There is a God and He is One

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
There is a universal influx from God into the souls of men of the truth that-
There is a God, and that He is one.

That there is an influx from God into man is evident from the universal confession that-

all good that is in itself good, and that exists in man and is done by him, is from God; in like manner every thing of charity and every thing of faith

for we read:

A man can take nothing except it be given him from heaven  (John 3:27)

and Jesus said:

Without Me ye are unable to do anything  (John 15:5)

that is, anything that pertains to charity and faith.

This influx is into the souls of men because the soul is the inmost and highest part of man, and the influx from God enters into that, and descends therefrom into the things that are below, and vivifies them in accordance with reception.

The truths that are to constitute belief flow in, it is true, through the hearing, and are thus implanted in the mind, that is, below the soul. But by means of such truths man is simply made ready to receive the influx from God through the soul — such as this preparation is, such is the reception, and such the transformation of natural faith into spiritual faith.

There is such an influx from God into the souls of men of the truth that God is one, because everything Divine, regarded most generally as well as most particularly, is God. And as the entire Divine coheres as one, it cannot fail to inspire in man the idea of One God; and this idea is strengthened daily as man is elevated by God into the light of heaven. For the angels in their light cannot force themselves to utter the word “gods.” Even their speech closes at the end of every sentence in a oneness of cadence; and there is no other cause of this than the influx into their souls of the truth that God is One.

In spite of this influx into the souls of men of the truth that God is One, there are many who think that the Divinity of God is divided into several possessing the same essence; and the reason of this is that when the influx descends it falls into forms not correspondent, and influx is varied by the form that receives it, as takes place in all the subjects of the three kingdoms of nature. It is the same God who vivifies man and who vivifies every beast; but the recipient form is what causes the beast to be a beast and man to be a man. The same is true of man when he induces on his mind the form of a beast. There is the same influx from the sun into every kind of tree, but the influx differs in accordance with the form of each; that which flows into the vine is the same as that which flows into the thorn; but if a thorn were to be engrafted upon a vine the influx would be inverted and go forth in accordance with the form of the thorn.

For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  Hebrews 6:7, 8

The same is true of the subjects of the mineral kingdom; the same light flows into limestone and into the diamond; but in the diamond it is transmitted, while in the limestone it is quenched.

In human minds these differences are in accordance with the forms of the mind, which become inwardly spiritual in accordance with faith in God, together with life from God, such forms being made translucent and angelic by a faith in one God, and on the contrary, made dark and bestial by a faith in more than one God, which differs but little from a faith in no God.

(True Christian Religion 8)
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The Faith of The New Heaven and of The New Church in a ‘Particular Form’

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The faith of the New Heaven and of the New Church in a particular form is as follows:

Jehovah God is love itself and wisdom itself, or is good itself and truth itself.

In respect to Divine truth, which is the Word, and which was God with God, He came down and took on the Human for the purpose of reducing to order all things that were in heaven, and all things in hell, and all things in the church — because at that time the power of hell prevailed over the power of heaven, and upon the earth the power of evil over the power of good, and in consequence a total damnation stood threatening at the door.

This impending damnation Jehovah God removed by means of His Human, which was Divine truth, and thus He redeemed angels and men, and thereupon He united, in His Human, Divine truth with Divine good or Divine wisdom with Divine love; and so, with and in His glorified Human, He returned into His Divine in which He was from eternity.

All this is meant by these words in John:

The Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh  (1:1, 14)

and in the same:

I came out from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go unto the Father  (16:28);

and also by these words:

We know that the Son of God is come, and has given us understanding that we may know the True; and we are in the True, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and life eternal  (1 John 5:20).

From these words it is clear that without the Lord’s coming into the world no one could have been saved. It is the same today; and therefore without the Lord’s coming again into the world in Divine truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved.

The particulars of faith on man’s part are:

(1) God is one, in whom is a Divine trinity, and the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ is that one.
(2) Saving faith is to believe in Him.
(3) Evils should not be done, because they are of the devil and from the devil.
(4) Goods should be done, because they are of God and from God.
(5) These should be done by man as if by himself; but it should be believed that they are done by the Lord in man and through man.

