Charity and Good Works (pt.7)

Selection from True Christian Religion ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Charity and Good Works (pt.7)
v Doctrinal Series v

(3) Love in general.

1. The very life of man is his love, and as his love is such is his life, such even is the whole man; but it is the dominant or ruling love that makes the man. This love has many loves subordinate to it which are derivations from it; and while these are in appearance different loves, yet they are everyone included in the dominant love, and with it form one kingdom. The dominant love is like the king and head of the others; it directs them, and through them as mediate ends it looks to and is intent upon its own end (which is the first and last of all), and this both directly and indirectly.

2. What belongs to the dominant love is what is loved above all things. That which man loves above all things is constantly present in his thought, because it is in his will and constitutes his veriest life. For example, one who loves wealth above all things, whether money or possessions, is constantly studying how to acquire it, is inmostly delighted when he gets it, and inmostly grieved when he loses it. His heart is in it. He who loves himself above all things is mindful of himself in every least thing, thinks about himself, talks about himself, acts in his own behalf, for his life is the life of self.

3. What a man loves above all things is his end; that he looks to in all things and in every single thing. In his will it is like the latent current of a river, which draws and bears him away even when he is doing something else, for it is that which influences him. This it is that one man searches out and discovers in another, and thereby either controls him or acts with him.

4. Man is wholly such as is that which is dominant in his life. By this he is distinguished from others; according to it his heaven is formed if he is good, and his hell if he is evil; it is his very will, his very own [proprium], and his very nature, for it is the very being [esse] of his life. This cannot be changed after death, for it is the man himself.

5. Everything that gives delight, satisfaction, and happiness to anyone is wholly from his dominant love, and is in accordance with it; for that which he loves man calls delightful because he feels it to be so. What he thinks about and yet does not love, he may also call delightful, but it is not the delight of his life. The delight of a man’s love is to him good, and what is undelightful is to him evil.

6. There are two loves, from which, as from their very fountains, all goods and truths spring; and there are two loves from which all evils and falsities spring. The two loves from which are all goods and truths are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, while the two loves from which are all evils and falsities are the love of self and the love of the world. When the two latter loves are dominate they are entirely opposite to the two former.

7. The two loves from which are all goods and truths, which, as has been said, are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, constitute heaven in man, for these rule in heaven; and because they constitute heaven in man they also constitute the church in him. The two loves from which are all evils and falsities, which, as has been said, are the love of self and the love of the world, constitute hell in man, for they rule in hell; and consequently they destroy the church in man.

8. The two loves from which are all goods and truths, which, as before said, are the loves of heaven, open and form the internal, spiritual man, because they reside there, but the two loves from which are all evils and falsities, which, as before said, are the loves of hell, when they predominate, close and destroy the internal spiritual man, and render man natural and sensual according to the extent and nature of their dominion over him.

(True Christian Religion 399)

To be continued …


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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