February 27, 2017

How To Be Gifted With Peace and Trust Solely In The Lord

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
If a man would believe as the case really is, namely, that all that is good and true is from the Lord, and all that is evil and false is from hell, he then could not become guilty of any fault, nor could evil be imputed to him; but because he believes that it is from himself, he appropriates evil to himself, for this is the effect of his faith; and in this way evil adheres and cannot be separated from him; nay, such is man that he would be indignant if anyone should say that he thinks and wills from others, and not from himself.

It is an eternal truth that the Lord rules heaven and earth, and also that no one besides the Lord lives of himself, consequently that everything of life flows in - the good of life from the Lord, and the evil of life from hell. This is the faith of the heavens.  When a man is in this faith (and he can be in it when he is in good), then evil cannot be fastened and appropriated to him, because he knows that it is not from himself, but from hell.  When a man is in this state, he can then be gifted with peace, for then he will trust solely in the Lord.  Neither can peace be given to any others than those who are in this faith from charity; for others continually cast themselves into anxieties and cupidities, whence come disquietudes.  Spirits who desire to direct themselves, suppose that this would be to lose their own will, thus their freedom, consequently all delight, thus all life and its sweetness. This they say and suppose, because they do not know how the case really is; for the man who is led by the Lord is in freedom itself, and thus in delight and bliss itself; goods and truths are appropriated to him; there is given him an affection and desire for doing what is good, and then nothing is more delightful to him than to perform uses. There is given him a perception of good, and also a sensation of it; and there is given him intelligence and wisdom; and all these as his own; for he is then a recipient of the Lord's life. It is known in the learned world that the principal cause and the instrumental cause act together as a one: man - being a form recipient of the Lord's life, is an instrumental cause, and the life from the Lord is the principal cause. This life is felt in the instrumental cause as of it, when yet it is not of it.

The Degrees of Life in Man
Man consists of mere forms for receiving life, and that one form is more interior than another, but that one has come into existence and subsists from another; also that when the lower or exterior form is dissolved, the higher or interior form still lives. It was further said that all operations of the mind are variations of the form, which variations in the purer substances are in such perfection that they cannot be described; and that the ideas of thought are nothing else; and that these variations take place according to the changes of the state of the affections. How very perfect are the variations in the purer forms may be concluded from the lungs, which fold themselves variously and vary their forms according to every expression of speech, and to every note of a tune, and to every motion of the body, and also to each state of thought and affection; and what then must be the case with interior things, which, in comparison with so large an organ, are in the greatest perfection.
(Arcana Coelestia 6324-6326)
[emphasis by reviser]

February 24, 2017

No Truth is Holy Unless It Comes from Good

A Portion of a Passage from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
No truth is holy unless it comes from good. A man may utter many truths from the Word, and thus from memory, but if it is not love or charity that brings them forth, nothing holy can be predicated of them. But if he has love and charity, then he acknowledges and believes, and this from the heart. And it is the same with faith, of which so many say that it alone saves: if there is no love or charity from which the faith comes, there is no faith.
Love and charity are what make faith holy.
The Lord is in love and charity, but not in faith that is separated from charity. In faith separated is the man himself, in whom there is nothing but uncleanness. For when faith is separated from love, his own praise, or his own advantage, is the moving cause that is in his heart, and from which he speaks. This everyone may know from his own experience. Whoever tells anyone that he loves him, that he prefers him to others, that he acknowledges him as the best of men, and the like, and yet in heart thinks otherwise, does this only with his mouth, and in heart denies, and sometimes makes sport of him. And it is the same with faith.
(Arcana Coelestia 724)

February 22, 2017

The Holy Scripture - The One Only Source of the Holiness of the Word

Selections from The Doctrine of the Lord ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[The] universal Holy Scripture has been written solely about the Lord.... The Holy Scripture - is the one only source of the holiness of the Word, and is what is meant by the words:  The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Rev. 19:10).