The first two are matters of faith, the next two of charity, and the fifth of the conjunction of charity and faith, thus of the conjunction of the Lord and man.

(True Christian Religion 3)
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The Faith of The New Heaven and of The New Church in its Universal Form

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The faith of The New Heaven and of The New Church in its universal form is as follows:

The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to subjugate the hells and to glorify His Human; and without this no mortal could have been saved; and those are saved who believe in Him.

This is called the faith in its universal form, because this is the universal principle of faith:

  • The universal principle of faith must be in each thing and in all things of it.
  • It is a universal principle of faith that God is ONE in essence and in person, in whom is a Divine trinity, and that He is the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ.
  • It is a universal principle of faith that no mortal could have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world.
  • It is a universal principle of faith that He came into the world to remove hell from man, and that He did remove it by means of contests with it and victories over it, and thereby He subdued it and reduced it to order and made it obedient to Himself.
  • It is a universal principle of faith that He came into the world to glorify His Human which He took on in the world, that is, to unite it with the Divine from which [are all things], and thereby He eternally holds hell in order and under obedience to Himself. As this could be accomplished only by means of temptations admitted into His Human, even to the last of them, which was the passion of the cross, He endured even that.

These are the universal principles of faith relating to the Lord.

The universal principle of faith on man’s part is that he should believe in the Lord; for by believing in Him there is conjunction with Him and thereby salvation. To believe in the Lord is to have confidence that He saves; and as only those who live rightly can have this confidence, this, too, is meant by believing in Him. And this the Lord teaches in John:

This is the Father’s will, that everyone that believeth in the Son may have eternal life  (John 6:40)

and again:

He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life; but he that believeth not in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him  (John 3:36).

(True Christian Religion 2)
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Called the Lord Because He was Jehovah

Selections from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

By the name Lord is meant the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and Him only; and He is called “the Lord” without the addition of other names. Throughout the universal heaven He it is who is acknowledged and adored as Lord, because He has all sovereign power in the heavens and on earth. He also commanded His disciples so to call Him, saying, Ye call Me Lord, and ye say well, for I am  (John 13:13).  And after His resurrection His disciples called Him “the Lord.”  (Arcana Cœlestia 14)

Among the hidden causes of their calling Jehovah “the Lord” were the following. If at that time it had been said that the Lord was the Jehovah so often named in the Old Testament, men would not have accepted it, for they would not have believed it; and moreover –

The Lord did not become Jehovah as to the Human also until He had completely united the Divine Essence to the Human Essence, and the Human to the Divine.

The full unition was accomplished after the last temptation, which was that of the cross; and for this reason, after the resurrection the disciples always called Him “the Lord” (John 20:2, 13, 15, 18, 20, 25; 21:7, 12, 15-17, 20; Mark 16:19, 20); and Thomas said, My Lord and my God  (John 20:28).

And because the Lord was the Jehovah so often named in the Old Testament, He therefore also said to the disciples:

Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye say well, for I am  (John 13:13-14, 16)

and these words signify that He was Jehovah God; for He is here called “Lord” as to good, and “Master” as to truth. That the Lord was Jehovah is also meant by the words of the angel to the shepherds:

Unto you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ the Lord  (Luke 2:11)

He is called “Christ” as the Messiah, the Anointed, King; and “Lord” as Jehovah; “Christ” in respect to truth, and “Lord” in respect to good. One who does not closely study the Word could not know this, for he would think that our Savior was called Lord, like others, from the common title of reverence; when yet He was so called because He was Jehovah.  (Arcana Cœlestia 2921:6)

And he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and behold three men standing over him; and he saw them, and ran to meet them from the door of the tent, and bowed himself toward the earth.   (Genesis 18:2)

That this signifies the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Holy proceeding, may be seen without explication; for it is known to everyone that there is a Trine, and that this Trine is a One.  (Arcana Cœlestia 2149)

And he said, My Lord, if I pray I have found grace in Thine eyes, pass not I pray from Thy servant.  (Genesis 18:3)

My Lord. That this signifies the Trine in a One, namely, the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Holy proceeding, which Trine is in a One, is evident from its being here said “Lord,” in the singular number. … Hence it is evident that the three men (that is, the Divine Itself, the Divine Human, and the Holy proceeding), are the same as the Lord, and the Lord the same as Jehovah.

