When Truth Becomes the ‘Truth of Intelligence’

Selection from Arcana Cœlestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Nothing but truths constitute intelligence, since those who are in truths from good are in intelligence; for through truths from good the intellectual mind is in the light of heaven, and the light of heaven is intelligence, because it is Divine truth from Divine good.

The truth in man is not the truth of intelligence until it is led by means of good; and when it is led by means of good, it then for the first time becomes the truth of intelligence. For truth has no life from itself, but from good, and it has life from good when man lives according to truth; for then it infuses itself into man’s will, and from his will into his actions, thus into the whole man.


The truth which man only knows or apprehends, remains outside of his will, and so outside of his life; for man’s will is his life. But when man wills the truth, it is then on the threshold of his life; and when from willing he does it, then the truth is in the whole man; and when he does it frequently, it not only recurs from habit, but also from affection, thus from freedom.


Let anyone who pleases, consider whether man can be imbued with anything but that which he does from will. That which he only thinks and does not do, and still more that which he thinks and is not willing to do, is merely outside of him, and is also dissipated like chaff by the slightest wind, as it is in fact dissipated in the other life; from which it may be known what faith is without works.


From these things it is now plain what the truth of intelligence is, namely, that it is the truth which is from good. Truth is predicated of the understanding, and good of the will, or what is the same, truth is of doctrine and good is of life.

(from Arcana Cœlestia 4884)
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Finding Respiration Similar To One’s Own

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Love, when purified by wisdom in the understanding, becomes spiritual and celestial.

Man is born natural, but in the measure in which his understanding is raised into the light of heaven, and his love conjointly is raised into the heat of heaven, he becomes spiritual and celestial; he then becomes like a garden of Eden, which is at once in vernal light and vernal heat.

It is not the understanding that becomes spiritual and celestial, but the love; and when the love has so become, it makes its consort, the understanding, spiritual and celestial.


Love becomes spiritual and celestial by a life according to the truths of wisdom which the understanding teaches and requires. Love imbibes these truths by means of its understanding, and not from itself; for love cannot elevate itself unless it knows truths, and these it can learn only by means of an elevated and enlightened understanding; and then so far as it loves truths in the practice of them so far it is elevated; for to understand is one thing and to will is another; or to say is one thing and to do is another.


There are those who understand and talk about the truths of wisdom, yet neither will nor practise them. When, therefore, love puts in practice the truths of light which it understands and speaks, it is elevated. This one can see from reason alone; for what kind of a man is he who understands the truths of wisdom and talks about them while he lives contrary to them, that is, while his will and conduct are opposed to them?


Love purified by wisdom becomes spiritual and celestial, for the reason that man has three degrees of life, called natural, spiritual, and celestial, and he is capable of elevation from one degree into another. Yet he is not elevated by wisdom alone, but by a life according to wisdom, for a man’s life is his love. Consequently, so far as his life is according to wisdom, so far he loves wisdom; and his life is so far according to wisdom as he purifies himself from uncleannesses, which are sins; and so far as he does this does he love wisdom.


That love purified by the wisdom in the understanding becomes spiritual and celestial cannot be seen so clearly by their correspondence with the heart and lungs, because no one can see the quality of the blood by which the lungs are kept in their state of respiration.


The blood may abound in impurities, and yet not be distinguishable from pure blood. Moreover, the respiration of a merely natural man appears the same as the respiration of a spiritual man. But the difference is clearly discerned in heaven — for there every one respires according to the marriage of love and wisdom; therefore as angels are recognized according to that marriage, so are they recognized according to their respiration. For this reason it is that when one who is not in that marriage enters heaven, he is seized with anguish in the breast, and struggles for breath like a man in the agonies of death; such persons, therefore throw themselves headlong from the place, nor do they find rest until they are among those who are in a respiration similar to their own; for then by correspondence they are in similar affection, and therefore in similar thought.


From all this it can be seen that with the spiritual man it is the purer blood, called by some the animal spirit, which is purified; and that it is purified so far as the man is in the marriage of love and wisdom. It is this purer blood which corresponds most nearly to that marriage; and because this blood inflows into the blood of the body, it follows that the latter blood is also purified by means of it. The reverse is true of those in whom love is defiled in the understanding. But, as was said, no one can test this by any experiment on the blood; but he can by observing the affections of love, since these correspond to the blood.

