WILLIAM FREDERIC PENDLETON, D.TH.
TO WHICH IS APPENDED AN INDEX OF SUBJECTS
Second Edition. 1946
THE ACADEMY BOOK ROOM
BRYN ATHYN, PA.
PRINTED IN UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY LANCASTER PRESS, INC., LANCASTER, PA.
In the course of his many years' reading and study in the Heavenly Doctrines, Bishop W. F. Pendleton made notes on various subjects which especially interested him, intending at some future time to write upon them. The opportunity to do this came when his retirement from office had afforded him greater leisure. He then turned to these memoranda and began a series of short articles under the title of "Topics from the Writings" which he contributed to NEW CHURCH LIFE. The first appeared in October, 1921, and their favorable reception encouraged the author to continue writing them until thirty-six monthly installments had been published, the concluding article appearing in November, 1926. In response to the wish expressed by many who found the "Topics" of exceptional interest and value, the whole series is now reprinted in book form, with the addition of an Index of Subjects which provides a ready means of reference to the wide range of subjects dealt with in the volume.
OF THE WRITINGS OF EMANUEL SWEDENBORG REFERRED TO IN THIS BOOK
A. C. --Arcana Celestia.
A. E. --Apocalypse Explained.
A. K. --Animal Kingdom.
A. R. --Apocalypse Revealed.
Ath. Cr. --Athanasian Creed.
B.E. --Brief Exposition.
C. --Doctrine of Charity.
C. L. --Conjugial Love.
C. L. J. --Continuation of the Last Judgment,
D. Love. --Divine Love.
D. L. W. --Divine Love and Wisdom.
Docu. --Documents Concerning Swedenborg.
D. P. --Divine Providence.
D. Wis. --Divine Wisdom.
E.A.K. --Economy of the Animal Kingdom.
H. D. --New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine.
H. H. --Heaven and Hell.
Influx. --Influx, or Intercourse of the Soul and Body.
L. --Doctrine of the Lord.
L. J. Post. --Last Judgment (Posthumous).
Life. --Doctrine of Life.
L. J. --Last Judgment.
P. P. --Summary Exposition of Prophets and Psalms.
S. D. --Spiritual Diary.
TOPICS FROM THE WRITINGS
The Need and Use of the Memorabilia.
In the Spiritual Diary (4123), we are told that the Memorabilia, or revelations concerning the spiritual world, are in the place of miracles, and that unless men read, and believe, and are affected by them, they will be unwilling to hear anything of the interiors of the Word. And in the Apocalypse Explained (410), we read of the importance of knowing what is in the spiritual world, in order to understand the internal sense. The Memorabilia stand related to the historicals of the literal sense, which are the first introduction to the spiritual truth of the Word. It may be said that the Memorabilia are the historicals of the spiritual world. They are the first thing for new receivers of the Doctrine to learn, and the first to be imparted to children and the young.
Swedenborg advised to leave out the Memorabilia.
Swedenborg was urged by Count Hpken not to include the Memorabilia in his Writings, but he answered that he was commanded by the Lord to publish them (Documents, I: p. 66; II: 409, 416). Cuno wrote Swedenborg to the same effect (Doc. II: 469). The Writings, or the internal sense of the Word, without the revelations concerning the spiritual world, would be like a house without doors, into which there can be no entrance; or like the spiritual sense without the letter as introductory to it. The historicals of the two worlds, as contained in the two revelations, are the things which introduce to the mysteries of the Word, without which the Word and heaven itself would be sealed forever.
The Language of the Angels in the Memorabilia.
Does Swedenborg reproduce the language of the angels in relating the arcana of the spiritual world? This is the appearance, but in reality he translates their thought, using his own language. Angelic thought is expressed in angelic speech, which is not in any language of the world; but descending into the natural of a man, it takes on the form of his language. Thus angels and spirits make use of the language of the man to whom they speak. (A. C. 1637, 10752; H. H. 255; C. L. 3264; S. D. 3157, and elsewhere.) Concerning himself in this connection, Swedenborg says, "I collected into a summary these things from their discourse." (C. L. 183.) His habit in this respect has been used to cast doubt on the revelation, notably in the case of Emerson.
What are Temptations?
The ordinary idea of temptation is that it is "a state of being tempted or enticed to evil," and while this is true as far as it goes, it does not present a full idea of temptation as given in the Writings. The word means trial, and this is the meaning that is followed everywhere in the Heavenly Doctrine. It is the trial a man suffers when he resists evil or the delight of evil to which he is inclined. Evil spirits are in this, his delight. The exciting of his evil delight is their mode of assault upon man's spiritual life. But the angels inspire him to resistance. He is then as if torn between two forces; and the trial or suffering, that is, the temptation, is at times exceeding great. Temptation, then, is the suffering which the regenerating man endures when he resists the delight of evil as of himself from the Lord. Natural trial, though it appears so great, is as nothing when compared with spiritual temptation.
The Grievous Temptations of the Lord in the Human.
That the temptations of the Lord were far greater than any man can endure, is taught throughout the Writings, and treated of at large in the spiritual sense of the Psalms and Prophets. For instance, this: "I am... like the slain that lie in the grave, whom Thou rememberest no more.... Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps." (Psalm 88: 5, 6.) These words signify that "He seemed to Himself to be in hell among the damned, so atrocious and enormous were the temptations which the Lord sustained." (A. E. 659.) So great was His love for the salvation of mankind! It is thus that He made Himself in His Human our Father in heaven, the same Father whom we address in the Lord's Prayer, and in all the prayers of the church. Eternity cannot suffice to fulfill the measure of human gratitude! For if He had not come to save, all would have perished in eternal death. The human race would have ceased to exist.
What it is to Love the Lord.
In the Gospel of John it is plainly taught that to love the Lord is to love to do His commandments. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (14:15.) He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me." (14:21.) "If a man love me, he will keep my words." (14:23.) "If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love." (15:10.) "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." In the Writings we are also taught, as involved in the above, that to love the Lord is to love His Word and doctrine from it, to love good and have aversion to evil, to love use, to love His kingdom, to love His Providence,--all based on loving to do His commandments. To love the Writings is also to love the Lord, for they are the Lord in His Second Coming.
What it is to Love the Neighbor.
It is interesting to note that love towards the neighbor rests upon the same basis as love to the Lord; for "love towards the neighbor is the love of obeying the Lord's commandments." (A. R. 356.) But the differentiation follows in the teaching that love towards the neighbor is especially the love of obeying the commandments that are contained in the second table of the Decalogue; as, "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shall not commit adultery," etc. The first table is the Lord's table, but the second is also His; for it is the Lord in the neighbor that is to be loved. The two tables are the same as the two great commandments, on which "hang all the law and the prophets." And we read that "all things of the doctrine of the New Jerusalem relate to love to the Lord and love toward the neighbor." (A. R. 903.) Readers of the Doctrine should note also the distinction between the terms "love" and "charity." By "love" is meant love to the Lord, and by "charity," love to the neighbor (Faith 22); and it is added, "There is with man no love to the Lord but in charity." For "in charity the Lord conjoins Himself with man." (Ibid. See the same in A. R. 903.) The one love cannot exist without the other. (T. C. R. 456.)
Loving the Neighbor more than Self.
It is thought that to love the neighbor as one's self is the highest exercise of human love; but we are told that if men would be as the angels they would love the neighbor more than self, and that in celestial love there is nothing of the love of self. (A. C. 548, 2196; H. H. 406; S. D. 3906.) Such a love does indeed appear among men, or an imitation of it; as where husbands or wives are willing to die for each other, where a mother will suffer hunger that her children may have food, where a man is willing to die that his country may be free, where one is willing to serve others for their sake and not his own, where a host and hostess will give preference to guests over themselves.
Three Kinds of Love towards the Neighbor.
"There are three kinds of love which constitute the celestial things of the Lord's kingdom, namely, conjugial love, love towards infants, and the love of society, or mutual love. Of all these, conjugial love is the principal, for it has in it the end of the greatest use, namely, the propagation of the human race, and thereby of the Lord's kingdom, of which the human race is the seminary. Love towards infants follows next, being derived from conjugial love. Afterwards succeeds the love of society, or mutual love." (A. C. 2039.) These three are based on keeping the second table of the Decalogue or shunning the evils mentioned therein, especially the evil of adultery. But they are naught unless the first table is also kept, or unless the Lord Jesus Christ is acknowledged and worshipped as the one God, from whom alone is all power to shun evil and do good; and unless a man looks to Him, he has no power against the evils inspired by infernal spirits. The one hope, and the great hope, is to pray for help, and then struggle to resist as of one's self from the Lord. To those who do this, all things of human and angelic good are possible.
Does the Spiritual Sun appear in all the Heavens?
We are told in the Arcana Celestia (6832) that "the Lord appears as a sun to the angels of the inmost heaven, as a moon to the angels of the middle heaven, and as light to the angels of the ultimate heaven." Are we to understand from this that the Lord is never seen as a sun in the lower heavens?
The Essential of Happiness in Married Life.
"He who is in love truly conjugial loves what the other thinks and what the other wills." (A. C. 10169.) It is added that they thus become as one man, and that this is what is meant by the words of the Lord, that "they are no longer two, but one flesh," that is, one will. We read further that "there is freedom to each when one loves what the other thinks and what the other wills. Hence the will to rule in marriages destroys genuine love, for it takes away its freedom and its delights." (10173.) What is here said calls for effort, and yields to cultivation as a garden of flowers; and the basis of it all is in looking to the Lord and shunning evils as sins against Him.
Where are we to look for the Increase of the Church?
In the Arcana Celestia (1610) the teaching is, that the multiplication of the Lord's kingdom will be, "not only from those who are within the church, and their children, but also from those who are without the church, and their children." And their children! This stands as a distinct teaching as to the source of increase. It will be mostly from the children. But to be genuine, a spiritual increase must precede. There must be a spiritual faith and a spiritual intelligence with the parents. It is from parents, and later from teachers and ministers, that children draw the inspiration to spiritual life. The increase will then be like that of the seed of Abram, which was to multiply "as the dust of the earth," "as the sand of the sea," and "as the stars of heaven." (See 1610.)
The Lord does not need the help of man.
It is a common fallacy that the Lord is in need of human help. But we read that "the Lord has need of no one." (A. C. 587.) Also, that "the Lord acts mediately through the heavens, not because He needs help, but that the angels may have functions and offices, and consequently life and happiness according to their offices and uses." (A. C. 8719. See also 6482.) He did not need any one when He came into the world. (Isaiah 63.) That He does not need the help of man, may be seen when we reflect that He has ah power, all knowledge, and is everywhere present. He does not need man, but man needs work that he may live. He needs the Lord in work; for the Lord is not present except in work or use; which means that the Lord is present only where there is love to the neighbor.
The Creation of the First Man.
That the Lord does not need the help of man, is illustrated in what is revealed concerning the creation of the first man. "The first man, and those born at first, were not led by any other than the Lord alone. For the Lord is all in all.... He alone sustains the human race; like as formerly, but now by mediate angels and spirits, as also immediately, without angels and spirits." (S. D. 2591.) Thus the Lord Himself cared and provided for the first man created, both internally and externally, without the help of any man, spirit, or angel; for none such existed. "The Lord is the All in all." "He hath need of no one." But men are in need of use on earth and in heaven.
Removal of Evil and Falsity.
An interesting fact is revealed, and important to be known, that evils and falsities are removed while man is reading the Word.
No Regeneration in Sickness.
In the Divine Providence (142), the following statement is made: "No one is reformed in a state of bodily disease, because the reason is then not in a free state; for the state of the mind depends on the state of the body. When the body is sick, the mind is also sick, by removal from the world.... For the mind removed from the world thinks indeed concerning God, but not from God, for it is not in freedom of reason.... But he may be confirmed, if he was reformed before he fell sick." From what is here said, and in the context, it is made plain that regeneration cannot go on when, from any cause such as sickness, a man is removed from the active life of the world, and thus rendered unable to perform uses; for an active devotion to a life of use is the basis and foundation of all regeneration. An unhealthy condition of the body that does not remove one from his daily work is not meant. (Compare D. L. W. 330.)
"If, at the end of the church, they do not approach the Lord Himself, and live according to His commandments, they are left by the Lord; and when they are left by the Lord, they become as pagans who have no religion; and then the Lord is with those only who are of His New Church." (A. R. 750.) This teaching exhibits the fact that Christian paganism is with those who have rejected the dogmas of the former Christian Church, and with it all revelation and all religion, living for the world alone, and cherishing its delights. The number of these is steadily increasing. It is of such the Lord speaks when He says, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matt. 18:6.) It is better to be wholly immersed in the life of the world than to remain in the church and profane holy things. Some may be drawn even out of this state and finally be saved (C. L. 351, 536); and it is shown (T. C. R. 525) how a man may be rescued from Christian paganism and become truly Christian.
Athens and Sparta.
New Churchmen are delighted when they read of the visit to the heaven of ancient Greeks, and learn that many of their great minds are there, especially those of Athens. (T. C. R. 692-694.) Sparta was distinguished for military efficiency, but Athens for intellectual culture. The great philosophers were there. Sparta left little to the generations following, but the heritage of Athens has enriched the thought of the world from that time to the present. Sparta conquered Athens after a war of twenty-seven years, but both went down under the Roman power. The intellectual life of Athens remained, and conquered Rome itself. It has been said that there were more great minds in Athens, in the period from the victory of Marathon to the close of the Peloponnesian war, than has ever existed at one time, and at any one place, in the history of the world. What is of interest to New Churchmen is, that while the Jewish nation was the means used in the Providence of the Lord for His first coming, the Greeks were instrumental in the preparation for His second coming. The intellectual thought and life of Greece, handed down through the ages, prepared the mind of Europe for the time when it should become lawful for the understanding to enter into the mysteries of faith. (T. C. R. 508.)
Idleness the Devil's Pillow.
The idea of idleness as an evil has taken form in proverbs in various nations. There are several in English. The above is the form used in Sweden, and is quoted in the Writings. (S. D. 6072; A. E. 831; D. Wis. XI: 4; C. 168.) Evil spirits enter and take possession when the mind is not determined to use. For "idleness is a life of the love of self and of the world." (A. E. 1226.) "It is the root of all evil." (S. D. 6088.) "A man is not of a healthy mind, unless use is his affection and occupation." (D. Love XV.) Like all things natural, idleness has a spiritual origin, which in this case is a false idea of eternal rest in heaven. (A. C. 454; H. H. 403; D. Min. 4805; A. E. 1194.) But temporary idleness, or leisure, for the refreshing of the body and mind in some form of recreation, is necessary and a positive good. (C. L. 5; T. C. R. 434; A. E. 1194, 1226; Charity 189.) It ministers to a sound mind in a sound body. (A. C. 6936.)
Preservation of Order in the World.
In the Spiritual Diary (2323), under the heading that "The Lord rules the Universe," we are told that disturbances in the world of spirits are not allowed to extend beyond certain limits, and that equilibrium is quickly restored. Then it is added that "this may be evident from the human race, and the fact that the greatest disturbance does not extend itself widely." The Lord does not permit that any destructive evil, such as war, famine, or pestilence, should become universal, and bring an end to the human race.
Why Ex Post Facto Laws are Contrary to Order.
Ex post facto,--that is, "after the deed is done,"--is a legal phrase used in reference to a law that is passed to punish a crime after it has been committed. By a constitutional provision, no legislative body is now permitted to pass such a law. This prohibitive principle has its origin in a law of the spiritual world. No one is punished in that world for evils he has done here, but for those he does there. The evil state acquired returns after death, and leads him to do similar deeds. For these he is punished, but not for those done in the former life. (See A. E. 989; S. D. 3489.) If he then refrains from committing them, there will be no punishment. In this we find the origin of the prohibition of ex post facto laws. A perception of the laws of the spiritual world is given when the mind thinks of use.
"Vengeance is Mine."
Paul advised the Roman Christians not to return evil for evil, saying among other things, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." (Romans 12:19.) Similar words occur in Deuteronomy 32: 35, and elsewhere. The operative effect of the laws of Divine order upon the evil appears like vengeance, but it is evil reacting upon itself, or evil punishing itself. The Lord never exercises vengeance upon anyone, though it so appears in the letter of the Word. Nor has man any need to return evil for evil, return, we make ourselves like unto him.
Can there be Error in a Divine Revelation?
The question answers itself at once in the negative. Yet there are those who have found errors in the Writings. Let a single example illustrate. Swedenborg says (A. C. 10300) that salt will cause oil and water to mix. "It will not do so," says one, "for I have placed oil and water in a vessel, and stirred in a portion of salt. Since the oil and water did not mix, I conclude that Swedenborg is mistaken." But wait a little. The Divine canon of criticism is to look to what is meant more than to what is said (John 7:24), even in judging human utterance. Swedenborg is speaking of the physiological effect of salt. It was a fact early known to him, that "salts copulate all parts of the blood." (E. A. K. I:91, 92.) Salt is not only conjunctive, but also preservative, and preservative because it is conjunctive. The correspondence of salt, its spiritual sense, rests upon the basis of its conjunctive power.
Inquisition into the Life of Others.
"It is not angelic to inquire into the evils appertaining to a man, unless the goods are inquired into at the same time." (A. C. 10381.) The angels rejoice to see good in another, whereas those who are in no charity, but in the love of self, consequently in hatred of others, rejoice to find evil. These "see nothing in their neighbor but his evils, and if they observe any good; they either regard it as nothing, or interpret it as evil; it is altogether otherwise with those who are in charity.... These scarcely see another's evils, but observe all that is good and true in him, and interpret favorably what is evil and false.
The Natural Sun is Dead.
When the term "dead" is used, it is customary to think of the bodies of men and animals when life has become extinct. But it is a word with a broader meaning, even in common discourse; for it is used to express what is inanimate, motionless, etc. This broader view is much more widely extended in the Writings. "The sun of the natural world ... is dead; and nature, because it derives its origin from that sun, is dead." (D. L. W. 157.) And what is dead is that which "does not act of itself, but is acted upon." (Ibid.) The appearance of life in nature, in the form of force and motion, is thus accounted for. Nature does not act, but is acted upon. Although all things of nature are dead, "still they are encompassed by the spiritual things which inflow from the sun of the spiritual world." (D. L. W. 158.) Natural substances are acted upon by the forces of the spiritual world, and the former, being dead, resist and react. (D. L. W. 260.) The action which the senses observe in nature is thus naught but reaction to spiritual forces.
There is no life in the natural particle, but there is life around it, or living force girding it about, pressing upon it, producing the appearance of motion.
The Worship of the Sun.
From the teaching above adduced we are able to see that "of all the forms of the worship of God, the worship of the sun is the lowest, for it is altogether dead, like the sun itself." (D. L. W. 157.) But the worship of the sun with the primitive Gentile is less harmful than the like worship in modern science. This, too, is worship of the sun, or of nature from the sun; and men confirm themselves in it by "scientifics unknown to the ancients."
The external worship of the sun is also the lowest or most external of all the forms of worship; but in the worship of images of the human form there is preserved some idea of God as a Man,--the one supreme thing that makes worship a living and salvable quantity, and without which no one can be led to adore the Lord Jesus Christ as God.
It is known to physiologists that there is a vital heat, but it is not known what it is in itself. It has been observed that the normal heat of the body is about ninety-eight degrees Fahrenheit. But the real cause of this cannot be known without revelation. The subject of vital heat is referred to frequently in the Writings, and we are told that, in itself, it is love from the spiritual sun, in which the Lord is. (See D. L. W. 95, 379, and elsewhere.) Men of science, without revelation, ascribe the origin of vital heat to the natural sun. But there is nothing vital or living in the natural sun, as the Writings frequently declare; and since that sun is not living, it cannot produce life. Spiritual heat, or love from the spiritual sun, descends into the interiors of the body, and joins itself with natural heat, producing what is called vital heat.
There is vital heat in the animal kingdom generally, and to some extent even in the vegetable kingdom.
"What News from Earth?"
Many of the wise men of ancient Greece are in heaven, and we are told that they inquire diligently of newcomers concerning the state of the world as to wisdom, and the changes it has undergone since their time. (T. C. R. 692.)
Since habits formed in the world continue after death, it is interesting to find what history records of the customs of the ancient Greeks in Athens.
But habits formed in the world become spiritual after death with the good. Hence the ancient sages have now little interest in the natural doings of men, but much as to the state of the church on earth. When they inquire, "What news from earth?" their thoughts are not determined to civil and political affairs, but to the things of spiritual intelligence, and they lament when they hear of the state now existing with men.
The state of mind as evinced by the Greek philosophers, now in heaven, in questioning newcomers concerning the present state of the world, may be expressed by the term curiosity, using that word in its legitimate application. Curiosity is defined as a "disposition to inquire, investigate, or seek after knowledge." This is not necessarily a bad thing, and we find the Writings speaking of both a good and an evil curiosity; the one leading to wisdom, and the other to folly. It is at first, as with children, a mere curiosity, and nothing more; but afterwards a spirit of inquiry is aroused, which may lead to a desire to know the spiritual things of the Word.
When curiosity is stirred in children, to know what is beyond their physical environment, an opportunity is given parents to interest them in spiritual things, by suitable answers to their simple questions, avoiding elaborate explanations, not using abstract terms as yet, for these confuse rather than clarify.
The Abstract and the Concrete.
Children and primitive men cannot comprehend terms expressive of abstract thought. The growth of the mind is in its ability to ascend into the realm of abstract thinking. "He who cannot think abstractedly from material things cannot comprehend anything of the spiritual sense of the Word." (A. C. 9407. A. E. 653(10).) For this reason, "abstract speech is angelic speech." (A. C. 8985.) To see truth in abstract light is necessary to an interior acknowledgment of the Lord, to see Him as a Man, not so much as a Person, but as Love and Wisdom. It is the ascent of the mind above time and space. In this the intelligence of the ancient Sophi consisted, and it is the essence of angelic wisdom. But children and primitive races do not rise at once into this interior region of thought.
They can reach it only by a gradual process of mental development. There must be accommodation to their simple states of thought.
The abstract is the rational, and there is a natural rational and a spiritual rational, the former for the world and the latter for heaven.
Civilization, Ancient and Modern.
