From Use, In Use, and For Use

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The Lord’s Omnipresence and Omniscience can be Comprehended

The omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord can be comprehended also from the creation of the universe; for the universe was so created by Him that He is in things first and in things last, in the center and in the circumferences, and that the things in which He is are uses. This can be seen to be true from the creation of the universe, from the life of man, and from the essence of uses.

The creation of the universe can be in no way so well understood as from types of it in the heavens. There creation is unceasing and instantaneous, for in the spiritual world lands exist in a moment, and upon them paradisal gardens, and in these trees full of fruits, also shrubs, flowers, and plants of every kind. When these are contemplated by one who is wise, they are found to be correspondences of the uses in which the angels are, to whom they are given as a reward. The angels, moreover, in accordance with their uses have houses given them, full of utensils and beautiful things according to uses; also garments according to their uses, and food that is esculent and palatable according to their uses, and delightful conversations, which also are uses because they are recreations. All these things are given them gratuitously, and yet on account of the uses they perform. In a word, the whole heaven is so full of uses that it may be called the very kingdom of uses.


Those, on the other hand, who perform no uses, are sent into the hells, where they are compelled by a judge to perform tasks; and if they refuse no food is given them and no clothing, nor any bed but the ground, and they are scoffed at by their companions as slaves are by their masters. The judge even permits them to be their bond servants, and if they entice others from their tasks they are severely punished. All this is done until they yield. But those who cannot be made to yield are cast out into deserts, where a morsel of bread is given them daily, and water to drink, and they dwell by themselves in huts or in caves; and because they perform no uses the land about them is so barren that a grassy sod is rarely seen upon it. In such deserts and hells I have seen many of noble descent, who in the world gave themselves up to idleness, or sought offices, the duties of which they discharged not for the sake of use but for honor and gain, which were the only uses regarded.


The uses performed in the heavens and the tasks done in the hells are in part like those done in the world, although for the most part they are spiritual uses, that cannot be described by any natural language, and (what I have often wondered at) do not fall into the ideas of natural thought. But this is generally the case with what is spiritual. In the unceasing and instantaneous creation of all things in the heavens there can be seen as in a type the creation of the universe with its globes, and that there is nothing created in these except for use, and in general, one kingdom of nature for another, the mineral kingdom for the vegetable, this for the animal, and both for the human race, that they may serve the Lord for performing uses to the neighbor.


From the life of man. When this is regarded from the creation of all things in it no part will be found that is not for use, not a fiber or minute vessel in the brains, in the organs of sense, in the muscles, or in any of the viscera of the thorax and the abdomen, or anywhere else, that is not for the sake of use in general and in particular, thus for the sake of the whole and of each thing connected with it, and not for its own sake. The greater forms, which are called members, sensories, muscles, and viscera, which are made up and organized from fibers and vessels, all are formed from use, in use, and for use, so that they may be simply called uses, of which the whole man is composed and formed. It is therefore clearly evident that they have no other origin and no other end than use.


That every man likewise was created and born for use is clearly evident from the use of all things in him, and from his state after death, when, if he performs no use, he is accounted so worthless that he is cast into infernal prisons or into desert places. That man is born to be a use is clear also from his life; for a man whose life is from a love of uses is wholly different from one whose life is from a love of idleness. By a life of idleness is meant a life made up of social interaction feasting, and entertainments. A life from the love of uses is a life of love of the public good and of love to the neighbor, and also a life of love to the Lord, for the Lord performs uses to man through man, consequently a life of the love of uses is the spiritual Divine life, and everyone who loves a good use and does it from a love for it is loved by the Lord, and is received with joy by the angels in heaven. But a life of the love of idleness is a life of the love of self and the world, and thus a merely natural life; and such a life does not hold the thoughts together, but diffuses them into every vain thing, and thereby turns man away from the delights of wisdom and immerses him in the delights of the body and of the world alone to which evils cling; therefore after death he is let down into the infernal society to which he has attached himself in the world, and is there compelled to work by force of hunger and lack of food. By uses in the heavens and on the earths are meant the ministries, functions, and pursuits of life, employments, various domestic tasks, occupations, consequently all things that are opposite to idleness and indolence.


