January 29, 2016

Not by Continuity, But by Contiguity

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is well known that each and all things of the universe were created by God; hence the universe, with each and every thing pertaining to it, is called in the Word the work of the hands of Jehovah. There are those who maintain that the world, with everything it includes, was created out of nothing, and of that nothing an idea of absolute nothingness is entertained. From absolute nothingness, however, nothing is or can be made. This is an established truth. The universe, therefore, which is God's image, and consequently full of God, could be created only in God from God; for God is Esse itself, and from Esse must be whatever is. To create what is, from nothing which is not, is an utter contradiction. But still, that which is created in God from God is not continuous from Him; for God is Esse in itself, and in created things there is not any Esse in itself. If there were in created things any Esse in itself, this would be continuous from God, and that which is continuous from God is God.

The angelic idea of this is, that what is created in God from God, is like that in man which has been derived from his life, but from which the life has been withdrawn, which is of such a nature as to be in accord with his life, and yet it is not his life. The angels confirm this by many things which have existence in their heaven, where they say they are in God, and God is in them, and still that they have, in their esse, nothing of God which is God. Many things whereby they prove this will be presented hereafter; let this serve for present information.

Every created thing, by virtue of this origin, is such in its nature as to be a recipient of God, not by continuity, but by contiguity. By the latter and not the former comes its capacity for conjunction. For having been created in God from God, it is adapted to conjunction; and because it has been so created, it is an analogue, and through such conjunction it is like an image of God in a mirror.

(Divine Love and Wisdom 55-56)

January 28, 2016

Two Distinct Things - Acting by Contiguity and Not Continuity

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is known that when the Apostles had received from the Lord the gift of the Holy Spirit they preached the gospel through a great part of the world, promulgating it both by speech and by writing; and this they did of themselves from the Lord. For Peter taught and wrote in one manner, James in another, John in another, and Paul in another, each according to his own intelligence. The Lord filled them all with His Spirit; but the measure in which each partook of it was in accordance with the character of his perceptions; and this was made use of in accordance with the character of his ability. The Lord fills all the angels in the heavens, for they are in the Lord and the Lord is in them; and yet each one speaks and acts in accordance with the state of his own mind, some with simplicity and some with wisdom, thus with infinite variety; nevertheless everyone speaks of himself from the Lord.
The same truth may be illustrated also by the evil derived from parents, which is called hereditary evil; this acts in and into man; in like manner good from the Lord acts, the good acting above or within, and the evil acting below or without. If the evil acted through man he would neither be capable of reformation nor be culpable; or if the good from the Lord acted through man he would be incapable of reformation; but as both good and evil depend on man's free choice he becomes guilty when he acts of himself from evil, and is blameless when he acts of himself from good. And since evil is the devil, and good is the Lord, man becomes guilty when he acts from the devil, and is blameless when he acts from the Lord. It is from this free choice, which every man has, that man is capable of reformation.

It is the same with the entire internal and the entire external in man. These two are distinct, and yet are reciprocally united. The internal acts in and into the external, but not through it; for the internal meditates a thousand things, and from these the external chooses only such as are suited to its use. For in man's internal (by which is meant his voluntary and perceptive mind) there are voluminous heaps of ideas, and if these were to flow forth through man's mouth it would be like a blast from a bellows. As the internal deals with universals it may be compared to an ocean or flower bed or garden, from which the external selects just what is sufficient for its use. Again, the Word of the Lord is like an ocean or a flower bed or a garden, in that when it has place in man's internal in any degree of fullness it does not act through man, but man speaks and acts of himself from the Word. The same is true of the Lord, because He is the Word, that is, the Divine truth and Divine good that are in it. The Lord acts from Himself or from the Word in and into man, and not through him, since man acts and speaks from the Lord freely when he acts and speaks from the Word.

But this may be illustrated more closely by the mutual interaction of the soul and body, which are two distinct things, and yet are reciprocally united. The soul acts in and into the body, not through it; the body acts of itself from the soul. The soul does not act through the body, for the two do not consult and deliberate each with the other, nor does the soul command or ask the body to do this or that, or to speak from its mouth; neither does the body demand or beg the soul to give or supply anything; for every thing that belongs to the soul belongs also to the body, mutually and interchangeably. It is the same with the Divine and the Human of the Lord, for the soul of His Human is the Divine of the Father, and the Human is His body; and the Human does not ask its own Divine to tell it what to say or do.