The rise of civilization among the Greeks and Romans was marked by an increase in the use of abstract terms. In the Dark Ages there was a return, a descent, to the concrete of the primitive nations, who invaded from the North. The writings of Plate, Zenophon, Aristotle, Cicero, and others, lay in the cellars of the monasteries unread for centuries. Modern civilization arose when men began again to read the books of the ancients, by which the human mind was to be prepared to rise from the concrete or literal sense of the Word--in which there are but few abstract terms--to a contemplation of its spiritual glories as given in the Writings of the New Church, which are replete with abstract terms, in an abundance scarcely dreamed of, even by the ancient writers.
Jesting from the Word.
In the Writings, the evil of jesting from the Word is treated of, and shown to be profane. (A. C. 961; D. P. 231; S. D. 1304; A. E. 1064.) We are told that it is a habit which goes with man into the other life, and is not removed except after severe punishment. "The Word is the very Divine Truth of the Lord with men, and the Lord is in it, and also heaven.... Wherefore, to jest from the Word, and concerning the Word, is to sprinkle the holy things of heaven with the dust of the earth." (A. E. 1064.) For such jesting contains in it contempt for holy things. How common this evil is, is well known. But in the New Church we are to heed the Divine admonition and cultivate reverence, even for the copies of the Word, and lead our children to do likewise. Reverence for the Word as a book will open the way to reverence for that which it contains, and for the Lord who is in the Word, and who is the Word.
Is good conduct what is meant by a good life in the Writings? Only in a small degree. Good conduct is not life itself, but the effect of life. It is the outward appearance of the life within. The thought from the intention of the will is the real plane of man's life. It is where evils are to be shunned. It is where the true worship of God is.
We see, then, what is meant when it is said that the truth is to be applied to life. When evils are shunned in mind and heart, the conduct takes care of itself. The angels pay little heed to the conduct of man, but look to the intentions of his will. (A. E. 185.) It follows that we are not to regard the conduct of another as the necessary expression of his real life. It may or may not be. We cannot know. It is in the other world that men are known by what they say and do, hardly in this.
Evil deeds are indeed to be shunned, and good works done, but they are naught unless they are done from within, unless the inside of the cup and the platter also be made clean. (Matthew 23:26.)
It has been said that the man is blessed who knows his own limitations. This means, not merely to know, but to recognize and acknowledge, and finally to act. A purpose of the Divine Providence is to bring us to know our limitations. In this knowledge we see the angelic state. There is only one Unlimited. If there is no sight or acknowledgment of our limitations, we shall probably cross our boundary and invade the territory of others. This is classed in the Writings as the love of dominion. Concerning this crossing of the boundary, and its purpose, read history. Nations are such because individuals are. The least and the greatest are similar. How great are the ills that have come to mankind from this cause!
The Rarity of Love Truly Conjugial.
"Love truly conjugial is at this day so rare that it is not known what it is, and scarce that it is." (C. L. 58, 59.) And it is "rare in the Christian world, because few there approach the Lord." (C. L. 337.) But while "spiritual conjugial love is not given, except with a very few in the Christian world, still it can be given there." (C. L. 369.) Although it is so rare, still "it is capable of being raised up again by the God of heaven, who is the Lord." (C. L. 78.) And "love truly conjugial cannot be given, except with those who are of the Christian Church." (C. L. 337.) For "a Christian has the faculty, above a man who is not a Christian, that he can be regenerated, and thus become spiritual, and also acquire love truly conjugial." (C. L. 339.) And since this love "was inspired into our first parents, it is capable of being inspired into Christians." (C. L. 112.) And further, that "the inclination to love one of the sex, and the faculty of receiving that love, is implanted in Christians from birth, because that love is from the Lord alone, and has been made a matter of religion" (C. L. 466); that is, Christians have made marriage to be a sacrament of the church. Therefore, the means are provided, and the conditions exist, by which love truly conjugial may be implanted in the Christian world, although few among the many will take advantage of the opportunity presented to them; but with those few the New Church can be established.
The Christian Conjugial.
"The Christian conjugial only is given chaste; ... and by the Christian conjugial is meant the marriage of one man with one wife." (C. L. 142.) And "the chaste is predicated only of monogamic marriages." (C. L. 141.)
An Adulterous Generation.
The Lord speaks of the Jewish nation as "an adulterous and sinful generation." (Mark 8: 38, Matthew 12:39 and 16:4). This was because of their adulteration and falsification of the Word. (A. R. 134.) There is both spiritual adultery and natural adultery. The former is the cause, and the latter the effect. The cause produces the effect, and the effect reacts upon the cause. He who is in the one is potentially in the other. What is said of the Jewish Church is true of every vastated church.
Agencies at Work.
The sphere of adulterous love is universal; but it is to be remembered that the sphere of conjugial love is also universal (C. L. 222, 387), and that everyone will feel it, especially in the age of youth and early manhood. Both spheres have their agencies at work. The agencies operating from the universal sphere of conjugial love are: 1. The teaching of the Lord in Genesis (2:24) and in Matthew (19: 4-6). 2. The teaching and practice of the church looking to monogamic marriage. 3. The laws of the State, requiring the same. 4. Literature, especially poetry and fiction. 5. Public opinion favoring such marriage. 6. The universal conjugial sphere flowing into the native love of the sex with the young of both sexes, inspiring them to desire and to seek for one with whom there can be union of heart and soul.
A learned professor has lately advised parents to use good English from the start in addressing their children. But this would be forcing intellectual development prematurely. Early childhood is the period for the formation of the will, but not as yet of the understanding. It is the period when children are with the celestial angels, but not as yet with the spiritual. Parents can contribute to a useful delay in this period, and one way is by talking to the little ones in their own language, thus simulating their affections, and thereby putting on somewhat of their state. We see here an image of the manner in which the Lord approaches man, accommodating Himself to human limitation. The use of strictly correct language in addressing children at this early period would be too stimulating. It would be like giving them strong wine instead of milk. The instinct of parents, especially of mothers, is a better guide to the needs of early childhood than the academic and unsympathetic reasoning of the learned. But, as in all things, extremes are to be avoided.
A commentary on the literal sense of the Word is needed in the New Church by ministers, teachers, and students generally. We do not here refer to expositions of the internal sense, such as those prepared by Clowes, Bruce and others, which are, of course, useful, but to explanations of the letter itself.
The first thing in the preparation of such a work would be the collection of the explanations of the literal sense contained in the Writings, which are more abundant than may be seen from a cursory reading. These are plentiful, for instance, in the Arcana Celestia; see no. 4113, where more than half a page is devoted to explaining the literal sense. Such explanations abound throughout; and even where they are not given, the spiritual sense throws light upon the letter, which anyone can see from a close examination. The theological literature of the Old Church also affords abundant material, to be squared with the facts, as mentioned above.
Worry is a state of mental disturbance arising from care and anxiety about things to come, or a harassing of the mind from a fear of what may happen. How unprofitable this is, may be realized when we reflect that the future is known to the Lord alone (A. C. 5331; D. P. 333), and that He never reveals it to man in advance of the event. Hence the evils imagined seldom, if ever, turn out the way we think. It is the unexpected that happens. If the future were revealed man would interfere with the order of Providence. Even the angels do not know the future; nor do they wish to know. They simply say, "The Lord's will be done." (A. C. 2493; L. J. 74; S. D. 2271.)
A medical writer has stated his belief that worry is the cause of more disease than any other.
We read that anxiety about the future affects the stomach more than the rest of the bodily organs. (A. C. 5177-5179, 6202.) Hence the cause of indigestion, dyspepsia, and the like. This is usually from avaricious spirits. (A. C. 5177; H. H. 488.)
Worry is therefore a sin against God, to be resisted as such, with prayer to the Lord for help.
In a former note we spoke of spiritual temptations. Let us now say a word on the ordinary trials of life. There is no period, this side of heaven, without its trials; and while they are present, they exhibit a serious aspect to our minds. But soon they are forgotten, or present a dim outline in our memory. A thing that seemed a great trouble years ago is now as nothing. So that which troubles us now will also pass into oblivion, even as the trials of childhood have passed away, or the worries of the night which seem insignificant in the morning. "'Tis a long lane that has no turning." The darkest day will have passed away on the morrow. No pain or sorrow, however great, will endure forever. When we reflect, the truth be comes clear that our present troubles are but trifles, even as nothing in the sight of the Lord, who has permitted them that we may fight against the spirit of unrest, the spirit of distrust, of murmuring and discontent. Hence,
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust in truth and grace;
Behind a frowning Providence
He hides a smiling face."
Querimony (querimonium) is a word used in the Writings to express the murmuring and discontent of the Children of Israel when, in the midst of their trials in the wilderness, they chided with Moses and tempted the Lord. (Exodus 17:l-7.) By this are represented certain states in the temptations of the regenerating man, when he "almost yields," and "complains against heaven and the Divine itself, and at length almost disbelieves the Divine Providence." (A. C. 8588.)
The spirit of complaint is universal, and becomes active when the natural man, or our selfish and worldly loves, gain control. The regenerating man is no exception, for he has a natural in common with all men, and it is a long time before the natural in him is subdued and becomes subservient to the government of the spiritual man. We read that "to murmur is to rebel against the Lord." (A. E. 3248.) Thus to rebel is to resist the laws of His Providence, whether those laws appear in the operations of nature, or by influx from the laws of the spiritual world. All resistance to law brings its punishment, and resistance to the laws of Providence exhibits its effects in the human body itself. The condition that is covered by the term "nervousness" is from no other source. Nervous and irritable conditions are in their origin hereditary, but become one's own by practice. Medicines and the observance of hygienic rules assist, but the roots are not removed except by the observance, at the same time, of the spiritual laws of health,--self-examination, repentance, active combat, and prayer to the Lord for help.
The First Chapters of Genesis.
The first chapters of Genesis are from the Ancient Word, and were copied thence by Moses. (T. C. R. 279; S. S. 103; S. D. 5605.) Up to the twelfth chapter, there is nothing historical. (A. C. 482.) But though not literal history, it is written in the form of history, or composed of "made historicals." (A. C. 605, 755, 1020.) It was the ancient custom to speak and write in this manner, a remnant of which still exists in the ancient epics, the mythologies of various nations, and in the fables, fairy stories, and folklore that have come down to us. It may also be said that this style of "made historicals" is still in a measure preserved in the modern works of fiction, but without the science of correspondences known to the ancient writers.
A modern story, or an ancient "made historical," is true in spirit, if not in the letter. It is a truth, even if it is not a fact. It is hurtful to children to tell them that they are not true, especially when speaking of the early Scripture stories. Tell them that they are true, and wait until later for a rational explanation in the light of the spiritual sense; otherwise a skeptical spirit may be aroused that will be difficult to remove. Even the adult likes to think of a story or play as true, when it is read or heard, and he does not at the time welcome a suggestion that it is not true. To say that they are not true is going beyond the truth. Let us guard our children, that doubts of Revelation may not enter and disturb before the time.
Correspondences in Ancient Greece.
That the science of correspondences was conveyed from Asia into Greece, we are told in the following passages:
"The most ancient inhabitants of Greece described things by significatives which at this day are called fables, because altogether unknown. The ancient Sophi were in the science of such things." (A. C. 7729.)
Remains of the science of correspondences are found, not only in Greece, but by writing or tradition in all the religions of the world; for the Ancient Church spread itself in some form over the face of the whole earth.
The Trojan Horse.
An example of the above kind of writing is given in the story of the Wooden Horse. We are told that the author of this story merely wished to describe by correspondences "an artful contrivance of the understanding to destroy the walls" and thus take the city (A. C. 2762), the writer knowing that a horse corresponded to the understanding.
In this connection, it becomes clear that by that time, in Greece and other ancient nations, the science of correspondences had so far degenerated that they had mostly lost the knowledge and perception that natural things corresponded to things spiritual, or to things in heaven,--such knowledge and perception as the Ancient Church had derived from the Most Ancient Church. But while the essence was gone, they still preserved the form, or the ancient style of writing, the form and style of "made history" (A. C. 1020), in which they used the historical form, describing by correspondences the doings of men, and other things, such as the phenomena of nature.
The conclusion follows, that in the mythology of Greece and other ancient nations there are invaluable stores of history for the New Church student,--an immensely more fertile field than the ruins of ancient cities.
Structure and Function.
Does structure precede function, or function structure? This question has been discussed by anatomists and others, with the weight of argument in favor of the position that structure is first, and that function, or the use of an organ, cannot exist until there is structure. On this subject the Writings speak clearly and definitely. "Before the organic forms of the body existed, use was, and the use produced and adapted them to itself, but not vice versa; but when the forms are produced, or the organs adapted, uses thence proceed; and in this case it appears as if the forms or organs are prior to the use, when yet it is not so; for use inflows from the Lord through heaven, according to the order and form in which heaven is arranged by the Lord, thus according to correspondences." (A. C. 4223. See also A. C. 4926 and H. H. 112.)
It is indeed true that the use does not appear in the outer world until a structure is provided for it, in order that it may ultimate itself. But the use existed before, or in the spiritual world, and created the organ as a suitable instrument for itself, that it might descend into the world of nature.
Herein is illustrated the importance of a knowledge, not only of the existence of the spiritual world, but also of its immediate presence, that we may understand the facts and laws of nature, and be delivered from the dominion of appearances. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24.)
Speaking Ill of the Dead.
It is a saying that no one should speak ill of the dead. This carries with it the idea that we should not even think ill of any one that is gone into the spiritual world, and what is more, that we should cherish no ill feeling against him. Most sayings or proverbs have their origin in some law of the spiritual world. The saying in question has to do with the probable effect upon the departed, when ill is spoken of him by those who are still here. This probable effect is, that spirits are also excited thereby to speak ill of him, and to him. We read that "he who is not led by the Lord, not only acts in consort with evil spirits, but also excites evil spirits so to act." (S. D. 1591.) For a man is not led by the Lord when he speaks ill of another from a ground of ill will. This is hurtful, even if the one who is gone is now an evil spirit. In a passage of the Spiritual Diary (no. 1246), this subject is treated of, and part of it is summarized in the Concordance as follows: "The infernals are to be pitied, and not to be harshly spoken to." And it is further said that "they would in this case have torments added, which would be against mercy and charity, for to will well even to them is a Christian duty." In the light of this teaching, we can well imagine the distress or ill effect, even upon a good spirit preparing for heaven, of words harshly spoken to him, inspired by one still in the world who thinks ill of the departed one.
Let us remember, then, the intimate association of the two worlds, and the quick extension of thought from the one world into the other.
Prayer for the Church.
At a District Assembly in Bryn Athyn, the suggestion of prayer for the church was made. The suggestion finds a basis in direct statements of the Apocalypse Revealed, as follows: "And the spirit and the bride say, Come, signifies that heaven and the church desire the Lord's coming." (A. R. 955.)
The spirit of that Prayer should breathe in all the worship of the church, public and private, supplicating the Lord that His kingdom may be established and continue with us and our children, and extend to all who are able to receive it.
The Writings as the Word.
It has been said that in the early days of the Academy the Writings were not spoken of as the Word; that this mode of speaking arose after the organization of the General Church of the New Jerusalem, in order to create a more marked distinction between our body and the rest of the Church, and to establish a reason for a separate existence,--a reason that is regarded as artificial and unnecessary. This raises the suspicion that those who have said this did not understand the Academy in its beginning, and are unable to see now that a continued existence of a separate body is vital to the establishment of the New Church on the earth, and that without this separate existence a true knowledge of the Lord in His Second Coming would not be handed down to posterity.
But that a true and charitable judgment will be formed by those who are to come after, when all the facts are known to them, we cannot doubt.
The Facts of the Case.
The facts, in general, are as given in what now follows.
It has been shown in past numbers of NEW CHURCH LIFE that the founder of the Academy spoke of the Writings as the Word many years before the initiament of the body itself in 1876, and that he read a paper before the Conference of New Church Ministers at Cincinnati in 1873, under the title, "The Standard of Authority in the New Church." This was reprinted in the LIFE for July, 1902. The purpose of the paper was to show that the Writings are the Word and the Divine Human of the Lord. He says: "The doctrines of the New Church are the Divine Word in its spirit and life." "They are Divine, altogether Divine, and nothing but Divine." "What is revealed from or out of the Word, in doctrine drawn therefrom, is the Lord in His Divine Human. All revelation is the coming of the Lord in His Divine Human." Thus all revelation is the Word, since it is the Lord appearing in His own Divine Truth, and as the Divine Truth. What is Divine Truth but the Word, and what is the Word but Divine Truth? The one involves the other. The one is the other. To the rational mind, the transition is easy from the idea of the Writings as Divine Truth to the idea of the Writings as the Word, to the idea of the Writings as the Lord Himself in His Second Coming.
The Early Practice.
It is true that Bishop Benade used the word "Authority" in the title of his paper, and that Dr. R. L. Tafel followed it with his work on Authority in the New Church. It thus became the usual practice with us to speak of the "Divine Authority of the Writings," the "Divinity of the Writings." Nor was it common then to speak of them as the Word. Still it was occasionally done. The writer remembers hearing Bishop Benade use the phrase, after the Academy had been, organized and its work in full operation.
On a certain occasion in the year 1875, during an argument on a point of doctrine, the Writings were quoted; but the answer made was, "That is merely Swedenborg's opinion." To which came the reply, "The Writings of Swedenborg are the Word of God. The one who made this reply was not then a member of the Academy, but was admitted afterward with this as the leading idea in his mind. In a sermon delivered in Chicago on September 25th, 1881, these words occur: "The New Church has in her midst the Word in a twofold aspect, namely, the Word in its representative or correspondential form, as it exists in the letter, and the Word in its doctrinal form, as given in the Writings of Swedenborg; in both forms, it is Divine, because given by the Lord Himself."
When this truth was proclaimed at the inauguration of our present body, it was not thought of as anything new, and it was taken by the members assembled as a matter of course.
Fiat Justitia, Ruat Caelum.
"Let justice be done, though the heavens fall,"--a saying that has come down to us from the wise ancients. Generally interpreted, it means, "Do right, no matter what the consequences may be." For the Lord is in what is right, and in the consequences. He will protect. This is also the teaching of the Writings.
The Acknowledgment of the Lord.
"The primary thing of all religion is to acknowledge God" (D. P. 322), and the first essential of the Christian religion is to acknowledge the Lord. For it is the Lord God the Savior alone who opens heaven or the spiritual mind (C. L. 340), and He opens it to those only who acknowledge Him as the God of heaven and earth, and live according to His commandments. (C. L. 341. See T. C. R. 151.) It cannot possibly be opened to others. The essentials of salvation are two, but the second is not anything without the first. Keeping the second table of the law contributes nothing to spiritual life, unless the Lord's table be kept also. It is merely a moral life without religion, in which there is nothing salvable. The supreme necessity of the acknowledgment of the Lord, if men are to be saved, is shown in the Lord's words in John, "Unless ye believe that I am, ye shall die in your sins." (8: 24.) "Those who do not acknowledge the Lord must needs be in falsities and evils." (A. C. 10281. See also D. P. 91 and T. C. R. 339.) "The denial of God makes hell, and in the Christian world the denial of the Lord." (D. L. W. 13.) "The state of everyone ... in the spiritual world is according to his acknowledgment of God and the worship of Him,... and after this time they who acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ to be God are in heaven." (T. C. R. 795.) "Hereafter no one comes into heaven unless he believes in the Lord God the Savior, and goes to Him alone." (T. C. R. 107.)
This is the supreme essential of all spiritual life,--the acknowledgment and worship of God as a Man, the God Man, Jesus Christ. This is the one beacon light in the darkness of the Christian World,--the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life. (John 14:6.) Without this, no evil can be shunned as sin. "For without me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:5.)
A Moral Life without a Spiritual Life.
A spiritual life is a life of religion, and the life of religion is to love and worship the Lord God the Savior, and to do good or live morally from Him, There can be a moral life from religion, or from Him who is the life of religion, and there can be a moral life without religion. The latter kind of a moral life is very common at this day in the Christian World, but it is a life that is void and empty of everything of heaven, though it is frequently mistaken for a spiritual or religious life.
What a dead thing a moral life is without a spiritual life, is set forth in full in the Apocalypse Explained, no. 182: "A moral life is to act well, sincerely, and justly with one's companions in the functions and business of life,... but a moral life from the love of self and the world is not in itself a moral life, although it appears as such. For the man who is in such a life acts well, sincerely, and justly for the sake of himself and the world only. To him, what is good, sincere, and just serves but as a means to an end, that he may be elevated above others and rule over them, or that he may acquire wealth." (The subject is treated at large in this number.)
A moral life without a spiritual life is used as a cloak to cover evil designs, producing a deceptive appearance that easily blinds and leads astray. It is an enemy to the New Church, and to all who in heart desire to live a truly religious life; for it closes heaven, and separates man from the Lord.
Spiritually, a snare is evil putting on the appearance of good, thereby deceiving and leading astray. (See A. C. 9348.) It is doing good without shunning evil. It is a life of morality without religion. "If a man wills and does goods before he shuns evils as sins, the goods are not good." (Life 24.) "So far as a man has not been purified from evils, his goods are not good, his piety is not pious; neither is he wise." (Life 30.)
"I am God Shaddai." (Genesis 17:1.)
"I appeared unto Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Shaddai. By my name Jehovah was I not known unto them." (Exodus 6:3.) Shaddai was the name of the god worshipped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They knew not the name Jehovah. That name had been lost from the time of the Ancient Church, but was revealed anew to Moses in Egypt. Moses had asked the God who appeared unto him His name, and He had said, "I am Jehovah." (Exodus 6:2.) In the English version, Shaddai is rendered "Almighty." Genesis 17:1.) The translators did not know, or were unwilling to believe, that the fathers of the Israelitish nation worshipped any other god than Jehovah, and that they were idolaters. That the Lord appeared to them as the God they worshipped, and "was willing to be represented by the name Shaddai, was because He never wills suddenly to destroy the worship implanted from infancy." (A. C. 1992.
In the teaching concerning the worship of the god Shaddai by the Israelitish fathers, there is involved an essential truth as relating to the Christian Church and the Second Coming of the Lord. The Apostolic fathers worshipped the Lord Jesus Christ; but when the Lord came again into the world, the Christian Church was worshipping another god. They did not know the true God of heaven and earth. He had to be revealed again. Since they did not know the true God, they did not know the Word of God. They did not know even the literal sense of the Word, for that sense had been falsified from beginning to end. His vesture had been "dipped in blood." (Revelation 19:13. A. R. 825.) It had therefore become necessary, not only to reveal the spiritual sense of the Word, but also to reveal anew the Word in its literal sense, even as it had become necessary to reveal anew the name of the true God to the Israelites in Egypt. The name of God is the Divine Human of the Lord, or, what is the same, it is His Word. It had become necessary to reveal this anew in the Christian world, for it is a name that had been lost, destroyed by the falsifications of its truth. It could not be restored, except by revealing it again unto men. This is what is meant by His "new name" (Revelation 2:17. 3:12), and by "Behold, I make all things new." (Revelation 21:5. See A. R. 196; A. E. 224.)
