February 29, 2016

The Forces of Combat - Hope and Trust

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All temptations appear evil, for the reason that they are interior anxieties and griefs, and as it were damnations; for the man is then let into the state of his evils, consequently among evil spirits, who accuse him, and thus torment the conscience; nevertheless the angels defend him, that is, the Lord through angels, for the Lord keeps him in hope and trust, which are the forces of combat from within whereby he resists. Especially is the natural let into temptations when it is receiving the spiritual, because in the natural reside evils of life and falsities of doctrine.
(Arcana Coelestia 6097)

February 28, 2016

A New Will Formed - The Conscience

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; (Genesis 9:9)

That this signifies the presence of the Lord in charity, is evident from the signification of "covenant" ...  a "covenant" signifies regeneration, and indeed the conjunction of the Lord with the regenerate man by love; and that the heavenly marriage is that veriest covenant itself, and consequently so is the heavenly marriage with every regenerate man. ...

With the man of the Most Ancient Church the heavenly marriage was in the Own of his will part [proprio voluntario], but with the man of the Ancient Church the heavenly marriage was effected in the Own of his intellectual part [proprio intellectuali].

For when man's will part had become wholly corrupt, the Lord miraculously separated the Own of his intellectual part from that corrupt Own of his will part, and in the Own of his intellectual part He formed a new will, which is conscience, and into the conscience insinuated charity, and into the charity innocence, and thus conjoined Himself with man, or what is the same, made a covenant with him. So far as the Own of man's will part can be separated from this Own of the intellectual part, the Lord can be present with him, or conjoin Himself, or enter into a covenant with him.

Temptations and the like means of regeneration cause the Own of man's will part to be quiescent, to become as nothing, and as it were to die. So far as this is done the Lord through conscience implanted in the Own of man's intellectual part can work in charity. And this is what is here called a "covenant."

(Arcana Coelestia 1023)

February 25, 2016

It Is Good Which Sets Truths In Order

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And they sat before him, the firstborn according to his birthright, and the youngest according to his youth: and the men marvelled one at another. (Gen 43:33)
That this signifies according to the order of truths under good, is evident from the signification of "sitting according to birthright and according to youth," as being according to the order of truths under good; for the sons of Israel represent the truths of the church in their order ... and therefore to sit "according to their birth" is according to the order of truths. But the truths of the church which the sons of Israel represent do not come into any order except through Christian good, that is, through the good of charity toward the neighbor and of love to the Lord; for in good there is the Lord, and hence in good there is heaven; consequently in good there is life, thus living active force; but never in truth without good.

That good sets truths in order after its own likeness is very manifest from every love, even from the loves of self and of the world, thus from the love of revenge, of hatred, and of the like evils. They who are in these evils call evil good, because to them evil is delightful. This so-called good of theirs sets in order the falsities which to them are truths, so that they may favor it, and at last sets all these falsities which they call truths in such an order as to effect persuasion. But this order is such as is the order in hell; whereas the order of truths under the good of celestial love is such as is the order in the heavens; and from this the man who has such order within him, that is, who has been regenerated, is called a little heaven, and moreover is a heaven in the least form, for his interiors correspond to the heavens.

That it is good which sets truths in order is evident from the order in the heavens.

There all the societies are set in order according to the truths under good which are from the Lord; for the Lord is nothing but Divine good; Divine truth is not in the Lord, but proceeds from Him; and according to this Divine truth under Divine good are all the societies in the heavens set in order.

That the Lord is nothing but Divine good, and that Divine truth is not in Him, but proceeds from Him, may be illustrated by comparison with the sun of the world. The sun is nothing but fire, and light is not in it, but proceeds from it; and likewise the things that are of light in the world, such as vegetable forms, are set in order by the heat which proceeds from the sun's fire and is in its light, as is evident in the time of spring and summer. As universal nature is a theater representative of the Lord's kingdom, so also is this universal. The sun represents the Lord, the fire of it His Divine love, and the heat from it the good which flows therefrom, and the light the truths which are of faith; and because they are representative, therefore in the Word in the spiritual sense by the "sun" is meant the Lord ... and by "fire" love ... thus the sun's fire is representatively the Divine love, and the heat from it is good from the Divine love. ...

(Arcana Coelestia 5704)

February 22, 2016

Influx is According to Efflux

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it  (Matthew 7:15-27)

The two faculties with man from the Lord that are inviolable – freedom and rationality – the freedom to act according to reason; yet these two faculties can be abused by man. 