From the essence of uses. The essence of uses is the public good. With the angels the public good in the most general sense means the good of the entire heaven, in a less general sense the good of the society, and in a particular sense the good of the fellow citizen. But with men the essence of uses in the most general sense is both the spiritual and the civil good of the whole human race, in a less general sense the good of the country, in a particular sense the good of a society, and in an individual sense the good of the fellow citizen; and as these goods constitute the essence of uses, love is their life, since all good is of love and the life is in the love. In this love is everyone who takes delight in the use he is in because of its usefulness, whether he is a king, a magistrate, a priest, a minister, a general, a merchant, or a workman. Everyone who takes delight in the use of his function because of its usefulness loves his country and fellow citizens; but he who does not take delight in it because of its usefulness, but does it solely for the sake of self, or solely for the sake of honor and wealth, does not in his heart love his country and fellow citizens, but only himself and the world. This is because no one can be kept by the Lord in love to the neighbor unless he is in some love for the public good; and no one can be in that love unless he is in the love of use for the sake of use, or in the love of use from use, thus from the Lord.


Since, then, each thing, and all things in the world were created in the beginning for use, and in man also all things were formed for use, and the Lord from creation regarded the whole human race as one man, in which each individual is likewise for use or is a use, and since the Lord Himself, as has been said above, is the life of that man, it is clear that the universe was so created that the Lord is in things first and in things last, also in the center and in the circumference, that is, in the midst of all, and that the things in which He is are uses. And from all this the Lord’s omnipresence and omniscience can be comprehended.

(Apocalypse Explained 1226)
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What Precedes and What Follows

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Jesus said about Himself, I went out and am come from God (John 8:42).

The Father loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I went out from God. I went out from the Father, and am come into the world; again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.  His disciples said, We believe that thou wentest out from God (John 16:27-30).

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.(John 17:8)

To illustrate what is meant by “going out” or proceeding, let us take the following examples. Truth is said to “go out” or proceed from good, when truth is the form of good, or when truth is good in a form that the understanding can apprehend. The understanding also may be said to “go out” or proceed from the will, when the understanding is the will formed, or when it is the will in a form perceivable by the internal sight.

So in regard to the thought of the understanding, this may be said to “go out” or proceed when it becomes speech; and of the will, that it “goes out” when it becomes action. Thought clothes itself with another form when it becomes speech, but still it is the thought that so goes out or proceeds; for the words and tones with which it is clothed are mere additions that cause the thought to be appropriately perceived.


In like manner the will becomes of another form when it becomes action, but still it is the will that is presented in such a form; the gestures and movements that are put on are merely additions that cause the will to appear and affect the beholder appropriately.


So also it may be said of the external man, that it “goes out” or proceeds from the internal man, nay, that it does so substantially, because the external man is nothing else than the internal man so formed that it may act suitably in the world in which it is.


From all this it is evident what “to go out” or proceed is in the spiritual sense, namely, that when predicated of the Lord it is the Divine formed as a Man and thereby accommodated to the perception of those who believe; nevertheless both of these are one.

(Arcana Coelestia 5337)
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Two Fountains of the Universe

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The whole world, with each and every thing in it, came into existence and continues to exist from the Lord the Creator of the universe. There are two suns, the sun of the spiritual world and the sun of the natural world. The sun of the spiritual world is the Lord’s Divine love, the sun of the natural world is pure fire. From the sun that is the Divine love every work of creation has begun, and by means of the sun that is fire it has been carried to completion.

Everything that proceeds from the sun that is the Divine love is called spiritual, and everything that proceeds from the sun that is fire is called natural. The spiritual from its origin has life in itself, but the natural from its origin has nothing of life in itself. And because from these two fountains of the universe all things that are in both worlds have come into existence and continue to exist, it follows that there is in every created thing in this world a spiritual and a natural, a spiritual as its soul and a natural as its body, or a spiritual as its internal and a natural as its external; or a spiritual as the cause and a natural as the effect. That these two in any particular thing cannot be separated every wise person knows, for if you separate cause from effect or the internal from the external, the effect or the external goes to pieces, as when the soul is separated from the body.


That there is such a conjunction in the particular and even in the most particular things of nature has not yet been known. It has not been known because of the existing ignorance respecting the spiritual world, the sun there, and heat and light there, and because of the insanity of sensual men in ascribing all things to nature, and rarely anything to God except creation in general; and yet not the least thing is possible or can be possible in nature in which there is not a spiritual.

