February 28, 2015

The Word has a Soul

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In heaven nothing at all is known about the names, countries, nations, and the like; the angels have no idea of such things, but of the actual things signified by them. The Word of the Lord is living by virtue of the internal sense. This is as the soul, of which the external sense is as the body. And just as with man when his body dies the soul lives, and when the soul lives he no longer knows the things that pertain to the body, so when he comes among angels he does not know what the Word is in the sense of the letter, but only what it is in its soul. Such was the man of the Most Ancient Church; who, if he were living and read the Word at the present day, would not cleave at all to the sense of the letter; but would be as if he did not see it, but only the internal sense abstractly from the letter; and indeed as if the letter had no existence. Thus he would be in the life or soul of the Word. It is the same everywhere in the Word, even in its historical parts, which were just such as are narrated, and yet there is not so much as one little word therein that does not, in the internal sense, enfold within it deep secrets which never appear to those who hold the mind in the historical connection.
(Arcana Coelestia 1143)

February 27, 2015

There is a Correspondence of Actual Things, and thence of Ideas, Natural and Spiritual

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out of the doors unto the man, unto the fountain.  Gen 24:29

That this signifies its desire, that is, the desire of the affection of good, toward the truth which was to be initiated into truth Divine, is evident from the signification of running," as manifesting the inclination or desire; from the representation of Laban, as being the affection of good; from the signification of "the man," as being truth; and from the signification of a "fountain," as also being truth, here truth Divine.

From these and from the other things here treated of, we can see what is the quality of the internal sense, and what arcana there are in it. Who could know, except from an interior searching of the Word, and at the same time from revelation, that these words, "Laban ran out of doors unto the man, unto the fountain," signify the desire of the affection of good toward the truth that was to be initiated into truth Divine? And yet this is what the angels perceive when these words are read by man; for such are the correspondences between a man's ideas and an angel's that while the man takes these words according to the sense of the letter, and has the idea of Laban as running out of doors to the man unto the fountain, the angel perceives the desire of the affection of good toward the truth which was to be initiated into truth Divine. For the angels have no idea of Laban, nor of running, nor of a fountain, but they have spiritual ideas corresponding to these. ...

As regards the actual thing itself, namely, that truth was to be initiated into truth Divine, the case is this: The first truth in the natural man was not truth Divine, but was truth that appeared as if Divine; for in its first infancy no truth is truth, but is apparent truth; but in process of time it puts off the appearance, and puts on the essence of truth. In order that this may be comprehended, it may be illustrated by examples, but for the present merely by the following:
     It is a truth Divine that the Lord is never angry, never punishes anyone, still less does evil to anyone, and that from the Lord there never comes anything but good; nevertheless in its first infancy this truth takes the form that the Lord is angry when anyone sins, and that therefore the Lord punishes; nay, with some that evil is from the Lord; but as a man advances from childhood, and grows up and matures in judgment, he puts off that which was as truth to him from its appearing to be so, and gradually puts on the real truth, namely that the Lord is never angry, that He does not punish, that still less does He do what is evil; and thus by the former truth he is initiated into this. For that which first enters is the general truth, which in itself is obscure, and in which scarcely anything appears until it has been enlightened by particulars, and these by singulars; and when it has been enlightened the interior things are clear. Thus fallacies and appearances, which in time of ignorance are truths, are dissipated and shaken off.
(Arcana Coelestia 3131)

February 23, 2015

Man's Two Rationals - One Before Regeneration, the Other After Regeneration

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
With every man who is being regenerated there are two rationals - one before regeneration, the other after regeneration.

The first, which is before regeneration, is procured through the experience of the senses, by reflections upon things of civic life and of moral life, and by means of the sciences and the reasonings derived from them and by means of them, also by means of the knowledges of spiritual things from the doctrine of faith or from the Word. But these go no further at that time than a little above the ideas of the corporeal memory, which comparatively are quite material. Whatever therefore it then thinks is from such things; or, in order that what it thinks may be comprehended at the same time by interior or intellectual sight, the semblances of such things are presented by comparison, or analogically. Of this kind is the first rational, or that which is before regeneration.

