August 30, 2015

The Lord's Presence According to Reception

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The distance between the [spiritual] sun and the angels in the spiritual world is an appearance according to reception by them of divine love and divine wisdom.

All fallacies which prevail with the evil and the simple arise from appearances which have been confirmed. So long as appearances remain appearances, they are apparent truths, according to which every one may think and speak; but when they are accepted as real truths, which is done when they are confirmed, then apparent truths become falsities and fallacies. For example: It is an appearance that the sun is borne around the earth daily, and follows yearly the path of the ecliptic. So long as this appearance is not confirmed it is an apparent truth, according to which any one may think and speak; for he may say that the sun rises and sets and thereby causes morning, midday, evening, and night; also that the sun is now in such or such a degree of the ecliptic or of its altitude, and thereby causes spring, summer, autumn, and winter. But when this appearance is confirmed as the real truth, then the confirmer thinks and utters a falsity springing from a fallacy. It is the same with innumerable other appearances, not only in natural, civil, and moral, but also in spiritual affairs.

It is the same with the distance of the sun of the spiritual world, which sun is the first proceeding of the Lord's Divine Love and Divine Wisdom. The truth is that there is no distance, but that the distance is an appearance according to the reception of Divine Love and Wisdom by the angels in their degree. ... distances, in the spiritual world, are appearances ... the Divine is not in space; ... the Divine, apart from space, fills all spaces. If there are no spaces, there are no distances, or, what is the same, if spaces are appearances, distances also are appearances, for distances are of space.

The sun of the spiritual world appears at a distance from the angels, because they receive Divine Love and Divine Wisdom in the measure of heat and light that is adequate to their states. For an angel, because created and finite, cannot receive the Lord in the first degree of heat and light, such as is in the sun; if he did he would be entirely consumed. The Lord, therefore, is received by angels in a degree of heat and light corresponding to their love and wisdom. The following may serve for illustration. An angel of the lowest heaven cannot ascend to the angels of the third heaven; for if he ascends and enters their heaven, he falls into a kind of swoon, and his life as it were, strives with death; the reason is that he has a less degree of love and wisdom, and the heat of his love and the light of his wisdom are in the same degree as his love and wisdom. What, then, would be the result if an angel were even to ascend toward the sun, and come into its fire? On account of the differences of reception of the Lord by the angels, the heavens also appear separate from one another. The highest heaven, which is called the third, appears above the second, and the second above the first; not that the heavens are apart, but they appear to be apart, for the Lord is present equally with those who are in the lowest heaven and with those who are in the third heaven. That which causes the appearance of distance is not in the Lord but in the subjects, that is, the angels.

That this is so can hardly be comprehended by a natural idea, because in such there is space, but by a spiritual idea, such as angels have, it can be comprehended, because in such there is no space. Yet even by a natural idea this much can be comprehended, that love and wisdom (or what is the same, the Lord, who is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom) cannot advance through spaces, but is present with each one according to reception. That the Lord is present with all, He teaches in Matthew 28:20, and that He makes His abode with those who love Him, in John 14:23.

As this has been proved by means of the heavens and the angels, it may seem a matter of too exalted wisdom; but the same is true of men. Men, as to the interiors of their minds, are warmed and illuminated by that same sun. They are warmed by its heat and illuminated by its light in the measure in which they receive love and wisdom from the Lord. The difference between angels and men is that angels are under the spiritual sun only, but men are not only under that sun, but also under the sun of this world; for men's bodies can begin and continue to exist only under both suns; but not so the bodies of angels, which are spiritual.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 108 - 112)

August 28, 2015

The Conjoining Medium

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the presence of the Lord with the man ...
The Lord speaks with every man, for whatever a man wills and thinks that is good and true, is from the Lord. There are with every man at least two evil spirits and two angels. The evil spirits excite his evils, and the angels inspire things that are good and true. Every good and true thing inspired by the angels is of the Lord; thus the Lord is continually speaking with man, but quite differently with one man than with another. With those who suffer themselves to be led away by evil spirits, the Lord speaks as if absent, or from afar, so that it can scarcely be said that He is speaking; but with those who are being led by the Lord, He speaks as more nearly present; which may be sufficiently evident from the fact that no one can ever think anything good and true except from the Lord.