(Apocalypse Explained 1196)
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The Primary Thing of the Church, by which There is Conjunction

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood … Rev 5:9

… the signification of “thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood,” as being that He conjoined us to the Divine by the acknowledgment of Him, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him; for “to redeem” signifies to liberate from hell, and thereby to appropriate men to Himself, and thus enjoin them to the Divine …. The “blood of the Lord” signifies Divine truth proceeding from Him; and because man by the reception of Divine truth from the Lord is liberated from hell and conjoined to Him, therefore “Thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood” signifies conjunction with the Divine by the reception of the Divine truth from the Lord.

…the angels who are with men have no perception of these things according to that sense [of the letter], but according to the spiritual sense, for they are spiritual and therefore think spiritually and not naturally. To angels, “redeeming man in His blood” means liberating man from hell, and thus claiming and conjoining man to Himself by the acknowledgment of Him, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him. Moreover, the church may know that this is so; for it may know that no one is conjoined to the Divine by blood, but by the reception of the Divine truth, and the application of it to the life.


Liberation from hell by the Lord was accomplished by His assuming the Human, and through it subjugating the hells, and reducing to order all things in the heavens, which could have been done in no way except by the Human; for the Divine operates from firsts through ultimates, thus from Himself through the things that are from Himself in ultimates, which are in the Human. This is the operation of Divine power in heaven and in the world.


Liberation from hell by the Lord was also accomplished by His glorifying His Human, that is, making it Divine; for thus and not otherwise could He hold the hells in subjection forever; and as the subjugation of the hells and the glorification of His Human was accomplished by means of temptations admitted into his Human, His passion of the cross was His last temptation and complete victory. That “He bore the sins of all” signifies that He admitted into Himself all the hells when He was tempted, for from the hells all sins or evils ascend, and enter into man and are in him; therefore the Lord’s “bearing sins” signifies that He admitted the hells into Himself when tempted; and His “taking away sins” means that He subjugated the hells, in order that evils may no more rise up from them, with those who acknowledge the Lord and receive Him, that is, who receive in faith and life the Divine truth proceeding from Him, and who are thus conjoined to the Lord.


It was said that “Thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood” signifies conjunction with the Divine by the acknowledgment of the Lord, and the reception of Divine truth from Him; and as the church is founded on this, I will state briefly how conjunction is thereby effected:

The primary thing is to acknowledge the Lord, to acknowledge His Divine in the Human, and His omnipotence to save the human race; for by that acknowledgment man is conjoined to the Divine, since there is no Divine except in Him; for the Father is there; for the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, as the Lord Himself teaches; consequently they who look to another Divine near Him, or at His side, as those are wont to do who pray to the Father to have mercy for the sake of the Son, turn aside from the way and worship a Divine elsewhere than in Him.

Moreover, they then give no thought to the Divine of the Lord, but only to the Human, when yet these cannot be separated; for the Divine and the Human are not two, but a single person, conjoined like soul and body, according to the doctrine received by the churches from the Athanasian Creed.


Therefore to acknowledge the Divine in the Lord’s Human, or the Divine Human, is the primary thing of the church, by which there is conjunction; and because it is the primary it is also the first thing of the church. It is because this is the first thing of the church, that the Lord, when He was in the world, so often said to those whom He healed, “Believest thou that I can do this?” and when they answered that they believed, He said, “Be it done according to thy faith.” This He so often said that they might believe, in the first place, that from His Divine Human He had Divine omnipotence, for without that belief the church could not be begun, and without that belief they could not have been conjoined with the Divine, but must have been separated from it, and thus would not have been able to receive anything good from him.

Afterwards the Lord taught how they were to be saved, namely, by receiving Divine truth from Him – Truth is received when it is applied to the life and implanted in it by doing it; therefore the Lord so often said that they should do His words. From this it can be seen that these two things, namely, believing in the Lord and doing His words, make one, and can by no means be separated; for he who does not do the Lord’s words does not believe in Him; so also he who thinks that he believes in Him and does not do His words does not believe in Him, for the Lord is in His words, that is, in His truths, and by them He gives faith to man.

From these few things it can be known that conjunction with the Divine is effected through the acknowledgment of the Lord and the reception of Divine truth from Him. This, therefore, is what is signified by “the Lamb redeeming us to God in His blood.”