Therefore the Lord says:
In that day ye shall ask in My name; and I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father Himself loveth you because ye have loved Me (John 16:26, 27).
"In that day" means after His glorification, that is, after His perfect and absolute union with the Father. This arcanum is from the Lord Himself, given for those who will be of His new church.

(True Christian Religion 154)

January 27, 2016

A Man's Life 'Ordered' by God

Selection from (True Christian Religion - Additions) ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
1. Love introduces order immediately into the understanding, and by mediate things into the whole of the mind.

2. Man from his heaven rules his world, but under the Lord's auspices.

3. Man is successively introduced into order from his infancy, by means of his parents, companions, masters; he reacts and acts from himself, and thus imbues himself with order, and finally becomes order in the same proportion as he receives it and imbues himself with it.

4. Order is thus induced upon his state and the form of his life; and the laws of order are truths and statutes.

5. In proportion as man receives love, in the same proportion he makes for himself order, according to which, as said above, love introduces and forms order in him.

6. Man can get himself into a state of order in proportion as he gets himself into a state of love; thus he has the capability of becoming a genuine man; yet he has also the capability of becoming like the beasts of every kind.

7. True order is connected with decorum, beauty, elegance, perfection.

8. Man cannot become order from himself, except first mediately through other men, and afterwards immediately from the Lord; nor is it possible for man to introduce himself into order, and to form order in himself from himself: nor, finally, is it possible for the Lord to do so, unless man acts at the same time from himself.

9. Man cannot become a beast, but he can become as a beast.

10. The productions of love are called affections, and these constitute man's state; and its determinations through the understanding are called truths. These form man; and in proportion as the latter are produced from the former, man becomes order.

(True Christian Religion - Additions 3)

January 24, 2016

This Do, and Thou Shalt Live

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him,
Go, and do thou likewise.
(Luke 10:25-37)
From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The conjunction of the Lord with man and the reciprocal conjunction of man with the Lord is effected by loving the neighbor as oneself and loving the Lord above all things. To love the neighbor as oneself consists solely in not acting insincerely or unjustly towards him, not holding him in hatred or burning with revenge against him, not reviling or defaming him, not committing adultery with his wife, and not doing other like things against him. Who cannot see that those who do such things do not love the neighbor as themselves? But those who do not do such things for the reason that they are evils against the neighbor and also sins against the Lord, act sincerely, justly, kindly, and faithfully in relation to the neighbor; and as the Lord does likewise, a reciprocal conjunction is effected. And when there is reciprocal conjunction, whatever a man does to the neighbor he does from the Lord; and whatever he does from the Lord is good. Then it is not the person but the good in the person that is the neighbor to him. To love the Lord above all things consists solely in doing no evil to the Word for the reason that the Lord is in the Word, or to the holy things of the church for the reason that the Lord is in the holy things of the church, or to the soul of any one, for the reason that every one's soul is in the Lord's hand. Those who shun these evils as monstrous sins love the Lord above all things. But this none can do except those who love the neighbor as themselves, for the two are joined together.
(Divine Providence 94)

January 21, 2016

It is Known From One's Life His Belief

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Many - especially such as have confirmed themselves in a faith separated from charity - do not know that when they are in evils they are in hell; they do not even know what evils are, for the reason that they give no thought to evils, saying that as they are not under the yoke of the law they are not condemned by the law, and that, as they are unable to contribute anything to their salvation, they are unable to put away any evil from themselves; and furthermore are unable to do any good from themselves. These are such as neglect to think about evil, and because of this they are continually in evil. Such are meant by the goats spoken of by the Lord in Matthew (xxv. 32, 33, 41-46),...of whom it is said:-

Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels (verse 41).

For those who give no thought to the evils in themselves, that is, do not examine themselves and afterwards refrain from evils, must needs be ignorant of what evil is, and must needs love it from enjoyment in it; for he who does not know what evil is loves it, and he who fails to think about it is continually in it. Like a blind man he does not see it.

For it is the thought that sees good and evil, as it is the eye that sees the beautiful and the unbeautiful;
and he who so thinks and wills evil as to believe that evil does not appear before God, or that if it does appear it is forgiven, is in evil, since he is thus led to think that he is free from evil. If such abstain from doing evils they do not abstain because these are sins against God, but because they fear the laws or the loss of reputation; and they still do them in their spirit, for it is the spirit of man that thinks and wills; consequently what a man thinks in his spirit in this world, that he does after he leaves this world when he becomes a spirit.

In the spiritual world into which every man comes after death, it is not asked what your belief has been, or what your doctrine has been, but what your life has been, that is, whether it has been such or such; for it is known that as one's life is such is his belief, and even his doctrine; for the life makes doctrine for itself, and belief for itself.