The early work of Swedenborg, his study of nature and the human body, was a preparation for his great work to come as a Revelator, a preparation which began even in his childhood.
As the philosophy of nature was a preparation to Swedenborg for his great mission, so is the same philosophy a preparation to the man of the New Church for a broader and more comprehensive understanding of the Writings. It is for this reason that almost every principle of his philosophy has been reproduced in the Writings, to aid the student of the New Church to an understanding of the laws of the spiritual world and the phenomena of the life to come. What better proof do we have of the tremendous importance of the new philosophy as the handmaid of the New Revelation?
While, in the philosophy of Swedenborg, there is no claim to a revelation, such as we find in the Writings, nor are we to claim for it what it does not claim for itself, yet it is a system of natural truth, the like of which has never before been given to men, and it is essentially without philosophical fallacy or error. If there is any error of scientific fact, let those show it who know more than Swedenborg, or who may perhaps think they exalt the Writings by depreciating his philosophical studies.
Not a Science.
It has been customary to speak of the early writings of Swedenborg as "scientific." This is misleading. It is not a science, but a philosophy. It is not a system of sensual truth. It does not deal with the visible facts of nature. But it is a system of natural truth, treating of things invisible or abstracted from the sight of the bodily eye. Read no. 20 of the treatise on Influx, and you will see that, in the Writings, the early works of Swedenborg are designated as a "philosophy."
Swedenborg not a Scientific Investigator.
Swedenborg made but little research into the visible facts of nature. He began it, but soon desisted, for reasons which he gives in the introduction to The Economy of the Animal Kingdom. After praising the work of Malpighi, Leeuwenhoek, and others, he says, "Assisted by the studies ... of these illustrious men, and fortified by their authority, I have resolved to commence and complete my design; that is to say, to open some part of those things which it is generally supposed that nature has involved in obscurity." In fact, he resolved to enter the unoccupied and unexplored field of invisible nature, depending upon the scientific researches of others as a basis for his studies of the interior world of natural things. "On deeply considering the matter," he says, "I deemed it best to make use of the facts supplied by others." And further, "I therefore laid aside my instruments, and, restraining my desire for making observations, determined rather to rely on the researches of others than to trust to my own." He considered that it was not necessary for him to investigate visible phenomena, for this had been done by able men; and the facts he needed as a groundwork for his studies were already at his hand. In the Principia (chapter 1, 8), he makes plain his purpose.
There is an external and an internal to all things. So there is an external and an internal world of nature. Men of science had explored the phenomena of the visible world, and had gathered innumerable facts, had even approached the borders of the internal, invisible world, but had feared to enter it. Swedenborg, under a providential guidance, which no other man had, boldly entered and explored its inmost recesses. It was necessary that he should do so, for the world of invisible nature is intermediate between the world of matter and the world of spirit; and before this latter world could be revealed to him, he must needs know that world which is intermediate between the spiritual and the material, invisible to the physical eye or to the finest microscope, and only to be entered by the inductions of enlightened reason.
Swedenborg, therefore, is not to be classed as a man of science, seeking to add to the vast store of visible facts already accumulated by others, but as a philosopher, even as he himself says (Influx 20), seeking for the universal laws of the invisible world, hidden behind visible phenomena, that he might thereby be prepared to become, under the Divine guidance, the theologian of all the ages, the willing and obedient instrument of the Lord for His Second Coming into the world.
Swedenborg, at this time, did not know of that for which he was being prepared, but he had received certain intimations that there was a great work to come, the full nature of which was not as yet revealed to him. (See article in NEW CHURCH LIFE, June, 1901, p. 287.)
In the approach of parents to their children by tokens of affection, ministering thus to the formation of the will, it is not to be forgotten that there are other means of such formation, especially that of obedience. In fact, we are told that obedience is itself the beginning of the will. (A. C. 3870.) But as the will continues and never ceases to be formed, so obedience continues as the basis of all future growth,--the obedience which begins in early childhood. The foundation laid then will be present as a reactive plane forever. Salvation, if it is to come, cannot come without this.
There is a fallacy abroad that children are to be led only by acts of kindness. This comes, perhaps, as a reaction from the stern Puritanism of our fathers. But in swinging away from their requirements of a rigid obedience, let us not reject what was true in the methods of the Puritans. We may reject their hardness and harshness, and their lack of sympathy with childhood; but the habit of obedience, established in that early period, is fundamental to spiritual life in adult age. The child that is not taught to obey will probably have no inclination, when he becomes a man, to keep the Commandments as laws of religion, to shun evils as sins against God. Even if he lives a moral life, it will be a moral life for the sake of the world, and not for the sake of heaven and the Lord.
Meditation When Alone.
The use of meditation when one is alone, or not in company with others, as at home or in the bed-chamber, is frequently set forth in the Writings. For the internal will and thought is the real man; and we cannot become acquainted with this real man, if we always think and act in and from the outer world.
Retirement from the world was much abused in the days of asceticism, but it was the abuse or perversion of a truth, a truth now made clear to the New Church.
"The more haste, the less speed."--A saying of our forefathers, or of some wise ancient to whom was given a perception. Speed is the thing, not haste or hurry. In speed there is gain, but in hurry there is more lost than won. Speed involves an equable frame of mind,--repose. In hurry there is anxiety and impatience. These, becoming a permanent condition of the mind, descend and attack the nervous system, and finally the body. The cure is to be looked for in prayer and combat, remedial measures cooperating. This will open the way to a gradual release. The laws of Providence never operate in haste.
In the anxiety which attends all haste or hurry, there is a violation of some law, not only of the mind or spirit, but of the body and nature. It is well to remember that the laws of nature are also laws of Providence, and that to act contrary to them is to act against the Author of them. The violation of law, spiritual or natural, brings sin, suffering, and all ill health into the world; that is, the violation of law is attended with its punishment. We can thus see the truth contained in the words of the Apostle, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." (Romans 6:23.)
In this general connection, the suggestion is made to read Arcana Celestia no. 8478.
"The Muses love a tranquil mind." (Swedenborg, Introduction to The Economy of the Animal Kingdom.) To be tranquil is to be "free from agitation or disturbance. (Webster.) The Writings frequently speak of tranquillity. It is to the natural mind what peace is to the spiritual mind. (A. C. 3696.) Uses are performed when there is tranquillity. (A. C. 92.) All orderly arrangement is effected in a state of tranquillity. (A. C. 8370.) A tranquil state arises from contentment of mind. (A. C. 6408.) The tranquillity of peace follows spiritual temptations (A. E. 419(24)); when the storm of wind ceased, "there was a great calm." (Mark 4:39.) The ancient wise men said there is tranquillity of mind when withdrawn from sensual things. (A. C. 6313.) There is tranquillity in the beginning of life, or in infancy. (A. C. 3696.) Remembering this, men often express a wish to return to the state of their childhood, not realizing the great tranquillity of peace which, after death, is to follow the labor and combat of this life. They are in need of the knowledge of genuine truth, and of that elevation into spiritual light which is called illustration, in which light they would see light. (Psalm 36:9.)
Crystallization, it is said, takes place in a state of rest.
Old age is or should be a period of tranquillity; but, like conjugial love, it is rare in our time. See what Cicero, that wisest of Romans, says on the subject of old age in his treatise De Senectute. Cicero was saved. (H. H. 322; S. D. 4094, 4415-4417.)
Evil Not from Man Himself, but Inflows.
Neither good nor evil is from man. Good is from heaven, and evil from hell. But they may become man's own, and be in him as his. The teaching is: "All evil inflows from hell, and all good through heaven from the Lord; but the reason that evil is appropriated to man is because he believes that he thinks and does it from himself, thus makes it his own. If he should believe as the case is, he would not appropriate evil to himself, but would appropriate good from the Lord; for when evil inflows, he would think that it is from the evil spirits with him; and when he thinks this, the angels avert and reject it; for the influx of the angels is into that which a man knows and believes, but not into that which he does not know and believe." (A. C. 6206, 6324. The subject in full, D. P. 320, 321.)
When a man believes that good is from the Lord, it is appropriated to him as his; but when he believes that it is from himself, it is not appropriated. On the other hand, if he believes that evil is from hell, it is not appropriated, does not become his own, however much it may continue to infest; but if he believes that it is from himself, the angels have no power to remove it, and it becomes a part of his life. To believe is not only to think, but also to will, to love, and to do. There is no other belief that is planted in the mind as faith.
The dog Cerberus, guarding the entrance to the infernal regions, is among the representatives of the Ancient Church preserved in the Greek mythology. It is spoken of and explained in passages of the Writings. "I saw a great dog like the one called Cerberus by the ancient writers.... I was told that such a dog signifies a guard lest a man should pass over from heavenly conjugial love to the infernal love of adultery." (De Conjugio 104. See also A. C. 2743, 5051.) As the use of dogs is to guard, so in the Word and in all representatives, when used in a good sense, a spiritual watch or guard is signified. (A. E.1198.) Thus the dog Cerberus, guarding the mouth of hell, signifies the guards or watches established by the Lord in His merciful Providence, lest conjugial love be turned into its opposite. These guards are everywhere in both worlds. They are the truths of the Word; the fundamentals of all order,--the Ten Commandments; the letter of Scripture in general; laws, regulations, customs, called also the safeguards of society; they exist wherever morality is taught and preached; they are the knowledge in the mind that adultery is a sin, or at least destructive of social order. Without such guards, society could not exist, and human life on earth would not be possible.
Even clothing is a guard. (See what is said in S. D. 4719. De Conjugio 67. See also S. D. 2114, 3854.)
The doors of hell are opened when the guards are removed.
Let the supreme importance of these guards be impressed upon the minds of the young.
Friendship in Marriage.
"With those who are in love truly conjugial, the conjunction of minds increases in proportion as friendship conjoins itself with love." (C. L. 214.) "Since love truly conjugial conjoins the souls and hearts of two, it is united also with friendship, and is exalted above all other friendships." (C. L. 334.) "When friendship and confidence conjoin themselves with the first love of marriage, conjugial love is the result." (C. L. 162.)
Friendship, to exist and continue in married life, must be cultivated. It was spontaneous in the betrothal period, and in the early days of marriage, but this spontaneity may cease, or be drawn back into the interiors of the mind. It must be invited to come forth, and this is done by cultivation, by practice. For in order that the beginnings of conjugial love, which sprouted in their early life together, may not be lost, but may increase, effort is required. A thing that is of permanent value is worth fighting for. The battle in this case is with the enemies of the conjugial. That which was Divinely given in the days of their primitive love must be fought for, in order that it may be preserved. Two consorts, in a life of good will to each other, exhibited in an active friendship, and in a common worship of the Lord God the Savior, will receive all things that are good in the world to come.
The Demon of Socrates.
A demon, in Greek usage, was a good or evil spirit. The demon of Socrates was clearly a good spirit, the subject of some angelic society. Socrates testified that this demon was always with him as a guide to his conduct, never telling him what to do, but what not to do. This is evidence to a New Churchman that the demon was a good spirit, following the angelic example. It is evil spirits who delight in telling others what they are to do, seeking in this way to obtain dominion over them. The modern explanation is, that Socrates meant the voice of conscience, the learned world being unwilling to admit the presence of angels and spirits. It is true that angels speak to the conscience of man, in order that it may appear to him to be from himself; but the case of Socrates is unusual. He can indeed be called a prophet, or a teacher of new things, preparatory to the Christian Church which was to come. He died the death of a martyr. No Christian martyr ever met a more undeserved death. It was necessary that the influence of perverted representatives in mythology should be broken. Socrates was instrumental to this end. His teachings, which were essentially spiritual moral, rang through the ages. By common consent, in ancient times and modern, he has been regarded as one of the greatest of mankind. A study of his work, in the light of the Heavenly Doctrine, will reveal more than has been seen before.
Socrates. Pallas Athene.
The presiding genius or divinity of Athens was Minerva or Pallas Athene. Like the names in Scripture, the names of mythology were representative of some society in the spiritual world that presided over a nation or city in the natural world, guiding its destinies, and appearing at times through a subject spirit. (Concerning subject spirits or emissary spirits, see A. C. 5856, 5861; H. H. 255.)
From all that we learn of Socrates, it seems clear that it was such a Pallas or spirit that appeared to him, guiding him as indicated in the note above. Plato tells the story of his death. His weeping friends were gathered around him, before he drank the hemlock. They urged him to escape, which he refused to do, because he would not disobey the law of the state. He tells them of a vision he had had the preceding night. "It seemed to me that a woman in white raiment, graceful and fair to look upon, came toward me, and calling me by name, said, 'On the third day, Socrates, thou shalt reach the coast of fertile Phthia.'" Was this not his demon or Pallas? He drank the poison, and departed for "the coast of fertile Phthia." Plato says: "Such was the end of our friend, a man whom we may well call, of all men known to us in our day, the best, the wisest, and the most just." It is said that Cicero could never read the story without tears. Cicero himself met a violent death. Both men are now in heaven. (T. C. R. 692; H. H. 322.)
We have been told of George Washington as a boy, that he would not lie to protect himself from punishment; and of Epaminondas, that he would not lie, even in jest. The story of these men, their truthfulness and patriotism, is instructive and inspiring to the young. Children should be taught a rigid speaking of the truth. Later in life, when the age of rationality is reached, they will know how to discriminate between a mild or relatively harmless departure from the truth and that which is hurtful or malicious.
In general, a lie is "an untruth spoken with the intention to deceive." (Webster.) "It is willful deceit that makes a lie." (Paley.) What is willful is that which is of set and deliberate purpose. The end which is evil goes forth from the heart with the intention to deceive, and is confirmed in the thought is what is called a sin. On the other hand, a mild untruthfulness, where there is no intention to deceive or injure another, is not a sin; yet it may become so, if continuously practised. The danger is where a mild or harmless prevarication becomes a habit of thought and conduct. Children cannot as yet distinguish the mild and harmless from the deceitful and malignant. Therefore, let them be taught always to speak the truth, that the habit of truthfulness may be formed. All things of the future depend upon the habits formed in childhood.
Bearing False Witness.
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor" is the decree against lying, proclaimed as a Divine Law from Mount Sinai, and thus made known as a sin against God. The Commandments were already known to men, and had become incorporated in the civil and moral law of all nations. But the knowledge that any violation of them was not only against society and the state, but also a sin against God, had been lost. Hence it was necessary that this should be revealed anew, or there could be no salvation to mankind. (A. C. 8862; Doct. Life 53.)
In the natural sense, to bear false witness is to testify falsely in a court of justice, as well as all lying and hypocritical pretense looking to an evil end. (T. C. R. 321.)
Lies, in the spiritual sense, are of two kinds,--falsity of evil, and falsity not of evil. Falsity of evil is falsity from evil in the will confirmed by reasonings in the understanding. Falsity not of evil, but which may lead to evil, is falsity held in ignorance of the truth, but which can be dissipated when the truth is made known. Those in the former are in the way to hell; those in the latter can be turned toward heaven, when the truth is received and there is repentance of life.
What a happy world, if there were no lies, natural or spiritual! But this only in heaven.
First Truths are Appearances of Truth.
We read that "appearances are the first things by which the human mind forms its understanding" (D. L. W; 40); that "the first truths with man are appearances of truth from the fallacies of the senses, which yet are successively put off, as he is perfected in wisdom" (H. D. 27; A. C. 3131); and that "unless man were instructed by means of appearances, he would never suffer himself to be instructed." (A. C. 1838.) It is thus made clear that apparent truths must enter the mind, and give it its first formation, before genuine truths can be received, and thus that apparent truths are the means of introduction to those that are genuine.
The difference between genuine truth and the appearances of truth may be illustrated by the sun, which, though it appears to rise and set, remains fixed in the heavens, while the earth revolves and moves around the sun. (D. P. 162.) Such appearances are innumerable in nature, and the literal sense of the Word abounds with them. (A. C. 1408.)
Parents, therefore, should not be solicitous about giving their children genuine truths at first, except those that are most simple. It is allowable, and according to order, to speak with them according to the appearance, knowing full well that their minds will open by degrees to receive the genuine truths of nature and of the Word.
To be discontented, or not content with one's lot, is a state of dissatisfaction or uneasiness of mind on account of adverse conditions or a fear of what may happen, attended at times with much distress. It is, in general, a state of anxious care for the morrow. (A. C. 8478. See A. C. 6210, 6315; S. D. 1908; Matthew 6:24-34.) And it arises from the love of the world. (A. C. 1675.) We read that spirits and men would be "in the highest joy, if they were content with their lot, which the Lord gave them, and did not desire higher things from phantasy." (S. D. 2513.) A state of phantasy, or false imagination, exists when the mind is occupied with things that are trifling, unreal, false. It is the opposite of a genuine imagination, which occupies itself with real things, truths, uses, shunning all else as contrary to the law and order of God.
Discontent with one's lot, with its attendant anxieties, when it descends into the body and entrenches itself there, giving rise to abnormal conditions, in all probability cannot be wholly removed until the body is laid aside. (A. C. 3938.) But it can be removed in spirit, Preparatory to the great change to follow after death.
Not being satisfied with what we have and are, with a desire for improvement, for a betterment of present conditions, cannot properly be classed as discontent. The desire for growth, progress, increase, natural or spiritual, is inspired from above, and is according to the order of creation.
Content in God.
It is well known, and oft spoken of, that a man should be content with his lot. But the whole truth is not so well known. A man should be content in God. This whole truth is pointed out in the Writings: "The blessing of Jehovah is to be content in God, hence to be content with the state of honor and wealth in which one is, ... making the latter of no account, but eternal life the essential." (A. C. 4981.) Being content with one's lot is therefore a truth that is limited, if merely applied to life in the world. There must be in it the idea of God and eternal life. Otherwise, there is no real content.
Being content in God is the one thing on earth that corresponds to the peace of heaven, that contains that peace concealed within. We are told that the peace of heaven cannot be described "such as it is in itself, because human words are inadequate, but only by words such as may be compared to the rest of mind which those have who are content in God." (H. H. 284, 288.) And that this exists only when the cares and anxieties of the world have been put away (A. C. 3938), when they have been put away on the basis of a truly religious life.
Even when the whole truth is seen, it is not maintained without a struggle. The line of duty is plain. Aim for it, think about it, even though it be seen but as from afar. Ask it of the Lord. Fight against the obstacles that stand in the way. In this lies the hope of the promised reward.
A Needed Index.
Every reader of the Writings has observed the abundance of illustrations used to give additional light to the subject in hand. These illustrations are either comparisons, which are correspondences, or they are examples of doctrines related to the subject, but more simple and familiar, better known, more concrete and applied, more easily understood, in the light of which a greater light may be seen. (See A. C. 2588, 7272, 7318; T. C. R. 178.)
An Index to these illustrations would be of great use to ministers and teachers in their work of instruction. Such illustrations are of frequent occurrence in the Writings, for the reason, sometimes mentioned, that there are minds not able to see clearly the truth that is being presented, without the aid of illustration by examples of related truth, or by comparisons which are correspondent and representative of the truth.
The word "illustration" is used in a twofold sense in the Writings: first, to express a state of enlightenment of the understanding, in which truths are seen clearly, because in spiritual light; second, to express the idea of an added light thrown on a subject by means of examples and comparisons, for the sake of reaching simple states of mind, especially the minds of children and the young, who cannot see the truth at once in its own light, as it is seen by those with whom the rational mind is fully opened.
An Index of this kind will require time and labor, for it means a thorough reading of the Writings from beginning to end.
The Lord, although He had by birth the hereditary inclination to evils, was yet without sin. "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:46.) The Apostles saw this truth. Paul says, "He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." (Hebrews 4:15.) And Peter, "He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth." (1 Peter 2:22.) Also John, "He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him was no sin." (1 John 3:5.)
No man can even approximate the Lord's life on earth; yet he, too, should resist evil as soon as it appears. (D. P. 283.) "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him." (Matthew 5:25.)
The First Man.
The question is sometimes raised, that since the Lord operates upon and sustains every man by means of angels and spirits, how was it with the first man? The answer is given in the Spiritual Diary. After stating that the Lord has always led the human race, it is shown "how the first man, and those who were born first, before the Grand Man was formed, could have existed," that is, how men could live before there were angels and spirits to vivify and sustain them. Then we read that "the first man...was not led by any other than the Lord alone.... For the Lord alone sustains the human race as formerly; but now by means of spirits and angels, then also immediately, without angels and spirits." (S. D. 2591.)
To suppose that angels and spirits were called from other earths for this purpose merely moves the question back to the first inhabitant of the first earth.
A Very Small Remnant.
When a church comes to an end, unless there are a few left who are in good, there would be no hope for mankind. "Except the Lord of Hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah." (Isaiah 1:9.) Elijah, when he viewed the desolation of Israel, spake words of despair when he said, "I, even I only, am left.... And the Lord said unto him, Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal." (1 Kings 19:10, 14, 18.) Elijah represented the Lord in His temptations, and in His despair of the human race, even as is told of Him in the Psalm. (116:11.) "I said in my haste, All men are liars." And so the man of the church may at times think in his despair that he alone is in the effort to live a regenerate life. But let him remember the answer to Elijah, and the Lord's words concerning Himself, "I said in my haste."
Still, while there is hope that the New Church will be established, it will at first be with a few, "a very small remnant." "When a church is vastated,... there are always preserved some with whom good and truth remain, although they are few." (A. C. 530.) And the New Church at first will be with a few. (A. R. 546; A. E. 730.) With these few, regeneration is possible. (A. C. 9439; L. J. 38.) On the other hand, it is said that "many who hold every kind of dogma are regenerated by the Lord." (A. C. 1043.)
To rebel signifies to make war against (re-bellum). It is resistance to lawful authority. Sometimes rebellion is patriotism. It is an old saying that resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. But rebellion may have its rise in a desire to rule. The natural man does not wish to be ruled. He thirsts for dominion, but veils his desire in the name of freedom. Rebellion is a word of frequent occurrence in the Old Testament. The disposition to rebel against the law of Jehovah was continual with the Jews. Spiritually, it is resistance to the law and order of heaven, a spirit that is implanted in all men. Even the regenerating man rebels at first. (A. C. 5647.) For hitherto the natural had dominion, and is unwilling to yield without a struggle. Hence arise spiritual temptations, or the combat between the internal and external man.
