October 31, 2015

The Distinction Between Natural and Spiritual Faith and Charity

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There are two worlds, a natural and a spiritual; and in each world there is a sun, and from each sun heat and light go forth; but the heat and light from the sun of the spiritual world have life within them; this life is from the Lord who is the midst of that sun; while the heat and light from the sun of the natural world have nothing of life in them; they simply serve the former heat and light as receptacles for the conveying of these to man, as instrumental causes always subserve their principal causes. It must be understood, therefore, that all things spiritual are from the heat and light of the sun of the spiritual world. These are spiritual because they contain in them spirit and life; while all things natural are from the heat and light of the sun of the natural world, which viewed in themselves are without spirit and life.

Since then faith is a matter of light, and charity of heat, it is plain that so far as a man is in the heat and light that go forth from the sun of the spiritual world, he is in spiritual faith and charity; while so far as he is in the light and heat that go forth from the sun of the natural world, he is in natural faith and charity. Evidently, therefore, as spiritual light is inwardly in natural light as in its receptacle or casket, and spiritual heat in like manner within natural heat, so also is spiritual faith inwardly in natural faith, and spiritual charity inwardly in natural charity; and this is effected in the degree that man advances from the natural to the spiritual world; and this he does so far as he believes in the Lord who is light itself, the way, the truth, and the life, as He Himself teaches.

This being so, it is clear that when man is in spiritual faith, he is also in natural faith. For as just said, spiritual faith is inwardly in natural faith; and as faith is a matter of light, it follows that by that implanting of spiritual faith man's natural becomes, as it were, transparent, and according to the nature of its conjunction with charity, beautifully colored. This is because charity is ruddy and faith shining white; charity is ruddy from the flame of spiritual fire, and faith shining white from the splendor of the light therefrom.

The contrary happens when the spiritual is not inwardly in the natural, but the natural inwardly in the spiritual; which is the case with men who reject faith and charity. With such the internal of their mind, in which they are when left to their own thoughts, is infernal, and they think from hell, although they do not know it; while the external of the mind of such, from which they converse with their companions in the world, is in a manner spiritual, but it is filled full of such unclean things as are in hell; consequently they are in hell, for compared with the former class they are in an inverted state.

When it is thus known that the spiritual is inwardly in the natural in those who are in faith in the Lord, and at the same time in charity toward the neighbor, and consequently the natural in them is transparent, it follows that to the same extent man is wise in spiritual things, and therefrom in natural things; for when he thinks about or hears or reads anything, he sees interiorly within himself whether it is the truth or not. This he perceives from the Lord, from whom spiritual light and heat flow into the higher sphere of his understanding.

So far as faith and charity in man become spiritual, he is withdrawn from his own, and ceases to look to himself or to reward or remuneration, and looks solely to the delight in perceiving the truths of faith and doing the good works of love; and so far as this spirituality increases, that delight becomes blessedness. From this is man's salvation, which is called eternal life. This state of man may be compared with the most beautiful and charming things in the world, and in the Word is compared with them, as for instance, with fruitful trees and the gardens in which they are, with flowery fields, with precious stones, with delicacies, with nuptials and their festivities and rejoicings.

But when the reverse is the case, that is to say, when the natural is inwardly in the spiritual, and consequently the man in his internals is a devil, but in his externals is like an angel, he may be compared to a dead man in a coffin of costly and gilded wood; he may also be compared to a skeleton adorned with clothing like a man, and drawn about in a magnificent carriage; or to a corpse in a sepulchre built like the temple of Diana; and his internal may be pictured even as a nest of serpents in a cavern, and his external as butterflies whose wings are tinted with all kinds of colors, but which nevertheless stick foul eggs to the leaves of useful trees, and so destroy the fruit. Or the internal of such may be compared to a hawk, and their external to a dove, and their faith and charity to a hawk pursuing a fleeing dove, which at length he wearies and then darts upon and devours.
(True Christian Religion 360 - 361)

