July 31, 2016

One's 'LOVE' is the Whole Man

From Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Every man's ruling affection or love remains with him after death, nor is it rooted out to eternity, since a man's spirit is wholly what his love is, and what is unknown, the body of every spirit and angel is the outward form of his love, exactly corresponding to his inward form, which is the form of his disposition and mind; consequently the quality of his spirit is known from his face, movements, and speech. While a man is living in the world the quality of the spirit would be known if he had not learned to counterfeit in his face, movements, and speech what is not his own. All this shows that man remains to eternity such as his ruling affection or love is.
(Heaven and Hell 363a)

July 30, 2016

Where the Word Is and Where the Word is Not

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Church [is] where the Word is, because the Lord's Church is in the whole world, but in a special sense where the Word is, and where the Lord is known through the Word.
The Lord, and thus the angels of heaven, are present with the men of this earth by means of the Word; for the Word is written by pure correspondences: from this it comes that the Lord and the angels of heaven are present also with those who are around or outside the church, who are called Gentiles [nations].

For the Church in the whole world is before the Lord as One Man, for it makes a one with the angelic heaven. ...

In this Man, the Church where the Word is and where the Lord is known thereby is like the heart and the lungs; with those who are in celestial love, the Church is like the heart, and with those who are in spiritual love like the lungs; consequently, as all the members, viscera, and organs of the body live from the heart and from the lungs, and from their influx and consequent presence, so all in the whole earth, who constitute the Church universal, live from the Church where the Word is; for the Lord flows in therefrom with love and with light, and vivifies and enlightens all who are in any spiritual affection for truth, wherever they are.

The light of heaven, or the light in which are the angels of heaven who are from this earth, is from the Lord by means of the Word; from this as from a center light is diffused into the circumferences in every direction, thus to those who are there, who, as was said, are the Gentiles that are outside of our church. But this diffusion of light is effected in heaven by the Lord, and what is done in heaven flows also into the minds of men, for the minds of men make one with the minds of spirits and angels. It is for this reason that those are especially treated of in [Revelation] this prophetical book who are of the Church where the Word is; then those also are treated of who are of the Church where the Word is not, although not proximately, for the arrangement of those who are in the circumferences follows according to the order in which those are who are in the center.

(Apocalypse Explained 351)

July 29, 2016

For A Church To Exist

Selection from New Jerusalem and Heavenly Doctrine ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What makes heaven in the case of a person, also makes the church. For as love and faith make heaven, so too love and faith make the church. So from what has already been said about heaven it is plain what the church is.

The name of church is given where the Lord is acknowledged and where the Word is known. For the essential elements of the church are love and faith directed to the Lord and coming from the Lord; and the Word teaches how a person must live, in order to receive love and faith from the Lord.

For a church to exist, there must be teaching from the Word, since the Word is not intelligible without teaching. But it is not teaching alone that makes the church in the case of a person, but living in accordance with that teaching. From this it follows that it is not faith alone which makes the church, but the life of faith, which is charity. The true teaching is the teaching of charity and faith together, not faith without charity. For the teaching of charity and faith together is teaching how to live one's life; but the teaching of faith without charity is not.

Those outside the church who acknowledge one God and who in accordance with their religion live in some sort of charity towards the neighbour are in communion with those who belong to the church. For no one is damned who believes in God and lives a good life. From this it is plain that the Lord's church exists throughout the whole world, although it is especially located where the Lord is acknowledged and the Word is known.

Everyone who has the church present with him is saved; but everyone who does not have it present is condemned.