To rebel against the order of heaven is the perpetual endeavor of every evil spirit. "Rebellious commotions in hell are continual, because everyone there wills to be the greatest, and burns with hatred against others. (H. H. 514.) What exists in hell has its beginnings in the world; and, if not subdued in this life, the spirit of rebellion endures forever. There is one only road to its removal,--submission to the will of the Lord, to the rule of Divine Law; not a passive, but an active submission, one that involves combat and resistance to the forces that rise up from below and excite the spirit of rebellion.
The Bitterness of Rebellion.
The wars of this world may give us a faint idea of "the rebellious commotions" in hell, where war is perpetual, but magnified a hundredfold. Hence the bitterness or misery of life in hell cannot be expressed in human language.
What is bitter is undelightful to the taste. Hence it signifies what is spiritually undelightful;--the undelight which arises when there is resistance to Divine order. All in hell are in this undelight. They inspire the natural in man to a similar resistance. Hence arises all grief of mind, all bitterness of spirit; and it is signified in the Word by bitter substances, such as wormwood, gall, myrrh, wild grapes, colocynth, etc. (A. E. 618.) It is also involved in the word "rebellion" in Hebrew, which signifies bitterness, and, by derivation, calamity, misfortune, grief, and all anguish of spirit. Bitterness, or all undelight, is caused by acting against Divine order. Such action meets with resistance from heaven. This reaction of hell is the cause of all evil, natural and spiritual, all disease of the body and disorder of the mind. The confirmed reaction of hell against the order of heaven is what is called sin. Evil spirits who inspire such reaction can be removed only by Divine means, only by the Lord when a man acts, resists, and continues to resist, as of himself, from the Lord. This is the only road to health, natural and spiritual.
Hence the part of wisdom is not to rebel against the conditions in which we find ourselves; for this is to cooperate with evil spirits in their reaction against Divine order; for in this is the bitterness of rebellion, the continuous and permanent condition of hell.
The word "gossip," as commonly applied, has reference to personal remarks about others, often ill-founded, and sometimes even of a scandalous character. There is a legitimate interest in the affairs of others, and conversation concerning these is not in itself improper. But when what other people are thinking and doing becomes the chief interest in life, then too often such persons are as "spies ... who seek for nothing but faults and blemishes, ... that they may find fault and condemn." (A. C. 5432:4.) "It is wonderful that one can speak chidingly of another who intends evil, or say to him, 'Do not do this, because it is sin'; and yet with difficulty can he say it to himself; the reason is, because the latter moves the will, but the former only the thought next to the hearing. It was inquired in the spiritual world who could do the former, and they were found to be as few as doves in a spacious desert." (T. C. R. 535.) Dow the Writings open and reveal the heart of man! To see this is to see evidence of their Divine origin. In them the Lord speaks as never man spake. (John 7:46.) We are to view what others are thinking and doing, not from ourselves, but from the Lord. The view will then be from good will, from charity and mercy; and then we shall not judge from the appearance, but judge a righteous judgment. (John 7:24.)
The Thought of Persons.
A personality is defined to be "anything said of a person, especially if disparaging." It is the disparaging thought of the neighbor that is discouraged in the Writings; for the man that lives and breathes in the atmosphere of personalities is a purely natural man, and hence devoid of charity and good will. We read that in the internal sense of the Word there is no thought of persons (A. C. 1434, 4857); that thought and speech in the other life is abstracted from persons, and hence the thought there is universal (A. C. 5287); that thought determined to persons limits and bounds the ideas (A. C. 6653:2; A. E. 405:2);
In this world, we are in an atmosphere of personality because we are yet as children. It is right to teach children to love persons, for charity with them begins with the individual; but the wise parent or teacher looks forward to the time when the child as a man will rise to the plane of charity, and love the good that is in a person, which, in itself, is to love the Lord, who is present in all good.
Nothing ought to be said to discourage conversation about the doings of men or their uses, especially if it be remembered that conversation has been provided for the communication of ideas. We have but to take heed to the quality of the ideas that we wish to impart, withholding such as do not look to charity and good will.
The Writings have much to say on the uses of conversation. We read of the comfort derived by the primitive Christians from conversations on the things of the Church in the midst of persecution (T. C. R. 434);
History tells of the feasts of the Greeks and Romans, in which conversation was under a strict requirement that every remark must be addressed to the one presiding at the table, a principle which survives in parliamentary law. A related principle is, that a member should not interrupt a speaker without his consent. How often this is violated in ordinary conversation is well known.
As From Himself.
The teaching of the Writings, constantly reiterated, is that man can do nothing from himself, but only from that which is prior to himself. This law is universal, admitting of no exception, in man, in nature, in the spiritual world, in all creation. It is a new truth in theology and in the doctrine of churches; new in philosophy, in morals, and in natural science. The belief that man lives and acts from himself is well-nigh universal. Any belief in the truth is exceptional, limited, and local, held darkly in the mind of a few. But it is now revealed to the New Church, and is to be in that Church as a guiding star, as a beacon light leading to heaven. If man could live or act from himself--if this were possible-we would be God. But we are told that God alone acts from Himself, and all created things act from Him. The very prayer for help is a prayer that we may have power to act as of ourselves from the Lord, who is the First, the Supreme, and the Omnipotent. This truth is so vital that no church, nor any religion in the world, is left wholly without some teaching of it.
The Teaching of the Writings.
"That man does not live from himself is an eternal truth, but unless it appeared as if he lived from himself, he would not live at all." (A. C. 1712.)
"Man does not live from himself; he does not do good or believe truth from himself,... but the good and truth are from the Lord, and the evil and falsity from hell." (A. C. 2520.)
"Man ought to shun evils as sins and fight against them as from himself." (Life 101, Chapter.)
"Man wills and understands nothing from himself, but only as from himself." This is illustrated in the body; for "the eye cannot see from itself, nor the ear hear from itself, nor the mouth speak from itself, nor can the hand act from itself." (D. P. 88.)
"Man can reform and regenerate himself, provided he at heart acknowledges that it is from the Lord." (A. R. 224:9.)
"Man is to do good as from himself, yet believe that it is from the Lord." (A. R. 566.)
"The angels have the appearance that they act from themselves, but the perception that they do so from the Lord." (A. C. 8719.)
"The angels perceive that they live from the Lord; but when they do not reflect upon it, they know not but that they live from themselves." (A. C. 155.)
"The more nearly man is conjoined to the Lord, the more distinctly he appears to himself as if he were his own, and the more evidently he recognizes that he is the Lord's." (D. P. 42.)
"The Lord alone, when in the world, was wise from Himself and did good from Himself." (C. L. 135(8). That the Lord alone acts from Himself, see A. C. 4101. Influx 144, and elsewhere.)
The subject is fully explained in A. E. 864. And see "the two canons for the New Church." (T. C. R. 330.)
See also concerning the false belief that Adam could love God from himself (D. L. W. 117), and that the angels can do good from themselves. (A. E. 897.)
Illustrated by the Fallacy of Perpetual Motion.
The term "perpetual motion," as usually understood, means that a machine can be constructed which, without any supply of power from a source outside of itself, will continue in motion without cessation, or until the materials wear out. Fortunes have been spent in the endeavor to make such a machine. "But this is now known to be absolutely impossible." (Chambers' Encyclopedia.) While this is seen to be impossible as a practical fact, the fallacy that is its spring and source still exists in the belief that man lives and acts from himself, that the operations of nature exist from no source prior to themselves, and that the sun is in a condition of perpetual motion, and does not act from anything prior to itself. Universal nature is thus believed to be like a machine wound up by the Creator in the beginning, and then left to run itself from itself forever, or until the last day; and man himself, after he is once created, is believed to be like a self-perpetuating, self-regulating machine, having no need of a higher power to sustain him. There is a belief in some kind of higher power, but this is outside of man, who thinks and acts in a condition of independence of any force or impulse except that which is self-derived. The body, with its brain, is a perpetual-motion machine that ceases to operate only with its death; and in this the mind is regarded as similar to the body. It is indeed said that God has all power, but this is not seen or acknowledged in any rational or spiritual light.
Nothing Unconnected Exists.
There is nothing in the created universe that is unconnected with something prior to itself, from which it derives its impulse and power to act. And so we read that "a thing which is unconnected does not exist." (A. C. 2886.)
"It is a general law that nothing can exist and subsist from itself, but only from another, that is, by means of another.... Everything unconnected with what is prior to itself, and by means of things prior with that which is First, perishes in an instant." (A. C. 3627. See 3241.)
"Whatever is in the world and its nature does not exist from itself, but from something prior to itself; and so on, even from the First, from Whom the things that follow exist in their order." (A. C. 4523.)
"Nothing whatever exists and subsists that has no connection with what is prior to itself, consequently with what is First, that is, with the Lord. What is unconnected, and thus independent, cannot exist even a single moment, for the cause of its subsistence is its connection with and dependence upon that from which comes all existence." (A. C. 5377.)
"No one, either in heaven or in hell, thinks, speaks, wills, and acts from himself, but from others, and thus finally, all and each from the general influx of life which is from the Lord." (A. C. 5986.)
"Nothing can exist from itself, but only from what is prior to itself; thus all things exist from the First, which is very Esse of the life of all.... That which is not continually held in connection with the First by intermediates is forthwith dissolved and altogether dissipated." (H. H. 9. See also D. L. W. 303. A. E. 349:5, and elsewhere.)
Revelation, therefore, plainly teaches that there is not anything self-existent in the created universe. God alone, the Uncreate, is self-existent. Everything else is dependent upon some other thing, though appearing to live from itself. In this, it is the image of God, but it is not God.
An article on the subject of "Impatience" was published in NEW CHURCH LIFE for June, 1907. On account of the importance of the subject, some of the things then said will bear repeating. It will not be denied that impatience is one of the most grievous evils of human life, from which hardly any one is free, though its injurious effects vary with different individuals. Impatience may be defined as the unwillingness to bear, suffer, or endure from another any opposition to what one wishes to carry into effect. It is, in fact, anger because of obstacles, whether these are from the neighbor, or from the dispositions of Providence in the affairs of life, or in the operation of natural laws. In one word, it is anger at opposition, and there is stored in it the love of domination. It is not only anger at obstacles, but it is unwillingness to wait for these to be removed according to the laws of order, or in the regular and unerring dispositions of Providence,--apparently slow, but absolutely sure. Impatience not only vexes and distresses the spirit of man, but affects the body itself, and may give rise to grievous disease. We learn (S. D. 4587) that the origin of impatience is with malicious spirits, who induce torment of the mind, especially when the body is in a state of weariness. "They employ much art to infuse weariness and thence weakness," so that there is then an absence of self-control. It is well known that impatience or irritability most frequently arises when there is weariness of body; also that impatience in one tends to excite a similar state in another. The diseases that are usually classed as "nervous" are largely from this source. But there is a remedy,--a remedy that is gradual but sure. The mercy of the Lord is ever present to apply the remedy and give aid to him who supplicates, and who acts as of himself from the Lord in making a perpetual war against this or any evil that is subversive of the life and order of heaven.
As ordinarily understood, insanity is a disorder of the mind, an unsoundness of the mental faculties, so that, with the complete loss of reason, there is a doing away with moral responsibility, and an inability to distinguish between right and wrong. And we are told by experts that the loss of self-control marks the beginning of insanity, and is its constant attendant. This is the insanity of the external or natural mind, visible to the world. But we are taught that there is a spiritual and moral insanity that exists in the interiors of the natural mind, not apparent to the outer world, being held under restraint, and which for the most part does not break forth during the life of the body, because the natural or external understanding is still intact, and the man appears to his neighbors as a good and useful citizen of the world, and perhaps even as an upright member of the church, distinguished for acts of piety. But all this is changed after death, for the external is then taken away; and with it all self-control departs, and the man or spirit appears as he is and has been interiorly, worse than the brute animals, and even as a raging maniac, whom nothing any longer restrains, except the fear of punishment. This is interiorly the state of every evil or unregenerate man in the world, but which, as was said, does not break out into the open, for reasons of natural prudence; and laws are provided that such a breaking out may not take place, for then society would be destroyed. But even in this world there are occasions when there is an overriding of all law, when the internal insanity of the natural man appears, and there is a temporary overturn of the civil and moral law, as frequently happens when wars are going on, or in the case of robberies, murders and adulteries, disturbances in families, or when a man is in the midst of boon companions. He then appears as anything but an upright gentleman or an exponent of the moral law.
The regenerating man also has his states of interior insanity, which we will be able to discover by self-examination and reflection, and gradually remove by repentance.
Teachings Concerning Insanity.
"Every man who is not interiorly led by the Lord, ... as to the body is wise, but as to his spirit is insane.... His external is human, but his internal is like a wild beast." (C. L. 267:3.)
Every evil or unregenerate man "is wise while in the body, but insane while in the spirit; and no man is wise in the spirit but from the Lord." (C. L. 269:5.)
"With the evil, the internal mind is insane and the external mind is wise; but with the good, the internal mind is wise, and from this the external mind also." (C. L. 477:3.)
"The Lord governs the good by internal bonds, which are those of conscience; but the evil He governs by external bonds; if these were-broken, everyone would become insane." (A. C. 4217:3, 1944.)
"The thoughts and affections, especially the interior intentions which men fear to manifest, are so insane in some that, unless they were restrained by external bonds, they would rush into murder and robbery." (A. C. 4793.)
It is shown (S. D. 4829) that all would have become insane, even in externals, if the Lord had not come into the world.
"Evil spirits are insane." (S. D. 4334.) This number indicates that insanity has its spring in the love of self, or, what is the same, in hatred of others.
Conceit, or the love of one's own intelligence, is insanity, which we are told a wife cannot love; thus there is no conjugial. (C. L. 3312.)
It is shown (S. D. 4851) that cunning and malice are insanity.
It is stated (S. D. 3394) that the bravery of the Romans was insane.
It is necessary to understand clearly that there is spiritual as well as natural insanity, bearing relation to each other as cause and effect. Spiritual insanity "is a delirium of the mind arising from falsities; and a preminent delirium is the delirium of the mind arising from truths falsified to such a degree that these (falsifications) are believed to be wisdom." (C. L. 312.)
The Definitions of Conjugial Love.
Conjugial love is variously defined in the Writings, but the definitions all look to one idea, that it is the love of one of the sex. "Conjugial love is not the love of the sex, but the love of one of the sex." (C. L. 448.) For "the love of the sex is the love of many and with many of the sex, but conjugial love is the love only to one and with one of the sex." (C. L. 48.) "It is the desire to live with one wife only." (C. L. 80.) "By the Christian conjugial is meant the marriage of one man with one wife." (C. L. 142.) "Conjugial love is the fundamental love of all celestial and spiritual loves, and thence of all natural loves." (C. L. 65, 58. A. C. 5053. S. D. 4229. A. E. 993:2.) That is, it is the foundation on which all celestial and spiritual loves rest, and from which all natural loves spring. But the love of the sex is first in the order of time. "Natural love, which is the love of the sex, precedes spiritual love, which is the love of one of the sex." (C. L. 449.) But man is first introduced into the love of the sex, in order that by it he may be introduced into a love of one of the sex. (C. L. 98, 150.) Conjugial love is clearly defined even in the letter of the Word. "For this cause a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they two shall be one flesh." (Matthew 19:5. Genesis 2:24.) Hence monogamic marriage has been established in the Christian world, by which love truly conjugial is made possible. In betrothal, and in the first of married life, there is some image of the conjugial (C. L. 58, 145), but it is afterward stored away in the interiors for preservation as remains to sustain in future combat and resistance to infernal forces.
Wherefore, the love of the one that has been chosen should be cherished and cultivated as long as life in this world shall last, not permitting the thought of another to enter and take possession of the mind and heart.
As It Were Our Own.
In a former Topic, the subject of the "As of Himself," as taught in the Doctrines, was set forth with a view to showing how essential it is to spiritual life. A further consideration of the subject may be of use, as illustrated in our natural plane of life. Nothing in this natural sphere is absolutely our own, but things are only relatively so. What we have is but a temporary possession, to be relinquished at death. For instance, we are not only dependent upon the help of other men, and upon nature, for our sustenance and support, but our property and possessions belong by priority to the state, and we have the use of them as if they were our own. For what we possess we pay rent to the state in the form of a tax, which is an acknowledgment of the priority of ownership. The state may at any time apply it to its own purpose, as in the time of war, with or even without compensation. And the state may even ask us to yield up life itself in its defense, to which the patriotic citizen responds, recognizing the prior right of the state, to which in all respects we owe obedient service, since the state is greater than the individual, and its preservation a supreme duty. But even the state is not in the position of absolute ownership. It possesses what it has as a steward under the Lord,--the one and only absolute Possessor of all things,--the things which He has created. Thus it is that not anything natural or spiritual, in heaven or on earth, is absolutely ours, but only as it were our own.
The Permission of Evil.
There are not many things of more importance than the acknowledgment of the Divine Providence in the permission of evil. The teaching is, that evil is permitted for the sake of good to mankind, and that the individual may be saved (D. P. 16, 234, 275); in other words, evil is permitted that freedom may exist and be preserved.
Let us clearly understand that evil is not permitted merely for the sake of natural good to man, but for his spiritual good, especially for his good in the life after death. (D. P. 214-220.) In this we see the reason why the Divine Providence hides itself under a cloud of appearances. This is because the Lord is not working for the establishment of the kingdoms of this world, except so far as they may be made instrumental for the establishment of His eternal kingdom. "The Lord leads man, and provides that whatsoever befalls him, whether sad or joyous, shall yield good to him." (A. C. 6303.)
Decision by Lot.
All readers of ancient history are aware of the common practice at that time of decision by lot. The Old Testament records the frequent use of lottery. And we read of an important decision by lot in the spiritual world. (T. C. R. 696.) In this manner, Matthias was chosen in the place of Judas by the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:26.) The New Church as an organized body had its beginning in the city of London by an act of lottery in the choice of a minister. It is not uncommon now to decide matters by lot, but very largely in sport.
We are told that Providence is in lotteries. (L. J. 19; S. D. 4008; T. C. R. 696.) That is, a decision by lot is decision by Providence. Are we authorized by the above instances, and by the teaching just noted, to resort to lottery? In answer, we must consider the other teaching, that now it is lawful for the understanding to enter into all things of the Word. (T. C. R. 508.) This clearly indicates that decisions are now to be made according to reason in the light of Revelation.
A correspondent asks if there is any evidence in the Writings that Judas was saved. There is no positive statement, but the inference is that he was saved, and numbered with the twelve in the spiritual world.* We are told (T. C. R. 4) that "the Lord called together His twelve disciples, now angels, and sent them forth into all the spiritual world ... to preach the Gospel anew." Further (T. C. R. 108) that "the twelve apostles were called together by the Lord, and sent forth into all the spiritual world." Finally (T. C. R. 791), that "the Lord called together His twelve disciples who followed Him in the world," and sent them forth as above. The statement is also made (T. C. R. 339) that "these things were written in the presence of the twelve apostles of the Lord, who, while I was writing them, were sent to me by the Lord."
* The nearest to a direct statement is in the Word Explained, II: 1479, where we read, "There is said to be hope for Judas."
It is true that the apostles chose Matthias by lot in the place of Judas (Acts 1:26), and it is supposed that Matthias, and not Judas, is to be classed among the twelve who "followed the Lord in the world," and was among the twelve sent forth in the spiritual world.
The Representation of Judas.
We are given to understand that Judas represented the same as Judah, the name being the same. (See A. C. 4751.) Both represented the Jewish nation, sometimes in a good sense, and at other times in an evil sense. But since the Lord was condemned and rejected by the Jews, it was necessary that this also should be represented. The severe rebuke which the Lord administered several times to Judas was in reality said of the Jewish nation, and did not reflect upon the personal character of Judas. Neither does the betrayal by Judas, nor his repentance afterward, present any indication of his spiritual state, what it had been or was to be after death. It is the same with all the personages mentioned in the historical parts of the Word. From what is there said of them, nothing is revealed of their spiritual state, or of their life after death. And unless we are told in the Writings that they have been saved in heaven or cast into hell, we are in perfect ignorance of their final lot, no matter what the appearance may be. For representation does not reflect upon the person, but upon the thing represented. (See below.)
As to the betrayal of the Lord, Peter also betrayed Him, denying Him thrice, even though he repented as Judas did.
Representation does not Reflect upon the Person.
"In representations, nothing is reflected upon the person, but upon the thing that is represented. Thus all the kings of Israel and Judah, even the worst of all, represented the Lord." (A. C. 665.)
"The representatives in the Jewish Church were such that nothing was reflected upon the person who represented, but upon the thing which was represented; as the Jews, who were anything but celestial men, and yet represented them." (A. C. 1097.)
"In representatives, nothing is reflected upon the person as to his quality, but upon the thing which he represents.... The evil and the good could represent the Lord and the celestial and spiritual things of His kingdom; for the representatives were altogether separate from the person." (A. C. 1409. See also A. C. 1361, 4868; D. P. 132; A. E. 443e.)
"It should be known that, in representations, it is of no consequence what the quality of the man is, for in them nothing is reflected upon the person, but upon the thing that is represented." (A. C. 2010.)
"Hence it was that kings, the evil as well as the good, represented the royalty of the Lord; and the high priests, the evil as well as the good, represented the things that were of the Divine Priesthood of the Lord, when they performed their office in the external form according to the statutes and precepts." (A. C. 4281.)
"In the Jewish Church, representations had no respect to the person who represented, but to the thing which was represented; thus that a holy thing, yea, the most holy, could be represented by persons whose interiors were un clean, yea, idolatrous, if only their externals, when they were in worship, were disposed to holiness." (A. C. 9806. See also 1361, 4868; D. P. 132; A. E. 443.)
Obedience in the Marriage Service.
It is well-known that the marriage service of some denominations requires of the woman a promise of obedience to her husband. "Wilt thou obey him, and serve him, and keep him in sickness and in health?" So says the Episcopal service. The Methodist service uses the same words. In addressing the man, both services merely say, "Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her in sickness and in health?" But the requirement of obedience on the part of the woman has not entered any marriage service of the New Church. Those who constructed our services saw that consent was more in agreement with the spirit of freedom descending from the New Heaven; and so the same words are used in the address to the woman as to the man.