But the rational after regeneration is formed by the Lord through the affections of spiritual truth and good, which affections are implanted by the Lord in a wonderful manner in the truths of the former rational; and those things in it which are in agreement and which favor are thus vivified; but the rest are separated from it as of no use; until at length spiritual goods and truths are collected together as it were into bundles, the incongruous things which cannot be vivified being rejected to the circumference, and this by successive steps, as spiritual goods and truths grow, together with the life of the affections of them. From this it appears what the second rational is.

How the case is with these things may be illustrated by comparison with the fruit of trees. The first rational, in the beginning, is like unripe fruit, which gradually matures till it forms seeds within itself, and when it is of such age as to begin to separate itself from the tree, its state is then full ... But the second rational, with which one is gifted by the Lord when he is being regenerated, is like the same fruit in good ground, in which those things which are round about the seeds decay, and the seeds push forth from their inmost parts, and send out a root, and then a shoot above the ground, which grows into a new tree, and unfolds itself at length even into new fruits, and then into gardens and paradises, according to the affections of good and truth which it receives (see Matt. 13:31-32; John 12:24).

But as examples aid conviction, take as an example that which is man's own before regeneration, and that which is his own after it. From the first rational, which he has procured to himself by the means described above, the man believes that he thinks truth and does good from himself, and thus from what is his own. This first rational cannot apprehend otherwise, even if it has been instructed that all the good of love and all the truth of faith are from the Lord. But when man is being regenerated, which takes place in adult age, then from the other rational with which he is gifted by the Lord he begins to think that the good and truth are not from himself, or from what is his own, but from the Lord (but that nevertheless he does good and thinks truth as from himself, may be seen above, AC 1937, 1947). The more he is then confirmed in this, the more is he led into the light of truth respecting these things, till at last he believes that all good and all truth are from the Lord. The Own that belongs to the former rational is then successively separated, and the man is gifted by the Lord with a heavenly Own, which becomes that of his new rational.

Take another example. The first rational, in the beginning, knows no other love than that of self and the world; and although it hears that heavenly love is altogether of another character, it nevertheless does not comprehend it. But then, when the man does any good, he perceives no other delight from it than that he may seem to himself to merit the favor of another, or may hear himself called a Christian, or may obtain from it the joy of eternal life. The second rational, however, with which he is gifted by the Lord through regeneration, begins to feel some delight in good and truth itself, and to be affected by this, not for the sake of anything of his own, but for the sake of the good and truth; and when he is led by this delight, he disclaims merit, till at length he rejects it as an enormity. This delight grows with him step by step, and becomes blessed; and in the other life it becomes happiness, and is itself his heaven. Hence it is now evident how it is with each rational in the man who is being regenerated.

But be it known that although a man is being regenerated, still each and all things of the first rational remain with him, and are merely separated from the second rational, and this in a most wonderful manner by the Lord. But the Lord wholly banished His first rational, so that nothing of it remained; for what is merely human cannot be together with the Divine. Hence He was no longer the son of Mary, but was Jehovah as to each essence.

(Arcana Coelestia 2657:2-6)

February 22, 2015

Inversion of Good and Truth During Regeneration

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The end of regeneration is that man may be made new as to his internal man, thus as to his soul or spirit; but man cannot be made new or regenerated as to his internal man unless he is regenerated as to his external man also; for although after death man becomes a spirit, he nevertheless has with him in the other life the things which are of his external man, namely, natural affections, and also doctrinal things, and even memory-knowledges; in a word, all things of the exterior or natural memory (see n. 2475-2483); for these are the planes in which his interiors are terminated; and therefore according to the disposition that has been made of these things is the character of interior things when they flow into them, because they are modified in them. This shows that man must be regenerated or made new not only as to his internal or rational man, but also as to his external or natural man; and unless this were the case there would not be any correspondence. ... there is a correspondence between the internal man and its spiritual things, and the external man and its natural things....

