December 31, 2016

Man's Regeneration is an Image of the Lord's Glorification

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[A]s the Lord glorified His natural, it was different in the beginning from what it was in the progression, and at the end. ... For the Lord's glorification proceeded from truth to the good of truth, and finally to good....

This was the process when the Lord made His natural Divine, and the process is similar also when the Lord regenerates man; for it pleased the Lord to make His Human Divine in the same order as that in which He makes man new.... Man's regeneration is an image of the Lord's glorification....

When the Lord makes man new He first instructs him in the truths of faith, for without the truths of faith man does not know what the Lord is, what heaven is, and what hell is, nor even that they exist; and still less does he know the innumerable things relating to the Lord, to His kingdom in heaven, and to His kingdom on earth, that is, to the church; neither does he know what and of what nature are the things opposite to these, which relate to hell.

Before he has learned these things, he cannot know what good is, by which is not meant civil good and moral good, for these are learned in the world by means of laws and statutes, and by reflections upon the morals of men, and therefore the nations outside the church also know such things; but by good is meant spiritual good, which good is called in the Word charity; and this good is in general to will and do good to others for no selfish reason, but from the delight of the affection. This good is spiritual good, and to it no man can attain except by means of the truths of faith, which are taught by the Lord by means of the Word and preachings of the Word.

After a man has been instructed in the truths of faith, he is gradually led by the Lord to will the truth, and also from willing to do it. This truth is called the good of truth, for the good of truth is truth in will and act; and it is called the good of truth because the truth which has been of doctrine then becomes of the life. At last, when the man perceives delight in willing good and in doing it from will, it is no longer called the good of truth, but good; for he is then regenerate, and no more wills and does good from truth, but truth from good; and the truth which he then does is also as it were good, for it derives its essence from its origin, which is good. ... No one who is being regenerated by the Lord can be led to these interior things until the truth with him has become good.

(extract from Arcana Coelestia 4538)

December 25, 2016

And The Word Became Flesh

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word is holy, and in its interiors most holy, is very evident from the fact that in every detail of the Word there is the heavenly marriage, that is, the marriage of good and truth, thus heaven; and that in every detail of the inmost sense there is the marriage of the Lord's Divine Human with His kingdom and church; nay, in the supreme sense there is the union of the Divine Itself and the Divine Human in the Lord. These most holy things are in every detail of the Word - a manifest proof that the Word has descended from the Divine.

That this is so may be seen from the fact that where mention is made of good, mention is made of truth also; and where the internal is spoken of, the external also is spoken of. There are also words which constantly signify good, and words which constantly signify truth, and words which signify both good and truth; and if they do not signify them, still they are predicated of them, or involve them. From the predication and signification of these words it is plain that, as before said, in every detail there is the marriage of good and truth, that is, the heavenly marriage, and in the inmost and supreme sense the Divine marriage which is in the Lord, thus the Lord Himself.

He who does not know that the expressions in the Word are significative of spiritual and celestial things, and that some are said of good, and some of truth, cannot but believe that such expressions are mere repetitions, said merely to fill up, and therefore in themselves useless; and from this it is that they who think wrongly about the Word, regard such expressions as ground for contempt; when yet the veriest Divine things are stored therein, namely, the heavenly marriage, which is heaven itself; and the Divine marriage, which is the Lord Himself. This sense is the "glory" in which the Lord is, and the literal sense is the "cloud" in which is this glory (Matt. 24:30; Luke 21:27).
(Arcana Coelestia 6343:2,4)

December 24, 2016

Truths of Faith maybe multiplied to Infinity

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
This is evident from the fact that the wisdom of the angels of heaven increases to eternity. Moreover, the angels say that there is no end to wisdom, as its source is no other than Divine truths analytically distributed into forms by means of light flowing in from the Lord. Such human intelligence as is truly intelligence is from no other source.

Divine truth may be multiplied to infinity, because the Lord is Divine truth itself, or truth in its infinity, and He draws all men to Himself; but as angels and men are finite they can follow the current of the attraction only according to their measure, although the force of the attraction persists to infinity.

The Lord's Word is a great deep of truths from which comes all angelic wisdom, although to the man who knows nothing of its spiritual and celestial meanings, it appears like the water in a pitcher.

The multiplication of the truths of faith to infinity may be compared to the seed of men, from one of whom may be propagated families to ages of ages. The proliferation of the truths of faith may be compared to the proliferation of seeds in a field or a garden, which may be propagated to myriads of myriads and perpetually.

In the Word "seed" means nothing but truth, "field" means doctrine, and "garden" wisdom. The human mind is like soil, in which spiritual and natural truths are implanted like seeds and may be endlessly multiplied. Man derives this from the infinity of God, who is perpetually in man with His heat and light, and the faculty of generating.

(True Christian Religion 350)

December 16, 2016

Those Who are not in Freedom are Interiorly Bound

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
For they who have confirmed themselves in falsity are no longer in any freedom to choose and receive truth; and they who have much confirmed themselves therein are not even in freedom to see truth, still less to acknowledge and believe it; for they are in the persuasion that falsity is truth, and truth falsity.  This persuasion is such that it takes away all freedom to think anything else, and consequently holds the very thought in bonds and as it were in prison....

They are such as not at all to admit truths, but to reflect or strike them back again, and this with hardness according to the degree of the persuasion, especially when the falsity is from evil, or when evil has persuaded them. These are they who are meant in the Lord's parable in Matthew:

Some seeds fell upon the hard way, and the birds came and devoured them (Matt. 13:4);

the "seeds" are Divine truths; the "hard rock" is persuasion; the "birds" are principles of falsity. They who are such do not even know that they are in bonds or in prison, for they are affected with their own falsity, and love it for the sake of the evil from which it springs; hence they suppose that they are in freedom, for whatever is of the affection or love appears free.

But they who are not in confirmed falsity - that is, in the persuasion of falsity - easily admit truths, and see and choose them, and are affected with them, and afterward see falsities as it were beneath themselves, and also see how they who are in the persuasion of falsity are bound. These are in so much freedom - that in view and thought - they can as it were range through the whole heaven to innumerable truths; but no one can be in this freedom unless he is in good; for from good man is in heaven, and in heaven truths appear from good.

(Arcana Coelestia 5096)

December 15, 2016

Faith ~ According to the Love

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The conjunction of good with truths in the natural ... Good flows in through the internal man into the external, and there conjoins itself with the truths that have been instilled through the external man. For the good that flows in through the internal is of love, because there is not any spiritual and celestial good that is not of love, from this it is, and from this it is called good in man.
The love itself which is in good and with good is that which conjoins.
Unless love were within and present, there could not possibly be any conjunction; for love is nothing else than spiritual conjunction, because this is effected by it. The love is from no other source than the Lord, for He is the fountain and origin of all celestial and spiritual love, consequently of all the good thence derived. This love is twofold-celestial and spiritual. Celestial love is love to the Lord, and spiritual love is love toward the neighbor, which is called charity. It is these loves from which is all celestial and spiritual good, and which conjoin themselves with the truths which are called the truths of faith
the truths of faith regarded without love are only words without life; but through love, and thus through conjunction with the good of love, they receive life. It may be seen from this, that there is never anything of faith except with those who are in the good of love, and that the faith is according to the love.
And as there is never anything of faith except with those who are in the good of love, therefore neither is there any confidence or trust.