In the Christian Faith, called the Creed, the same is acknowledged, where it is said in plain words, –

“There are not three Uncreate, nor three Infinite, nor three Eternal, nor three Almighty, nor three Lords, but One.”

There are none who separate this Trine which is in a One except those who say that they acknowledge one Supreme Existence [Ens], the Creator of the Universe; which is forgiven those who are outside of the church.  But they who are within the church, and say this, although they say it and sometimes think it, do not in fact acknowledge any God; still less do they acknowledge the Lord.      (Arcana Cœlestia 2156)

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When Truth is Received as a Principle and Confirmed

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Not to See Any Truth that would Lead to Good

Such do those become, especially in the last times, who by ratiocination hatch doctrinal things, and believe nothing unless they first apprehend it; for in this case the life of evil continually inflows into their rational, and a kind of fallacious light pours in from the fire of the affections of evil, and causes them to see falsities as truths; as are wont to do those who see phantoms in nocturnal light. These same things are then confirmed in many ways, and become matters of doctrine, such as are the doctrinal tenets of those who say that the life (which is of the affection) is of no efficacy, but only the faith (which is of the thought).

That every principle whatever, even if falsity itself, when once taken up, can be confirmed by innumerable things, and be presented in the outward form as if it were truth itself, may be known to everyone. Hence come heresies; from which, when once confirmed, the man never recedes. Yet from a false principle nothing but falsities can flow; and even if truths are interlarded among them, they became truths falsified when used to confirm a false principle, because they are contaminated by its essence.

Very different is the case when truth itself is received as a principle, and this is confirmed, as for example that:-

Love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor are that on which hangs all the Law, and of which all the Prophets speak, and that they are therefore the essentials of all doctrine and worship

for in this case the mind would be illuminated by innumerable things in the Word, that otherwise lie hidden in the obscurity of a false principle. Nay, in such a case heresies would be dissipated, and one church would arise out of many, no matter how greatly the doctrinal and ritual matters that flowed from or led to it might differ.

Such was the ancient Church, which extended through many kingdoms, namely, Assyria, Mesopotamia, Syria, Ethiopia, Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Philistia as far as Tyre and Sidon, and through the land of Canaan on both sides the Jordan. Among these the doctrinal and ritual matters differed-

but still the church was one, because to them charity was the essential thing.

Then was there the Lord’s kingdom on earth as in the heavens, for such is heaven. If it were so now, all would be governed by the Lord as one man; for they would be as the members and organs of one body, which, although not of similar form, nor of similar function, yet all have relation to one heart, on which depend all and each in their several forms, that are everywhere varied. Then would each person say, in whatever doctrine and in whatever outward worship he might be, This is my brother, I see that he worships the Lord, and is a good man.

(Arcana Cœlestia 2385:2-5)
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They Who are in Falsity are Called the “Blind”

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In the Word “blindness” is predicated of those who are in falsity, and also of those who are in ignorance of truth. Both are called the “blind;” but which are meant in any special instance can be seen from the series or connection, especially in the internal sense. That they who are in falsity are called the “blind,” is evident from the following passages.

In Isaiah:

His watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark  (Isa. 56:10).

“Blind watchmen,” denotes those who from reasoning are in falsity.

Again:

We look for light, and behold darkness; for brightness, but we walk in thick darkness; we grope for the wall like the blind  (Isa. 59:9-10).

In Jeremiah:

They have wandered as the blind in the streets; they have polluted themselves with blood; what they cannot pollute, they touch with their garments  (Lam. 4:14);

meaning that all truths have been polluted; the “streets” denoting the truths wherein they have gone astray.