The good which continually flows in from the Lord with man, does not perish except by evils and the derivative falsities, and by falsities and the derivative evils. For as soon as this good, continuous through the internal man, comes to the external or natural man, it is met by evil and falsity, by which the good is torn in pieces and extinguished in various ways as by wild beasts. By this the influx of good through the internal man is checked and stayed, and consequently the inner mind, through which is the influx, is closed, and only so much of the spiritual is admitted through it as to enable the natural man to reason and speak, but this only from earthly, bodily, and worldly things, and indeed contrary to good and truth, or in accordance with them from pretense or deceit. It is a universal law that influx adjusts itself according to efflux, and if efflux is checked influx is checked. Through the internal man there is an influx of good and truth from the Lord, and through the external there must be an efflux, namely into the life, that is, in the exercise of charity. When there is this efflux then there is continual influx from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord; whereas if there is no efflux, but resistance in the external or natural man (that is, evil and falsity which tear to pieces and extinguish the inflowing good), it follows from the universal law just mentioned that the influx adjusts itself to the efflux, consequently that the influx of good draws back, and thereby the internal through which is the influx is closed; and through this closing there comes stupidity in spiritual things, even until the man who is such neither knows nor is willing to know anything about eternal life, and at last becomes insane, so that he opposes falsities against truths, calling them truths and the truths falsities, and evils against goods, making them goods and the goods evil. Thus he tears good completely to pieces.”  (Arcana Coelestia 5828:2-3)

For there to be a church ‘in man’ there must be what is internal and external, a higher mind and a lower mind which are concordant, discussed in the passage from True Christian Religion 595.  The Lord does not allow anything to be divided; consequently it must be in good and also in truth, or it must be in evil and also in falsity.  (Divine Providence 16) The passage goes on to say: But inasmuch as man can be, while he is living in the world, in good and in falsity at the same time, also in evil and in truth at the same time, and even in evil and in good at the same time, and thus be as it were a double man, and inasmuch as this division destroys that image, and thereby destroys the man, the Lord's Divine providence, in each and every particular of it, has as its end that this division shall not be. It is this conflict between these two minds that is discussed in the passage in True Christian Religion 596, which is defined as spiritual temptation.  However, before spiritual temptation can occur with anyone, the higher mind has to be reformed and regenerated; a conscience insinuated by the Lord through remains (those things that survived while the lower mind dominated by hereditary evils); for until that (higher mind) is enlightened by the Lord there is no reformation, thus no church with man. (Apocalypse Explained 527)

Conscience is not the nagging little voice of the lower mind that the words or actions we have engaged are wrong; conscience is the illumination and what has been received by the higher mind shinning down on the lower mind, recognizing how depraved and out of order it is.  This is spiritual temptation; the war between the higher mind’s will and thought and the lower mind’s will and thought.

We recall the great temptation Peter faced at the judgment hall when He denied the Lord three times.  Jesus had told Peter when he argued about his feet being washed, ‘you have no part with Me’ unless the lower mind be purified and agree with the higher mind (which the Lord had made clear to Peter that the higher mind, its will and thought was in order - He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean … John 13:10).  There is going to be a struggle and without it and victory in it – spiritual temptation – there is no regeneration.  What flows out of a man’s life in words and actions, (efflux), must not only represent, but also agree with the reformed and regenerated internal, and this is achieved with man speaking and acting as if of self and shunning evil heredity and evils acquired as sin against God (it is the lower mind from which we speak and act – for every word we speak and every deed we do is derived of the lower mind – everyone speaks and everyone does).  Though the higher mind has will and thought from doctrine, it is abused when the will and thought of the lower mind, from which we act and speak has the dominion, e.g., the universal law of influx – Influx is according to efflux.

For man to sit back and do nothing, not participating in the affairs of life, with his hands hanging down awaiting influx, is a sure bet that thorns and thistles will be what dominates the lower mind – what flows in will be turned into evils and falsities, resulting in like deeds in his outward life.  Doing nothing is his deed!  Therefore, it is incumbent that the lower mind be cultivated (brought into correspondence with the higher mind) to receive from the higher mind in order to bring forth in the lower mind the speaking and actions of genuine goods and truths (Hebrews 6:7,8)

“… we would not be human if it did not seem to us that we lived on our own and that we therefore thought, intended, spoke, and acted on our own [DP 71-99, 174, 176]. It follows from this that unless we seemed to be managing everything that has to do with our occupations and our lives by our own prudence, we could not be led and managed by divine providence. It would be as though we stood there with our hands hanging limp, mouths open, eyes closed, holding our breath and waiting for something to flow into us.  In this way we would divest ourselves of everything human, which we get from the sense and feeling that we live, think, intend, speak, and act on our own; and as we did so, we would also divest ourselves of those two abilities called freedom and rationality by which we are differentiated from animals. Earlier in this work [Divine Providence] and also in Divine Love and Wisdom I have explained that if it were not for this appearance we would be incapable of receptivity and reciprocity, and therefore of immortality.

[2] So if you want to be led by divine providence, use your prudence as a servant and employee who faithfully manages the employer's assets. Prudence is the "talent" that was given to servants for business purposes, with an accounting required (Luke 19:13-25 [19:12-25]; Matthew 25:14-31).  [I might note here: it is not an egalitarian principle that is applied, but each received according to their several ability, that ability being their manner of life, their efflux.]