(A portion of Apocalypse Explained 328:2, 4-7)
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Use is The Neighbor

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The uses through which men and angels have wisdom

To love uses is nothing else than to love the neighbor, for use in the spiritual sense is the neighbor. This can be seen from the fact that everyone loves another not because of his face and body, but from his will and understanding; he loves one who has a good will and a good understanding, and does not love one with a good will and a bad understanding, or with a good understanding and a bad will.  And as a man is loved or not loved for these reasons, it follows that the neighbor is that from which everyone is a man, and that is his spiritual.  Place ten men before your eyes that you may choose one of them to be your associate in any duty or business; will you first find out about them and choose the one who comes nearest to your use?  Therefore he is your neighbor, and is loved more than the others.  Or become acquainted with ten maidens with the purpose of choosing one of them for your wife; do you not at first ascertain the character of each one, and if she consents betroth to you the one that you love?  That one is more your neighbor than the others.  If you should say to yourself, “Every man is my neighbor, and is therefore to be loved without distinction,” a devil-man and an angel-man or a harlot and a virgin might be equally loved. Use is the neighbor, because every man is valued and loved not for his will and understanding alone, but for the uses he performs or is able to perform from these. Therefore a man of use is a man according to his use; and a man not of use is a man not a man, for of such a man it is said that he is not useful for anything; and although in this world he may be tolerated in a community so long as he lives from what is his own, after death when he becomes a spirit he is cast out into a desert.

Man, therefore, is such as his use is. But uses are manifold; in general they are heavenly or infernal.

Heavenly uses are those that are serviceable more or less, or more nearly or remotely, to the church, to the country, to society, and to a fellow-citizen, for the sake of these as ends;

…but infernal uses are those that are serviceable only to the man himself and those dependent on him; and if serviceable to the church, to the country, to society, or to a fellow citizen, it is not for the sake of these as ends, but for the sake of self as the end.

And yet everyone ought from love, though not from self-love, to provide the necessaries and requisites of life for himself and those dependent on him.

When man loves uses by doing them in the first place, and loves the world and self in the second place, the former constitutes his spiritual and the latter his natural; and the spiritual rules, and the natural serves. This makes evident what the spiritual is, and what the natural is. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words in Matthew:

Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens* and its justice, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).

“The kingdom of the heavens” means the Lord and His church, and “justice” means spiritual, moral, and civil good; and every good that is done from the love of these is a use. Then “all things shall be added,” because when use is in the first place, the Lord, from whom is all good, is in the first place and rules, and gives whatever contributes to eternal life and happiness; for, as has been said, all things of the Lord’s Divine providence pertaining to man look to what is eternal. “All things that shall be added” refer to food and raiment, because food means everything internal that nourishes the soul, and raiment everything external that like the body clothes it. Everything internal has reference to love and wisdom, and everything external to wealth and eminence. All this makes clear what is meant by loving uses for the sake of uses, and what the uses are from which man has wisdom, from which and according to which wisdom everyone has eminence and wealth in heaven.

(Apocalypse Explained 1193)

* Photolithograph has “kingdom of the heavens.” Schmidius also has it. The Greek is “Kingdom of God.”

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The State of a Vastated Church

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Scarcely anyone knows how the case is with the rejection of an old church and the adoption of a new church. He who does not know man’s interiors and their states, and consequently man’s states after death, cannot but infer that those who are of the old church, and in whom good and truth have been laid waste, that is, are no longer at heart acknowledged, are to perish, either as the antediluvians perished by the flood, or as did the Jews by expulsion from their land, or in some other way. But when the church has been laid waste, that is, when it is no longer in any good of faith, it perishes chiefly in respect to the states of its interiors, thus in respect to its states in the other life. Heaven then removes itself away from them – and consequently the Lord – and transfers itself to others, who are adopted in their stead; for without a church somewhere on the earth there is no communication of heaven with man; for the church is like the heart and lungs of the Grand Man on the earth.

They who are then of the old church, and thus are removed from heaven, are in a kind of *inundation as to their interiors, and in fact in an inundation over the head. This inundation the man himself does not observe while he lives in the body, but he comes into it after death. In the other life this inundation plainly appears like a thick cloud by which they are encompassed and separated from heaven. The state of those who are in this thick cloud is that they cannot possibly see what the truth of faith is, and still less what is its good; for the light of heaven, in which is intelligence and wisdom, cannot penetrate into this cloud. This is the state of a vastated church.

