The Divine Lies Hidden in the Word

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Word is wonderful in this respect — it is Divine as to every jot, for every word corresponds to some spiritual thing which may be said to be stored up within it, because the spiritual of the Word is made manifest with the angels, when the Word is read by man.

The case herein is this: Each and all things in the natural world have a correspondence with those which are in the spiritual world, and this down to every word. And the Word has been so written that its words in their series involve series of spiritual things, which do not appear to a man unless he is acquainted with correspondences. In this way what is Divine lies hidden in the Word. From this the Word is spiritual, as also it is called.

(from Arcana Cœlestia 10633)
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What is Meant by the Coming of the Lord?

Selection from Emanuel Swedenborg’s The Athanasian Creed

Where the Lord, in the presence of His disciples, speaks about the consummation of the age, which is the last period of the Church, towards the end of the predictions regarding its successive states with respect to love and faith, He says this:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:29-31

Those who understand these words in accordance with the sense of the letter have no other belief than that at the final period which is called the Last Judgment, all those events will occur as described in that sense. Therefore, they believe not only that the sun and moon will be darkened and the stars will fall from heaven, that the sign of the Lord will appear in the sky and that He Himself will be seen in the clouds as well as angels with trumpets, but also, as is foretold elsewhere, that the whole visible earth will be destroyed, after which a new heaven with a new earth will come into being. Such is the opinion of most men within the Church at the present day.

But those who so believe do not know the arcana which lie concealed in every particular of the Word. For, in every particular of the Word there is an internal sense in which are discerned, not the natural and worldly matters such as are in the sense of the letter, but spiritual and heavenly things. Moreover, this is true not only of the meaning of groups of words but it is also true of every single word. For the Word has been written by means of pure correspondences to the end that the internal sense may be in every particular….

It is in accordance with that sense that the words of the Lord, quoted above, concerning His coming in the clouds of heaven, are to be understood. In that passage, by the “sun” which is to be darkened is signified the Lord as to love, by the “moon” the Lord as to faith, by the “stars” cognitions of good and truth or of love and faith, by the “sign” of the Son of man in heaven the manifestation of Divine Truth, by the “tribes of the earth which shall mourn“, all things relating to truth and good or to faith and love, by “the coming of the Lord in the clouds of heaven with power and glory“, His presence in the Word and revelation; by “clouds” is signified the sense of the letter of the Word, and by “glory” the internal sense of the Word, by “angels with a trumpet and great voice” is signified heaven whence comes Divine Truth.

Thence it is evident that by those words of the Lord is meant that in the end of the Church when there is no longer any love and consequently no faith, the Lord will open the Word in its internal sense and reveal arcana of heaven….

The man of the Church at this day knows scarcely anything about heaven and hell or about his life after death, although they are all set forth and described in the Word. Indeed, many people born within the Church even deny them, saying in their hearts, “Who has come from that world and told us?” Lest, therefore, such a negative attitude, which prevails especially with those who have much worldly wisdom, should also infect and corrupt the simple in heart and the simple in faith, it has been granted to me to associate with angels and to talk with them as man with man, also to see the things in the heavens as well as in the hells, and this for thirteen years (1747-1758). Now, therefore, from what I have seen and heard I am permitted to describe these things, in the hope that thus, ignorance may be enlightened and unbelief dispelled. Such immediate revelation is now made because that is what is meant by the Coming of the Lord.

(Heaven and Hell 1)

That that [revelation] is the Coming of the Lord, and that it is in consequence of this that the arcana concerning heaven and hell, concerning man’s life after death, concerning the Word, concerning the Last Judgment, have been opened by the Lord – this is the doctrine of the church. All these things have been written out in the Latin language, and they have been sent to all the archbishops and bishops of this kingdom [Great Britain], and to some of the nobility; and still not a word has been heard – a sign that they do not interiorly care for the things of heaven and of the church, and that it is now the very end of the church, and indeed that the church is not; for the church is where the Lord is worshiped, and the Word is read with enlightenment, and there are yearly examinations from the assembly.

