August 31, 2017

When the Literal Sense and Spiritual Sense of the Word Appear Opposed

Selections from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... The reason why they see no such thing, that is, no interior sense, is that the two appear opposite, namely, what is in the internal sense, and what is in the literal sense. But their appearing to be opposite does not prove that they are so, for they wholly correspond; and the reason they appear opposite is that they who see the Word so are in what is opposite.

It is the same in the case of a man who is in opposition within himself, that is, whose external or natural man is in entire disagreement with his internal or spiritual man. Such a man sees that which is of the internal or spiritual man as opposed to himself, when yet in respect to the external or natural man, he himself is in that which is opposed; and if he were not in this, so that his external or natural man yielded obedience to the internal or spiritual man, the two would wholly correspond.

For example:
the man who is in what is opposed believes that in order for him to receive eternal life riches are to be renounced, as well as all the pleasures of the body and of the world, thus the delights of life; such things being supposed to be opposed to spiritual life, whereas in themselves they are not so, but correspond, because they are means to an end, namely, that the internal or spiritual man may enjoy them so as to be able to perform the goods of charity, and also may live content in a healthful body.
The ends alone are what cause the internal man and the external either to be opposed or to correspond.
They are opposed when the riches, pleasures, and delights here spoken of become the ends, for in this case the spiritual and celestial things which are of the internal man are despised and derided, nay, are rejected; but they correspond when such things are not made ends, but means to higher ends, namely, to those things which belong to the life after death, thus to the heavenly kingdom and the Lord Himself. In this case bodily and worldly things appear to the man as scarcely anything in comparison; and when he thinks about them, he values them only as means to ends.
From this it is evident that the things which appear opposed are not opposed in themselves; but they appear so because men are in what is opposed. They who are not in what is opposed, act, speak, and acquire riches, and also enjoy pleasures, similarly as do those who are in what is opposed, insomuch that in the outward appearance they can scarcely be distinguished from each other. The reason is that their ends alone are what distinguish them; or what is the same, their loves; for loves are ends. But although in the outward form, or as to the body, they appear alike, yet in the inward form, or as to the spirit, they are utterly unlike. The spirit of one who is in correspondence — that is, with whom the external man corresponds to the internal — is fair and beautiful, such as is heavenly love in form; but the spirit of one who is in what is opposed — that is, with whom the external man is opposed to the internal — however great may be the outward resemblance to the other, is black and ugly, such as is the love of self and of the world, that is, such as is contempt of others and hatred in form.

The case is the same with a host of things in the Word; that is to say, the things in the literal sense appear opposed to those in the internal sense; when yet they are by no means opposed, but wholly correspond.

For example:
it is frequently said in the Word that Jehovah or the Lord is angry, is wroth, destroys, and casts into hell; when yet He is never angry, and still less does He cast anyone into hell. The former is of the sense of the letter, but the latter is of the internal sense; and these appear opposed, but this is because the man is in what is opposed.
In the same way the Lord appears as a sun to the angels who are in heaven, and thence as vernal warmth, and as light at dawn; but to the infernals He appears as something quite opaque, and thence as wintry cold, and as midnight darkness. Consequently to the angels He appears in love and charity, but to the infernals in hatred and enmity; thus to the latter according to the sense of the letter — that He is angry, is wroth, destroys, and casts into hell; but to the former according to the internal sense — that He is never angry and wroth, and still less destroys and casts into hell; so that when things are being treated of in the Word that are contrary to the Divine, it is inevitable that they should be presented in accordance with the appearance. Moreover it is the Divine which the wicked change into what is diabolical that works in this way; and therefore insofar as they approach the Divine, so far they cast themselves into infernal torments.
The case is the same with the Lord's words in the prayer: "Lead us not into temptation." The sense according to the letter is that He leads into temptation; but the internal sense is that He leads no one into temptation, as is well known:
It was granted me to have a perception of angelic ideas about these words in the Lord's Prayer: "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Temptation and evil were rejected by the nearest good spirits, by a certain idea perceptible within me, and this even until what is purely angelic, namely, Good,, remained, without any idea of temptation and evil; the literal sense thus perishing altogether. In the first rejection innumerable ideas were being formed respecting this Good-how good may come from man's affliction while the affliction still is from the man and his evil, in which there is punishment, and this with a kind of indignation joined with it that it should be thought that temptation and its evil come from any other source, and that anyone should have any thought of evil in thinking of the Lord. These ideas were purified in the degree of their ascent. The ascents were represented by rejections (spoken of also n. 1393), which were made with a rapidity and in a manner that were inexpressible, until they passed into the shade of my thought. They were then in heaven, where there are only ineffable angelic ideas concerning the Lord's good. (Arcana Cœlestia 1875).
The same is true of all other things that belong to the literal sense of the Word.
(Arcana Cœlestia 3425)

August 30, 2017

Having the Power to Receive and Reciprocate

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In externals man is led and taught by the Lord in all appearance as if by himself.
This takes place in man's externals, but not in internals.

How the Lord leads and teaches man in his internals no one knows, as no one knows how the soul operates to cause the eye to see, the ear to hear, the tongue and mouth to speak, the heart to move the blood, the lungs to breathe, the stomach to digest, the liver and pancreas to assort, the kidneys to secrete, and countless other things. These things do not come to man's perception and sensation. The same is true of what is done by the Lord in the interior substances and forms of the mind, which are infinitely more numerous — the Lord's operations in these are not manifest to man. But the effects, which are numerous, are manifest, as well as some of the causes producing the effects. These are the externals wherein man and the Lord are together. And because externals make one with internals (for they cohere in one series), the Lord can arrange things in internals only in accordance with the disposition that is effected by means of man in the externals.

