December 28, 2017

As The Tree Falls, It Remains

Selection from Spiritual Diary [min] ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
...if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.  Eccl 11:3

As long as people live, they are in the lowest level of order, have a bodily memory, which grows, and in which those things are to take root what belong to the inward memory. Consequently, the more harmony and interaction of good and truth there is in them, and between them, the more of life they have from the Lord, and the more they can be perfected in the other life. But it is that outward or bodily memory in which inward qualities take root. People after death indeed have with them all their outward or bodily memory, in all and the least details, but it can no longer grow, and where it is not functioning, new harmony and interaction cannot be formed. Nevertheless, all things of their inward memory are also grounded in their outward memory, even though it is not permitted them to use it.

This all shows what it means that as the tree falls, so it remains [Eccl. 11:3] not that those imbued with good cannot be perfected: such can be perfected immensely, even unto angelic wisdom, but to the level corresponding to the harmony and interaction that had existed between their inner and outer qualities when they lived in the world.  After the life of the body, no one receives outer, but only inward, and inner qualities.

As for that dogma that the tree remains where it falls, its meaning is not as it is usually explained, but it is the degree of harmony of our inner or spiritual person with our outer or earthly one, that remains as it falls, both of which man has with him in the other life.
The inner or spiritual quality is grounded in his outer or earthly one as its base.
The inner or spiritual person is perfected in the other life, but depending on the harmony it is able to find in the outer or earthly one. But the latter, namely outer or earthly one cannot be perfected in the other life, but remains of the quality it had acquired in the life of the body, and is perfected in that life by the removal of the love of self and of the world, and then by the reception of the good of charity, and of the truth of faith, from the Lord. Hence it is the harmony or disharmony that is the tree, together with its root, that remains after death, where it falls.
(from Spiritual Diary [min] 4645, 4646)

December 27, 2017

He Who Loves Himself Only

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
... he who loves himself only loves what is his own [proprium], and therefore immerses all things of his will and his understanding in what is his own [proprium], even so that it is impossible for him to be elevated from it to heaven and to the Lord; consequently he sees nothing from the light of heaven, but solely from the light of the world, which light, separated from the light of heaven, is mere darkness in spiritual things, which are the things of heaven and the church; and for this reason also the more a man loves himself the more he despises, yea, denies spiritual things.

In consequence also of this the internal spiritual mind, by which man is in the light of heaven, is closed up, and this causes the man to be merely natural, and the merely natural man is inclined to evils of every kind. For the evils into which man is born have their seat in the natural man, and these are removed from him only to the extent in which his interior mind, which receives the light of heaven, is opened; moreover, what is man's own [proprium] has its seat in the natural man, and what is man's own [proprium] is nothing but evil.
(From Apocalypse Explained 653:2)

December 23, 2017

The Reasons Why the Lord Willed to be Born on Our Earth, and Not on Another

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• There are many reasons why it pleased the Lord to be born and to assume the Human on our earth, and not on any other, concerning which I have been informed from heaven.

• The principal reason was for the sake of the Word, in that it could be written on our earth, and when written could then be published throughout the whole earth; and once published could be preserved for all posterity; and that thus it might be made manifest even to all in the other life that God had become a Man.

• That the principal reason was for the sake of the Word, is because the Word is truth Divine itself, which teaches man that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death; and which teaches besides how a man must live and believe in order that he may come into heaven, and thus be eternally happy. Without revelation, thus on this earth without the Word, all these things would have been utterly unknown; and yet man has been so created that in respect to his internal man he cannot die.

• That the Word could be written on our earth, is because the art of writing has existed here from the most ancient time, first on wooden tablets, later on parchment, afterward on paper, and finally it could be published in print. This has been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

• That the Word could afterward be published throughout this whole earth, is because there is here an interaction of all nations, both by overland travel and by navigation, to all places on the globe. Therefore the Word once written could be carried from one nation to another, and could be everywhere taught. That there should be such an interaction has also been provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word.