Prudence itself seems to be something we possess, and we believe that it is, as long as we keep that deadliest enemy of God and divine providence, love for ourselves, shut in. It lives in the depths of each one of us from birth. If we do not recognize it--and it does not want to be recognized--then it lives in perfect safety and guards the door to prevent us from opening it so the Lord can evict it.

We open the door by abstaining from evils as sins, apparently on our own, but admitting that it is being done by the Lord. This is the kind of prudence with which the divine providence can cooperate. (Divine Providence 210)

What use would all these passages be, if a person were to stand with his hands hanging down like a carved puppet fitted with movable joints, and wait for God to act upon him? It is what we SPEAK AND DO in this earth (from the lower mind) as if of self, knowing that the sap from the vine by contiguity with the branch that has been grafted in bears the fruit (usefulness).  As stated above, ‘influx adjusts itself to the efflux.’

The present state of our world and it’s moral depraved condition in which it has drifted, in part, is due to the so called Christian’s unwillingness to struggle to bring the earth (his lower mind), from which fruit is born, from which every word and deed is done, into correspondence with the revelation of the three-fold Word.  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. (See Matthew 5:13-27)

The first heaven, the church on earth, is the heart and lungs for the surrounding viscera and organs of the world.  Therefore, as a church, we should be the light of the world and not bury it in a napkin or hide it under a bushel.  We should be activist toward right order and not think that right order will autonomously occur without our participation.  But right order can only be known from revelation of God’s eternal purpose (Sacred Scriptures 115); otherwise, self from self will try to fix itself with an external pretense or deceit of moral life and Christianity – the result will be a kingdom divided against itself which will surely fall.  (Matthew 12:25-37)  However, when the internal (higher mind) is first established in the revelation of the first principle of why creation – an angelic heaven from the human race - it will bind the strong man of the external (lower mind) and spoil his goods, when we as if of self cooperate; for influx is according to efflux.

[Passages from KJV Bible, Arcana Coelestia, Apocalypse Explained, Divine Providence, Sacred Scriptures, True Christian Religion]

Reception is According to the Form of the Receiving Vessel

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The influx from the spiritual world into man is in general of such a nature that man cannot think or will anything of himself, but everything flows in; good and truth from the Lord through heaven, thus through the angels who are with the man; evil and falsity from hell, thus through the evil spirits who are with the man; and this into the man's thought and will. This I know will appear a very great paradox because it is contrary to the appearance; but experience itself shall declare how the matter stands.

No man, spirit, or angel ever has any life from himself, thus neither can he think and will from himself; because in thinking and willing is the life of man, and speaking and acting is the life thence derived. For there is one only life, that of the Lord, which flows into all, but is variously received, and indeed according to the quality which a man has induced on his soul by his life. Hence with the evil, goods and truths are turned into evils and falsities, but with the good they are received - goods as goods, and truths as truths. This may be compared to the light of the sun flowing into objects, which is modified and varied in them diversely according to the form of the parts, and thus is turned into colors, some sad and some cheerful. While a man lives in the world he induces a form on the purest substances of his interiors, so that it may be said that he forms his soul, that is, its quality; and according to this form is received the life of the Lord, which is the life of His love toward the universal human race.

(Arcana Coelestia 5846,5847)

February 21, 2016

The One That Conquers Rules

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

A follow up to Article - Gold Is Still Gold
Whether It Flashes Before The Fire or
Has Its Surface Blackened By The Smoke


A conflict then arises because the internal man is reformed by means of truths; and from truths he sees what is evil and false, which evil and falsity are still in the external or natural man; consequently disagreement first springs up between the new will, which is above, and the old will, which is below; and as the disagreement is between the two wills, it is also between their delights; for the flesh, it is well known, is opposed to the spirit and the spirit to the flesh, and the flesh with its lusts must be subdued before the spirit can act and man become new. After this disagreement of the two wills a conflict arises; and this is called spiritual temptation. This temptation or conflict does not take place between goods and evils, but between the truths of good and the falsities of evil. For good cannot fight from itself but fights by means of truths; nor can evil fight from itself but by means of its falsities; just as the will cannot fight from itself but by means of the understanding where its truths reside.

Man is not sensible of that conflict except as in himself, and as remorse of conscience; and yet it is the Lord and the devil (that is, hell) that are fighting in man, and they are fighting for dominion over him, or to determine who shall possess him. The devil or hell attacks man and calls out his evils, while the Lord protects him and calls out his goods. Although that conflict takes place in the spiritual world, still it takes place in man between the truths of good and the falsities of evil that are in him; therefore man must fight wholly as if of himself, for he has the freedom of choice to act for the Lord, and also to act for the devil; he is for the Lord, if he abides in truths from good, and for the devil, if he abides in falsities from evil. From this it follows that whichever conquers, the internal man or the external, that one rules over the other; precisely like two hostile powers contending as to which shall be master of the other's kingdom-the conqueror takes possession of the kingdom, and places all in it under obedience to himself. In this case, therefore, if the internal man conquers, he obtains dominion and subjugates all the evils of the external man, and regeneration then goes on; but if the external man conquers, he obtains the dominion, and dissipates all the goods of the internal man, and regeneration perishes.