(Divine Love and Wisdom 422, 423)
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Such As The Love Is, Such Is The Wisdom, Such Is The Man

Selection from Divine Love and Wisdom ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Such as the love is, such is the wisdom, consequently such is the man.

 For such as the love and wisdom are, such are the will and understanding, since the will is the receptacle of love, and the understanding of wisdom … and these two make the man and his character.

Love is manifold, so manifold that its varieties are limitless; as can be seen from the human race on the earths and in the heavens. There is no man or angel so like another that there is no difference.

Love is what distinguishes; for every man is his own love.

It is supposed that wisdom distinguishes; but wisdom is from love; it is the form of love; love is the esse of life, and wisdom is the existere of life from that esse.

In the world it is believed that the understanding makes the man; but this is believed because the understanding can be elevated, as was shown above, into the light of heaven, giving man the appearance of being wise; yet so much of the understanding as transcends, that is to say, so much as is not of the love, although it appears to be man’s and therefore to determine man’s character, is only an appearance. For so much of the understanding as transcends is, indeed, from the love of knowing and being wise, but not at the same time from the love of applying to life what man knows and is wise in. Consequently, in the world it either in time passes away or lingers outside of the things of memory in its mere borders as something ready to drop off; and therefore after death it is separated, no more of it remaining than is in accord with the spirit’s own love.


Inasmuch as love makes the life of man, and thus the man himself, all societies of heaven, and all angels in societies, are arranged according to affections belonging to love, and no society nor any angel in a society according to anything of the understanding separate from love. So likewise in the hells and their societies, but in accordance with loves opposite to the heavenly loves. From all this it can be seen that such as the love is such is the wisdom, and consequently such is the man.

(Divine Love and Wisdom 368)
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The Seat of the Understanding and of the Will

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads a name of blasphemy (Revelation 13:1)

[T]he origins of all fibers are in the head, and from it they proceed to all the organs of sense and motion belonging to the face and the whole body; and there, too, are substances in infinite number that look like little spheres and are called by anatomists the cortical and cineritious substances; and from these go forth small fibers, the first of which are undiscernible; afterwards these are bundled together, and make up the medullary substance of the whole cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata. From this medullary substance discernible fibers extend, and these when conjoined are called nerves. By these the cerebrum, the cerebellum, and the spinal marrow form the entire body and each and all things pertaining to it; and from this it comes that each and all things of the body are ruled by the brains.


From this it can be seen that the brains are the seat of the understanding and the will, which are called with one term, mind, and in consequence, of intelligence and wisdom, and that these are there in their first principles; also that the organs that are formed to receive sensations and to produce motions are derivations therefrom, precisely like streams from their fountains, or derivatives from their beginnings, or composite things from their substances; and these derivations are such that the brains are everywhere present, almost as the sun is present by its light and heat in each and all things of the earth.


From this it follows that the whole body, and each and all things of it, are forms that are under the observation, auspices, and obedience, of the mind, which is in the brain; thus these forms are so constructed after the mind’s direction that any part in which the mind is not present, or to which it does not communicate its life, is no part of man’s life.


From this it can be seen that when the mind is in its thought, which pertains to the understanding, and in its affection, which pertains to the will, it has an extension into every particular of the whole body, and there, by means of its forms, it spreads itself out as the thoughts and affections of the angels do into the societies of the universal heaven. The like is true here, since all things of the human body correspond to all things of heaven; consequently the form of the whole heaven before the Lord is the human form. (This is treated of at length in the Arcana Coelestia and in the work on Heaven and Hell.)