October 30, 2015

Thinking from Good and Truth

From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
To think and conclude from the interior and prior is to think from ends and causes to effects; but to think and conclude from the exterior or posterior, is from effects to causes and ends. This progression is against order, but the other is according to order. For to think and conclude from ends and causes is from goods and truths seen in the higher region of the mind; but to think and conclude from effects is to conjecture causes and ends from the lower region of the mind, where the sensual things of the body are with their appearances and fallacies, which in itself is nothing but to confirm falsities and lusts, and after confirmation to see and believe them to be the verities of wisdom and goodnesses of its love.
(Conjugial Love 408)

October 28, 2015

Preservation Depends on the State of the Ultimates

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Jehovah said unto the prophet, Buy thee a linen girdle, and put it upon thy loins; but thou shalt not draw it through water. So I bought a girdle, and put it upon my loins. Then the word of Jehovah was made unto me, saying, Take the girdle, and go to Euphrates, and hide it in a hole of the rock. At the end of many days I went to Euphrates, and took again the girdle, and behold it was corrupt, it was profitable for nothing. Then said Jehovah, This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, and are gone after other gods, shall be even as this girdle, which is profitable for nothing (Jer. 13:1-10).
In the spiritual sense by "the linen girdle" is here meant the good of the church, which encloses and holds together in connection the truths in it. Because the good of the church was at that time non-existent, and the truths were consequently dispersed, it is said that it should "not be drawn through water;" for "water" denotes the truth which purifies and thus restores. "The hole of the rock in which the girdle was hid" denotes truth falsified; "the Euphrates" denotes the extension and boundary of the celestial things of good in their ultimate.

He who does not know the nature of the Word, may suppose that this is only a comparison of the people and their corruption with the girdle and its corruption; but in the Word all comparisons and metaphorical sayings are real correspondences. Unless everything in this passage had a correspondence, it would never have been commanded that the girdle should not be drawn through water, that it should be put upon the loins, and that the prophet should go to the Euphrates, and should hide it there in a hole of the rock. It is said that the girdle should be "put upon the loins," because from correspondence "the loins" signify the good of celestial love; thus the placing of the girdle upon the loins denotes conjunction with the Lord through the good of love by the mediation of the Word.
(from Arcana Coelestia 9828)

The preservation of good and truth forever with all exertion and power - thus the preservation of the heavens

... all preservation depends on the state of the ultimates, for all the interior things cease there, and form a plane there in which they may subsist. Ultimates are like the soles and the feet, on which the whole body stands, and are also like the hands and the arms, by means of which the body exerts its powers, and into which the body transfers its forces. It is also from this that the hands and the arms, as well as the soles and the feet, correspond to the ultimates of heaven.
That power and strength reside in ultimates was represented in the Ancient Church by the hair with the Nazirites, in which resided their strength, as is plain from Samson (Judges 14-16), and also their sanctity.
That power resides in ultimates, and also the conservation of the interiors in their state, can be understood by those who know how the case is in nature with things successive and thence simultaneous; namely, that successive things at last form in ultimates what is simultaneous, in which these successive things are in a like order side by side. Wherefore simultaneous things, which are ultimate, serve successive things, which are prior, as corresponding supports on which they may lean, and thus by means of which they may be preserved.
(from Arcana Coelestia 9836)

October 26, 2015

When Knowledges Become Truths

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Knowledges are nothing else than the truths of the natural man, but which have not yet been made his own; the multiplication of such truths is here meant. Knowledges do not become truths in man until they are acknowledged by the understanding, which takes place when they are confirmed by him; and these truths do not become his own until he lives according to them; for nothing is made man's own except that which becomes of his life, for thus he himself is in the truths, because his life is in them.
(Arcana Coelestia 5276)

October 24, 2015

The Conjunction of God with Men, and The Reciprocal Conjunction of Men with God

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Conjunction of Love to God and Love Towards the Neighbor
It is known that the Law promulgated from Mount Sinai was written upon two tables, one of which related to God and the other to men; that in the hands of Moses they were one table, the writing on the right side of which related to God, and that on the left to men; and that when so presented to the eyes of men the writing on both sides was seen at the same time, thus one side was in view of the other, like Jehovah talking to Moses and Moses to Jehovah, face to face, as it is written. This was done in order that the tables so united might represent the conjunction of God with men, and the reciprocal conjunction of men with God; and this is why the written law was called a Covenant and a Testimony, "covenant" signifying conjunction, and "testimony" life according to the compact. These two tables so united exhibit the conjunction of love to God with love towards the neighbor.