(from Emanuel Swedenborg’s The Athanasian Creed)
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Two Kinds of Affections

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In general, there are affections of truth from two sources, namely, from a natural and from a spiritual source. Those who are in the affection of truth from a natural source look first to self and the world, and thence are natural; but those who are in the affection of truth from a spiritual source look first to the Lord and to heaven, and thence are spiritual.

Man’s affection or love looks either downwards or upwards; those who look to self and the world look downwards, but those who look to the Lord and to heaven look upwards.

A man’s interiors, which are of his mind, actually look in the same direction as his love or affection does — for love determines them; and such as is the determination of man’s interiors, which are of his mind, such after death does the man remain to eternity.

Looking downwards or upwards is looking from love through the understanding, thus through the things that form and make the understanding, which are the knowledges of truth and good.

… no one can be introduced into the church and formed for heaven, except by knowledges from the Word. Without these man does not know the way to heaven, and without these the Lord cannot dwell with him.

It can be seen that without the knowledges of truth and good from the Word no one can know anything of the Lord, of the angelic heaven, or of charity and faith; and that which a man does not know he cannot think, thus cannot will, and accordingly cannot believe and love.

 It is evident, therefore, that by means of knowledges man learns the way to heaven.

It can also be seen that without the knowledges of truth and good from the Word the Lord cannot be present with man and lead him — for when man knows nothing of the Lord, of heaven, of charity and faith — his spiritual mind, which is the higher mind, and is intended to see by the light of heaven, is empty, and has nothing from the Divine in it. But the Lord cannot be with man except in His own with man, that is, in the things that are from Him. For this reason it was said that unless a man is in the knowledges of truth and good from the Word and in the life thereof, the Lord cannot dwell with him. From this, taken together, it follows that the natural man can by no means become spiritual without the knowledges of good and truth from the Word.

…those who are in the spiritual affection of truth are also in the life of charity, for from that they have spiritual affection. The spiritual comes to man from no other source than from charity. Those who are in spiritual affection are interested in the Word, and desire nothing more earnestly than to understand it. But as there are innumerable things therein that they do not understand, because the Word in its bosom is spiritual and the spiritual includes infinite arcana, therefore, so long as man lives in the world and then sees from the natural man, he can be but little in the knowledges of truth and good, and in generals only, in which, however, innumerable things may be implanted when he comes into the spiritual world or heaven.

A man who is in the affection of truth from a spiritual origin knows many more things than he knew before; for the general knowledges that he has are like vessels that can be filled with many things, and they are also actually filled when he comes into heaven. That this is so can be seen merely from this, that all the angels in heaven are from the human race, and yet they possess wisdom such as could be described only by what is unutterable and incomprehensible, as is well known…. This fullness of intelligence and wisdom is what is meant by the words of the Lord in Luke:

Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall be given into your bosom (Luke 6:38)

and in Matthew:

Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundantly (Matt. 13:12; 25:29)

and in Luke:

The lord said to the servant who from the pound given him gained ten pounds, Because thou hast been faithful in a very little, thou shalt have authority over ten cities (Luke 19:16, 17).

(from Apocalypse Explained 112)
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The Face of Truth Turned into the Face of Good

Selection from Apocalypse Revealed ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

It is to be known that no man has any spiritual good from the Lord, except through truths from the Word; for the truths of the Word are in the light of heaven, and its goods are in the heat of that light; wherefore, unless the understanding is in the light of heaven through the Word, the will cannot come into the heat of heaven.

Love and charity cannot be formed except through truths from the Word

a man cannot be reformed except through truths therefrom. The church itself with man is formed by them; but not by those truths in the understanding alone, but by a life according to them; the truths thus enter into the will, and become goods. Thus the face of truth is turned into the face of good; for that which is of the will and thus of the love is called good, and everything which is of the will or love is also of man’s life.