(NJHD 241-245)

July 27, 2016

To Do Good From Obedience is from the Natural Man

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.  (Rev 3:20)
What It Is To Do Good From Charity
No one can do good from charity unless his spiritual mind is opened, and the spiritual mind is opened only by man's abstaining from doing evils and shunning them, and finally turning away from them because they are contrary to the Divine commandments in the Word, thus contrary to the Lord. When man so shuns and turns away from evils all things that he thinks, wills, and does, are good because they are from the Lord; for the Lord is continually present, knocks at the door, is urgent and wishes to enter, but evils oppose; therefore man must open the door by removing the evils, for it is only when evils are removed that the Lord enters and sups there (Rev. 3:20)

It is said that man opens and removes, because it is from self that man does evils; and inasmuch as the Lord is continually present, knocks at the door, and is urgent, as has been said, man has the ability to refrain from evils as if of himself; this ability is also given to every man. This is why, since man can of himself close heaven to himself he can also as if of himself open heaven, provided he thinks and wills to refrain from evils, looks to the Lord, and when he refrains acknowledges that it is from the Lord.

When, therefore, evils have been removed, whatever man does is good, since it is from the Lord; and whatever man does from the Lord is not natural-moral, but is spiritual-moral. Since, then, charity is from the love of doing good for the sake of good, thus from good, consequently from the Lord, it follows that doing good from charity is spiritual, but doing good from obedience, since it is from a love of reward, is natural. Such is the natural in which those are who are in the entrance to heaven; and to this those come who do good only from obedience, who are such as confirm in themselves, in doctrine and life, that faith produces good works as a tree does fruits.

(Apocalypse Explained 798:6)

July 26, 2016

Marriage Love is Genuine 'Just to the Extent' that the Truths are Genuine with which the Good is Conjoined

Selection from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The love of dominion of one over the other entirely takes away marriage love and its heavenly delight, ... marriage love and its delight consists in the will of one being that of the other, and this mutually and reciprocally. This is destroyed by love of dominion in marriage, since he that domineers wishes his will alone to be in the other, and nothing of the other's will to be reciprocally in himself, which destroys all mutuality, and thus all sharing of any love and its delight one with the other. And yet this sharing and consequent conjunction are the interior delight itself that is called blessedness in marriage. This blessedness, with everything that is heavenly and spiritual in marriage love, is so completely extinguished by love of dominion as to destroy even all knowledge of it; and if that love were referred to it would be held in such contempt that any mention of blessedness from that source would excite either laughter or anger.

When one wills or loves what the other wills or loves each has freedom, since all freedom is from love; but where there is dominion no one has freedom; one is a servant, and the other who rules is also a servant, for he is led as a servant by the lust of ruling. But all this is wholly beyond the comprehension of one who does not know what the freedom of heavenly love is. Nevertheless from what has been said above about the origin and essence of marriage love, [who are in Divine good from Divine truths; and marriage love is genuine just to the extent that the truths are genuine with which the good is conjoined.  And as all the good that is conjoined with truths is from the Lord, it follows that no one can be in true marriage love unless he acknowledges the Lord and His Divine; for without that acknowledgment the Lord cannot flow in and be conjoined with the truths that are in man.], it can be seen that so far as dominion enters, minds are not united but divided. Dominion subjugates, and a subjugated mind has either no will or an opposing will. If it has no will it has also no love; and if it has an opposing will there is hatred in place of love.

The interiors of those who live in such marriage are in mutual collision and strife, as two opposites are wont to be, however their exteriors may be restrained and kept quiet for the sake of tranquillity. The collision and antagonism of the interiors of such are disclosed after their death, when commonly they come together and fight like enemies and tear each other; for they then act in accordance with the state of the interiors. .... For in the other life everyone's interiors are set at liberty; and they are no longer restrained by outward bounds or by worldly considerations, everyone then being just such as he is interiorly.
(Heaven and Hell 380)

July 24, 2016

Men - Human Forms Receptive of Life

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Life regarded in itself, which is God, cannot create another that shall be the only life; for the life that is God is uncreate, continuous, and inseparable; and from this it is that God is ONE.

But the life that is God can create forms out of substances that are not life, in which it can be, and give to them the appearance of living. Such forms are men; and since they are receptacles of life they could not when first created be anything else than images and likenesses of God; images from the reception of truth and likenesses from the reception of good; for life and its recipient are fitted to each other as the active and passive, but do not mingle. For this reason human forms, which are recipients of life, live, not from themselves, but from God who alone is life; consequently, as is well known, every good of love and every truth of faith is from God, and nothing of these is from man; for if man had the least portion of life as his own he would be able to will and do good from himself, and to understand and believe truth from himself, and thus to claim merit; and yet if he so believes, the form recipient of life closes itself above and becomes perverted, and intelligence perishes.

