January 24, 2021

When There is NO Faith in the Lord, Who is the Word

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A Memorable Relation

Those who had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone
Those who believed that charity and faith are a one

I saw in the spiritual world two flocks, one of goats and the other of sheep; I wondered who they were, for I knew that animals, seen in the spiritual world, are not animals, but correspondences of the affections and thence of the thoughts of those who are there. Wherefore I approached nearer, and as I drew near, the likenesses of animals disappeared, and instead of them were seen men. And it was shown, that —
• they who constituted the flock of goats, were those who had confirmed themselves in the doctrine of justification by faith alone
• they who constituted the flock of sheep, were those who believed that charity and faith are a one, as good and truth are a one.
And then I spoke with those who had been seen as goats, and said, "Why are you thus assembled?" They consisted chiefly of clergy, who gloried in their fame for erudition, because they knew the arcana of justification by faith alone. They said that they were assembled to sit in council, because they had heard that what is said by Paul (Romans 3:28), that man is justified by faith without the works of the Law, was not rightly understood, because Paul by the works of the Law meant the works of the Mosaic law, which was for the Jews; which we also clearly see from his words to Peter, whom he rebuked for Judaizing when yet he knew that no one is justified by the works of the Law (Galatians 2:14-16) Also, that he distinguishes between the law of faith and the law of works. and between Jews and Gentiles, or circumcision and uncircumcision, meaning by circumcision, Judaism, as everywhere else, and likewise from his summing up with these words: Do we then abrogate the law through faith? Not so, but we establish the Law (Rom. 3:31). He says all these things in one series (Romans 3:27-31), and he also says in the preceding chapter: For not the hearers of the Law are justified by God, but the doers of the Law shall be justified (Rom. 3:13). God will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6). We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that each one may receive the things done in the body, whether they be good or evil (2 Cor. 5:10). Besides many other things from him; from which it is evident that Paul rejects faith without good works, equally with James (2:17-26)

That the works of the Mosaic law, which were for the Jews, were meant by Paul, we are additionally confirmed in by this consideration, that all the statutes for the Jews in Moses are called "the Law," thus "the works of the Law," which we perceive from these passages: This is the law of the meal-offering (Lev. 6:9 seq.). This is the law of the sacrifice (Lev. 7:1). This is the law of the sacrifice of the peace-offering (Lev. 7:7, 11 seq.). This is the law of the burnt offering, of the meal-offering, of the sacrifice for sin and guilt, for the consecration (Lev. 7:37). This is the law of the beast and of the bird (Lev. 11:46 seq.). This is the law for her that bringeth forth a son or a daughter (Lev. 12:7). This is the law of leprosy (Lev. 13:59; 14:2, 32, 54, 57). This is the law of him that hath an issue (Lev. 15:32). This is the law of jealousy (Num. 5:29-30). This is the law of the Nazarite (Num. 6:13, 21). This is the law of cleansing (Num. 19:14). This is the law concerning the red heifer (Num. 19:2). The law for the king (Deut. 17:15-19). Yea, the whole book of Moses is called: The book of the law (Deut 31:9, 11-12, 26; also in the evangelists, Luke 2:22; 24:44; John 1:45; 7:22-23; 8:5; and other places). To this they added also what they had seen in Paul, that the law of the Decalogue was to be lived, and that it is fulfilled by charity, which is love towards the neighbor (Romans 13:8-11); thus not by faith alone. They said that this was the reason of their being convened.

But that I might not disturb them, I retired; and then they again appeared, at a distance, like goats, and sometimes as lying down, and sometimes as standing; but they turned themselves away from the flock of sheep. They appeared as if they were lying down, when deliberating, and as standing up, when they came to a conclusion. But, keeping my eyes fixed upon their horns, I wondered on seeing that the horns on their foreheads sometimes appeared to extend forward and upward, then to be bent backward, and at last to be thrown back entirely. And then they all suddenly turned round to the flock of sheep, but still appeared as goats. Wherefore I drew near to them again, and inquired, What now? They replied, that they had come to this conclusion, that faith alone produces the goods of charity, which are called good works, as a tree produces fruit. But then thunder was heard, and lightning seen from above; and presently there appeared an angel standing between the two flocks, who cried to the flock of sheep, —
"Do not hearken to them; they have not receded from their former faith, which is, that God the Father hath compassion for the sake of the Son; which faith is not faith in the Lord; neither is faith a tree, but man is a tree; but do the work of repentance, and look to the Lord, and you will have faith; faith before that, is not a faith in which there is anything living."
Then the goats, whose horns were directed backward, wished to approach the sheep; but the angel standing between them, divided the sheep into two flocks, and said to those on the left, "Join yourselves to the goats; but I say to you, that a wolf will come, which will snatch them away; and you with them."

But after the two flocks of sheep had separated, and they on the left hand had heard the threatening words of the angel, they looked at one another, and said, "Let us confer with our former associates." And then the left-hand flock spoke to the right, saying, "Why have you receded from your pastors? Are not faith and charity a one, as a tree and its fruit are one? For the tree by its branch is continued into the fruit. Tear away anything from the branch which flows by continuity into the fruit, and will not the fruit perish? Ask our priests if it is not so." And then they asked, and the priests looked around to the rest, who winked with their eyelids to intimate that they had spoken well. And then they replied that it was so, that faith is preserved by the fruit; but they would not say faith is continued in the fruit.

