as this is taught by truths it is clear that truths are matters of knowledge and thought, and that goods are matters of willing and doing; thus that truths become goods through willing and doing; for what a man wills and does he calls good, and what a man knows and thinks he calls truth; so in the deed, thus in good, there is willing and thinking and knowing. Consequently the complex of these in the ultimate is good; and this has in itself an external form from truths in the thought and an internal form from the love of the will. But how the Lord performs uses in man which are goods has been told and shown in the explanation of the laws of His Divine providence.

Both of these are taught by truths — spiritual, moral, and civil.
    First, it shall be shown what spiritual truths, moral truths, and civil truths are
    Secondly, what a spiritual man is, also a moral and a civil man
    Thirdly, that the spiritual is in the moral and the civil
    Fourthly, that if these are separated there is no conjunction with the Lord
(1) What spiritual truths, moral truths, and civil truths are. Spiritual truths are those that the Word teaches respecting God: — that He is the one Creator of the universe; that He is infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, provident; that the Lord as to the Human is His Son; that God the Creator and the Lord are one; that He is the Redeemer, the Reformer, the Regenerator and Savior; that He is the Lord of heaven and earth; that He is the Divine love and Divine wisdom; that He is good itself and truth itself; that He is life itself; that everything of love, of charity, and of good, also everything of wisdom, of faith, and of truth, is from Him, and nothing of these is from man; therefore that no man has merit because of any love, charity, or good, or because of any wisdom, faith, or truth; consequently that He alone is to be adored; so again, that the Word is the holy Divine; that there is a life after death; that there is a heaven and a hell; a heaven for those who live rightly, and a hell for those who live wrongly; also many things pertaining to doctrine from the Word, as respecting Baptism and the Holy Supper. These and like things are properly spiritual truths. But moral truths are those that the Word teaches respecting the life of man with his neighbor, which life is called charity. The goods of this life, which are uses, have relation, in brief, to justice and equity, to sincerity and uprightness, to chastity, to temperance, to truth, to prudence, and to benevolence. To the truths of moral life belong also the opposites which destroy charity, and which have relation, in brief, to injustice and inequity, to insincerity and fraud, to lasciviousness, to intemperance, to lying, to cunning, to enmity, to hatred and revenge, and to ill-will. These latter are called truths of moral life, because all things that a man thinks be true, whether evil or good, he classes among truths; for that this thing is evil or that thing is good he speaks of as a truth. These are moral truths; but civil truths are the civil laws of kingdoms and states, which have relation, in brief, to many phases of justice that are observed, and on the contrary to the various kinds of violence that exist in act.

(2) The spiritual man is also a moral and a civil man. It is believed by many that the spiritual are those who know the spiritual truths enumerated above, and especially those who talk about them, and still more those who perceive them with some understanding. But such are not spiritual, for this is merely knowing, and thinking and speaking from knowledge, and perceiving from a gift of understanding that every man has, and these things alone do not make a man spiritual. There is lacking from these love from the Lord; and love from the Lord is the love of uses which is called charity. In charity the Lord conjoins Himself to man and makes him spiritual, for man then performs uses from the Lord and not from himself. This the Lord teaches in many places in the Word, and thus in John:
Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for apart from Me ye cannot do anything (15:4, 6).
"Fruits" are uses or goods of charity; and goods of charity are nothing else than moral goods. This makes clear that a spiritual man is also a moral man. A moral man is also a civil man, because civil laws are uses themselves in act, which are called practices, works, and deeds.

Take for example the fifth commandment of the Decalogue, "Thou shalt not steal." The spiritual meaning in this commandment is that a man must not take anything from the Lord and attribute it to himself and call it his, also must not take away from any one the truths of his faith by means of falsities. The moral meaning in this commandment is that man must not deal insincerely, unjustly, and fraudulently with his neighbor, or cunningly take away his wealth. The civil meaning in the commandment is that a man must not steal. Who cannot see that the man who is led by the Lord, and who is thereby a spiritual man, is also a moral and a civil man?