Good and its love and truth and its faith are the life that is God, for God is good itself and truth itself; and therefore in these God dwells in man. And from all this it follows, that man of himself is nothing, and is something only so far as he receives from the Lord, and at the same time acknowledges that it is not his own but is the Lord's; then the Lord gives him to be something; yet not from himself but from the Lord.

(Apocalypse Explained 1121:3)

July 23, 2016

The Lord Foresees and Provides

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord's Providence is in the veriest singulars of all things, but not according to such an order as man proposes to himself, because things to come are both foreseen and provided; and that the case is like that of a person building a palace, who first collects materials of every kind, and lays them together in heaps, where they lie without order, while the kind of palace to be formed from them exists solely in the understanding of the architect.
(Arcana Coelestia 6486)

July 22, 2016

A Life of Faith

From a passage in Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the life of faith causes a man to be spiritual, but not faith except insofar as it has been implanted in the life. The life of man is his love, and that which he loves he wills and intends, and that which he wills and intends, he does. This is the being of man, but not that which he knows and thinks and does not will. This being of man cannot in any wise be changed into another being by thinking about mediation and salvation; but by regeneration anew, which is being effected during a great part of his life; for he must be conceived, born, and grown up anew; and this is not effected by thinking and speaking, but by willing and acting.
(Arcana Coelestia 7779:3)

July 21, 2016

Who Then Can Be Saved?

Portion from Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Anyone who thinks from any enlightened reason can see that no man is born for hell, for the Lord is Love Itself and His Love is to will the salvation of all. Therefore, He has provided a religion for everyone, and by it an acknowledgment of the Divine and an interior life; for to live in accordance with one's religious belief is to live interiorly, since one then looks to the Divine, and so far as he looks to the Divine he does not look to the world but separates himself from the world, that is, from the life of the world, which is exterior life.
(Heaven and Hell 318)

July 17, 2016

Seeing from the Light of Heaven, or Seeing from Fatuous Light

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All and each of the things the Lord said were representative of Divine things, consequently of the celestial and spiritual things of His kingdom, and thus were adapted to the apprehension of men, and at the same time to the understanding of spirits and angels; wherefore those things which the Lord said, filled and continue to fill the whole heaven. From this it is evident of what use and importance it is to know the internal sense of the Word. Moreover, without this sense anyone can confirm from the Word whatever dogma he pleases; and because such is the appearance of the Word to those who are in evil, they therefore deride it, and are ready to believe anything rather than that it is Divine.
(Arcana 4677:10)
The dispelling and annihilating of the appearances of truth takes place after truth itself has been rejected; for truth itself shines forth of itself in the mind, and however it may be extinguished, still appears, especially in those who are in good. This is also clearly seen by those who have annihilated truth in themselves, wherefore also they endeavor to dispel and to annihilate these appearances.

Take as an example for the sake of illustration - who does not see that to will well and do well is the veriest Christian life?  And if anyone is told that this is charity, he cannot but affirm it; and those who affirm it will even say that they know what this is, because this is of the life.  But as regards thinking this or that to be true, even from confidence (as they are willing to do who are in faith separate), they will say that they do not know what it is, for they have no other perception of it than as of smoke which vanishes.  As faith alone and the confidence from it appear of this character to everyone who thinks seriously about it, especially to the good, therefore such persons labor to dispel and annihilate even these appearances, by thus paring off whatever touches them more nearly, and whatever is round about this Divine truth.  This is signified by stripping Joseph of the tunic that was on him.