The matter is made plain in the following teaching: "Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying,... Speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,... signifies solicitation to consent,... ears denoting obedience, in the present case consent, because it is said to the king. Obedience also is consent, but is called obedience when to those of a lower rank, but consent when to those of a higher rank." (A. C. 6513.) In the case before us, the man is the one who solicits, and the woman is the one who consents. It is the action and the reaction of equals in the contract, instead of the promise of an inferior to a superior, agreeing to obey as a servant her lord. In heaven, no thought of obedience as a servant ever enters the marriage relation. (See C. L. 20, 21.)
When they are engaged to each other, the woman consents. Why should it be different in the marriage service?
Distinction between Ruling and Leading.
"Hell rules violently; the Lord does not rule (imperat), but leads." (A. C. 6390.) Imperare with the Romans was primarily a military term, signifying to command or give an order. In the Old Testament, the Divine Truth takes the form of command, being addressed to the simple and children. But in the New Testament, the real truth begins to appear, and more fully in the Writings, being addressed to the intelligent and wise. The Lord said to His disciples: "The Shepherd goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him.... My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:4, 27.) It was the custom of shepherds to lead their flocks, and this was in view in the Lord's words. As the sheep followed, and were not driven, so with man in his relations with the Lord.
The truth does not command, but leads in freedom according to reason. (D. P. 71-99.) The Lord by it preserves the freedom of man as the apple of the eye. (See the use of this phrase in Deuteronomy 32:10 and Psalm 17:8.) Every reader of the Writings has observed the frequent use of the term "freedom." In this is shown the supreme importance of it to human life, since in it and by it the Lord leads man. The angels are like the Lord; they do not command but lead. (A. C. 5732. H. H. 218.) So it is to be in the church. The priest is not to command, but to lead. (H. D. 315, 318, and elsewhere.) And so every man with his neighbor.
The Lord did not come into the world to command. He said, "I am among you as He that serveth." (Luke 22:27.)
The Cause of the Phenomena in the Spiritual World.
The natural man believes that his thoughts are his own, and from no other source, and that his works are no other than from himself. The teachings of the Lord, that without Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), and that a man can do nothing except it be given from heaven (John 3:27), have no meaning to him.
The Angels Learn even from the Falsities of Hell.
It seems strange at first sight that the angels can acquire truths even from hell itself, but so it is, as we read: "All the good which flows down from heaven (into hell) is turned into evil;... in like manner, truth into falsity; on the other hand, evil and falsity are turned into good and truth in heaven." (A. C. 3607.)
This general subject receives striking illustration in what is said of the fertility of the soil, as produced by decayed animal and vegetable matter. (S. D.1660. D. L. W. 65.)
Whom the Gods would Destroy.
"Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad," or deprive of reason and understanding. This saying, in various forms, is found in Greek and Roman literature, and is the expression of a law of the spiritual world, well-known in the Ancient Church, which is, that when the judgment takes place, the evil are deprived of truths, and thus of understanding, and become insane in spiritual things. A knowledge of this law, and of other spiritual laws, was handed down to the Greeks and Romans, and hence their philosophers had more of spiritual light than is common in the philosophy of the present day.
Something of the operation of this law is seen in the world, in the relations of men and nations with each other.
A Watery Atmosphere.
There is a complete atmosphere called the watery atmosphere, concerning which we read in Conjugial Love (n. 188), as follows: "The lowest atmosphere is watery, a higher is aerial, a still higher is ethereal, above which there is a highest." This last or highest is the atmosphere or aura of the natural sun. The other three are atmospheres of the earth. The watery atmosphere is spoken of in several passages of the Writings, and it is stated that there is also a watery atmosphere in the spiritual world. (A. R. 238, 290, 878.) There are in universal creation five auras or atmospheres. The first is the aura, of the spiritual sun, coextensive with the universe, spiritual and natural; the second is the aura of the natural sun, embracing the solar system; and finally, the three atmospheres of the earth,--the ether, the air, and the watery atmosphere. In some numbers, the watery atmosphere is omitted, and the natural atmospheres are spoken of as three,--the aura, the ether, and the air. (T. C. R. 32 and elsewhere.)
The watery atmosphere, unacknowledged as such by modern science, is fully described by Swedenborg in the Principia. Like the particles of ail the auras or elements, the particle of the watery atmosphere has an active internal or centre of a higher degree, and an external or body of a lower. Its active internal is composed of ether particles, and its body of particles of water. These fall to the earth when the ether particles are withdrawn by the process that is called condensation. The watery atmosphere, as it is in itself, is not visible to the eye. It exists even in the dearest sky. But when the descent or condensation begins, it first appears as clouds, and then as rain. This atmosphere is continually being formed by the power of the sun's rays, acting upon the surface of the earth through the agency of the ether.
In the Doctrine, we are told of the finite, the indefinite, and the infinite. These are also terms in common use, but they receive from Revelation a fulness of meaning unknown before. The finite is that which has a limit, a border or boundary, which can be seen by the eye or grasped by the imagination. The indefinite is that which has a limit or boundary, but such as cannot be compassed by the human mind. The Infinite is wholly beyond the reach of all the thought and imagination of man. We can know that it is, but not what it is. The finite and the indefinite are in and of the created universe, but the Infinite is prior to the universe. It is God Himself in Himself, the Uncreate.
We read in the Arcana: "That is called indefinite which cannot be defined and comprehended by number; but still the indefinite is finite relatively to the Infinite, and so finite that there is no ratio between them." (A. C. 6232.) Heaven is indefinite, and an image of the Infinite of the Lord (A. C. 1590); but neither human nor angelic thought can measure the extent of heaven or perceive its boundary. The material universe is indefinite, but human thought can never reach its boundary or describe its extent. The thought of men and angels will always remain finite. Human thought is even as the sight of the eye, which, extended into the universe, is dissipated before it reaches the border of the indefinite. (A. C. 6700.) In respect to the Infinite, man is as nothing. Our attention is called to the indefinite, that we may realize how far away we are from comprehending the Infinite.
Indifference means literally to be without care, but it is mostly used to express a state of unconcern, or to regard a thing as not important, not worthy of attention. In matters of religion, it is involved in what is called agnosticism. The agnostic says he does not know, which means that he is unconcerned, is not interested, does not care whether there is a God or not, or a life after death.
In the New Church, indifference to spiritual things would be a positive danger, and its increase would threaten the existence of the Church. For the Church grows by interest in the spiritual things of doctrine, that is, by the growth of the spiritual affection of truth. But indifference in the Old Church is a help to the New. In the unconcern of the outer world, there is safety. (See below.)
Help from the World.
The New Church cannot be established without help from the outer world. Although there is a host of the insidious falsities of evil working for its destruction, still there are many things that contribute to its upbuilding, such as civil law and order, political freedom, science, education, literature, the ritual of churches, scientifics of every kind. The Lord is using all these, and many more, for the help of the Church, though unknown to the doers and administrators of them.
This is expressed in many passages of Scripture, as explained in the Writings; as, for instance, these: "The earth helped the woman." (Revelation 12:16. A. R. 564; A. E. 764.) What is said of the midwives. (Genesis 35:17; 38:28; Exodus 1:15. A. C. 4588, 4921, 6673.) "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness." (Luke 16:9. D. P. 250; A. E. 242, 430, 700.) The borrowing of the vessels of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35, 36. A. C. 6917, 7770, and other passages of similar meaning).
It is indeed a universal law that the external helps the internal; and the external is condemned if it does not perform its appointed office, as in these words, "Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." (Judges 5:23.) There is nothing that is not made to contribute its portion; if not, it is cut off as a useless branch. Even evil and hell itself, though unwilling, is made to labor in the work of establishing the Lord's kingdom. The very indifference of the world to spiritual things is a help to the church. (See above.) The human application of this truth, however, must be with prudence and circumspection. (See A. C. 197, 6398; A. R. 561.)
The Bones of Joseph.
The desire to be buried in one's own land is illustrated in the case of Jacob and Joseph. The request of Jacob, made before his death, was fulfilled by Joseph his son. (Genesis 50.) And Joseph made a similar request for himself: "And Joseph took an oath of the sons of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence." (Genesis 50:25.) This was done by Moses, who "took the bones of Joseph with him." (Exodus 13:19.) "And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem." (Joshua 24:32.) These historical circumstances are not of importance, except as a part of a story for children, to interest them in the things of the Word; but they are of exceeding great value when viewed as to their spiritual sense.
It is important for the New Churchman to distinguish between spiritual good and natural good. In general, natural good is the good of this world, and spiritual good is the good of heaven, and is with those only who are preparing for heaven. There is no greater knowledge than the knowledge of spiritual good, except the knowledge of celestial good, or the good of love to the Lord, which is the same thing as the knowledge of the Lord Himself, and which is called the "pearl of great price." (Matthew 13: 46.)
Natural good is concrete, objective, visible to the natural sight, and the natural man knows no other good; and the simple, children, and the young, and all who are uninstructed, or who are without illustration or spiritual enlightenment, are easily deceived by that appearance of good, called "natural good" in the Doctrines. But spiritual good is abstract, internal, invisible to the natural sight. It is that good which is signified by the "hidden manna" and the "white stone," and "on the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it." (Revelation 2:17. A. R. 120-123; A. E. 146-148.) Strictly speaking, the "hidden manna" is celestial good, and the "white stone" spiritual good; the former is within the latter, and both are invisible, wholly unknown, to the natural man.
Spiritual good is also called truth, the good of truth, the good of life, charity, love to the neighbor, the good of the spiritual church, and is signified by "Israel" throughout the Word, while celestial good is signified by "Judah."
The following is some of the teaching concerning natural good:--
"Natural good is the good into which man is born." (A. C. 3469, 3518.)
"Natural good is from parents,... but spiritual good is from the Lord." (A. C. 3470.)
"Natural good from what is hereditary ... may be compared to the good with the gentle animals." (A. C. 4988.) That is, it is a mere amiability without religion.
"It is good without truth, thus without the Lord." (A. C. 3963.)
"Spiritual good has its quality from the truths of faith, ... but natural good is born with man.... Natural good saves no one, but spiritual good saves all." (A. C. 7761.)
"The good which has not its quality from the truths of faith is not Christian good, but is natural good, which does not give eternal life." (A. C. 8772.)
"Those who do good from mere natural good, and not from religion, are not accepted after death, because there is only natural good, and not spiritual good, in their charity." (T. C. R. 537.)
"In the other life, they are led away like chaff by the wind." (A. C. 8002.)
"Those in natural good not spiritual are easily persuaded, insomuch that falsity appears to them as truth.... For it is good from nature, and not from religion.... Because they have done good like gentle animals devoid of reason, they cannot be protected by the angels." (A. C. 5032, 6208.)
"Natural good, although it appears like good, still may not be good, but may indeed be evil." (A. C. 3408.) That is, it may be evil covered over by the appearance of good. In this case, it easily deceives and leads astray everyone who is not grounded in the spiritual truths of the Word.
Punishing the Innocent For the Guilty.
That the innocent may be punished for the guilty is an evil that was widespread in ancient times; and the practice is common even now. Men in their right mind know that it is wrong; yet it is done, because it is believed that God does it. Was He not willing that His Son should become the innocent sufferer for the sins of mankind? The ancients, too, had a similar idea of their gods. And since all men act according to their idea of God, we find this principle permeating the conditions of human life, entering even into the enactments of the civil law. What wonder, then, that men should be persuaded that it is just and right that the innocent should suffer for the guilty, and should in many cases see no other way to meet the requirements of justice?
The angels "abhor drunkenness." They said "that it is an enormous sin, because a man thereby becomes a brute, and is no longer a man." (S. D. 2422.) In heaven, therefore, drunkenness is regarded as a crime and as insanity, and it ought to be so regarded on earth. Hence drunkenness should be punished as a crime against society, or the drunkard should be treated as the insane are treated. It is contrary to Divine order to punish those who do not commit this crime, for this is to punish the innocent for the guilty. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," is the Divine mandate. He that commits the crime is the one to be punished, and not others who are innocent. It is not a sin to make use of the gifts of God for the health of mind and body, under the guidance of understanding and reason; but it is a sin to abuse those gifts, and he who abuses them should be dealt with according to his sin.
Every one knows what excess is, but a fuller statement of what one knows is always of use. By excess is meant going beyond a prescribed limit, or passing from order into a state of disorder. An undue indulgence of the appetite for food and drink is a familiar example of excess. But the idea of excess reaches into a much wider field, including all bodily practice and habit, all the thoughts and desires of the mind that depart from the true order of life as given in Revelation. Every act of excess is the violation of a law, is an act of injustice and injury to the neighbor. Every evil desire, every evil thought, and every evil deed, induces a state of excess, in which man passes beyond the boundaries set by the Divine Wisdom.
The condition of excess is widespread, since it includes all undue indulgence of the senses, or of the appetites of mind and body. Revelation is as strong in its condemnation of excess in eating as in drinking. "The inhabitants of Jupiter do not prepare food for the taste, but for its use to the body.... It is otherwise on our earth, where the sense of taste rules, and thus the body sickens, and the mind becomes insane." (S. D. 596; A. C. 8378; E. U. 58.) The evils of gluttony are not as apparent as the evils of drunkenness, but still they are great, even though insidious in character. The same law applies to all forms of excess,--the law of self-control, wherein a man is to compel himself, rather than making it his duty to compel others, especially when it goes so far as to punish the innocent for the guilty, wherein he also violates a Divine law.
The Writings on the Use of Wine.
In the other world, the odor of wine was perceived, coming from those who converse together from friendship and neighborly love. (A. C. 1517; S. D. 1047; T. C. R. 834.)
It is stated (A. C. 10040) that bread without wine does not give nourishment to the body; that is, that the body is "better nourished" when there is wine. (See A. C. 8352, and compare A. C. 5576, 6078.)
Wine is spoken of as being used in heaven, especially at marriage feasts. (C. L. 14, 20.) Conjugial love is compared to "noble wine." (C. L. 475.) So also is the genuine truth of the Word. (T. C. R. 215.) The true worship of the Lord is compared to the "odor of the grape and the taste of wine." (Coronis 51.)
Avarice is compared to "new unfermented wine, which is sweet to the taste, but infests the stomach." (T. C. R. 404.)
Catholics who in the other life receive the faith of heaven, from having lived in charity in the world, "are invited to feasts, and noble wine is given them to drink." (T. C. R. 820.)
The teaching is, that whatever in nature corresponds to anything of heaven is, by virtue of that fact, a good use. (H. H. 112, 113.) Wine corresponds to spiritual truth, also to charity. (A. C. 3316, 3596, 6377; T. C. R. 215, 711.) Therefore, wine is a good use. It becomes an evil use when abused, and does not then correspond to anything of heaven, but of hell. (See D. L. W. 336, etc.)
That wine is a good use is shown by the fact that it is spoken of as a food. (A. C. 5360, 9003; A. E. 329, 386.)
Wine was given by the Lord in the Last Supper, and ordained for use in the Christian Church, which is a sign that it is a form of use.
It is proper to note here that Swedenborg, in a memorial on the liquor traffic to the Swedish Diet in 1755, proposed strict rules for the limitation of the use of whisky in Sweden; "that is," he said, "if the consumption of whiskey cannot be done away with altogether." (Documents I, 495.) Swedenborg himself, however, drank wine. (Documents II, 449.) And in Conjugial Love 145, he says that "wisdom purified may be compared to alcohol, which is spirit most highly rectified." Thus alcohol, or highly rectified spirit, is, in its place, a good use, even though much abused in Sweden and in other countries.
The Use of Wine Mentioned in Scripture.
"Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine." (Genesis 14:18.) "To refresh Abram and his men, exhausted with the late battle and fatigues of the journey." (Adam Clarke, Commentary. See also A. C. 1727.)
We read that wine "cheereth God and man." (Judges 9:13), and that it "maketh glad the heart of man." (Psalm 104:15.)
Hiram gave Solomon, among other presents, "twenty thousand baths of wine." (2 Chronicles 2:10.)
"Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy heart. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." (Proverbs 31:6, 7.)
"Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart." (Ecclesiastes 9:7.)
"In that day, sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine." (Isaiah 27:2.)
"Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk, without money, and without price." (Isaiah 55:1.)
"And I will bring again the captivity of my people, ...and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof." (Amos 9:14).
"Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids." (Zechariah 9:17.)
"And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it." (Matthew 26:27.)
"John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. The Son of Man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber." (Luke 7:33, 34.)
Notable among the miracles of the Lord was the turning of water into wine, at the marriage feast in Cana of Galilee. (John 2:3-10.)
Paul said to Timothy, "Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities." (1 Timothy 5:23.) See also other passages of Scripture.
The Abuse of Wine Mentioned in Scripture.
It is the abuse, not the use, of wine, that is prohibited in Scripture.
"And Noah planted a vineyard; and he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." (Genesis 9:20, 21.)
"The new wine mourneth, the vine languisheth, all the merry-hearted do sigh.... They shall not drink wine with a song; strong drink shall be bitter to them that drink it....There is a crying for wine in the streets; all joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone." (Isaiah 24:7, 9, 11.)
"They say to their mothers, Where is corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the city." (Lamentations 2:12.)
"Whoredom and wine, and new wine, take away the heart." (Hosea 4:11.)
"They shall not offer wine unto the Lord, neither shall they be pleasing unto Him." (Hosea 9:4.)
"Ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink the wine of them." (Amos 5:11. Zephaniah 1:13.)
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1.)
"Be not among winebibbers, among riotous eaters of flesh; for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.... Who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at wine, they that go to seek mixed wine. Look thou not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup....At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." (Proverbs 23:20, 21, 29-32.)
"It is not for kings, O Lemuel, to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink; lest they drink and forget the laws, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted." (Proverbs 31:4, 5.)
"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." (Romans 14:21.)
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." (Ephesians 5:18.)
"Be not given to much wine, nor greedy of filthy lucre." (1 Timothy 3:8. Titus 2:3, 4.)
There are many other passages which show both the use and the abuse of wine, the one allowed according to need, the other forbidden.
The Fashion of Man's Heart Evil from Childhood.
In a note on "Early Obedience," in NEW CHURCH LIFE for September, 1922, it was shown that obedience is the beginning of the will. It is the beginning of the new will (A. C. 3870); for there must be some beginning of the new will in childhood, or the evils of the old will cannot be removed by regeneration in adult age. The evils of the old will also become active in this early period, and the danger is that they may take complete possession of the mind, if early obedience be not inculcated by parents, and connected by them with religion, or the idea of God and the life after death.
In A. C. 987, we are told what man would become, if never restrained from childhood. "Unless external bonds ... prevented him, he would rush into all wickedness; nor would he rest until he had subjugated all in the universe, and acquired the wealth of all; nor would he spare any, except those who submitted themselves to him as vile slaves. Such is every man, although men do not perceive it, on account of the impossibility and lack of power to accomplish their ends, and on account of the external bonds mentioned above." The rest of the number should be read, in order to obtain a complete view of the natural state of man, as being worse than that of the wild beast of the forest, which state cannot be overcome except by the Lord alone. The truth thus set forth is illustrated in the history of most of the great conquerors of the world, or those who had the lust of conquest.
Hence the importance of obedience to law, both in early and in later life, until obedience becomes a fixed habit of religion, a habit carried with us into the life after death, becoming there the basis of perpetual growth.
An oracle (orare--to speak, to pray) is "a response delivered by a deity or supernatural being to a worshipper or inquirer; also the place where the response was delivered," as at Delphi. In historic times the inquiry was mostly about some future event in the outer world, such as the success of a proposed enterprise or battle. Men wished to know of natural, not of spiritual things. The Scriptures, as delivered through the prophets and apostles, were also called the oracles of God, that is, the speech or word of God.
Oracles were in use in all countries at the dawn of history. The custom had its origin in the Most Ancient Church, in which the father of the family was the oracle, through whom God spake, giving instruction about the things of heaven and eternal life. In the Ancient Church, regular oracles were established, or places where spiritual instruction could be given. When the Ancient Church ceased, oracles continued, but instruction in spiritual things was no longer sought or desired. In the Israelitish Church, the oracle was in the Holy of Holies, where the Jews were told what to do or what not to do in some natural affair. But as with them there were false prophets, or false oracles, through whom evil spirits spake, it was ordained that oracles with them, and in all nations, should cease, and the written Word was to become the only oracle. Hence the command not "to seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter; should not a people seek unto their God? ... To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:19, 20.)
The oracles everywhere gradually ceased to function after the Lord's coming and the establishment of the Christian Church. There was, however, a kind of continuation in the form of witchcraft; and spiritism is a modern revival. But the Word in its internal sense is now to be the only oracle of God.
The Heroes of Mythology.
The stories of mythology and folklore tell of the existence of heroes,-men of superhuman strength, distinguished courage, great wisdom, and, in some cases, of extraordinary size. These were called giants, some benevolent and others malignant. In Greece of the heroic age, intermediate between that of the gods and that of men, they were also called Titans and Cyclops; and in Scripture, Nephilim, Anakim, etc.
In Hebrew, the word for "hero" means a strong one, a mighty man. Spiritually, a celestial angel is meant, and in the supreme sense the Divine Human, Jesus Christ, who is represented by all the heroes of the Word and of mythology,--the one King of glory, strong and mighty in battle (Psalm 24:8), who alone fought and overcame the bells (Isaiah 63:1-6), in order that man might be redeemed and saved, without which there would have been no salvation for men or angels.
The Law of the First-born.
"Primogeniture is the rule of law under which the oldest son of the family succeeds to the father's real estate, in preference to, and in absolute exclusion of, the younger sons and all the sisters." (Chambers. See also "Entail.") This law had its origin in the representative customs of the Ancient Church, handed down to us through Jewish and Gentile sources. "It was a statute of the Ancient Church that the first-born were to be sanctified to God." (A. C. 8080.) Out of this arose all the later customs of primogeniture and entail. But as the rigid modern application of this law has been seen to be unjust, it has been modified or abolished in most countries. If the spiritual significance of the primogeniture is not seen, there is a broader natural view, such as that given in the Arcana Celestia no. 8042, where we are told that "the first or immediate generation or birth, which is of sons and daughters, is what is signified by the first-born, however many there may be, but not the second and third, except in relation to their own parents."