(True Christian Religion 596)

February 19, 2016

Gold Is Still Gold, Whether It Flashes Before The Fire Or Has Its Surface Blackened By The Smoke

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In every created thing in the world, whether living or dead, there is an internal and an external; one never exists without the other, as there is no effect without a cause; and every created thing is esteemed according to its internal goodness, or is deemed base if internally malignant, as external goodness is when within it there is internal malignity. Every wise man in the world and every angel in heaven so judges. But the nature of the unregenerate man and of the regenerate, may be illustrated by comparisons.

The unregenerate man who simulates a moral citizen or a Christian, may be likened to a corpse wrapped in aromatics, which nevertheless exhales a putrid odor that infects the aromatics, insinuates itself into the nostrils, and injures the brain. He may also be likened to a mummy, gilded or placed in a silver coffin, upon looking beneath the covering of which a hideously black body comes to view.

Again, he may be likened to bones or skeletons in a sepulchre that is adorned with lapis lazuli and other gems; also to the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, but whose internal was nevertheless infernal (Luke 16:19). Still again he may be likened to sweet-tasting poison, to a poison hemlock in flower, to fruit with a bright skin, but inwardly worm-eaten, and also to an ulcer covered first with a plaster and then with a thin skin, but with nothing within but foul matter. In the world only those who have no internal goodness, and who therefore judge by the appearance, can estimate the internal by the external; but in heaven it is otherwise. For when the body which is moveable about the spirit and easily directed from evil to good, is separated by death, the internal remains, for this constitutes the man's spirit; and then at a distance he looks like a serpent that has shed his skin, or like rotten wood stripped of its bark or covering in which it looked so well.

But with the regenerate man it is different. His internal is good, and his external resembles the external of the other. And yet his external differs from that of the unregenerate as heaven differs from hell, since the soul of good is in it, and it matters not to him whether he is a great man, who dwells in a palace, and goes surrounded by attendants, or lives in a cottage and is waited upon by a boy; or even whether he is a primate clad in a purple robe and wearing the cap of his rank, or the shepherd of a few sheep in a wood, clothed in a loose rustic frock and wearing a little cap on his head.

Gold is still gold, whether it flashes before the fire or has its surface blackened by the smoke; whether it is melted into a beautiful form like that of an infant, or into an ugly one like that of a mouse. Mice made of gold and placed beside the ark, were acceptable and pleasing (1 Sam. 6:3-5); for gold signifies internal good. Diamonds and rubies obtained from whatever matrix, lime or clay, are in like manner esteemed according to their internal goodness, the same as those in the necklace of a queen; and so on. From all this it is clear that the external is estimated from the internal, and not the reverse.

(True Christian Religion 595)

February 16, 2016

Profaning What Is Holy

Excerpt from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... it is the inner level from which the outer level arises and that the outer level therefore derives its essence from the inner level ...

When our inner nature is essentially hellish ... and our outer nature seems spiritual in its form, though ... the outer derives its essence from the inner, you may ask where that essence is hiding in the outer. It is not in our gestures, our tone of voice, our language, or our expression. However, it is still hidden in all four of these. What is hidden shows through them very clearly in the spiritual world, because when we move from this physical world into the spiritual world, which happens when we die, then we leave behind those outward appearances along with our bodies, but keep the inner qualities that were hidden away in our spirits. Then if that inner nature was hellish, we look like demons just as we were in spirit while we were living in this world. Surely everyone realizes that we all leave those outward things behind along with our bodies and become engaged with deeper things when we become spirits.

... in the spiritual world there is a sharing of feelings and consequent thoughts, which means that none of us can say anything except what we are actually thinking. Also, our faces change there and become images of our feelings, so others can see from our faces what we are really like. Hypocrites are sometimes allowed to say what they are not thinking, but their tone of voice sounds discordant because of their deeper thoughts, and they can be recognized by this discord. So we can tell that the inner nature is hidden within the tone, the language, the expression, and the gestures of the outer, and that while people in the physical world are not sensitive to this, it is obvious to angels in the spiritual world.

We can see from this that as long as we are living in this physical world, we can be let into wisdom about spiritual matters and even into a love for them, and that this does and can happen both to people who are completely earthly-minded as well as to people who are spiritual. The difference is, though, that the latter are reformed when this happens, while the former are not. It may seem as though they love wisdom, but they love it only the way an adulterer loves a fine woman--like a prostitute. He talks soothingly to her and gives her beautiful clothes, but privately he is thinking, "She is nothing but a worthless whore. I will get her to believe that I love her, because she takes my fancy, but if she does not take to me, then I will discard her." The inner self is the adulterer, and the outer self is the woman.

