June 26, 2015

When Man Takes the Place of the Lord in Worship

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
When the worship of self succeeds in the place of the worship of the Lord, then all truth is not only perverted, but is even abolished, and at last falsity is acknowledged in the place of truth, and evil in the place of good. For all the light of truth is from the Lord, and all darkness is from man; and when man takes the place of the Lord in worship, the light of truth becomes thick darkness; and then the light is seen by men as thick darkness, and thick darkness is seen as the light.

Such moreover is precisely the life of such persons after death; the life of falsity is to them as if it were light, but the life of truth is to them as thick darkness. But when they approach toward heaven, the light of such a life is changed into total darkness. So long as they are in the world, they can indeed speak truth, even with eloquence and apparent zeal; and as there is with all such persons a constant reflection upon self, they seem to themselves to think as they speak; but as their very end is the worship of self, their thoughts derive from the end that they do not acknowledge truth except insofar as self is in the truth. When a man in whose mouth is the truth is of such a character, it is evident that he does not possess the truth; and in the other life this is plainly evident, for there such men not only do not acknowledge the truth which they had professed in the life of the body, but hold it in hatred, and persecute it; and this just in proportion as their arrogance or their worship of self is not taken away.

(Arcana Coelestia 1321)