Every one knows that man thinks, wills, speaks, and acts to all appearance as if from himself; and every one can see that without this appearance man would have no will or understanding, thus no affection or thought, also no reception of any good and truth from the Lord. This being so, it follows that without this appearance there would be no knowledge of God, no charity or faith, and consequently no reformation or regeneration, and therefore no salvation. From all this it is clear that this appearance is given to man by the Lord for the sake of all these uses, and chiefly that man may have the ability to receive and to reciprocate, whereby the Lord may be conjoined with him and he with the Lord, and that through this conjunction man may live forever. This is the appearance here meant.
(Divine Providence 174)

August 28, 2017

What is Heaven? — What is Hell?

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.  (Mark 12:29-31) KJV
The veriest truth of the church is that love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor are the primary things.
Cupidities extinguish this truth; for those who are in a life of cupidities cannot be in a life of love and charity, for the two are exact opposites. A life of cupidities consists in loving self only, and not the neighbor except from self, or for the sake of self. Hence those who are in this life extinguish charity in themselves; and those who extinguish charity, extinguish also love to the Lord; for there is no other means of loving the Lord than charity, because the Lord is in charity. The affection of charity is heavenly affection itself, which is from the Lord alone.

From this it may be seen that the cupidities of evil extinguish the veriest truth of the church, on the extinction of which a means is devised which is called saving, namely, faith; and when this is separated from charity, truths themselves are defiled, for then it is no longer known what charity is, nor even what the neighbor is, and consequently neither what the internal of man is, nor even what heaven is. For the internal of man, and heaven in man, is charity - that is, willing well to another, to society, to one's country, to the church, to the Lord's kingdom, and thus to the Lord Himself. From this we may conclude what is the quality of the truths of the church when those things which are essential are not known, and when the things contrary to them, or cupidities, reign.
When a life of cupidities speaks concerning these truths, are not they defiled to such a degree that they can no longer be recognized?
That no one can be saved unless he has lived in the good of charity, and so has become imbued with its affections, which are to will well to others, and from willing well to do well to them; and that no one can receive the truths of faith — that is, become imbued with them and appropriate them to himself — but he who is in a life of charity has been made manifest to me from those who are in heaven, with whom I have been permitted to converse. There all are forms of charity, with beauty and goodness according to the quality of their charity — their delight, satisfaction, and happiness are from their being able to do good to others from good will.
The man who has not lived in charity cannot possibly know that heaven and its joy consist in willing well and in doing well from willing well, because his heaven is willing well to himself, and from this willing well doing well to others, when yet this is hell.
For heaven is distinguished from hell in this, that heaven, as above said, is doing good from good will, and hell is doing evil from ill will. They who are in love toward the neighbor do good from good will; but they who are in the love of self do evil from ill will. The reason of this is that they love no one but themselves, and others only so far as they see themselves in them, and them in themselves; they also regard these with hatred, which manifests itself as soon as they recede and are no longer theirs. This is like robbers, who so long as they are banded together love one another, but still at heart desire to kill one another, if plunder may thus be obtained.

From these things it may be seen-
What heaven is, that it is love toward the neighbor; and What hell is, that it is the love of self.
They who are in love toward the neighbor are capable of receiving all the truths of faith, and of being imbued with them and making them their own; for in love toward the neighbor there is the all of faith, because heaven and the Lord are in it.

They on the other hand who are in the love of self can in no wise receive the truths of faith, because hell is in this love; nor can they receive the truths of faith in any other way than for the sake of self-honor and gain; thus they cannot possibly become imbued with them and make them their own. But the things which they become imbued with and make their own are denials of truth, for at heart they do not believe even that there is a hell and a heaven, nor that there is a life after death, and therefore they believe nothing that is said about hell and heaven, or about a life after death, thus nothing at all that is said from the Word and from doctrine about faith and charity. When they are in worship they appear to themselves to believe, but this because it has been implanted in them from early childhood to put on this state at such a time; but as soon as they are out of worship they are also out of this state; and then thinking in themselves, they believe nothing at all, and also according to the life of their loves devise things to favor them, which they call truths, and which they confirm from the literal sense of the Word, when yet they are falsities. Such are all who in life and doctrine are in faith separate.
Be it known, moreover, that all things are in the loves — for the loves are what make the life; consequently, the Lord's life flows solely into the loves.
Such therefore as are the loves, such are the lives, because such are the receptions of life. Love toward the neighbor receives the life of heaven, and the love of self receives the life of hell; thus in love toward the neighbor there is the all of heaven, and in the love of self the all of hell. That all things are in the loves may be illustrated from many things in nature.

Animals, both those that walk on the earth and those that fly in the air or swim in the water, are all impelled according to their loves, and into their loves flows whatever is conducive to their life, that is, to their sustenance, habitation, and procreation. Hence animals of every kind know their food, their abodes, and what concerns their conjugial, such as mating, building nests, laying eggs, and bringing up their young.