Again, take the seventh commandment, "Thou shalt not kill." The spiritual meaning in this commandment is, that man must not deny God, thus the Lord; for to deny Him is to kill and crucify Him with oneself; also he must not destroy spiritual life in another, for thus he kills his soul. The moral meaning in the commandment is that man must not hate his neighbor, or desire to have revenge, since hatred and revenge have murder in them. The civil meaning in the commandment is that another's body must not be killed. From this also it is clear that a spiritual man, who is one that is led by the Lord, is also a moral and a civil man. This is not true of one who is led by himself, of whom something shall be said presently.

(3). The spiritual is in the moral and the civil. This follows from what has been said above that the Lord conjoins Himself with man in the love of uses, or in charity towards the neighbor. The spiritual is from conjunction with the Lord; the moral is from charity, and the civil is from the practice of charity. The spiritual must be in man that he may be saved; and this is from the Lord, not above or outside of man but within him; it cannot be in man's knowledge alone or from that in his thought and speech, it must be in his life, and his life is willing and doing; consequently when knowing and thinking are also willing and doing the spiritual is in the moral and in the civil. If it be asked, "How can I will and do?" the answer is, Fight against evils, which are from hell, and you will both will and do, not from yourself but from the Lord, for when evils are put away the Lord does all things.

(4). If these are separated there is no conjunction with the Lord. This can be seen from reason and from experience.

From reason: If a man had such a memory and such an understanding as to be able to know and perceive all the truths of heaven and of the church, but was unwilling to do any of them, is it not said of him that he is an intelligent man but an evil man, yea all the more he should be punished? From this it follows that he who separates the spiritual from the moral and the civil is not a spiritual man or a moral man or a civil man.

From, experience: There are such persons in the world, and I have talked with them after death, and have learned that they knew all things of the Word and many truths therefrom, and believed that on this account they would shine as stars in heaven; but when their life was examined it was found to be merely corporeal and worldly, and from the evils and propensities they had thought and purposed in themselves they were merely infernal. For this reason all the things they had known from the Word were taken away from them, and they became each his own will, and were cast into hell to their like, where they talked insanely according to their thoughts in the world, and acted basely according to their loves in the world.

(from Divine Wisdom 11: 12,13)

January 21, 2023

What Was Added?

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
— God Without a Trine is Not Possible —

There is in the Lord a trine, the Divine itself that is called the Father, the Divine Human that is called the Son, and the Divine proceeding that is called the Holy Spirit, can be seen from the Word, from the Divine essence, and from heaven.
  • From the Word: Where the Lord Himself teaches that the Father and He are one, and that the Holy Spirit proceeds from Him and from the Father; also where the Lord teaches that the Father is in Him and He in the Father, and that the Spirit of Truth, which is the Holy Spirit, does not speak from Himself but from the Lord; and again, from passages in the Old Word where the Lord is called "Jehovah," "Son of God," and "the Holy One of Israel."

  • From the Divine Essence: That one Divine by itself is not possible, but there must be a trine. This trine is being [esse], manifesting [existere], and proceeding [procedere], for being must necessarily be manifested, and when it is manifested it must proceed that it may produce. And this trine is one in essence and one in Person, and is God. This may be illustrated by a comparison. An angel of heaven is trinal and thus one; the being [esse] of an angel is what is called his soul, his manifesting [existere] is what is called his body, and the proceeding [procedere] from both is what is called the sphere of his life, without which an angel has neither existence nor being. By this trine an angel is an image of God, and is called a "son of God," and also an "heir," and even a "god;" nevertheless, an angel is not life from himself, but is a recipient of life; God alone is life from Himself.