The presence of the Lord is predicated according to the state of love toward the neighbor and of faith in which the man is. In love toward the neighbor the Lord is present, because He is in all good; but not so much in faith, so called, without love. Faith without love and charity is a separated or disjoined thing. Wherever there is conjunction there must be a conjoining medium, which is nothing else than love and charity, as must be evident to all from the fact that the Lord is merciful to everyone, and loves everyone, and wills to make everyone happy to eternity. He therefore who is not in such love that he is merciful to others, loves them, and wills to make them happy, cannot be conjoined with the Lord, because he is unlike Him and not at all in His image. To look to the Lord by faith, as they say, and at the same time to hate the neighbor, is not only to stand afar off, but is also to have the abyss of hell between themselves and the Lord, into which they would fall if they should approach nearer, for hatred to the neighbor is that infernal abyss which is between.

The presence of the Lord is first possible with a man when he loves the neighbor. The Lord is in love; and so far as a man is in love, so far the Lord is present; and so far as the Lord is present, so far He speaks with the man. Man knows no otherwise than that he thinks from himself, whereas he has not a single idea, nor even the least bit of an idea, from himself; but he has what is evil and false through evil spirits from hell, and what is good and true through angels from the Lord. Such is the influx with man, from which is his life and the interaction of his soul with the body.
(Arcana Coelestia 904)

August 27, 2015

Their Endeavor and Intention to Subjugate Those Who are in Good and Truth

Selections from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is the Lord alone also who fights in the men who are in the combats of temptations, and who overcomes. Man from his own power can effect nothing at all against evil or infernal spirits; for they are so connected with the hells that if one were overcome, another would rush in, and so on forever. They are like the sea which presses upon every part of a dike; and if the dike should be broken through by a cleft or a crack, the sea would never cease to burst through and overflow, until nothing was left standing. So would it be with man unless the Lord alone sustained in him the combats of temptations.
(Arcana Coelestia 1692:2)
And the Egyptians made the sons of Israel to serve. [Exodus 1:13]  That this signifies an intention to subjugate, is evident from the signification of "making to serve," as being subjugation, here the intention to subjugate, because they are in the continual endeavor to subjugate, but in no wise prevail against the good; from the signification of the "Egyptians," as being separated memory-knowledges which are opposed to the truths of the church ... and from the signification of the "sons of Israel," as being the church .... Hence it is evident that by "the Egyptians made the sons of Israel to serve" is signified the intention to subjugate by those who are in separated memory-knowledges which are opposed to the truths of the church.

As regards the intention to subjugate, such as exists with the evil who are from hell, I have also been given to know this. Such is their endeavor and intention to subjugate those who are in good and truth that it cannot be described; for they make use of all malice, all cunning and fraud, all deceit, and all cruelty, so great and of such a nature that if these were told in part only, hardly anyone in the world could believe it; so cunning and artful are their devices, and so execrable. In a word, these infernals are of such a nature that they cannot possibly be resisted by any man, nor even by any angel, but by the Lord alone. The reason why they are possessed with such an endeavor and intention is that all their delight of life, thus their life itself, consists in doing evil; and therefore nothing else occupies their thoughts, consequently they intend nothing else. They are quite unable to do what is good, because this is repugnant to them: if they do what is good, it is for the sake of self, thus is done to self.

From such spirits the hells are at this day immensely increased, and wonderful to say, especially from those who are within the church, on account of the cunning, deceit, hatred, revenge, and adultery, which flourish there more than elsewhere; for within the church cunning is now esteemed ingenious, and adultery honorable, and they who deem otherwise are laughed at. Its being so within the church at this day is a sign that its last time is at hand, for "Except there be an end, no flesh would be saved," according to the Lord's words in Matt. 24:22; because all evil is contagious, and infects, as lees do the lump, thus at last all.

(Arcana Coelestia 6666)

August 26, 2015

Man's Two Capacities for Life

From Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is because the Divine Essence itself is Love and Wisdom that man has two capacities for life; from one of these he has understanding, from the other will. The capacity from which he has understanding derives everything it has from the influx of wisdom from God, and the capacity from which he has will derives everything it has from the influx of love from God. Man's not being truly wise and not loving rightly does not take away these capacities, but merely closes them up; and so long as they are closed up, although the understanding is still called understanding and the will is called will, they are not such in essence. If these two capacities, therefore, were to be taken away, all that is human would perish; for the human is to think and to speak from thought, and to will and to act from will. From this it is clear that the Divine has its seat in man in these two capacities, the capacity to be wise and the capacity to love (that is, that one may be wise and may love). ...
(Divine Love and Wisdom 30)

August 25, 2015

Influx from within meets influx from without

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... man is only a recipient of good and truth from the Lord, and of evil and falsity from hell ...