(Divine Providence 101)

January 20, 2016

The Composition of an Angelic Heaven

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
An image of the Infinite and Eternal is presented in the angelic heaven.
Among the things we need to know about is the angelic heaven; for every one who has any religion thinks about it, and wishes to go there. But heaven is granted only to those who know the way to it and walk in that way. And that way can to some extent be known by knowing the character of those who constitute heaven, also by knowing that no one becomes an angel, that is, comes into heaven, unless he carries with him from the world what is angelic; and in what is angelic there is present a knowledge of the way from walking in it, and a walking in the way through a knowledge of it. Moreover, in the spiritual world, there are actually ways that lead to every society of heaven and to every society of hell; and there each one as if from himself sees his own way. He sees it because there is a way there for every love; and the love opens the way and leads one to his fellows. Other ways than the way of his love no one sees. From this it is clear that angels are nothing but heavenly loves, for otherwise they would not have seen the ways leading to heaven. ...
... ...
From the idea of heaven ... is an affection from the love of good that makes heaven in man. But who at the present day knows this? Who knows even what the affection from the love of good is, or that affections from the love of good are innumerable, in fact, infinite? For, as has been said, every angel is distinctly his own affection; and the form of heaven is the form of all the affections of the Divine love there.
To unite all affections into this form is possible only to Him who is love itself and also wisdom itself, and who is at once Infinite and Eternal
for what is infinite and eternal is in every thing of the form, the infinite in the conjunction and the eternal in the perpetuity; and if what is infinite and eternal were withdrawn from it, it would dissolve away in an instant. Who else can combine affections into a form? Who else can even unite a single part of it? For a single part can be united only from a universal idea of all, and the universal of all only from a particular idea of each part. That form is composed of myriads of myriads; and myriads enter it each year, and will continue to enter into it to eternity. All children enter into it; and as many adults as are affections from a good of love. From all this again an image of the Infinite and Eternal can be seen in the angelic heaven.
(Divine Providence 60;63)

January 18, 2016

The Elevation of Truths and of The Affections of Them, and Their Orderly Arrangement

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The truths and the affections are elevated when the things of eternal life and of the Lord's kingdom are set before those which belong to life in the body and to the kingdom of the world. When a man acknowledges the former as the principal and primary, and the latter as the instrumental and secondary, then with him truths and the affections of them are elevated; for in the same proportion the man is carried away into the light of heaven, within which there are intelligence and wisdom; and in the same proportion the things which are of the light of the world become to him images and as it were mirrors in which he sees the things of the light of heaven. The contrary happens when the man sets the things of the life of the body and of the kingdom of the world before those of eternal life and the Lord's kingdom; as when he believes that the latter have no existence because he does not see, them, and because no one has come from there and made them known; and also when he believes that if they do exist, nothing worse will happen to him than to others; and when he confirms himself in these ideas, and lives the life of the world, and utterly despises charity and faith. With such a man, truths and the affections of them are not elevated, but are either suffocated, or rejected, or perverted; for he is in natural light, into which nothing of heavenly light inflows. From all this it is evident what is meant by the elevation of truths and of the affections of them.

As regards their orderly arrangement in generals, this is a necessary consequence; for insofar as a man sets heavenly things before worldly ones, so far are the things in his natural arranged in order according to the state of heaven, so that as before said they appear therein as images and mirrors of heavenly things, for they are corresponding representatives. It is the ends that effect the arrangement into order, that is, the Lord through the ends in the man. For there are three things that follow in order, namely, ends, causes, and effects. Ends produce causes, and through causes, effects. Such therefore as are the ends, such come forth the consequent causes, and such the consequent effects. Ends are the inmost things with man; causes are middle or mediates, and are called mediate ends; and effects are ultimates, and are called last or ultimate ends. Effects are also what are called generals. From all this it is evident in what consists orderly arrangement in generals, namely, that when the things of eternal life and of the Lord's kingdom are regarded as the end, all the middle ends or causes, and all the ultimate ends or effects, are arranged in order in accordance with the end itself; and this in the natural, because the effects are there; or what is the same, the generals are there.