The bees also know how to build cells, to suck honey from flowers, to fill with it the honeycombs, and to make provision for themselves against winter, and even to conduct a certain form of government under a queen; besides other marvels. All these things are effected by influx into their loves; the effects of life being varied only by the forms of their affections.
All these things are in their loves; what then would there not be in heavenly love, if man were in this? Would there not be the all of wisdom and intelligence, which is in heaven?
From this also it is that they who have lived in charity, and no others, are received into heaven; and that from charity they have the capacity of receiving and being imbued with all truths, that is, with all things of faith. But the contrary happens to those who are in faith separate, that is, in some truths and not in charity. Their loves receive such things as are in agreement with them, that is to say, the loves of self and of the world receive those things which are contrary to truths, such as are in the hells.
(Arcana Cœlestia 4776)

August 23, 2017

What Influx Is, and What Its Effects

Excerpts from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.  >But Zion said, The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.  Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.  Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me.   Isa 49:13-16
The ultimate state is such as is the successive order from which it is formed and exists, is a canon which in the learned world should be acknowledged, because of its truth; for thus it is discovered what influx is, and what its effects.

By influx is meant all that precedes and composes what follows, and through the things following in order, the ultimate — as all that precedes with man and constitutes his wisdom  — or all that precedes with a politician and constitutes his prudence — or all that precedes with a theologian and constitutes his learning — in like manner all that proceeds from infancy and makes the man — so also what proceeds from the seed and the shrub and makes the tree, and afterwards from the blossom and makes the fruit. ... This is meant by influx.

That all things which precede in minds form series, and that the series bind themselves together, one beside the other and one after another, and that these together compose the ultimate.... For by this it is discovered what the influx effects, and what is the quality of the ultimate, wherein the series just spoken of successively formed coexist. ...

A different state, from a different order, is formed with the spiritual from that with the natural, because the spiritual proceed in right order, and the natural in a wrong order; for the spiritual look to the Lord, and the Lord provides and leads the order; but the natural look to themselves and thence proceed in inverted order. ...

...there is successive order and simultaneous order; the latter is from the former and according to it. This is adduced as a cause confirmative of the preceding. That there is what is successive, and that there is what is simultaneous, is known; but that simultaneous order is from the successive and according to it is not known.

And yet how things successive insert themselves into the simultaneous, and the kind of order they form there, is extremely difficult to present to the perception, since there is not yet with the learned any idea that will serve for the elucidation of it; and as a first notion of this arcanum cannot be given in few words ... it may serve sufficiently for illustration to quote what is briefly said respecting these two orders, the successive and the simultaneous, and of the influx of the former into the latter, in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scriptures, where are these words:
"There is, in heaven and in the world, successive order and simultaneous order. In successive order one thing follows after another, from the highest even to the lowest; in simultaneous order, however, one thing is beside the other, from the inmost to the outermost. 
Successive order is as a column with steps from the highest to the lowest; simultaneous order is as a work cohering from the center to the circumference.
Successive order becomes simultaneous in the ultimate, in this manner: The highest things of successive order become the inmost of simultaneous order; and the lowest things of successive order become the outermost of simultaneous order. It is comparatively as if a column of steps by subsiding becomes a cohering body in a plane. Thus what is simultaneous is formed from things successive, and this is so in all things and in every thing of the spiritual world, and in all and every thing of the natural world." 
[See n. 38, 65, in that work; and very much more on the subject in Angelic Wisdom concerning the Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, n. 205-229.]
... He who knows the influx of successive into simultaneous order can comprehend how the angels can see in a man's hand all the thoughts and intentions of his mind ... The reason is that the hands are the ultimates of man, into which the deliberations and conclusions of his mind are determined, and there make what is simultaneous. And therefore it is said in the Word that it is "written upon the hands." (Is. 49:16; Rev. 13:16; 20:4)
(Conjugial Love 313,314)

August 21, 2017

The Good of Faith is Not Possible Without Works

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The good of faith produces works, because the good of faith is not possible without works, just as thinking good and willing good are not possible without doing good. The one is the internal, and the other the corresponding external. Furthermore, in regard to works, unless they correspond to the good of faith they are neither works of charity nor works of faith; for they do not come from their internal, but are dead works, in which there is neither good nor truth; but when they correspond, they are then works either of charity or of faith.
Works of charity are those which flow from charity as from their soul; but works of faith are those which flow from faith.
Works of charity exist with the regenerate man; and works of faith with him who has not yet been regenerated, but is being regenerated; the case being the same as it is with the affections of good and of truth; for the regenerate man does good from the affection of it, thus from willing good; but the man who is to be regenerated does good from the affection of truth, thus from knowing good. The nature of the difference has already been repeatedly shown. From this it is manifest what works are.
Moreover, in regard to works the good of faith is comparatively as are man's will and the derivative thought to his face, which is well known to be an image of his mind, that is, of his will and the derivative thought. If the will and thought are not presented in the face as in their image, what is seen there is not the will and thought, but hypocrisy or deceit; because the man presents a face different from that which he wills and thinks. The case is the same with every act of the body in respect to the interiors which are of the thought and will. Man's internal lives in his external by act or by acting. If the act or acting is not according to his internal, it is a proof either that it is not his internal that is producing the act, but an impulse recurring from custom and habit; or else that it is something feigned, as in hypocrisy and deceit. From this it is again manifest what works are; and from this it follows that he who makes profession of faith, and still more he who makes profession of the good of faith, and denies works, and still more if he rejects them, is devoid of faith, and yet more of charity.

Such being the nature of the works of charity and faith, and as man is never in charity and faith unless he is in works, for this reason "works" are so frequently mentioned in the Word; as may appear from the following passages:
Thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of man, to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works (Jer. 32:19).
Be ye converted everyone from his evil way, and make your works good (Jer. 35:15).
I will render to them according to their work, and according to the work of their hands (Jer. 25:14).

In Hosea:
I will visit upon him his ways, and render to him his works (Hos. 4:9).

In Micah:
The land shall be a desolation because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their works (Micah 7:13).

