April 30, 2016

The Endowment of Free Will in Spiritual Things

From True Christian Religion (Appendix) ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The serpent became more subtle than any wild animal of the field, which Jehovah God had made. He said to the woman, Yea, wherefore hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And when the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the tree we may eat; only of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die the serpent said, Ye shall not die for God doth know that in the day wherein ye shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. The woman therefore saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and to be desired to give understanding; therefore she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat and she gave to her husband with her, and he did eat (Genesis 1-6).
The decline from light to the shade of evening, that is, the falling away from wisdom and integrity, consequently, the state of vastation of this church, is described by these words, because man was made a "likeness of God" (by which is signified, in the entire appearance that he thinks those things which are of wisdom, and wills those things that are of love, from himself, as God does, ... he believed the serpent's words, that if he should eat of that tree he would become as God, and thus also be God in knowing good and evil. By this "tree" is signified the natural man separated from the spiritual, which, when left to itself, does not believe otherwise.

Every man has a natural mind and a spiritual mind, distinct from each other like two stories of one house connected by stairs; in the upper story of which dwell the master and mistress with their children, but in the lower the men-servants and maid-servants, with other helpers. The spiritual mind in man from birth even to early childhood is closed, but after that first age it is opened step by step; for there is given to every man from birth the faculty, and afterwards the power, of procuring for himself steps by which he may ascend and speak with the master and mistress, and afterwards descend and execute their commands. This power is given him through the endowment of free will in spiritual things. Nevertheless no one can ascend to the upper story, by which is meant the spiritual mind, unless he eat of the trees of life in the garden of God. For by eating of these a man is enlightened and made whole, and conceives faith; and through the nourishment of their fruits he acquires the conviction that all good is from the Lord, who is the tree of life, and not the smallest portion from man; and yet by abiding together and operating together, hence by the Lord's being in him and he in the Lord, he must do good of himself, but still be in the belief and confidence that it is not from himself but from the Lord.

If a man believe otherwise, he does what appears like good, in which there is evil inwardly, because there is merit; and this is eating of the trees of the knowledge of good and evil, among which dwells the serpent, in the dreadful persuasion that he is as God, or else that there is no God, but that nature is what is called God, and that he is composed of the elements thereof. Furthermore, those eat of the trees of the knowledge of good and evil who love themselves and the world above all things; but those eat of the trees of life who love God above all things and the neighbor as themselves. Those also eat of the trees of the knowledge of good and evil who hatch out canons for the church from their own intelligence, and afterwards confirm them by the Word; but on the other hand those who procure for themselves canons for the church by means of the Word, and afterwards confirm them by intelligence, eat of the trees of life. Those also who teach truths from the Word and live wickedly eat of the trees of the knowledge of good and evil; but those eat of the trees of life who live well and teach from the Word. Universally speaking, all eat of the trees of the knowledge of good and evil who deny the Divinity of the Lord and the holiness of the Word, inasmuch as the Lord is the Tree of Life and the Word, from whom the church is a "garden in Eden at the east."

(True Christian Religion (Canons) 29)

April 28, 2016

The Lord's Divine Providence Is Universal

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
  • The Lord in no wise acts upon any particular thing in man singly without acting simultaneously upon all things
  • The Lord acts from inmosts and from outmosts simultaneously.
The Lord in no wise acts upon any particular thing in man singly without acting simultaneously upon all things of man, for the reason that all things of man are in such connection, and through this connection in such a form that they do not act as many but as a one. It is acknowledged that in respect to his body man is in such a connection, and through this connection in such a form. The human mind also is in a like form from a connection of all things in it; for the human mind is the spiritual man, and is actually the man. From this it is that man's spirit, which is his mind in his body, is in its entire form a man; consequently man after death is just as much a man as he was in the world, with this difference only, that he has cast off the coverings that formed his body in the world.

Since, then, the human form is such that all the parts make a general whole, which acts as one, it follows that one part cannot be moved out of its place and changed in state except with the consent of the rest; for if one were removed from its place and changed in state, the form which acts as one would suffer. This makes clear that the Lord in no wise acts upon any particular thing without acting simultaneously upon all. Thus does the Lord act upon the entire angelic heaven, since the entire angelic heaven in the Lord's sight is as one man. Thus, too, does He act upon each angel, because each angel is a heaven in the least form. Thus also does He act upon each man, primarily upon all things of his mind, and through these upon all things of his body; for the mind of man is his spirit, and in the measure of its conjunction with the Lord is an angel, while the body is obedience.