Every man of adult age who possesses any judgment, and will give the matter any consideration, is able to know that he is in two kingdoms, namely, in a spiritual kingdom and in a natural kingdom; and also that the spiritual kingdom is interior, and the natural kingdom exterior; and consequently that he can set one before the other, that is, he can regard one as the end in preference to the other; and thus that the one which he regards as his end, or prefers, rules with him. If therefore he regards the spiritual kingdom as his end, and prefers it (that is, the things that belong to this kingdom), he then acknowledges as the principal and primary, love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor, and consequently all things that confirm this love and charity, and are said to be of faith; for these belong to that kingdom; and in this case all things in his natural are arranged and set in order in accordance therewith, in order that they may be subservient and obedient. But when a man has as his end and sets first the natural kingdom (that is, the things it contains), he then extinguishes all that is of love to the Lord and of charity toward the neighbor, and all that is of faith, insomuch that he makes them of no account whatever; but makes the love of the world and of self, and all that belongs thereto, to be everything. When this is the case, all things in his natural are arranged in order in accordance with these ends, thus in utter contrariety to the things of heaven; and in this way he makes hell in himself. To regard as an end is to love, for every end is of the love, because whatever is loved is regarded as the end.

(Arcana Coelestia 4104:3-5)

January 17, 2016

Thinking from What is Eternal

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the Divine providence in its whole progress with man looks to his eternal state. It can look to nothing else because the Divine is Infinite and Eternal, and the Infinite and Eternal, that is, the Divine, is not in time, and therefore all future things are present to it; and the Divine being such, it follows that there is what is eternal in each and every thing that it does.

But those who think from time and space scarcely perceive this, not only because they love temporal things, but also because they think from what is present in the world and not from what is present in heaven, for that is to them as far away as the end of the earth.

But when those who are in the Divine think from what is present, they think also from what is eternal because they think from the Lord, saying within themselves, What is that which is not eternal? Is not the temporal relatively nothing, and does it not become nothing when it is ended? It is not so with what is eternal; that alone Is; for its being (esse) has no end.

To think thus when thinking from what is present is to think at the same time from what is eternal; and when a man so thinks, and at the same time so lives, the Divine going forth in him, that is, the Divine providence, looks in its entire progress to the state of his eternal life in heaven, and leads towards it. That in every man, both in the evil and in the good, the Divine looks to what is eternal....

(Divine Providence 59)

January 16, 2016

The 'Infinite' Nexus

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Divine can look only to the Divine; and it can look to this nowhere but in things created by Itself. That this is true is evident from this, that one can look to another only from what is his own in himself. He that loves another looks to him from his own love in himself; and he that is wise looks to another from his own wisdom in himself. He may see that the other loves him or does not love him, and is wise or not wise, but this he sees from the love and wisdom in himself; and therefore he conjoins himself with the other so far as the other loves him as he loves the other, or so far as the other is wise as he is wise; for thus they make one.

It is the same with the Divine in itself, for the Divine in itself is not able to look to itself from another, that is, from a man or a spirit or an angel; for there is nothing in them of the Divine in itself from which [all things are], and to look to the Divine from another in whom there is nothing of the Divine would be to look to the Divine from what is not Divine, which is not possible. For this reason the conjunction of the Lord with a man or a spirit or an angel is such that every thing that has relation to the Divine is not from them, but from the Lord. For it is known that all the good and all the truth that any one has is from the Lord and not from himself, and that no one can even mention the Lord, or His names, "Jesus," and "Christ," except from Him.

From this, then, it follows, that the Infinite and Eternal, which is the same as the Divine, looks to all things in the finite infinitely, and conjoins Itself with them in accordance with the degree of reception of wisdom and love in them. In a word, the Lord can have an abode in man or angel and dwell with them, only in His own, and not in what is their own (proprium), for that is evil; and if it were good it would still be finite, which in itself and from itself cannot contain the Infinite. All this makes clear that it is impossible for a finite being to look to the Infinite; but it is possible for the Infinite to look to what is infinite from Himself, in finite beings.

There is an appearance that the Infinite cannot be conjoined with the finite, because there is no possible ratio between them, and because the finite cannot contain what is infinite; nevertheless, such a conjunction is possible, both because the Infinite created all things from Himself (as is shown in the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, n. 282-284), and because the Infinite in things finite can look only to what is infinite from Himself, and with finite beings this infinite from Himself can appear as if it were in them, whereby a ratio between the finite and the infinite is provided, not from the finite, but from the infinite in the finite; and by this also the finite being becomes capable of containing what is infinite, not the finite being in himself, but as if in himself from what is infinite from itself in him. ...

