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Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

… Man’s soul, which lives after death, is his spirit, and is in complete form a man; the soul of this form is the will and understanding, and the soul of these is love and wisdom from the Lord; these two are what constitute man’s life, which is from the Lord above; yet for the sake of man’s reception of Him, He causes life to appear as if it were man’s; but that man may not claim life for himself as his, and thus withdraw himself from this reception of the Lord, the Lord has also taught that everything of love, which is called good, and everything of wisdom, which is called truth, is from Him, and nothing of these from man; and as these two are life, that everything of life which is life is from Him.

Since the soul in its very esse is love and wisdom, and these two in man are from the Lord, there are created in man two receptacles, which are also the abodes of the Lord in man; one for love, the other for wisdom, the one for love called the will, the other for wisdom called the understanding. Now since Love and Wisdom in the Lord are one distinctly, and Divine Love is of His Divine Wisdom, and Divine Wisdom is of His Divine Love, and since these so go forth from God-Man, that is, from the Lord, therefore these two receptacles and abodes of the Lord in man, the will and understanding, are so created by the Lord as to be distinctly two, and yet make one in every operation and every sensation; for in these the will and understanding cannot be separated.

Nevertheless, to enable man to become a receptacle and an abode of the Lord, it is provided, as necessary to this end, that man’s understanding can be raised above his proper love into some light of wisdom in the love of which the man is not, and that he can thereby see and be taught how he must live if he would come also into that higher love, and thus enjoy eternal happiness. But by the misuse of this power to elevate the understanding above his proper love, man has subverted in himself that which might have been the receptacle and abode of the Lord (that is, of love and wisdom from the Lord), by making the will an abode for the love of self and the world, and the understanding an abode for whatever confirms those loves. From this it has come that these two abodes, the will and understanding, have become abodes of infernal love, and by confirmations in favor of these loves, abodes of infernal thought, which in hell is esteemed as wisdom.

The reason why the love of self and love of the world are infernal loves, and yet man has been able to come into them and thus subvert the will and understanding within him, is as follows: the love of self and the love of the world by creation are heavenly loves; for they are loves of the natural man serviceable to spiritual loves, as a foundation is to a house. For man, from the love of self and the world, seeks the welfare of his body, desires food, clothing, and habitation, is solicitous for the welfare of his family, and to secure employment for the sake of use, and even, in the interest of obedience, to be honored according to the dignity of the affairs which he administers, and to find delight and refreshment in worldly enjoyment; yet all this for the sake of the end, which must be use.  For through these things man is in a state to serve the Lord and to serve the neighbor. When, however, there is no love of serving the Lord and serving the neighbor, but only a love of serving himself by means of the world, then from being heavenly that love becomes hellish, for it causes a man to sink his mind and disposition in what is his own, and that in itself is wholly evil.

(Divine Love and Wisdom 394 – 396)
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