In Zechariah:
Thus said Jehovah Zebaoth: Be ye converted from your evil ways, and from your evil works. As Jehovah Zebaoth thought to do unto us according to our ways, and according to our works, so hath He done to us (Zech. 1:4, 6).

In John:
• Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works follow with them (Rev. 14:13).

In the same:
• I saw the dead small and great stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened which is the book of life; and the dead were judged out of the things that were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and hell gave up the dead that were in them; and they were judged everyone according to their works (Rev. 20:12-13).
Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every man according to his works (Rev. 22:12).

In John the Evangelist:
• This is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their works were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved; but he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they have been wrought in God (John 3:19-21).
The world cannot hate you, but Me it hateth, because I testify of it that its works are evil (John 7:7).
Jesus said to the Jews, If ye were Abraham's sons ye would do the works of Abraham. Ye do the works of your father (John 8:39, 41).
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).

In Matthew:
• Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works. Whosoever shall do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:16, 19).
• Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in the heavens. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).

In Luke:
• The master of the house shall answer and say to them, I know you not whence ye are; then shall ye begin to say, We did eat and drink in thy presence, and thou didst teach in our streets; but he shall say, I tell you I know you not whence ye are, depart from me all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).

In Matthew:
• Everyone that heareth My words, and doeth them, I will liken him to a wise man; but everyone that heareth My words, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man (Matt. 7:24, 26).
• The Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then shall He render to every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27).

From these passages it is evident that works are what save man, and what condemn man; that is to say, that good works save, and evil works condemn; for in his works is man's will. He who wills good, does good; but he who does not do good, however he may say that he wills good, still does not will it when he does not do it. This is as if he should say, I will it, but I do not will it. And because the will itself is in works, and charity is of the will, and faith is of charity, it is manifest what of the will, or what of charity and faith, there is in a man, when he does not do good works; and especially when he does the contrary, or evil works.

Moreover be it known that the Lord's kingdom commences in a man from the life which is of works, for he is then in the beginning of regeneration; but when the Lord's kingdom is in a man, it terminates in works, and then the man is regenerate. For his internal man is then within his external man in correspondence therewith; and his works are of his external man, while charity and the derivative faith are of his internal man; and therefore in this case his works are charity. As the life of the internal man thus comes forth in the works of the external man, therefore the Lord in speaking of the Last Judgment (Matt. 25:32-46), recounts nothing but works, and says that those who have done good works shall enter into life eternal, and those who have done evil works into damnation. From what has been said it is also evident what is signified by that which we read of John-that he lay at the breast and on the bosom of Jesus, and that Jesus loved him more than the rest (John 13:23, 25; 21:20); for by John were represented good works.
(Arcana Cœlestia 3934)

August 16, 2017

The Word Even in its Letter is Divine

From Arcana Cœelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... in the supreme sense — all things in the Word in both general and particular have relation to the Lord; and the Lord is doctrine itself, that is, the Word, not only as to the supreme sense therein, but also as to the internal sense, and even as to the literal sense, for this sense is representative and significative of the internal sense, and the internal sense is representative and significative of the supreme sense; and that which in the Word is representative and significative is in its essence that which is represented and signified, thus it is the Divine of the Lord; for a representative is nothing but an image of him who is represented; and is in an image the Lord Himself presented to view. This may be seen from man's speech, and also from his gesture, these being merely images of the things which come forth within the man, in his thought and will; so that the speech and gesture are the thought and will in form; for if you take away from them the thought and will, that which is left is a mere inanimate affair, thus nothing human. This shows how the case is with the Word, even in the letter, namely, that it is Divine.
(Arcana Cœlestia 3393)

August 14, 2017

God Must Be Always Kept Before The Eyes

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye; lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land. Now thou art commanded, this do ye; take you wagons out of the land of Egypt for your little ones, and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Also regard not your stuff; for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours.       (Genesis 45:17-20) KJV
Because the good of the whole land of Egypt, this is for you. That this signifies that they have what is primary in the natural mind, is evident from the signification of the "land of Egypt," as being the natural mind: by the "good of the whole of this land" is signified what is primary. By these words is also meant that if essential and not instrumental things are cared for, they shall have instrumental things in abundance.

For example: if truths are cared for, they shall have memory-knowledges in abundance, which are the "good of the land of Egypt."  In like manner if good is cared for, they shall have truths in abundance.  Memory-knowledges, and also truths, must be cared for, but men must regard good as the end.  If the eye is upon good as in the end, the man is then in full view of the consequent things, or in the perception of such as are derived from it, which perception is never possible unless good is the end, that is, unless it reigns universally in each and all things.

The case herein is like the body and its soul.  A man must by all means care for his body, as that it may be nourished, and clothed, and may enjoy the delights of the world; but all these not for the sake of the body, but for the sake of the soul, namely, that the soul may act in a sound body correspondently and rightly, and may have the body as an organ entirely compliant to it.  Thus the soul must be the end.  Yet neither must the soul be the end, but only a mediate end, for which the man must care, not for its own sake, but for the sake of the uses which it must perform in both worlds; and when a man has uses as the end, he has the Lord as the end, for the Lord makes disposition for uses, and disposes the uses themselves.

As few know what it is to have as the end, this also shall be told. To have as the end is to love above all other things, for what a man loves, this he has as the end. That which a man has as the end is plainly discerned, for it reigns universally in him; and thus is continually present even at those times when he seems to himself not to be thinking at all about it, for it is seated within and makes his interior life, and thus secretly rules each and all things.  As for example, with him who from the heart honors his parents, this honor is present in each and all things that he does in their presence and that he thinks in their absence, and it is also perceived from his gestures and speech.  So with him who from the heart fears and honors God, this fear and honor are present in everything that he thinks, and speaks, and does, because it is in him even when it does not seem to be present, as when he is engaged in business that seems to be far from it; for it reigns universally; thus in every detail. That which reigns in man is plainly perceived in the other life, for the sphere of his whole life which exhales from him is thence derived.