If we then backslide from wisdom and love and go against them, we profane what is holy. There are many kinds of profanation of what is holy ... This is the worst of all, though, because people who commit this kind of profanation are no longer human after death. They are alive, but they are trapped in their wild hallucinations. ....

In this world, people do not know that this is what happens after death to individuals who commit profanation; and they do not know this because they do not understand the reason for it. The real reason is that if we acknowledge divine things and believe them at first and then backslide and deny them, we mix what is holy with what is profane; and once they have been mixed together, the only way they can be separated results in complete destruction.

    (a) Everything we willingly think and say and do becomes part of us and remains so, whether it is good or evil.
    (b) The Lord is constantly using his divine providence to make provisions and arrangements so that what is evil will be by itself and what is good by itself, and so that they can be kept separate.
    (c) However, this cannot be accomplished if we first acknowledge the truths that faith discloses and live by them and afterwards backslide and deny them.
    (d) Then we mingle what is good and what is evil so completely that they cannot be separated.
    (e) Since what is good and what is evil need to be separated in each one of us, and since they cannot be separated in people like this, everything truly human about them is destroyed.
(Divine Providence 224 - 226)

February 14, 2016

A Holy Emanation From The Lord's Divine Human

From Arcana Coelestia  ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... the Lord's Divine Spiritual, or the Divine truth, which in the supreme sense is represented by Joseph, it is not in the Lord, but is from the Lord; for the Lord is nothing but Divine good; but the Divine truth proceeds from the Divine good.

To speak comparatively, this is like the sun and its light; the light is not in the sun, but proceeds from it; or it is like a fire, the light of which is not in the fire, but proceeds from the fire. The Divine good itself is also compared in the Word to the "sun," and to "fire," and is likewise called the "sun" and "fire." The Lord's celestial kingdom lives from the good which proceeds from the Lord; but His spiritual kingdom from the truth thence derived; and therefore in the other life the Lord appears to the celestial as a sun; but to the spiritual as a moon. Both heat and light proceed from the sun, the heat being - to speak comparatively - the good of love, which is also called celestial and spiritual heat; and the light, the truth thence derived, which is also called spiritual light. But within the celestial heat and spiritual light that in the other life proceed from the Lord as a sun, there are the good of love and the truth of faith, thus wisdom and intelligence; for all that which proceeds from the Lord is living.

From this we can see what the Divine Spiritual is; and whence comes the spiritual kingdom, and the celestial kingdom; and that the spiritual kingdom is the good of faith, that is, charity, which flows in from the Lord immediately, and also mediately through the celestial kingdom.

The Divine Spiritual that proceeds from the Lord is called in the Word the "spirit of truth," and is holy truth; not being of any spirit, but of the Lord through a spirit sent by Him; as may be seen from the words of the Lord Himself in John:

When He, the Spirit of Truth shall come, He will guide you into all the truth; for He shall not speak from Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, these shall He speak; and He shall declare unto you the things that are to come. He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall declare it unto you (John 16:13-14).

... the truths which become the truths of faith with a person have their origin in good, and also because what emanates from the Lord's Divine Human is Divine Truth originating in Divine Good. That being so, the Holy Spirit is a holy influence emanating from the Lord; the actual Spirit does not emanate from Him but the holy utterances made by the Spirit, as anyone may see who gives thought to the matter. The fact that the Holy Spirit, also referred to as the Paraclete, is Divine Truth emanating from the Lord's Divine Human, and the fact that the word 'holy' is used in reference to Divine Truth, is clear from the Lord's words in John,

I will ask the Father to give you another Paraclete, to remain with you forever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. The Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and remind you of all that I said to you. John 14:16, 17, 26.

In the same gospel,

When the Paraclete comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes forth from the Father, He will bear witness to Me. John 15:26.

And in the same gospel,

When He the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak from Himself, but whatever He hears He will speak. He will glorify Me, for He will receive from what is Mine and declare It to you; all things whatever that the Father has are Mine, therefore I said that He will receive from what is Mine and declare it to you. John 16:13-15.

If one compares these places with very many others one may understand that the Holy Spirit is a holy emanation from the Lord's Divine Human, for the Lord says, 'Whom the Father will send in My name', also 'Whom I shall send to you from the Father', as well as 'He will receive from what is Mine and declare it to you; all things whatever that the Father has are Mine, therefore I said that He will receive from what is Mine and declare it to you'. It is also evident that the word 'holy' is used in reference to truth because the Paraclete is called 'the Spirit of truth'.

(Arcana Coelestia 3969:16,17: 6788)

February 12, 2016

Temptation as to Truth vs Natural Anxieties

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Temptation itself is nothing else than a wrestling or combat; for truth is assaulted by evil spirits and is defended by the angels who are with the man. The perception of this combat by the man is the temptation.

But no temptation can take place unless the man is in the good of truth, that is, in the love or affection of it.