But it should be clearly understood that the Lord also acts upon every particular in man singly, and even most singly, but simultaneously through all things of his form; and yet He does not change the state of any part or of any particular thing except harmoniously with the whole form. ... the Lord's Divine providence is universal because it is in particulars, and that it is particular because it is universal.

The Lord acts from inmosts and from outmosts simultaneously. This is true for the reason that in this and in no other way can all things and each thing be held together in connection; for intermediates are connected in unbroken series from inmosts even to outmosts, and in outmosts they are together; for in the outmost there is a simultaneous presence of all things from the first, ... It was for this reason also that the Lord from eternity, or Jehovah, came into the world, and there put on and assumed Humanity in outmosts, that He might be from firsts and in outmosts together; and thus from firsts through outmosts might rule the whole world and thereby save the men whom He is able to save in accordance with the laws of His Divine providence, which are also the laws of His Divine wisdom. And thus it is, as acknowledged in the Christian world, that no mortal could have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world.  And this is why the Lord is called "The First and the Last."

(Divine Providence 124)

April 25, 2016

Affections, Understanding - Impelled to Action

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
That within the good of love which flows in from the Lord through angels is all truth, which truth would become manifest of itself if man lived in love to the Lord and in love toward the neighbor, is evident not only from the things that take place in heaven, but also from those which take place in lower nature; and from the latter, because they are in plain sight, I may draw some illustrations.

Brute animals are impelled to action in no other way than by means of the loves and the affections of these into which they have been created and afterward born; for every animal is carried whither his affection and love draw it; and this being so, they are also in all matters of knowledge that ever belong to their love; for they know from a love resembling conjugial love how to come together, cattle after their kind, and birds after their kind; birds know how to build their nests, lay their eggs, brood upon them, hatch their young, and how to feed them, and this without any instruction, merely from the love which resembles conjugial love, and from love toward their offspring, which loves have implanted in them all these matters of knowledge. In like manner they know what things to eat for food, and how to seek them. And, what is more wonderful, bees know how to seek their food from flowers of various kinds, and also to gather the wax with which they make their cells, wherein first they deposit their offspring, and then store up food; they also know how to provide for the winter; not to mention very many other things. All these matters of knowledge are included in their loves, and dwell there from their earliest origin. Into these they are born, because they are in the order of their nature into which they were created; and thereafter they are moved by a general influx from the spiritual world.

If man were in the order into which he was created, namely, in love toward the neighbor, and in love to the Lord (for these loves are proper to man), he above all animals would be born not only into matters of knowledge, but also into all spiritual truths and celestial goods, and thus into all wisdom and intelligence; for he is able to think of the Lord, and to be conjoined with Him through love, and thus to be elevated to what is Divine and eternal, which is not possible to brute animals. Thus in the supposed case man would be directed by no other than general influx from the Lord through the spiritual world. But as he is not born into order, but contrary to his order, he is therefore born into ignorance of all things; and for this reason it has been provided that he may afterward be reborn, and thus come into as much of intelligence and wisdom as he receives of good, and of truth through good, in freedom.
(Arcana Coelestia 6323)

April 24, 2016

The Man Who Does Not, From Natural, Become Spiritual

Selection from True Christian Religion-Appendix ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The order into which every man was created by God, is, that after infancy he may become a man. For, when he is born, he is only an external image or form of a man, and at that time less a man than a new-born beast is a beast; but, so far as he is inwardly perfected in this form, as to his mind, or his spirit, in wisdom and love, he becomes a man.