The need of seeing natural truths in a broad and wide sense, and not in one narrow and limited, is frequently set forth in the Writings. For instance, see the exposition of the Ten Commandments in the True Christian Religion, especially nos. 305, 309, 313, 317, 321, 326. Hence, as above, all the sons and daughters are meant, and not the first-born son alone; and hence the unwisdom of the narrow application of the law of primogeniture or entail, out of which appearance in the literal sense of the Word arose the heresy of faith as the first-born of the church and the only essential of salvation, destroying all things of the church.
The Sense of Time Breeds Impatience.
"When man is in a state of love, he is, as it were, not in time, if there be no impatience; for impatience is a corporeal affection, and so far as man is in this, he is in time.... By the affection of genuine love, a man is withdrawn from the things of time; for time appears to be something on account of reflection upon those things which are not of the affection or love, thus causing tedium." Tedium is weariness, restlessness, thus impatience with the present and a longing for imaginary conditions in the future. We read also that "haste involves time" (A. C. 5284) and a consequent impatience with things present. In a former topic on "Impatience," it was noted that impatience arises from malicious spirits, who induce torment of mind, especially when the body is weary. But with the angels there is no sense of time, hence no tedium, no impatience, no anxious desire for things to come. All their faculties are occupied with the present moment. And so their happiness is inconceivable to the natural mind.
To be sincere is to be what one wishes to appear to be, or, as we read, "The internal and the external agree and make one with those who are sincere in heart. In the spiritual world it is not permitted to have a divided mind" (C. L. 48a), that is, to think one thing and say another, which is deceit. (A. C. 957; H. H. 508.) We are told further that "those who are sincere do not wish to speak or even to think anything but what others, yea, all others, even the whole heaven, may know." (A. C. 1747; S. D. 3887.) This is the angelic state, which men may approximate. But in this world, where the good and the evil are together, it is permitted that a man may not always speak just what he wills and thinks, however much he may desire to do so. For at times there is need of prudence and circumspection for the sake of guard, protection and defense. That this is not deceit is plainly taught. (See A. C. 3993(12).)
There are some who believe that, in order to be honest and sincere, it is necessary to speak forth what one thinks, even if it be evil. But this is a misconception; nor is it sincerity, rightly understood. In true sincerity there is good will,--good will that leads one to withhold and shun the evil thought, and not inflict it upon the neighbor. For "no one is able to live sincerely for the sake of God and the neighbor, except he who is a Christian as to life." (S. D. 5541.) Christian good is spiritual good, which is charity and love to the Lord. (A. C. 5104, 5804, 7197.)
Attributing Good to One's Self.
A danger to spiritual life is in attributing good to one's self, and not to the Lord. If this becomes a confirmed habit, no spiritual life is possible, for heaven is thereby closed. "The wiser anyone is, the more he believes that there is no wisdom from himself" (A. C. 1936), nor any good. We are told that "they are in the stream of Providence who attribute all things to the Lord." (A. C. 8478.) Hence, "so far as man is being regenerated, he does not attribute anything of good and truth to himself, but to the Lord." (T. C. R. 610.) And we learn that "the angels refuse all thanks on account of the good which they do, and are indignant when anyone attributes good to them." (H. H. 9.) Thus the effect of the angelic presence with man is to lead him to see that he is in evil; on the other hand, the effect of the presence of evil spirits is to lead him to think that he is in good, and not in evil. (A. C. 2380.) The angels inspire him to attribute all good to the Lord; but evil spirits inspire him to claim that there is nothing but good from himself, and that evil is from sources outside of himself, even from the Lord. In the one case, his face is turned toward heaven, in the other toward hell.
The Terms Used in the Writings.
Nearly all the terms used in the Writings are taken from the theology of the Christian World, as derived by learned Christian writers from the literal sense of the Word. Philosophy and science, as descending from the ancients, have contributed a portion. The language of the learned,--the Latin language,--has also been used. The reason for all this is because the New Church was to have its beginning in the Christian World. Therefore Christians are addressed, and also invited to the New Church. (A. E. 948:2).
Our Father in the Heavens.
In A. C. 8328 are these words: "Frequent mention is made by the Lord of 'the Father in the heavens.' In such cases, the Divine in heaven is meant, thus the good from which heaven is. The Divine, regarded in Itself, is above the heavens; but the Divine in the heavens is the Good which is in the Truth proceeding from the Divine." Then several passages in the Gospels are quoted in which the above expression occurs, including the opening sentence of the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father who art in the heavens." It is then repeated that "the Divine in the heavens is the Good which is in the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord," and it is added that "the Divine above the heavens is the Divine Good Itself." The Divine Good appearing in the heavens takes the form of Divine Truth, and sometimes even of a Person, a Man, that the angels may be confirmed in the idea that God is a Man. (See H. H. 52, 55, 79, 121.)
It will thus appear that our Father in the heavens is the visible Divine, that is, the Divine Human, our Lord Jesus Christ. It is of great moment to remember that, when we repeat the Lord's Prayer in worship, We are not addressing the invisible God, the Father of the old theology, but the very Lord God Himself, who came into the world and glorified the Human which He then assumed, in which He is ever present and visible to angels and men, their only object of worship.
Those who come to the New Church, having been in the worship of the Old, may still have in their minds some remains of the old idea of an invisible Father; and even some of those who have grown up in the New Church may not fully realize that our Father in the heavens is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." (John 14:2.)
The more our ideas are clarified on this subject, the nearer will be the Divine presence.
The Term "Spiritual" in the Writings.
In the letter of the Word, spirit is placed in contrast with flesh. In a broad sense, by "spirit" is there meant the spiritual world, and by "flesh" the natural world. More specifically, by "flesh" is meant the human race in the natural world, and by "spirit" the human race in the spiritual world. In a universal sense, the spiritual world includes heaven, hell, and the intermediate world of spirits. But strictly speaking the spiritual world is heaven, for nothing else is truly spiritual. Those in hell are not spiritual. They are wholly natural. It is the natural in a confirmed state. What makes the natural are the loves of self and the world. These confirmed are hell. Regeneration consists in the subduing of these two loves of the natural man. It is the spiritual man subduing the natural. The spiritual is spiritual truth, and this is what "spirit," "breath," "wind," signify in the letter of the Word. This can be predicated only of heaven, and of the state that is preparing for heaven. Here, then, is the reason why the term "spiritual" carries the idea of heaven, and of the Lord in heaven, or of the two universal loves which reign there,--love to the Lord and love to the neighbor. When the Lord as the All in all is meant, the term "celestial" is used, in order to express what is more interiorly spiritual, or the idea of the Lord alone. But without the idea of the Lord, even the spiritual is not spiritual. And so let us remember that when the term "spiritual" is used in the Writings, it has in it the idea of heaven and the Lord.
The Mystery of Regeneration.
A mystery is predicated of something that is known to exist, but what it really is is not known. As applied to regeneration, it signifies that, while it is known that man must be regenerated in order to be saved, the nature of the Divine operation within him during regeneration is not known. This is even true with one who is well instructed in the true doctrine of regeneration.
There is now no evil without a remedy. All that is needed is patience, faith, and obedience.
The need of spiritual purification is taught in many passages of Scripture, such as the following, "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7.) "Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well." (Isaiah 1:16.) "Cleanse first the inside of the cup and the platter, that the outside also may be made clean." (Matthew 23:26.) Washing with water is representative of the cleansing of the spirit, or of the interiors of the natural mind,--the inside of the cup,--from its impurities.
Purification is regeneration itself, but it is not effected at once; it is gradual, continuing through life, attended with much trial and temptation. But to those who persevere, who are "faithful unto death" (Revelation 2:10), the goal is sure and the reward is great,--a "crown of life."
Purification by Truths.
The importance of spiritual purification, and that it can be effected only by truths, is taught as follows:
"The reason that purification is effected by the truths of faith is because these truths teach what good is, and what evil is, and thus what ought to be done, and what ought not to be done; and when man knows those truths, and wills to act according to them, he is then led by the Lord, and is purified by His Divine means." (A. C. 7044.)
"It is by virtue of truth that man knows what is pure and impure, and what is holy and profane. Before he knows truth, there are no media into and through which the celestial love, which continually flows in from the Lord, can operate, and which cannot be received except in truths; wherefore, it is by means of the knowledges of truth that man is reformed and regenerated." (A. C. 2046.)
"All cleansing from impurities is effected by means of the truths of faith, because these teach what good is, what charity is, what the neighbor is, and what faith is; [they also teach] that the Lord is, that heaven is, and that eternal life is. What these are, or even that they are, cannot be known without truths which teach." (A. C. 5954.)
What a man knows, he can do, but he cannot do what he does not know. He must know, and then do; for truths do not purify by merely knowing them. "He must examine himself, see his sins, acknowledge them, condemn himself on account of them, and repent by desisting from them; and all these he must do as of himself, but still from the acknowledgment of the heart that it is from the Lord." (D. P. 121. Compare A. C. 2049.)
Purification by truths is represented in the Word by circumcision, by all the washings of the Jewish Church, and by baptism in the Christian Church.
The Use of Eating and Drinking Together.
The statement is made (A. C. 8352) that what we eat and drink "nourishes the body better when man at his meals is in the delight of discourse with others concerning such things as he loves, than when he sits at table without company." The reason then given is, that when he eats alone there is a constriction of the vessels of the body which receive the food, but when he is with others the vessels are open and more receptive. This physiological fact is introduced into the above passage to illustrate the subject of the deficiency of truths in states of spiritual temptation; and the indication afforded is that, in eating alone, cares, natural temptations, easily take possession of the mind, drawing down the thoughts to the things of self and the world. But when in company with others, the mind is turned to things of a common interest and affection, and the thought is drawn away from habitual cares, from thinking about one's self and the furtherance of worldly ends.
To a large extent, under existing conditions, eating alone cannot be avoided, but we can endeavor to avoid as much as possible the evils attendant at such times, such as anxious care for the morrow, and other like things. Combat and resistance is always in order, wherever we may be.
Spiritual Consociation by Eating and Drinking Together.
We read that the ancients had "feasts, both dinners and suppers, within the Church, that they might be consociated and conjoined as to love, and that they might instruct each other in the things of love and faith, thus in the things of heaven. Such at that time were the delights attending meals, and were the end for the sake of which dinners and suppers were given; thus the mind and the body were nourished unanimously and correspondently. Thence they had health and long life, and thence intelligence and wisdom, and also communication with heaven, and some had open communication with angels." (A. C. 7996.)
"Feasts were formerly made for various reasons, and initiation into mutual love was signified by them, and thus conjunction." (A. C. 5161.)
"To eat and drink signifies instruction in truth and good. Hence meals, banquets, dinners, and suppers, were instituted with the ancients that they might be consociated by such things as are of wisdom and intelligence." (A. C. 9412.)
"Feasts in the Ancient Churches were feasts of charity; in like manner in the primitive Christian Church, in which they encouraged one another to continue in the worship of the Lord from a sincere heart." (T. C. R. 727. See 433.)
It is similar on the other earths. We read of the inhabitants of Jupiter, that "they take delight in long meals, not so much for the pleasure of eating as of conversing at such times." (A. C. 8377. E. U. 58.)
There are also feasts and banquets in heaven. (C. L. 6, 16.)
The Importance of Primary Truths.
Primary truths are the first truths which the regenerating man learns, and they serve to introduce to all the truths he is afterwards to learn. The teaching is (A. C. 8773) that good must be formed by truths; that the first formation is by primary truths; that primary truths are also general truths; and that all particular truths are contained in these primary truths. Examples of such truths are then given;-namely, that there is one God; that the Lord was born a man, in order that He might save the human race; that there is a life after death, a heaven and a hell; that all come into heaven who have lived well, and into hell who have lived ill; that to love God and the neighbor are the fundamental precepts of the Word and of all religion; and that these two loves cannot be given except by faith in the Lord. It is then added that these and similar primary or general truths are the first truths insinuated by the Lord into the good which is in the man who is to be regenerated; and that these primary truths cannot be received except by those who are already in some degree of good,--the good that is called "simple good" in the Writings, a good not yet formed by truths. Finally, that when these primary truths are conjoined with good, then particular truths are afterward added continually, and man as to his internal becomes a heavenly form, and in his spirit is consociated with the angels and conjoined with God. (See also A. C. 1482, 2089, 5082, 8578, 8585.)
It is of interest to know that primary truths, sufficient for salvation, are found in some form in every religion. P. 254, 322, 325, 326, 330.)
More Concerning Primary Truths.
The importance of primary truths, and their place in the establishment of the church, and in the regeneration of man, is shown by the distinguished position which they occupy among the representatives of the Word; such as the seventy elders of Israel; the twelve sons of Jacob, and the twelve tribes; the twelve apostles of the Lord; the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem; the twelve gates and the twelve pearls; and by princes whenever mentioned in Scripture. These, and many other representatives which appear in the letter of the Word, are significative of those primary truths which introduce to the interior things of the Word and lead to heaven and to the Lord. They are also called the doctrine of genuine truth, which is spiritual truth appearing in the letter of Scripture.* It is essential that good should be formed by truths, that there may be the conjunction of good and truth, which is the goal of regeneration, and is the angelic state. When primary truths are conjoined with good, then particulars are insinuated, and man becomes more and more a heavenly form, and is more and more conjoined with God. It is made plain, therefore, that the beginnings of the church, and of regeneration, should be right beginnings; that the truths which make those beginnings,--primary or first truths,--should be pure, sound, and genuine, with no dress in them from the loves of self and the world, no falsities to obscure the understanding. The responsibility for this rests largely with the priests and leaders of the church; but first in time with parents and teachers of children.
* See what has been collated from the Writings on the subject of Genuine Truth in the Science of Exposition, published by the Academy Book Room.
Concerning the importance of primary truths for the interpretation, and thus for the understanding, of the Word, see Arcana Celestia 4790, 4966, 5084, 5087.
At First Confined to a Few.
The New Church will at first be confined to a few, and its numbers will gradually increase from a few to many. The reasons for this slow increase of the church are given as follows: "The falsities of the former church must first be removed, ... and the new heaven must first be formed." (A. R. 547.) The church "will tarry among those who are not in truths because not in good; for at the end of the church there are but few who are in truths from good,... by reason that the former church is become a desert.... When the church is such, evils and falsities reign, which hinder the reception of its doctrine;... and when doctrine is not received, there is no church, for the church is a church from doctrine." (A. E. 730, 731.) Several reasons are then added why the New Church will have its beginning with a few (A. E. 732): First, its doctrine ... can be acknowledged, and thus received, only by those who are interiorly affected by truths ... and have not destroyed their intellectual faculty by the loves of self and of the world; second, the doctrine of that Church can be acknowledged, and thus received, only by those who have not confirmed themselves by doctrine, and at the same time by life, in faith alone;... third, that the New Church on earth grows according to its increase in the world of spirits.... These were also the reasons why the Christian Church, after the Lord had left the world, increased so slowly in Europe, and did not attain to its fulness until an age had elapsed." (A. E. 732.) Finally, the Church will be "as yet among a few, because it is among those who are not in a life of charity; but in the meantime provision will be made for the Church among many." (A. E. 760, 761.) For these reasons, especially because of a deficiency of charity, the New Church will at first be natural or external. (A. E. 403(15).) That is, the church must, as it were, begin at the bottom, and gradually ascend to a state of spiritual intelligence and wisdom.
Danger from a Rapid Increase in Numbers.
As was shown above, a rapid increase of the New Church is not to be expected. The Doctrines are so reasonable that the first feeling of a new convert is that they have only to be presented to be received. It needs but a little experience to show the fallacy of this expectation. The New Church had its beginning over one hundred years ago, and yet its numbers are few. Many generations will elapse before she reaches her appointed station. Experience and revealed doctrine point in the same direction. It cannot be otherwise. The reasons are on account of conditions, mainly in the spiritual world. "These things are indeed made manifest, but they will not be received until those who are meant by the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet, are cast out of the world of spirits, because there would be danger if they were to be received before." (A. R. 473.) By a rapid increase, the Church would be submerged in a flood of falsities and evils. This happened to the first Christian Church, through the conversion of the Emperor Constantine, from which that Church never recovered. It is not to be so with the New Church, which is to endure forever. A rapid increase of the Church, or the rapid spiritual growth of a man, would not be according to that Divine order which works gradually and not precipitately in its effects, which are to be permanent and enduring. In the regenerate man, as in the church, an internal must first be formed, and then an external by means of the internal. (T. C. R. 591.) In the church, as in the regenerate man, there is a period of childhood, in which a beginning is made; but it is long before a full fruition is reached,--a lifetime with man, and longer with the church. Otherwise, an external would be formed before the internal, which would be attended with disastrous results. For the internal would then remain evil; and we are told that an external without an internal is a condition like that of hell. Hence the gradual formation of a spiritual internal, before the external is formed, is absolutely essential to the permanent establishment of the church.
Regeneration is Preparation for a Use in Heaven.
The old idea of preparation for heaven is preparation for eternal worship. This is true, if rightly understood and applied; that is, if internal worship is meant, which is a perpetual life of use. The real truth is, that preparation for heaven is a preparation for use in heaven, for a function in some heavenly society. Regeneration is nothing else. Regeneration, continuing to the end of life in the world, is for no other purpose than that a man may be prepared to enter into the life of heaven, and perform his part in that life, that is, perform a use that is to be his use and function to eternity, and by which he is to have and receive eternal happiness. It parallels or corresponds with the preparation of the child and youth for use in adult life,-some use for which he is to be fitted; and he is fitted for it, not only by studies,--the acquisition of knowledge and understanding, but also by the laying aside of bad habits that would interfere with his future usefulness, through obedience to parents and teachers. The correspondence is complete.
In adult life, the Lord is the Parent and Teacher. We go to school to Him, and He teaches us from His Word, and by the leadings of His Providence He is preparing us for some eternal use, when we, as His disciples,--His pupils,--acquire a knowledge of the truths of His Word, obey His commandments, shun evils as sins,-all the bad habits of thought and life. We are thus made ready to enter into some function in an angelic society; for every angel has a use to perform, and life in the world is preparation for it. Salvation is nothing else than being saved from the things that would destroy a possible use in heaven, and with it all eternal felicity.
It is our habits, good or evil, that go with us into the other life. The things that are in the memory alone, and have not passed into will and act, do not remain after death. Our habits of life alone stay with us, and continue with us, unless a beginning of removal has been made during the life of the body. A habit is literally what one has, what one has and holds as his, or what he has made a part of himself by frequent repetition. It is what a man has learned from teaching or reading, and has made his own in thought, will, and act. "Unlike the brutes, man is not born into any exercise of life, but has to learn all things; and what he learns becomes by exercise a habit.... He cannot even speak or walk unless he is taught." (A. C. 1050.) He must be taught, and then act as of himself, until it becomes by practice a habit of life. "Every one acquires to himself a character by frequent use or habit, and this from the things he is taught." (A. C. 3843.) And so, when a man enters the other world, the habit is the man; and he cannot get away from his habits,--from his evil habits, unless he has ceased to love them, has willed to resist them, while still in this world.
Another thing about habits, important to be known and remembered, especially by parents, is that "every evil which parents have acquired by actual life, or by frequent use or habit,... is derived into their children, and becomes hereditary with them." (A. C. 4317, 8550.) Sometimes we realize this, but too late for a remedy, and the responsibility is left to our children to fight against the tendency to the evil habits which their parents have acquired and transmitted to them. We can at least hope and pray that they mill not do as we have done, but will stem the tide of hereditary evil and transmit a milder inheritance to their children.
It appears that the term "Nemesis" occurs but once in the Writings. In Conjugial Love 504, speaking of certain violations of marriage, it is said "that the Divine Nemesis pursues them."
The wiser Greeks knew that no persons, gods or goddesses, were meant by the many names in their mythology, but that qualities or laws in their operation were personified, that is, represented, by them. (See T. C. R. 9.) They knew that Nemesis was not a woman or a goddess, but that the quality of Divine vengeance was meant, or the return of the evil upon the doer. Every evil done is an assault upon the laws of Divine order. Those laws resist, and in the reaction or rebound the doer is himself punished. This is inevitable. There is no escape from it. As in the case of adulterers, "the Divine Nemesis pursues them." Or, as expressed in the Old Testament, "Then shall ye do unto him as he had thought to have done unto his brother.... Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." (Deuteronomy 19:19-21. Exodus 21:23-25. But compare Matthew 5:38, etc.)
There is no error or fallacy that is not a truth when rightly understood and applied. Nowhere in Revelation is there found any teaching or command to abstain from alcoholic drink, except its abuse. The whole second table of the Decalogue is a command to total abstinence. Thou shalt not commit murder, adultery, theft, or bear false witness; neither shalt thou covet or lust after these things--a total abstinence in speech and act, in thought and will, from the evils forbidden. This total abstinence is fundamental to regeneration and spiritual life. Any total abstinence in things non-essential is a human invention, a human substitute for what is Divine. The Heavenly Doctrine speaks of a genuine total abstinence as follows:
"No man can receive the good of heaven until he abstains from evils." (A. C. 9346.)
Those who are in evil of life are bent to good by the Lord when they "abstain from evil and intend good, and do it according to their understanding. (A. C. 2364.)
"Those who abstain from evils are they who receive the Divine." (A. C. 8307.)
"The life of heaven cannot be implanted in anyone, unless he abstains from evil.... The Lord then, out of pure mercy, leads him by His Divine means from infancy to the end of life in the world, and afterwards to eternity." (H. H. 522.)
"Everyone is regenerated by abstaining from the evils of sin." (T. C. R. 510. See also 530, 532.)
A New Churchman does not need to be told that by "evils" in the above passages are meant the evils forbidden in the Decalogue as sins against God, and in a broad sense all violations of the spiritual truths of the Word. All abuse, all excess, is sin; but a moderate and temperate use of the gifts of God is not a sin.
Reasoning With Children.
There is a thought with some that children have reason that can be appealed to. But reason, or the rational faculty, is opened only by degrees. It begins to be opened about the age of puberty. All before this is but a preparation to begin, and the essential in this preparation is obedience. Little children are indeed to be taught, but the first teaching is in the form of command, even as the Commandments of the Decalogue are the first of the Word. This first of the Word is called the Law, and law is not anything unless it be enforced when necessary, even by resort to punishment, as Jehovah did with the Sons of Israel when they did not obey. Punishment itself is teaching, and prepares the way for rational instruction later. The Hebrew word yasar, to instruct, means literally to chastise. See how it was that Gideon "taught the men of Succoth." (Judges 8:16.)