It is illustrated by the following comparisons. The sensories of the body are merely recipient and percipient as if from themselves. The sensory of sight, which is the eye, sees objects out of itself, as it were in close contact with them, although it is the rays of light that, with the wings of ether, convey their forms and colours to the eye; these forms, being perceived by the internal sight, which is called the understanding, are examined in the eye and thus distinguished and known according to their quality. Similarly the sensory of hearing perceives sounds - whether they are words or tones of music - from the place whence they proceed, as if it were there, although the sounds enter from without, and are perceived in the ear by the understanding within. The sensory of smell, also, perceives from within what enters from without, sometimes from a great distance. The sensory of taste also is excited by the food, which externally moves over the tongue. The sensory of touch has no sensation unless it is touched. These five sensories of the body, by virtue of an influx from within, are sensible of the things which enter by influx from without; the influx from within is from the spiritual world, and the influx from without is from the natural world.

With these facts, the laws inscribed on the nature of all things are in agreement, and these laws are as follows:

 (1.) That nothing exists, subsists, is acted upon and moved, by itself, but by something else; whence it follows, that every thing exists, subsists, is acted upon and moved, from the First, who is not from another, but is in Himself the living force, which is life.

 (2.) That nothing can be acted upon and moved, unless it be intermediate between two forces, one of which acts and the other re-acts, thus, unless one acts on the one part, and one on the other; and further, unless one acts from within, and the other from without.

 (3.) And since these two forces, while they are at rest, are in equilibrium, it follows, that nothing can be acted upon or moved, unless it is in equilibrium, and that when it is acted upon, it is not in equilibrium; and further, that every thing acted upon or moved seeks to return to equilibrium.

 (4.) That all activities are changes of state and variations of form, and that the latter are the result of the former.

By state in man we mean his love, and by changes of state the affections of love; by form in man we mean his intelligence, and by variations of form his thoughts; the latter also are from the former.

(Apocalypse Explained 1146 b)

August 23, 2015

The Need for Adequate Terms

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... when the Lord made His Human Divine He advanced in a like order to that in which He makes man new by regeneration, namely, from what is external to interior things, thus from the truth which is in the ultimate of order to a good which is interior, and is called spiritual good, and from this to celestial good. But these things cannot fall into the understanding of anyone unless it is known what the external man and the internal man are, and that the former is distinct from the latter, although while man is living in the body they appear as one; also unless it is known that the natural constitutes the external man, and the rational the internal; and further, unless it is known what the spiritual is and what the celestial.

These things have indeed already been occasionally unfolded, nevertheless they who have previously had no idea about them in consequence of having no desire to know the things of eternal life, find it impossible to have any such idea. Such people say, "What is the internal man? Is it possible that it can be distinct from the external? What is the natural, and the rational? Are they not one? Moreover, What is the spiritual, and the celestial? Is not this a new distinction? We have heard of the spiritual, but that the celestial is something else we have not heard."

The case however is thus: They who have not previously acquired any idea on these subjects, for the reason that the cares of the world and of the body have possession of all their thought and take away all desire of knowing anything else; or because they deem it sufficient to know their doctrinal tenets as they are commonly known, and that it is of no consequence to have any further thought about the matter, saying, "We see the world, but the other life we do not see, perhaps it exists and perhaps not" - much persons put away all these subjects, for even at the first look they at heart reject them.

Nevertheless as they are such things as are contained in the internal sense of the Word, and these cannot be explained without adequate terms, and we have no terms more adequate for expressing exterior things than the term natural, for interior things than the term rational, for those things which are of truth the term spiritual, and those which are of good the term celestial, it is absolutely necessary to make use of these terms, for without terms adapted to the subject nothing can be described. ...

(Arcana Coelestia 4585)

August 21, 2015

For the Word to be Understood

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:35-40

...the Word is the doctrine of good, because it is the doctrine of love to the Lord and of love toward the neighbor; and all good is of love, even the good of faith, for this comes forth from the good of love, and not without it.