A man is like a tree, which first grows from a seed into a shoot, and, when it increases in height, puts forth branches, and from these, twigs, and clothes itself continually with leaves; and, when it comes to maturity, which takes place in its middle age, puts forth blossoms, and produces fruits; in every one of which it deposits seeds, which, being cast into the earth, as into a womb, grow up into similar trees, and thus into a garden. And if you will believe it, that same garden remains with the man after death; he dwells in it, and is every day delighted with the sight of it, and with the enjoyment of its fruits. It is such a man who is described in David by these words:
He shall be like a tree planted beside the rivers of waters, which shall yield its fruit in its time, and its leaf shall not fall (Psalm 1:3; and likewise Rev. 22:1, 2).
But it is different with the man born in the Church who, when he has spent his morning and advanced into the first light of day, whereby he has become rational, then stops, and does not produce fruit: such a one is, or acts, like a tree abounding in leaves, but not bearing fruit, which is rooted up out of the garden, its branches cut off, and the trunk cleft in pieces with axe, or saw, and the whole then cast piecemeal into the fire. The light of his Rational becomes like the light of the days of winter, in which the leaves of the trees first grow yellow, then drop off, and lastly decay. His Rational, also, may be compared with a tree whose leaves are consumed by worms in early spring; likewise with a crop that is choked by thorns; and also with vegetation which is laid waste by locusts. The reason is, that his Rational is merely natural, because it takes its ideas solely from the world through the senses, and not from heaven through the affections and the perceptions thence. And since, on this account, there is nothing spiritual inwardly in his Rational, if he then converses on any one of the spiritual things of the Church, his voice is heard by the angels no otherwise than as the voice of a parrot or a goose; for his voice is merely animal because merely natural, and not human because not inwardly spiritual; for it flows forth from the respiration of the body only, and not from any respiration of the spirit. Such is the man who does not, from natural, become spiritual; and no one becomes spiritual, unless, after he has become rational, he brings forth fruits, that is, puts on charity by life.
(True Christian Religion (Coronis) 7)

April 23, 2016

Man Possesses Power to Obey

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
    (1) God is order itself.
    (2) He created man from order, in order, and into order.
    (3) He created man's rational mind in accordance with the order of the whole spiritual world, and his body in accordance with the order of the whole natural world; and this is why man was called by the ancients a little heaven and a little cosmos.
    (4) Therefore it is a law of order that man from his little heaven or his little spiritual world should govern his little cosmos or little natural world, just as God from His great heaven or spiritual world governs the great cosmos or natural world in each thing and all things of it.
    (5) It is a resulting law of order that it is needful for man to lead himself into faith by means of truths from the Word, and into charity by means of good works, and so reform and regenerate himself.
    (6) It is a law of order that man by his own exertion and power should purify himself from sins, and not stand still, believing in his own impotency, and expecting God to wash his sins away in a moment.
    (7) It is also a law of order that man should love God with his whole soul and with his whole heart, and his neighbor as himself, and should not wait and expect that God will in an instant put these loves into his mind and heart, as bread from a baker may be put into his mouth.
It is ... a law of order that man by his own exertion and power ought to acquire faith by means of truths from the Word, and yet believe that not a grain of truth is from himself, but from God only; moreover, that man by his own exertion and power ought to justify himself, and yet believe that not a single point of justification is from himself, but from God only. Is not man commanded to believe in God, and to love God with all his strength, and his neighbor as himself? Consider and say how this could have been commanded by God if man possessed no power to obey and do it.
(True Christian Religion 71)

April 21, 2016

Even If You are in Heresies...

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The merely natural man confirms himself against the Divine providence by the fact that there have been and still are so many heresies in the Christian world.... For he may think to himself, If the Divine providence were universal in its least particulars, and had the salvation of all as its end, it would have caused one true religion to exist throughout the world, and that one not divided, still less torn into heresies. But make use of your reason, and think more deeply, if you can, whether a man can be saved unless he is previously reformed. For he is born into the love of self and love of the world; and as these loves do not carry in them anything of love to God or of love towards the neighbor except for the sake of self, he has been born also into evils of every kind. What is there of love or mercy in these loves? Does he [from these loves] think anything of defrauding another, defaming him, hating him even to the death, committing adultery with his wife, being cruel to him when moved by revenge, while cherishing in his mind a wish to be highest of all, and to possess the goods of all others, and while regarding others as insignificant and worthless compared with himself? If such a man is to be saved must he not first be led away from these evils, and thus reformed? This can be done only in accordance with many laws which are laws of the Divine providence.... These laws are for the most part unknown; nevertheless, they are laws of the Divine wisdom and at the same time of the Divine love, and the Lord cannot act contrary to them, because to do so would be to destroy man, not to save him.