With all those who are not in love and charity, the trust or confidence which is called the trust or confidence of faith, is either spurious, or such as is also possible with diabolical spirits when they are in a state of fear or of anguish, or in a state of persuasion from the love of self and of the world.  But because at this day men have made faith saving without the goods of charity, and yet see from afar that the truths of faith cannot save, because these exist also with the wicked, therefore they acknowledge confidence and trust, and call this faith, not knowing what it is, and that it is possible even with the wicked, and that there is no spiritual confidence except that which flows in through the good of love and charity - not at the time when the man is in fear and anguish, or in persuasion from the love of self and of the world, but when he is in a state of freedom; and not with any but those in whom good has been conjoined with truths, and inrooted by the previous course of life; thus not in sickness, misfortunes, perils of life, or when death is at hand.  If this confidence or trust which appears in a state of compulsion would save a man, all mortals would be saved; for to this kind of confidence everyone is easily reduced, and there are none to whom the Lord, who wills the salvation of all, would not impart it.

(Arcana Coelestia 4352)

December 14, 2016

Can God Do Just Anything?

A Memorable Relation from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
I saw at a distance a number of persons gathered together with caps on their heads, some with caps bound around with silk - these had belonged to the ecclesiastical order; others had caps with borders ornamented with golden bands - these were civilians; they were all learned and accomplished. I also saw others with turbans; these were not learned.

I drew near, and heard them talking together about the Divine power, as being unlimited, and saying that if it were to proceed according to any established laws of order it would not be unlimited, but limited; and would thus be a power, but not omnipotence. "But who does not see," they said, "that there can be no coercion of law that would compel omnipotence to do thus and so and not otherwise? Certainly, when we think of omnipotence, and at the same time of laws of order in accordance with which it is obliged to proceed, our preconceived ideas of omnipotence fall like a hand when its staff has been broken."

When they saw me near, some of them ran up, and said with some vehemence, "Are you the man who has circumscribed God by laws, as by chains?  How insolent!  Thus also you have torn to pieces our faith, upon which our salvation is based, in the center of which we place the righteousness of the Redeemer, and over this the omnipotence of God the Father, and add as an appendix the operation of the Holy Spirit, with its efficacy depending upon the absolute impotence of man in things spiritual; so that he only needs to speak of the fullness of justification which is in that faith by virtue of God's omnipotence. But we have heard that you see in our faith nothing but emptiness, because you see in it nothing of Divine order on the part of man."

Having heard this, I opened my mouth, and speaking with a loud voice, said
Learn the laws of Divine order, and then lay open that faith and you will see a vast desert, and in it the long and crooked Leviathan, and round about it nets tangled in an inextricable knot. But do as it is said Alexander did when he saw the Gordian knot, that he drew his sword and cut it apart and thus loosed its entanglements, and then dashing it upon the ground trampled its strands under foot."

December 11, 2016

Reciprocity Required for Covenant

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
So far as man refrains from evils and shuns and turns away from them as sins, good flows in from the Lord.

The good that flows in is the affection of knowing and understanding truths, and the affection of willing and doing goods. But man cannot refrain from evils by shunning and turning away from them of himself, for he himself is in evils from his birth, and thus from nature; and evils cannot of themselves shun evils, for this would be a like a man's shunning his own nature, which is impossible; consequently it must be the Lord, who is the Divine good and the Divine truth, who causes man to shun them. Nevertheless, man ought to shun evils as if of himself, for what a man does as if of himself becomes his and is appropriated to him as his own; while what he does not do as if of himself in no wise becomes his or is appropriated to him. What comes from the Lord to man must be received by man; and it cannot be received unless he is conscious of it, that is, as if of himself. This reciprocation is a necessity to reformation. This is why the ten commandments were given, and why it is commanded in them that man shall not worship other gods, shall not profane the name of God, shall not steal, shall not commit adultery, shall not kill, shall not covet the house, wife, or servants of others, thus that man shall refrain from doing these things by thinking, when the love of evil allures and incites, that they must not be done because they are sins against God, and in themselves are infernal. So far, therefore, as a man shuns these evils so far the love of truth and good enters from the Lord; and this love causes man to shun these evils, and at length to turn away from them as sins. And as the love of truth and good puts these evils to flight, it follows that man shuns them not from himself but from the Lord, since the love of truth and good is from the Lord. If a man shuns evils merely from a fear of hell they are withdrawn; but goods do not take their place; for as soon as the fear departs the evils return.

December 9, 2016

The Lord in Mercy Adjoins Man to Himself

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In order that a more distinct idea may be formed concerning the union of the Lord's Divine Essence with His Human Essence, and concerning the Lord's conjunction with the human race through the faith of charity, it may be well ... to call the former Union, but the latter Conjunction.

Between the Lord's Divine Essence and His Human Essence there was a Union; but between the Lord and the human race there is a Conjunction, through the faith of charity, as is evident from the fact that Jehovah or the Lord is Life, and that His Human Essence also was made Life ... and between Life and Life there is Union. Whereas man is not Life, but a recipient of life ... when Life flows into a recipient of life, there is conjunction; for it is adapted to the recipient as is the active to the passive, or as that which is in itself alive to that which is in itself dead, and which lives therefrom.  The principal and the instrumental - as they are termed - do indeed appear to be conjoined together as if they were a one, but still they are not a one; for the former is by itself, and the latter is by itself. Man does not live from himself, but the Lord in mercy adjoins man to Himself and thereby causes him to live to eternity; and because the Lord and man are thus distinct, it is called conjunction.

(Arcana Coelestia 2021)

December 8, 2016

Why Heaven Appears as a Grand Man

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord, who alone is Man, and from whom angels, spirits, and the inhabitants of earth are called men, does Himself, by His influx into heaven cause the universal heaven to represent and bear relation to a man, and by influx through heaven and from Himself immediately into the individuals there, cause each one to appear as a man, the angels in a more beautiful and resplendent form than can be described; and in like manner by His influx into the spirit of man. Nay, with an angel, a spirit, and a man who lives in charity toward the neighbor and in love to the Lord, the very smallest things of thought bear relation to a man, for the reason that this charity and this love are from the Lord, and whatever is from the Lord bears relation to a man. Moreover it is these things that make man.

On the other hand, in hell, because they who are there are in things contrary to charity and celestial love, in their own light they do indeed appear like men, but in the light of heaven as dreadful monsters, in some of whom scarcely anything of the human form is recognizable. The reason is that the Lord's influx through heaven is not received, but is either rejected, or extinguished, or perverted, causing them to have such an appearance. They are in like manner such forms in the smallest things of their thought or in their ideas; for such as anyone is in the whole, such he is in part; these being analogous and homogeneous. That form in which they appear is also the form of the hell in which they are; for every hell has its own form, which in the light of heaven is like a monster; and those of them who appear from this light show by their form from what hell they are.

(Arcana Coelestia 6626)

December 6, 2016

- No Power Against Truth

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
"I will send My fear before thee ..." (Exodus 23:27) is signified the terror of those who are in the evils of falsity on account of the truths of good.

The case herein is this. All power in the spiritual world is from the truths which are from good, thus from the truths which proceed from the Lord. This can be plainly seen from the fact that the Lord disposes all things in heaven, and all things in hell, and also all things in the world, by means of the truths which are from Himself; for the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord is that very thing through which all things have come into existence, and through which all things subsist.