(Divine Providence 53-54)

January 15, 2016

Man is an Organ Receiving Life

From a passage in Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... you believe that all the things which a man wills and thinks, and thence does and speaks, are in him, and consequently from him; when yet nothing of them is in him except the state of receiving what flows in.
Man is not life in himself, but is an organ receiving life.
The Lord alone is life in Himself, as He also says in John:
As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself (John 5:26).
Besides other places (as John 11:25; 14:6, 19).

There are two things which make life, love and wisdom; or what is the same, the good of love and the truth of wisdom. These flow in from God, and are received by man, and are felt in the man as in him; and because they are felt by him as in him, they also proceed as from him. It is given by the Lord, that they should be thus felt by the man, in order that what flows in may affect him, and so be received and remain. But because all evil also flows in, not from God, but from hell, and this is received with enjoyment, because man was born such an organ, therefore no more of good is received from God, than there is of evil removed by the man as of himself; which is done by repentance, and at the same time by faith in the Lord.

That love and wisdom, charity and faith, or speaking more generally, the good of love and charity and the truth of wisdom and faith, flow in; and that the things which flow in appear in the man as in himself, and thence as from him, may be manifestly seen from the sight, the hearing, the smell, the taste, and the touch. All the things which are felt in the organs of those senses flow in from without, and are felt in them: in like manner in the organs of the internal senses, with the difference only that into the latter spiritual things flow in, which do not appear; but into the former natural things, which do appear. In a word, man is an organ recipient of life from God; consequently he is a recipient of good so far as he desists from evil. The Lord gives to every man to be able to desist from evil, because He gives him to will and understand as of himself: and whatever the man does from the will, as his own according to the understanding, as his own, or, what is the same, whatever he does from freedom which is of the will according to reason which is of the understanding, this remains. By this the Lord brings man into a state of conjunction with Himself, and in this reforms, regenerates, and saves him.

The life which flows in is the life proceeding from the Lord, which is also called the Spirit of God, and in the Word the Holy Spirit; of which it is also said, that it enlightens and vivifies; yea, that it operates in man: but this life is varied and modified according to the organization induced upon the man by his love and attitude to it. You may also know that all the good of love and charity and all the truth of wisdom and faith flow in, and are not in the man, from the fact that he who thinks such a thing is in man from creation, cannot think otherwise, than that God infused Himself into a man, and thus that men would in part be Gods; and yet they who think this from faith become devils, and stink like carcasses.

Besides, what is human action but the action of the mind? for that which the mind wills and thinks, it acts through its organ the body: and therefore when the mind is led by the Lord, the action is also led; and the mind and the action from it are led by the Lord, when it believes in Him. Unless it were so, say, if you can, why the Lord has commanded in the Word, in a thousand and a thousand places, that a man must love his neighbor, must work out the good of charity, and bear fruit like a tree, and do His precepts, and all this that he may be saved; also why He has said that man will be judged according to his deeds or works, he who has done goods to heaven and life, and he who has done evils to hell and death. How could the Lord speak such things, if all that proceeds from man were meritorious, and thence evil? You may know, therefore, that if the mind is charity, the action is also charity; but if the mind is faith alone, which is also faith separated from spiritual charity, the action is also that faith; and this faith is meritorious, because its charity is natural, and not spiritual. It is otherwise with the faith of charity, because charity does not wish to merit, and thence neither does its faith.

(Apocalypse Revealed 875:10-14)

January 14, 2016

How These Blind Themselves

Excerpts from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the third posterity of the Most Ancient Church, which began not to believe in things revealed unless they saw and felt that they were so. Their first state, that it was one of doubt.

The most ancient people did not compare all things in man to beasts and birds, but so denominated them; and this their customary manner of speaking remained even in the Ancient Church after the flood, and was preserved among the prophets.

The sensuous things in man they called "serpents" because as serpents live close to the earth, so sensuous things are those next the body. Hence also reasonings concerning the mysteries of faith, founded on the evidence of the senses, were called by them the "poison of a serpent" and the reasoners themselves "serpents;" and because such persons reason much from sensuous, that is, from visible things (such as are things terrestrial, corporeal, mundane, and natural), it is said that "the serpent was more subtle than any wild animal of the field."

In ancient times those were called "serpents" who had more confidence in sensuous things than in revealed ones.
But it is still worse at the present day, for now there are persons who not only disbelieve everything they cannot see and feel, but who also confirm themselves in such incredulity by knowledges [scientifica] unknown to the ancients, and thus occasion in themselves a far greater degree of blindness.

In order that it may be known how those blind themselves, so as afterwards to see and hear nothing, who form their conclusions concerning heavenly matters from the things of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of philosophy, and who are not only "deaf serpents" but also the "flying serpents" frequently spoken of in the Word, which are much more pernicious, we will take as an example what they believe about the spirit.

