January 4, 2016

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)