The same persons also believe that those are wiser than all others, who having once accepted a dogma, whatever it may be, can confirm it by various things, and by various reasonings make it appear like truth.  But nothing could be less the part of a wise man; it is what everyone can do who possesses any ingenuity, and the evil more skillfully than the upright.  For to do this is not the part of a rational man, inasmuch as a rational man can see, as from above, whether that which is confirmed is true or false; and because he sees this, he regards confirmations of falsity as of no account, and they appear to him as simply ludicrous and empty, no matter how much anyone else believes them to have been taken from the school of wisdom itself.  In a word, nothing is less the part of a wise man, nay, nothing is less rational, than to be able to confirm falsities; for it is the part of a wise man and it is rational, first to see that a thing is true, and then to confirm it.  In fact to see what is true is to see from the light of heaven, which is from the Lord; but to see what is false as true is to see from a fatuous light, which is from hell.

(Arcana Coelestia 4741)

July 16, 2016

Be Led By Divine Providence and The Lord's Kingdom Increases

From Divine Providence ~  Emanuel Swedenborg
A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
15 And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.
16 Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.
17 And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.
18 And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds.
19 And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.
20 And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
21 For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
22 And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
23 Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?
24 And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds.
25 (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.)
26 For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him.
27 But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.                                           Luke 19:12-27  KJV
Man would not be man except for the appearance to him that he lives from himself, and therefore thinks and wills and speaks and acts as if from himself.  From this it follows that unless man, as if from his own prudence, directs all things belonging to his employment and life, he cannot be led and directed by the Divine providence; for he would be like one standing with relaxed hands, opened mouth, closed eyes, and breath indrawn, awaiting influx. Thus he would divest himself of humanity, which he has from the perception and sensation that he lives, thinks, wills, speaks, and acts as if from himself; he would also divest himself of his two faculties, liberty and rationality, by which he is distinguished from the beasts. That without this appearance a man would have no capacity to receive and reciprocate, and thus no immortality, has been shown above in the present work, and also in the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom.

If, therefore, you wish to be led by the Divine providence use prudence as a servant and minister who faithfully dispenses the goods of his master. This prudence is the talent given to the servants to trade with, of which they must render an account (Luke 19:13-28; Matt. 25:14-31).  Prudence itself appears to man to be his own; and he believes it to be his own so long as he keeps shut up within him the deadliest enemy of God and of Divine providence - the love of self.  This has its abode in the interiors of every man from his birth; if you do not recognize it (for it does not wish to be recognized) it dwells securely, and guards the door lest man should open it and the Lord should thereby cast it out.  Man opens this door by shunning evils as sins as if from himself, with the acknowledgment that he does it from the Lord. This is the prudence with which the Divine providence acts as one.

(Divine Providence 210)

July 13, 2016

The Lot of All Who Have Lived In Good in Accordance With Their Religion

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. (Exodus 23:4)  That this signifies instruction and amendment, is evident from the signification of "bringing back," when said of those outside the church who are in good and truth not genuine, as being to instruct and amend; for in this way they are brought back. That benefits ought to be imparted to those who are outside the church, is also meant by the Lord's words in Matthew:
Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor; but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and benefit those who hate you. For if ye love those who love you, what reward have ye? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more? (Matt. 5:43-47)
here also by "enemies" and by "those who hate" are meant in the spiritual sense those who are at variance in respect to the goods and truths of faith, and in general those who are outside the church; because the Jewish nation considered these as enemies, whom they were permitted to utterly destroy, and to kill with impunity. That these are meant in the spiritual sense by "enemies," is plain, because it is said, "if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more?" for all were called "brethren" who were born of Jacob, thus who were within the church.

As further regards those who are outside the church, and are called "Gentiles," they are indeed in falsities of doctrine, but from ignorance, because they have not the Word; and yet when they are instructed they are in a clearer and consequently more inward perception about the heavenly life with man than are Christians. The reason is that they have not confirmed themselves against the truths of faith, as have very many Christians; and therefore their internal man is not closed, but, as with little children, is readily opened and receptive of truth. For those who have confirmed themselves against the truths and goods of faith, as do all who live an evil life, close in themselves the internal man above, and open it beneath. The result is that their internal man looks only at those things which are beneath, that is, into the external or natural man, and through this at the things in the world, and at those around their body and upon the earth; and when this is the case, they look downward, which is to look toward hell.