• That the Word once written could be preserved for all posterity, consequently for thousands and thousands of years, and that it has been so preserved, is known.

• That thus it could be made manifest that God has become a Man, is because this is the first and most essential thing for the sake of which the Word was given; for no one can believe in and love a God whom he cannot comprehend under some form; and therefore those who acknowledge the incomprehensible, in their thought fall into nature, and thus believe in no God .... Wherefore it pleased the Lord to be born here, and to make this manifest by the Word, not only in order that it might become known on this globe, but that by this means it might also be made manifest to all in the universe who come into heaven from any earth whatever; for in heaven there is a communication of all.

• Be it known that the Word on our earth, given through heaven by the Lord, is the union of heaven and the world ... to which end there is a correspondence of all things in the letter of the Word with Divine things in heaven; and that in its supreme and inmost sense the Word treats of the Lord, of His kingdom in the heavens and on earth, and of love and faith from Him and to Him, consequently of life from Him and in Him. Such things are presented to the angels in heaven, from whatever earth they come, when the Word of our earth is read and preached.

• On every other earth truth Divine is made manifest orally through spirits and angels, as has been shown in the preceding chapters, where the inhabitants of the earths in this solar system have been treated of; but this takes place within families; for on most of the earths mankind live separate according to their families. Wherefore Divine truth thus revealed through spirits and angels is not conveyed far beyond the families; and unless a new revelation is constantly following, what has been revealed is either perverted or perishes. It is otherwise on our earth, where truth Divine, which is the Word, remains in its integrity forever.

• Be it known that the Lord acknowledges and receives all, from whatever earth they may be, who acknowledge and worship God under a human form, for God under a human form is the Lord. And because the Lord appears to the inhabitants of the earths in an angelic form, which is the human form, therefore when spirits and angels from these earths hear from the spirits and angels of our earth that God is a Man in actuality, they receive this Word, acknowledge it, and rejoice that it is so....

• To the reasons already adduced may be added that the inhabitants, spirits, and angels of our earth bear relation in the Grand Man to the external and bodily sense ... and the external and bodily sense is the ultimate, into which the interior things of life come to a close, and in which they rest as in their common receptacle .... The case is similar with truth Divine in the letter, which is called "the Word," and which for this reason also has been given on this earth and not on another. And because the Lord is the Word, and is its first and its last, therefore in order that all things might come forth according to order, He also willed to be born on this earth, and to become the Word; according to these words in John:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word. The same was in the beginning with God. All thing were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father. No man hath seen God at any time; the Only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He hath set Him forth (John 1:1-3, 14, 18)
"the Word" denotes the Divine truth. But this is a secret which will fall into the understanding of only a few.

• That the inhabitants of other earths rejoice when they hear that God took on Himself the Human, and made it Divine, and that thus God is Man in actuality....
(Arcana Cœlestia 9350 - 9361)

December 22, 2017

The Unition of His Human Essence to His Divine Essence

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord united His Human to His Divine and His Divine to His Human by continual temptations and victories; and that by this union He saved the human race. From this the human race has all its salvation.

It is the common opinion that the Father sent the Son to suffer the hardest things even to the death of the cross; and thus that by looking upon the passion and merit of the Son, He has mercy upon the human race. But everyone can know that
Jehovah does not have mercy by any looking upon the Son, for He is mercy itself
but that the arcanum of the Lord's coming into the world is that He united in Himself the Divine to the Human and the Human to the Divine; which could not be done except through the most grievous things of temptations; and thus that by that union it became possible for salvation to reach the human race, in which no celestial and spiritual, or even natural good, any longer remained; and it is this union which saves those who are in the faith of charity.
It is the Lord Himself who shows the mercy.
(Arcana Cœlestia 2854)

December 21, 2017

Changes and Variations of State and Form

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
• Those who so believe know nothing whatever about what evil is or what good is.