The first table includes all things pertaining to love to God, which are, primarily, that man should acknowledge the one God, the Divinity of His Human, and the holiness of the Word, and that God is to be worshiped through the holy things that proceed from Him. ...

The second table includes all things pertaining to love towards the neighbor, its first five commandments all things pertaining to action, which are called works, and the last two all things pertaining to the will, thus to charity in its origin; for in these it is said, "Thou shalt not covet," and when man does not covet what belongs to his neighbor, he wishes well to him. That the ten commandments of the Decalogue contain all things pertaining to love to God and all things pertaining to love towards the neighbor ... there is a conjunction of the two tables in those who are in charity.
  • It is different with those who merely worship God, and do not at the same time do good works from charity. These are like those who violate covenants.
  • It is different again with those who divide God into three and worship each one separately;
  • and still different with those who do not approach God in His Human; these are such
    As enter not by the door, but climb up some other way (John 10:1, 9).
  • It is also different with those who from confirmation deny the Lord's Divinity.
With all of these there is no conjunction with God, and therefore no salvation; and their charity is nothing but spurious charity, and this does not effect conjunction by the face, but by the side or back.

How conjunction is effected shall be told in a few words.

With every man God flows into man's knowledge of Him with acknowledgment of Him, and at the same time flows in with His love towards men. The man who receives in the former way only, and not in the latter, receives that influx in the understanding and not in the will, and remains in knowledge of God without an interior acknowledgment of God; and his state is like that of a garden in winter. But the man who receives in both ways, receives the influx in the will and from that in the understanding, thus in the whole mind, and he has an interior acknowledgment of God which vivifies in him the knowledges of God; and his state is like that of a garden in spring.

Conjunction is effected by charity, because God loves every man, and as He cannot do good to man immediately, but only mediately through men, He inspires men with His own love, as He inspires parents with love for their children; and the man who receives that love has conjunction with God, and from God's love loves his neighbor; and in him God's love is within man's love towards the neighbor, and produces in him the will and the ability.

Moreover, as man does nothing that is good unless it appears to him that the ability, the will, and the doing are from himself, this appearance is granted him; and when he does good from freedom as if of himself, it is imputed to him, and is accepted as the reciprocation by which conjunction is effected. This is like active and passive, and that cooperation of the passive which is effected from the active in the passive. It is also like will in doing, and like thought in words, the soul operating from the inmost into both. It is also like effort in motion; and like the prolific in seed, which from the interior operates in the juices through which the tree grows even to fruit, and through fruit produces new seed. It is also like light in precious stones which is reflected according to the texture of the parts, producing various colors, belonging apparently to the stones, but in fact to the light.

This makes clear the origin and the nature of the conjunction of love to God and love towards the neighbor, as being the influx of God's love for men, the reception of which by man and his cooperation therewith being love towards the neighbor. In a word, conjunction is effected in accordance with this saying of the Lord:
  • At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:20).
  • Also according to this,
  • He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him; and We will make abode with him (John 14:21-23).

All of the Lord's commandments have relation to love towards the neighbor, and in a word, they are not doing evil to the neighbor, but doing good to him. That those who do this love God and God loves them, is in accordance with these words of the Lord. Because such is the conjunction of these two loves, John says:

He that keepeth the commandments of Jesus Christ abideth in Him and He in him. If a man say, I love God, but hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God should love his brother also (1 John 3:24; 4:20, 21).
(True Christian Religion 456 - 458)

October 23, 2015

What The Divine Mercy Is

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The divine mercy is pure mercy towards the whole human race, to save it; and it is also unceasing towards every man, and is never withdrawn from any one; so that everyone is saved who can be saved. And yet no one can be saved except by Divine means, which means the Lord reveals in the Word. The Divine means are what are called Divine truths, which teach how man must live in order to be saved. By these truths the Lord leads man to heaven, and by them He implants in man the life of heaven. This the Lord does for all. But the life of heaven can be implanted in no one unless he abstains from evil, for evil obstructs. So far, therefore, as man abstains from evil he is led by the Lord out of pure mercy by His Divine means, and this from infancy to the end of his life in the world and afterwards to eternity. This is what is meant by the Divine mercy. And from this it is evident that the mercy of the Lord is pure mercy, but not apart from means, that is, it does not look to saving all out of mere good pleasure, however they may have lived.