This has been said to make known why the “head” signifies wisdom and intelligence, as also in the contrary sense folly and insanity. For such as man is in his beginnings such is he in the whole, for the body with each and every part of it is a derivation, as has just been said. If, therefore, the mind is in the belief of falsity and in the love of evil, its entire body, that is, the entire man, is in a like state. This is also clearly evident when man becomes a spirit, whether good or evil; then his whole spiritual body, from head to foot, is wholly such as his mind is. If the mind is heavenly, the whole spirit, even as to its body, is heavenly. If the mind is infernal, the whole spirit, even as to its body, is infernal; and in consequence such a spirit appears in a direful form like a devil, while the former spirit appears in a beautiful form like an angel of heaven. …

(Apocalypse Explained 775)
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What is Meant by Fallacies

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The many things that man reasons and forms conclusions about from the natural man without spiritual light, that is, without the light of the understanding enlightened by the Lord, are called fallacies — for the natural man takes the ideas of his thought from earthly, corporeal, and worldly things, which in themselves are material; and when a man’s thought is not elevated above these he thinks materially about things spiritual; and material thought without spiritual light derives everything from the loves of the natural man and from their delights, which are contrary to heavenly loves and their delights. This is why conclusions and reasonings from the natural man alone and its delusive lumen are fallacies. But let this be illustrated by examples.

• It is a fallacy that cogitative faith saves, since man is such as his life is. It is a fallacy that cogitative faith is spiritual, since to love the Lord above all things and the neighbor as oneself is the spiritual itself, and to love is to will and do. It is a fallacy that faith can also be given in a moment, since man must be purified from evils and from falsities therefrom and be regenerated by the Lord, and this is a long-continued process, and only so far as man is purified and regenerated does he receive spiritual faith. It is a fallacy that man can receive faith and be saved at the hour of death whatever his life may have been, since a man’s life remains and he is judged according to his deeds and works.


• It is a fallacy that little children also have faith through baptism, since faith must be acquired through the knowledges of truth and good, and by a life in accordance with them.


• It is a fallacy that through faith alone the church exists with man, since it is through the faith of charity that the church exists with him; and charity is of the life, and not of faith separated from the life.


• It is a fallacy that man is justified by faith alone, and that the merit of the Lord is thereby imputed to him when he is justified, and that afterwards nothing condemns him, since faith without the life of faith, which is charity, is like something that is said to be living but has no soul, which in itself is dead; for charity is the soul of faith, because it is its life; consequently man is not justified by a dead faith, much less is the merit of the Lord imputed and salvation effected by it; and where there is no salvation there is condemnation.


• It is a fallacy that in faith alone, there is love and charity, since love and charity are willing and doing, for what a man loves he not only thinks but also wills and does.


• It is a fallacy that where “doing” and “deeds” and “works” are mentioned in the Word to have faith is meant, because these are present in faith, since these are as distinct as thought and will are; for a man can think many things that he does not will, while what he wills he thinks when left alone to himself; and to will is to do. Moreover, the will and the thought therefrom are the man himself, and not the thought separate; and deeds and works are of the will and of the thought therefrom; while faith alone is of the thought separate from deeds and works, which are of the will.


• It is a fallacy that faith is to be separated from good works because man is unable to do good of himself, and if he does good he places merit in it, since man when he does good from the Word does not do it from himself but from the Lord, because the Lord is in the Word and is the Word; and man then does not do good of himself, when he does it as of himself and yet believes that he does it from the Lord, because from the Word; moreover, when a man believes that the good that he does is from the Lord he cannot place merit in the deeds.


• It is a fallacy that the understanding must be held bound under obedience to faith, and that faith seen by the understanding is not spiritual faith; when yet it is the understanding that is enlightened in the things of faith when the Word is read; and when enlightenment is excluded the understanding does not know whether a thing is true or false; and in that case faith does not become a man’s own faith but the faith of another in him, and this is a historical faith, and when it is confirmed it becomes a persuasive faith, which can see falsities as truths and truths as falsities. This is the source of all heretical beliefs.


• It is a fallacy that the confidence that is called saving faith, accepted without understanding, is spiritual confidence, since confidence apart from understanding is a persuasion from another, or from confirmation by passages gathered up here and there from the Word, and applied by reasonings from the natural man to a false principle. Such confidence is a blind faith, which is merely natural because it does not see whether a thing is true or false. Moreover, all truth wishes to be seen because it belongs to the light of heaven; but truth that is not seen may be falsified in many ways; and falsified truth is falsity.