Briefly stated, the subjects concerning the Lord that are treated of in all the Prophets of the Old Testament, from Isaiah to Malachi, both in general and in particular, are these:

i. The Lord came into the world in the fullness of times, which was when He was no longer known by the Jews, and when, consequently, there was nothing of the church left; and unless He had then come into the world and revealed Himself, mankind would have perished in eternal death. As He Himself says in John: "Except ye believe that I am, ye shall die in your sins" (8:24).

ii. The Lord came into the world to execute a Last Judgment, and thereby to subdue the existing dominance of the hells; which was effected by means of combats (that is, temptations) admitted into his maternal human, and the attendant continual victories; for unless the hells had been subjugated no man could have been saved.

iii. The Lord came into the world in order to glorify His Human, that is, unite it to the Divine which was in Him from conception.

iv. The Lord came into the world in order to set up a new church which should acknowledge Him as the Redeemer and Savior, and be redeemed and saved through love to Him and faith in Him.

v. He at the same time reduced heaven into order, so that it made a one with the church.

vi. The passion of the cross was the last combat or temptation, by means of which He completely conquered the hells and fully glorified His Human.
(Doctrine of the Lord 3, 7)

February 21, 2017

When There is No Charity in Worship

Selections from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
From faith separated from charity no other worship can come forth; for the internal man is charity, never faith without charity; so that he who is destitute of charity can have no other worship than external worship without internal.  And because such worship comes forth from faith separated from charity ...  he observed errors and perversions ... for they who are of this character see nothing else in a man; whereas - very differently - those who are in the faith of charity observe what is good, and if they see anything evil and false, they excuse it, and if they can, try to amend it in him....

Where there is no charity, there is the love of self, and therefore hatred against all who do not favor self. Consequently such persons see in the neighbor only what is evil, and if they see anything good, they either perceive it as nothing, or put a bad interpretation upon it.  It is just the other way with those who are in charity.

By this difference these two kinds of men are distinguished from one another, especially when they come into the other life; for then with those who are in no charity, the feeling of hatred shines forth from every single thing; they desire to examine everyone, and even to judge him; nor do they desire anything more than to find out what is evil, constantly cherishing the disposition to condemn, punish, and torment. But they who are in charity scarcely see the evil of another, but observe all his goods and truths, and put a good interpretation on what is evil and false. Such are all the angels, which they have from the Lord, who bends all evil into good.

(from Arcana Coelestia 1078, 1079)

February 19, 2017

One True Love, Therefore One True Life

Selections from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The universal heaven is a heaven of love, for there is no other life in the heavens than the life of love. From this is derived all heavenly happiness, which is so great that nothing of it admits of description, nor can ever be conceived by any human idea. Those who are under the influence of love, love the Lord from the heart, but yet know, declare, and perceive, that all love, and consequently all life-which is of love alone-and thus all happiness, come solely from the Lord, and that they have not the least of love, of life, or of happiness, from themselves. ...

It is in everyone's power very well to know that no life is possible without some love, and that no joy is possible except that which flows from love.

Such however as is the love, such is the life, and such the joy
if you were to remove loves, or what is the same thing, desires - for these are of love - thought would instantly cease, and you would become like a dead person, as has been shown me to the life. The loves of self and of the world have in them some resemblance to life and to joy, but as they are altogether contrary to true love, which consists in a man's loving the Lord above all things, and his neighbor as himself, it must be evident that they are not loves, but hatreds, for in proportion as anyone loves himself and the world, in the same proportion he hates his neighbor, and thereby the Lord.
Wherefore true love is love to the Lord, and true life is the life of love from Him, and true joy is the joy of that life.
There can be but one true love, and therefore but one true life, whence flow true joys and true felicities, such as are those of the angels in the heavens.
(from Arcana Coelestia 32,33)

February 12, 2017

A Man is Wholly Such as is The Ruling Principle of His Life

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Every man has something of his own which he loves above all things. This is called that which rules, or if you will, that which reigns universally with him. This is constantly present in his thought, and also in his will, and makes his veriest life.