  • From Heaven: The Divine trine, which is one in essence and in Person, is such in heaven. The Divine called the Father, and the Divine Human called the Son, appear in heaven before the angels as a sun, and the Divine that proceeds therefrom appears as light united to heat; the light is Divine truth, and the heat is Divine good. Thus the Divine called the Father is the Divine being [esse], the Divine Human called the Son is the Divine manifesting [existere] from that being [esse], and the Divine called the Holy Spirit is the Divine proceeding [procedere] from the Divine manifesting [existere] and from the Divine being [esse]. This trine is the Lord in heaven; His Divine love is what appears there as a sun.
It has been said that one Divine by itself is not possible, but that there must be a trine, and that this trine is one God in essence and in Person. It may now be asked, What trine God had before the Lord took on the Human and made it Divine in the world? God was then likewise Man, and had the Divine, the Divine Human, and the Divine proceeding, that is, the Divine being [esse], the Divine manifesting [existere], and the Divine proceeding [procedere], for as has been said, God without a trine is not possible. But the Divine Human was not then Divine even to ultimates. Ultimates are meant by "flesh and bones," and even these were made Divine by the Lord when He was in the world. This was what was added, and this is the Divine Human that God now has. This, too, may be illustrated by this comparison. Every angel is a man, having a soul, having a body, and having a proceeding; and yet this does not make him a complete man, for he does not have flesh and bones as a man in the world has.

That the Lord made His Human Divine even to its ultimates, which are called "flesh and bones," He made clear to the disciples, who when they saw Him believed that they saw a spirit, saying:
See My hands and My feet that it is I Myself; feel Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39).
From this it follows that now God is Man more than an angel is. Comparison has been made with an angel and with a man; yet it must be understood that God has life in Himself, while an angel does not have life in himself, for he is a recipient of life. That the Lord as to both the Divine and the Divine Human, is life in Himself He teaches in John:
As the Father hath life in Himself so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).
Here by "Father" the Lord means the Divine in Himself; for He says elsewhere that the Father is in Him, and that the Father and He are one.

(from Apocalypse Explained 1111, 1112)

January 19, 2023

The Things the Lord is In

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord's Omnipresence and Omniscience can be Comprehended

The omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord can be comprehended also from the creation of the universe; for the universe was so created by Him that He is in things first and in things last, in the center and in the circumferences, and that the things in which He is are USES. This can be seen to be true from the creation of the universe, from the life of man, and from the essence of uses.

The creation of the universe can be in no way so well understood as from types of it in the heavens. There creation is unceasing and instantaneous, for in the spiritual world lands exist in a moment, and upon them paradisal gardens, and in these trees full of fruits, also shrubs, flowers, and plants of every kind. When these are contemplated by one who is wise, they are found to be correspondences of the uses in which the angels are, to whom they are given as a reward. The angels, moreover, in accordance with their uses have houses given them, full of utensils and beautiful things according to uses; also garments according to their uses, and food that is esculent and palatable according to their uses, and delightful conversations, which also are uses because they are recreations. All these things are given them gratuitously, and yet on account of the uses they perform. In a word, the whole heaven is so full of uses that it may be called the very kingdom of uses.

Those, on the other hand, who perform no uses, are sent into the hells, where they are compelled by a judge to perform tasks; and if they refuse no food is given them and no clothing, nor any bed but the ground, and they are scoffed at by their companions as slaves are by their masters. The judge even permits them to be their bond servants, and if they entice others from their tasks they are severely punished. All this is done until they yield. But those who cannot be made to yield are cast out into deserts, where a morsel of bread is given them daily, and water to drink, and they dwell by themselves in huts or in caves; and because they perform no uses the land about them is so barren that a grassy sod is rarely seen upon it. In such deserts and hells, I have seen many of noble descent, who in the world gave themselves up to idleness, or sought offices, the duties of which they discharged not for the sake of use but for honor and gain, which were the only uses regarded.