... the quality of man's first state while he is being regenerated, or before he has been regenerated; for this state is entirely inverted in respect to that in which man is when he has been regenerated. For in the former state, during regeneration, or before he has been regenerated, intellectual things which are of truth apparently act the first part; but when he has been regenerated, the things of the will, which are of good, act the first part. ... for in this state rational truth not yet thus conjoined with rational good, or what is the same, the understanding not thus conjoined with the will, in this manner inflows and acts into the natural, and disposes inversely the things which are there.

... a man is able to observe in the understanding, and thereby his natural can know, many things which are good and true, and yet the will cannot as yet act in accordance with them; as for instance that love and charity are the essential in man: this the intellectual faculty of man can see and confirm, but until he has been regenerated the will faculty cannot acknowledge it: there are even those who are in no love to the Lord whatever, and in no charity toward the neighbor, who well apprehend this. In like manner that love is the very life of man, and that such as the love is, such is the life; and likewise that everything delightful and everything pleasant is from love, consequently all joy and all happiness; and therefore also such as the love is, such is the joy and such the happiness. A man is also able to apprehend in his understanding, even should his will dissent or go contrary thereto, that the happiest life is from love to the Lord and from charity toward the neighbor, because the very Divine flows into it; and on the other hand that the most miserable life is from the love of self and the love of the world, because hell flows into it; and from this it may be perceptible to the understanding, yet not to the will, that love to the Lord is the life of heaven, and that mutual love is the soul from this life; and therefore insofar as a man does not think from the life of his will, nor reflect upon his life derived therefrom, so far he perceives this in his understanding; but insofar as he thinks from the life of his will, so far he does not perceive, nay denies it.

Also to the understanding it may clearly appear that it is into the humiliation with a man that the Divine can inflow; for the reason that in this state the loves of self and of the world, and consequently the infernal things which oppose, are removed; but yet so long as the will is not new and the understanding has not been united to it, the man cannot be in humiliation of heart; nay, insofar as the man is in a life of evil, that is, insofar as his will is toward evil, so far this state is not possible; and what is more, so far the matter is obscure to him, and so far he even denies it. Hence also a man can perceive in his understanding that the humiliation of man is not for the sake of the Lord's love of glory, but for the sake of His Divine love, and in order that He can thereby inflow with good and truth and make the man blessed and happy; nevertheless so far as the will is consulted, so far this is obscured. The same is true in very many other cases.

This faculty of man of being able to understand what is good and true although he does not will it, has been given to man in order that he may have the capacity of being reformed and regenerated; on which account this faculty exists with the evil as well as with the good; nay, with the evil it is sometimes more acute, but with this difference, that with the evil there is no affection of truth for the sake of life, that is, for the sake of the good of life from truth, and therefore they cannot be reformed; but with the good there is the affection of truth for the sake of life, that is, for the sake of the good of life, and therefore they can be reformed. But the first state of the reformation of these is that the truth of doctrine appears to them to be in the first place, and the good of life in the second, because they do what is good from truth; and their second state is that the good of life is in the first place, and the truth of doctrine in the second, for then they do what is good from good, that is, from the will of good; and when this is the case, because the will has been conjoined with the understanding as in a marriage, the man has been regenerated....