For they do not know that evil is the delight of the lust of acting and thinking contrary to Divine order, and that good is the delight of the affection of acting and thinking in accordance with Divine order, and that there are myriads of lusts that enter into and compose every single evil, and myriads of affections in like manner that enter into and compose every single good, and that these myriads are in such order and connection in man's interiors that no one can be changed unless at the same time all are changed. Those who do not know this may hold the belief or opinion that evil, which seems also to them to be a single thing, can easily be removed; and good, which also appears to be a single thing, can be brought in in its place. As such do not know what evil is and what good is they must needs be of the opinion that instant salvation and mercy apart from means are possible ....

• Those who believe in instant salvation and mercy apart from means do not know that affections, which belong to the will, are nothing but changes of the state of the purely organic substances of the mind; and that thoughts, which belong to the understanding, are nothing but changes and variations in the form of these substances; and that memory is the state of these changes and variations that remains permanent.

• Who does not acknowledge, when it is stated, that affections and thoughts are possible only in substances and their forms, which are subjects?

And as these exist in the brains, which are full of substances and forms, the forms are called purely organic. No one who thinks rationally can help laughing at the fancies of some that affections and thoughts do not exist in substantiated subjects, but are exhalations modified by heat and light, like images appearing in the air and ether; and yet thought can no more exist apart from a substantial form than sight apart from its form which is the eye, or hearing apart from its form which is the ear, or taste apart from its form which is the tongue. Examine the brain, and you will see innumerable substances, and fibers likewise, and that there is nothing there that is not organized. What other evidence than this ocular proof is needed?

• But it is asked, What is affection there, and what is thought there?

This may be inferred from all things and each thing in the body; in it are many viscera, each fixed in its place, and these perform their functions by changes and variations of state and form. That each is engaged in its own operations is known-the stomach in its own, the intestines in theirs, the kidneys in theirs, the liver, pancreas, and spleen in theirs, and the heart and lungs in theirs; and all of these are moved to their work solely from within, and to be moved from within is to be moved by changes and variations of state and form. All this makes clear that the operations of the purely organic substances of the mind must resemble these, with the difference that the operations of the organic substances of the body are natural, while those of the mind are spiritual; and that the two make one by correspondences.

The nature of the changes and variations of state and form in the organic substances of the mind, which are affections and thoughts, cannot be shown to the eye; nevertheless they may be seen as in a mirror in the changes and variations in the state of the lungs in speaking and singing. There is also a correspondence; for the tone of the voice in speaking and singing, and also its articulations, which are the words of speech and the modulations of singing, are made by the lungs, and tone corresponds to affection and speech to thought. They are also produced therefrom; and this is done by changes and variations in the state and form of the organic substances in the lungs, and from the lungs through the trachea or windpipe in the larynx and glottis, and then in the tongue, and finally in the lips. The first changes and variations of the state and form of the tone take place in the lungs, the second in the trachea and larynx, the third in the glottis by the varied openings of its orifices, the fourth in the tongue by its various adaptations to the palate and the teeth, the fifth in the lips by their varied forms. All this makes clear that mere changes and variations, successively continued, in the state of organic forms, produce tones and their articulations, which are speech and singing. Inasmuch, then, as tone and speech are produced from no other source than the affections and thoughts of the mind (for they exist from these, and never apart from them), it is evident that the affections of the will are changes and variations in the state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and that the thoughts of the understanding are changes and variations in the form of those substances, the same as in the pulmonary substances.

• As affections and thoughts are mere changes in the state of the forms of the mind it follows that memory is nothing else than the state of these changes that is permanent. For all changes and variations of state in organic substances are such that having once become habitual they are permanent. Thus the lungs are habituated to produce various sounds in the trachea, and to vary them in the glottis, to articulate them with the tongue, and to modify them with the mouth; and these organic activities, having once become habitual, are in the organs and can be reproduced. That these changes and variations are infinitely more perfect in the organic structures of the mind than in those of the body ... all perfections increase and ascend with degrees and according to degrees.
(from Divine Providence 279)

December 20, 2017

Which Society Will You Choose?