From all this it is evident how it is to be understood that God must be always kept before the eyes; not that He must be constantly thought about, but that the fear or the love of Him must reign universally, in which case God is kept before the eyes in every detail.  When this is the case the man does not think, speak, or do what is against Him and displeasing to Him; or if he does, that which universally reigns, and lies hidden within, manifests itself and admonishes him.

(Arcana Cœlestia 5949)

August 11, 2017

The Quality of the Literal Sense of the Word When the Internal Sense is Perceived Within It

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.(Exodus 24:10) KJV
That this signifies what is translucid there from internal truths, and all things from the Lord, is evident from the signification of "a work of sapphire," as being the quality of the literal sense of the Word when the internal sense is perceived within it, thus when the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord, such as it is in heaven, shines through.

For the Word is the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord, which in its origin is Divine, and in its progress through the heavens is celestial in the inmost heaven; in the second or middle heaven is spiritual; in the first or ultimate heaven is spiritual natural; and in the world is natural and worldly, such as it is in the sense of the letter, which is for man. From this it is evident that this latter sense, which is the last in order, contains within it the spiritual and the celestial senses, and inmostly the Divine Itself; and as these senses are contained in the ultimate or literal sense, and become apparent to those who apprehend the Word spiritually, it is therefore represented by a work of sapphire, in that it transmits the rays of heavenly light, or is translucid.

That some idea of this shining through may be presented, take as an example human speech.

In its first origin this is the end which the man desires to set forth by the speech. This end is his love; for what a man loves, he has as his end. From this flows the man's thought, and finally his speech. That this is so, everyone who reflects well, can know and perceive. That the end is the first of speech, is evident from the general law that in all intelligence there is an end; and that without an end there is no intelligence. And that thought is the second thing of speech flowing from the first, is also manifest; for no one can speak without thought, nor think without an end. That from this follows the speech of words, and that this is the ultimate which properly is called speech, is known. This being so, the man who attends to the speech of another does not attend to the expressions or words of the speech, but to their sense, which comes from the thought of the speaker; and he who is wise attends to the end for the sake of which he spoke from his thought; that is, to what he intends and what he loves. These three things are presented in the speech of man, and to these the speech of words serves as an ultimate plane.
From this comparison an idea can be formed about the Word in the letter; for this is attended to and perceived in heaven in exactly the same way as is usually the thought of a man which is presented by the speech of words:
in the inmost heaven as the intention or end is usually attended to and perceived. But the difference is that the sense of the letter of the Word, when read by man, is not heard or perceived in heaven; but only the internal sense, because only the spiritual and celestial senses of the Word are perceived in heaven, and not its natural sense. Thus one sense passes into another, because they correspond; and the Word has been written wholly by correspondences. From this it is plain what is meant by the shining through signified by "a work of sapphire" when said of the Word.
But he who cannot think intellectually, that is, abstractedly from material things, cannot apprehend these things, nor indeed that there can be any other sense in the Word than that which stands forth in the letter; and if he is told that there is a spiritual sense in it, which is of truth; and within this a celestial sense, which is of good; and that these senses shine through from the literal sense; he will first be amazed, afterward he will reject it as of no account, and finally he will ridicule it.

That at the present day there are such persons in the Christian world, especially among the learned of the world, has been shown me by living experience; and also that those who reason against this truth, claim to be wiser than those who affirm it; when yet in those primeval times called the golden and the silver ages, learning consisted in speaking and writing in such manner that the sense of the letter was not attended to, except insofar as the hidden wisdom shone through from it; as can be plainly seen from the oldest books, even among the Gentiles, and likewise from remains in their languages; for their chief science was the science of correspondences and the science of representations, which sciences are now among the things that have been lost.

That under the Lord's feet there appeared as it were a work of sapphire, and that this signifies the shining through of the Word in the sense of the letter, is because a "stone" in general signifies truth, and a "precious stone" truth shining through from the Divine of the Lord. This was signified by the "twelve precious stones" in the breast plate of Aaron, which was called "the Urim and Thummim."

In like manner in Ezekiel:
(Ezek. 28:12, 13, 15); speaking of Tyre, by which is signified the church in respect to the knowledges of truth and of good; her intelligence and wisdom, such as it had been in her infancy, that is, in the first age, is described by these precious stones; "the day that she was created" signifies the first state when they were regenerated, for "creation" in the Word denotes regeneration, or the new creation of man.

Like things are signified by the precious stones in John:
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst (Rev. 21:19, 20).

The subject here treated of is the holy Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, by which is meant a new church among the nations, after the present church in our European world has been vastated; the precious stones which are the foundations denote truths Divine shining through in the ultimate of order.

Truth Divine shining through in the ultimate of order, which is the Word in the letter, is especially signified by the "sapphire," as in Isaiah:
O thou afflicted, and tossed with tempests, and not comforted, behold I will set thy stones with antimony, and lay thy foundations in sapphires (Isa. 54:11).

Here also the subject treated of is the church that will succeed the former, which is meant by "the desolate having more sons than the married one" (verse 1); "setting stones" denotes arranging the truths of the church; "foundations in sapphires" denotes truths shining through in ultimates.