• Such are the fallacies that pertain merely to such faith as is separated from good works. There are yet many others that pertain not only to faith but also to good works, to charity, and to the neighbor, and especially to such conjunctions of these with faith as are skillfully adjusted by the learned.

(from Apocalypse Explained 781)

[Fallacies – those things which man reasons and concludes from the natural man without spiritual light, which is the light of the understanding from the Lord; for the natural man takes the idea of his thought from earthly, corporeal and worldly things which in themselves are natural, and when the thought of man is not elevated above them, he thinks materially of spiritual things, which thoughts without spiritual light is wholly derived from natural love and their delights.]

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Every Single Expression, Every Single Idea, Every Single Thought

Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.  (Matthew 12:33-37)

Those who give no thought to the evils in themselves, that is, do not examine themselves and afterwards refrain from evils, must needs be ignorant of what evil is, and must needs love it from enjoyment in it — for he who does not know what evil is loves it, and he who fails to think about it is continually in it. Like a blind man he does not see it.

For it is the thought that sees good and evil, as it is the eye that sees the beautiful and the unbeautiful

and he who so thinks and wills evil as to believe that evil does not appear before God, or that if it does appear it is forgiven, is in evil, since he is thus led to think that he is free from evil. If such abstain from doing evils they do not abstain because these are sins against God, but because they fear the laws or the loss of reputation; and they still do them in their spirit — for it is the spirit of man that thinks and wills — consequently what a man thinks in his spirit in this world, that he does after he leaves this world when he becomes a spirit.

In the spiritual world into which every man comes after death, it is not asked what your belief has been, or what your doctrine has been, but what your life has been, that is, whether it has been such or such; for it is known that as one’s life is such is his belief, and even his doctrine; for the life makes doctrine for itself, and belief for itself.

(Divine Providence 101:2-3)
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From Being Natural — To Become Spiritual

Selection from The Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Three Things Must Be Considered

It is by means of these two faculties—rationality and liberty—that man is reformed and regenerated by the Lord; and without them he cannot be reformed and regenerated. The Lord teaches that:-

Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God (John 3: 3, 5, 7).

But very few know what it is to be born again or regenerated, for the reason that it has not been known what love and charity are, nor, therefore, what faith is; for if one does not know what love and charity are, he cannot know what faith is, since charity and faith make one, like good and truth, and like affection which belongs to the will and thought which belongs to the understanding. Respecting this union, see the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom (n. 427-431); also The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem (n. 13-24); and above (Divine Providence n. 320).

No one can come into the kingdom of God unless he has been born again, for the reason that man by inheritance from his parents is born into evils of every kind, but with an ability to become spiritual by the removal of those evils; and unless he becomes spiritual he cannot come into heaven. From being natural to become spiritual is to be born again or regenerated. But to know how man is regenerated these three things must be considered:

∙ what his first state is, which is a state of damnation
∙ what his second state is, which is a state of reformation
∙ what his third state is, which is a state of regeneration.

Man’s first state, which is a state of damnation, every one has by inheritance from his parents; for man is thereby born into the love of self and love of the world, and from these as fountains, into evils of every kind. It is by the enjoyments of these loves that he is led; and these enjoyments cause him not to know that he is in evils; for no enjoyment of a love is felt otherwise than as a good: consequently unless a man is regenerated he knows no otherwise than that to love himself and the world above all things is goodness itself; and to rule over all, and to possess the wealth of all, is the highest good. Moreover, this is the source of all evil; for a man then from love looks to no one but himself; or if from love he looks to another, it is as a devil looks to a devil, or a thief to a thief, when they act together.

Those who, from the enjoyment of these loves confirm in themselves these loves and the evils flowing from them, remain natural and become corporeal-sensual, and in their own thought, which is the thought of their spirit, are insane. Nevertheless, while they remain in the world they are able to speak and act rationally and wisely, because they are men, and in consequence possess rationality and liberty; but even this they do from love of self and the world. After death, when they become spirits, they are incapable of any other enjoyment than that which they had in spirit while in the world; and that enjoyment is the enjoyment of infernal love, which is then turned into what is undelightful, painful, and terrible; and this is what is meant in the Word by torment and hell-fire. All this makes clear that man’s first state is a state of damnation, and that those are in it who do not permit themselves to be regenerated.