The uses performed in the heavens and the tasks done in the hells are in part like those done in the world, although for the most part they are spiritual uses, that cannot be described by any natural language, and (what I have often wondered at) do not fall into the ideas of natural thought. But this is generally the case with what is spiritual. In the unceasing and instantaneous creation of all things in the heavens there can be seen as in a type the creation of the universe with its globes, and that there is nothing created in these except for use, and in general, one kingdom of nature for another, the mineral kingdom for the vegetable, this for the animal, and both for the human race, that they may serve the Lord for performing uses to the neighbor.

From the life of man. When this is regarded from the creation of all things in it no part will be found that is not for use, not a fiber or minute vessel in the brains, in the organs of sense, in the muscles, or in any of the viscera of the thorax and the abdomen, or anywhere else, that is not for the sake of use in general and in particular, thus for the sake of the whole and of each thing connected with it, and not for its own sake. The greater forms, which are called members, sensories, muscles, and viscera, which are made up and organized from fibers and vessels, all are formed from use, in use, and for use, so that they may be simply called uses, of which the whole man is composed and formed. It is therefore clearly evident that they have no other origin and no other end than use.

That every man likewise was created and born for use is clearly evident from the use of all things in him, and from his state after death, when, if he performs no use, he is accounted so worthless that he is cast into infernal prisons or into desert places. That man is born to be a use is clear also from his life; for a man whose life is from a love of uses is wholly different from one whose life is from a love of idleness. By a life of idleness is meant a life made up of social interaction feasting, and entertainments. A life from the love of uses is a life of love of the public good and of love to the neighbor, and also a life of love to the Lord, for the Lord performs uses to man through man, consequently a life of the love of uses is the spiritual Divine life, and everyone who loves a good use and does it from a love for it is loved by the Lord, and is received with joy by the angels in heaven. But a life of the love of idleness is a life of the love of self and the world, and thus a merely natural life; and such a life does not hold the thoughts together, but diffuses them into every vain thing, and thereby turns man away from the delights of wisdom and immerses him in the delights of the body and of the world alone to which evils cling; therefore after death he is let down into the infernal society to which he has attached himself in the world, and is there compelled to work by force of hunger and lack of food. By uses in the heavens and on the earths are meant the ministries, functions, and pursuits of life, employments, various domestic tasks, occupations, consequently all things that are opposite to idleness and indolence.

From the essence of uses. The essence of uses is the public good. With the angels the public good in the most general sense means the good of the entire heaven, in a less general sense the good of the society, and in a particular sense the good of the fellow citizen. But with men the essence of uses in the most general sense is both the spiritual and the civil good of the whole human race, in a less general sense the good of the country, in a particular sense the good of a society, and in an individual sense the good of the fellow citizen; and as these goods constitute the essence of uses, love is their life, since all good is of love and the life is in the love. In this love is everyone who takes delight in the use he is in because of its usefulness, whether he is a king, a magistrate, a priest, a minister, a general, a merchant, or a workman. Everyone who takes delight in the use of his function because of its usefulness loves his country and fellow citizens; but he who does not take delight in it because of its usefulness, but does it solely for the sake of self, or solely for the sake of honor and wealth, does not in his heart love his country and fellow citizens, but only himself and the world. This is because no one can be kept by the Lord in love to the neighbor unless he is in some love for the public good; and no one can be in that love unless he is in the love of use for the sake of use, or in the love of use from use, thus from the Lord.

Since, then, each thing, and all things in the world were created in the beginning for use, and in man also all things were formed for use, and the Lord from creation regarded the whole human race as one man, in which each individual is likewise for use or is a use, and since the Lord Himself, as has been said above, is the life of that man, it is clear that the universe was so created that the Lord is in things first and in things last, also in the center and in the circumference, that is, in the midst of all, and that the things in which He is are uses. And from all this the Lord's omnipresence and omniscience can be comprehended.