For he who does not love his truth, or is not affected by it, cares nothing for it; but he who loves it is in anxiety lest it should suffer injury.
Nothing else produces the understanding life of man except that which he believes to be true, nor his will life except that which he has impressed upon himself as being good; and therefore when that is assaulted which he believes to be true, the life of his understanding is assaulted; and when that which he has impressed upon himself as being good is assaulted, the life of his will is assaulted; so that when a man is being tempted, his life is at stake.

That the first of combat is as to truth, or concerning truth, is because this is what he principally loves, and that which is of anyone's love is that which is assaulted by evil spirits; but after the man loves good more than truth, which takes place when the order is being inverted, he is tempted as to good.

But what temptation is few know, because at this day few undergo any temptation, for no others can be tempted than those who are in the good of faith, that is, in charity toward the neighbor. If they who are not in this charity were to be tempted, they would succumb at once; and they who succumb come into the confirmation of evil and the persuasion of falsity; for the evil spirits with whom they are thus associated then conquer within them. This is the reason why at this day few are admitted into any spiritual temptation, but only into some natural anxieties, in order that they may thereby be withdrawn from the loves of self and of the world, into which they would otherwise rush without restraint.

(Arcana Coelestia 4274)

February 10, 2016

Making the Commandments the Principle of One's Religion

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Religion with man consists in a life according to the Divine commandments, which are contained in a summary in the Decalogue. He that does not live according to these can have no religion, since he does not fear God, still less does he love God; nor does he fear man, still less does he love him. Can one who steals, commits adultery, kills, bears false witness, fear God or man? Nevertheless everyone is able to live according to these commandments; and he who is wise does so live as a civil man, as a moral man, and as a natural man. And yet he who does not live according to them as a spiritual man cannot he saved; since to live according to them as a spiritual man means to so live for the sake of the Divine that is in them, while to live according to them as a civil man means for the sake of justice and to escape punishments in the world; and to live according to them as a moral man means for the sake of honesty, and to escape the loss of reputation and honor; while to live according to them as a natural man means for the sake of what is human, and to escape the repute of having an unsound mind.

All laws, civil, moral, and natural, prescribe that one must not steal, must not commit adultery, must not kill, must not bear false witness; and yet a man is not saved by shunning these evils from these laws alone, unless he also shuns them from spiritual law, thus unless he shuns them as sins. For with such a man there is religion, and a belief that there is a God, a heaven and a hell, and a life after death; with such a man there is a civil life, a moral life, and a natural life; a civil life because there is justice, a moral life because there is honesty, and a natural life because there is manhood. But he who does not live according to these commandments as a spiritual man is neither a civil man, nor a moral man, nor a natural man; for he is destitute of justice, of honesty, and even of manhood, since the Divine is not in these. For there can be nothing good in and from itself, but only from God; so there can be nothing just, nothing truly honest or truly human in itself and from itself, but only from God, and only when the Divine is in it.

Consider whether anyone that has hell in him, or who is a devil, can do what is just from justice or for the sake of justice; in like manner what is honest, or what is truly human. The truly human is what is from order and according to order, and what is from sound reason; and God is order, and sound reason is from God. In a word, he who does not shun evils as sins is not a man. Everyone who makes these commandments the principles of his religion becomes a citizen and an inhabitant of heaven; but he who does not make them the principles of his religion, although in externals he may live according to them from natural, moral, and civil law, becomes a citizen and an inhabitant of the world, but not of heaven.

Most nations know these commandments, and make them the principles of their religion, and live according to them because God so wills and has commanded. Through this they have communication with heaven and conjunction with God, consequently they also are saved. But most in the Christian world at this day do not make them the principles of their religion, but only of their civil and moral life; and they do this that they may not appear in external form to act fraudulently and make unlawful gains, commit adulteries, manifestly pursue others from deadly hatred and revenge, and bear false witness, and do not refrain from these things because they are sins and against God, but because they have fears for their life, their reputation, their office, their business, their possessions, their honor and gain, and their pleasure; consequently if they were not restrained by these bonds they would do these things. Because, therefore, such form for themselves no communication with heaven or conjunction with the Lord, but only with the world and with self, they cannot be saved.

Consider in respect to yourself, when these external bonds have been taken away, as is done with every man after death, if there are no internal bonds, which are from fear and love of God, thus from religion, to restrain and hold you back, whether you would not rush, like a devil, into thefts, adulteries, murders, false witnesses, and lusts of every kind, from a love of these thus from a delight in them. That this is the case I have both seen and heard.

(Apocalypse Explained 948:4,5)

February 8, 2016

Believing Is Not Merely Acknowledging

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
(John 14:15-23 KJV)

Believing in the Lord is not merely acknowledging Him but also doing His commandments; for simply acknowledging Him is solely a matter of thought, arising from somewhat of the understanding; but doing His commandments is also a matter of acknowledgment from the will.