Man’s second state, which is the state of reformation, is that in which he begins to think about heaven with reference to the joy of heaven, and from this about God, who is to him the source of heavenly joy. But at first this thought springs from the enjoyment of love of self, which enjoyment is to him heavenly joy. And as long as the enjoyment of that love reigns, together with the enjoyments of the evils that flow from it, he must needs think that he draws near to heaven by pouring out prayers, listening to preaching, going to the Holy Supper, giving to the poor, helping the needy, spending money on churches, contributing to hospitals, and so on. A man in this state knows no otherwise than that he is saved by mere thought about those things which religion teaches, whether it be what is called faith, or what is called faith and charity. He has no other idea than that he is saved by so thinking, because he gives no thought to the evils that he finds enjoyment in, and as long as their enjoyments remain the evils remain. The enjoyments of evil are from lust for them that continually inspires them, and also when no fear prevents, brings them forth.

So long as evils continue in the lusts of their love, and the consequent enjoyments, there is no faith, charity, piety or worship except in mere externals, which to the world seem real, and yet are not. These may be compared to water issuing from an impure fountain, which no one can drink. Man continues in the first state as long as he thinks from religion about heaven and about God, and yet gives no thought to evils as sins; but he comes into the second state, or the state of reformation, when he begins to think that there is such a thing as sin; and still more when he thinks that this or that is a sin, and when he examines it in himself to some extent, and refrains from willing it.

Man’s third state, which is a state of regeneration, takes up and continues the former state. It begins when man refrains from evils as sins, and it progresses as he shuns them, and is perfected as he fights against them; and as he from the Lord conquers them he is regenerated. With one who is regenerated the order of life is reversed; from being natural he becomes spiritual; for when the natural is separated from the spiritual it is contrary to order, while the spiritual is in accordance with order. Consequently the regenerate man acts from charity; and whatever belongs to his charity he makes to be of his faith also. Yet he becomes spiritual only so far as he is in truths; for man is regenerated only by means of truths and a life in accordance with them; for by means of truths he knows what life is, and by means of the life he does the truths, and thus he conjoins good and truth, which is the spiritual marriage in which heaven is.

By means of these two faculties, called rationality and liberty, man is reformed and regenerated, and without them he cannot be reformed and regenerated, for it is by means of rationality that he is able to understand and know what is evil and what is good, and thus what is false and what is true; and it is by means of liberty that he is able to will what he understands and knows. But so long as enjoyment from the love of evil rules he is not able to will freely what is good and true and to make these to be of his reason, and cannot therefore appropriate them to himself. For, as shown above, it is that which a man does from freedom in accordance with reason that is appropriated to him as his; and unless good and truth are appropriated as his, man is not reformed and regenerated. Again, man does not act from an enjoyment of the love of good and truth until the enjoyment from the love of evil and falsity has been removed; for two kinds of enjoyment from love that are opposites are not possible at the same time. Acting from an enjoyment of love is acting from freedom; and since reason favors the love, this is also acting in accordance with reason.

As the evil man as well as the good man has rationality and liberty, so the evil man as well as the good man is able to understand truth and do good; but while the good man is able to do this from freedom in accordance with reason, the evil man not; because the evil man is in the enjoyment of the love of evil, while the good man is in the enjoyment of the love of good. Consequently the truth that the evil man understands and the good that he does are not appropriated to him, while to the good man good and truth are appropriated, and without appropriation as one’s own there is no reformation nor regeneration. For in the wicked, evils with falsities are as it were in the center, while goods with truths are in the circumferences; but in the good, goods with truths are in the center and evils with falsities are in the circumferences; and in both cases that which is at the center flows out even to the circumferences, as heat from a central fire, or as cold from a central frigidity. Thus in the evil the goods in the circumferences are defiled by the evils at the center; while in the good, the evils in the circumferences are moderated by the goods at the center. This is why evils do not damn the regenerate man, and goods do not save the unregenerate man.

(The Divine Providence 82 – 86)
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