(Apocalypse Explained 1226: 2-8)

January 14, 2023

Perfect In A Trine

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A Memorable Relation

Awaking one morning from sleep, I saw two angels descending out of heaven, one from the southern quarter of heaven and the other from the eastern quarter of heaven, both in chariots to which white horses were harnessed. The chariot in which the angel from the southern quarter of heaven was conveyed, shone like silver, and the chariot in which the angel from the eastern quarter of heaven was conveyed, shone like gold; and the reins which they held in their hands were refulgent as from the flamy light of the dawn. Thus these two angels were seen by me at a distance; but when they came nearer, they did not appear in a chariot, but in their angelic form which is human. He who came from the eastern quarter of heaven, was clad in a bright purple garment, and he who came from the southern quarter of heaven in a garment of hyacinthine blue. When they were below under the heavens, they ran to meet each other, as if they strove which should be first, and mutually embraced and kissed each other. I heard that these two angels, when they lived on earth, had been conjoined in interior friendship; but now one was in the eastern heaven and the other in the southern heaven. In the eastern heaven are they who are in love from the Lord; but in the southern heaven are they who are in wisdom from the Lord.

When they had spoken some time about the magnificence of their heavens, this came up in their discourse, whether heaven in its essence is love, or whether it is wisdom. They immediately agreed that one is of the other, but discussed which was the original. The angel who was from the heaven of wisdom asked the other, what love is; to which he replied, -
"That love, originating from the Lord as a sun, is the vital heat of angels and men, thus their life: that the derivations of love are called affections; and that by these are produced perceptions and thus thoughts, whence it follows that wisdom in its origin is love; consequently that thought in its origin is the affection of that love; and it is evident from the derivations viewed in their order, that thought is nothing else but the form of affection; and that this is not known, because the thoughts are in the light, but the affections in heat, and that therefore one reflects upon the thoughts, but not on the affections, in the same manner as takes place with sound and with speech."

"That thought is nothing else but the form of affection, may also be illustrated by speech, which is nothing else but the form of sound; it is also similar, because sound corresponds to affection, and speech to thought, wherefore affection sounds, and thought speaks."

"This may also be made clear by this, that if you take away sound from speech, nothing of speech remains, and, in like manner, if you take away affection from thought, nothing of thought remains. Hence then it is plain, that love is the all of wisdom, consequently the essence of the heavens is love, and their existence is wisdom, or what is the same thing, the heavens are from the Divine love, and they exist from the Divine love by the Divine wisdom, wherefore, as was said above, the one is of the other."
There was with me at that time a novitiate spirit, who on hearing this, asked, whether it is the same with charity and faith, since charity is of affection, and faith is of thought. The angel replied, -
"It is altogether the same; for faith is nothing else but the form of charity, just as speech is the form of sound; faith is also formed by charity as speech is formed by sound; the mode of its formation we also know in heaven, but there is no leisure to explain it here."

"By faith, however," he added, "I mean spiritual faith, the spirit and life of which is derived solely from charity, for charity is spiritual, and by charity, faith; wherefore faith without charity is a merely natural faith, which is dead, which also conjoins itself with merely natural affection, which is nothing else but lust."
The angels spake of these things spiritually, and spiritual speech embraces thousands of things which natural speech cannot express, and what is wonderful, which cannot even fall within the ideas of natural thought.  Remember this, I pray, and when you come out of natural light into spiritual light, which is done after death, inquire what faith is and what charity is, and you will clearly see that faith is charity in form, and therefore that charity is the all of faith, consequently that it is the soul, life, and essence of faith, just as the affection is of thought, and as the sound is of speech; and if you desire it, you will see the formation of faith from charity like the formation of speech from sound, because they correspond. After discoursing together for some time on these and such like subjects, the angels departed, and as they retired each to his own heaven, their heads appeared encompassed with stars: and when they were some distance from me, they again seemed to be borne in chariots as before.