As the Word is the doctrine of good, therefore in order that the Word may be understood, it must be known what good is; and no one knows what good is unless he lives in good according to the Word; for when anyone lives in good according to the Word, then the Lord instills good into his life, from which the man perceives it and feels it, and consequently apprehends the nature of it; otherwise it does not appear, because it is not perceived. From this it can be seen in what state they are who merely know what is in the Word, and persuade themselves that it is so, and yet do not do it. They have no knowledge of good, consequently none of truth; for truth is known from good, and never without good, except as memory-knowledge devoid of life, which perishes in the other life.
(Arcana Coelestia 9780)

August 18, 2015

A Revelation or Word is the General Recipient Vessel of Spiritual and Celestial Things

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~Emanuel Swedenborg
... it has been necessary that of the Lord's Divine Providence some revelation should come into existence, for a revelation or Word is the general recipient vessel of spiritual and celestial things, thus conjoining heaven and earth; and that without it they would have been disjoined, and the human race would have perished. And besides it is necessary that there should be heavenly truths somewhere, by which man may be instructed, because he was born for heavenly things, and, after the life of the body, ought to come among those who are heavenly; for the truths of faith are the laws of order in the kingdom in which he is to live forever.
(Arcana Coelestia 1775)

August 16, 2015

Revelation from Perception or from Speech with Angels Through Whom the Lord Speaks

Selections from the Writings for the New Church ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Who that is of the church does not know that there are Divine things in each and all things of the Word? But who can see Divine things in these laws about oxen and asses falling into a pit, and about oxen striking with the horn, if they are regarded and explained merely according to the sense of the letter? Nevertheless they are Divine even in the sense of the letter, provided they are regarded and unfolded at the same time in respect to the internal sense; for in this sense each and all things of the Word treat of the Lord, of His Kingdom, and His church, thus of Divine things. For in order that anything may be Divine and holy, it must treat of Divine and holy things. The subject that is treated of effects this. The worldly and public affairs, such as are the judgments, statutes, and laws promulgated by the Lord from Mount Sinai, which are contained in this and in the following chapters of Exodus, are Divine and holy by inspiration; yet inspiration is not dictation, but is influx from the Divine. That which inflows from the Divine passes through heaven, and there is celestial and spiritual; but when it comes into the world it becomes worldly, within which is what is celestial and spiritual. From this it is plain whence and where is the Divine that is in the Word; and what is inspiration.
(Arcana Coelestia 9094:4)

I have been told how the Lord spoke with the prophets through whom the Word was given. He did not speak with them as He did with the ancients, by an influx into their interiors, but through spirits who were sent to them, whom the Lord filled with His aspect, and thus inspired the words which they dictated to the prophets. So it was not influx but dictation. As the words came forth immediately from the Lord, therefore, each one of them was filled with the Divine and contains within it an internal sense, which is such that the angels of heaven perceive the words in a heavenly and spiritual sense, while men do so in a natural sense. Thus has the Lord conjoined heaven and the world by means of the Word. How spirits are filled with the Divine from the Lord by aspect has also been shown. A spirit filled with the Divine from the Lord does not know otherwise than that he is the Lord, and that it is the Divine that is speaking; and this continues until he has finished speaking. Afterwards he perceives and acknowledges that he is a spirit, and that he spoke from the Lord and not from himself. Because this was the state of the spirits who spoke with the prophets, they said that it was Jehovah who spoke; the spirits even called themselves Jehovah, as can be confirmed not only from the prophetical but also from the historical parts of the Word.
(Heaven and Hell 254)

In regard to revelations being either from perception, or from speech with angels through whom the Lord speaks, it is to be known that they who are in good and thence in truth, and especially they who are in the good of love to the Lord, have revelation from perception; whereas they who are not in good and thence in truth, can indeed have revelations, yet not from perception, but through a living voice heard within them, and thus through angels from the Lord. This revelation is external, but the former is internal. The angels, especially the celestial, have revelation from perception, as also had the men of the Most Ancient Church, and some too of the Ancient Church, but scarcely anyone at this day; whereas very many, even those who have not been in good, have had revelations from speech without perception, and also by means of visions or dreams.