The same is signified by "sapphire" in Jeremiah:
Her Nazirites were whiter than snow, they were whiter than milk, their bones were redder than pearls, their polish was sapphire (Lam. 4:7).

In the representative sense "the Nazirites" signified the Lord as to the Divine natural consequently also the Divine truth that proceeds from Him in ultimates, which is the Word in the sense of the letter; for the hair, which is here meant by the "Nazirites," and which is said to be "whiter than snow and whiter than milk," signifies truth in ultimates, "whiteness" being predicated of truth; the "bones that are red" denote memory-truths, which are the ultimate ones, and serve the others as servants; "redness" is predicated of the good of love which is in the truths. From this it is evident that a "sapphire" denotes truth in ultimates translucent from internal truths.

In Ezekiel:
Above the expanse that was over the head of the cherubs was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and upon the likeness of the throne as it were the appearance of a man sitting upon it (Ezek. 1:26; 10:1).

"Cherubs" denote the guard and providence of the Lord lest there should be any approach to Him except through good; "the throne upon which was the appearance of a man" denotes Divine truth from the Divine good of the Lord (n. 5313, 6397, 9039). From this it is plain that "a sapphire stone" denotes truth translucent from internal truths-namely, a "stone" denotes truth, and a "sapphire" translucence.

That all things of the Word are translucent from the Lord, is because the Divine truth which is from the Lord is the one only thing from which are all things; for that which is first is the one only thing in the sequents and derivatives, because they are and come forth from it; and Divine truth is the Lord. Wherefore also in the supreme sense of the Word nothing is treated of but the Lord alone, His love, His providence, His kingdom in the heavens and on earth, and especially the glorification of His Human.

That Divine truth is the Lord Himself, is evident from the fact that whatever proceeds from anyone is himself, just as that which proceeds from a man while speaking or acting is from his will and understanding; and the will and understanding make the man's life, thus the man himself. For man is not man from the form of the face and the body; but from the understanding of truth, and the will of good. From this it can be seen that that which proceeds from the Lord is the Lord; that this is Divine truth, has been frequently shown in what goes before.

But he who does not know the arcana of heaven may suppose that the case with the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord is no different from that of the speech which proceeds from a man. But Divine truth is not speech; but is the Divine filling the heavens, just as light and heat from the sun fill the world. This may be illustrated by the spheres that proceed from the angels in heaven, and which, as can be seen in the passages here cited, are spheres of the truth of faith and good of love from the Lord. But the Divine sphere which proceeds from the Lord and is called "Divine Truth," is universal, and as just said fills the whole heaven and makes everything of life there. It appears there before the eyes as light which illumines not only the sight, but also the minds. It is also the same that makes the understanding in man.

This is meant in John:
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. That was the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world; and the world was made through Him (John 1:4, 9-10).

The subject here treated of is the Divine truth, which is called "the Word;" and it is said that the Divine truth, or the Word, is the Lord Himself.

This light, which is the Divine truth that proceeds from the Lord, was pictured by the ancients with radiant circles of a golden color around the head and body of God, represented as a man, for the ancients perceived God no otherwise than under the human form.

When a man is in good, and from good in truths, he is then raised into this Divine light, and into its interior light according to the amount and quality of his good. From this he has a general enlightenment, in which from the Lord he sees innumerable truths, which he perceives from good; and then he is led by the Lord to perceive and be imbued with those truths which are suited to him; and this in respect to the veriest singulars in order, just as is conducive to his eternal life. It is said "in respect to the veriest singulars," because the universal providence of the Lord is universal because it is in the veriest singulars, for singulars taken together are called "universal."

(Arcana Cœlestia 9407)

August 9, 2017

That Which is Loved is Regarded as The End

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Matt 6:19-21 KJV)
... the affection of spiritual truth is an internal affection, or is in the interior man; whereas the affection of truth from natural delight is in the external man.

The internal affection which is of the spiritual man is constantly conjoined with the external affection which is of the natural man, but still in such a way that the internal affection of truth is the ruling affection, and the external affection is subservient; for it is according to Divine order that the spiritual man should rule over the natural. Moreover when the spiritual man rules, the man looks upward, which is represented by having the head in heaven; but when the natural man rules, the man looks downward, which is represented by having the head in hell.

To throw more light on this subject something further shall be said. Most men by the truths which they learn, and the goods which they do, do indeed think of a consequent advantage, or of honor in their country; but if these things are regarded as the end, the natural man rules and the spiritual serves; if however they are not regarded as the end, but only as means to the end, the spiritual man rules and the natural man serves, according to what has been already said (in the previous article entitled, When Good and Truth are Regarded as 'The Means'). For when gain or honor is regarded as a means to an end, and not as the end, the gain or honor is not regarded, but the end, which is use. As for example he who desires and procures for himself riches for the sake of use, which he loves above all things, is not in this case delighted with riches for the sake of riches, but for the sake of uses. Moreover the very uses make the spiritual life with men, and riches merely serve as means. From this it can be seen what must be the quality of the natural man in order that it may be conjoined with the spiritual, namely, that it must regard gains and honors, thus riches and dignities, as means, and not as the end; for

that which is regarded by a man as the end makes his veriest life, because he loves it above all things, for that which is loved is regarded as the end.
He who does not know that the end, or what is the same, the love, makes the spiritual life of a man, consequently that a man is where his love is —in heaven if the love is heavenly — in hell if the love is infernal — cannot comprehend how the case is in regard to this. He may suppose that the delight of natural loves, which are the love of self and the love of the world, cannot agree with spiritual truth and good; for he does not know that in the course of regeneration a man must be wholly inverted, and that when he has been inverted he has his head in heaven, but that before he has been inverted he has his head in hell. He has his head in hell when he regards the delights of the love of self or of the love of the world as the end; but he has his head in heaven when these delights are as means to the end.
For the end, which is the love, is the only thing with man that is alive; the means to the end are of themselves not alive, but they receive life from the end.
Consequently the means from the ultimate end are called mediate ends; and these, insofar as they regard the ultimate end which is the principal end, are so far alive.