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
[T]he entire heaven is arranged in societies according to the affections of good, and the entire hell according to the lusts of evil opposite to the affections of good.

As to his spirit every man is in some society; in a heavenly society if he is in an affection for good, but in an infernal society if he is in a lust of evil. This is unknown to man so long as he lives in the world; nevertheless he is in respect to his spirit in some society, and without this he cannot live, and by means of it he is governed by the Lord.

If he is in an infernal society he can be led out of it by the Lord only in accordance with the laws of His Divine providence, among which is this,
  • the man must see that he is there,
  • must wish to go out of it,
  • and must try to do this of himself.
This he can do while he is in the world, but not after death; for he then remains forever in the society into which he has inserted himself while in the world. This is the reason why man must examine himself, must recognize and acknowledge his sins and repent, and then must persevere even to the end of his life.
(Divine Providence 278: 6)

December 19, 2017

Let No One Make a Residue of it Till The Morning

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.  This is the thing which the Lord hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.  And the children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less.  And when they did mete it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; they gathered every man according to his eating. And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till the morning.     Exodus 16:15-19
Let no one make a residue of it till the morning. That this signifies that they should not be solicitous about acquiring it from themselves, is evident from the fact that the manna was to be given every morning, and that worms would be bred in that which was left over, by which is signified that the Lord daily provides necessaries, and that therefore they ought not to be solicitous about acquiring them from themselves. This also is meant by the "daily bread" in the Lord's Prayer, and likewise by the Lord's words in Matthew:
Be not solicitous for your soul, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on; why are ye solicitous about things to put on? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: therefore be ye not solicitous, saying, What shall we eat? and what shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the nations seek; doth not your Heavenly Father know that ye have need of all these things? Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens, and His righteousness; then shall all these things be added to you; therefore be ye not solicitous for the morrow, for the morrow will take care of the things of itself (6:25, 28, 31-34).
In like manner in Luke 12:11, 12, 22-31.

... in the internal sense care for the morrow is treated of, and as this care is not only forbidden, but is also condemned (that it is forbidden is signified by that they were not to make a residue of the manna till the morning, and that it is condemned is signified by that the worm was bred in the residue, and it stank),
he who looks at the subject no deeper than from the sense of the letter may believe that all care for the morrow is to be cast aside, and thus that the necessaries of life are to be awaited daily from heaven;
but he who looks at the subject deeper than from the letter, as for instance he who looks at it from the internal sense, is able to know what is meant by "care for the morrow."

It does not mean the care of procuring for oneself food and raiment, and even resources for the time to come; for it is not contrary to order for anyone to be provident for himself and his own.

But those have care for the morrow who are not content with their lot; who do not trust in the Divine, but in themselves; and who have regard for only worldly and earthly things, and not for heavenly things. With such there universally reigns solicitude about things to come, and a desire to possess all things and to dominate over all, which is kindled and grows according to the additions thus made, and finally does so beyond all measure. They grieve if they do not obtain the objects of their desire, and feel anguish at the loss of them; and they have no consolation, because of the anger they feel against the Divine, which they reject together with everything of faith, and curse themselves. Such are they who have care for the morrow.
Very different is the case with those who trust in the Divine.
These, notwithstanding they have care for the morrow, still have it not, because they do not think of the morrow with solicitude, still less with anxiety. Unruffled is their spirit whether they obtain the objects of their desire, or not; and they do not grieve over the loss of them, being content with their lot. If they become rich, they do not set their hearts on riches; if they are raised to honors, they do not regard themselves as more worthy than others; if they become poor, they are not made sad; if their circumstances are mean, they are not dejected. They know that for those who trust in the Divine all things advance toward a happy state to eternity, and that whatever befalls them in time is still conducive thereto.
Be it known that the Divine Providence is universal, that is, in things the most minute; and that they who are in the stream of Providence are all the time carried along toward everything that is happy, whatever may be the appearance of the means; and that those are in the stream of Providence who put their trust in the Divine and attribute all things to Him;
and that those are not in the stream of Providence who trust in themselves alone and attribute all things to themselves, because they are in the opposite, for they take away providence from the Divine, and claim it for themselves.