Let the laws that have been set forth be reviewed and compared, and you will see. And since, then, it is in accordance with these laws that there is no immediate influx from heaven, but only mediate influx through the Word, doctrines, and preaching; also, for the Word to be Divine it must needs be written wholly by correspondences; it follows that discussions and heresies are inevitable, and that permissions of these are also in accord with the laws of the Divine providence. Furthermore, when the church itself has taken as its essentials such things as belong to the understanding alone, that is, to doctrine, and not such as belong to the will, that is, to the life, and the things that belong to the life are not made the essentials of the church, man from his understanding is then in mere darkness, and wanders about like a blind man, everywhere running against something and falling into pits. For the will must see in the understanding, and not the understanding in the will; or what is the same, the life and its love must lead the understanding to think, speak, and act, and not the reverse. If the reverse were true, the understanding, from an evil and even a diabolical love, might seize upon whatever presents itself through the senses, and enjoin the will to do it. From all this the source of dissensions and heresies can be seen.

And yet it has been provided that every one, in whatever heresies he may be in respect to the understanding, can be reformed and saved, if only he shuns evils as sins, and does not confirm heretical falsities in himself; for by shunning evils as sins the will is reformed, and through the will the understanding, which then first emerges from darkness into light. There are three essentials of the church, an acknowledgment of the Divine of the Lord, an acknowledgment of the holiness of the Word, and the life that is called charity. According to the life which is charity is every one's faith; from the Word comes the knowledge of what the life must be, and from the Lord are reformation and salvation. If the church had held these three as essentials it would not have been divided, but only varied, by intellectual dissensions, as light varies the color in beautiful objects, and as various circlets give beauty in the crown of a king.

(Divine Providence 259)

April 16, 2016

Man Altogether As His Love

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What the perception and acknowledgment of the Divine from love are - Every man's quality is known from his love; for love is the being of the life of everyone, from it springing the veriest life itself; such therefore as the love is with a man, such is the man. If there is the love of self and of the world, consequently the love of revenge, of hatred, of cruelty, of adultery, and the like, the man is a devil as to his spirit, or as to the interior man which lives after death, however he may appear in the outward form. But if there is with a man the love of God and the love of the neighbor, and consequently the love of good and truth, also of what is just and honorable, then however he may appear in the outward form, he is an angel as to his spirit which lives after death. But He with whom there is Divine love, which was with the Lord alone, is God; thus His Human was made Divine when He received in the Human the love of His Father, which was the being of His life. From all this it can be seen what is meant by the perception and acknowledgment of the Divine from love.

That man is altogether as is his love, is a constant truth, as is plain from the angels in the other life, who when seen appear as forms of love, the love itself not only shining forth, but also exhaling from them, so that you would say that they are wholly nothing but loves. The reason is, that all the interiors of an angel, as also of a man, are nothing but forms recipient of life, and because they are forms recipient of life, they are forms recipient of loves, for loves make the life of man. When therefore the inflowing love and the recipient form are in agreement, it follows that the angel or man is such as his love is; and this not only in his organic beginnings, which are in the brain, but also in the whole body, for the body is nothing but an organ derived from its beginnings.

From all this it can be seen that man is made altogether new when he is being regenerated, for then each and all things with him are so disposed as to receive heavenly loves. Nevertheless with man the prior forms are not destroyed, but only removed; but with the Lord the prior forms, which were from the maternal, were completely destroyed and extirpated, and Divine forms were received in their place. For the Divine love does not agree with any but a Divine form; all other forms it absolutely casts out; hence it is that the Lord when glorified was no longer the son of Mary.

(Arcana Coelestia 6872:2-4)

April 14, 2016

The Lord's Human Before It Was Made Divine

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Human That Appertained To The Lord
Before It Was Made Divine Was Merely A Servant

Until He had put it off and made it Divine, the human that appertained to the Lord was merely a servant. The human that appertained to Him was from the mother, thus was infirm, having with it from the mother an hereditary which by means of the combats of temptations He overcame and utterly expelled, insomuch that nothing was left of that which was infirm and hereditary from the mother, nay, at last there remained not anything whatever from the mother. Thus He entirely put off all that was from the mother, and therefore was no longer her son, as also He himself says in Mark:

They said unto Him, Behold Thy mother and Thy brethren without seek for Thee: and He answered them, saying, Who is My mother, or My brethren? And looking round on them that sat about Him, He said, Behold My mother and My brethren; for whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and My mother (Mark 3:32-35; Matt. 12:46-49; Luke 8:20, 21).
And when He had put off this human, He put on the Divine Human, from which He called Himself the "Son of man," as we find many times in the Word of the New Testament; and also the "Son of God;" and by the "Son of man" He meant the truth itself, and by the "Son of God" the good itself, which belonged to His Human Essence when this was made Divine. The former state was that of the Lord's humiliation, but the latter that of His glorification.

