September 27, 2016

Taking Away From the Lord What Is His

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And he believed in Jehovah, and He imputed it to him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

That this signifies that herein the Lord first became righteousness, may also be seen from the connection of things in the internal sense, in which the Lord is treated of. That the Lord alone became righteousness for the whole human race, may be seen from the fact that He alone fought from Divine love, namely, from love toward the whole human race, whose salvation was what in His combats He solely desired and burned for. In regard to His Human Essence the Lord was not born righteousness, but became righteousness through combats of temptations and victories, and this from His own power. As often as He fought and overcame, this was imputed to Him for righteousness, that is, it was added to the righteousness that He was becoming, as a continual increase, until He became pure righteousness.

A man who is born of a human father, or of the seed of a human father, when fighting from himself cannot fight from any other love than the love of self and of the world, thus not from heavenly love, but from infernal love, for such is the character of his Own [self-hood] from his father, in addition to the Own [self-hood] acquired by his own conduct. Therefore he who supposes that he fights from himself against the devil is hugely mistaken. In like manner he who desires to make himself righteous by his own powers - that is, to believe that the goods of charity and the truths of faith are from himself, consequently that he merits heaven by them - acts and thinks against the good and truth of faith; for it is a truth of faith, that is, it is the truth itself, that the Lord fights. And therefore because he then acts and thinks against the truth of faith, he takes away from the Lord what is His, and makes what is the Lord's to be his own, or what is the same, he puts himself in the Lord's place, and thereby puts that which is infernal in himself. Hence it is that such men desire to become great, or the greatest, in heaven; and hence it is that they falsely believe that the Lord fought against the hells in order that He might be the greatest. What is man's own [self-hood] is attended with such phantasies,, which appear as if they were truths, but are just the reverse.

That the Lord came into the world in order to become righteousness, and that He alone is righteousness, was also foretold by the prophets; and therefore this could have been known before His coming; and also that He could not become righteousness except through temptations, and victories over all evils and all the hells.

As in Jeremiah:

In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell in confidence, and this is His name whereby they shall call Him, Jehovah our righteousness (Jer. 23:6).

In the same:
In those days and in that time will I cause an Offshoot of righteousness to grow onto David, and He shall do judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell in confidence; and this is what they shall call Him, Jehovah our righteousness (Jer. 33:15-16).

In Isaiah:
He saw, and there was no man; and He wondered that there was none to intercede; and His arm brought salvation unto Him, and His righteousness it upheld Him. And He put on righteousness as a coat of mail, and a helmet of salvation upon His head (Isa. 59:16-17; see especially Isa. 63:3, 5).

"His arm" means His own power. Because the Lord alone is righteousness, the "habitation of righteousness" also is mentioned in Jeremiah 31:23; 50:7.

(Arcana Coelestia 1813)

September 25, 2016

No Heaven in Hell, and No Hell in Heaven

The perception of opposites is different from the perception of relatives; for opposites are things without, and are opposed to things within.

An opposite has its beginning where one thing wholly ceases to be anything, and another then arises with an effort to act against the former, as when a wheel acts against another wheel, or a current against another current.  But relatives pertain to the arrangement of many and various parts in an order that is concordant and harmonious, like precious stones of various colors in the stomacher of a queen, or like flowers of different colors arranged in a garland to give pleasure to the sight. Therefore in both of these opposites there are relatives, that is, in what is good as well as in what is evil, in what is true as well as in what is false, thus both in heaven and in hell, all the relatives in hell being the opposites of the relatives in heaven.