Man's mind consists of understanding and will; and as the understanding deals with thinking and the will with doing, so when man's acknowledgment is merely from the thought of the understanding he comes to the Lord with only half of his mind; but when there is doing he comes with all of it; and this is to believe. But on the other hand, man is able to divide his heart, and to force the outermost of his nature to soar aloft, the flesh in him meanwhile turning downward; thus he flies like an eagle between heaven and hell. And yet, the man himself does not follow his [upward] look, but the delight of his flesh; and this he does because he is in hell; therefore to hell he flies; and when he has there sacrificed to his voluptuous pleasures and poured out libations to demons, he puts on a countenance of merriment, and his eyes sparkle with fire, and so he feigns himself an angel of light. Such satans do those become after death who acknowledge the Lord but do not keep His commandments.

(True Christian Religion 151)

February 6, 2016

The Joining Together of the Church's Truths and Its Factual Knowledge

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The joining together of the Church's truths
and its factual knowledge
but one needs to know in what way they should become joined
The joining together must not start with factual knowledge which is then used to look into the truths of faith; for a person's factual knowledge comes from sensory impressions, thus from the world, the source of countless illusions. It must start with the truths of faith; that is to say, one should proceed in the following way. First of all one should get to know what the Church teaches; then one should discover from the Word whether such teaching is the truth. For things are true not because they are what leaders of the Church have so declared and their followers uphold. If that were so one would have to say that the teachings of any Church or religion were the truth simply because they are those of a person's native soil and are those into which he was born. Thus not only the teachings of Papists or Quakers would be true but also those of Jews and of Mohammedans too since their Church leaders have so declared and their followers uphold it. From all this it is evident that one should search the Word and there see whether what the Church teaches is the truth. When an affection for truth motivates the search a person receives light from the Lord so that he may discern, though unaware of the source of his enlightenment, what the truth is and may be assured of it in the measure that he is governed by good. But if the truths discerned by him are at variance with the teachings of the Church, let him beware of creating a disturbance in the Church.

Once he has become assured and so affirms from the Word that the Church's teachings are truths of faith, let him then employ any fact he knows, whatever the name or nature of it, to corroborate them. For now that he is thoroughly affirmative in his attitude towards the truth, he welcomes facts that accord with them and casts away those which because of the misconceptions present within them do not accord. The facts are used in support of his faith. No one therefore should be forbidden to search the Scriptures if motivated by a desire to know whether the teachings of the Church in which he was born are true; for in no other way can he ever become enlightened. Nor should he be forbidden after that to use factual knowledge to support his beliefs; but let him not do so before that. This and no other is the way in which the truths of faith should be joined to factual knowledge - not only the facts known to the Church but also any other kinds of facts. But very few at the present day proceed in this way, for the majority of people who read the Word are not motivated by a desire for truth when they read it but by a desire to endorse the teachings of the Church in which they were born, no matter what those teachings may be like.

The Word contains a description of the Lord's kingdom in which the spiritual domain, the domain of reason, and the domain of factual knowledge exist joined together; but in that description names that serve to mean those domains are used - Israel, Asshur, and Egypt.  'Israel' describes the spiritual domain'Asshur' the domain of reason, and 'Egypt' that of factual knowledge, in the following words in Isaiah,

On that day there will be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Jehovah at its border; and it will be for a sign and a witness to Jehovah Zebaoth in the land of Egypt, for they will cry out to Jehovah because of the oppressors, and He will send a saviour and prince to them, and he will deliver them.

And Jehovah will make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians will know Jehovah on that day and will offer sacrifice and oblation, and will make a vow to Jehovah and perform it.

On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Asshur, and Egypt will serve Asshur.*

On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Asshur, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom Jehovah Zebaoth will bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Asshur the work of My hands, and Israel My heritage. (Isa. 19:18-25.)
Anyone may see that in this quotation the country Egypt is not meant, or Asshur, or even Israel, but that some other thing is meant by each of them.
  • 'Israel' is used to mean the spiritual domain of the Church, ...
  • 'Asshur' to mean the domain of reason, ...
  • 'Egypt' to mean the domain of factual knowledge, ...
The existence of the three joined together in the member of the Church is described in the prophet by the words 'there will be a highway from Egypt to Asshur, and Asshur will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Asshur, and Egypt will serve Asshur. On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Asshur, a blessing in the midst of the earth'.
For to be a member of the Church a person must of necessity be a spiritual person, and also a rational one whom factual knowledge will serve.
From all this it may now be evident that factual knowledge should not on any account be cast aside from the truths of faith but should be joined to them. But one should go the primary way, that is, the way that begins with faith, not the secondary way, that is, the one that begins with factual knowledge....
* The Hebrew of this text in Isaiah may be read in two different ways - serve Asshur or serve with Asshur. Most English versions of Isaiah prefer the second of these.
(Arcana Coelestia 6047)