In the former state, namely, that of humiliation, when as yet He had appertaining to Him an infirm human, He adored Jehovah as one other than Himself, and indeed like a servant; for relatively to the Divine the human is nothing else, on which account in the Word the term "servant" is predicated of that human, as in Isaiah:

I will defend this city to save it, for Mine own sake, and for My servant David's sake (Isa. 37:35)
where the Assyrians are treated of, in whose camp a hundred and eighty-five thousand were smitten by an angel. "David" denotes the Lord, who, as He was to come, in respect to the human is called a "servant." (in the Word "David" denotes the Lord)

In the same Prophet:

Behold My servant upon whom I will lean; My chosen, My soul is well pleased. I have put My spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment unto the nations (Isa. 42:1),
manifestly concerning the Lord, of whom, when He was in the human, the terms "servant" and "chosen" are predicated.


Who is blind but My servant? and deaf, as the angel I will send? who is blind as the perfect one, and blind as the servant of Jehovah? (Isa. 42:19)
where also the Lord is spoken of; and of whom in like manner the terms "servant" and "angel" are predicated when He was in the human.


Ye are My witnesses, saith Jehovah, and My servant whom I have chosen; that ye may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He (Isa. 43:10).
Said Jehovah, My Former from the womb to be His servant; to bring Jacob again unto Him, and that Israel be gathered unto Him; and He said, Thou art a slight thing that thou shouldest be My servant, to set up the tribes of Jacob I have given thee for a light of the nations to be My salvation unto the extremity of the earth (Isa. 49:5, 6)
where also the Lord and His human are manifestly treated of before He was made the "light of the nations," and "salvation unto the extremity of the earth."


Who is among you that feareth Jehovah, that heareth the voice of His servant, who walketh in darkness, and hath no brightness? let him trust in the name of Jehovah, and lean upon His God (Isa. 50:10).
"Servant" here also denotes the human that appertained to the Lord; and that He was in this human and taught the way of truth, is the "voice of the servant of Jehovah."


Jehovah goeth before you, and the God of Israel gathereth you. Behold, My servant shall act prudently, he shall be lifted up, and shall be exalted, and shall be raised up exceedingly (Isa. 52:12, 13).
It is evident that "servant" is here predicated of the Lord when He was in the human; for it is said of Him that He "shall be lifted up, exalted, and raised up."


He hath no form and no honor; we saw him, but there was no appearance; He was despised, a man of sorrows, acquainted with disease. Jehovah willed to bruise him; He made him infirm; if he shall make his soul guilt, he shall see seed, he shall prolong days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper by his hand; he shall see of the labor of his soul, he shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; and he himself hath carried their iniquities (Isa;. 53:2, 3, 10, 11).
Here, as in the whole of this chapter, the Lord's state of humiliation is openly treated of; and it is also said that He was then in an infirm human, namely, that He was a "man of sorrows, acquainted with disease, infirm, was in the labor of His soul," besides a number of other statements, in which state He is called "servant."
(Arcana Coelestia 2159)

April 10, 2016

Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and End

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
I am the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and End, signifies that He governs all things from firsts through ultimates, and thus all things of heaven to eternity. This is evident from the signification of "the Alpha and the Omega," as being the first and the last, or in firsts and in ultimates; and He who is in firsts and in ultimates also governs intermediates, thus all things. These things are said of the Lord's Divine Human, for they are said of Jesus Christ, by which name His Divine Human is meant.  By means of this the Lord is in firsts and in ultimates.  But that He governs all things from firsts through ultimates, is an arcanum that cannot as yet be perceived by man; for man knows nothing of the successive degrees into which the heavens are divided, and into which also the interiors of man are divided; and he scarcely knows that man as to flesh and bones is in his ultimates.  Neither does he perceive how intermediates are governed from firsts through ultimates; and yet in order that He might thus govern all things, the Lord came into the world that even to ultimates, that is, even to flesh and bones, He might assume the Human and glorify it, that is, make it Divine. That the Lord put on such a Human, and took it with Him into heaven, is known in the church from this, that He left nothing of His body in the sepulcher; also from His own words to His disciples:
See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; handle Me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me having (Luke 24:39).
By this Human, therefore, the Lord is in ultimates; and by making even these ultimates Divine, He put Himself into the Divine power of governing all things from firsts through ultimates. If the Lord had not done this, the human race on this earth would have perished in eternal death....
(Apocalypse Explained 41)