But let us not be extreme. When obedience, authority, law, are once established, then children can be led; then teaching can be affirmative, and not negative. But the negative is first in time. "Thou shalt not" is the beginning of all law, of all instruction.
We read of what man would become, if not restrained from childhood up. (A. C. 987.) And of the need of the corporal punishment of children. (A. C. 8223, 4730. T. C. R. 407, 459. Charity 163.) And that the rational begins to be opened when the feeling of sex is aroused. (See C. L. 446.)
Before reason is formed, compulsion is proper and in order, but afterward man is to compel himself.
No Regeneration Before Adult Age.
All states before the age of puberty, or before adult age, are not states of regeneration, but states of preparation for it. This preparation is by degrees, or extends by gradual approaches to adult age. Not until then is man prepared for the actual work of the regenerate life, for not before does he come into the full exercise of the powers of freedom and reason; not until then does he think for himself and in the light of his own mind.
The teaching on this subject is as follows:
"Regeneration is during adult age, for man before this does not think of the truths of faith from himself." (A. C. 5893.)
"No man can be regenerated except in adult age, because he then first has possession of reason and judgment, and thus can receive good and truth from the Lord." (A. C. 2636.)
"Man is not regenerated until he arrives at adult age, when he has understanding; before this the good of love and the truth of faith fall like seed into ground altogether barren." (A. C. 6125.)
As with regeneration, so it is with spiritual temptation; it cannot take place until adult age with any man. It was otherwise with the Lord.
"Man does not come into temptations before he has arrived at adult age,...but the Lord in the age of childhood." (A. C. 1661, 4248.)
"No one is admitted into any spiritual temptation until he is in adult age; ... if before, he succumbs in the temptation." (A. C. 5044. See also H. D. 191.)
In the natural world, a man does not go to war until he is of age. Not until he is able to enter into natural war is he ready for spiritual war. The correspondence is complete. Correspondence in man,--the correspondence of the natural with the spiritual,--is when a man is able to act and does act as of himself from the Lord, and not from his parents, as before.
"As the Tree Falls."
It is a common saying, "As the tree falls, so shall it lie." The original statement is found in Ecclesiastes 11:3: "In the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be." Solomon derived his wisdom from the ancients (A. C. 5223), by whom truths were expressed in correspondences. By a "tree" they meant a man, and by a tree remaining where it fell they understood that a man's life cannot be changed after death. The general meaning of the saying has been handed down to the present time. But particulars are wanting, which are given in the Writings in the following and similar passages:
"It is according to order that everyone carries along with him his life which he had lived in the world, and that his state in the other life is according to it. The Lord's mercy flows in with all,...but it is rejected by the evil; and since they have imbued evil in the world, they retain it in the other life; nor is amendment possible there, for the tree lies where it has fallen." (A. C. 7186.)
"Everyone's life remains with him after death; such as a man is when he dies, such he continues to be, according to the common saying, 'Where the tree falls there it lies.'" (A. C. 8991.)
"He who is in evil in the world is in evil after his departure out of the world; wherefore, if evil is not removed in the world, it cannot be removed afterward. Where the tree falls, there it lies." (D. P. 277.)
A fuller explanation than elsewhere is given in the Spiritual Diary Minor, 4645, 4646, where it is shown that the common saying does not mean that he who is in good cannot be perfected in the other life, for he grows continually, but upon the basis of the life that had been acquired in the world. It is only with the evil that there is no progression after death. Thus the same law, but with a difference in result, applies to both the evil and the good.
The First State After Death.
In many passages of the Writings we are told of the first state after death, as being a continuation of life in the world, and that there is no essential change in the transfer from the one world to the other. Man awakes on the third day from the sleep of death, and finds himself to be the same man as before, with the same thoughts and feelings, and to all appearance in the same body that he had in the natural world, with all its senses complete. The appearance is so real that he at first thinks that he has merely awakened again in the natural world, until he is instructed by the angels as to the real truth,--information which he receives with great surprise. He is told that this is so provided by the Lord that he may realize in his actual experience that death is but the continuation of life.
There is one passage, however, in which some particulars are given that are barely touched upon elsewhere, as follows: "When any man after death comes into the spiritual world, which for the most part takes place the third day after he has expired, he appears to himself in a life similar to that in which he had been in the world, and in a similar house, chamber, and bedchamber, in a similar coat and clothing, and in a similar companionship in the house. If he was a king or a prince, he appears in a similar palace; if a peasant, in a similar cottage; rustic things surround the latter, splendid things the former." Then the reason for this is given as was stated above,--so "that the last of natural life may become the first of spiritual life, and that from this first state a man may progress to his goal, which will be either in heaven or in hell." (5 M. II:4.)
It is thus of the Divine mercy that the transfer to the other world at death should not appear as a sudden and startling change, but easy and natural.
Games of Chance.
The teaching concerning chance, fortune, or so-called luck, is as follows:
"Everything prosperous which appears in the ultimates of nature is, in its origin, from the Divine Providence of the Lord,... and everything that is said to be of fortune is from the same source." (A. C. 5049.)
"Some by experience are altogether persuaded there is something secretly operating, which is called fortune; but they know not whence it is. It is from a spiritual sphere, and is the ultimate of Providence." (A. C. 5179.)
"All things, yea, the least of all,... are directed by the Providence of the Lord, ... and there is no such thing as chance." (A. C. 6493.)
"Once, when I was playing in company at a common game of chance with dice, the spirits who were with me talked with me about fortune in games, and said that what is fortunate was represented to them by a bright cloud, and what is unfortunate by a dusky cloud; and when a dusky cloud appeared to attend me it was impossible for me to win; and also from that sign they foretold me the turns of fortune in that game. Hence it was given me to know that what is attributed to fortune, even in games, is from the spiritual world; much more what befalls man as to the vicissitudes in the course of his life; and that what is called fortune is from the influx of Providence in the ultimate of order, where it so exists; thus that Providence is in the veriest singulars of all, according to the Lord's words, that not even a hair falls from the head without the will of God." (A. C. 6494. See also 7007, 8717, 9010. D. P. 212. S. D. 1088, 4393, 4562.)
Memory of Things Never Seen or Heard.
It is not uncommon that a man will suddenly remember things which, as soon as he reflects, he knows never happened in his past experience. As with many problems of human life, otherwise unexplained, light is given upon this in the Writings. Not much is said. We are merely told that it is from the memory of spirits who are present, and there is added a reference to the conclusions of the ancients concerning it.
"There was with some of the ancients the opinion that, after some thousands of years, they would return into their former life, and into all its acts, and also that they had so returned; they concluded this, because sometimes there had occurred to them as it were a recollection of things which yet they had never seen or heard; which came to pass because spirits flowed from their own memory into the ideas of their thought." (H. H. 256.)
What is said in the above passage about the opinion of the ancients has reference to the views of some of the Greek philosophers concerning metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls, as held by Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, and others. A belief in transmigration has existed in various parts of the world in ancient and in modern times; and the experience referred to in the above number was to the Greek philosophers a proof of the immortality of the soul. It was evidence to them that the soul existed, not only after death, but that man lived as a sentient being before his birth into the world; holding, also, that the soul could return to this life, and occupy the bodies of other men. What was needed was a revelation from heaven, direct and immediate, which they had not, giving them a true knowledge of the life after death, and of the actual presence of the inhabitants of the spiritual world with men. With this true knowledge, it would have been made plain to them that man does not live in a previous state of existence, and that he will never return, or wish to return, to his former life in the world.
It should be added that the ancient philosophers referred to are spoken of in the Writings as being wiser than the moderns, even though they were without direct revelation, and that they are now angels of heaven. (T. C. R. 692.)
The Fear of Death.
Why do men fear death? That such fear exists, is a matter of universal knowledge. But there are exceptions. The inhabitants of Jupiter "do not fear death, except on account of leaving the consort, their children, or parents; for they know that they will live after death." (E. U. 84; A. C. 8850.) "Nor are they made sad at the thought of death." (S. D. 545a.) We may assume that the men of the Most Ancient Church did not have this fear. So it is possible to be without the fear of death. What is it that removes it? The men of Jupiter have not that fear, because "they know that they will live after death." Men fear death, therefore, because they do not know that they will live after their decease; or if they know, they do not believe. Thy say that "no one has been there and come back to tell us." But the Lord Himself has told us in the Gospel. The Jews did not even know, but Christians know, because of what the Lord has said; yet they do not believe, except comparatively few.
A New Churchman knows and believes, because the Heavenly Doctrine testifies in letters of light concerning the life after death. But are there states when even one in the New Church does not see clearly? He sees in states of illustration, when the thought is elevated into the light of heaven by means of the spiritual affection of truth. In this state the fear of death is removed. He does not see clearly when the cares of the world oppress. A prayer for faith would be in order,--a prayer that we may see and believe what we know.
The dispersal of the black cloud which overshadows the life after death, covering it with dread and horror, is a delightful experience which one has in coming out of the darkness of the Old into the light of the New.
The End in Prayer.
There are degrees of ends. In prayer there is the supreme end, the spiritual end, and the natural end. The supreme end in prayer is a looking with acknowledgment and worship to the Divine Man, Jesus Christ, our only God and Lord. The spiritual end in prayer is when we beseech the Lord for help to resist evil, accompanied with a desire and asking for spiritual light, for understanding of truth, that we may see the way that leads to heaven and the Lord, and receive power to walk therein. The natural end in prayer is for protection against calamity, misfortune, loss of health and possessions, for worldly success, for removal of fear of natural dangers, accompanied by prayer for trust in Providence. And so prayer for natural blessings must be subordinated to spiritual ends. This must always be in view; otherwise, prayers for natural ends are without life and soul.
Prayers with a spiritual end, from a profound acknowledgment of the Lord, and the confession of self as ignorant and unworthy, are answered. (See T. C. R. 570, 621.) Such prayers are heard, and angels sent by the Lord are present, through whom there is enlightenment and strength, and inspiration to do. It is like the appearance of "a friend in need," which seldom, if ever, fails. Spiritually, the angels are the friends who come, even as a mother to her child who is hurt and cries for help.
Children should be taught to pray for natural blessings, and for natural and moral improvement, the spiritual end being in the mind of the parent. This is the beginning with children. For external worship is first in order of time, and introduces to internal worship, which is first with the regenerating adult. Children, being in the sensual, cannot as yet comprehend spiritual ends, except in a most general manner. It is the sensual objective that appeals in the early stages of life, and prepares for what is to follow.
Confession of Sin.
That a man should confess his sins before the Lord is not only taught, but to a mind spiritually enlightened it is a self-evident truth. But should one make confession of sin to the neighbor? It has been said that there is no need to confess to any other than the Lord. But this is a proposition that cannot be considered as self-evident, or if it be applied without admitting exceptional conditions. The teaching that confession should be made to the Lord admits of no doubt, and is expressed in actual statement in many passages of the Writings, such as this: "Confession ought to be made before the Lord God the Savior, and then supplication for help and power to resist evils." (T. C. R. 538.) Then follow reasons why this should be done. But it cannot be said that confession to the neighbor is made obligatory in the Writings. It is left to the judgment of the individual, to be exercised in freedom and in the light of reason. There are undoubtedly conditions that would seem to call for such action. Sometimes the burden of sin is such that need of counsel is felt, and of the judgment and enlightened experience of another in whom there is confidence. Then there is the case where one has done injury to the neighbor in word or deed. If there is sincere repentance, and confession has been made to the Lord, would it not be useful at times to make acknowledgment and confession to the one who has been injured? There are undoubtedly occasions when confession would not be complete without such a course.
Heaping Coals of Fire on His Head.
"If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." (Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:21, 22.) We have here a phrase much used in common discourse, although it is frequently spoken in a negative spirit, meaning that, by good deeds or kind words to an enemy, he is disarmed, placed on the defensive or under obligation; establishing thus an ascendancy over him, not having in view his real good, but rather the furtherance of some selfish design on the part of the speaker, assuming an appearance of charity that is not really felt. That such is not the spirit of these words, is evident from their context in both places where they occur.
The passage is found in the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, quoted by him from the Book of Proverbs. We are told that Solomon derived his wisdom from the Ancient Church (A. C. 5223), and that he had a knowledge of the correspondences and representatives of that Church. (A. C. 1756.) The context of both passages, noted above, shows that the words are spoken in an affirmative spirit, or in the charity and good will which prevailed in the Ancient Church; that what is said and done should be from the heart, and not merely for the sake of the outward appearance of charity, the real charitable spirit being absent. Not only does the context show that charity is treated of, but we learn the same from the signification of "coals of fire."
The Signification of "Enemies" in the Word.
The term "enemy," in the passage quoted above as originally used by Solomon, was derived from the Ancient Church, and indicates what the men of that Church meant by an enemy. A personal enemy, or an enemy in the natural sense, was not meant, but an enemy in the spiritual sense,--one who is hostile to the Church, and to its teachings concerning the Lord and eternal life. The Jews received this form of statement from the ancients, but it was applied naturally by them. The gentiles,--all other nations besides their own,--were their enemies, and therefore to be hated. The Apostles at first shared the same view; but since the Christian Church was to be established with the gentiles, it was necessary that the thought of them as enemies, to be treated in a hostile spirit, should be removed from the apostolic mind. Hence came the Divine command to them: "Love your enemies." (Matthew 5:44. Luke 6:27, 35.) We learn from the Doctrine that these words, "in the proximate sense, signify to love the gentiles and do good to them, which is to be done by teaching them truth and leading by truth to good; for the Jewish people called their own (people) brethren and friends, but the gentiles they called foes and enemies." (A. E. 695.) We read further that "enemies are loved, and good is done to them, when they are instructed and by suitable means amended." (A. C. 9174. See also 9255, 9256.)
The context of the passage quoted from Paul and Solomon, concerning the treatment of an enemy, shows that ministering to his need is meant. The ancients understood ministering to his spiritual need by instructing him in the truths of the Word. This is signified by giving him food and drink, bread and wine, as in the Holy Supper.
More than One Organization.
Should there be more than one organized body in the New Church? Where fundamental differences of doctrine exist, differences in practice will arise, resulting in a curtailment of freedom, if there be present anything of a spirit of domination, and a consequent lack of charity. In the history of states and nations, we find a resort to revolution often justified and excused, because it looks to the preservation of freedom of thought and action, which must be preserved, even if war be the result. It is similar in the history of churches. It is an essential truth that the law of charity cannot be enforced, and that separation is better than any attempt to establish charity by compulsion; in which case something is established, but not charity. Leaving these points out of present consideration, one thing is to be remembered, that variety in organization provides for freedom of choice, without which there is no way open to the future establishment of fraternal relations. And the freedom of choice provides for rationality. Without these two, there is no spiritual understanding of the Word, no spiritual life to man. (D. P. 71, etc.)
In the spiritual world, there are innumerable societies, and everyone is led to his own place in full freedom according to his reason. In a heavenly society, he is in his own use of charity, and lives there forever in charity with his neighbor, and in full delight of life. It is, in fact, pointed out to us that in the New Church, as in the world, there will be many societies, because of a great variety in reception. (A. R. 66.) If all have charity, the New Church will be one in the harmony of many, and the freedom of the individual to choose his proper place and alignment will be fully recognized and acted upon. (See A. C. 1285, 1799, 1834, 3241, 6628.)
Snow in Heaven.
Does snow appear in heaven? In the absence of direct statement, we may conclude that snow is seen there, since it is used in a good sense in the letter of the Word. That which corresponds to some spiritual truth is itself a good, and would appear in outward representative form in the spiritual world. Snow has a natural use, and in this, its use, it corresponds to some spiritual truth or good. We know from the Writings that snow has a good correspondence, based upon its whiteness and beauty, and on account of its use in nature. There is also a more interior beauty, as seen under the microscope, consisting of clear and transparent crystals. Hence the conclusion is manifest that snow, and all other things in the Word that have a good natural use, thus having a good correspondence, would appear to the sight of angels and good spirits in the ultimates of heaven.
Snow, as appearing in the natural heaven, seems to explain why children are delighted with it; for that heaven is the heaven of children. They are there as to their spirits; and to that heaven are taken those who die in childhood. In that heaven, also, their first instruction takes place, which is by means of representative appearances. (H. H. 334-338.)
But snow is also used in the Word in an evil sense, signifying truths in the memory without good, without love, cold and lifeless, soon becoming like slush and mud in the streets, performing naught but an evil use.
Snow Used in a Good Sense.
In the following passages of Scripture, snow is used in correspondence with some spiritual truth in heaven.
"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." (Psalm 51:7.) "Snow is here predicated of truth." (A. C. 7918.)
"As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven." (Isaiah 55:10.) "Snow here signifies natural truth, which becomes spiritual by love, as snow becomes rain-water by heat." (A. E. 644.)
"'Waters of snow' (Job 24:19) signify genuine truths." (A. E. 481.)
It is shown (A. R. 47; A. E. 67, 372) that snow signifies truth in ultimates, such as is in the literal sense of the Word.
"He giveth snow like wool." (Psalm 147: 6.) "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18.) In these passages, "wool" signifies good in ultimates, and "snow" truth in ultimates. (A. R. 47; A. E. 67.)
In the five following passages, "snow is predicated of truth from its whiteness." (A. C. 8459.) "Her Nazarites were purer than snow. (Lamentations 4:7.) The garment of the Ancient of Days "was white as snow." (Daniel 7:9.) The garment of the angel at the sepulchre "was white as snow." (Matthew 28:3.) The raiment of the Lord, when He was transfigured, "became shining, exceeding white as snow." (Mark 9:3.)
Since snow signifies truth in the memory, its beauty would represent first states, when the mind is affected by the beauty of truth, and not as yet by its use.
Origin of the Literal Sense from Appearances in the Spiritual World.
In further proof that snow and similar things are seen in the ultimates of heaven, we have the teaching that the literal sense of the Word is mostly from appearances in the spiritual world. (A. E. 503:2, and elsewhere.) These appearances, as seen in the natural heaven, and also in the world of spirits, are representative of the thoughts and affections of the angels of the higher heavens. Those angels are, in fact, in the internal sense of the Word, and when their thoughts are active in that sense, these thoughts descend and take on representative forms below. (A. C. 5658, 6048, 9457.) The appearances so produced constitute materials out of which the external or literal sense of the Word was formed. By the opening of their spiritual sight, Moses, the Prophets, and John saw those representative appearances, and were commanded to write what they saw; and under the Divine guidance they were led to write the Word in a series, as it exists with us in its literal form. The thoughts and affections of evil spirits, for reasons of the Divine Providence, were also allowed expression, and permitted to appear in the literal sense of the Word. These false and evil appearances were also seen by the prophets, and were written down by them, according to command.
Now by reasoning backward, as it were, or from the letter to the spiritual world, we are prepared to see that the things mentioned in the literal sense, having a good or evil correspondence, exist in outward form in the spiritual world, in heaven, in hell, or in the world of spirits; for instance, that of which we have spoken, namely, snow.
The Two Loves of the Natural Man.
The two loves of the natural man are the loves of self and of the world. These loves are not in themselves evil, and hence are not to be, nor intended to be, destroyed in the processes of regeneration, but brought into order. They are evil only when they assume a place of rule instead of a place of service. The end to be accomplished by regeneration is to remove them from their place of dominion to their proper state of subordination. Even as we read: "The love of self and the love of the world are by creation heavenly; for they are the loves of the natural man for the service of the spiritual loves, as foundations serve for houses." (D. L. W. 396; A. E. 1144.) And so these loves are as necessary for the spiritual man as the foundation is for a house, or as the earth is for heaven. It is only when they endeavor to dominate that they are to be resisted, fought against, and made to serve. For "as the world ought to serve heaven, so the external man ought to serve the internal." (A. C. 9776.)
Let us note here that these two loves are first in time. They are the dominant loves in childhood and early youth. By their activity the natural mind is formed, preparatory to the formation of the spiritual mind in adult life, serving that end through life, and after death to eternity. For the angels have a natural mind as men have, even the two loves of the natural mind,--always serving, never ruling in heaven, as they do with men in the world. In hell they are the only loves, and their confirmed activity there causes that the evil can never rise out of hell into heaven.
By these two natural loves a man so provides for himself that he may have a sound mind in a sound body, and thus be rendered efficient for natural and spiritual uses (A. C. 3951, 4459, 5949, 6936), not only for himself, but for those dependent on him, both for the present and for the future. (A. C. 6934; T. C. R. 406.)
All natural loves are included in love of self and love of the world, and proceed from them; so that what is said of the two loves is true of all the loves derived from them in the natural man.
No Will and Understanding Before Birth.
It is not uncommon in the New Church to speak of man as having will and understanding before birth; but this is said without reflection, and without reference to the teaching. It is at least a misuse of terms, as if one should say that respiration exists before man is born. He indeed has lungs, but they do not yet function. Before birth he has that which is to become understanding, and that which is to become will, but they do not exist as yet in actuality. The teaching is as follows:
"The rational is not born with man, but only the faculty of becoming rational." (A. C. 1893, 2557.) "Man is born into no science, still less into any intelligence and wisdom, but only into the faculty of receiving and imbibing them." (A. C. 5081.) "Man is not born with science, ... but he is born faculty and inclination; faculty to know, and inclination to love." (C. L. 134, 202; T. C. R. 335, 480.) "A man has nothing of understanding at his birth, and also nothing of will.... For his understanding and his will are formed by degrees from infancy." (A. C. 10298.) It is thus made plain that man has neither understanding nor will before birth, but has faculty which becomes understanding, and inclination which becomes will; that is, after birth, and not before, he is able to think, to reason, and to love.
It is well known that man has neither sensation or voluntary motion before birth. All motion is then from the cerebellum, thus involuntary. Conscious motion is from the cerebrum, but this organ is then passive. The cerebrum exists as a structure, but does not exercise its function of thought and will; even as the lungs exist, but without respiration.
Sacrifices not Commanded.
In the Jewish Church, "the sacrifices and burnt offerings were not commanded but permitted." (A. C. 10079, also 2180.) Hence "they were not well-pleasing in the heavens." (Ibid.) But the bread and wine used in the worship was "well-pleasing," for they were true correspondences. (Ibid.) The sacrifices were, however, covered over, so to speak, with a good signification by being called "bread." (A. C. 10079, 2165.) Because the sacrifices were not commanded, not being according to Divine order, "they were abrogated by the Lord, but the bread and wine were retained." (Ibid.)
