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)