Storm Before the Calm

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Now it came to pass on a certain day, that He went into a ship with His disciples: and He said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake.  And they launched forth.  But as they sailed He fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.  And they came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Master, Master, we perish.  Then He arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water:  and they ceased, and there was a calm.  And He said unto them, Where is your faith?  And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for He commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey Him.  (Luke 8:22 – 25).

Before anything is reduced into a state of order, it is most usual that things should be reduced into a confused mass, or chaos as it were, so that those which do not well cohere together may be separated, and when they are separated, then the Lord disposes them into order.

This process may be compared with what takes place in nature, where all things in general and singly are first reduced to a confused mass, before being disposed into order.

Thus, for instance, unless there were storms in the atmosphere, to dissipate whatever is heterogeneous, the air could never become serene, but would become deadly by pestiferous accumulations.

So in like manner in the human body, unless all things in the blood, both heterogeneous and homogeneous, did continuously and successively flow together into one heart, to be there commingled, there would be deadly conglutinations of the liquids, and they could in no way be distinctly disposed to their respective uses.

Thus also it is with man in the course of his regeneration.

(Arcana Caelestia 842:3)
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Charity and Good Works (pt. 16)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 16)
v Doctrinal Series v
III. EVERY MAN INDIVIDUALLY IS THE NEIGHBOR WHO IS TO BE LOVED,
BUT ACCORDING TO THE QUALITY OF HIS GOOD.

(Continued)

Before the Lord came into the world scarcely anyone knew what the internal man is or what charity is, and this is why in so many places He taught brotherly love, that is, charity; and this constitutes the distinction between the Old Testament or Covenant and the New.

That good ought to be done from charity to the adversary and the enemy the Lord taught in Matthew:

Ye have heard that it hath been said to them of old time, Thou shalt love thy neighbor and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that hurt you and persecute you; that ye may be sons of your Father who is in the heavens (Matt. 5:43-45).

And when Peter asked Him how often he should forgive one sinning against him, whether he should do so until seven times, He replied:

I say not unto thee, until seven times, but until seventy times seven (Matt. 18:21, 22).

And I have heard from heaven that the Lord forgives to everyone his sins, and never takes vengeance nor even imputes sin, because He is love itself and good itself; nevertheless, sins are not thereby washed away, for this can be done only by repentance. For when He told Peter to forgive until seventy times seven, what will not the Lord do?

(True Christian Religion 409)

To be continued …

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Charity and Good Works (pt. 15)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 15)
v Doctrinal Series v
III. EVERY MAN INDIVIDUALLY IS THE NEIGHBOR WHO IS TO BE LOVED,
BUT ACCORDING TO THE QUALITY OF HIS GOOD.

(Continued)

Since, therefore, charity in its origin is good will, and good will has its seat in the internal man, it is plain that when anyone who has charity resists an enemy, punishes the guilty, and chastises the wicked, he does this by means of the external man; and therefore, after he has done it he returns to the charity that resides in his internal man, and then, so far as he can, and so far as is useful, he wishes him well, and from good will does good to him.

Those who have genuine charity have a zeal for what is good, and that zeal may appear in the external man like anger and flaming fire; but its flame dies out and is quieted as soon as his adversary returns to reason. It is different with those who have no charity. Their zeal is anger and hatred; for by these their internal man is heated and set on fire.

(True Christian Religion 408)

To be continued …

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Charity and Good Works (pt. 14)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 14)
v Doctrinal Series v
III. EVERY MAN INDIVIDUALLY IS THE NEIGHBOR WHO IS TO BE LOVED,
BUT ACCORDING TO THE QUALITY OF HIS GOOD.

(Continued)

What it is to love the neighbor shall be explained.

To love the neighbor is not alone to wish well and do good to a relative, a friend, or a good man, but also to a stranger, an enemy, or a bad man. But charity is to be exercised toward the latter in one way and toward the former in another; toward a relative or friend by direct benefits; toward an enemy or a bad man by indirect benefits, which are rendered by exhortation, discipline, punishment, and consequent amendment.

This may be illustrated thus: A judge who punishes an evil-doer in accordance with law and justice, loves his neighbor; for so he makes him better, and consults the welfare of the citizens that he may not do them harm.

Everyone knows that a father who chastises his children when they do wrong, loves them, and that, on the other hand, he who does not chastise them therefore, loves their evils, and this cannot be called charity.