As for example, he who loves wealth above all things, whether money or possessions, is continually revolving in his mind how he may procure it; he inmostly rejoices when he acquires it; he inmostly grieves when he loses it; his heart is in it. He who loves himself above all things is mindful of himself in everything, thinks of himself, speaks of himself, acts for the sake of himself; for his life is a life of self.

A man has as the end that which he loves above all things; in each and all things he has regard to this; it is in his will like the hidden current of a river which draws and bears him away, even when he is doing something else, for it is what animates him. It is this which one man searches out in another, and also sees, and according to it either leads him, or acts with him.

When a man is being regenerated, charity is implanted by means of faith, even until it becomes that which rules and when charity has become this, he has a new life, for it is then continually present in his thought, and continually in his will, nay, in every single thing of them, even when he is meditating about other things, and when he is engaged in business.

The case is the same with love to the Lord. When this love is that which rules, it is present in every single thing of the man's life; as for instance with him who loves his king, or his parent, his love toward them shines forth in their presence from every feature of his face, it is heard in every expression of his speech, and is seen in his every gesture. This is meant by having God continually before the eyes, and by loving Him above all things, with all the soul and with all the heart.

A man is wholly such as is the ruling principle of his life; by this he is distinguished from others; according to this is formed his heaven if he is good, and his hell if he is evil; for it is his veriest will, and thus the very being of his life, which cannot be changed after death. From all this it is evident what is the nature of the life of one who is regenerate, and what is the nature of the life of one who is not regenerate.

(Arcana Coelestia 8853-8858)

February 10, 2017

The End Determines the Quality of the Affection

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The genuine affections of truth and of good which are perceived by man are all from a Divine origin, because from the Lord; but on the way, as they descend, they diverge into various and diverse streams, and there form for themselves new origins; for as they flow into affections not genuine but spurious, and into the affections of evil and falsity in the man, so are they varied. In the external form these affections often present themselves like the genuine ones; but in the internal form they are of this spurious character.
The sole characteristic from which they are known is their end
if as regards their end they are for the sake of self or the world, then these affections are not genuine; but if as regards their end they are for the sake of the good of the neighbor, the good of societies, the good of our country, and especially if for the good of the church and the good of the Lord's kingdom, then they are genuine, because in this case they are for the sake of the Lord, inasmuch as the Lord is in these goods.
It is therefore the part of a wise man to know the ends that are in him.
Sometimes it appears as if his ends were for self when yet they are not so; for it is the nature of man to reflect upon himself in everything, and this from custom and habit. But if anyone desires to know the ends that are within him, let him merely pay attention to the delight he perceives in himself from the praise and glory of self, and to the delight he perceives from use separate from self; if he perceives this latter delight, he is in genuine affection. He must also pay attention to the various states in which he is, for the states themselves very much vary the perception.
A man can explore these things in himself, but not in others; for the ends of each man's affection are known to the Lord alone.
This is the reason why the Lord said:  Judge not, that ye be not judged; condemn not, that ye be not condemned (Luke 6:37); for a thousand persons may appear to be in a like affection in respect to truth and good, and yet every one of them be in an affection unlike in respect to origin, that is, in respect to end.

That the end determines the quality of the affection, that is to say, whether it is genuine, spurious, or false, is because a man's end is his very life; for a man has that for his end which is of his life, or what is the same, of his love. When the good of his neighbor, the general good, the good of the church and of the Lord's kingdom, is the end, then as to his soul, the man is in the Lord's kingdom, thus in the Lord; for the Lord's kingdom is nothing else than a kingdom of ends and uses for the good of the human race.