With such persons the internal man cannot be opened toward heaven unless the things which deny truth, or affirm falsity, which have closed it, are dispersed; which must be done in this world. This cannot be effected except by a complete inversion of the life, thus the course of many years.  For falsities arrange themselves in series, establishing a continuous connection among one another; and they form the natural mind itself, and its mode of viewing those things which are of the church and of heaven.  From this it is that all things which are of faith and charity, that is, of the doctrine of the church, or of the Word, and in general all heavenly and Divine things, are thick darkness with such persons; and that on the other hand worldly and earthly things are light to them.  From this it is plain that to destroy the falsities with such persons is to destroy their very life; and that if they are to have any new life, the falsities must be uprooted gradually, and truths and goods be implanted in their place, which will in like manner form a continuous connection with one another, and be arranged in series.  This is meant by the "complete inversion of the life," which is possible only in the course of many years.  Therefore he who believes that a man can be made new in a moment, is very much mistaken.

But those who have not confirmed themselves against the goods and truths of faith - as is the case with those who are outside the church, and yet have lived in some kind of faith and charity according to their religion - have not been able to close the internal man in themselves by negations of truth, and by confirmations of falsity against the truth of faith from the Word; and therefore the internal of these persons is opened upward (that is, into heaven and toward the Lord), if not in this world, yet in the other life; and then all the earthly and worldly things they have brought with them from their life in the world, are at the same time uplifted so as together to look upward; whereby they are in a state to receive the truths of faith and the goods of charity from the Lord, and to become imbued with intelligence and wisdom, and thus to be endowed with eternal happiness.  Such is the lot of all who have lived in good in accordance with their religion; and therefore the Lord's church is spread throughout the whole world. But the Lord's church itself on earth is like the Grand Man in the heavens, whose heart and lungs are where the Word is, and the rest of whose members and viscera, which live from the heart and the lungs, are where the Word is not.

From all this also it can be seen why a new church is always set up among the Gentiles who are outside the church, which as before said takes place when the old church has closed heaven against itself.  For this reason the church was transferred from the Jewish people to the Gentiles, and the present church is also now being transferred to the Gentiles.

That the church is transferred to the Gentiles who acknowledge the Lord, is evident from many passages in the Word, as from these which follow. In Isaiah:

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light; they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, Thou hast made great their joy (Isa. 9:2, 3).

It shall come to pass in that day, that the root of Jesse, which standeth for an ensign of the peoples, shall the Gentiles seek; and His rest shall be glory (Isa. 11:10).

I Jehovah have called Thee in righteousness, and I will take hold of Thy hand, for I will keep Thee, and will give Thee for a covenant to the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house (Isa. 42:6, 7).

Behold I have given Him for a witness to the peoples, a prince and lawgiver to the Gentiles. Behold thou shalt call a nation that thou hast not known, and a nation that knew not thee shall run unto thee, because of Jehovah thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel (Isa. 55:4-5).

The Gentiles shall walk to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, they all gather themselves together, they come to thee; thy sons come from afar, and thy daughters are carried by nurses at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall be amazed and be enlarged; because the multitude of the sea is converted unto thee, the armies of the Gentiles shall come (Isa. 60:3-5).

And in the prophecy of Simeon concerning the Lord when a child:

Mine eyes have seen the salvation of God, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples; a light for the revelation of the Gentiles (Luke 2:30-32).

In all these passages the subject treated of is the Lord, in that the Gentiles shall come unto Him; and they come unto Him when they acknowledge Him as their God. And wonderful to say, the Gentiles worship the one only God under a human form; and therefore when they hear about the Lord, they receive and acknowledge Him; nor can a new church be set up with others. That the church is set up again with such, is further evident from the Lord's words in Matthew:

Have ye not read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner. Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation that doeth the fruits (Matt. 21:42-43);

"the stone" denotes the Lord; "the builders" denote those who are of the church. That these would be last, and the Gentiles first, is thus said in Luke:

They shall come from the east, and west, and from the north, and south, and shall recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold there are last who shall be first, and there are first who shall be last (Luke 13:29-30).