Again, if a man repels an insulting enemy, and in self-defense strikes him or delivers him to the judge in order to prevent injury to himself, and yet with a disposition to befriend the man, he acts from a charitable spirit. Wars that have as an end the defense of the country and the church, are not contrary to charity. The end in view declares whether it is charity or not.

(True Christian Religion 407)

To be continued …

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Charity and Good Works (pt. 13)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 13)
v Doctrinal Series v
III. EVERY MAN INDIVIDUALLY IS THE NEIGHBOR WHO IS TO BE LOVED,
BUT ACCORDING TO THE QUALITY OF HIS GOOD.
(Continued)

Man is born not for the sake of himself but for the sake of others; that is, he is born not to live for himself alone but for others; otherwise there could be no cohesive society, nor any good therein. It is a common saying that every man is a neighbor to himself; but the doctrine of charity teaches how this is to be understood, namely,-

that everyone should provide for himself the necessaries of life, as food, clothing, a dwelling, and other things which are necessarily required in the social life in which he is, and this not only for himself, but also for his family, nor for the present alone, but also for the future. For unless a man acquires for himself the necessaries of life, he is not in a condition to exercise charity, since he is in want of everything.

But how every man ought to be a neighbor to himself may be seen from the following comparison:

Every man ought to provide his body with food; this must be first, but the end should be that he may have a sound mind in a sound body; and every man ought to provide his mind with food, namely, with such things as pertain to intelligence and judgment; but the end should be that he may thereby be in a state to serve his fellow-citizens, society, his country, the church, and thus the Lord. He who does this provides well for himself to eternity.

From this it is plain what is first in time, and what is first in end, and that the first in end is that to which all things look. It is also like building a house; first the foundation must be laid; but the foundation must be for the house, and the house for a dwellingplace. He who believes himself to be a neighbor to himself in the first place or primarily, is like one who regards the foundation, not the dwelling, as the end; and yet the dwelling is itself the first and the last end, and the house with its foundation is only a means to the end.

(True Christian Religion 406)

To be continued …

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Charity and Good Works (pt. 12)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 12)
v Doctrinal Series v
II. THESE THREE LOVES
(THE LOVE OF HEAVEN, THE LOVE OF THE WORLD, AND THE LOVE OF SELF)
WHEN RIGHTLY SUBORDINATED, PERFECT MAN,
BUT WHEN NOT RIGHTLY SUBORDINATED,
THEY PERVERT AND INVERT HIM.

(Continued)

[W]hen love of self or love of ruling constitutes the head, the love of heaven passes down through the body to the feet; and as that love increases, the love of heaven descends through the ankles to the soles, and if it increases still further, it passes to the heels and is trodden upon. There is a love of ruling arising from love of the neighbor, and a love of ruling arising from love of self. Those who are in the love of ruling from love of the neighbor seek dominion to the end that they may perform uses to the public and to individuals; and to such, therefore, dominion is entrusted in the heavens.

Emperors, kings, and noblemen, who have been born and brought up to positions of authority, if they humble themselves before God, are sometimes less in that love than those who are of humble origin and who from pride are more eager than others for places of pre-eminence. But to those who are in the love of ruling from love of self, the love of heaven is like a bench on which, to please the people, they place their feet, but which, when the people are out of sight, they toss into a corner or out of doors. This is because they love themselves alone, and consequently immerse their wills and the thoughts of their minds in what is their own [proprium], which viewed in itself is inherited evil, and this evil is diametrically opposed to the love of heaven.

The evils of those who are in the love of rule from love of self, are in general as follows:

Contempt of others, envy, enmity against those who do not favor them; consequently hostility, hatred, revenge, unmercifulness, ferocity, and cruelty;

and where such evils prevail, there is also contempt of God and of Divine things, which are the truths and goods of the church; or if they honor these it is with the lips only, lest they should be denounced by the church authorities and censured by others.

But this love is one thing with the clergy and another with the laity. With the clergy it climbs upward, when the reins are given to it, even until they wish to be gods; but with the laity until they wish to be kings; to such an extent do the hallucinations of that love carry their minds away.

Since in the perfect man the love of heaven holds the highest place, and forms, as it were, the head of all that follows from it, the love of the world being beneath it like the chest beneath the head, and the love of self beneath this like the feet, it follows, that if love of self were to form the head, the man would be completely inverted. He would then appear to the angels like one lying bent over, with his head to the ground and his back toward heaven; and when worshiping, he would appear to be frolicking on his hands and feet like a panther’s cub. Furthermore, such men would appear under the forms of various beasts with two heads, one head above having the face of a wild animal, and the other below having a human face, which would be constantly thrust forward by the upper one and compelled to kiss the earth. All these are sensual men, and are such as were described above.

