Gold Is Still Gold, Whether It Flashes Before The Fire Or Has Its Surface Blackened By The Smoke

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In every created thing in the world, whether living or dead, there is an internal and an external; one never exists without the other, as there is no effect without a cause; and every created thing is esteemed according to its internal goodness, or is deemed base if internally malignant, as external goodness is when within it there is internal malignity. Every wise man in the world and every angel in heaven so judges. But the nature of the unregenerate man and of the regenerate, may be illustrated by comparisons.

The unregenerate man who simulates a moral citizen or a Christian, may be likened to a corpse wrapped in aromatics, which nevertheless exhales a putrid odor that infects the aromatics, insinuates itself into the nostrils, and injures the brain. He may also be likened to a mummy, gilded or placed in a silver coffin, upon looking beneath the covering of which a hideously black body comes to view.

Again, he may be likened to bones or skeletons in a sepulchre that is adorned with lapis lazuli and other gems; also to the rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, but whose internal was nevertheless infernal (Luke 16:19). Still again he may be likened to sweet-tasting poison, to a poison hemlock in flower, to fruit with a bright skin, but inwardly worm-eaten, and also to an ulcer covered first with a plaster and then with a thin skin, but with nothing within but foul matter. In the world only those who have no internal goodness, and who therefore judge by the appearance, can estimate the internal by the external; but in heaven it is otherwise. For when the body which is moveable about the spirit and easily directed from evil to good, is separated by death, the internal remains, for this constitutes the man’s spirit; and then at a distance he looks like a serpent that has shed his skin, or like rotten wood stripped of its bark or covering in which it looked so well.

But with the regenerate man it is different. His internal is good, and his external resembles the external of the other. And yet his external differs from that of the unregenerate as heaven differs from hell, since the soul of good is in it, and it matters not to him whether he is a great man, who dwells in a palace, and goes surrounded by attendants, or lives in a cottage and is waited upon by a boy; or even whether he is a primate clad in a purple robe and wearing the cap of his rank, or the shepherd of a few sheep in a wood, clothed in a loose rustic frock and wearing a little cap on his head.

Gold is still gold, whether it flashes before the fire or has its surface blackened by the smoke; whether it is melted into a beautiful form like that of an infant, or into an ugly one like that of a mouse. Mice made of gold and placed beside the ark, were acceptable and pleasing (1 Sam. 6:3-5); for gold signifies internal good. Diamonds and rubies obtained from whatever matrix, lime or clay, are in like manner esteemed according to their internal goodness, the same as those in the necklace of a queen; and so on. From all this it is clear that the external is estimated from the internal, and not the reverse.

(True Christian Religion 595)

About mike

The Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race, an angelic heaven would be formed. The reason for my creation was to perform Divine uses - The Divine Providence looks to eternal ends. My gain, honor or reputation no longer could be the focal point of what drives the engine. One day I will lay aside this material body and will wake up in the spiritual world never to return; there will be a continuation of life, and my ruling love will be what guides me to my final situation. 'Where a tree falls, there will it lay' (Ecc 11:3) We only have a few years in these bodies compared to eternity. What is fossilized on our souls in this short period is important to how we spend eternity. We are not left to blind faith, The Lord has come in His Word to reveal rationally how we can be made 'a vessel of honor, able for the master's use.' I truly hope the post create a thirst. If I can be of service, please do not hesitate to email me. --Mike
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