April 9, 2016

The Testimony of Jesus Christ

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
To those who in heart acknowledge Divine truth, and the Divine of the Lord in His Human

... "to testify" signifies to acknowledge in heart, and to acknowledge Jesus Christ in heart is to acknowledge the Divine in His Human; for he that acknowledges the Lord, and does not at the same time acknowledge the Divine in His Human, does not acknowledge the Lord; since His Divine is in His Human, and not out of it; for the Divine is in Its Human as the soul is in the body, consequently to think of the Lord's Human, and not at the same time of His Divine, is like thinking of a man abstractly from his soul or life, which is not thinking of a man.

That the Lord's Divine is in His Human, and that together they are one person, the doctrine received throughout the Christian world teaches; which teaching is as follows:

"Although Christ is God and Man, yet they are not two, but one Christ; one, but not by a change of the Divine into the Human, but the Divine took the Human to Itself. Altogether one, not by confusion of the two natures, but by unity of person; for as soul and body make one man, so God and Man are one Christ" (Athanasian Creed).
From this it is manifest, moreover, that those who separate the Divine into three persons, when they think of the Lord as a second person, ought to think of both together, the Human and the Divine; for it is said that they are a single person, and that they are one, as soul and body are. Therefore those that think otherwise do not think of the Lord; and those that do not think of the Lord in that way are unable to think of the Divine that is called the Father's, for the Lord saith:
I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one cometh unto the Father but through Me (John 14:6).
Since this acknowledgment is signified by the "testimony of Jesus Christ," it is said that:
The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).
"The spirit of prophecy" is the life and soul of doctrine; and that "prophecy" signifies doctrine; and the acknowledgment of the Lord is the very life or soul of all doctrine in the church....

To "bear witness" is to acknowledge in heart, because spiritual things are treated of; and no one can bear witness respecting spiritual things except from the heart, because from no other source does he perceive that they are so. To bear witness of things that have existence in the world is to bear witness from knowledge, or from memory and thought, because the man has so seen or heard; but it is otherwise with things spiritual, for these fill the whole life and constitute it.

The spirit of man, in which his life primarily resides, is nothing else than his will or his love, and his understanding and faith therefrom, and "heart" in the Word signifies the will and love, and understanding and faith therefrom. From this it is evident whence it is that by "bearing witness" in the spiritual sense, is meant to acknowledge in heart. Since by the "heart" is signified the good of love, and this alone is what acknowledges Divine truth, and the Divine of the Lord in His Human, and since that good is signified by "John," it is also said by John that he "bears witness to the Word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ." So also in another place:
And he that hath seen hath borne witness, and his witness is true; and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye may believe (John 19:35);
and in another place:
This is the disciple that beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his witness is true (John 21:24).
(Apocalypse Explained 10)

April 8, 2016

The State of the Church Changed When the Word was Made Flesh

Selection from Sacred Scriptures ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
  • The Lord came into the world to fulfill all things of the Word, and thereby to become Divine Truth or the Word even as to ultimates
  • The Lord came into the world to fulfill all things of the Word
  • He thereby became Divine truth or the Word even in ultimates is meant by these words in John:
The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
To "become flesh" is to become the Word in ultimates. What the Lord was as the Word in ultimates He showed His disciples when He was transfigured (Matt. 17:2, etc.; Mark 9:2, etc.; Luke 9:28, etc.); and it is there said that Moses and Elias were seen in glory. (By "Moses and Elias" is meant the Word)

The Lord, as the Word in ultimates, is also described by John in Rev. 1:13-16, where all things in the description of him signify ultimate things of Divine truth or of the Word. The Lord had indeed been the Word before, but only in first principles, for it is said:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; the same was in the beginning with God (John 1:1, 2);
but when the Word became flesh, then the Lord became the Word in ultimates also. It is from this that He is called,
The First and the Last (Rev. 1:8, 11, 17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13).
The state of the church was completely changed by the Lord's becoming the Word in ultimates. All the churches that had existed before His advent were representative churches and could see Divine truth in the shade only; but after the Lord's coming into the world a church was instituted by Him that saw Divine truth in the light. The difference is like that between evening and morning, and the state of the church before his advent is also called "the evening," and that of the church after it "the morning."