In Zechariah:

In that day I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness; every horse of the peoples will I smite with blindness  (Zech. 12:4).

Here and elsewhere in the Word a “horse” denotes the understanding; hence it is said that the “horse should be smitten with astonishment,” and that the “horse of the peoples should be smitten with blindness,” that is, should be filled with falsities.

In John:

For judgment am I come into the world, that they that see not may see, and that they that see may become blind. They of the Pharisees heard these things, and said, Are we also blind? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye would not have sin; but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth  (John 9:39-41).

Here the “blind” in both senses are spoken of, namely, those who are in falsity, and those who are in ignorance of truth. With those who are within the church and know what the truth is, “blindness” is falsity; but with those who do not know what the truth is (as is the case with those who are outside the church), “blindness” is ignorance of the truth, and these are blameless.

Again:

He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, that they may not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and I should heal them  (John 12:40; Isa. 6:9-11)

meaning that it would be better for them to be in falsities than to be in truths, because they are in a life of evil, and if they were instructed in truths, they would not only still falsify them, but would also defile them with evils; for the like reason that the men of Sodom were smitten with blindness, that is, the doctrinal things were filled with falsities….

As what is blind signified what is false, therefore in the representative Jewish Church it was forbidden to sacrifice anything that was blind (Lev. 22:22; Deut. 15:21; Mal. 1:8).  It was also forbidden that any one of the priests who was blind should draw near to offer upon the altar (Lev. 21:18, 21).

That “blindness” is predicated of ignorance of truth, such as prevails with the Gentiles, is evident in Isaiah:

In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of thick darkness and out of darkness  (Isa. 29:18).

Here the “blind” denotes those who are in ignorance of truth, being chiefly those outside the church.

Again:

Bring forth the blind people and they shall have eyes; and the deaf and they shall have ears  (Isa. 43:8)

where the church of the Gentiles is spoken of.

Again:

I will lead the blind in a way that they have not known; I will make darkness light before them  (Isa. 42:16).

And again:

I will give Thee for a light of the people, to open the blind eyes, to bring out the bound from the dungeon, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house  (Isa. 42:6-7)

where the Lord’s advent is treated of, in that they who are in ignorance of truth should then be instructed; for those who are in falsity do not suffer themselves to be so instructed, because they are acquainted with the truth and have confirmed themselves against it, and have turned the light into darkness, which cannot be dispelled.

In Luke:

The master of the house said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the lame, and the blind  (Luke 14:21)

where the Lord’s kingdom is treated of, and it is evident that the poor, maimed, lame, and blind are not meant, but those who are such in the spiritual sense.

Again:

Jesus said that they should tell John that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and to the poor the gospel is preached  (Luke 7:22).

According to the sense of the letter, by the “blind,” the “lame,” the “lepers,” the “deaf,” the “dead,” the “poor,” only these are meant; because it was actually the case that the blind received sight, the deaf hearing, the lepers health, the dead life.

But yet in the internal sense the same are meant as in Isaiah:

Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, and the lame shall leap as the hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing  (Isa. 35:5-6)

where the Lord’s advent is treated of, and the new church at that time, which is called that of the Gentiles; of whom it is declared that they were “blind,” “deaf,” “lame,” and “dumb;” being so called in respect to doctrine and to life.

For be it known that all the miracles performed by the Lord always involved, and thence signified, such things as are meant in the internal sense by the healing of the blind, of the lame, of the lepers, the deaf, the dead, and the poor.  For this reason the Lord’s miracles were Divine, as also were those performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, as well as all the other miracles that are treated of in the Word.  This is an arcanum.