Such were most of the revelations of the prophets in the Jewish Church; they heard a voice, they saw a vision, and they dreamed a dream; but as they had no perception, these were merely verbal or visual revelations without any perception of what they signified. For genuine perception comes through heaven from the Lord, and affects the intellect spiritually, and leads it perceptibly to think as the thing really is, together with internal assent, the source of which it knows not. It supposes that it is in itself, and that it flows from the connection of things; whereas it is a dictate through heaven from the Lord, flowing into the interiors of the thought, about such things as are above the natural and sensuous, that is, about such things as are of the spiritual world or of heaven. From what has now been said it may be seen what revelation from perception is. But the revelation from perception which the Lord had ..., was from the Divine in Himself, thus was from Himself.
(Arcana Coelestia 5121:2-3)

August 14, 2015

Spiritual Idea, and Thought Therefrom

From Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... Spiritual idea derives nothing from space, but it derives its all from state. State is predicated of love, of life, of wisdom, of affections, of joys therefrom; in general, of good and of truth. An idea of these things, which is truly spiritual, has nothing in common with space; it is higher and looks down upon the ideas of space which are under it, as heaven looks down upon the earth. But since angels and spirits see with eyes, just as men in the world do, and since objects cannot be seen except in space, therefore in the spiritual world where angels and spirits are, there appear to be spaces like the spaces on earth; yet they are not spaces, but appearances; since they are not fixed and constant, as spaces are on earth; for they can be lengthened or shortened; they can be changed or varied. Thus because they cannot be determined in that world by measure, they cannot be comprehended there by any natural idea, but only by a spiritual idea. The spiritual idea of distances of space is the same as of distances of good or distances of truth, which are affinities and likenesses according to states of goodness and truth.

From this it may be seen that man is unable, by a merely natural idea, to comprehend that the Divine is everywhere, and yet not in space; but that angels and spirits comprehend this clearly; consequently that a man also may, provided he admits into his thought something of spiritual light; and this for the reason that it is not his body that thinks, but his spirit, thus not his natural, but his spiritual.

But many fail to comprehend this because of their love of the natural, which makes them unwilling to raise the thoughts of their understanding above the natural into spiritual light; and those who are unwilling to do this can think only from space, even concerning God; and to think according to space concerning God is to think concerning the expanse of nature. This has to be premised, because without a knowledge and some perception that the Divine is not in space, nothing can be understood about the Divine Life, which is Love and Wisdom ... and hence little, if anything, about Divine Providence, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnipotence, Infinity and Eternity....
(Divine Love and Wisdom 7 -9)

August 11, 2015

A Church When It Is Beginning To Recede From Charity -

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
So far as possible the Lord is continually putting evils and falsities to flight, but through conscience. When conscience is relaxed, there is no medium through which the Lord can flow in, for the Lord's influx with man is by means of charity into his conscience. But in place of this charity a new medium succeeds and is formed, which is external, namely, the fear of the law, fear for life, for honors and wealth, and the reputation from these. But these are not of conscience; they are only external bonds which enable a man to live in society with others, and to appear as a friend, whatsoever he may be inwardly.

But this medium, or these bonds, are of no account in the other life, for there externals are removed, and everyone remains as he is internally. There are very many who have lived a moral and a civic life, have injured no one, have performed acts of friendship and civility, nay, have done good to many, but only for the sake of self, with a view to honors, gain, and the like. In the other life these are among the infernals, because they have nothing of good and truth within, but only evil and falsity, nay, hatred, revenge, cruelty, adulteries, which do not appear before man, that is to say insofar as the fears just referred to, which are external bonds, prevail.

(Arcana Coelestia 1835)

August 5, 2015

What Truths of Faith are from Love

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
When men go forth who after their decease come into the other life, and bring with them the truths of faith in the natural or exterior memory only, and not in the spiritual or interior memory, they seem to themselves to wander about among rocks and in forests.

But when men go forth who bring with them the truths of faith in the spiritual memory also, they seem to themselves to walk among cultivated hills, and also in gardens.

The reason is that the truths of faith of the exterior or natural memory (which are memory-knowledges) have no life unless they are at the same time in the interior or spiritual memory; for the things which are in this latter memory have been made of life, because the interior or spiritual memory is man's book of life; and the things which are of life are represented in heaven by gardens, oliveyards, vineyards, and by flower-beds and shrubberies; and the things of charity, by hills where such things are; but those things which are not of life are represented by rocky places and thickets which are bare and rough.