Before his coming into the world the Lord was indeed present with the men of the church, but mediately through heaven, whereas since His coming into the world He is present with them immediately, for in the world He put on the Divine Natural, in which He is present with men. The glorification of the Lord is the glorification of His Human that He assumed in the world, and the Lord's glorified Human is the Divine Natural.

Few understand how the Lord is the Word, for they think that the Lord may indeed enlighten and teach men by means of the Word without His being on that account called the Word.

Be it known however that every man is his own love, and consequently his own good and his own truth. It is solely from this that a man is a man, and there is nothing else in him that is man. It is from the fact that a man is his own good and his own truth that angels and spirits are men, for all the good and truth that proceeds from the Lord is in its form a man. And as the Lord is Divine good and Divine truth itself, He is the Man, from whom every man is a man....

(Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures 98 - 100)

April 7, 2016

The Divine Being, The Divine Coming Forth

Selections from Apocalypse Explained and Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Since the Word is the Divine truth, and this proceeds from the Lord's Divine Being [Esse] as light proceeds from the sun, it follows as a consequence that the Lord is the Word because He is the Divine truth. The Lord is the Word, because He is the Divine truth, and this proceeds from His Divine Being [Esse], which is the Divine love, because the Divine love was in Him when He was in the world as the soul is in its body; and as the Divine truth proceeds from the Divine love as light proceeds from the sun, as has been said, therefore the Lord's Human in the world was the Divine truth proceeding from the Divine love that was in Him. That the Divine Itself, which is called "Jehovah" and the "Father," and which is the Divine love, was in the Lord from conception, is evident in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. In Matthew from these words:
When Mary the mother of Jesus had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And the angel said to Joseph in a dream, Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. This came to pass that it might be fulfilled which was said of the Lord by the prophet, Behold the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. And Joseph knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called His name Jesus (Matt. 1:18-25).
And in Luke from these words:
The angel said to Mary, Behold thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call His name Jesus; He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. But Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? The angel answered her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also the Holy One that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:30-35).
It was because He was conceived of Jehovah that He is so frequently called in the Word "the Son of God," and Jehovah is called His "Father." Jehovah as to His Being [Esse] is the Divine love, and as to His Existing [Existere] He is the Divine good united to the Divine truth.

From this it can be seen what is meant by:

The Word that was with God and that was God, and also was the light that enlighteneth every man (John 1:1-10),
namely, that it was the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord, thus the Lord as to His Existing [Existere]. That the Lord as to His Existing [Existere] was Divine truth, and that this was His Divine Human, because this existed from His Divine Being [Esse] as the body from its soul, these words in John clearly certify:
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father (John 1:14).
"The Word" is the Divine truth, which also is "glory;" "flesh" means the Divine Human, "the only-begotten of the Father" means that which exists or proceeds from the Divine Esse in Him.
... In the Word the Lord is called "Jehovah" as to Divine good, for Divine good is the Divine Itself; and the Lord is called the "Son of God" as to Divine truth, for Divine truth proceeds from the Divine good as a son from a father, and also is said to be "born:" how this is shall be further told.