The Lord never does anything contrary to order, because He Himself is Order. The Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord is what constitutes order; and Divine truths are the laws of order. It is in accord with these laws that the Lord leads man. Consequently to save man by mercy apart from means would be contrary to Divine order, and what is contrary to Divine order is contrary to the Divine. Divine order is heaven in man, and man has perverted this in himself by a life contrary to the laws of order, which are Divine truths. Into this order man is brought back by the Lord out of pure mercy by means of the laws of order; and so far as he is brought back into this order he receives heaven in himself; and he that receives heaven in himself enters heaven. This again makes evident that the Lord's Divine mercy is pure mercy, and not mercy apart from means.
(Heaven and Hell 522 - 523)

October 19, 2015

Created to Become an Angel

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What has been said of heaven may be said also of the church, for the church is the Lord's heaven on earth. There are also many churches, each one of which is called a church, and so far as the good of love and faith reigns therein is a church. Here, too, the Lord out of various parts forms a unity, that is, one church out of many churches.

And the like may be said of the man of the church in particular that is said of the church in general, namely, that the church is within man and not outside of him; and that every man is a church in whom the Lord is present in the good of love and of faith.

Again, the same may be said of a man that has the church in him as of an angel that has heaven in him, namely, that he is a church in the smallest form, as an angel is a heaven in the smallest form; and furthermore that a man that has the church in him, equally with an angel, is a heaven. For man was created that he might come into heaven and become an angel; consequently he that has good from the Lord is a man-angel.

What man has in common with an angel and what he has in contrast with angels may be mentioned. It is granted to man, equally with the angel, to have his interiors conformed to the image of heaven, and to become, so far as he is in the good of love and faith, an image of heaven. But it is granted to man and not to angels to have his exteriors conform to the image of the world; and so far as he is in good to have the world in him subordinated to heaven and made to serve heaven. And then the Lord is present in him both in the world and in heaven just as if he were in his heaven. For the Lord is in His Divine order in both worlds, since God is order.
(Heaven and Hell 57)

October 18, 2015

A Parable That Should Be Learned

Selections from the Heavenly Doctrines ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
He hungered we read in Mark:
When they were come from Bethany, Jesus hungered; and, seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon; but when he came to it he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the time of figs. Therefore he said unto it, Let no man eat fruit of thee for ever. And the disciples, in the morning, as they passed by, saw the fig-tree dried up from the roots (11:12, 14-20; Matt. 21:19, 20).
He who does not know that all things of the Word contain a spiritual sense, may think that the Lord did this to the fig-tree from indignation because He hungered but by the fig-tree here is not meant a fig-tree, but the church as to natural good, and specifically the Jewish Church. That there was not any natural good therein, because nothing spiritual, but only some truths from the sense of the letter of the Word, is signified by, Jesus seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, came if haply He might find anything thereon; but when He had come to it He found nothing but leaves. Leaves signify the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word. That with that nation there would nowhere be any natural good of the church, because they are in dense falsities and in evil loves, is signified by Jesus saying, Let no man eat fruit of thee for ever, and by the fig-tree being dried up from the roots. It is also said, that it was not the time of figs, and thereby is meant that the church was not yet commenced. That the beginning of a new church is meant by the fig-tree, is evident from the Lord's words (in Matt. 24:32, 33; Mark 13:28, 219; and in Luke 21:28-31). From these considerations it is evident what is there signified by hungering. ...
(Apocalypse Explained 386:29)
Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh. So also ye, when ye see all these things, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away till all these things be accomplished. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:32-35).
Now learn a parable from the fig-tree. When her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh; signifies the first of a new church; the "fig-tree" is the good of the natural; her "branch" is the affection of this; and the "leaves" are truths. The "parable from which they should learn" is that these things are signified. He who is not acquainted with the internal sense of the Word, cannot possibly know what is involved in the comparison of the Lord's coming to a fig-tree and its branch and leaves; but as all the comparisons in the Word are also significative ... it may be known from this signification what is meant.  A "fig-tree" wherever mentioned in the Word signifies in the internal sense the good of the natural ... that her "branch" is the affection of this, is because affection springs forth from good as a branch from its trunk; and that "leaves" are truths may be seen above .... From all this it is now evident what the parable involves, namely, that when a new church is being created by the Lord, there then appears first of all the good of the natural, that is, good in the external form together with its affection and truths. By the good of the natural is not meant the good into which man is born, or which he derives from his parents, but a good which is spiritual in respect to its origin. Into this no one is born, but is led into it by the Lord through the knowledges of good and truth. Therefore until a man is in this good (that is, in spiritual good), he is not a man of the church, however much from a good that is born with him he may appear to be so.
(Arcana Coelestia 4231)