(Arcana Coelestia 9256)

July 10, 2016

The 'Good' Loved by the Lord

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As the "breast" from correspondence denotes the good of charity, and the good of charity is to do what is good from willing it, therefore John, who represented this good, lay on the breast or in the bosom of the Lord (John 13:23, 25); by which is signified that this good was loved by the Lord; for "to lie on the breast and in the bosom" denotes to love. He who knows this is also able to know what is signified by these words of the Lord to Peter and to John:
Jesus said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My lambs. He saith to him again, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? He saith, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love Thee. He saith unto him, Feed My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, Son of Jonas, lovest thou Me? Peter was grieved, therefore he said, Lord Thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed My sheep. Verily I say unto thee, When thou wast younger, thou girdedst thyself and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hand, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not. When He had said this, He said to him, Follow Me. Peter turning about saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also lay on His breast at supper. Peter seeing him saith, Lord, what about this man? Jesus said to him, If I will that he abide till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou Me (John 21:15-21)
no one can know what these words signify except by the internal sense, which teaches that the twelve disciples of the Lord represented all things of faith and of love in the complex, as did the twelve tribes of Israel; and that Peter represented faith, James charity, and John the works or goods of charity. ...

As faith without charity does not love the Lord, and yet can teach such things as belong to faith and love, and to the Lord, therefore the Lord said three times, "Lovest thou Me," "Feed My lambs," and "Feed My sheep," and for this reason the Lord says, "When thou wast younger, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest; but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee and lead thee whither thou wouldest not," by which is signified that the faith of the church in its rising is in the good of innocence like an infant; but that when it is in its setting, which is in the end of the church, faith would be no longer in this good, nor in the good of charity; and that then evil and falsity would lead, which are signified by "when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldest not;" thus from being free it would become enslaved.

"To gird" denotes to know and perceive truths in light from good; "to walk" denotes to live according to these truths; hence "to gird himself and walk whither he would," denotes to act from freedom, and to act from freedom is to act from the affection of truth from good; and is to be led by the Lord; but "to be girded by another, and to be led whither he would not," denotes to be a slave, and to be a slave is to act from evil, thus to be led by hell.

That "lambs," of which the Lord first speaks, denote those who are in the good of innocence; and that "sheep," of which the Lord speaks in the second and third place, denote those who are in the good of charity and from this in faith; and that "three" denotes a whole period from beginning to end. Therefore, as the Lord spoke to Peter concerning the church from its rising to its setting, He said three times, "Lovest thou Me?"

But by "John following the Lord" was signified that they who are in the goods of charity follow the Lord and are loved by the Lord, neither do they draw back; while they who are in faith separate not only do not follow the Lord, but are also indignant about it, like Peter at that time - not to mention more arcana which are contained in the above words. From all this it is also plain that to "lie on the breast and in the bosom of the Lord" denotes to be loved by Him, and that this is said of those who are in the goods of charity, like what is said of His "carrying them in His bosom" (Isa. 40:10, 11), and of "lying in the bosom" (2 Sam. 12:3).

(from Arcana Coelestia 10087)

July 8, 2016

Heinous Offenses Against Heaven and The Church

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
Rev 2:14-17
1 And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab.
2 And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.
3 And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. ...
9 And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
Num 25:1-3, 9

The Lord protects those who are in truths and goods, that they may not be harmed by those who speak from seeming illustration, and yet have the disposition and intention to lead astray. He who believes that Balaam could harm the sons of Israel by enchantments is much deceived; for enchantments could have availed nothing against them; this Balaam himself confessed when he said: Divination avails not against Jacob, nor enchantments against Israel (Num. 23:23).

Balaam could lead that people astray by craft, because that people were such in heart; with the mouth only they worshiped Jehovah, but in heart they worshiped Baal-peor, and because they were such this was permitted.

