December 30, 2015

What Universally Reigns Governs Every Detail

From a passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... if essential and not instrumental things are cared for, they shall have instrumental things in abundance. For example: if truths are cared for, they shall have memory-knowledges in abundance.... In like manner if good is cared for, they shall have truths in abundance. Memory-knowledges, and also truths, must be cared for, but men must regard good as the end. If the eye is upon good as in the end, the man is then in full view of the consequent things, or in the perception of such as are derived from it, which perception is never possible unless good is the end, that is, unless it reigns universally in each and all things.

The case herein is like the body and its soul. A man must by all means care for his body, as that it may be nourished, and clothed, and may enjoy the delights of the world; but all these not for the sake of the body, but for the sake of the soul, namely, that the soul may act in a sound body correspondently and rightly, and may have the body as an organ entirely compliant to it. Thus the soul must be the end. Yet neither must the soul be the end, but only a mediate end, for which the man must care, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the uses which it must perform in both worlds; and when a man has uses as the end, he has the Lord as the end, for the Lord makes disposition for uses, and disposes the uses themselves.

As few know what it is to have as the end, this also shall be told. To have as the end is to love above all other things, for what a man loves, this he has as the end. That which a man has as the end is plainly discerned, for it reigns universally in him; and thus is continually present even at those times when he seems to himself not to be thinking at all about it, for it is seated within and makes his interior life, and thus secretly rules each and all things. As for example, with him who from the heart honors his parents, this honor is present in each and all things that he does in their presence and that he thinks in their absence, and it is also perceived from his gestures and speech. So with him who from the heart fears and honors God, this fear and honor are present in everything that he thinks, and speaks, and does, because it is in him even when it does not seem to be present, as when he is engaged in business that seems to be far from it; for it reigns universally; thus in every detail. That which reigns in man is plainly perceived in the other life, for the sphere of his whole life which exhales from him is thence derived.

From all this it is evident how it is to be understood that God must be always kept before the eyes; not that He must be constantly thought about, but that the fear or the love of Him must reign universally, in which case God is kept before the eyes in every detail. When this is the case the man does not think, speak, or do what is against Him and displeasing to Him; or if he does, that which universally reigns, and lies hidden within, manifests itself and admonishes him.

(Arcana Coelestia 5949)

December 29, 2015

Moving Things To The Circumference

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
 Whatever a man does from freedom in accordance with his thought
is appropriated to him as his, and remains.
This is because man's own (proprium) and his freedom make one. Man's own belongs to his life; and what a man does from his life he does from freedom. Again, man's own belongs to his love, for every one's life is his love; and what a man does from his life's love he does from freedom. From his freedom man acts in accordance with his thought, for the reason that whatever belongs to one's life or love becomes a subject of thought and is confirmed by his thought; and when it has been confirmed he does it from freedom in accordance with his thought.

For whatever a man does, he does from the will by means of the understanding; and freedom belongs to the will, and thought to the understanding. Moreover, from freedom man is able to act contrary to reason, also to act in accordance with reason and not from freedom; but what is so done is not appropriated to the man; it belongs merely to his lips and body, not to his spirit and heart. But whatever is from his spirit and heart, when it comes to be also of the lips and body, is appropriated to him. ...
To be appropriated to man means to enter into his life, and to become a part of his life, consequently to become his own. Yet there is nothing ... that is man's own, it merely seems to him as if it were. Here it needs only to be said that every good that a man does from freedom in accordance with reason is appropriated to him as his, because in the thinking, the willing, the speaking, and the doing, it appears to him to be his; nevertheless, the good is not man's but the Lord's in man.
It is said that whatever one does from freedom in accordance with his thought remains, since nothing that a man has appropriated to himself can be eradicated; for it has come to be of his love and at the same time of his reason, or of his will and at the same time of his understanding, and consequently of his life. It can be removed, but it cannot be eliminated; and when removed it is as it were transferred from the center to the circumference, and there it stays. This is what is meant by its remaining.
For instance, if a man in his boyhood and youth has appropriated to himself a certain evil by doing it from the enjoyment of his love, like fraud or blasphemy or revenge or whoredom, as these things have been done from freedom in accordance with his thought, he has appropriated them to himself; but if he afterwards repents of them, shuns them, and looks upon them as sins that must be hated, and thus refrains from them from freedom in accordance with reason, then the good things to which those evils are opposed are appropriated to him. These goods then constitute the center and remove the evils toward the circumferences further and further, to the extent that he loathes and turns away from them. Nevertheless, they cannot be so cast out as to be said to be extirpated, although by such removal they may appear to be extirpated, which is effected by man's being withheld from evils and held in goods by the Lord. This is true both of all man's inherited evil and of all his actual evil.
Let it be understood, therefore, that these goods are appropriated to man only in the sense that they are always the Lord's in man; and that so far as man acknowledges this the Lord grants that the good may appear to man to be his, that is, that it may appear to man that he loves the neighbor or has charity as if from himself, that he believes or has faith as if from himself, that he does good and understands truths and thus is wise as if from himself. From all this any one who is enlightened can see the nature and strength of the appearance in which the Lord wills man to be; and this the Lord wills for the sake of man's salvation; for without this appearance no one could be saved. ...
(Divine Providence 78 - 79)