From this it is that when a man has been regenerated, consequently when he has as the end to love the neighbor and to love the Lord, he then has as means the loving of himself and the world. When man is of this character, then when he looks to the Lord he accounts himself as nothing, and also the world; and if he regards himself as anything, it is that he may be able to serve the Lord. But previously the contrary had been the case; for when he looked to himself, he had accounted the Lord as nothing, or if as anything, it was that thereby he might have gain and honor.

(Arcana Cœlestia 8995:2-4)

August 8, 2017

When Good and Truth are Regarded as 'The Means'

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Man has been so created that he can look upward, or above himself; and can also look downward, or below himself. To look above himself is to look to his neighbor, to his country, to the church, to heaven, especially to the Lord; but to look below himself is to look to the earth, to the world, and especially to himself.

That to look to his neighbor, to his country, and to the church, is to look above himself, is because this is to look to the Lord; for the Lord is in charity, and it is of charity to look to the neighbor, to one's country, and to the church, that is, to will well to them. But they look below themselves who turn themselves away from these, and will well only to themselves.

To look above oneself is to be uplifted by the Lord; for no one can look above himself, unless he is uplifted by Him who is above. But to look below himself is of man, because then he does not suffer himself to be uplifted.

They who are in the good of charity and of faith look above themselves, because they are uplifted by the Lord; but they who are not in the good of charity and of faith look below themselves, because they are not uplifted by the Lord.

Man looks below himself when he turns the influx of truth and good from the Lord to himself. He who turns to himself the good and truth flowing in from the Lord, sees himself and the world before him, and does not see the Lord with His good and truth, because they are behind him, and therefore come into such obscurity to him that he cares nothing for them, and at last he denies them.
By looking above self and below self, is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things. Thus by looking above self is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things, what is of the Lord and heaven; and by looking below self is meant to have as the end, or to love above all things, what is of self and the world. The interiors of man also actually turn themselves to where the love turns itself.

The man who is in the good of charity and faith loves also himself and the world, but no otherwise than as the means to an end are loved. The love of self with him looks to the love of the Lord, for he loves himself as a means to the end that he may serve the Lord; and the love of the world with him looks to the love of the neighbor, for he loves the world as a means for the sake of the end that he may be of service to the neighbor. When therefore the means is loved for the sake of the end, it is not the means that is loved, but the end.

From this it can be seen that they who are in worldly glory, that is, in eminence and opulence above others, can look above themselves to the Lord equally as can those who are not in eminence and opulence; for they look above themselves when they regard eminence and opulence as means, and not as the end.

To look above self is proper to man, but to look below self is proper to beasts. From this it follows that insofar as a man looks below himself or downward, so far he is a beast, and also so far is an image of hell; and that insofar as he looks above himself or upward, so far he is a man, and also so far is an image of the Lord.

(Arcana Cœlestia 7814 - 7821)

August 7, 2017

The Lord Rules Both the Good and the Evil

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Word is a medium uniting man with the Lord; and unless there were such a uniting medium, heaven could not inflow with man; for without a medium there would be no unition, but heaven would remove itself away from man; and if this were removed, no one could any longer be led to good, not even to corporeal and worldly good; but all bonds whatever, even those which are external, would be broken. For the Lord rules the man who is in good by means of internal bonds, which are of conscience; but one who is in evil by external bonds alone; and if these should be broken, every such man would become insane; even as is the man who is without fear of the law, without fear for his life, and without fear of the loss of honor and gain, and thus of reputation — for these are the external bonds — and so the human race would perish. From all this it may be seen why the Word exists, and what the character of the Word is.
(Arcana Cœlestia 4217:3)

August 5, 2017

Reading the Word with Enlightenment

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
It is an invariable truth that no one can understand the Word without doctrine; for he may be led away into any errors to which he may be inclined from some love, or to which he may be drawn from some principle, whereby his mind becomes unsettled and uncertain, and at length as it were destitute of truth. But he who reads the Word from doctrine sees all things that confirm it, and many things that are hidden from the eyes of others, and does not permit himself to be drawn away into strange things; and thus his mind becomes so settled as to see with certainty.

The Word may be drawn away to confirm heresies unless it is read from doctrine, for the reason that the sense of its letter consists of mere correspondences, and these are in great part appearances of truth, and in part genuine truths, and unless there be doctrine for a lamp these cannot be seen and cannot be distinguished from each other.

But doctrine can be acquired from no other source than from the Word, and it can be acquired only by those who are in enlightenment from the Lord.

Those are in enlightenment who love truths because they are truths and make them to be of their life.
Moreover, all things of doctrine must be confirmed by the sense of the letter of the Word, because the Divine truth is in its fullness and in its power in that sense, and through it man is in conjunction with the Lord and in consociation with the angels.

In brief, he who loves truth because it is truth can inquire of the Lord, as it were, in doubtful matters of faith, and can receive answers from Him, but nowhere except in the Word, for the reason that the Lord is the Word.