That this is so is not comprehended by those who think solely from what is material, as those think who ascribe the origin and maintenance of all things to nature. These can have no idea about truths except that they are devoid of power, being matters of mere thought, concerning which they perceive nothing essential, and still less anything substantial; although they know that the thought directs the whole body, and excites its parts to motion, precisely in accordance with its own quality; likewise that there is nothing in the universe that does not bear relation to the truth which is from good. ...

From all this it is evident that the angels have power from the truth Divine which is from the Lord, and that from this they are called "powers." ...

Seeing that truth has all power, it follows that falsity from evil has no power whatever, because it is the privation of truth from good, thus the privation of power. Consequently they who are in hell - all there being in falsities from evil - have no power whatever; and therefore thousands of them can be driven away, cast down, and dispersed by one angel of heaven, much as a mote in the air is driven away by the breath of the mouth. From all this it can be seen why those who are in the evils of falsity feel terror on account of the truths of good. This terror is called "the terror of God" (Gen. 35:5; Job 13:21).  And in these passages:

I will put My terror in the land of the living; when he shall be made to lie down in the midst of the uncircumcised, with them that are slain by the sword, even Pharaoh and all his multitude (Ezek. 32:32).

If he shall reject My statutes, and if your soul shall abhor My judgments, so that ye will not do all My commandments, I will send dismay into their hearts, that the sound of a driven leaf may chase them; and they may flee as one fleeth from the sword; and may fall when none pursueth (Lev. 26:15, 36);

here is described the terror of those who are in the evils of falsity, and in the falsities of evil. It is said that "the sound of a leaf shall chase them, and they shall flee as one fleeth from the sword" because "leaf" signifies truth, and "sword" signifies truth fighting against the falsity of evil. That such have no power whatever against truth, is signified by "they shall fall when none pursueth."

(Arcana Coelestia 9327)

December 3, 2016

Each Moment - A New Beginning of Those that Follow

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As regards foresight and providence in general, it is foresight relatively to man, and providence relatively to the Lord.

The Lord foresaw from eternity what the human race would be, and what would be the quality of each member of it, and that evil would continually increase, until at last man of himself would rush headlong into hell. On this account the Lord has not only provided means by which man may be turned from hell and led to heaven, but also from providence He continually turns and leads him. The Lord also foresaw that it would be impossible for any good to be rooted in man except in his freedom, for whatever is not rooted in freedom is dissipated on the first approach of evil and temptation. This the Lord foresaw, and also that man of himself, or from his freedom, would incline toward the deepest hell; and therefore the Lord provides that if a man should not suffer himself to be led in freedom to heaven, he may still be bent toward a milder hell; but that if he should suffer himself to be led in freedom to good, he may be led to heaven. This shows what foresight means, and what providence, and that what is foreseen is thus provided.

And from this we can see how greatly the man errs who believes that the Lord has not foreseen, and does not see, the veriest singulars appertaining to man, and that in these He does not foresee and lead; when the truth is that the Lord's foresight and providence are in the very minutest of these veriest singulars connected with man, in things so very minute that it is impossible by any thought to comprehend as much as one out of a hundred millions of them; for every smallest moment of man's life involves a series of consequences extending to eternity, each moment being as a new beginning to those which follow; and so with all and each of the moments of his life, both of his understanding and of his will. And as the Lord foresaw from eternity what would be man's quality, and what it would be to eternity, it is evident that His providence is in the veriest singulars, and as before said governs and bends the man to such a quality; and this by a continual moderating of his freedom.

(Arcana Coelestia 3854)

November 27, 2016

Is it not possible for a man to have charity and faith, and yet to be without works?

Selection from a Memorable Relation True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
"Is it not possible for a man to have charity and faith, and yet to be without works? Can a man not have the desire, and may he not think out how to do something, and yet not proceed to accomplish it?"  The angel replied: "He can, but only ideally, and not in reality.  Even then he must endeavor or will to act; and will or endeavor is in itself an act, because it is a continual striving towards action, and this results in outward act as the opportunity to act presents itself.  Therefore, endeavor or will, being as it were an inward act, is accepted by every wise man, because it is accepted by God, just as if it were an outward act, provided it does not fail when opportunity arises."
(True Christian Religion 387:6)

November 23, 2016

Understanding Predestination

Passage from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
To make clear how pernicious the belief in predestination is as generally understood these four propositions must be taken up and established.

First: Any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine love, which is infinite. That Jehovah or the Lord is Divine love, and that He is infinite and the Being (Esse) of all life, and that man was created into the image of God after the likeness of God, has been shown in the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom. And as every man is formed by the Lord in the womb into that image after that likeness (as has also been shown), it follows that the Lord is the heavenly Father of all men, and that men are His spiritual children. Thus is Jehovah or the Lord called in the Word, and men likewise; for He says:

Call no man your father upon the earth, for One is your Father, who is in the heavens (Matt. 23:9);

which means that He alone is the Father in respect to the life; and that the earthly father is the father only in respect to the life's covering, which is the body; therefore in heaven no father is mentioned except the Lord. That men who do not pervert that life are said to be His sons and to be born of Him is also evident from many passages in the Word.

Thus it can be seen that the Divine love is in every man, both the evil and the good; consequently that the Lord who is Divine love can not act towards them otherwise than as a father on the earth acts towards his children, and infinitely more so, because the Divine love is infinite; and again, that He cannot withdraw from any one because every one's life is from Him. He appears to withdraw from the evil; but the evil withdraw from Him, while He from love still leads them. So the Lord says:

Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. What man is there of you who if his son ask for a loaf will give him a stone? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in the heavens give good things to them that ask Him? (Matt. 7:7-11).

And elsewhere that

He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. v. 46).

Moreover, it is admitted in the church that the Lord wills the salvation of all, and the death of no one. All this shows that any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine love.

November 19, 2016

Determining the Spiritual Power Upward, thus to the Lord

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Joshua did as Moses had said to him in fighting against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it was, when Moses lifted up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, that Amalek prevailed. And Moses' hands were heavy, and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat upon it; and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other; and it was, his hands were steady until the setting of the sun. And Joshua weakened Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.  Exodus 17: 10-13

  • What it is to look toward the Lord - What it is to look toward the world and self

  • What it is to look above self, and What to look below self

    • To look above self is to look to the neighbor, to our country, to the church, to heaven, thus to the Lord
    • To look below self is to look to the world and to self
    • To look above self and below self is to have as the end and to love above all things
  • Man is distinguished from brutes by the fact that he can look above self and below self, and that when he looks above self, he is a man, but when below self, he is a beast

  • To look above self is to be elevated by the Lord, for the Lord flows in with every man through the truth which is from Himself, whereby He gives life to man, because the light which is from the Lord is Divine truth, and is life (John 1:4).

  • This Divine truth which is from the Lord flows into the good with man, and by means of it draws the man to itself; for the life which is from the Lord has a power of attracting, because it is from love, since all love has in it this power, inasmuch as it wills to be conjoined, so as to be a one. Then therefore a man is in good, and from good in truth, he is drawn by the Lord, and is conjoined with Him. This is meant by "looking upward to the Lord." But when a man is not in good, thus not in truth from good, then too he is drawn by the Lord, but cannot be elevated, because evils and the derivative falsities turn themselves away. This is meant by "looking downward," or "to self and the world."