After these two angels were gone out of my sight, I saw a certain garden on my right hand, in which were olive trees, vines, fig trees, laurels, and palm trees, planted in order, according to correspondence. I looked into the garden, and saw angels and spirits walking and conversing together among the trees; and then a certain angelic spirit observed me. They are called angelic spirits, who in the world of spirits are prepared for heaven, and afterwards become angels. That spirit came out of the garden towards me, and said, -
"Will you come with me into our paradise, and you shall hear and see wonderful things."
And I went with him, and then he said to me, -
"Those whom you see (for there were many) are all in the affection of truth, and thence in the light of wisdom. Here also is a building which we call the TEMPLE OF WISDOM; but no one sees it who believes himself very wise, much less he who believes himself wise enough, and still less he who believes himself wise from himself; the reason is, because such persons are not in the reception of the light of heaven from the affection of genuine wisdom."

"Genuine wisdom consists in a man's seeing from the light of heaven, that the things which he knows, understands, and is wise in, are so little respectively to what he does not know, understand, and is wise in, as a drop to the ocean, consequently scarcely anything."

"Everyone who is in this paradisal garden, and acknowledges in himself from perception and sight that his own wisdom is so little comparatively, sees that temple of wisdom, for interior light enables him to see it, but not exterior light without it."
And because I had often thought this, both from science, and then from perception, and lastly from seeing it from interior light, and had acknowledged that man had so little wisdom, behold, it was given me to see that temple.

As to form it was wonderful. It was elevated above the ground, quadrangular, with walls of crystal, its roof of translucent jasper elegantly arched; the foundation consisted of precious stones of various kinds. The steps leading up to it were of polished alabaster. At the sides of the steps appeared figures of lions with their whelps.

And I then asked whether it was allowed to enter; and it was said that it was allowed; therefore I ascended, and when I entered, I saw, as it were, cherubs flying beneath the roof, and presently vanishing out of sight; the floor upon which we walked was of cedar, and the whole temple, from the pellucidity of its roof and walls, seemed in the form of light.

The angelic spirit entered with me, to whom I related what I heard from the two angels concerning love and wisdom, as also concerning charity and faith. And he then said, -
"Did they not speak of a third also?"
I said, -
"What third?"
He replied, -
"It is Use: love and wisdom without use are not anything: they are only ideal entities; nor do they become real before they are in use: for love, wisdom, and use, are three things which cannot be separated. If they are separated, neither is anything. Love is not anything without wisdom, but in wisdom it is formed for something. This something for which it is formed, is use. Therefore, when love through wisdom is in use, it is then something; yea, it then first exists. They are altogether as the end, the cause, and the effect. The end is not anything, unless through the cause it is in the effect. If one of the three is loosed, the whole is loosed, and becomes as nothing. It is similar with charity, faith, and works."
"Charity without faith is not anything; nor faith without charity; nor charity and faith without works; but in works they become something, of a quality according to the use of the works. It is similar with affection, thought, and operation; and it is similar with will, understanding, and action."
"That it is so may be seen clearly in this temple, because the light in which we are here is light that enlightens the interiors of the mind. That there is not given a complete and perfect thing unless it is a trine, geometry also teaches; for a line is not anything, unless it becomes an area; and an area is not anything, unless it becomes a solid; therefore the one must be produced into the other, that they may exist; and they co-exist in the third. As it is in this, so it is in each and every created thing; they are terminated in their third. Hence now it is, that three in the Word, spiritually understood, signifies complete and altogether. Since it is so, I could not but wonder, that some profess faith alone, some charity alone, some works alone; when yet the first without the second, and the first and second without the third, are not anything."
But I then asked, -
"Cannot a man have charity and faith, and still not works? Cannot a man be in affection and thought about anything, and yet not in the performance of it?"
The angelic spirit said to me, -
"He cannot, except only ideally, but not really. He must still be in the endeavor or the will to operate; and the will or the endeavor is in itself the act, because it is in the continual effort to act; which becomes an outward act when determination is present. On which account the endeavor and will, as an interior act, is accepted by every wise man, because it is by God, altogether as an exterior act, provided it does not fail when opportunity is given."
After this I descended by the steps from the temple of wisdom, and walked in the garden, and saw some sitting under a certain laurel eating figs. I turned aside to them, and asked them for some figs; which they gave me: and, behold, the figs became grapes in my hand. When I wondered at this, the angelic spirit, who was still with me, said to me, -
"The figs have become grapes in your hand, because figs, from correspondence, signify the goods of charity and thence of faith in the natural or external man, but grapes the goods of charity and faith in the spiritual or internal man; and because you love spiritual things, therefore it so happened to you: for in our world all things come to pass and exist, and also are changed, according to correspondences."
And then there came over me the desire of knowing how man can do good from God, and yet as of himself; therefore I asked them that were eating the figs how they comprehended it.