(from Apocalypse Revealed 832:2)
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The Destructive Nature of the Love of Self and the Love of the World

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

They who are in the loves of self and of the world cannot possibly believe that they are in things so filthy and unclean as they actually are in, for there is a certain pleasure and delight that soothes, favors, and allures, and causes them to love that life, to prefer it to all other life, and thereby to suppose that there is nothing of evil in it — for whatever favors anyone’s love and the life thence derived is believed to be good. Hence also the rational consents, and suggests falsities which confirm and cause such blindness that they see nothing of the nature of heavenly love; and if they were to see it they would say in their hearts that it is a wretched affair, or a thing of naught, or something of the nature of a phantasy that takes hold of the mind, as in sickness.

But that the life of the love of self and of the world, together with its pleasures and delights, is filthy and unclean, may be seen by everyone who is willing to think from the rational faculty with which he is gifted. The love of self is the source of all the evils that destroy civic society. From it as from an unclean pit spring all hatreds, all revenges, all cruelties, nay, all adulteries — for he who loves himself, despises, vituperates, or hates, all others who do not serve him, or do him honor, or favor him; and when he hates, he breathes nothing but revenges and cruelties, and this in proportion to the degree in which he loves himself, so that this love is destructive of society and of the human race. That in the other life the love of self is most filthy, and that it is diametrically opposite to the mutual love in which heaven consists….

And as the love of self is the source of hatreds, revenges, cruelties, and adulteries, it is the source of all things that are called sins, wickednesses, abominations, and profanations, and therefore when this love is in the rational part of man, and is in the cupidities and phantasies of his external man, the influx of heavenly love from the Lord is continually repelled, perverted, and contaminated. It is like foul excrement, which dissipates, nay, defiles, all sweet odor; it is like an object that turns the continually inflowing rays of light into dark and repulsive colors; and it is like a tiger, or a serpent, which repels all fondling, and kills with bite and poison those who offer it food; or like a vicious man who turns even the best intentions of others, and their very kindnesses, into what is blameworthy and malicious….

(from Arcana Cœlestia 2045)
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Life Appears as Man’s Own

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

the goods which are of faith and of charity cannot be given to man nor to angel so as to be their own, for men and angels are only recipients, or forms accommodated to receive life, thus good and truth, from the Lord. Life itself is from no other source, and as life is from the Lord, it cannot be appropriated otherwise than as appearing to be man’s own; but they who are in the Lord plainly perceive that life flows in, consequently good and truth, for these belong to life. The reason why life appears as man’s own is that the Lord from Divine love wills to give and to conjoin all His own to man, and as far as it can be effected, does conjoin it. This “own” which is given by the Lord, is called the heavenly own.

(from Arcana Cœlestia 8497)
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The “Merely” Natural-rational and Moral Man

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

As to his natural man, man is like a beast; he acquires the image of a beast by means of life. Consequently in the spiritual world there appear about such a man beasts of all kinds, which are correspondences. For man’s natural, viewed in itself, is purely animal; but because there is a spiritual superadded, he can become a man; and if he does not become a man from the capacity to become so, he can counterfeit one, although he is then only a talking beast; for he talks from the natural-rational, but thinks from spiritual insanity, and he acts from natural morality, but loves from a spiritual satyriasis. His actions, seen by a spiritually rational man, are but little different from the dance of one bitten by a tarantula, or that called St. Vitus’ dance, or the dance of St. Guy.

Who does not know that a hypocrite can talk about God, a robber about honesty, an adulterer about chastity, and so on. But unless man had the ability to shut and open the door between his thoughts and his words, and between his intentions and his actions, and unless prudence or cunning were the doorkeeper, he would rush into crimes and cruelties more fiercely than any wild beast. But in every man after death that door is opened; and then what he has been is apparent; but he is kept under restraint by punishments and confinements in hell. Therefore, kind reader, look into yourself, and find out one or another evil that is in you, and from religion dismiss it. If you dismiss evils from any other purpose or end, you do so only that they may not appear before the world.

(True Christian Religion 566)
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