It is to be noted, moreover, that a man can be in illustration in respect to the understanding, and yet in evil in respect to the will; for the intellectual faculty is separated from the voluntary with all who are not regenerated, and only with those who are regenerated do they act as one; for it is the office of the understanding to know, to think, and to speak truths, but of the will to will the things that are understood, and from the will, or from the love, to do them. The divorcement of the two is clearly manifest with evil spirits; when these turn themselves towards good spirits, they, too, understand truths, and also acknowledge them, almost as if they were illustrated; but as soon as they turn themselves away from good spirits, they return to the love of their will and see nothing of truth, and even deny the things they have heard.

To be able to have the understanding illustrated is granted to man, for the sake of reformation; for in man's will every evil resides, both that into which he is born and that into which he introduces himself; and the will cannot be corrected unless man knows, and by the understanding acknowledges, truths and goods, and also falsities and evils; in no other way can he turn away from the latter and love the former.

It was among the statutes where sacrifices were instituted that some part of the sacrifices, especially of the thank-offerings, should be burnt from the altar, and some part eaten in the holy place. The "sacrifices" themselves signified worship from love and faith, and the "eating" of them signified appropriation of the good thereof.  As the eating of things sanctified to Jehovah signified the appropriation of good, so the eating of the sacrifices offered to the gods of the nations, and which were called "idol-sacrifices," signified the appropriation of evil.

To "commit whoredom," in the spiritual sense, signifies to become imbued with falsities, so also to falsify truths, can be seen from many passages in the Word. The same was signified by the whoredoms of the sons of Israel with the daughters of Moab; for all historical parts of the Word involve spiritual things and signify them.  And as the eating of idol-sacrifices by the sons of Israel and their whoredoms with the daughters of Moab involved such things (for what things signify they involve), therefore it was commanded that the heads of the people should be hung up to Jehovah before the sun; and for the same reason Phinehas the son of Eleazar thrust through a man of Israel and a Midianitish woman in the place of their lust, and for doing that he also was blessed; and for the same reason there were slain of Israel twenty and four thousand (as may be seen, Num. 25:1 to the end).  Such punishments and such plagues merely because of the eating of idol-sacrifices, and committing whoredom with the women of another nation, would never have been commanded to be done, unless they had involved heinous offenses against heaven and the church, which do not appear in the literal sense of the Word, but only in its spiritual sense.  The heinous offenses involved were the profanation at once of the goods and of the truths of the church, and this, as has been said above, was the appropriation of evil and falsity.

Those who separate truth from good, or faith from charity, turn away from themselves all influx of heaven into the goods they do, in consequence of which their goods are not good; for heaven flows in, that is, the Lord through heaven, into the good of man's love; he, therefore, that rejects the good of charity from the doctrine of the church, and receives instead only those things that are called matters of faith, is shut out of heaven; truths with such have no life; and it is the life of truth, which is good, that conjoins, but not truth without life, or faith without charity.

Repent, signifies dissociation from these.  This is evident from the signification of "repent," as being in reference to the things signified by "the doctrine of Balaam," and by "the doctrine of the Nicolaitans," to be dissociated from them.  Nor is repentance anything else; for no one repents unless he actually separates himself from the things of which he has repented; and he separates himself from them only when he shuns them and turns away from them.

(from Apocalypse Explained 140 - 143)

July 5, 2016

The Presence of the Lord with Man; The Conjunction of the Lord with Man

Portions from passages in Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... man is born natural that he may become spiritual; and so long as he remains natural he is in night, and as in sleep, respecting spiritual things; and that then he does not even know the distinction between the external natural and the internal spiritual man. ...
the Lord ... alone opens the internals of human minds and makes them spiritual; and He puts these [spiritual] within things natural in order that they [natural] also may derive a spiritual essence, as in fact they do if He [the Lord] is approached, and if the life is according to His precepts; which are in brief, that one should believe in Him and shun evils because they are of the devil and from the devil; and do goods because they are of the Lord and from the Lord; and do both as if of one's self, and at the same time believe that they are done by the Lord through him. The very reason why the Lord alone opens the internal spiritual man, and brings this into the external natural man, is that every man thinks naturally and acts naturally, and for that reason could not perceive anything spiritual and receive it into his natural if God had not put on the natural human, and made also that Divine. ...
... [the interiors of the mind], which in themselves are spiritual ... can be opened only by the Lord .... The real reason why they are opened by the Lord when He is acknowledged, and is approached as God of heaven and earth, and with those who live according to His precepts is, that otherwise there is no conjunction, and without conjunction there is no reception. There is the presence of the Lord with man, and there is conjunction with Him.
To go to Him brings presence, and to live according to his precepts effects conjunction.
And His presence only is without reception; but presence and at the same time conjunction is with reception.