It shall be briefly told what are truths of faith from love. Truths of faith from love are truths which love dictates, thus which derive their being from love. These truths are living, because the things which are from love are living. Consequently the truths of faith from love are those which treat of love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, for these are the truths which love dictates. The whole Word is the doctrine of such truths; for in its spiritual sense the Word treats solely of things which belong to the Lord and the neighbor, thus which belong to love to the Lord and toward the neighbor. It is from this that the Word is living. This is meant by the statement that "on these two commandments hang the Law and the Prophets" (Matt. 22:34-40); "the Law and the Prophets" denote the Word in its whole complex.

But truths of faith from love are not bare knowledges of such things with man in the memory, and from this in the understanding; but they are affections of life with him; for the things which a man loves and therefore does, are of his life. There are also truths of faith which do not, like the former, treat of love; but which merely confirm these truths more nearly, or more remotely. These truths of faith are called secondary truths.

For the truths of faith are like families and their generations in succession from one father. The father of these truths is the good of love from the Lord and consequently to Him, thus it is the Lord; for whether we say the Lord, or love from Him and consequently to Him, it is the same thing; because love is spiritual conjunction, and causes Him to be where the love is; for love causes him who is loved to be present in itself.
(Arcana Coelestia 9841)

August 2, 2015

The Means of Reformation Provided by the Lord

From Doctrine of Life ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The means of reformation provided by the Lord are these: Man is born in mere ignorance; whilst an infant he is kept in a state of external innocence, soon after in a state of external charity, and then in a state of external friendship; but as he comes to exercise thought from his own understanding, he is kept in a certain freedom of acting according to reason.
While man is in the world, he is in the midst between hell and heaven: beneath is hell, and above is heaven; and he is kept in freedom to turn himself either to hell or to heaven. If he turns himself to hell, he turns away from heaven; but if he turns himself to heaven, he turns away from hell. Or, what is the same, while man is in the world, he stands in the midst between the Lord and the devil, and is kept in freedom to turn himself either to the one or to the other. If he turns himself to the devil, he turns away from the Lord; but if he turns himself to the Lord, he turns away from the devil. Or, what is the same, while man is in the world, he is in the midst between evil and good, and is kept in freedom to turn himself either to the one or to the other. If he turns himself to evil, he turns away from good; but if he turns himself to good, he turns away from evil.
Now as evil and good are two opposites, precisely like hell and heaven, or like the devil and the Lord, it follows that if man shuns an evil as sin, he comes into the good that is an opposite to the evil. ...

Since this good and that evil are opposites, it follows that the latter is removed by the former. Two opposites cannot exist together, as heaven and hell cannot exist together. If they were together there would exist that lukewarm state concerning which it is written in the Revelation:
I know . . . that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Rev. 3:15, 16.
(Doctrine of Life 69-71)

August 1, 2015

When There is Still Hope for Reformation

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the distress of his soul ... signifies the state of the internal ... when it was alienated, is evident from the signification of "distress of soul," as being the state in which the internal is when alienated from the external.

As regards this state - the Lord continually flows in with man with good, and in good with truth; but man either receives or does not receive; if he receives, it is well with him; but if he does not receive, it is ill with him. If when he does not receive he feels some anxiety (here meant by "distress of soul"), there is hope that he may be reformed; but if he has no feeling of anxiety the hope vanishes.

With every man there are two spirits from hell, and two angels from heaven; for man being born in sins cannot possibly live unless on one side he communicates with hell, and on the other with heaven; all his life is thence. When man is grown up and begins to rule himself from himself, that is, when he seems to himself to will and to act from his own judgment, and to think and to conclude concerning the things of faith from his own understanding, if he then betakes himself to evils, the two spirits from hell draw near, and the two angels from heaven withdraw a little; but if he betakes himself to good, the two angels from heaven draw near, and the two spirits from hell are removed.

If therefore when a man betakes himself to evils, as is the case with many in youth, he feels any anxiety when he reflects upon his having done what is evil, it is a sign that he will still receive influx through the angels from heaven, and it is also a sign that he will afterward suffer himself to be reformed; but if when he reflects upon his having done what is evil, he has no anxious feeling, it is a sign that he is no longer willing to receive influx through the angels from heaven, and it is also a sign that he will not afterward suffer himself to be reformed.

... the distress of soul ... when this state had preceded, reformation or the conjunction of the internal with the external would afterward take place ... for with those who are then in anxiety there is an internal acknowledgment of evil, which when recalled by the Lord becomes confession, and finally repentance.
(Arcana Coelestia 5470)