October 17, 2015

Such as is The Love in Man, Such is The Wisdom and Such is The Use

Thoughts from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Spiritual light flows in with man through degrees, but not spiritual heat, except so far as man flees from evils as sins and looks to the Lord.

... from the sun of heaven, which is the first proceeding of Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, light and heat proceed - light from its wisdom, and heat from its love; also that light is the receptacle of wisdom, and heat of love; also that so far as man comes into wisdom he comes into that Divine light, and so far as he comes into love he comes into that Divine heat. ... there are three degrees of light and three degrees of heat, that is, three degrees of wisdom and three degrees of love, and that these degrees have been formed in man in order that he may be a receptacle of the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, thus of the Lord.
... ...
... spiritual light flows in through these three degrees in man, but not spiritual heat, except so far as man shuns evils as sins and looks to the Lord - or, what is the same, that man is able to receive wisdom even to the third degree, but not love, unless he flees from evils as sins and looks to the Lord; or what is still the same, that man's understanding can be raised into wisdom, but not his will, except so far as he flees from evils as sins.

... the understanding can be in spiritual light even when the will is not in spiritual heat; and from this it also follows that the understanding does not lead the will, or that wisdom does not beget love, but only teaches and shows the way, - teaching how a man ought to live, and showing the way in which he ought to go. It further follows that the will leads the understanding, and causes it to act as one with itself; also that whatever in the understanding agrees with the love which is in the will, the love calls wisdom. In what follows it will be seen that the will does nothing by itself apart from the understanding, but does all that it does in conjunction with the understanding; moreover, that it is the will that by influx takes the understanding into partnership with itself, and not the reverse.

... in respect to wisdom, man can be raised even into the third degree. Nevertheless these forms are not opened except when spiritual heat conjoins itself to spiritual light, that is, love to wisdom; by such conjunction these transparent forms are opened according to degrees. ...
This spiritual heat is obtained only by fleeing from evils as sins, and at the same time looking to the Lord; for so long as man is in evils he is also in the love of them, for he lusts after them; and the love of evil and the lust, abide in a love contrary to spiritual love and affection; and such love or lust can be removed only by fleeing from evils as sins; and because man cannot flee from evils from himself, but only from the Lord. He must look to the Lord. So when he flees from evils from the Lord, the love of evil and its heat are removed, and the love of good and its heat are introduced in their stead, whereby a higher degree is opened; for the Lord flowing in from above opens that degree, and then conjoins love, that is, spiritual heat, to wisdom or spiritual light, from which conjunction man begins to flourish spiritually, like a tree in spring-time.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 241 - 246)

October 16, 2015

The Quality of the Natural Mind

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
(1) The natural mind may be raised up to the light of heaven in which angels are, and may perceive naturally, thus not so fully, what the angels perceive spiritually; nevertheless, man's natural mind cannot be raised into angelic light itself.