Since, then, from the order in which He is, God perceives and sees and is cognizant of all things relative in heaven, and thereby perceives, sees, and is cognizant of all the opposite relatives in hell . . . it is clear that God is omniscient in hell as well as in heaven, and in like manner with men in the world; thus that He perceives, sees, and is cognizant of their evils and falsities from the good and truth in which He Himself is, and which in their essence are Himself; for we read:

If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou art there (Ps. 139:8);

and again:

Though they dig into hell, thence shall My hand take them (Amos 9:2)

(True Christian Religion 62).
Now as evil and good are two opposites, precisely like hell and heaven, or like the devil and the Lord, it follows that if man shuns an evil as sin, he comes into the good that is an opposite to the evil. The good opposite to the evil which is meant by murder, is the good of love towards the neighbour.

Since this good and that evil are opposites, it follows that the latter is removed by the former. Two opposites cannot exist together, as heaven and hell cannot exist together. If they were together there would exist that lukewarm state concerning which it is written in the Revelation:

I know . . . that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
Rev. iii 15, 16.

(Life 70, 71)

September 23, 2016

Loving To Be Taught

From Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
How can so many discordant religions exist, instead of one true religion over all the earth, if the Divine providence has as its end a heaven from the human race?
But listen, I pray: All the human beings that are born, however many and in whatever religion, can be saved, provided they acknowledge God and live according to the commandments in the Decalogue, which are not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, and not to bear false witness, for the reason that doing such things is contrary to religion, and thus contrary to God. Such fear God and love the neighbor; they fear God in the thought that to do such things is contrary to God; and they love the neighbor in the thought that to kill, to commit adultery, to steal, to bear false witness, and to covet the neighbor's house or wife is against the neighbor. Because such in their life look to God, and do not do evil to the neighbor, they are led by the Lord; and those who are led are also taught in accordance with their religion, about God and about the neighbor; for those who so live love to be taught, while those who live otherwise do not; and because they love to be taught, when after death they become spirits they are instructed by the angels and gladly accept such truths as are in the Word.
(Divine Providence 253)

September 22, 2016

From the Good Sense the Quality of the Opposite is Known

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Most things in the Word have a twofold sense, namely, a good sense and its opposite. From the good sense the quality of the opposite one is known; for whatever is contained in the opposite sense is diametrically opposed to what is contained in the good sense.

The goods of love are in general two - the good of celestial love, and the good of spiritual love. Diametrically opposed to the good of celestial love, is the evil of the love of self; and diametrically opposed to the good of spiritual love, is the evil of the love of the world. They who are in the evil of the love of self are against all good whatever; but not so much so they who are in the evil of the love of the world....

The hells also are distinct according to these two loves. They who are in the love of self, being against all good whatever, are in the deepest and therefore the most grievous hell; but they who are in the love of the world, being not so much against all good whatever, are in hells not so deep, and therefore less grievous.

The evil of the love of self is not, as is generally thought, that external elation which is called pride; but it is hatred against the neighbor, and thence a burning desire for revenge, and delight in cruelty. These are the interiors of the love of self. Its exteriors are contempt for others in comparison with self, and an aversion to those who are in spiritual good, and this sometimes with manifest elation or pride, and sometimes without it; for one who holds the neighbor in such hatred, interiorly loves no one but himself and those whom he regards as making one with himself; thus he loves them in himself, and himself in them, for the sole end of self.

(Arcana Coelestia 4750:2-5)

September 20, 2016

The Word Cannot Be Understood Without Doctrine

From Doctrine of Sacred Scripture ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word cannot be understood without doctrine. This is because the Word in the sense of the letter consists exclusively of correspondences, to the end that things spiritual and celestial may be simultaneous or together therein, and that every word may be their container and support. For this reason, in some places in the sense of the letter the truths are not naked, but clothed, and are then called appearances of truth. Many truths also are accommodated to the capacity of simple folk, who do not uplift their thoughts above such things as they see before their eyes. There are also some things that appear like contradictions, although the Word when viewed in its own light contains no contradiction...

But to illustrate this by examples.

It is said that Jehovah repents (Exod. 32:12, 14; Jonah 3:9; 4:2);

And also that Jehovah does not repent (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29).

Without doctrine these passages cannot be reconciled.