The sensuous man, or he who only believes on the evidence of his senses, denies the existence of the spirit because he cannot see it, saying, "It is nothing because I do not feel it: that which I see and touch I know exists." The man of memory-knowledge [scientificus], or he who forms his conclusions from memory-knowledges [scientiae], says, What is the spirit, except perhaps vapor or heat, or some other entity of his science, that presently vanishes into thin air? Have not the animals also a body, senses, and something analogous to reason? and yet it is asserted that these will die, while the spirit of man will live. Thus they deny the existence of the spirit.

Philosophers also, who would be more acute than the rest of mankind, speak of the spirit in terms which they themselves do not understand, for they dispute about them, contending that not a single expression is applicable to the spirit which derives anything from what is material, organic, or extended; thus they so abstract it from their ideas that it vanishes from them, and becomes nothing.

The more sane however assert that the spirit is thought; but in their reasonings about thought, in consequence of separating from it all substantiality, they at last conclude that it must vanish away when the body expires.

Thus all who reason from the things of sense, of memory-knowledge, and of philosophy, deny the existence of the spirit, and therefore believe nothing of what is said about the spirit and spiritual things.
Not so the simple in heart: if these are questioned about the existence of spirit, they say they know it exists, because the Lord has said that they will live after death; thus instead of extinguishing their rational, they vivify it by the Word of the Lord.
(Arcana Coelestia 194 - 196)

January 10, 2016

When the Word is Not Understood ~ Is It Believing?

Selection from White Horse ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word is not understood, except by those who are enlightened. The human rational faculty cannot comprehend Divine, nor even spiritual things, unless it be enlightened by the Lord. Thus they only who are enlightened comprehend the Word.

The Lord enables those who are enlightened to understand truths, and to discern those things which appear to contradict each other. The Word in its literal sense appears inconsistent, and in some places seems to contradict itself. And therefore by those who are not enlightened, it may be so explained and applied, as to confirm any opinion or heresy, and to defend any worldly and corporeal love.

They are enlightened from the Word, who read it from the love of truth and good, but not they who read it from the love of fame, of gain, or of honor, thus from the love of self.
They are enlightened who are in the good of life, and thereby in the affection of truth. They are enlightened whose internal is open, thus who as to their internal man are capable of elevation into the light of heaven.

Enlightenment is an actual opening of the interiors of the mind, and also an elevation into the light of heaven.

There is an influx of holiness from the internal, that is, from the Lord through the internal, with those who regard the Word as holy, though they themselves are ignorant of it. They are enlightened, and see truths in the Word, who are led by the Lord, but not they who are led by themselves. They are led by the Lord, who love truth because it is truth, who also are they that love to live according to Divine truths. The Word is vivified with man according to the life of his love and faith. The things derived from one's own intelligence have no life in themselves, because from man's proprium there is nothing good. They cannot be enlightened who have much confirmed themselves in false doctrine.

It is the understanding which is enlightened. The understanding is the recipient of truth.
In regard to every doctrine of the church, there are ideas of the understanding and of the thought thence, according to which the doctrine is perceived. The ideas of man during his life in the world are natural, because man then thinks in the natural; but still spiritual ideas are concealed therein, with those who are in the affection of truth for the sake of truth, and man comes into these ideas after death. Without ideas of the understanding, and of the thought thence, on any subject, there can be no perception. Ideas concerning the things of faith are laid open in the other life, and their quality is seen by the angels, and man is then conjoined with others according to those ideas, so far as they proceed from the affection which is of love. Therefore the Word is not understood except by a rational man; for to believe anything without an idea thereof, and without a rational view of the subject, is only to retain in the memory words destitute of all the life of perception and affection, which is not believing. It is the literal sense of the Word which admits of enlightenment.
(White Horse 7)

January 8, 2016

Put Yourself to the Test

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Reciprocal Application to Good of these Affections of Truth
... these things are of such a nature that they do not fall into any understanding except that which has been instructed, and which perceives delight in the memory-knowledge of such things, and which therefore has spiritual knowledges as its end. Others care nothing for such things, and cannot even apply their minds to them. For they who have worldly and earthly things as their end, cannot withdraw their senses from them; and even if they did so, they would perceive what is undelightful; in which case they would be departing and withdrawing from the things they have as their end, that is, which they love.

Let anyone who is of such a nature put himself to the test, as to whether he desires to know how good adjoins itself to the affections of truth; and how the affections of truth apply themselves to good; and whether knowing this is irksome to him or not; and he will say that such things are of no benefit to him, and that he apprehends nothing about them.