The angels themselves who are with man are solely in his ends. Insofar as a man is in such an end as that in which is the Lord's kingdom, so far the angels are delighted with him, and conjoin themselves with him as with a brother; but insofar as a man is in the end of self, so far the angels retire, and evil spirits from hell draw near, for there reigns in hell no other end than this; from all of which we can see how important it is to explore and know from what origin the affections are, and this can be known solely from the end.

(Arcana Coelestia 3796)

February 8, 2017

A Right Idea of "Judge Not That You Be Not Condemned"

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Judge not that ye be not condemned; for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measure ye measure it shall be measured to you (Matthew 7:1, 2).

Judge not that ye be not judged; condemn not that ye be not condemned; remit and it shall be remitted to you; give and it shall be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall they give into your bosom; for with what measure ye measure they shall measure to you again (Luke 6:37, 38).

With what measure ye measure it shall be measured to you again; and to you that hear, more shall be added. Whosoever hath, to him shall be given; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath (Mark 4:24, 25).

Thus charity towards the neighbor, or the spiritual affection of truth and good, is described, namely, that in the measure and after the manner that anyone is in such charity or in such affection in the world, so he comes into it after death. That we should not think evil of good and truth is meant by the words, "Judge not that ye be not judged, and condemn not that ye be not condemned;" to think evil of what is evil and false is permitted to everyone, but not of good and truth, for these in the spiritual sense are the neighbor. Because it is charity toward the neighbor that is meant it is added, "Remit and it shall be remitted to you, give and it shall be given unto you." That the spiritual affection, which is called charity, will continue after death according to its measure and quality, is meant by "With what measure ye measure it shall be measured to you again;" and that this measure and quality will be infilled to eternity is meant by "to you that hear a measure shall be added," also by "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall be given into your bosom," "measure" here meaning the measure and quality of affection or charity, which will be increased to eternity within or according to its degree in the world. 
That this will come to pass with those who practice charity is meant by "to you that hear more shall be added," "those that hear" signifying those who obey and do. That "to love the neighbor" is to love what is true and good, likewise what is sincere and just. That no other thought or judgment is here meant than concerning the spiritual life of another can be seen from this, that it is permissible to everyone to think about the moral and civil life of another, and to judge of it; without such thought and judgment concerning others no civil society could subsist; therefore "not to judge and condemn" signifies not to think evil of the neighbor spiritually understood, that is, of his faith and love, which belong to man's spiritual life, for these lie concealed in his interiors, and therefore are unknown to anyone except the Lord alone.
(from Apocalypse Explained 629:14)

February 6, 2017

Only The Lord Has Proprium; Man Has An Appearance of Proprium

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The "tree of lives" is love and the faith thence derived; "in the midst of the garden" is in the will of the internal man. The will, which in the Word is called the "heart" is the primary possession of the Lord with man and angel. But as no one can do good of himself, the will or heart is not man's, although it is predicated of man; cupidity, which he calls will, is man's. Since then the will is the "midst of the garden" where the tree of lives is placed, and man has no will, but mere cupidity, the "tree of lives" is the mercy of the Lord, from whom comes all love and faith, consequently all life.
Innumerable things might be said about man's Own [proprium*] in describing its nature with the corporeal and worldly man, with the spiritual man, and with the celestial man.

With the corporeal and worldly man, his Own is his all, he knows of nothing else than his Own, and imagines - that if he were to lose this Own he would perish.

With the spiritual man also his Own has a similar appearance, for although he knows that the Lord is the life of all, and gives wisdom and understanding, and consequently the power to think and to act, yet this knowledge is rather the profession of his lips than the belief of his heart.

But the celestial man discerns that the Lord is the life of all and gives the power to think and to act, for he perceives that it is really so. He never desires his Own, nevertheless an Own is given him by the Lord, which is conjoined with all perception of what is good and true, and with all happiness.

The angels are in such an Own, and are at the same time in the highest peace and tranquility, for in their Own are those things which are the Lord's, who governs their Own, or them by means of their Own. This Own is the veriest celestial itself, whereas that of the corporeal man is infernal. ...