It is said that Jehovah visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation (Num. 14:18);

And it is also said that The father shall not die for the son, nor the son for the father, but everyone for his own sin (Deut. 24:16).

Interpreted by doctrine these passages are not discordant, but are in agreement.

Jesus says, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for everyone that asketh shall receive, and he that seeketh shall find, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened (Matt. 7:7-8; 21:21-22).

Without doctrine it might be believed that everyone will receive what he asks for; but from doctrine it is believed that whatever a man asks not from himself but from the Lord is given; for this also is what the Lord says, If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you (John 15:7).

The Lord says, Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20).

Without doctrine it may be thought that heaven is for the poor and not for the rich, but doctrine teaches that the poor in spirit are meant, for the Lord says, Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3).

The Lord says, Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged (Matt. 7:1-2; Luke 6:37).

Without doctrine this might be cited to confirm the notion that it is not to be said of what is evil that it is evil, thus that an evil person is not to be judged to be evil; yet according to doctrine it is lawful to judge, but justly; for the Lord says, Judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).

Jesus says, Be not ye called Teacher, for One is your Teacher, even the Christ. And call no man your father on the earth; for One is your Father in the heavens. Neither be ye called masters; for One is your Master, the Christ (Matt. 23:8-10).

Without doctrine it would seem that it is not lawful to call any person teacher, father, or master; but from doctrine it is known that in the natural sense it is lawful to do this, but not in the spiritual sense.

Jesus said to His disciples, When the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matt. 19:28).

From these words it may be inferred that the Lord's disciples will sit in judgment, when yet they can judge no one. Doctrine therefore must reveal this secret by explaining that the Lord alone, who is omniscient and knows the hearts of all, will sit in judgment, and is able to judge; and that His twelve disciples mean the church as to all the truths and goods it possesses from the Lord through the Word; from which doctrine concludes that these truths will judge everyone, according to the Lord's words in John 3:17-18; 12:47-48.

He who reads the Word without doctrine does not see the consistency of what is said in the prophets about the Jewish nation and Jerusalem - that the church with that nation, and its seat in that city, will remain to eternity; as in the following passages:

Jehovah will visit his flock the house of Judah, and will make them as a horse of glory in war; from him shall come forth the corner stone, from him the nail, and from him the bow of war (Zech. 10:3-4, 6-7).

Behold I come, that I may dwell in the midst of thee. And Jehovah shall make Judah an inheritance, and shall again choose Jerusalem (Zech. 2:10, 12).

It shall come to pass in that day that the mountains shall drop new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and Judah shall be to eternity, and Jerusalem from generation to generation (Joel 3:18-20).

Behold, the days come in which I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and in which I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah; and this shall be the covenant, I will put My law in their inward parts, and will write it upon their heart and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer. 31:27, 31, 33).

In that day ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, of the skirt of a man that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you (Zech. 8:23).

So in other places, as Isa. 44:21, 24, 26; 49:22, 23; 65:9; 66:20, 22; Jer. 3:18; 23:5; 50:19, 20; Nahum 1:15; Mal. 3:4.

In these passages the Lord's advent is treated of, and that this [establishment of the Jews] will then come to pass.

But the contrary is declared in many other places, of which this passage only shall be adduced:

I will hide My face from them, I will see what their latter end shall be, for they are a generation of perversions, sons in whom is no faithfulness. I said, I will cast them into outermost corners, I will make the remembrance of them to cease from man, for they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there understanding in them; their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall; their clusters are of bitternesses; their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps. Is not this hidden with Me, sealed up among My treasures? To Me belongeth vengeance and retribution (Deut. 32:20-35).

It is of that same nation that these things are said. And things of the same purport are said elsewhere, as in Isa. 3:1-2, 8; 5:3, 6; Deut. 9:5-6; Matt. 12:39; 23:27-28; John 8:44; and in Jeremiah and Ezekiel throughout.