(2) By means of his natural mind, raised to the light of heaven, man can think, yea, speak with angels; but the thought and speech of the angels then flow into the natural thought and speech of the man, and not conversely; so that angels speak with man in a natural language, which is the man's mother tongue.

(3) This is effected by a spiritual influx into what is natural, and not by any natural influx into what is spiritual.

(4) Human wisdom, which so long as man lives in the natural world is natural, can by no means be raised into angelic wisdom, but only into some image of it. The reason is, that elevation of the natural mind is effected by continuity, as from shade to light, or from grosser to purer. Still the man in whom the spiritual degree has been opened comes into that wisdom when he dies; and he may also come into it by a suspension of bodily sensations, and then by an influx from above into the spiritual parts of his mind.

(5) Man's natural mind consists of spiritual substances, together with natural substances; thought comes from its spiritual substances, not from its natural substances; these recede when the man dies, while its spiritual substances do not. Consequently, after death, when man becomes a spirit or angel, the same mind remains in a form like that which it had in the world.

(6) The natural substances of that mind, which recede (as was said) by death, constitute the cutaneous covering of the spiritual body which spirits and angels have. By means of such covering, which is taken from the natural world, their spiritual bodies maintain existence; for the natural is the outmost containant: consequently there is no spirit or angel who was not born a man. ...
(Divine Love and Wisdom 257)

Man Ability to be Elevated Rationally in Three Degrees

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Every man is born into a capacity to understand truths even to the inmost degree in which the angels of the third heaven are; for the human understanding, rising up by continuity around the two higher degrees, receives the light of their wisdom .... Therefore man has the ability to become rational according to his elevation; if raised to the third degree he becomes rational from that degree, if raised to the second degree he becomes rational from that degree, if not raised he is rational in the first degree. It is said that he becomes rational from those degrees, because the natural degree is the general receptacle of their light. The reason why man does not become rational to the height that he might is, that love, which is of the will, cannot be raised in the same manner as wisdom, which is of the understanding. Love, which is of the will, is raised only by fleeing from evils as sins, and then by goods of charity, which are uses, which the man thereafter performs from the Lord. Consequently, when love, which is of the will, is not at the same time raised, wisdom, which is of the understanding, however it may have ascended, falls back again down to its own love. Therefore, if man's love is not at the same time raised into the spiritual degree, he is rational only in the lowest degree. From all this it can be seen that man's rational is in appearance as if it were of three degrees, a rational from the celestial, a rational from the spiritual, and a rational from the natural; also that rationality, which is the capacity whereby man is elevated, is still in man whether he be elevated or not.

[It has been said that every man is born into that capacity, namely, rationality, but by this is meant every man whose externals have not been injured by some accident, either in the womb, or by some disease after birth, or by a wound inflicted on the head, or in consequence of some insane love bursting forth, and breaking down restraints. In such the rational cannot be elevated; for life, which is of the will and understanding, has in such no bounds in which it can terminate, so disposed that it can produce outmost acts according to order; for life acts in accordance with outmost determinations, though not from them. That there can be no rationality with infants and children. ...]
(Divine Love and Wisdom 258 - 259)

October 14, 2015

Man Created to Receive Love and Wisdom

From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... man was created to receive love and wisdom from God, and yet all likeness as if it were from himself, and this for the sake of reception and conjunction; and that for this reason man is not born into any love, nor into any knowledge, nor even into any power of loving or becoming wise of himself; and therefore if he ascribes every good of love and every truth of wisdom to God he becomes a living man; but if he ascribes them to himself he becomes a dead man. ...
(Conjugial Love 136)

October 13, 2015

Where the 'Erroneous Belief' Came of Man Being a Divine Spark of God

From Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What is meant by "the tree of life," what by "the tree of knowledge of good and evil," and what by "eating" of them?
A tree signifies man; and its fruit signifies the good of life. By the tree of life, therefore, is meant man living from God, or God living in man. And as love and wisdom, and charity and faith, or good and truth, make the life of God in man, these are meant by the tree of life, and from these man has life eternal. The like is signified by the tree of life of which it is given to eat, in Revelation 2:7:-  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

And Revelation 22:2 & 14:-  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

By the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is signified the man who believes that he lives of himself, and not from God; thus, that love and wisdom, charity and faith, that is, good and truth, are in man, his own, and not of God, believing this, because he thinks and wills, and speaks and acts in all similitude and appearance as if from himself. And because from this belief man persuades himself that God has imparted Himself or infused His Divine into him, therefore the serpent said:- God doth know that in the day that ye eat of the fruit of that tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil (Gen. 3:5).