December 28, 2015

Good and Truth ~ The Universals of Creation

Passage from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Since then the Lord God the Creator is Love itself and Wisdom itself, and the universe was created by Him, which is therefore as a work proceeding from Him,-it cannot be but that in each and all things created there is something of good and of truth from Him. For what is done and goes forth from any one bears a likeness of him. And reason can also see that it is so, from the order in which each and all things were created in the universe, which is that one thing is for another and that therefore one depends upon another, like the links of a chain. For they are all for the sake of the human race, to the end that from this there may be an angelic heaven, through which the creation returns to the Creator Himself from whom it came. Hence there is a conjunction of the created universe with its Creator, and through conjunction perpetual conservation. It is on this account that good and truth are said to be the universals of creation. That it is so is plain to every one who reflects upon the matter from reason. He sees what relates to good and what relates to truth in every created thing.
(Conjugial Love 85)

December 25, 2015

We are Because God IS

A portion of a passage from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
["I think, therefore I am" coined by the French philosopher René Descartes in his Discourse on Method corrected should be "We are because God is."]*
  • Divine essence is love and wisdom
  • Divine love and wisdom are substance itself and form itself, and the one and only absolute
  • God created the universe and everything in it from Himself and not from nothing
It follows from this that every created thing, and above all the human being and the love and wisdom in him, have real existence, and do not exist only in idea. For unless God were infinite, there would be nothing finite. So, too, unless the infinite were omni- or all- , there would be nothing real. And unless God created all things from Himself, there would be nothing at all.

In a word: We are because God is.

(Divine Providence 46:3)
*added by editor

The Other Christmas Story

We are all aware of the principle story surrounding the Christian biblical account of the Lord’s first advent. The story of God coming to earth and taking on the human form for the purpose of the salvation of man but there is a much more important story here, a much more monumental one for the Lord’s advent. The very creation itself was in jeopardy, our very existence as humans.

Swedenborg writing while his mind was opened into the spiritual world for over 30 years tells us about the other Christmas story. . . what was happening in the spiritual world outside of time and space . . . .the far more monumental one.

Swedenborg writes in The Arcana Coelestia [6373];

“. . .heaven and those things in hell could not be brought by means of that kingdom strong enough to serve as the means by which all things could be preserved in a state of order. And what is more, as a consequence hellish spirits were at the same time breaking out of hell and having dominion over souls who were coming from the world, as a result a situation was coming about in which none but the celestial ones could be saved. At length scarcely these could have been saved if the Lord had not taken on the Human and made that Human within Himself Divine.

. . .he goes on,

By doing this the Lord brought all things into a state of order, first those in Heaven and then those in hell.”

What becomes clear here is that the salvation of man is actually about the restoring of order in the spiritual world and not about the Divine scapegoating for man’s sins. It is also clear from Swedenborg that if God had not taken on this role, the heavens would have eventually been decimated leaving an overwhelming presence of hellish spirits. These being in absolute conflict with the Divine attributes, the God of infinite love and wisdom could not have allowed that to have happened and would have terminated his Divine proceeding ending the existence of everything in the natural and spiritual worlds. . . . . none of us nor the universe around us would have continued to exist beyond that point absent the Lord’s advent.