These passages which seem contradictory will however from doctrine be seen to accord, for this teaches that in the Word "Israel" and "Judah" do not mean Israel and Judah, but the church in both senses, in one that it is devastated, in the other that it is to be set up anew by the Lord.

Other things like these exist in the Word, from which it plainly appears that

(Doctrine of Sacred Scripture 51)

September 17, 2016

Conscience - The Plane and Receptacle of the Influx of Heaven

Selection from New Jerusalem and It's Heavenly Doctrine  ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Conscience is formed with man from the religious principle in which he is, according to its reception inwardly in himself.

Conscience, with the man of the church, is formed by the truths of faith from the Word, or from doctrine out of the Word, according to their reception in the heart; for when man knows the truths of faith, and comprehends them in his own manner, and then wills them and does them, he then acquires conscience. Reception in the heart is reception in the will, for the will of man is what is called the heart. Hence it is that they who have conscience, speak from the heart the things which they speak, and do from the heart the things which they do. They have also an undivided mind, for they act according to that which they understand and believe to be true and good.

A more perfect conscience can be given with those who are enlightened in the truths of faith more than others, and who are in a clear perception above others, than with those who are less enlightened, and are in obscure perception.

In a true conscience is man's spiritual life itself, for there his faith is conjoined to charity. On which account to act from conscience is to them to act from their spiritual life; and to act against conscience is to them to act contrary to that life of theirs. Hence it is that they are in the tranquility of peace, and in internal happiness, when they act according to conscience, and in in-tranquility and pain, when they act against it. This pain is what is called remorse of conscience.

Man has a conscience of what is good, and a conscience of what is just. The conscience of what is good is the conscience of the internal man, and the conscience of what is just is the conscience of the external man. The conscience of what is good consists in acting according to the precepts of faith from internal affection; but the conscience of what is just consists in acting according to civil and moral laws from external affection. They who have the conscience of what is good, have also the conscience of what is just; but they who have only the conscience of what is just, are in a faculty of receiving the conscience of what is good; and they also do receive it when they are instructed.

Conscience, with those who are in charity towards the neighbor, is the conscience of truth, because it is formed by the faith of truth; but with those who are in love to the Lord, it is the conscience of good, because it is formed by the love of truth. The conscience of these is a superior conscience, and is called the perception of truth from good. They who have the conscience of truth, are of the Lord's spiritual kingdom; but they who have the superior conscience, which is called perception, are of the Lord's celestial kingdom.

But let examples illustrate what conscience is. He who has possession of another man's goods, whilst the other is ignorant of it, and thus can retain them without fear of the law, or of the loss of honor and reputation, and he still restores them to the other, because they are not his own, he has conscience, for he does what is good for the sake of what is good, and what is just for the sake of what is just. Again, if anyone can obtain an office, but knows that another, who also desires it, would be more useful to his country, and gives way to the other for the sake of the good of his country, he has a good conscience. So in other cases.

From these instances it may be concluded, what quality they are of who have not conscience; they are known from the opposite. Thus, they who for the sake of any gain make what is unjust appear as just, and what is evil appear as good, and vice versa, have not conscience. Neither do they know what conscience is, and if they are instructed what it is, they do not believe; and some are not willing to know. Such are those who do all things for the sake of themselves and the world.

They who have not received conscience in the world, cannot receive it in the other life; thus they cannot be saved. The reason is, because they have no plane into which heaven, that is, the Lord through heaven, may flow in, and by which He may operate, and lead them to Himself. For conscience is the plane and receptacle of the influx of heaven.

(New Jerusalem and Heavenly Doctrine 130-138)

September 16, 2016

Two Suns - The Sun of the Spiritual World and The Sun of the Natural World

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The whole world, with each and every thing in it, came into existence and continues to exist from the Lord the Creator of the universe. There are two suns, the sun of the spiritual world and the sun of the natural world. The sun of the spiritual world is the Lord's Divine love, the sun of the natural world is pure fire. From the sun that is the Divine love every work of creation has begun, and by means of the sun that is fire it has been carried to completion.