    That the Lord draws man to Himself, the Lord Himself teaches in John:  I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Myself (John 12:32).

    From all this it can now be seen how it is to be understood that when the faith looked toward the Lord, the fighting truth conquered, and that when the faith looked downward from the Lord to self and the world, the falsity conquered, as is signified by Israel prevailing when Moses held up his hand, and by Amalek prevailing when he let down his hand.

    (Arcana Coelestia 8604:2-4)

    November 15, 2016

    The Origin of Things

    Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    [T]here are genera and species of all goods, both spiritual and natural, and also of the derivative sensuous and corporeal goods. So many genera are there of spiritual goods, and so many genera likewise of spiritual truths, that they cannot be numbered; still less can the species of the genera.

    November 11, 2016

    When Charity is Performed from Spirituality

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    What is meant by good and truth natural not spiritual
    and good and truth spiritual natural
    Good in man is from a twofold source - from what is hereditary and hence additional, and also from the doctrine of faith and of charity, or with the Gentiles from their religiosity. Good from the former origin is good natural not spiritual, while good from the latter origin is good spiritual natural. From a like origin is truth, because all good has its own truth adjoined to it.

    November 7, 2016

    The Internals of a Deed

    Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    All things of the three degrees of the natural mind are included in the deeds that are done by the acts of the body. All things of the mind, that is, of the will and understanding of man, are in his acts or deeds, included therein very much as things visible and invisible are in a seed or fruit or egg.  Acts or deeds by themselves appear outwardly as these do, but in their internals there are things innumerable, such as the concurring forces of the motor fibers of the whole body and all things of the mind that excite and determine these forces, all of which ... are of three degrees. And since all things of the mind are in these, so also are things of the will, that is, all the affections of man's love, which make the first degree; all things of the understanding, that is, all thoughts from his perception, which makes the second degree; and all things of the memory, that is, all ideas of the thought nearest to speech, taken from the memory, which compose the third degree. Out of these things determined into act, deeds come forth, in which, seen in external form, prior things are not visible although they are actually therein.
    (Divine Love and Wisdom 277)

    November 4, 2016

    That Which Is Compulsory or Not Free

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Whatever is not from affection is from what is not spontaneous, or not free, for everything spontaneous or free is of affection or love. The same is evident also from the derivation of the expression in the original language, as meaning deficiency; for when ardor of affection is deficient, then freedom ceases; and what is then done is said to be not free, and at last compulsory.

    That all the conjunction of truth and good is effected in freedom, or from what is spontaneous, and consequently all reformation and regeneration; and consequently that in the absence of freedom (that is, by compulsion) no conjunction, and thus no regeneration, can be effected.

    October 29, 2016

    A True Faith, A Spurious Faith and A Hypocritical Faith

    Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    From its cradle the Christian church began to be infested and divided by schisms and heresies, and in the course of time to be torn and mutilated almost like what is said,
    Of the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and was surrounded by thieves, who stripped him and beat him and then left him half dead (Luke 10:30).

    From this it has come to pass as it is written of that church in Daniel:
    At last upon the bird of abominations shall be desolation; and even to the consummation and decision shall it drop upon the devastation (9:27).

    Also according to these words of the Lord:
    Then shall the end come, when ye shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet (Matt. 24:14, 15).

    The lot of that church may be compared to that of a vessel laden with precious merchandise, which immediately on leaving port is driven about by storms, and a little after is wrecked and sunk in the sea, with its precious cargo partly destroyed by the waters, and partly torn by fishes.

    October 21, 2016

    The Lord's Life Received According to the Quality which Man has Induced on His Soul

    Excerpts from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    [N]o man has life from himself, and therefore neither can he think and will from himself, for the life of man consists in thinking and willing. For there is one only life, namely, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and this according to the quality which a man has induced on his soul by his life in the world.
    [E]veryone has life in accordance with the form of the interiors which he has acquired by willing and acting, thinking and speaking. ...
    [T]he influx of life from the Lord, that it flows into all, and that this is evident from heaven, in that heaven resembles a man, and is therefore called the Grand Man of which, and of the correspondence therewith of all things in man ...
    [T]he universal heaven has reference to the Lord, and that the Lord is there the center of all the looks, they who are in heaven looking upward to Him, and they who are in hell looking downward from Him. For the Lord appears to those who are in the heavens as a sun above them. ...
    [T]he all of life is from the Lord from this fact also, that the soul of man can in the womb so wonderfully form a body, and its manifold members and organs in such a connection, and its interiors according to the image of heaven: this could not possibly be done unless all life were from the Lord, and unless heaven were such as has been described. (Arcana Coelestia 6468)
    Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities; but with the good, goods are received as goods, and truths as truths.

    This may be compared to the light which flows into objects from the sun, which is diversely modified and variegated in the objects in accordance with the form of their parts, and hence is turned into colors either sorrowful or gladsome, thus in accordance with the quality.

    In like manner while a man lives in this world, he induces on the purest substances that belong to his interior a quality, according to which the Lord's life is received.
    Be it known that the life from the Lord is the life of love toward the universal human race.
    (Arcana Coelestia 6467, 6468)

    October 20, 2016

    The Pure In Heart Shall See God

    From Doctrine of Life ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me he that walketh in the way of the upright, he shall minister unto Me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell in the midst of My house; he that speaketh lies shall not stand before Mine eyes. In the dawning will I cut off all the wicked of the land, to cut off from the city all the workers of iniquity (Ps. 101:6-8).
    That unless a man is interiorly sincere, just, faithful, and upright, he is insincere, unjust, unfaithful, and base, is taught by the Lord in these words:
    Except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:10).
    The "righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees" means the interior righteousness in which is the man who is in the Lord. That he is in the Lord is taught by the Lord Himself in John:
    The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given unto them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected into one; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:22-23, 26).
    From this it is evident that they are "perfect" when the Lord is in them. These are they who are called:
    The pure in heart, who shall see God and, Those who are perfect as is their Father in the heavens (Matt. 5:8, 48).
    (Doctrine of Life 84)

    October 18, 2016

    Good of Spiritual Life vs Delight of Natural Life

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    They who suffer themselves to be regenerated, act from affection according to the precepts of faith; but they who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated, but only to be reformed, do not act from affection, but from obedience. The difference is this. They who act from affection, act from the heart, and thus from freedom, and they also do truth for the sake of truth, and good for the sake of good, and thus they exercise charity for the sake of the neighbor; but they who act from obedience do not thus act from the heart, consequently not from freedom. If they seem to themselves to act from the heart and from freedom, it is for the sake of something of self-glory which causes it to be so perceived; and they do not do truth for the sake of truth, nor good for the sake of good, but for the sake of the delight arising from this glory. Thus they do not practice charity toward the neighbor for the sake of the neighbor, but in order to be seen, and in order to be recompensed. From this it is evident who and of what quality are they who are represented by the sons of Israel, and who and of what quality are they who are represented by the Hebrew menservants.