So the advent of the Lord was for the purpose of saving man but in a much more profound sense than portrayed in the literal sense of the word. It was the rescue of the entire creation itself.
This article was written by Ron Vath. It is my prayer as we celebrate the Lord bowing the heavens and coming down that we keep these thoughts in the forefront of our thinking this season. Merry Christmas – Mike Cates

December 21, 2015

The Power of Truth from Good

A portion of a passage from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
He was called "the son of the right hand" because "son" signifies truth, and "right hand" signifies the power of truth from good, and in the spiritual world, truth that is from good in the natural man has all power.  All the power the spiritual man has is in this, because the effecting cause is in the spiritual man, and the effect is in the natural, and all the power of the effecting cause puts itself forth through the effect. (That all the power of the spiritual man is in the natural, and through the natural, see Arcana Coelestia, n. 9836.) For this reason he was called "Benjamin," that is, "the son of the right hand."

"Bethlehem" has a like signification, namely, truth conjoined to good in the natural man, David too was born there, and also anointed as king (1 Sam. 16:1-14; 17:12); for David as king represented the Lord in respect to truth from good, and this, too, is signified by "king" ....  For the same reason the Lord was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1, 5, 6) because He was born a king, and truth conjoined to good was with Him from birth. For every infant is born natural, and the natural, because it is next to the external senses and the world, is first opened, and this with all men [the natural] is ignorant of truth and desirous of evil; but in the Lord alone the natural had a desire for good and a longing for truth; for the ruling affection in man, which is his soul, is from the father; and with the Lord, the affection or soul from the Father was the Divine Itself, which is the Divine good of the Divine love.
(Apocalypse Explained 449)

December 19, 2015


Portion of a passage from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
By "brethren" in the internal sense are signified those who are in similar good and truth, that is, in a similar affection of good and truth. For in the other life all are consociated in accordance with the affections, and those who are consociated constitute a brotherhood. Not that they call themselves brethren, but that they are brethren by conjunction.
In the other life it is good and truth that produce that which on earth is called relationship by blood and by marriage; and therefore there is a correspondence between the two things; for regarded in themselves goods and truths acknowledge no other father than the Lord, for they are from Him alone. Hence all who are in goods and truths are in brotherhood; but still there are degrees of relationship according to the quality of the goods and truths. These degrees are signified in the Word by "brothers," "sisters," "sons-in-law," "daughters-in-law," "grandsons," "granddaughters," and by other family names.

On earth they are so named with reference to a common parentage, however they may differ in regard to affections; but this brotherhood or relationship is dissipated in the other life, and unless they have been in similar good on earth, they there come into other brotherhoods. At first indeed they for the most part come together, but in a short time are separated; for in that world it is not wealth that keeps men together, but as just said, affections, the quality of which is then manifest as in clear day, and also the kind of affection which one has had toward another.

And as these are manifest, and as everyone's affection draws him to his society, those who have been of a discordant disposition are dissociated; and all the brotherhood and friendship which had been of the external man are obliterated on both sides, and that which is of the internal man remains.

(Arcana Coelestia 4121)

December 16, 2015

Why Man Desires Recompense for the Good He Does

A portion from passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man's own righteousness, or his own merit
...truth without good is attended with such self-merit, because when anyone does good, not from the good of truth, he always desires to be recompensed, because he does it for the sake of himself; whereas when anyone does truth from good, this good is then enlightened by the light that is from the Lord. ...

In man there is no pure good, that is, good with which evil is not mingled; nor pure truth, with which falsity is not mingled. For man's will is nothing but evil, from which there continually flows falsity into his understanding; because, as is well known, man receives by inheritance the evil successively accumulated by his progenitors, and from this he produces evil in an actual form, and makes it his own, and adds thereto more evil of himself. But the evils with man are of various kinds; there are evils with which goods cannot be mingled, and there are evils with which they can be mingled; and it is the same with the falsities. Unless this were so, no man could possibly be regenerated. The evils and falsities with which goods and truths cannot be mingled are such as are contrary to love to God and love toward the neighbor; namely, hatreds, revenges, cruelties, and a consequent contempt for others in comparison with one's self; and also the consequent persuasions of falsity. But the evils and falsities with which goods and truths can be mingled are those which are not contrary to love to God and love toward the neighbor.