Be it known also that insofar as anyone is in the stream of Providence, so far he is in a state of peace; also that insofar as anyone is in a state of peace from the good of faith, so far he is in the Divine Providence. These alone know and believe that the Divine Providence of the Lord is in everything both in general and in particular, nay, is in the most minute things of all ... and that the Divine Providence regards what is eternal.

But they who are in the opposite are scarcely willing to hear Providence mentioned, for they ascribe everything to their own sagacity; and what they do not ascribe to this they ascribe to fortune or chance; some to fate, which they do not educe from the Divine, but from nature. They call those simple who do not attribute all things to themselves or to nature. From all this again it can be seen what is the quality of those who have care for the morrow, and what the quality of those who have no care for the morrow.
(Arcana Coelestia 8478)

December 14, 2017

Misuse of Uses

From Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Misuse does not do away with use, even as falsification of truth does not do away with truth except with those who falsify it.
(from Divine Love and Wisdom 331)

December 13, 2017

Looking to Doctrinal Things and Not to A Life According to Doctrinal Things

Excerpts from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In that day he that shall be upon the house, and his vessels in the house, let him not go down to take them away; and let him that is in the field likewise not turn back behind him: Remember Lot's wife (Luke 17:31-32).
When ye shall see the abomination of desolation, foretold by Daniel the prophet, then let them that are in Judea flee into the mountains; let him that is upon the house not go down to take anything out of his house; and let him that is in the field not return back to take his garments (Matt. 24:15-17).
• The "abomination of desolation" denotes the state of the church when there is no love and no charity, for when these are desolated, abominable things predominate.
• That "Judea" denotes the church, and indeed the celestial church, is evident from the Word of the Old Testament throughout, both the historic and the prophetic.
• That the "mountains" into which they shall flee, denote love to the Lord and the consequent charity toward the neighbor.
• That "he who is upon the house," denotes the good of love...
• That to "go down to take anything out of his house," denotes to turn one's self away from good to truth, has also just been stated.
• That "they who are in the field" denote those who are in the spiritual church, is evident from the signification in the Word of a "field."
• That "let him not return back to take his garments," denotes that he should not turn himself away from good to the truth that is of doctrine, is because "garments" signify truths, for truths act as garments in clothing good.

Everyone can see that very different things are meant and that arcana are involved by all that the Lord there said concerning the consummation of the age, as that they who were in Judea should flee into the mountains, that they who were upon the house should not go down to take anything out of the house, and that they who were in the field should not return back to take their garments; and in like manner by its being said that Lot should not look back behind himself, and here that his wife did look back behind him. This is further evident from the signification of a "wife," as being truth; and from the signification of "Lot," as being good; hence it is said "behind him."

Truth is said to turn itself away from good, and to look to doctrinal things, when the man of the church no longer has at heart what kind of a life he lives, but what kind of a doctrine he possesses; when yet it is a life according to doctrine that makes a man of the church, but not doctrine separate from life; for when doctrine is separated from life, then because good, which is of the life, is laid waste, truth, which is of doctrine, is also laid waste, that is, becomes a pillar of salt; which everyone may know who looks only to doctrine and not to life, when he considers whether, although doctrine teaches them, he believes in the resurrection, in heaven, in hell, even in the Lord, and in the rest of the things that are of doctrine.
(Excerpts from Arcana Cœlestia 2454)

December 11, 2017

The Law of Marriages

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
All the laws of truth and right flow from celestial beginnings, or from the order of life of the celestial man. For the whole heaven is a celestial man because the Lord alone is a celestial man, and as He is the all in all of heaven and the celestial man, they are thence called celestial.