(Arcana Coelestia 3539:2-6)

February 20, 2015

The Natural of Man is Threefold

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the natural of man is threefold - rational, natural, and sensual; the rational is the highest in it, the sensual is the lowest, and the natural is the middle. The genuine rational is from influx from the spiritual world, the sensual is from influx from the natural world, and the mediate natural is either of the rational or of the sensual.
That the natural is threefold can be seen in men who while they are in the world are either rational or sensual or intermediate. Which of these they are is clear especially from their perception of civil, moral and spiritual laws.
Those are rational who think, judge, and conclude well from reason, and the thoughts of such are raised above material things; but those who are sensual think from material things and in them, and what they speak from thought is only from the memory. As there are these two degrees, there is also an intermediate degree which is called the natural. What men are can be known also from their understanding of the Word. The rational draw from the sense of the letter such things as pertain to doctrine, while the sensual abide in the letter only and draw from it nothing more interior. The same distinctions exist in the spiritual world, since in the lowest heaven there are the same degrees of natural men; the lowest there are the sensual, and the highest the rational ...
(Apocalypse Explained 1147)

February 19, 2015

Whether Sensuous Things are in The First or Last Place

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
(those [things] which have entered from the world through the external organs of sensation)

... with the regenerate these sensuous things are in the last place; but with the unregenerate are in the first place.

Whether sensuous things are in the first or last place can easily be perceived by man if he pays attention. If he sanctions everything to which the sensuous prompts or which it craves, and disapproves of everything that the intellectual part dictates, then sensuous things are in the first place, and the man is governed by the appetites, and is wholly sensuous. Such a man is but little removed from the condition of irrational animals, for they are governed in the same way; nay, he is in a worse condition if he abuses the intellectual or rational faculty to confirm the evils and falsities to which sensuous things prompt and which they crave. But if he does not sanction them, but from within sees how they stray into falsities and incite to evils, and strives to chasten them and thus reduce them to compliance (that is, subject them to the intellectual and will parts which are of the interior man), then sensuous things are reduced into order, that they may be in the last place. When sensuous things are in the last place, a happy and blessed feeling flows from the interior man into the delights of these things, and increases them a thousandfold. The sensuous man does not believe that this is so, because he does not comprehend it; and as he is sensible of no other delight than sensuous delight, and thinks there is no higher delight, he regards as of no account the happy and blessed feeling which is within the delights of sensuous things; for whatever is unknown to anyone is believed not to be.
(Arcana Coelestia 5125)

February 18, 2015

The Nature of the Love of Self - An Infernalism so Absolute

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The church is of such a nature that when charity toward the neighbor departs, and the love of self succeeds in its place, the doctrine of faith is of no account except insofar as it can be turned into the worship of self; and nothing whatever is accounted holy in worship unless it is for the sake of self, and thus unless it is self-worship.  All love of self is attended with this; for he who loves himself more than others, not only hates all who are not subservient to him, and shows them no favor except when they have become subservient, but also, insofar as he is not under restraint, he rushes on even until he exalts himself above God. That this is the nature of the love of self when the reins are given to it....

The love of self and every derivative cupidity is of all things the most filthy and the most profane, and is the veriest infernalism; and from this anyone may conclude what the quality of that worship must be which contains within it an infernalism so absolute.
(Arcana Coelestia 1304)

February 17, 2015

Two Beginnings of Falsities - One from ignorance of truth, the other from cupidities

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Falsity from ignorance of truth is not so pernicious as falsity from cupidities. For the falsity of ignorance arises either from one's having been so instructed from childhood, or from having been diverted by various occupations so that one has not examined whether what professes to be true is really so, or from not having had much faculty of judging concerning what is true and what is false. The falsities from these sources do not inflict much harm, provided the man has not much confirmed and thus persuaded himself, being incited thereto by some cupidity so as to defend the falsities; for by doing this he would make the cloud of ignorance dense, and turn it into darkness so that he could not see the truth.

But the falsity of cupidities exists when the origin of the falsity is the cupidity or love of self and of the world; as when one seizes upon some point of doctrine and professes it in order to captivate minds and lead them, and explains or perverts the doctrine in favor of self, and confirms it both by reasonings from memory-knowledges, and by the literal sense of the Word. The worship derived from this is profane, however holy it may outwardly appear; for inwardly it is not the worship of the Lord, but the worship of self. Nor does such a man acknowledge anything as true except insofar as he can explain it so as to favor himself. Such worship is that which is signified by "Babel."