For example: If anyone loves himself more than others, and from this love studies to excel others in moral and civic life, in memory-knowledges and doctrinal things, and to be exalted to dignities and wealth in pre-eminence to others, and yet acknowledges and adores God, performs kind offices to his neighbor from the heart, and does what is just and fair from conscience; the evil of this love of self is one with which good and truth can be mingled; for it is an evil that is man's own, and that is born hereditarily; and to take it away from him suddenly would be to extinguish the fire of his first life. But the man who loves himself above others, and from this love despises others in comparison with himself, and hates those who do not honor and as it were adore him, and therefore feels a consequent delight of hatred in revenge and cruelty-the evil of such a love as this is one with which good and truth cannot be mingled, for they are contraries. ...
(From Arcana Coelestia 3993)

December 14, 2015

Love, Wisdom, Use Becoming Real

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the end of creation was an angelic heaven from the human race, and consequently man, in whom God can dwell as in His receptacle; and this is the reason why man was created a form of Divine order.
Previous to creation God was love itself and wisdom itself and the union of these two in the effort to accomplish uses; for love and wisdom apart from use are only fleeting matters of reason, which fly away if not applied to use.
The first two separated from the third are like birds flying above a great ocean, which are at length exhausted by flying, and fall down and are drowned.  Evidently, therefore, the universe was created by God to give existence to uses; and for this reason the universe may be called a theater of uses.  And as man is the chief end of creation, it follows that each and all things were created for the sake of man; and therefore each and all things belonging to order were brought together and concentrated in him, to the end that through him, God might accomplish primary uses.
Love and wisdom apart from their third, which is use, may be likened to the sun's heat and light; which, if they did not operate upon men, animals, and vegetables, would be worthless things; but by influx into and operation upon these they become real..
For there are three things that follow each other in order, namely, end, cause, and effect; and it is known in the learned world that the end is nothing unless it regards the effecting cause, and that the end and this cause are nothing unless an effect is produced.  The end and cause may indeed be contemplated abstractly in the mind, but still only on account of some effect which the end purposes and the cause secures.  It is the same with love, wisdom, and use; use is the end which love purposes, and through the cause accomplishes; and when use is accomplished, love and wisdom have a real existence; and in the use they make for themselves a habitation and foundation where they rest as in their home.  It is the same with the man who has in him the love and wisdom of God when he is performing uses; and to enable him to perform Divine uses, he was created an image and likeness of God, that is, a form of Divine order.
(True Christian Religion 66 - 67)

Truth of Doctrine Elevated Out of the Natural

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
When the truth which is to be initiated and conjoined with good is elevated out of the natural, it is separated from what is therein; ... Truth is separated when the man no longer from truth regards good, but from good truth; or what is the same, when he no longer from doctrine regards life, but from life doctrine.

For example: doctrine teaches the truth that no one is to be held in hatred; for whoever holds another in hatred, kills him every moment. In early life a man scarcely admits the truth of this, but as he advances in age and is being reformed, he accounts this as one of the doctrinal things according to which he ought to live. At last he lives according to it; and then he no longer thinks from the doctrine, but acts from the life. When this is the case, this truth of doctrine is elevated out of the natural, and indeed is separated from the natural and implanted in good in the rational; and this being effected he no longer suffers the natural man by any of its sophistry to call it in doubt; nay, he does not suffer the natural man to reason against it.
(Arcana Coelestia 3182)

December 2, 2015

In Compelling Oneself There is Freedom

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... to "humble and afflict oneself" denotes to submit to the sovereign control of the internal man, ... that this is to compel oneself; also that in compelling oneself there is freedom, that is, what is spontaneous and voluntary, by which compelling oneself is distinguished from being compelled. ... without this freedom, that is, spontaneity or willingness, man cannot possibly be reformed and receive any heavenly Own; and further that there is more of freedom in temptations than out of them, although the contrary appears to be the case, for the freedom is then stronger in proportion to the assaults of evils and falsities, and is strengthened by the Lord in order that a heavenly Own may be conferred upon the man; and for this reason the Lord is more present with us while we are in temptations. ... the Lord never compels anyone; for he who is compelled to think what is true and do what is good is not reformed, but thinks falsity and wills evil all the more. All compulsion has this effect, as we may see from the records and examples of life, for from them we know these two things: that consciences do not suffer themselves to be compelled, and that we strive after what is forbidden. Moreover everyone desires to pass from non-freedom into freedom, for this belongs to man's life.