As every law of truth and right descends from celestial beginnings, or from the order of life of the celestial man, so in an especial manner does the law of marriages.
It is the celestial (or heavenly) marriage from and according to which all marriages on earth must be derived; and this marriage is such that there is one Lord and one heaven, or one church whose head is the Lord. The law of marriages thence derived is that there shall be one husband and one wife, and when this is the case they represent the celestial marriage, and are an exemplar of the celestial man.
This law was not only revealed to the men of the Most Ancient Church, but was also inscribed on their internal man, wherefore at that time a man had but one wife, and they constituted one house. But when their posterity ceased to be internal men, and became external, they married a plurality of wives. Because the men of the Most Ancient Church in their marriages represented the celestial marriage, conjugial love was to them a kind of heaven and heavenly happiness, but when the Church declined they had no longer any perception of happiness in conjugial love, but in pleasure from a number, which is a delight of the external man. This is called by the Lord "hardness of heart" on account of which they were permitted by Moses to marry a plurality of wives, as the Lord Himself teaches:
For the hardness of your heart Moses wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh; wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh; what therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder (Mark 10:5-9).
(Arcana Cœlestia 162)

December 8, 2017

Heavenly Marriages Induce Forms on the Souls and Minds of their Partner

Selection from Conjugial Love ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In the natural world it is not so apparent that marriages induce other forms on souls and minds, for here souls and minds are enclosed in a material body, through which the mind rarely shines. Today, moreover, far more than of old, men learn from infancy onward to induce expressions on the face by which they profoundly conceal the mind's affections. For this reason forms of the mind before and after marriage are not known apart. In the spiritual world, however, it is manifest (even in such men) that the forms of soul and mind after marriage differ from what they were before marriage. For spirits and angels, who are nothing but minds and souls in human form, are then stripped of the coverings which were composed of elements from water and earth and of exhalations thence spread on the air. With these removed, the forms of the minds, such as they were within the body, are seen, and it is clearly observable then that the married have certain forms, and the unmarried other forms.

In general, married partners have an inner beauty of countenance, the man receiving from the wife the agreeable glow of her love, and the wife from the man the shining brightness of his wisdom. For the two partners are united in soul. In each appears also a human fullness. This is in heaven, for there are no marriages anywhere else; below heaven [not from heavenly order] there are only matings, which are formed and severed.
(Conjugial Love 192)

December 3, 2017

Love and Charity

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Divine with those who have faith in the Lord is love and charity. By Love is meant love to the Lord; by Charity," love toward the neighbor. Love to the Lord cannot possibly be separated from love toward the neighbor; for the Lord's love is toward the universal human race, which He wills to save eternally and to adjoin wholly to Himself, so that not one of them may perish. He therefore who has love to the Lord, has the Lord's love, and thereby can do no otherwise than love his neighbor.
(from Arcana Cœlestia 2023)

December 1, 2017

How to React with God

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
In everything created by God there is reaction.
In Life alone there is action; reaction is caused by the action of Life.
Because reaction takes place when any created thing is acted upon, it appears as if it belonged to what is created. Thus in man it appears as if the reaction were his, because he has no other feeling than that life is his, when yet man is only a recipient of life.

From this cause it is that man, by reason of his hereditary evil, reacts against God. But so far as man believes that all his life is from God, and that all good of life is from the action of God, and all evil of life from the reaction of man, so far his reaction comes to be from [God's] action, and man acts with God as if from himself.
The equilibrium of all things is from action and simultaneous reaction, and in equilibrium everything must be.
These things have been said lest man should believe that he himself ascends toward God from himself, and not from the Lord.
(Divine Love and Wisdom 68)