(Arcana Cœlestia 2383)
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The Conjunction of the Infinite with the Human Race

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep My covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.  Genesis 17:9

The subject here treated of is the conjunction of the Lord with those who believe in Him, and therefore there is a repetition of the word “thou;” for it is said, Thou shalt keep My covenant, thou and thy seed; and from this repetition of the words in connection with “seed” it is evident that in the internal sense conjunction is signified, and in fact with those who are the seed, by which is signified the faith of charity…

Moreover when speaking of His union with the Father, the Lord speaks immediately and without a break of His conjunction with the human race; because this was the cause of the union, as is evident in John:

That they all may be one, as Thou Father art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us; the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one, I in them, and Thou in Me, for I have made known unto them Thy name, and will make it known, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them  (John 17:21, 22, 26)

from which it is evident that in the union of Himself with the Father the Lord had in view the conjunction of Himself with the human race, and that He had this at heart, because it was His love; for all conjunction is effected by means of love, love being conjunction itself.

Again in the same gospel:

Because I live, ye shall live also in that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you; he that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me  (John 14:19-21)

from which in like manner it is evident that in the union of His Human Essence with His Divine Essence the Lord had in view the conjunction of Himself with the human race, and that this was His end, and this His love, which was such that the salvation of the human race, as held in the union of Himself with His Father, was to Him the inmost joy. There is also here described that which unites, namely, to have and to do His commandments, and thereby to love the Lord.

Again:

Father, glorify Thy name; there came therefore a voice from heaven, I have both glorified and will glorify it again. Jesus said, This voice hath not come for My sake, but for your sakes. But I, when I shall be lifted up from the earth, will draw all after Me  (John 12:28, 30, 32)

by “glorification” is meant union, as before said; and that in the union of Himself with the Father He regarded the conjunction of Himself with the human race, is openly said in the words, when I shall be lifted up, I will draw all after Me.

That conjunction of the Infinite or Supreme Divine with the human race was effected through the Lord’s Human made Divine, and that –

This conjunction was the cause of the Lord’s coming into the world

is an arcanum into which many inquire in their own minds, and because they do not comprehend, they do not believe it; and as they do not believe for the reason that they do not comprehend, it becomes a scandal or stumbling-block to them. That this is so, I have learned from much experience from those who come into the other life. Very many of these – almost the greater part of those who had been men of talent in the world – when they merely think that the Lord became a man, and in external form was like other men, that He suffered, and that nevertheless He rules the universe, at once fill the sphere with scandals, because this had been a scandal or stumbling-block to them in the life of the body; although at that time they had divulged nothing about it, and had adored Him with outward sanctity. For in the other life the interiors are open, and are made manifest by the sphere diffused from them ….  In this way it is plainly perceived of what faith they had been, and what they had thought concerning the Lord.

Seeing that such is the case, it may be well to explain the matter a little further.

After all the celestial in man had perished, that is, all love to God, so that there was no longer any will of good, the human race had then been separated from the Divine; for nothing effects conjunction except love, and when this had been annihilated, there was disjunction; and when there is disjunction, then destruction and extirpation follow.

Therefore the promise was then made respecting the Lord’s coming into the world, who should unite the Human to the Divine, and by this union should effect in Himself the conjunction of the human race by means of the faith of love and of charity.

From the time of the first promise (spoken of in Gen. 3:15) the faith of love in the Lord who was to come effected conjunction. But when there was no longer any faith of love remaining in the whole world, then the Lord came and united the Human Essence to the Divine Essence, so that they were altogether one, as He Himself clearly says; and at the same time He taught the way of truth, that everyone who should believe in Him – that is, who should love Him and the things that are His, and who should be in His love which is love toward the universal human race, thus in love toward the neighbor – should be conjoined and saved.

When, in the Lord, the Human was made Divine, and the Divine Human, the result was an influx of the Infinite or Supreme Divine with man that otherwise could not possibly have existed; and an additional result was the dispersion of the direful persuasions of falsity and the direful cupidities of evil with which the world of spirits was brimful, and with which it was continually being filled full from the souls arriving from the world; and they who were in those persuasions and cupidities were cast into hell, and thereby were separated.

Unless this had been done, the human race would have perished, for the Lord rules the human race by means of spirits.

Nor could they have been dispersed in any other way, for no operation of the Divine was possible through man’s rational things into those of internal sense, because these are far below the Supreme Divine when not so united; not to mention still deeper arcana that cannot be explained to the apprehension of any man.

(Arcana Cœlestia 2034)
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