They said that they could not comprehend it otherwise than that God operates it within in man and through man, when he does not know it; since if man were conscious of it, and thus should do it as of himself, which is also to do it of himself, he would not do good, but evil. For all that proceeds from man, as from himself, proceeds from his proprium; and the proprium of man is evil from birth.

How then can good from God and evil from man be conjoined, and so proceed conjointly into act?  The proprium of man also, in the things of salvation, continually breathes forth merit; and as far as it does this, it takes away from the Lord His merit; which is the highest injustice and impiety.

In a word, if the good which God operates in a man by the Holy Spirit should flow in into man's willing and thence his doing, that good would be altogether defiled and also profaned; which, however, God never permits. A man can indeed think that the good which he does is from God, and call it God's good through himself, and as if from himself; but still we do not comprehend this.

But I then opened my mind, and said, -
"You do not comprehend, because you think from the appearance, and the thought from confirmed appearance is a fallacy. You are in the appearance and the fallacy from it, because you believe that all the things which a man wills and thinks, and thence does and speaks, are in him, and consequently from him; when yet nothing of them is in him except the state of receiving what flows in. Man is not life in himself, but is an organ receiving life. The Lord alone is life in Himself, as He also says in John:
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).
Besides other places (as John 11:25; 14:6, 19)."
"There are two things which make life, love and wisdom; or what is the same, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by man, and are felt in the man as in him; and because they are felt by him as in him, they also proceed as from him. It is given by the Lord, that they should be thus felt by the man, in order that what flows in may affect him, and so be received and remain. But because all evil also flows in, not from God, but from hell, and this is received with enjoyment, because man was born such an organ, therefore no more of good is received from God, than there is of evil removed by the man as of himself; which is done by repentance, and at the same time by faith in the Lord.

That love and wisdom, charity and faith, or speaking more generally, the good of love and charity and the truth of wisdom and faith, flow in; and that the things which flow in appear in the man as in himself, and thence as from him, may be manifestly seen from the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste, and the touch. All the things which are felt in the organs of those senses flow in from without, and are felt in them: in like manner in the organs of the internal senses, with the difference only that into the latter spiritual things flow in, which do not appear; but into the former natural things, which do appear. In a word, man is an organ recipient of life from God; consequently he is a recipient of good so far as he desists from evil. The Lord gives to every man to be able to desist from evil, because He gives him to will and understand as of himself: and whatever the man does from the will, as his own according to the understanding, as his own, or, what is the same, whatever he does from freedom which is of the will according to reason which is of the understanding, this remains. By this the Lord brings man into a state of conjunction with Himself, and in this reforms, regenerates, and saves him.

The life which flows in is the life proceeding from the Lord, which is also called the Spirit of God, and in the Word the Holy Spirit; of which it is also said, that it enlightens and vivifies; yea, that it operates in man: but this life is varied and modified according to the organization induced upon the man by his love and attitude to it. You may also know that all the good of love and charity and all the truth of wisdom and faith flow in, and are not in the man, from the fact that he who thinks such a thing is in man from creation, cannot think otherwise, than that God infused Himself into a man, and thus that men would in part be Gods; and yet they who think this from faith become devils, and stink like carcasses.