The Own of man, when viewed from heaven, appears like a something that is wholly bony, inanimate, and very ugly, consequently as being in itself dead, but when vivified by the Lord it looks like flesh. For man's Own is a mere dead thing, although to him it appears as something, indeed as everything. Whatever lives in him is from the Lord's life, and if this were withdrawn he would fall down as dead as a stone; for man is only an organ of life, and such as is the organ, such is the life's affection. The Lord alone has what is His Own; by this Own He redeemed man, and by this Own He saves him. The Lord's Own is Life, and from His Own, man's Own, which in itself is dead, is made alive. The Lord's Own is also signified by the Lord's words in Luke: A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see Me have (Luke 24:39). It was also meant by not a bone of the paschal lamb being broken (Exod. 12:46).
The state of man when in his Own, or when he supposes that he lives from himself, is compared to "deep sleep" and indeed by the ancients was called deep sleep; and in the Word it is said of such that they have "poured out upon them the spirit of deep sleep" (Isa. 29:10), and that they sleep a sleep (Jer. 51:57). That man's Own is in itself dead, and that no one has any life from himself, has been shown so clearly in the world of spirits, that evil spirits who love nothing but their Own, and obstinately insist that they live from themselves, were convinced by sensible experience, and were forced to confess that they do not live from themselves. ... The man who supposes that he lives from himself is therefore in what is false, and by believing that he lives from himself appropriates to himself everything evil and false, which he would never do if his belief were in accordance with the real truth of the case.
(Arcana Coelestia 105; 141; 149, 150)

The Latin word proprium is the term used in the original text that in this and other places has been rendered by the expression "Own." The dictionary meaning of propius, as an adjective, is "one's own" "proper" "belonging to one's self alone" "special" "particular" "peculiar." The neuter of this which is the word proprium, when used as a noun means "possession" "property;" also "a peculiarity" "characteristic mark" "distinguishing sign" "characteristic." The English adjective "own" is defined by Webster to mean "belonging to" "belonging exclusively or especially to" "peculiar;" so that our word "own" is a very exact equivalent of proprius, and if we make it a noun by writing it "Own" in order to answer to the Latin proprium, we effect a very close translation. [Reviser.]

February 5, 2017

Mutual Love Differs from Friendship

Excerpts from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Friendship is not charity, and still less is politeness charity - these are degrees below charity; and the more they derive from charity the more sincere they are.
Mutual love differs from friendship in this respect - that mutual love regards the good which is in a man, and because it is directed to good, it is directed to him who is in good; but friendship regards the man; and this also is mutual love when it regards the man from good, or for the sake of good; but when it does not regard him from good or for the sake of good, but for the sake of self which it calls good, then friendship is not mutual love, but approaches the love of self, and insofar as it approaches this, so far it is opposite to mutual love. In itself mutual love is nothing else than charity toward the neighbor; for by the neighbor in the internal sense for by the neighbor in the internal sense nothing else is signified than good, and in the supreme sense the Lord, because all good is from Him, and He is good itself.
The brain, like heaven, is in the sphere of ends which are uses; for whatever flows in from the Lord is an end looking to the salvation of the human race. This end is that which reigns in heaven, and thereby reigns likewise in the brain; for the brain, which is where the mind is, looks to ends in the body, in order that the body may subserve the soul, so that the soul may be happy to eternity. But there are societies that have no end or purpose of use, except to be among friends, male and female, and to have pleasures there, thus seeking their own gratification only, and making much of themselves exclusively, whether at home or publicly, it being all for the same end. Of such spirits there are at this day more societies than anyone could believe. As soon as they approach, their sphere begins to work, and extinguishes in others the affections of truth and good; and when these have been extinguished, then these spirits are in the pleasures of their friendship.