(Apocalypse Explained 1089)

August 4, 2017

Cherubim — A Guard and Protection

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Divine truth is what is called holy, but only when it is in its ultimate, and its ultimate is the Word in the sense of the letter; therefore the Divine truth there [in the letter] is holy, and may be called a sanctuary, and for the reason that that sense contains and encloses all the holy things of heaven and the church. The appearance is that the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, are more holy than the Divine truths in the sense of the letter of the Word, which are natural; but the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, are comparatively like the lungs and heart in man, which form the chest only when they are encompassed by ribs, and enclosed in the pleura and diaphragm; for without these integuments they could not perform their vital functions, and even unless connected with them by bonds. The spiritual things of the Word are like the breathing of the lungs, its celestial things are like the systole and diastole of the heart, and its natural things are like the pleura, the diaphragm, and the ribs, with the moving fibers attached, by which the motions are made reciprocal.

Again, the spiritual and celestial things of the Word are comparatively like the holy things of the tabernacle, which were the table upon which was the show bread, the golden altar upon which was the incense, the perfumes and the censer, also the lampstand with the lamps, and still further within the cherubim, the mercy seat and the ark. All these were the holy things of the Jewish and Israelitish church; nevertheless they could not be called holy and the sanctuary until they had been covered by curtains and veils, for without those coverings they would have stood under the naked sky, exposed to showers and storms, to the birds of heaven and the wild beasts of the earth, and also to robbers that would violate, plunder, and scatter them. So would it be with the Divine truths in the heavens, which are called spiritual and celestial, unless they were enclosed in natural truths, like the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word.

Natural truths, which are the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, are not the very truths of heaven, but are appearances of them; and appearances of truth encompass, enclose, and contain the truths of heaven, which are genuine truths, and cause them to be in connection and order and to act together, like the cardiac and pulmonary organs with their coverings and ribs, as has been said above; and when these truths are held in connection and in order they are holy, and not till then. This the sense of the letter of our Word does by means of the appearances of truth of which its ultimate consists; and this is why that sense is the holy Divine Itself and the sanctuary.

But he is greatly mistaken who separates appearances of truth from genuine truths and calls these appearances holy by themselves and from themselves, and not the sense of the letter holy by genuine truths and from them and together with them. He separates these who sees only the sense of the letter and does not explore its meaning, as those do who do not read the Word from doctrine.

The "cherubim" mean in the Word a guard and protection that the holy things of heaven be not violated, and that the Lord be approached only through love; consequently these signify the sense of the letter of the Word, because that is what guards and protects. It guards and protects in this manner that man can think and speak according to the appearances of truth so long as he is well-disposed, simple, and as it were an infant; but he must take heed not to so confirm appearances as to destroy the genuine truths in the heavens.

(Apocalypse Explained 1088:2-5)
(emphasis by editor)

August 3, 2017

The Chief Reason For The Lord's Coming Into The World

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All interior things — the spiritual and celestial things that are in the Words of the three heavens — are together in the ultimate sense of the Word, which is called the sense of the letter,
(for in its inmosts there are the things that are in the Word with the angels of the third heaven, and in its middle parts the things that are in the Words of the angels of the lower heavens, and these are encompassed by such things as exist in the nature of our world and are included in these)
so the sense of the letter of our Word is from all these.
From this it can be seen that the Divine truth is in its fullness in the sense of the letter of our Word.
That is said to be full which contains in itself all things prior, even from the first, or all things higher even from the highest; the ultimate is what includes these.
The fullness of the Word is like a general vessel of marble, in which are countless lesser vessels of crystal, and in these still more numerous vessels of precious stones, in and about which are the most delightful things of heaven which are for those who perform noble uses from the Word. That the Word is such is not evident to man while he is in the world; but it is evident to him when he becomes an angel. Because the Word is such in ultimates it follows that—
it is not the Word until it is in that ultimate, that is, until it is in the sense of the letter.
The Word not in that ultimate would be like a temple in the air and not on the earth, or like a man having flesh but without bones.

As the Divine truth is in its fullness and also in its power in its ultimate, for when it is in that it is in all things at once, therefore—

the Lord never works except from first things through ultimates, and thus in fullness.
For He reforms and regenerates man only through truths in ultimates, which are natural. And this is why a man after his departure out of the world remains to eternity such as he has been in the world. For the same reason heaven and hell are from the human race, and angels are not created immediately; for in the world a man is in his fullness, consequently he can there be conceived and born, and afterwards be imbued with knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom, and become an angel. To create angels in any other way is not given.

Because the Lord works all things from things first through ultimates, and is in His power and in His fullness in ultimates, therefore it pleased the Lord to take upon Him the Human and to become the Divine truth, that is, the Word, and thus from Himself to reduce to order all things of heaven and all things of hell, that is, to execute a Last Judgment. This the Lord could accomplish from the Divine in Himself, which was in things first, through His Human which was in ultimates—

and not, as before, from His presence or abode in the men of the church; for these had wholly forsaken the truths and goods of the Word, in which the Lord had previously had His dwelling-place with men.
This was the chief reason for the Lord's coming into the world, also for making His Human Divine; for by this He put Himself into the power of holding all things of heaven and all things of hell in order to eternity.

This is meant by:

Sitting at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19).
"The right hand of God" means the Divine omnipotence, and "to sit at the right hand of God" means to be in that omnipotence through the Human. That the Lord ascended into heaven with His Human glorified even to the ultimates He testifies in Luke:
Jesus said to the disciples See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself, handle Me and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye behold Me have (Luke 24:39).
This the Lord said just after His resurrection. "Flesh and bones" are the ultimates of the human body, on which its strength depends.
(Apocalypse Explained 1087:2-4)