When the Lord was in the world He made His Human Divine truth, and then called the Divine good which is Jehovah, His "Father;" because, as just said, Divine truth proceeds and is born from Divine good. But after the Lord had fully glorified Himself, which was done when He endured the last of temptation on the cross, He then made His Human also Divine good, that is, Jehovah; and thereby the Divine truth itself proceeded from His Divine Human. The Divine truth is what is called the "Holy Spirit," and is the holy which proceeds from the Divine Human. From this is evident what is meant by the Lord's words in John:

The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:39).
That it is the Divine good which is called the "Father," and the Divine truth which is called the "Son,"
(Apocalypse Explained 1069:2, 3; Arcana Coelestia 7499)

April 5, 2016

Total Submission to the Lord

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Men are nothing else than forms receptive of life from the Lord, and these forms are such by inheritance and by actual life that they refuse to admit the spiritual life which is from the Lord. But when these receptacles have been so far renounced that they no longer have any freedom from the man's own, there is total submission. A man who is being regenerated is at last so far reduced by repeated alternations of desolation and sustenance that he no longer wills to be his own, but the Lord's; and when he has become the Lord's he comes into a state of such a nature that when he is left to self he grieves and is seized with anxiety; and when he is delivered from this state of self he returns into his happiness and bliss. In such a state are all the angels.

In order that He may make a man blessed and happy, the Lord wills a total submission, that is, that he be not partly his own and partly the Lord's, for then there are two lords, which no one can serve at the same time:

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Matt. 6:24).
Total submission is also meant by the Lord's words in Matthew:
He that loveth father and mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he that loveth son and daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me (Matt. 10:37)
where by "father and mother" are signified in general those things which are man's own from inheritance, and by "son and daughter" those things which are his own from actual life. Man's own is also signified by "soul" in John:
He that loveth his soul shall lose it; but he that hateth his soul in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If anyone will minister to Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be (John 12:25, 26).
Total submission is also signified by the Lord's words in Matthew:
Another disciple said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. But Jesus said to him, Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead (Matt. 8:21, 22).
That submission must be total is very evident from the first commandment of the church:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God from all thy heart, and from all thy soul, and from all thy mind, and from all thy forces; this is the first commandment (Mark 12:30).
Thus because love to the Lord does not come from man, but from the Lord Himself, therefore all the heart, all the soul, all the mind, and all the forces, which are recipients, must be the Lord's, consequently submission must be total. ...
(Arcana Coelestia 6138)

April 3, 2016

God is One in Essence and in Person

Passages from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
These three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of the one God, and they make one as soul, body, and operation make one in man. In anyone thing there are both general and particular essentials, and these together make one essence. The general essentials of the one man are his soul, body, and operation. That these constitute one essence can be seen from this-that one is from the other and for the sake of the other in an unbroken series; for man gets his beginning from the soul, which is the very essence of the semen; and the soul not only initiates, but also produces in their order all things that pertain to the body, and afterward all things that proceed from the soul and body together, which are called operations. From this production, therefore, of one from the other, and the consequent ingrafting and conjunction, it can be seen that these three are of one essence, and therefore they are called three essentials.

Everyone acknowledges that these three essentials, namely, soul, body, and operation, both were and are in the Lord God the Savior. That His soul was from Jehovah the Father cannot be denied except by Antichrist; for in the Word of both Testaments He is called the Son of Jehovah, the Son of the Most High God, the Only-begotten; consequently the Divine of the Father, like the soul in man, is His first essential. From this it follows that the Son whom Mary brought forth is the body to that Divine soul; for in the mother's womb nothing is furnished except the body that has been conceived and derived from the soul; this, therefore, is His second essential. Operations constitute the third essential, since these proceed from soul and body together, and what proceeds is of the same essence as that which produces it. That the three essentials, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in the Lord are one, like soul, body, and operation in man, is clearly evident from the Lord's words, that the Father and He are one; that the Father is in Him and He in the Father; and in like manner He and the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit is the Divine that goes forth out of the Lord from the Father...

When it is said that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the three essentials of the one God, like soul, body, and operation in man, it seems to the human mind as if these three essentials are three persons, which is impossible. But when it is understood that the Divine of the Father, which constitutes the soul, and the Divine of the Son, which constitutes the body, and the Divine of the Holy Spirit or the proceeding Divine, which constitutes the operation, are the three essentials of the one God, the statement is comprehensible. For God the Father is His Divine, the Son from the Father is His Divine, and the Holy Spirit from both is His Divine; and as these are one in essence and one in mind they constitute one God. But if these three Divine essentials are called persons, and if to each person is attributed his own property, to the Father imputation, to the Son mediation, and to the Holy Spirit operation, the Divine Essence, which in fact is one and not divisible, becomes divided: and thus none of the three is God in fullness, but each has a sub-triple power; and this a sound understanding must needs reject.

(True Christian Religion 166 - 168)