    October 17, 2016

    Beware of Covetousness

    From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.  And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:  And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?  And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.  But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?  So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.  And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body what ye shall put on.  (Luke 12:15-22)

    The Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man. As this must needs seem obscure to those who have not yet gained a clear notion of what correspondence is and what appearance is, they must be illustrated by example, and thus explained. All things of the Word are pure correspondences of spiritual and celestial things, and because they are correspondences they are also appearances; that is, all things of the Word are the Divine goods of the Divine love and the Divine truths of the Divine wisdom, which in themselves are naked, but in the sense of the letter of the Word are clothed. They therefore appear like a man in clothing that corresponds to the state of his love and wisdom. All this makes evident that when a man confirms appearances it is the same as asserting that the clothes are the man. It is thus that appearances are converted into fallacies. It is otherwise when man is seeking for truths and sees them in the appearances.

    Since, then, all uses, that is, the truths and goods of charity that a man does to the neighbor, may be done either in accordance with these appearances or in accordance with the truths themselves in the Word, when he does them in accordance with the appearances confirmed in himself he is in fallacies; but when he does them in accordance with truths he does them as he ought. All this makes clear what is meant when it is said that the Lord conjoins Himself with uses by means of correspondences, and thus by means of appearances in accordance with the confirmations of these by man.

    (Divine Providence 220: 6-7)

    October 14, 2016

    How Angels View Nations

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    In the Most Ancient and in the Ancient Church, the many families which acknowledged one father constituted one nation. But as to "nations" signifying in the internal sense the worships of the church, and this in respect to the goods or evils in the worship, the case is this: when families and nations are viewed by the angels, they have no idea of a nation, but only of the worship in it; for they regard all from the quality itself, that is, from what they are. The quality or character of a man, from which he is regarded in heaven, is his charity and faith. This anyone may clearly apprehend if he considers that when he looks at any man, or any family, or nation, he thinks for the most part of what quality they are, everyone from that which is dominant in himself at the time.  The idea of their quality comes instantly to mind, and in himself he estimates them from that.  Still more is this the case with the Lord; and, from Him, with the angels, who cannot but regard a man, a family, and a nation, from their quality in respect to charity and faith.  And hence it is that in the internal sense by "nations" nothing else is signified than the worship of the church, and this in respect to its quality, which is the good of charity and the derivative truth of faith.  When the term "nations" occurs in the Word, the angels do not abide at all in the idea of a nation, in accordance with the historical sense of the letter, but in the idea of the good and truth in the nation that is named.

    October 13, 2016

    External Worship Wherein is What is Profane

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
    24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
    25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
    26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
    27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
    28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
    (Luke 13:23-28)
    ... the quality of external worship is precisely in accordance with the interiors; the more innocent the interiors are, the more innocent is the external worship; but the more foul the interiors are, the more foul is the external worship; and the more profane the interiors are, the more profane is the external worship. In a word, the more of the love of the world and of self there is in a man who is in this external worship, the less there is that is living and holy in his worship; the more hatred toward the neighbor there is in his love of himself and of the world, the more profanity there is in his worship; the more malice in his hatred, the more still of profanity there is in his worship; and the more deceit in his malice, the more profanity yet is there in his worship.
    (Arcana Coelestia 1182)

    October 8, 2016

    The Faculty Gained in the World for Receiving

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Everyone, whether damned or saved, has a certain measure which is capable of being filled. The evil, or they who are damned, have a certain measure of evil and falsity; and the good, or they who are saved, have a certain measure of good and truth. In the other life this measure is filled with everyone; but some have a greater measure, some a less. This measure is acquired in the world by means of the affections which are of the love. The more anyone has loved evil and the derivative falsity, the greater is the measure he has gained for himself; and the more anyone has loved good and the derivative truth, the greater is his measure. The limits and degrees of the extensions of this measure are clearly seen in the other life, and cannot there be surmounted, but they can be filled, and also actually are filled, namely, with goods and truths in the case of those who have been in the affection of good and truth, and with evils and falsities in the case of those who have been in the affection of evil and falsity. Hence it is evident that this measure is the faculty gained in the world for receiving either evil and falsity, or good and truth.

    ... It is described by the Lord in the parables of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, and of the pounds in Luke 19:12-27, and finally in these words:

    To everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance, but from him that hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away from him (Matt. 25:29).

    He said unto them that stood by, Take away from him the pound, and give it to him who hath the ten pounds: they said to him, Lord, he hath ten pounds. I say to you, that unto everyone that hath shall be given; but from him that hath not even that which he hath shall be taken from him (Luke 19:24-26).

    That everyone's measure is filled, the Lord also teaches in another place in Luke:

    Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom (Luke 6:38).
    (Arcana Coelestia 7984:3,4)

    October 6, 2016

    Things that Go Forth Therefrom Into the Mouth and Out of the Mouth

    From  Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Not that which entereth into the mouth maketh the man unclean, but that which cometh out of the mouth, this maketh the man unclean. Whatsoever goeth into the mouth passeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught. But the things that proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart. Out of the heart go forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies (Matthew 15:11, 17-19).

    "That which entereth into the mouth" means in the literal sense food of every kind, which, after its use in the body, goes out through the belly into the draught; but in the spiritual sense, "that which entereth into the mouth" signifies all things that enter into the thought from the memory, and also from the world, and these also correspond to food; while the things that enter into the thought, and not also into the will, do not render a man unclean; for the memory, and thought therefrom, are to man only as a way of entrance to him, since the will is the man himself. The things that merely enter the thought and go no further are cast out as it were through the belly into the draught, "the belly" signifying from correspondence the world of spirits, from which thoughts flow in with man, and the "draught" signifying hell.

    It must be known that man cannot be purified from evils and the consequent falsities, unless the unclean things that are in him come forth as far as into the thought, and are there seen, recognized, discerned, and put away. This makes evident that "that which entereth into the mouth" signifies in the spiritual sense what enters into the thought from the memory and from the world; while "that which cometh out of the mouth" signifies in the spiritual sense thought from the will or from love; for the "heart," from which thought goes forth into the mouth and from the mouth, signifies man's will and love; and as the love and will constitute the whole man, for the man is such as his love is, so the things that go forth therefrom into the mouth and out of the mouth are what make the man unclean. That these are evils of every kind is evident from the things enumerated. Such is the meaning of these words of the Lord in the heavens.

    (Apocalypse Explained 580:2,3)

    October 4, 2016

    When the Sense of the Letter of the Word is delightful, but the Internal Sense Undelightful

    From  Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    And the voice which I heard from heaven again spake with me, and said, Go, take the little book that is open in the hand of the angel that standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, saying unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take and eat it up; and it shall make bitter thy belly, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey. And I took the little book out of the hand of the angel and ate it up; and it was in my mouth like honey, sweet. And when I had eaten it my belly was made bitter.  (Revelation 10:8-10)
    When the sense of the letter of the Word is delightful,
    but the internal sense, in which are the truths themselves, it was undelightful

    It is to be known that the understanding of the Word perishes in the church by degrees, as the man of the church from internal becomes external; and from internal he becomes external as he falls away from charity, consequently as he falls away from the life of faith.

    When the man of the church is such he may, indeed, take delight in reading the Word, but yet he takes no delight in the truth itself, which belongs to the interior sense of the Word; for it is the life itself of faith, which is charity, that produces the affection of interior truth and makes it delightful. Therefore the Word as to the sense of the letter may be loved, but for the reason that it can be drawn over to confirm the falsities arising from the love of self and of the world, for such is the Word in the letter.