But if such things are told him as relate to his business in the world, even though they are of the most abstruse character, or if he be told the nature of another man's affections, and how he may thereby join the man to himself by adapting himself both mentally and orally, this he not only apprehends, but also has a perception of the interior things connected with the matter. In like manner he who studies from affection to investigate the abstruse things of the sciences, loves to look and does look into things still more intricate. But when spiritual good and truth are in question, he feels the subject irksome and turns his back on it. These things have been said in order that the quality of the existing man of the church may be known.

(Arcana Coelestia 4096:2,3)

January 5, 2016

All Enlightenment from the Word is Rejected Because ...

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is believed by most persons within the church that the Lord came into the world in order to reconcile the Father by the passion of the cross, and that afterward those might be accepted for whom He should intercede, and also that He released man from damnation by His having alone fulfilled the law, which otherwise would have condemned everyone; and thus that all would be saved who held this faith with confidence and trust.
But those who are in any enlightenment from heaven are able to see that it would not be possible for the Divine, which is Love itself and Mercy itself, to cast away the human race from itself and condemn it to hell; nor that it had to be reconciled by its Son's passion of the cross; and that in this way and in no other way it was moved with mercy; and that henceforth the life would not condemn anyone provided he had a confident faith in this reconciliation; and that all salvation is effected from mercy through faith.
Those who so think and believe can see nothing at all. They speak, but understand nothing. They therefore call these things mysteries, which are to be believed, but not apprehended by any understanding. From this it follows that all enlightenment from the Word is rejected that shows the case to be otherwise, because light from heaven cannot enter where there reigns so great a shadow from things that are contradictory to each other. That which is not understood at all is called a "shadow."
But to those who are in enlightenment the Lord grants that they shall understand what they believe; and when they are reading the Word, those are enlightened and understand it, who acknowledge the Lord and love to live according to His commandments; but not those who say that they believe, and do not live; for the Lord flows into the life of man and from this into his faith, but not into faith separate from life.
Consequently, those who are enlightened by the Lord through the Word understand that the Lord came into the world in order to subjugate the hells, and reduce into order all things there and in the heavens; and that this could not possibly be done except by means of the Human; for from this He could fight against the hells; but not from the Divine without the Human; and also that He might glorify His Human in order that He might thereby forever keep all things in the order into which He had reduced them. From this comes the salvation of man, for the hells are round every man, because everyone is born into evils of every kind, and where evils are, there are the hells; and unless these were cast back by the Divine power of the Lord, no one could ever have been saved. That this is so the Word teaches, and all those apprehend who admit the Lord into their life; and these as before said are those who acknowledge Him, and love to live according to His commandments. ...
To be withdrawn from evils, to be regenerated, and thus to be saved, is mercy, which is not, as is believed, immediate, but mediate, that is, for those who desist from evils, and so admit from the Lord the truth of faith and the good of love into their life. Immediate mercy, namely, such as would be for everyone merely at God's good pleasure, is contrary to Divine order; and that which is contrary to Divine order is contrary to God, because order is from God, and His Divine in heaven is order.
To receive order into one's self is to be saved, and this is effected solely by living according to the Lord's commandments.
Man is regenerated to the end that he may receive into himself the order of heaven, and he is regenerated by means of faith and the life of faith, which is charity. He who has order in himself is in heaven, and also is heaven in a certain image; but he who has it not is in hell, and is hell in a certain image. The one cannot possibly be changed and transferred into the other by immediate mercy, for they are opposites, because evil is opposite to good, and in good there are life and heaven, but in evil there are death and hell. That the one cannot be transferred into the other is taught by the Lord in Luke:
Abraham said unto the rich man in hell, Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that those who would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can those who are there pass over to us (Luke 16:26).
Moreover, if immediate mercy were possible, all in the world would be saved, without exception, and there would be no hell, for the Lord is mercy itself, because He is love itself, which wills the salvation of all, and the death of no one.

(Arcana Coelestia 10659)

January 4, 2016

The Understanding of the Word is According to the State of the Man Who Reads It

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word in itself is Divine truth, but the understanding of it is according to the state of the man who reads it. A man who is not in good perceives nothing of the good in it, and a man who is not in truths sees nothing of the truth in it; the cause of this, therefore, is not in the Word, but in him who reads it.
(Apocalypse Explained 373:2)

The Nature of the Understanding of the Word

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In the Word are all truths of heaven and the church, yea, all the secrets of wisdom that the angels of heaven possess; but no one sees these unless he is in the good of love to the Lord and in the good of love towards the neighbor.  Those who are not, see truths here and there, but do not understand them.  They have a perception and idea of them wholly different from that which pertains to these same truths in themselves.  Although, therefore, they see or know truths, still truths are not truths with them, but falsities; for truths are not truths from their sound or utterance, but from an idea and perception of them.