But then one of the priests, who was among the sheep on the right hand, rose up and said, "They have answered you that it is so, but they have told their companions that it is not so; for they think otherwise." Wherefore they inquired, "How, then, do they think? Do they not think as they teach?" He said, "No; they think that every good of charity, which is called a good work, done by man for the sake of salvation or eternal life, is not good but evil, by reason that man desires to save himself by his own works, by claiming to himself the justice and merit of the only Savior; and that it is so with every good work, in which man feels his own will. Therefore among themselves they call good works from man, not blessed, but cursed; and say that they merit hell rather than heaven."

But the flock on the left hand said, "You speak falsehoods against them; do they not preach manifestly before us charity and its works, which they call the works of faith?" He replied, "You do not understand their preachings; only a clergyman, who is present, attends and understands. They think only of moral charity, and its civil and political goods, which they call the goods of faith, which yet are not at all so. For a man may be an atheist, and perform these works in the same manner, and under the same form. Wherefore they are unanimous in saying that no one is saved by any works, but by faith alone; but this shall be illustrated by comparisons. An apple tree produces apples; but if a man does what is good for the sake of salvation, as the tree produces apples by continuity, then those apples are rotten within, and full of worms. They say, also, that a vine produces grapes; but that if a man were to do spiritual goods as a vine grapes, he would produce wild grapes."

But then they asked, "What is the nature of their goods of charity or works, which are the fruits of faith?" He replied, "They are inconspicuous, being inwardly in man from the Holy Spirit, concerning which man knows nothing." But they said, "If a man knows nothing concerning them, there must surely be some conjunction, or how could they be called works of faith? perhaps those insensible goods are then insinuated into the voluntary works of man by some mediating influx, as by some affection, aspiration, inspiration, incitation, and excitation of the will, by a tacit perception in thought and thence exhortation, contrition, and thus by conscience, and thence by impulse and obedience to the Decalogue and the Word, as an infant, or as a wise man, or by something else of a similar nature." But he replied, "No; and if they say it is effected by such means because by faith, still they bury them with words in their discourses in such a manner that the result after all is, that they do not proceed from faith; some, however, do maintain such things, but as the signs of faith, but not as its bonds with charity. Some have nevertheless thought of a conjunction by the Word." And then they said, "Is there not thus conjunction, when man voluntarily acts according to the Word?" But he replied, "This is not what they think; they ascribe it solely to the hearing the Word, thus not to the understanding of the Word, lest anything should manifestly enter by the understanding into the thought and will of man; since they assert that everything voluntary in man is meritorious, and that in spiritual things, man cannot begin, will, think, understand, believe, operate, and cooperate anything, any more than a stock; but yet it is different with the influx of the Holy Spirit by faith into the speech of the preacher, because these are acts of the mouth, and not acts of the body; likewise because man acts by faith with God, but by charity with men."

But when one of them heard that it was done merely by hearing the Word, and not by understanding the Word, being indignant, said, "Is this through the understanding of the Word, by the Holy Spirit alone, whilst man, throughout the church service, turns himself away, or sits deaf as a post, or while he is sleeping, or only from an exhalation from the volume of the Word? What is more ludicrous?"

After this a certain man of the flock of the right hand, who excelled the rest in judgment, requested to be heard, and said, "I heard a certain person say, 'I have planted a vineyard, now will I drink wine even to intoxication.' But another asked, 'Will you drink the wine out of your own cup by your own right hand?' And he said, 'No; but out of an inconspicuous cup from an inconspicuous hand.' And the other replied, 'Of a certainty then you will not be intoxicated.'" Presently the same man said, —
"But hear me, I beseech you; I say unto you, drink wine from the Word understood. Do you not know that the Lord is the Word? Is not the Word from the Lord? Is he not therefore in it? If then you do good from the Word, do you not do it from the Lord, from his mouth and will? And if you at the same time look to the Lord, he will also lead you, and will cause you to do it, and this he will do through you, and you as from yourselves. Who can say, when doing anything from a king, from his mouth and will, 'I do this from myself, from my own mouth or command, and from my own will?'
After this he turned to the clergy, and said, "Ye ministers of God, seduce not the flock."
On hearing these things, the greater part of the flock on the left hand receded, and joined themselves with the flock on the right; some of the clergy also then said, "We have heard what we have not heard before; we are shepherds; we will not leave the sheep." And they receded along with them, and said,
"That man spoke a true word. Who can say, when he does anything from the Word, thus from the Lord, from His mouth and will, I do this from myself? Who that does anything from the mouth and will of a king, says, 'I do this from myself'"?
Now we see Divine providence, why a conjunction of faith and works has not been discovered, which has been acknowledged by the ecclesiastical body. It could not be found, because no such conjunction can be given, for theirs is not a faith in the Lord, who is the Word, and therefore neither is it a faith from the Word.

But the other priests went away, flourishing their caps, and crying out, "Faith alone! faith alone, it will live still."

(Apocalypse Revealed 417)

January 22, 2021

The Lot of Those After Death, Who are Useless

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A Memorable Relation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Apocalypse Revealed 153)

January 21, 2021

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

Selection from Brief Exposition ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

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

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

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

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

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

(from Brief Exposition 102 - 103)

January 20, 2021

Charity in One's Piety

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(from Arcana Coelestia 8252 - 8257)

January 18, 2021

The Doctrinals of the New Church

Selection from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

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

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

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

The Doctrinals of the Faith and Charity of the New Church

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

II. That saving faith is to believe in Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Proof of the third also, and the following ones

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

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

(from Conjugial Love 82)

January 17, 2021

Cultivating The Rational

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

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

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

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

In every man there are three degrees of life. —

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

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

(from Heaven and Hell 468)

January 15, 2021

Turning To One's Own Love

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(from Heaven and Hell 551 - 552)