    From this it comes that in the end of the church there is scarcely any understanding of truth. Truths from the Word are indeed then spoken with the mouth, but yet there is no idea of truth. It has been granted me to test whether this is so in the case of many in the spiritual world, and it was found that although, so far as they had spoken from the Word they had spoken truths, yet they had no understanding of them; thus they were like empty vessels and like tinkling bells, speaking only from such things as they drew forth from the memory, and not at all from any perception of the understanding. When man is such he cannot inwardly possess anything celestial or spiritual, but only what is natural, from the body and the world, and when this is separated from what is celestial and spiritual it is infernal. From this it can be seen what is meant ... by the little book given to John to eat being in his mouth sweet as honey, but that his belly was made bitter from.

    (Apocalypse Explained 614:2)

    October 2, 2016

    What Is Meant By Affection

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Affection is nothing else than love, but is what is continuous of it. For from love a man is affected either with evil and falsity, or with good and truth. As this love is present and is within all things in general and particular that belong to him, it is not perceived as love, but is varied according to its matter in hand, and according to the man's states and their changes; and this continually in everything that he wills, thinks, and does. It is this continuous of love that is called affection; and it is this continuous that reigns in a man's life and makes all his delight, and consequently his very life; for man's life is nothing else than the delight of his affection; and thus is nothing else than the affection of his love. Love is man's willing, and derivatively is his thinking, and thereby his acting.
    (Arcana Coelestia 3938:8)

    October 1, 2016

    Forms of Charity

    Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    They who are in mutual love in heaven are continually advancing to the springtime of their youth, and to a more and more gladsome and happy spring the more thousands of years they live, and this with continual increase to eternity, according to the advance and degree of mutual love, charity, and faith. Those of the female sex who have died in old age and enfeebled with years, and who have lived in faith in the Lord, in charity toward the neighbor, and in happy conjugial love with their husbands, after a succession of years come more and more into the bloom of youth and early womanhood, and into a beauty that surpasses all idea of beauty such as is ever perceptible to the natural sight; for it is goodness and charity forming and presenting their own likeness, and causing the delight and beauty of charity to shine forth from every least feature of the countenance, so that they are the very forms of charity: some have beheld them and been amazed.

    The form of charity, as is seen to the life in the other world, is such that it is charity itself that portrays and is portrayed, and this in such a manner that the whole angel, and especially the face, is as it were charity, the charity both plainly appearing to the view and being perceived by the mind. When this form is beheld, it is unutterable beauty that affects with charity the very inmost life of the beholder's mind. Through the beauty of this form the truths of faith are presented to view in an image, and are even perceived from it.

    Such forms, or such beauties, do those become in the other life who have lived in faith in the Lord, that is, in the faith of charity. All the angels are such forms, with countless variety, and of such is heaven.

    (Arcana Coelestia 553)

    September 27, 2016

    Taking Away From the Lord What Is His

    Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    And he believed in Jehovah, and He imputed it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

    That this signifies that herein the Lord first became righteousness, may also be seen from the connection of things in the internal sense, in which the Lord is treated of. That the Lord alone became righteousness for the whole human race, may be seen from the fact that He alone fought from Divine love, namely, from love toward the whole human race, whose salvation was what in His combats He solely desired and burned for. In regard to His Human Essence the Lord was not born righteousness, but became righteousness through combats of temptations and victories, and this from His own power. As often as He fought and overcame, this was imputed to Him for righteousness, that is, it was added to the righteousness that He was becoming, as a continual increase, until He became pure righteousness.

    A man who is born of a human father, or of the seed of a human father, when fighting from himself cannot fight from any other love than the love of self and of the world, thus not from heavenly love, but from infernal love, for such is the character of his Own [self-hood] from his father, in addition to the Own [self-hood] acquired by his own conduct. Therefore he who supposes that he fights from himself against the devil is hugely mistaken. In like manner he who desires to make himself righteous by his own powers - that is, to believe that the goods of charity and the truths of faith are from himself, consequently that he merits heaven by them - acts and thinks against the good and truth of faith; for it is a truth of faith, that is, it is the truth itself, that the Lord fights. And therefore because he then acts and thinks against the truth of faith, he takes away from the Lord what is His, and makes what is the Lord's to be his own, or what is the same, he puts himself in the Lord's place, and thereby puts that which is infernal in himself. Hence it is that such men desire to become great, or the greatest, in heaven; and hence it is that they falsely believe that the Lord fought against the hells in order that He might be the greatest. What is man's own [self-hood] is attended with such phantasies,, which appear as if they were truths, but are just the reverse.

    That the Lord came into the world in order to become righteousness, and that He alone is righteousness, was also foretold by the prophets; and therefore this could have been known before His coming; and also that He could not become righteousness except through temptations, and victories over all evils and all the hells.

    As in Jeremiah:

    In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in confidence, and this is His name whereby they shall call Him, Jehovah our righteousness (Jer. 23:6).

    In the same:
    In those days and in that time will I cause an Offshoot of righteousness to grow onto David, and He shall do judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in confidence; and this is what they shall call Him, Jehovah our righteousness (Jer. 33:15-16).

    In Isaiah:
    He saw, and there was no man; and He wondered that there was none to intercede; and His arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness it upheld Him. And He put on righteousness as a coat of mail, and a helmet of salvation upon His head (Isa. 59:16-17; see especially Isa. 63:3, 5).

    "His arm" means His own power. Because the Lord alone is righteousness, the "habitation of righteousness" also is mentioned in Jeremiah 31:23; 50:7.

    (Arcana Coelestia 1813)

    September 25, 2016

    No Heaven in Hell, and No Hell in Heaven

    The perception of opposites is different from the perception of relatives; for opposites are things without, and are opposed to things within.

    An opposite has its beginning where one thing wholly ceases to be anything, and another then arises with an effort to act against the former, as when a wheel acts against another wheel, or a current against another current.  But relatives pertain to the arrangement of many and various parts in an order that is concordant and harmonious, like precious stones of various colors in the stomacher of a queen, or like flowers of different colors arranged in a garland to give pleasure to the sight. Therefore in both of these opposites there are relatives, that is, in what is good as well as in what is evil, in what is true as well as in what is false, thus both in heaven and in hell, all the relatives in hell being the opposites of the relatives in heaven.

    Since, then, from the order in which He is, God perceives and sees and is cognizant of all things relative in heaven, and thereby perceives, sees, and is cognizant of all the opposite relatives in hell . . . it is clear that God is omniscient in hell as well as in heaven, and in like manner with men in the world; thus that He perceives, sees, and is cognizant of their evils and falsities from the good and truth in which He Himself is, and which in their essence are Himself; for we read:

    If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there (Ps. 139:8);

    and again:

    Though they dig into hell, thence shall My hand take them (Amos 9:2)

    (True Christian Religion 62).
    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. The good opposite to the evil which is meant by murder, is the good of love towards the neighbour.

    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. iii 15, 16.

