The End Determines the Quality of the Affection

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The genuine affections of truth and of good which are perceived by man are all from a Divine origin, because from the Lord; but on the way, as they descend, they diverge into various and diverse streams, and there form for themselves new origins; for as they flow into affections not genuine but spurious, and into the affections of evil and falsity in the man, so are they varied. In the external form these affections often present themselves like the genuine ones; but in the internal form they are of this spurious character.

The sole characteristic from which they are known is their end

if as regards their end they are for the sake of self or the world, then these affections are not genuine; but if as regards their end they are for the sake of the good of the neighbor, the good of societies, the good of our country, and especially if for the good of the church and the good of the Lord’s kingdom, then they are genuine, because in this case they are for the sake of the Lord, inasmuch as the Lord is in these goods.

It is therefore the part of a wise man to know the ends that are in him.

Sometimes it appears as if his ends were for self when yet they are not so; for it is the nature of man to reflect upon himself in everything, and this from custom and habit. But if anyone desires to know the ends that are within him, let him merely pay attention to the delight he perceives in himself from the praise and glory of self, and to the delight he perceives from use separate from self; if he perceives this latter delight, he is in genuine affection. He must also pay attention to the various states in which he is, for the states themselves very much vary the perception.

A man can explore these things in himself, but not in others; for the ends of each man’s affection are known to the Lord alone.

This is the reason why the Lord said:  Judge not, that ye be not judged; condemn not, that ye be not condemned (Luke 6:37); for a thousand persons may appear to be in a like affection in respect to truth and good, and yet every one of them be in an affection unlike in respect to origin, that is, in respect to end.

That the end determines the quality of the affection, that is to say, whether it is genuine, spurious, or false, is because a man’s end is his very life; for a man has that for his end which is of his life, or what is the same, of his love. When the good of his neighbor, the general good, the good of the church and of the Lord’s kingdom, is the end, then as to his soul, the man is in the Lord’s kingdom, thus in the Lord; for the Lord’s kingdom is nothing else than a kingdom of ends and uses for the good of the human race.


The angels themselves who are with man are solely in his ends. Insofar as a man is in such an end as that in which is the Lord’s kingdom, so far the angels are delighted with him, and conjoin themselves with him as with a brother; but insofar as a man is in the end of self, so far the angels retire, and evil spirits from hell draw near, for there reigns in hell no other end than this; from all of which we can see how important it is to explore and know from what origin the affections are, and this can be known solely from the end.

(Arcana Coelestia 3796)
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About mike

Finding out that the Lord is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, and from the human race the angelic heaven would be formed, my entire focus on life changed. 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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