(True Christian Religion 405)

To be continued …

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Charity and Good Works (pt. 11)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt. 11)
v Doctrinal Series v
II. THESE THREE LOVES, WHEN RIGHTLY SUBORDINATED, PERFECT MAN,
BUT WHEN NOT RIGHTLY SUBORDINATED,
THEY PERVERT AND INVERT HIM.

Something shall first be said of the subordination of these three universal loves, which are the love of heaven, the love of the world, and the love of self, and then of the influx and insertion of one into the other, and finally of man’s state according to that subordination. These three loves are related to each other like the three regions of the body, the highest of which is the head; the intermediate, the chest and abdomen, while the knees and feet and soles of the feet form the third. When the love of heaven constitutes the head, love of the world the chest and abdomen, and love of self the feet and their soles, man is in a perfect state in accordance with his creation, because the two lower loves then minister to the highest, as the body and all its parts minister to the head. So when the love of heaven constitutes the head, it flows into the love of the world, which is chiefly a love of wealth, and by means of wealth it performs uses; and through this latter love it flows mediately into the love of self, which is chiefly the love of dignities, and by means of these dignities it performs uses. Thus do these three loves, by the influx of one into the other, breathe forth uses.

Who does not comprehend, that when a man desires to perform uses from spiritual love, which is from the Lord and is what is meant by the love of heaven, his natural man performs them by means of his wealth and his other goods (the sensual man cooperating in its function), and that it is to his honor to produce them?

Who does not also comprehend that all the works that a man does with his body are done according to the state of his mind in the head; and if the mind is in the love of uses, the body by means of its members accomplishes them?

And this is so, because the will and the understanding in their principles are in the head, and in their derivatives in the body, as the will is in deeds, and the thought in speech, and comparatively as the prolific principle of the seed is in the whole tree and in every part of it, and through these produces fruit, which is its use. Or it is like fire and light within a crystalline vase which thereby becomes warm and shows the light through it.

And again, the spiritual sight of the mind together with the natural sight of the body, in one in whom these three loves are truly and rightly subordinated, because of the light that flows in through heaven from the Lord, may be likened to an African apple, which is transparent to the very center, where there is the repository of the seeds. Something like this is meant by these words of the Lord,

The lamp of the body is the eye; if the eye be single (that is, sound), the whole body is full of light (Matt. 6:22; Luke 11:34).

No man of sound reason can condemn wealth, for it is in the general body like the blood in a man; nor can he condemn the honors attached to office, for they are the hands of the king and the pillars of society, provided the natural and sensual love of them is subordinated to spiritual love. Moreover, there are administrative offices in heaven and honors attached to them; but those who administer them love nothing better than to perform uses, because they are spiritual.

But when love of the world or of wealth forms the head, that is, when it is the ruling love, man puts on a wholly different state; for then the love of heaven is exiled from the head and betakes itself to the body.

The man who is in this state prefers the world to heaven; he worships God indeed, but from merely natural love which places merit in all worship; he also does good to the neighbor, but for the sake of recompense.

To such, heavenly things are like clothing, clad in which they appear before the eyes of men to be walking in brightness, but before the eyes of angels they appear indistinct, for when love of the world possesses the internal man, and the love of heaven the external, the former makes all things belonging to the church obscure and hides them as under a veil.

But this love is of great variety, worse in the degree that it verges toward avarice, in which the love of heaven grows black; so too if it verges toward pride and eminence over others from love of self. It is different if it verges towards prodigality, and is less hurtful if it has in view as an end the splendors of the world, as palaces, ornaments, magnificent clothing, servants, horses and carriages pompously arrayed, and other like things.

The character of every love is determined by the end which it regards and intends.

This love may be compared to blackish glass, which smothers the light and variegates it only in dark and evanescent hues. It is also like mists and clouds which take away the rays of the sun. It is also like new, unfermented wine, which tastes sweet but disturbs the stomach.

Such a man when viewed from heaven looks like a hunchback, walking with his head down looking at the ground, and when he raises his head towards heaven he strains the muscles, and quickly drops it down again. The ancients in the church called such men Mammons, and the Greeks called them Plutos.

(True Christian Religion 403 – 404)

To be continued …

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