    (Life 70, 71)

    September 23, 2016

    Loving To Be Taught

    From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    How can so many discordant religions exist, instead of one true religion over all the earth, if the Divine providence has as its end a heaven from the human race?
    But listen, I pray: All the human beings that are born, however many and in whatever religion, can be saved, provided they acknowledge God and live according to the commandments in the Decalogue, which are not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, and not to bear false witness, for the reason that doing such things is contrary to religion, and thus contrary to God. Such fear God and love the neighbor; they fear God in the thought that to do such things is contrary to God; and they love the neighbor in the thought that to kill, to commit adultery, to steal, to bear false witness, and to covet the neighbor's house or wife is against the neighbor. Because such in their life look to God, and do not do evil to the neighbor, they are led by the Lord; and those who are led are also taught in accordance with their religion, about God and about the neighbor; for those who so live love to be taught, while those who live otherwise do not; and because they love to be taught, when after death they become spirits they are instructed by the angels and gladly accept such truths as are in the Word.
    (Divine Providence 253)

    September 22, 2016

    From the Good Sense the Quality of the Opposite is Known

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Most things in the Word have a twofold sense, namely, a good sense and its opposite. From the good sense the quality of the opposite one is known; for whatever is contained in the opposite sense is diametrically opposed to what is contained in the good sense.

    The goods of love are in general two - the good of celestial love, and the good of spiritual love. Diametrically opposed to the good of celestial love, is the evil of the love of self; and diametrically opposed to the good of spiritual love, is the evil of the love of the world. They who are in the evil of the love of self are against all good whatever; but not so much so they who are in the evil of the love of the world....

    The hells also are distinct according to these two loves. They who are in the love of self, being against all good whatever, are in the deepest and therefore the most grievous hell; but they who are in the love of the world, being not so much against all good whatever, are in hells not so deep, and therefore less grievous.

    The evil of the love of self is not, as is generally thought, that external elation which is called pride; but it is hatred against the neighbor, and thence a burning desire for revenge, and delight in cruelty. These are the interiors of the love of self. Its exteriors are contempt for others in comparison with self, and an aversion to those who are in spiritual good, and this sometimes with manifest elation or pride, and sometimes without it; for one who holds the neighbor in such hatred, interiorly loves no one but himself and those whom he regards as making one with himself; thus he loves them in himself, and himself in them, for the sole end of self.

    (Arcana Coelestia 4750:2-5)

    September 20, 2016

    The Word Cannot Be Understood Without Doctrine

    From Doctrine of Sacred Scripture ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    The Word cannot be understood without doctrine. This is because the Word in the sense of the letter consists exclusively of correspondences, to the end that things spiritual and celestial may be simultaneous or together therein, and that every word may be their container and support. For this reason, in some places in the sense of the letter the truths are not naked, but clothed, and are then called appearances of truth. Many truths also are accommodated to the capacity of simple folk, who do not uplift their thoughts above such things as they see before their eyes. There are also some things that appear like contradictions, although the Word when viewed in its own light contains no contradiction...

    But to illustrate this by examples.

    It is said that Jehovah repents (Exod. 32:12, 14; Jonah 3:9; 4:2);

    And also that Jehovah does not repent (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29).

    Without doctrine these passages cannot be reconciled.

    It is said that Jehovah visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation (Num. 14:18);

    And it is also said that The father shall not die for the son, nor the son for the father, but everyone for his own sin (Deut. 24:16).

    Interpreted by doctrine these passages are not discordant, but are in agreement.

    Jesus says, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh shall receive, and he that seeketh shall find, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Matt. 7:7-8; 21:21-22).

    Without doctrine it might be believed that everyone will receive what he asks for; but from doctrine it is believed that whatever a man asks not from himself but from the Lord is given; for this also is what the Lord says, If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).

    The Lord says, Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20).

    Without doctrine it may be thought that heaven is for the poor and not for the rich, but doctrine teaches that the poor in spirit are meant, for the Lord says, Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3).

    The Lord says, Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged (Matt. 7:1-2; Luke 6:37).

    Without doctrine this might be cited to confirm the notion that it is not to be said of what is evil that it is evil, thus that an evil person is not to be judged to be evil; yet according to doctrine it is lawful to judge, but justly; for the Lord says, Judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).

    Jesus says, Be not ye called Teacher, for One is your Teacher, even the Christ. And call no man your father on the earth; for One is your Father in the heavens. Neither be ye called masters; for One is your Master, the Christ (Matt. 23:8-10).

    Without doctrine it would seem that it is not lawful to call any person teacher, father, or master; but from doctrine it is known that in the natural sense it is lawful to do this, but not in the spiritual sense.

    Jesus said to His disciples, When the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).

    From these words it may be inferred that the Lord's disciples will sit in judgment, when yet they can judge no one. Doctrine therefore must reveal this secret by explaining that the Lord alone, who is omniscient and knows the hearts of all, will sit in judgment, and is able to judge; and that His twelve disciples mean the church as to all the truths and goods it possesses from the Lord through the Word; from which doctrine concludes that these truths will judge everyone, according to the Lord's words in John 3:17-18; 12:47-48.

    He who reads the Word without doctrine does not see the consistency of what is said in the prophets about the Jewish nation and Jerusalem - that the church with that nation, and its seat in that city, will remain to eternity; as in the following passages:

    Jehovah will visit his flock the house of Judah, and will make them as a horse of glory in war; from him shall come forth the corner stone, from him the nail, and from him the bow of war (Zech. 10:3-4, 6-7).

    Behold I come, that I may dwell in the midst of thee. And Jehovah shall make Judah an inheritance, and shall again choose Jerusalem (Zech. 2:10, 12).

    It shall come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drop new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and Judah shall be to eternity, and Jerusalem from generation to generation (Joel 3:18-20).

    Behold, the days come in which I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and in which I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; and this shall be the covenant, I will put My law in their inward parts, and will write it upon their heart and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer. 31:27, 31, 33).

    In that day ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, of the skirt of a man that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you (Zech. 8:23).

    So in other places, as Isa. 44:21, 24, 26; 49:22, 23; 65:9; 66:20, 22; Jer. 3:18; 23:5; 50:19, 20; Nahum 1:15; Mal. 3:4.

    In these passages the Lord's advent is treated of, and that this [establishment of the Jews] will then come to pass.

    But the contrary is declared in many other places, of which this passage only shall be adduced:

    I will hide My face from them, I will see what their latter end shall be, for they are a generation of perversions, sons in whom is no faithfulness. I said, I will cast them into outermost corners, I will make the remembrance of them to cease from man, for they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there understanding in them; their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall; their clusters are of bitternesses; their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this hidden with Me, sealed up among My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance and retribution (Deut. 32:20-35).

    It is of that same nation that these things are said. And things of the same purport are said elsewhere, as in Isa. 3:1-2, 8; 5:3, 6; Deut. 9:5-6; Matt. 12:39; 23:27-28; John 8:44; and in Jeremiah and Ezekiel throughout.

    These passages which seem contradictory will however from doctrine be seen to accord, for this teaches that in the Word "Israel" and "Judah" do not mean Israel and Judah, but the church in both senses, in one that it is devastated, in the other that it is to be set up anew by the Lord.

    Other things like these exist in the Word, from which it plainly appears that

    (Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 51)

    September 17, 2016

    Conscience - The Plane and Receptacle of the Influx of Heaven

    Selection from New Jerusalem and It's Heavenly Doctrine  ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    Conscience is formed with man from the religious principle in which he is, according to its reception inwardly in himself.