Concerning these matters I will relate this that is new from the spiritual world: There, every one is made present by thought about him; but no one is conjoined to another except from the affection of love, and the affection of love is insinuated by doing his words and his pleasure. This fact, familiar in the spiritual world, takes its origin from the Lord, in that He is thus present and is thus conjoined.

(from Conjugial Love 340, 341)

July 1, 2016

The Forming of a True Conscience

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
A church is said to be corrupted when it acknowledges the Word and has a certain worship like that of a true church, but yet separates faith from charity, thus from its essential and from its life, whereby faith becomes a kind of dead affair; the result of which necessarily is that the church is corrupted. What the men of the church then become, is evident from the consideration that they can have no conscience; for conscience that is really conscience cannot possibly exist except from charity. Charity is what makes conscience, that is, the Lord through charity. What else is conscience than not to do evil to anyone in anyway; that is, to do well to all in every way? Thus conscience belongs to charity, and never to faith separated from charity. If such persons have any conscience, it is a false conscience; and because they are without conscience, they rush into all wickedness, so far as outward bonds are relaxed. They do not even know what charity is, except that it is a word significant of something.  And as they are without charity, they do not know what faith is.  When questioned, they can only answer that it is a kind of thinking; some, that it is confidence; others, that it is the knowledges of faith; a few, that it is life according to these knowledges, and scarcely any that it is a life of charity or of mutual love.  And if this is said to them, and opportunity is given them for reflection, they answer only that all love begins from self, and that he is worse than a heathen who does not take care of himself and his own family.  They therefore study nothing but themselves and the world. Hence it comes to pass that they live in their Own....

That they who are ... those who separate faith from charity and hence make worship consist in externals alone, cannot know what and whence is conscience, needs to be briefly shown. Conscience is formed by means of the truths of faith, for that which a man has heard, acknowledged, and believed makes the conscience in him; and afterwards to act contrary to this is to him to act contrary to conscience, as may be sufficiently evident to everyone; so that unless it is the truths of faith that a man hears, acknowledges, and believes, he cannot possibly have a true conscience. For it is through the truths of faith (the Lord working in charity) that man is regenerated, and therefore it is through the truths of faith that he receives conscience, conscience being the new man himself. From this it is evident that the truths of faith are the means by which this may take place, that is, that the man may live according to what faith teaches, the principal of which is to love the Lord above all things, and the neighbor as himself.  If he does not so live, what is his faith but an empty affair, and a mere high-sounding word, or a thing that is separated from heavenly life, and in which when thus separated there is no possible salvation?

For to believe that no matter how a man lives, he may yet be saved provided he has faith, is to say that he may be saved if he has no charity, and no conscience (that is, if he passes his life in hatred, revenge, robbery, adultery, in a word, in all things contrary to charity and conscience) provided only that he has faith, even if it be but at the hour of death.  Let such persons consider, when they are in such a false principle, what truth of faith there is that can form their conscience, and whether it be not what is false.  If they suppose that they have anything of conscience, it must be only outward bonds - such as fear of the law, of loss of honor, of gain, or of reputation for the sake of these - that make, with them, what they call conscience, and which lead them not to injure the neighbor, but to do him good.  But as this is not conscience, because not charity, therefore when these restraints are loosened or taken away, such persons rush into most wicked and obscene things.  Very different is the case with those who, although they have declared that faith alone saves, have still lived a life of charity; for in their faith there has been charity from the Lord.

(Arcana Coelestia 1076-1077)