But the case is different with those who have been born and brought up in such worship, and who do not know that it is false, and who live in charity. In their ignorance there is innocence, and in their worship there is good from charity.

The profanity in worship is not predicated so much from the worship itself, as from the quality of the man who is in the worship.
(Arcana Coelestia 1295)

February 13, 2015

True Love

From the Posthumous Theological Works of Emanuel Swedenborg
Canons of the New Church
1. Love is spiritual conjunction.

2. True love cannot be quiescent in itself, and be restrained within its own limits, but it wills to go forth and embrace others with love.

3. True love wills to be conjoined to others, and to communicate with them, and to give of its own.

4. True love wills to dwell in others, and in itself from others.

5. The Divine Love, which is Love itself, and God Himself, wills that it may be in a subject which is His image and likeness; consequently He wills to be in man, and man to be in Him.

6. In order that this may be effected, it follows from the very essence of Love, which is in God, and hence from an urgent cause, that the universe must needs be created by God, in which are earths, and upon them men, and in the men minds and souls, with which the Divine Love can be conjoined.

7. Therefore all things which are created regard man as the end.

8. Since the angelic heaven is formed from men, from their spirits and souls, all things which are created regard the angelic heaven as the end.

9. The angelic heaven is the habitation itself of God with men, and of men with God.

10. Eternal beatitudes, felicities, and delights together, are the ends of creation, because they are of love.

11. This end is the inmost; thus as it were, the life and soul, and as force and endeavor in each and all created things.

12. That end is God in them.

13. This end implanted in created things, in general and in particular, causes the universe to be preserved in the created state, in so far as the ends of an opposite love do not obstruct and destroy.

14. God from His Divine Omnipotence, Omnipresence, and Omniscience, continually provides lest opposite ends from opposite loves should prevail, and the work of creation be ruined even to destruction.

15. Preservation is perpetual creation, as subsistence is perpetual existence.

(Canons Chp 7:11)

February 10, 2015

Why Man is Regenerated by Means of Temptations

From a passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man is nothing but an organ, or vessel, which receives life from the Lord; for man does not live from himself.  The life which inflows with man from the Lord is from His Divine love. This love, or the life thence derived, inflows and applies itself to the vessels which are in man's rational, and to those which are in his natural.  In consequence of the hereditary evil into which man is born, and of the actual evil which he acquires, these vessels are in a contrary position within him relatively to the inflowing life, yet insofar as the life which flows in can dispose the vessels to receive it, it does so dispose them. These vessels in the rational man, and in the natural, are what are called truths, but in themselves they are merely perceptions of the variations of form of these vessels, and of the changes of state according to which in divers ways these variations come forth, being effected in the most subtle substances, by methods inexpressible. Good itself, which has life from the Lord, or which is life, is that which flows in and disposes.

When therefore these vessels, which are to be varied as to forms, are as before said in a contrary position and direction in respect to the life, it is evident that they must be reduced to a position in accordance with the life, or into compliance with it. This cannot possibly be effected so long as the man is in that state into which he is born, and to which he has reduced himself; for the vessels are not obedient, being obstinately resistant, and hardening themselves against the heavenly order according to which the life acts; for the good which moves them, and with which they comply, is of the love of self and of the world; which good, from the gross heat that is in it, causes them to be of such a quality; and therefore before they can be rendered compliant and fit to receive anything of the life of the Lord's love, they must be softened. This softening is effected by no other means than temptations; for temptations remove all that is of the love of self and of contempt for others in comparison with self, consequently all that is of self-glory, and also of hatred and revenge on this account. When therefore the vessels have been somewhat tempered and subdued by temptations, they begin to become yielding to, and compliant with, the life of the Lord's love, which continually flows in with man.