These are the obstructions of the brain, and induce on it stupidity. Many societies of such spirits have been with me, and their presence was perceived by a dullness, sluggishness, and loss of affection; and I have sometimes spoken with them. They are pests and banes, although in the civic life of this world they had appeared good, delightful, witty, and also talented; for they know the proprieties of society, and how to insinuate themselves thereby, especially into friendships. What it is to be a friend to good, or what the friendship of good is, they neither know, nor desire to know. A sad lot awaits them; for at last they live in squalor, and in such stupidity that scarcely any human apprehension remains. For it is the end that makes the man, and such as is the end, such is the man; consequently such is his human after death.

There are very many societies in the other life that are called societies of friendship. They are composed of those who in the life of the body preferred to every other delight that of conversation, and who loved those with whom they conversed, not caring whether they were good or evil, provided they were entertaining; and thus who were not friends to good or to truth. They who have been such in the life of the body are such also in the other life, in which they associate solely from the delight of conversation. Many such societies have been with me, but at a distance, being seen chiefly a little to the right above the head. That they were present it was given me to note by a torpor and dullness, and by a privation of the delight in which I was, the presence of such societies inducing these effects. For wherever they come they take delight away from others, and wonderful to say, they make it their own; for they turn away the spirits who are with others, and turn them to themselves, whereby they transfer another's delight to themselves; and as they are on this account troublesome and injurious to those who are in good, they are therefore kept away by the Lord, lest they should come near to the heavenly societies. From this it was given me to know how much injury friendship occasions man as to his spiritual life if the person and not good is regarded; everyone may indeed be friendly to another, but still he should be most friendly to what is good.
(Arcana Coelestia 1158:2; 3875:5; 4054; 4804)

February 3, 2017

Freedom Appropriates to Man What the Divine Providence Introduces

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man would run counter to God, and also deny Him, if he clearly saw the workings of His Divine providence, because man is in the enjoyment of self-love, and that enjoyment constitutes his very life; therefore when he is kept in his life's enjoyment he is in freedom; for freedom and that enjoyment make one. If, therefore, he had a perception of being continually led away from his enjoyment he would be enraged as against one who wished to destroy his life, and would regard him as an enemy. To prevent this the Lord does not manifestly appear in His Divine providence, but by it He leads men as silently as a hidden current or favoring tide bears a vessel; and in consequence man does not know but that he is constantly in his own (proprium), for man's freedom and his own make one. From this it is clear that freedom appropriates to man what the Divine providence introduces, but that this would not take place if the Divine providence made itself manifest. To be appropriated is to come to be of the life.
(Divine Providence 186)

February 1, 2017

A Man is Such as He Thinks and Intends

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
As regards the evils and falsities against which the Lord combated, it is to be known that what He fought against was the infernal spirits who were in the evils and falsities, that is, it was the hells filled with such spirits, which continually infested the human race. The infernals desire nothing else than to destroy everyone; and they perceive no greater pleasure than in torturing others.

All spirits in the other life are distinguished in the following manner:  those who desire evil against others are infernal or diabolical spirits; but those who desire good to others are good and angelic spirits.

A man can know among which he is, whether among the infernal or among the angelic: if he intends evil to his neighbor, thinks nothing but evil concerning him, and actually does it when he can, and takes delight therein, he is among the infernals, and also becomes infernal in the other life; whereas the man who intends good to his neighbor, and thinks nothing but good respecting him, and actually does it when he can, is among the angelic spirits, and also becomes an angel in the other life. This is the distinctive characteristic. Let everyone examine himself by this, in order to learn what he is.

That a man does no evil when he is unable or afraid to do it, amounts to nothing; or that he does good for the sake of self; for these are external things that are removed in the other life. A man there is such as he thinks and intends. There are many who can speak well from a habit formed in the world; but it is instantly perceived whether the mind or intention agrees therewith; if not, they are rejected among the infernals of their own genus and species.

(Arcana Coelestia 1680