February 4, 2016

The Food of the Man Who Is To Be Regenerated

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Before a man can be regenerated he needs to be furnished with all things that may serve as means - with the goods and delights of the affections as means for the will; and with truths from the Word of the Lord, and also with confirmatory things from other sources, as means for the understanding.
Until a man is furnished with such things he cannot be regenerated; these being for food.
This is the reason why man is not regenerated until he comes to adult age. But each man has his peculiar and as it were his own food, which is provided for him by the Lord before he is regenerated.
(Arcana Coelestia 677)

February 3, 2016

The Two Duties On Man's Part In Repentance

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There are two duties incumbent on man to be done after examination, namely, supplication and confession. The supplication should be that the Lord may be merciful, that He may give power to resist the evils that have been repented of, and that He will provide inclination and affection for doing good,
Since apart from the Lord man can do nothing (John 15:5).
The confession will be that he sees, recognizes, and acknowledges his evils, and finds himself to be a miserable sinner. There is no need for man to enumerate his sins before the Lord, nor to supplicate forgiveness of them. He need not enumerate them, because he has searched them out and seen them in himself, and consequently they are present to the Lord because they are present to himself. Moreover, the Lord led him to search them out, disclosed them, and inspired grief for them, and together with this an effort to refrain from them and begin a new life. Supplication need not be made to the Lord for forgiveness of sins, for the following reasons: First, because sins are not abolished, but removed; and they are removed so far as man continues to refrain from them and enters upon a new life; for there are innumerable lusts inherent, coiled up as it were, in every evil, and they cannot be put away instantly, but only gradually, as man permits himself to be reformed and regenerated. The second reason is, that as the Lord is mercy itself, He forgives all men their sins, nor does He impute a single sin to anyone, for He says, "They know not what they do." Nevertheless, the sins are not thereby taken away; for to Peter asking how often he should forgive his brother's trespasses, whether he should do so seven times, the Lord said:
I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21-22).
What, then, will not the Lord do? Still it does no harm for one burdened in conscience to enumerate his sins before a minister of the church, in order to lighten his burden and obtain absolution; because he is thereby initiated into a habit of examining himself, and reflecting upon each day's evils. But this kind of confession is natural, while that described above is spiritual.
(True Christian Religion 539)

February 2, 2016

Truly and Interiorly Repenting

From True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
True repentance is examining, not only the actions of one's life, but also the intentions of one's will, for the reason that the acts are done by the understanding and will; for man speaks from his thought, and acts from his will; therefore speech is the thought speaking, and action is the will acting. And this being the source of words and deeds, it follows indubitably that it is will and thought that sin when the body sins. Man can indeed repent of evils that he has done in body, and still think and will evil; but this is like cutting off the trunk of a bad tree, and leaving its root in the ground, from which the same bad tree grows up again, and spreads forth its branches. But it is different when the root also is torn up; and this is done in man when he examines the intentions of his will, and puts away his evils by repentance.

Man examines the intentions of his will when he examines his thoughts, for in these the intentions make themselves manifest; as, for example, when his thought, will, and intention incline to revenge, adultery, theft, false witness, and to lust therefore, also to blasphemy against God and the holy Word and the church, and so on; if he continues to direct his attention to this, and to inquire whether he would actually commit these evils if fear of the law and for his reputation did not hinder; and if after this scrutiny he determines that he will not will to do these things, because they are sins, he truly and interiorly repents; and still more when these evils are delightful to him, and he is free to do them, and yet resists and abstains. He who practices this repeatedly, perceives the delights of evil, when they return, as undelightful, and finally he condemns them to hell. This is what is meant by these words of the Lord:

Whoever wisheth to find his soul shall lose it; and whoever would lose his soul for My sake shall find it (Matt. 10:39).
He that puts away the evils of his will, by such repentance, is like one who in due time plucks up the tares sown in his field by the devil, so that the seed implanted by the Lord God the Savior finds a clear soil and grows to a harvest (Matt. 13:24-30).
(True Christian Religion 532)

February 1, 2016

Those Think Spiritually vs Materially of God, Neighbor and Heaven

Synopsis of a Memorable Relation ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Many who believe that heaven is a mere matter of admission from grace, and after admission there is eternal joy, were permitted to ascend into heaven; but because they could not endure the light and heat, that is, the faith and love there, they cast themselves down headlong; and they appeared to those who stood below like dead horses. Among those who stood below and who thus saw them, were boys with their master; and he taught them what their appearing like dead horses signified, and who those are who so appear at a distance, saying that they are those who when they read the Word think materially and not spiritually about God, the neighbor, and heaven; and that those think materially about God who think about essence from person, and in regard to the neighbor about his quality from the face and speech, and in regard to heaven about the state of love there from place; but those think spiritually who think of God from essence, and from essence of person; of the neighbor from his quality; and from quality of his face and speech; and of heaven from the state of love there and of place from that. And afterwards he taught them that a horse signifies understanding of the Word; and because the Word with those who think spiritually when they read it is a living letter, so such appear at a distance as living horses; and on the other hand, because the Word with those who think materially when they read it is a dead letter, so those at a distance appear as dead horses (From TCR 623).
(True Christian Religion 852: LXII)