When truths are implanted in good it is different.  Then truths appear in their own form, for truth is the form of good.  From this it may be concluded what the nature of the understanding of the Word is with those who make faith alone the sole means of salvation, and cast behind the back the good of life, or the good of charity. 
It has been found that those who have confirmed themselves in this, both in doctrine and life, have not even a single right idea of truth.  This, moreover, is why they do not know what good is, what charity and love are, what the neighbor is, what heaven and hell are, that they are to live after death as men, nor, indeed, what regeneration is, what baptism is, and many other things; yea, they are in such blindness respecting God Himself that they worship three in thought, and not one except merely with the mouth, not knowing that the Father of the Lord is the Divine in Him, and that the Holy Spirit is the Divine from Him.

These things are said to make known that there is no understanding of the Word where there is no good. It is here said that to him that sat upon a red horse, it was given "to take peace from the earth," because "peace" signifies a peaceful state of the mind [mens] and tranquillity of the disposition [animus] from the conjunction of good and truth; therefore "to take away peace" signifies an unpeaceful and untranquil state from the disjunction of good and truth, which is the cause of internal dissensions; for when good is separated from truth evil takes its place; and evil loves not truth but falsity; because every falsity belongs to evil, as every truth to good; when, therefore, such a person sees a truth in the Word or hears it from another, the evil of his love, and thus of his will, strives against the truth, and then he either rejects or perverts it, or by ideas from the evil so obscures it that at length he sees nothing of truth in the truth, however much it may sound like truth when he utters it. This is the origin of all dissensions, controversies, and heresies in the church....

(Apocalypse Explained 365:4)

January 2, 2016

When Means are Loved and Not Ends

Passages from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
To believe those things which the Word teaches, or which the doctrine of the church teaches, and not to live according to them, appears as if it were faith, and some also suppose that they are saved by this faith; but no one is saved by this alone, for it is Persuasive Faith, the quality of which shall now be told.

There is Persuasive Faith when the Word and the doctrine of the church are believed and loved, not for the sake of serving the neighbor, that is, one's fellow citizen, our country, the church, heaven, and the Lord Himself; consequently not for the sake of life, for serving these is life; but for the sake of gain, honors, and the reputation of learning, as ends. Wherefore they who are in this faith do not have in view the Lord and heaven, but themselves and the world.

They who aspire after great things in the world, and covet many things, are in a stronger persuasion that what the doctrine of the church teaches is true, than are those who do not aspire after great things and covet many things. The reason is that to the former the doctrine of the church is merely a means to their ends; and the means are loved and also believed in proportion as the ends are desired.

In itself, however, the fact is that insofar as such men are in the fire of the loves of self and of the world, and speak, preach, and act from this fire, so far they are in that persuasion, and they then know no otherwise than that what they say is so. But when they are not in the fire of these loves, they believe nothing, and many of them deny everything; from which it is evident that a Persuasive Faith is a faith of the lips, and not of the heart; thus that in itself it is no faith.

They who are in Persuasive Faith do not know from any internal enlightenment whether what they teach is true or false; nay, they do not care, provided they are believed by the common people; for they are in no affection of truth for the sake of truth. Moreover, above all others they defend faith alone; and the good of faith, which is charity, they make of importance only insofar as they can profit by its means.

They who are in Persuasive Faith abandon faith, if they are deprived of honors and gains, provided their reputation is not endangered; for Persuasive Faith is not within the man, but stands outside, in the memory only, out of which it is drawn while it is being taught. And therefore after death this faith vanishes, together with its truths; for then only that much of faith remains which is within the man; that is, which has been rooted in good; thus has been made of the life.

They who are in Persuasive Faith are meant by those of whom we read in these passages:
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty deeds? But then will I confess unto them, I know you not, ye workers of iniquity (Matt. 7:22, 23).

Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:26, 27).

They are also meant in Matthew by the five foolish virgins, who had no oil in their lamps:
Afterward came the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answering said, Verily, I say unto you, I know you not (Matt. 25:11, 12);
"oil in the lamps" denotes good in the faith.

(Arcana Coelestia 9363 - 9369)