Everything that proceeds from the sun that is the Divine love is called spiritual, and everything that proceeds from the sun that is fire is called natural. The spiritual from its origin has life in itself, but the natural from its origin has nothing of life in itself. And because from these two fountains of the universe all things that are in both worlds have come into existence and continue to exist, it follows that there is in every created thing in this world a spiritual and a natural, a spiritual as its soul and a natural as its body, or a spiritual as its internal and a natural as its external; or a spiritual as the cause and a natural as the effect. That these two in any particular thing cannot be separated every wise person knows, for if you separate cause from effect or the internal from the external, the effect or the external goes to pieces, as when the soul is separated from the body.

That there is such a conjunction in the particular and even in the most particular things of nature has not yet been known. It has not been known because of the existing ignorance respecting the spiritual world, the sun there, and heat and light there, and because of the insanity of sensual men in ascribing all things to nature, and rarely anything to God except creation in general; and yet not the least thing is possible or can be possible in nature in which there is not a spiritual. That this spiritual is in each and every thing of the three kingdoms of nature ...

(Apocalypse Explained 1197:2-4)

September 14, 2016

What is Spiritual is Distinct from What is Natural

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There are three things which succeed one another in heaven, and which, in order that they may be conceived distinctly, are to be called by their names, which are "celestial," "spiritual," and "natural."  These three proceed there in order, one from another, and by the influx of one into the next successively they are connected together, and thereby make a one. The Divine of the Lord in the heavens, from the difference of its reception, is called by these names.
The successives in heaven - Most of the learned at this day have no other idea of successives, than as of what is continuous, or as of that which coheres by continuity. As they have this idea of the succession of things, they cannot conceive the nature of the distinction between the exteriors and interiors of man, nor consequently between the body and the spirit of man; and therefore when they think about them from these ideas, they cannot possibly understand that after the dispersion or death of the body, the spirit also is able to live under a human form.

But successives are not connected continuously, but discretely, that is, distinctly according to degrees; for interior things are wholly distinct from exterior, insomuch that exterior things can be separated, and yet the interior things still continue in their life. This is the reason why man can be withdrawn from the body and think in his spirit; or according to the form of speaking used by the ancients, can be withdrawn from sensuous, and raised toward interior things. The ancients also knew that when man is withdrawn from the sensuous things that belong to the body, he is withdrawn or raised into the light of his spirit, thus into the light of heaven. Hence also the learned ancients knew that when the body was dispersed, they would live an interior life which they called their spirit; and as they regarded that life as the very human life itself, they also knew from this that they should live under the human form. Such was the idea which they had of the soul of man; and as that life was akin to life Divine, they hence perceived that their soul was immortal; for they knew that that part of man which was akin to life Divine, and thus conjoined with it, could not possibly die.

But after those ancient times this idea of the soul and of the spirit of man disappeared, by reason, as said above, of the want of a just idea of successives. Hence also it is, that they who think from modern learning do not know that there is what is spiritual, and that this is distinct from what is natural. For they who have an idea of successives as of what is continuous, cannot conceive of the spiritual otherwise than as of a purer natural, when yet they are as distinct from each other as are the prior and the posterior, thus as that which begets and that which is begotten. From this it is that the distinction between the internal or spiritual man, and the external or natural, thus between man's internal thought and will, and his external thought and will, is not apprehended by such learned men. Hence neither can they comprehend anything of faith and love, of heaven and hell, and of the life of man after death.

But they who have a just and distinct idea of successives are able in some degree to comprehend that with a man who is being regenerated the interiors are successively opened, and that as they are opened they are also raised into interior light and life, and nearer to the Divine; and that this opening and consequent elevation is effected by means of truths Divine, which are vessels recipient of the good of love from the Divine. The good of love is that which immediately conjoins man with the Divine, for love is spiritual conjunction. Hence it follows that man can thus be more and more interiorly opened and raised in proportion as he is in the good of love from the Divine; and that conversely there is no opening and consequent elevation with the man who does not receive truths Divine; as is the case if a man is in evil.