Hence it is evident that anything which is not from freedom, that is, which is not from what is spontaneous or voluntary, is not acceptable to the Lord; for when anyone worships the Lord from what is not free, he worships from nothing that is his own, and in this case it is the external which moves, that is, which is moved, from being compelled, while the internal is null, or resistant, or is even contradictory to it. While man is being regenerated, he, from the freedom with which he is gifted by the Lord, exercises self-compulsion, and humbles and even afflicts his rational, in order that it may submit itself, and thereby he receives a heavenly Own, which is afterwards gradually perfected by the Lord, and is made more and more free, so that it becomes the affection of good and thence of truth, and has delight, and in both the freedom and the delight there is happiness like that of angels. This freedom is what the Lord speaks of in John:
The truth shall make you free; if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed (John 8:32, 36).

The nature of this freedom is utterly unknown to those who do not possess conscience, for they make freedom consist in doing as they please and in the license of thinking and speaking what is false, of willing and doing what is evil, and of not compelling and humbling, still less of afflicting such desires; when yet the very reverse is the case, as the Lord also teaches in the same gospel:
Everyone that committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34).

This slavish freedom they receive from the infernal spirits who are with them and who infuse it, and when they are in the life of these spirits they are also in their loves and cupidities, and an impure and excrementitious delight breathes upon them, and when they are being as it were carried away by the torrent, they suppose themselves to be in freedom, but it is infernal freedom. The difference between this infernal freedom and heavenly freedom is that the one is that of death, and drags them down to hell, while the other, or heavenly freedom, is of life and uplifts them to heaven.

That all true internal worship comes from freedom, and none from compulsion, and that if worship is not from freedom it is not internal worship, is evident from the Word, as from the sacrifices that were freewill offerings or vows, or offerings of peace or of thanksgiving; which were called "gifts" and "offerings" (concerning which see Num. 15:3, etc.; Deut. 12:6; 16:10-11; 23:23-24). So in David:
With a free-will offering will I sacrifice unto Thee; I will confess to Thy name, O Jehovah, for it is good (Ps. 54:6).

So again from the contribution or collection which they were to make for the Tabernacle, and for the garments of holiness, spoken of in Moses:
Speak unto the sons of Israel, and let them take for Me an offering; from every man whom his heart impels willingly ye shall take My offering (Exod. 25:2).

And again:
Whosoever is of a willing heart let him bring it, Jehovah's offering (Exod. 35:5).

Moreover the humiliation of the rational man, or its affliction (from freedom, as before said), was also represented by the affliction of souls on days of solemnity, as mentioned in Moses:
It shall be a statute of eternity unto you; in the seventh month, on the tenth of the month, ye shall afflict your souls (Lev. 16:29).

And again:
On the tenth of the seventh month, this is the day of expiations; there shall be a holy convocation unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls; every soul that shall not have afflicted itself in that same day, shall be cut off from his peoples (Lev. 23:27, 29).
It was for this reason that the unleavened bread, in which there was nothing fermented, is called the "bread of affliction" (Deut. 16:2-3).

"Affliction" is thus spoken of in David:
Jehovah, who shall sojourn in Thy tent? who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness; he that sweareth to afflict himself, and changeth not (Ps. 15:1-2, 4).

That "affliction" denotes the mastering and subjugation of the evils and falsities that rise up from the external man into the rational, may be seen from what has been said. Thus "affliction" does not mean that we should plunge ourselves into poverty and wretchedness, or that we should renounce all bodily delights, for in this way evil is not mastered and subjugated; and moreover some other evil may be aroused, namely, a sense of merit on account of the renunciation; and besides, man's freedom suffers, in which alone, as in ground, the good and truth of faith can be inseminated.

(Arcana Coelestia 1947)