Hence then it is that good begins to be conjoined with truths; first in the rational man, and afterwards in the natural; for as before said truths are nothing else than perceptions of the variations of form according to states that are continually being changed; and these perceptions are from the life which flows in. This is the reason why man is regenerated, that is, made new, by temptations; or what is the same, by spiritual combats; and that he is afterwards gifted with another nature; being made mild, humble, simple, and contrite in heart.  From these considerations it may now be seen what use temptations promote, namely, that good from the Lord may not only flow in, but may also dispose the vessels to obedience, and thus conjoin itself with them. ... truths are vessels receptive of good....

But as regards the Lord, who in the supreme sense is treated of, He by the most grievous temptation combats reduced all things in Himself into Divine order, insomuch that there remained nothing at all of the human which He had derived from the mother, so that He was not made new as are other men, but altogether Divine.  For the man who is made new by regeneration still retains in himself an inclination to evil, and even evil itself; but is withheld from evil by an influx of the life of the Lord's love, and this with a force exceeding great; whereas the Lord utterly cast out all the evil that was hereditary to Him from the mother, and made Himself Divine, even as to the vessels, that is, as to truths. This is that which in the Word is called "glorification."
(Arcana Coelestia 3318)

February 6, 2015

Having a Just Idea of God

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
How important it is to have a correct idea of God can be known from the truth that the idea of God constitutes the inmost of thought with all who have religion, for all things of religion and all things of worship look to God.  And since God, universally and in particular, is in all things of religion and of worship, without a proper idea of God, no communication with the heavens is possible.

From this it is that in the spiritual world every nation has its place allotted in accordance with its idea of God as a Man; for in this idea, and in no other, is the idea of the Lord.

That man's state of life after death is according to the idea of God in which he has become confirmed, is manifest from the opposite of this, namely, that the denial of God, and, in the Christian world, the denial of the Divinity of the Lord, constitutes hell.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 13)

February 5, 2015

For They Were Idolaters

From a portion of a passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The God of Abraham, and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. And Jacob sware by the fear of his father Isaac. (Gen 31:53)

... why it is here said, "the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, the God of their father" (that is, of Terah) and "the Dread of Isaac," Jacob's father, is that the sons of Terah acknowledged this number of gods, for they were idolaters.  And it was a peculiarity in that house that each family worshiped its own god. This is the reason why it is here said, "the God of Abraham, the God of Nahor, the God of their father, and the Dread of Isaac."

Nevertheless it was enjoined upon the family of Abraham to acknowledge Jehovah as their God; and yet they did not acknowledge Him otherwise than as another god, by whom they might distinguish themselves from the Gentiles, thus they acknowledged Jehovah merely as to the name, and it was in consequence of this that they so often fell away to other gods, as may be seen from the historic parts of the Word.  The reason of this merely nominal acknowledgment was that they were solely in externals, and what internal things were they knew not at all, and did not desire to know.

Insofar as they were concerned the very rituals of their church were merely idolatrous, because they were separated from internal things; for when separated from its internal every ritual of the church is idolatrous.  Nevertheless what is genuine of the church could be represented by them; for representations do not regard the person, but the thing.

Yet in order that a representative church might come into existence, and that there might thus be some communication of the Lord through heaven with man, it was of especial importance that they should be kept in the acknowledgment of Jehovah, if not in heart, still with the mouth; for with them the representatives did not issue from internal, but from external things; and it was in this way that they had communication with the Lord; quite otherwise than in the genuine church, in which the communication is effected by means of internal things. For this reason their Divine worship did not at all affect their souls, that is, did not make them blessed in the other life, but only prosperous in this world.

Therefore in order that they might be kept in these external things, there were so many miracles performed among them, which would never have taken place if they had been in internal things; and for this reason they were so many times driven to their worship by punishments, captivities, and threats; whereas no one is driven by the Lord to internal worship, but this is implanted through freedom. Their principal external was that they should confess Jehovah; for Jehovah was the Lord, who was represented in all things of that church.
(Arcana Coelestia 4208)