(Arcana Coelestia 4423)

[*inundate – to cover with a flood]

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In Six Days Jehovah Made Heaven and Earth and the Sea

Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:  But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)

For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth and the sea. That this signifies the regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man, is evident from the signification of “six days,” as being states of combat, and when predicated of Jehovah, that is, the Lord, they signify His labor with man before he is regenerated; and from the signification of “heaven and earth,” as being the church or kingdom of the Lord in man, “heaven” in the internal man, and “earth” in the external man, thus the regenerate man, that is, one who has found the new life and has thus been made alive; and from the signification of “the sea,” as being the sensuous of man adhering to the corporeal.


In this verse the subject treated of is the hallowing of the seventh day, or the institution of the Sabbath, and it is described by the words, In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested in the seventh day; wherefore Jehovah blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it. They who do not think beyond the sense of the letter cannot believe otherwise than that the creation which is described in the first and second chapters of Genesis, is the creation of the universe, and that there were six days within which were created the heaven, the earth, the sea and all things which are therein, and finally man in the likeness of God.  But who that takes into consideration the particulars of the description cannot see that the creation of the universe is not there meant; for such things are there described as may be known from common sense not to have been so; as that there were days before the sun and the moon, as well as light and darkness, and that herbage and trees sprang up; and yet that the light was furnished by these luminaries, and a distinction was made between the light and the darkness, and thus days were made.


In what follows in the history there are also like things, which are hardly acknowledged to be possible by anyone who thinks interiorly, as that the woman was built from the rib of the man; also that two trees were set in paradise, of the fruit of one of which it was forbidden to eat; and that a serpent from one of them spoke with the wife of the man who had been the wisest of mortal creatures, and by his speech, which was from the mouth of the serpent, deceived them both; and that the whole human race, composed of so many millions, was in consequence condemned to hell.  The moment that these and other such things in that history are thought of, they must needs appear paradoxical to those who entertain any doubt concerning the holiness of the Word, and must afterward lead them to deny the Divine therein.  Nevertheless be it known that each and all things in that history, down to the smallest iota, are Divine, and contain within them arcana which before the angels in the heavens are plain as in clear day. The reason of this is that the angels do not see the sense of the Word according to the letter, but according to what is within, namely, what is spiritual and celestial, and within these, things Divine.  When the first chapter of Genesis is read, the angels do not perceive any other creation than the new creation of man, which is called regeneration. This regeneration is described in that history; by paradise the wisdom of the man who has been created anew; by the two trees in the midst thereof, the two faculties of that man, namely, the will of good by the tree of life, and the understanding of truth by the tree of knowledge.  And that it was forbidden to eat of this latter tree, was because the man who is regenerated, or created anew, must no longer be led by the understanding of truth, but by the will of good, and if otherwise, the new life within him perishes. Consequently by Adam, or man, and by Eve his wife, was there meant a new church, and by the eating of the tree of knowledge, the fall of that church from good to truth, consequently from love to the Lord and toward the neighbor to faith without these loves, and this by reasoning from their own intellectual, which reasoning is the serpent.


From all this it is evident that the historic narrative of the creation and the first man, and of paradise, is a history so framed as to contain within it heavenly and Divine things, and this according to the received method in the Ancient Churches. This method of writing extended thence also to many who were outside of that Church, who in like manner devised histories and wrapped up arcana within them, as is plain from the writers of the most ancient times. For in the Ancient Churches it was known what such things as are in the world signified in heaven, nor to those people were events of so much importance as to be described; but the things which were of heaven. These latter things occupied their minds, for the reason that they thought more interiorly than men at this day, and thus had communication with angels, and therefore it was delightful to them to connect such things together. But they were led by the Lord to those things which should be held sacred in the churches, consequently such things were composed as were in full correspondence.


From all this it can be seen what is meant by “heaven and earth” in the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis, namely, the church internal and external.  That these are signified by “heaven and earth” is evident also from passages in the prophets, where mention is made of “a new heaven and a new earth,” by which a new church is meant.  From all this it is now plain that by, “In six days Jehovah made heaven and earth and the sea,” is signified the regeneration and vivification of those things which are in the internal and in the external man.

(Arcana Coelestia 8891)
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