By eating of those trees is signified reception and appropriation; by eating of the tree of life, the reception of life eternal; and by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the reception of condemnation, and therefore also both Adam and his wife, together with the serpent, were accursed.

By the serpent is meant the devil as to the love of self and the pride of one's own intelligence. This love is the possessor of that tree; and men who are in pride from this love are such trees. They therefore are in a monstrous error who believe that Adam was wise and did good from himself, and that this was his state of integrity; when in fact Adam was himself accursed on account of that belief, for this is signified by his eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore he then fell from the state of integrity, in which he was by virtue of believing that he was wise and did good from God, and not at all from himself; for this is meant by eating of the tree of life.

The Lord alone when He was in the world was wise of Himself and did good from Himself; because the Divine Itself was in Him and was His by nativity. And therefore also by His own power He became the Redeemer and Saviour.

From all that had been said they formed this conclusion: That by the tree of life, and by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and by eating of them, is signified that life with man is God in him; and that then it is heaven to him and eternal life. And that death to man is the persuasion and belief that the life he has is not God, but himself; from which belief comes hell to him and eternal death, which is damnation.
(Conjugial Love 135)

October 8, 2015

The Nature of Influx - Good or Evil

From the work Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Divine influx is unceasing, and in the good is received in good, but not in the evil; for in them it is either rejected or suffocated or perverted; and in consequence they have an evil life which in a spiritual sense is death.

The spirits who are with man, both those conjoined with heaven and those conjoined with hell, never flow into man from their own memory and its thought, for if they should flow in from their own thought, whatever belonged to them would seem to man to be his. ... Nevertheless there flows into man through them out of heaven an affection belonging to the love of good and truth, and out of hell an affection belonging to the love of evil and falsity. Therefore as far as man's affection agrees with the affection that flows in, so far that affection is received by him in his thought, since man's interior thought is wholly in accord with his affection or love; but so far as man's affection does not agree with that affection it is not received.

Evidently, then, since thought is not introduced into man through spirits, but only an affection for good and an affection for evil, man has choice, because he has freedom; and is thus able by his thought to receive good and reject evil, since he knows from the Word what is good and what is evil. Moreover, whatever he receives by thought from affection is appropriated to him; but whatever he does not receive by thought from affection is not appropriated to him. All this makes evident the nature of the influx of good out of heaven with man, and the nature of the influx of evil out of hell.
(Heaven and Hell 297 - 298)

October 1, 2015

Perception and Reception - Intelligence and Wisdom

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... all intelligence and wisdom are from Divine truths according to the perception of them and their reception in the life.

To see truths, and to see what they are, is of perception; and to live according to them is of reception; and according to perception and reception there is intelligence and wisdom.

Intelligence and wisdom which are not from Divine truths, but from worldly things only, are not intelligence and wisdom but merely knowledge [scientia] and thence a faculty to reason; for intelligence is seeing inwardly in oneself whether a thing be true or not; but they who are wise from worldly things only do not see truths inwardly in themselves, but from others; and to see from others is merely to know [scire]; and such things come no farther under the mind's vision than that they may be confirmed. In such a state are most persons at this day within the church who make faith alone, separate from life, to be saving; consequently truths do not enter into their spirit, but merely into the memory of the natural man; and yet the light of heaven, which is Divine truth, can enter by no other way with man than by the way of his spirit, which is also the way of his soul; and man's spirit is such as his life is, but not such as his memory apart from his life is; and the light of heaven enters into man's spirit when he is in the good of love and of charity from the Lord, and when he is in that good he is also in faith.
(Apocalypse Explained 198)