    Conscience, with the man of the church, is formed by the truths of faith from the Word, or from doctrine out of the Word, according to their reception in the heart; for when man knows the truths of faith, and comprehends them in his own manner, and then wills them and does them, he then acquires conscience. Reception in the heart is reception in the will, for the will of man is what is called the heart. Hence it is that they who have conscience, speak from the heart the things which they speak, and do from the heart the things which they do. They have also an undivided mind, for they act according to that which they understand and believe to be true and good.

    A more perfect conscience can be given with those who are enlightened in the truths of faith more than others, and who are in a clear perception above others, than with those who are less enlightened, and are in obscure perception.

    In a true conscience is man's spiritual life itself, for there his faith is conjoined to charity. On which account to act from conscience is to them to act from their spiritual life; and to act against conscience is to them to act contrary to that life of theirs. Hence it is that they are in the tranquility of peace, and in internal happiness, when they act according to conscience, and in in-tranquility and pain, when they act against it. This pain is what is called remorse of conscience.

    Man has a conscience of what is good, and a conscience of what is just. The conscience of what is good is the conscience of the internal man, and the conscience of what is just is the conscience of the external man. The conscience of what is good consists in acting according to the precepts of faith from internal affection; but the conscience of what is just consists in acting according to civil and moral laws from external affection. They who have the conscience of what is good, have also the conscience of what is just; but they who have only the conscience of what is just, are in a faculty of receiving the conscience of what is good; and they also do receive it when they are instructed.

    Conscience, with those who are in charity towards the neighbor, is the conscience of truth, because it is formed by the faith of truth; but with those who are in love to the Lord, it is the conscience of good, because it is formed by the love of truth. The conscience of these is a superior conscience, and is called the perception of truth from good. They who have the conscience of truth, are of the Lord's spiritual kingdom; but they who have the superior conscience, which is called perception, are of the Lord's celestial kingdom.

    But let examples illustrate what conscience is. He who has possession of another man's goods, whilst the other is ignorant of it, and thus can retain them without fear of the law, or of the loss of honor and reputation, and he still restores them to the other, because they are not his own, he has conscience, for he does what is good for the sake of what is good, and what is just for the sake of what is just. Again, if anyone can obtain an office, but knows that another, who also desires it, would be more useful to his country, and gives way to the other for the sake of the good of his country, he has a good conscience. So in other cases.

    From these instances it may be concluded, what quality they are of who have not conscience; they are known from the opposite. Thus, they who for the sake of any gain make what is unjust appear as just, and what is evil appear as good, and vice versa, have not conscience. Neither do they know what conscience is, and if they are instructed what it is, they do not believe; and some are not willing to know. Such are those who do all things for the sake of themselves and the world.

    They who have not received conscience in the world, cannot receive it in the other life; thus they cannot be saved. The reason is, because they have no plane into which heaven, that is, the Lord through heaven, may flow in, and by which He may operate, and lead them to Himself. For conscience is the plane and receptacle of the influx of heaven.

    (New Jerusalem and Heavenly Doctrine 130-138)

    September 16, 2016

    Two Suns - The Sun of the Spiritual World and The Sun of the Natural World

    Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    The whole world, with each and every thing in it, came into existence and continues to exist from the Lord the Creator of the universe. There are two suns, the sun of the spiritual world and the sun of the natural world. The sun of the spiritual world is the Lord's Divine love, the sun of the natural world is pure fire. From the sun that is the Divine love every work of creation has begun, and by means of the sun that is fire it has been carried to completion.

    Everything that proceeds from the sun that is the Divine love is called spiritual, and everything that proceeds from the sun that is fire is called natural. The spiritual from its origin has life in itself, but the natural from its origin has nothing of life in itself. And because from these two fountains of the universe all things that are in both worlds have come into existence and continue to exist, it follows that there is in every created thing in this world a spiritual and a natural, a spiritual as its soul and a natural as its body, or a spiritual as its internal and a natural as its external; or a spiritual as the cause and a natural as the effect. That these two in any particular thing cannot be separated every wise person knows, for if you separate cause from effect or the internal from the external, the effect or the external goes to pieces, as when the soul is separated from the body.

    That there is such a conjunction in the particular and even in the most particular things of nature has not yet been known. It has not been known because of the existing ignorance respecting the spiritual world, the sun there, and heat and light there, and because of the insanity of sensual men in ascribing all things to nature, and rarely anything to God except creation in general; and yet not the least thing is possible or can be possible in nature in which there is not a spiritual. That this spiritual is in each and every thing of the three kingdoms of nature ...

    (Apocalypse Explained 1197:2-4)

    September 14, 2016

    What is Spiritual is Distinct from What is Natural

    From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    There are three things which succeed one another in heaven, and which, in order that they may be conceived distinctly, are to be called by their names, which are "celestial," "spiritual," and "natural."  These three proceed there in order, one from another, and by the influx of one into the next successively they are connected together, and thereby make a one. The Divine of the Lord in the heavens, from the difference of its reception, is called by these names.
    The successives in heaven - Most of the learned at this day have no other idea of successives, than as of what is continuous, or as of that which coheres by continuity. As they have this idea of the succession of things, they cannot conceive the nature of the distinction between the exteriors and interiors of man, nor consequently between the body and the spirit of man; and therefore when they think about them from these ideas, they cannot possibly understand that after the dispersion or death of the body, the spirit also is able to live under a human form.

    But successives are not connected continuously, but discretely, that is, distinctly according to degrees; for interior things are wholly distinct from exterior, insomuch that exterior things can be separated, and yet the interior things still continue in their life. This is the reason why man can be withdrawn from the body and think in his spirit; or according to the form of speaking used by the ancients, can be withdrawn from sensuous, and raised toward interior things. The ancients also knew that when man is withdrawn from the sensuous things that belong to the body, he is withdrawn or raised into the light of his spirit, thus into the light of heaven. Hence also the learned ancients knew that when the body was dispersed, they would live an interior life which they called their spirit; and as they regarded that life as the very human life itself, they also knew from this that they should live under the human form. Such was the idea which they had of the soul of man; and as that life was akin to life Divine, they hence perceived that their soul was immortal; for they knew that that part of man which was akin to life Divine, and thus conjoined with it, could not possibly die.

    But after those ancient times this idea of the soul and of the spirit of man disappeared, by reason, as said above, of the want of a just idea of successives. Hence also it is, that they who think from modern learning do not know that there is what is spiritual, and that this is distinct from what is natural. For they who have an idea of successives as of what is continuous, cannot conceive of the spiritual otherwise than as of a purer natural, when yet they are as distinct from each other as are the prior and the posterior, thus as that which begets and that which is begotten. From this it is that the distinction between the internal or spiritual man, and the external or natural, thus between man's internal thought and will, and his external thought and will, is not apprehended by such learned men. Hence neither can they comprehend anything of faith and love, of heaven and hell, and of the life of man after death.

    But they who have a just and distinct idea of successives are able in some degree to comprehend that with a man who is being regenerated the interiors are successively opened, and that as they are opened they are also raised into interior light and life, and nearer to the Divine; and that this opening and consequent elevation is effected by means of truths Divine, which are vessels recipient of the good of love from the Divine. The good of love is that which immediately conjoins man with the Divine, for love is spiritual conjunction. Hence it follows that man can thus be more and more interiorly opened and raised in proportion as he is in the good of love from the Divine; and that conversely there is no opening and consequent elevation with the man who does not receive truths Divine; as is the case if a man is in evil.

    (Arcana Coelestia 10099)