Besides, what is human action but the action of the mind? for that which the mind wills and thinks, it acts through its organ the body: and therefore when the mind is led by the Lord, the action is also led; and the mind and the action from it are led by the Lord, when it believes in Him. Unless it were so, say, if you can, why the Lord has commanded in the Word, in a thousand and a thousand places, that a man must love his neighbor, must work out the good of charity, and bear fruit like a tree, and do His precepts, and all this that he may be saved; also why He has said that man will be judged according to his deeds or works, he who has done goods to heaven and life, and he who has done evils to hell and death. How could the Lord speak such things, if all that proceeds from man were meritorious, and thence evil? You may know, therefore, that if the mind is charity, the action is also charity; but if the mind is faith alone, which is also faith separated from spiritual charity, the action is also that faith; and this faith is meritorious, because its charity is natural, and not spiritual. It is otherwise with the faith of charity, because charity does not wish to merit, and thence neither does its faith."
On hearing this, they that sat under the laurel said, -
"We comprehend that you have spoken justly; but still we do not comprehend."
To which I replied, -
"That I have spoken justly, you comprehend from the common perception which man has from the influx of light from heaven when he hears any truth; but you do not comprehend from your own perception, which man has from the influx of light from the world. These two perceptions, namely, the internal and the external, or the spiritual and the natural, make one with the wise. You also can make them one, if you look to the Lord and remove evils."
Because they understood these things also, I took some shoots from the laurel under which we sat, and held them out, and said, -
"Do you believe that this is from me, or from the Lord?"
And they said, that they believed it to be through me as from me; and, behold, the shoots blossomed in their hands. But when I departed, I saw a cedar table, upon which was a book, under a green olive-tree, the trunk of which was entwined with a vine. I looked, and behold, it was a book written by me, called The Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, and also concerning The Divine Providence; and I said that it was fully shown in that book, that man is an organ recipient of life, and not life.

After this I went home exhilarated from that garden, and the angelic spirit with me; who said to me on the way, -
"If you wish to see clearly what faith and charity are, and thus what faith separate from charity is, and faith conjoined to charity, I will also show it to the eye."
I answered, -
"Show it."
And he said, -
"Think of light and heat instead of faith and charity, and you will see clearly; for faith in its essence is truth, which is of wisdom, and charity in its essence is affection, which is of love; and the truth of wisdom in heaven is light, and the affection of love in heaven is heat; the light and heat in which the angels are is nothing else. From this you can see clearly, what faith separate from charity is, and what faith conjoined to charity. Faith separated from charity is like the light in winter, and faith conjoined to charity is like the light in the spring. Wintry light, which is light separated from heat, because it is conjoined to cold, strips the trees entirely of their leaves, hardens the earth and kills the grass, and likewise congeals the waters: but the light of spring, which is light conjoined to heat, quickens the trees, first into leaves, then into blossoms, and at length into fruits; it opens and softens the earth, that it may produce grass, herbs, flowers, and shrubs, and likewise dissolves the ice, that the waters may flow from the springs.

It is altogether similar with faith and charity. Faith separate from charity deadens all things; and faith conjoined to charity vivifies all things. This vivifying and that deadening can be seen to the life in our spiritual world; because here faith is light, and charity is heat. For where there is faith conjoined to charity, there are paradisal gardens, flower beds, and grass plots in their pleasantness, according to the conjunction; but where there is faith separate from charity, there is not even grass there; and where it is green, it is from briers, thorns, and nettles. This the heat and light proceeding from the Lord as the sun effect in the angels and spirits, and thence outside of them."
There were then not far from us some of the clergy, whom the angelic spirit called justifiers and sanctifiers of men by faith alone, and likewise arcanists. We said these same things to them, and demonstrated them so that they saw that it was so; and when we asked, -
"Is it not so?"
They turned themselves away, and said, -
"We did not hear."
But we cried out to them, saying, -
"Hear now, therefore."
They then put both hands over their ears, and shouted, -
"We will not hear."

(Apocalypse Revealed 875)