(Arcana Coelestia 10099)

September 9, 2016

A Life According to Truths Divine

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Whether you say charity toward the neighbor, or truth from good, it is the same thing, because those who are in charity are in the life of truth, and a life of truth, that is, a life according to truths Divine, is charity.
(Arcana Coelestia 10485)

September 8, 2016

The Church of the Lord is not Here, nor There

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Those Who are of the Spiritual Church, Who are in Faith Conjoined with Charity
They who are of this church are in this faith both as to doctrine and as to life. The good of faith, or charity, is the essential, thus is in the first place, with those who are of the genuine spiritual church; whereas with those with whom faith is separate from its good, both as to doctrine and as to life, the truth of faith, or faith itself, is the essential, or in the first place. These do not belong to this church, for the life makes the church; but not doctrine, except insofar as it becomes of the life. For this reason it is plain that the church of the Lord is not here, nor there, but that it is everywhere, both within those kingdoms where the church is, and out of them, where men live according to the precepts of charity. Hence it is that the church of the Lord is scattered through the whole world, and yet that it is a one; for when the life makes the church, and not doctrine separate from life, then the church is a one; but when doctrine makes the church, then there are many.
(Arcana Coelestia 8152)

September 7, 2016

What Charity Is, and What Faith Is

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
What Charity is, and what Faith is, with man, must now be told. Charity is an internal affection which consists in a heartfelt desire to do the neighbor good, and in this being the delight of life; and this without any reward.

On the other hand, Faith is an internal affection which consists in a heartfelt desire to know what is true and what is good, and this not for the sake of doctrine as the end in view, but for the sake of life. This affection conjoins itself with the affection of charity through the desire to do according to the truth, thus to do the truth itself.

They who are in the genuine affection of charity and faith believe that from themselves they do not desire anything good, and that from themselves they do not understand anything true; but that the will of good and the understanding of truth are from the Lord.

This then is charity, and this is faith. They who are in these have within them the kingdom of the Lord and heaven, and within them is the church; and these are they who have been regenerated by the Lord, and from Him have received a new will and a new understanding.

They who have the love of self or the love of the world as the end in view, cannot possibly be in charity and faith. They who are in these loves do not even know what charity is, and what faith is, and do not at all comprehend that to will good to the neighbor without any reward is heaven in man, and that in this affection there is happiness as great as is that of the angels, which is unutterable; for they believe that if they are deprived of the joy arising from the glory of honors and of wealth all joy ceases to be possible; when yet heavenly joy, which infinitely transcends every other joy, then first begins.

(Arcana Coelestia 8033-8037)

September 4, 2016

The Word in the Purely Spiritual Sense Derives Nothing from the Idea of Time or Space

From Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word in the purely spiritual sense does not derive anything from the idea of time nor from the idea of space, because times and spaces in heaven do indeed appear like times and spaces in the world, but still they are not there; wherefore the angels cannot measure times and spaces, which there are appearances, otherwise than by states, according to their progressions and changes; from which it may appear that in the purely spiritual sense by "quickly" and "at hand" is not meant quickly and near as to time, but quickly and near as to state; this may indeed appear as if it were not so, the reason is because with men, in every idea of their lower thought, which is merely natural, there is something from time and space; but it is otherwise in the ideas of the higher thought, in which men are when they revolve natural, civil, moral, and spiritual things in interior rational light, for then spiritual light, which is abstracted from time and space, flows in and enlightens.

You may experience this and thus be confirmed, if you will, by only attending to your thoughts; when you will also be convinced that thought is higher and lower, inasmuch as simple thought cannot survey itself, except from some higher thought; and if man did not have a higher and a lower thought, he would not be a man but a brute.

(Apocalypse Revealed 947:2)