In the letter of Scripture, indeed, there is a certain appearance of command, but the displeasure of the Lord was made manifest in certain passages. "Thou desirest not sacrifice that I should give it." (Psalm 51:16.) "I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." (Hosea 6:6.) "Hath the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (I Samuel 15:22.) "Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams?" (Micah 6:6-8.) And it is plainly said in Jeremiah (7:22-24) that sacrifices and burnt offerings were not commanded. These passages contain the genuine truth, but it was not seen at that time. For the reason, see below.
In order still further to modify the effect of their sacrificial worship, and make it less displeasing in heaven, they were forbidden to use evil animals, or those having no correspondence with the spiritual things of the Word.
When the Lord came, He abolished sacrifices, but retained for the Christian Church certain things of the former worship that could be made of use by reason of a true correspondence with heaven, such as water, wine, and bread, for Baptism and the Holy Supper. (Concerning the abrogation of sacrificial worship, see A. C. 4489, 10637; T. C. R. 670.)
The abolishing of sacrifices was foretold in Daniel (9:27): "In the midst of the week, He shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease."
Worship by sacrifices did not begin with the Israelitish nation, but had its origin in the decline of the Ancient Church. It was inherited by Abraham and his descendants from the second Ancient Church, called the Church Eber, or the Hebrew Church. It is from this that the Israelitish and Jewish Church was also called Hebrew. From the same source, sacrificial worship spread over the whole world, in most places where there was religion. (A. C. 921, 1083, 1343, 2177, 2180, 4449, 10603.) It is a law of the Divine Providence that the Lord never breaks the principles which a man receives from infancy, but only bends. (A. C. 1255, also in A. C. 25, 2053; A. E. 627(6).) That is, He permits man to remain in the things which he cherishes as holy, "if not contrary to Divine and natural order," never using violence for their removal. This is what is meant by the words, "A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench." (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20. See references just above.) We have also the further information that, wherever worship by sacrifices existed, it was permitted in order that "they might not sacrifice their sons and daughters." (A. C. 1241, 2818, 8080.) History, both sacred and profane, so-called, furnishes abundant evidence of the widespread tendency to this abomination. (Concerning Abraham himself in this connection, see A. C. 2818.)
Closely related to this general subject is the fact that the Jewish nation was to be made use of in preparation for the written Word, and for the coming of the Lord.
Incense (incendo--to kindle, burn) is a combination of certain spices, which, when burnt, exhales a pleasant perfume. It has been in use from ancient times among the rituals of the church. The use of it in the Jewish Church was an essential part of the worship of that Church. The altar of incense, or the golden altar, was situated in the holy place of the tabernacle, outside the veil which enclosed and concealed the sanctuary or holy of holies, wherein was the ark containing the tables of the decalogue. Besides the altar of incense, the table for the shew bread (bread of faces) and the candlestick (candelabrum, lamp-stand) were in the holy place. In the open court was the altar of burnt offering. The altar of incense and the altar of burnt offering were the chief representatives of worship. (A. C. 10177; A. R. 277.) The altar of incense represented worship from love to the neighbor, and the altar of burnt offering worship from love to the Lord. (A. E. 324.) Incense was burnt upon the golden altar twice daily. (A. C. 10177:6.)
The simple among the ancients thought that the smoke of the incense, with its sweet perfume, ascended to heaven, to the place where Jehovah was, above the sky, and that it was acceptable and pleasing to Him. (See Psalm 141:2.) They thought the same of the smoke ascending from the altar of burnt offering. But the wise in the Ancient Church thought of what these things represented, namely, that the sphere of love, active in worship, ascended to the Lord and was perceived in heaven,--the sphere of love to the Lord and love to the neighbor,--that this sphere was represented by the smoke and perfume, that it was received by the Lord and was acceptable to Him. (A. C. 10175b, 10298.)
All this raises the question: Should incense be used in the worship of the New Church? The thing itself signified by incense should be there, or it is not worship. Should we represent its presence by the use of incense?
A Commencement and a Beginning.
"Every state before a man is instructed is a commencement (initium), and when he begins to be instructed it is a beginning (principium). (A. C. 1560.) These two are in every progressive movement,--a commencement and a beginning, an initium and a principium; the initium, or entering into, always precedes, and the principium, or second step in the progress, follows. In other words, the initium or commencement is the preparation to begin, but the principium is the beginning itself. For example, the commencement of man's natural life is in his pre-natal existence, but the beginning takes place when he breathes the outer air at birth; or, childhood and youth mark the commencement or preparation for regeneration, but the real beginning of regeneration is in adult age, when man is instructed in spiritual things, and when the understanding of the Word, or the spiritual rational, is opened, and the work of regeneration actually begins; or again, the commencement of life is when man is in this world, but the beginning of his real life is after death, when he is in the spiritual world.
The subject is illustrated in the first chapter of Genesis, wherein the commencement is called the "evening," and the beginning the "morning." "The evening and the morning were the first day." The evening is mentioned first, because every preceding state is called the "evening," and every following state the "morning."
So it is in all progression, in all development, from first to last; the preparation to begin, and the beginning itself; the introduction to a work, and the work itself; and finally the entering into the presence of the Lord, and then conjunction with Him. There is not anything done without these two stages of progression.
The Lord Dwells in His Own with Men.
In order to understand the Word and the laws of heaven, the nature of regeneration, and in what manner the Lord is present with angels and men, it is essential to know that the Lord is received and dwells in His own, or what is from Himself with them, and not in anything of man; as we read, "When the Lord dwells in good, He dwells in His own Divine; nor can He dwell elsewhere." (A. C. 8269.)
"It is an arcanum that the Lord dwells with an angel only in His own with him; it is similar with man, for the Divine must be in what is Divine, and not in the proprium of anyone." (A. C. 9338:6.)
"The Lord is present with the angels of heaven and the men of the church, not in their proprium, but in His own with them, thus in what is Divine." (A. C. 10157.)
"The Lord dwells in His own with the angels of heaven, ...for good from the Lord is the Lord with them, and what is from Him is Himself." (H. H. 12.)
The same doctrine is taught in many other passages, such as A. C. 9594, 10125. For a full statement of it, see D. L. W. 114; D. P. 53; H. H. 12.
The essential nature of this doctrine is seen in the fact that what is of man, or from himself, is from his natural, wherein the loves of self and of the world reign, constituting his proprium. This does not and cannot receive the Lord, but fights and resists with all its might and power against receiving anything from Him.
The Lord's own in man are the truths from Him, or from His Word, implanted in childhood and youth, called "remains." These are what receive the Lord in adult age, and constitute the groundwork of regeneration. But these truths from the Lord, remaining until adult age, appear to be man's own, because he thinks from them as from himself. These are the Lord's own in man that receive the Lord.
The Presence of the Lord by Contiguity.
It is necessary in the outset to obtain a clear idea of the distinction between contiguity and continuity, in order to understand the teaching that the Lord is present by contiguity, but not by continuity. Contiguity is coming together by contact, touching, yet remaining distinct, as two hands when brought together, or as the hand of one person laid upon the head of another. The abstract or philosophic idea of contiguity, in descending to the ultimate, becomes touch, contact; yet remaining distinct. But continuity is uninterrupted succession, as in the case of the skin spreading itself continuously over the whole body, or as a plain stretched out before the sight, extended to a distance. The teaching is as follows: "Everything created is such in its nature that it is a recipient of God, not by continuity, but by contiguity. It is by contiguity, and not by continuity, that there is conjunctivity." (D. L. W. 56.)
"What is living in man is from the Divine Proceeding conjoined to him by contiguity, and appearing to him as his." (D. P. 57.)
"The presence of the Lord with man is adjunction, and thus conjunction by contiguity."
The doctrine of contiguity explains many things, as, for instance, the presence of the spiritual world with the natural. For the one does not continue into the other; its presence is contiguous, the one acting and the other reacting, but always remaining distinct and discrete. It explains, at the same time, the law of correspondence,--the correspondence of natural things with spiritual.
If the Lord were to make Himself present by continuity, man and the created universe would be destroyed in an instant. Hence the Lord approaches and makes Himself present by successive planes or degrees, which are distinct or discrete. It is thus He tempers the ardor of His Love, which otherwise would be a consuming fire.
No One Thing is the Same as Another.
There is such a thing as similarity, but never identity of one thing with another, either in the spiritual world or in the natural. For this reason, there is a continual increase of perfection in all created things (A. C. 10200), since there is no end to the combinations that may be made. In all the simples or compounds thereof in the universe, no one thing is ever to all eternity transformed or transmuted into another. (D. P. 190.) An atom of gold can never become an atom of silver. No cloud in the sky can ever be the same as another cloud, nor tree of the forest the same as another tree. There is no drop of water in the ocean the same as another drop, even from the first day of creation. That there is ever an identity of two things is an appearance, but not an actual fact. The appearance arises from similarity, but similarity is not identity. It is well-known that no two human faces are ever exactly the same. This is because their minds are not the same; no affection, no perception, no thought is the same as another; and the face is the type of the mind.
"Human reason may see the infinity of God in this, that in the created universe there are no two things which are the same." (T. C. R. 32; D. Love X.)
In every heavenly society the angels are similar to each other, having a similar ruling love, similar affections, perceptions and thoughts, but no one angel is wholly the same as another; even every angelic couple, though inmostly united, and appearing as one angel, never become one identity. They are one, but distinct; conjoined by contiguity, not by continuity. Similar is their conjunction with God. (A. R. 55.)
Meaning of the Word "Square."
In the literal sense, a square is "a form with four equal sides and four right angles"; but it is used "figuratively" to signify "strict honesty, equity, fairness, justice," as if one should say," I shall deal squarely with him, or do the square thing," meaning that he will be just. In so speaking, no one consciously thinks of a spiritual sense, but he is expressing merely a well-known natural or moral truth. This is what the word "figurative" usually means, hardly anyone knowing that figures, metaphors, etc., are the remains in human language of the correspondence of natural things with spiritual, or with the things of heaven. And so, when it is said that "square" signifies justice (A. C. 9717, 9861, 10180), the angelic idea of justice is what is meant, such as the Lord was when He was in the world, namely, Justice Itself, signifying the Divine Love for the human race, and with the angels love to the Lord, meaning immensely more than a mere natural or moral truth, which is merely love to the neighbor without the idea of God and the love of God.
It is true that what is figurative in human language frequently points the way to the spiritual sense. The reason for this is, that there is a kind of unconscious correspondence in many words of human speech,--a relic from the ancients, stirred by the presence of spirits; as we read: "Such words have come into human discourse from correspondence; for the spirit of man is actually in the spiritual world, although he is not conscious of it." (A. E. 324, 14, 249, and elsewhere.) In some of the passages, examples are given of such words.
The Term "Square," as used in the Word.
Things that were square and foursquare figured largely in the representatives of the Israelitish Church. The altar of burnt offering was foursquare. (Exodus 27:1 and 38:1.) This altar "represented the Lord and the worship of Him." By its being foursquare "is signified justice in the Lord, and justice from Him in worship." (A. C. 9717.) Justice from the Lord in worship is love to Him, for the leading idea in all worship is a looking to the Lord from love to Him. If this is not in worship, it is an empty form. The altar of incense was foursquare. (Exodus 30:1, 2.) By this altar "is signified the grateful hearing and reception by the Lord of all things of worship from love and charity." (A. C. 10177.) It will be seen here that charity or love to the neighbor is introduced as a leading element of worship, second only to the former love, which is love to the Lord. These two loves, as being the all of the Word, are also the all of worship. This is the worship that is pleasing to the Lord. It is pleasing to Him and to the angels of heaven, as the odor of sweet incense.
The breastplate of judgment was also foursquare (Exodus 28:15, 16, and 39:9), signifying what is just and perfect. (A. C. 9861.) It also signifies what is perfect because it was doubled, like the right and left side of the body, and "two" signifies the conjunction of good and truth, being expressive of the perfection of the celestial state, or, in the supreme sense, of the union of the Divine and Human in the Lord.
John saw the Holy City in vision as foursquare or quadrangular, "signifying what is just, because it has four sides, and the four sides look to the four quarters; and to look equally to the four quarters is to view all things from justice." (A. R. 905.) It is as when a man looks to the Lord, and has regard to the neighbor, in all that he thinks and does. Such a man is square or just.
To invent (invenio) is to discover, to find out, to come upon or light upon. The inventor discovers or happens upon some fact or law which has been hitherto unknown, or its particular application unrecognized. He is often spoken of as a "creator." But he is no more a creator than the man who finds a nugget of gold is the creator of gold. If he is the first one to find or discover, it is a gift from Him who alone is the Creator, a gift to use as his own, but for the benefit of his fellow creatures. The Lord gives nothing to man for himself alone. What He gives to one He gives to all. The first receiver of the gift is also to receive a reward for his labor. But governments wisely place a limit, for it is seen that the gift is intended for all.
The inventor receives the gift first because his mind, more than others, has been attuned to influx by virtue of his seeking (Matthew 6:7, 8); and illustration follows influx. The secret was first given in the spiritual world. And a knowledge of it, existing there in the form of a spiritual use, has in it an endeavor to descend into the world of nature; and it does descend when the time arrives, or a state ready to receive.
To find signifies to be given gratis. (A. C. 5756.) It is a free gift of the Lord to the seeker. We read of this law as having a wonderful fulfilment in heaven (H. H. 190, 393; D. L. W. 334; A. E. 1226:2; D. Love xii:2), where all things are given gratis to the angels according to their love of use.
Endeavor, Force, and Motion.
Endeavor is conatus in the Latin. "Conatus" is also used as an English word. It is variously translated "effort," "attempt," or "tendency." "Endeavor" is the nearest in English. Sometimes "energy" is used. Force (vis) is from endeavor, and becomes visible in motion. The atmospheres are the forces of nature. (D. L. W. 200, 311.) Endeavor, force, and motion are three things from the Lord in both worlds, by which all effects are produced. (D. L. W. 218.). Universally, endeavor or conatus is in the spiritual sun, force is in the spiritual world, and motion, with its effects, in the natural world. All three, in an image, are in nature and in man. Hence the endeavor to produce uses is everywhere in nature. (D. L. W. 62, 310; A. C. 3610:3, 5116:2.) With man, endeavor is in his will, called living endeavor. (D. L. W. 219.) But all love is endeavor, evil or good. On the plane of nature, endeavor or conatus is in the sun, force is in the atmospheres, and motion appears in all nature's operations. In the body, endeavor is from the will in the brain, force is in the animal spirit and the blood, and motion is in the body.
The Divine Love is the endeavor of all endeavors, perpetually operating to regenerate and save. (T. C. R. 73(2).) Nothing exists that has not in it this Divinely operative endeavor, that the Divine Love may have its full fruition in the uses of men and angels, and in happiness as the reward of use.
The Importance of Right Thinking.
Regeneration advances on the basis of right thinking on all subjects, most especially right thinking about God. But one cannot think what he does not know, nor will what he does not think, nor do what he does not will.
Extracts on Right Thinking.
Many things are said in the Writings under the general subject of right thinking in the processes of regeneration, as will be seen from the following examples:
"Those who are being regenerated think much about doctrine and life, because they think much about eternal salvation." (A. C. 2682:3.)
"He who is in any love is constantly thinking of the things pertaining to that love." (A. C. 5130.) It is then shown that those who are in spiritual love are constantly thinking about the Lord and the life after death.
"The internal man is regenerated by thinking the things of faith and willing them." (A. C. 8746.)
A spirit, newly arrived from the world, was rewarded with instruction concerning heaven and hell, because from childhood he had meditated much about the life after death. (T. C. R. 570.)
"A man examines the intentions of his will when he examines his thoughts." (T. C. R. 532.)
"The thought is the seat of the purification and excretion of the evils in man inherited from his parents." (T. C. R. 659.)
"In the other life, no regard is had to what any one says, but to what he thinks." (S. D. 4310.)
"To shut the eyes lest they should see evil (Isaiah 33:15) signifies not to admit evil into the thought." (A. E. 152:5.)
"As far as the understanding favors evils, so far man appropriates them to himself, and makes them his own." (C. L. 489.)
"The first and chief thought that opens heaven to man is thought about God,... but thought against God closes heaven." (A. E. 1096, etc.)
See also A. C. 502, 5302, 6204; H. H. 500; D. L. W. 46; D. P. 283; A. E. 580:3.
The Signification of Flowers.
In the Doctrine much is said of the signification of flowers, based upon their odor, color, beauty, and use. And stress is laid upon the fact that "trees and plants blossom before they bear fruit. With man the case is the same as to intelligence and wisdom; the scientifics of truth precede, and produce the things of wisdom.... Scientifics of truth are as flowers, and the good of life, which is the good of wisdom, as fruit." (A. C. 9553, 10185, 5116.) Scientifics of truth are the simple truths of the literal sense of the Word. They are first truths, which are Divinely adapted to the minds of children, and which prepare them to enter later into the spiritual things of the Word; and they are intended for still further adaptation by parents, teachers, and ministers. These simple truths are the flowers of the Word, and by them is the beginning of the understanding, preparatory to the fruitage of life; for the scientifics of truth precede the knowledge and understanding of the spiritual things of doctrine, and are therefore to be taught children first.
Flowers in heaven. (A. C. 1629, 2296, 4528, 4529; H. H. 176; C. L. 137; S. D. 5663, 5665.)
John on the Isle of Patmos.
It is a tradition that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos for his zeal in preaching the Gospel. John says that he "was in the island called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." (Revelation 1:9.) This is thought to indicate the reason for his exile. But another reason is given us. "John was commanded to betake himself to the Isle of Patmos, that the things which were to take place at the end of the Church might be revealed there, because an island signifies a nation about to receive the truths of doctrine." (A. E. 50.) It is added that the Isle of Patmos signifies revelation to the gentiles, because it is in the sea between Asia and Europe. It is also stated that those by whom the Word was written were led to places significative of the thing which they represented. When John says, "Because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ," the prime meaning is that he might receive on that island the revelation concerning the Word of God and concerning Jesus Christ. This is the essential reason, even if John was banished there by the persecutors of the Church.
In the internal historical sense, John was on the island of Patmos that he might represent the revelation given for the establishment of the Christian Church in Europe; but spiritually it was to represent the new revelation to be given when the first Christian Church should reach its end. (A. R. 34, 35; A. E. 51, 52.)
Closing the Eyes at Death.
"And Joseph shall put his hand upon thine eyes." (Genesis 46:4.) These words were said to Jacob when he was commanded to go down to Joseph in Egypt. When Jacob should die in Egypt, Joseph would be with him, and close his eyes. "This was done when persons died, because by death is signified resuscitation into life; for when a man dies, he does not die, but only lays aside the body which had served him for use in the world, and he passes into the other life in a body which serves him for use there." (A. C. 6008.) Closing the eyes at death was thus a representative act with the ancients, signifying that one's use in the world was finished, and that he was now to be introduced to the uses of the other life.
Commentators have taken note of the words spoken to Jacob. "Joseph shall stand by thy bedside in the hour of thy dissolution, and perform the last office of filial piety in closing thine eyes." (Bush.) "Ancient writers of other nations frequently make pathetic allusion to this last ministration of affection." (Whedon, who gives references to Homer and Ovid. Clarke speaks to the same effect.) The custom has come down to us, having the same signification as in the Ancient Church; but this signification is now unknown.
It is made clear in the number quoted above (A. C. 6008) that love to the Lord, represented by Joseph, would again be made living by the Lord in His Second Coming, and spiritual enlightenment result.
There is a sentiment abroad that capital punishment should be abolished; but the New Churchman in this, as in all other things, will look to Divine Revelation, "to the law and the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20), for instruction and guidance. Let us see what the teaching of Revelation is. In the letter of the Word, the following is given:
"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." (Genesis 9:6.)
"He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death." (Exodus 21:12.)
"He that killeth any man shall be surely put to death." (Leviticus 24:17.)
"Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death." (Numbers 35:30, 31.)
"All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matthew 26:52; Revelation 13:10.)
There are other passages which bear in the same direction, and none to the contrary. Love and mercy is indeed taught throughout, but it is love and mercy qualified by justice and truth. But what says the Heavenly Doctrine, in whose light all things of the letter are to be judged and determined?
In the explanation of Genesis 9:6, the teaching is that "the shedder of blood, or the murderer, is to be punished with death.... It is a law of retaliation well known to the ancients, according to which they judged crimes and misdemeanors (scelera)." (A. C. 1011.) Among the laws still "to be observed and done" (A. C. 9349) are such as command the capital punishment of the offender, as given in Exodus 21:12, and elsewhere. It is further stated that the law of retaliation was not repealed by the Lord, but explained. (A. C. 8223, 9049.) This ancient law was, that a similar evil was to be returned upon him who did evil to another. The Lord explained that this was not to be done in the Christian Church from revenge, but from justice. Hence the execution of this law was to be taken out of the hands of the individual, and given over to the State. (See also A. R. 762.)
Capital Punishment by the State Only.
Capital punishment, under the law of retaliation, was not to be abolished, but was to be denied the individual sufferer, who would not be guided by justice, but by revenge. Hence the fulfilling of this law was to be turned over to the State, which would act, not from cruelty and revenge, but from reason and law, from equity and justice. And the State, in order to deter men from the commission of diabolical crime, should have unquestioned the power of life and death. This is made evident in passages of the Writings, as in the following:
"Unless men were restrained by civil laws, and by fears of the loss of honor, of gain, of reputation, and of life, they would kill without any perception of conscience." (A. C. 3175.)
"He who hates continually desires to kill, and also actually would kill, unless prevented by the fear of punishment, the fear of the loss of life, of reputation," etc. (A. C. 8902.)
"Unless men were held in bonds by the law,... and by punishments opposed to their loves, which are the loss of honors, of possessions, and of life,... the human race would perish." (A. C. 10791. See also A. C. 1010, 7810, 8227; H. H. 531; T. C. R. 309.) Hence it is made clear what disaster to mankind would attend the abolishing of capital punishment by the nations of the earth.
The desire to abolish capital punishment is apparently on the increase, and if analyzed it will be seen to arise from an absence of belief in a life after death, so that death is looked upon as the total extinction of life, and thus the greatest of all calamities.
The view has prevailed that there is no hereditary evil except that which arose from the disobedience of Adam. "In Adam's fall we sinned all," from which sin, we are told, man is saved by faith in the merits of Christ, who suffered on the cross for the sins of man. But this "is a most false opinion.... Everyone, by his own actual sins, makes evil to be hereditary, and adds to that which he receives from his parents; and thus it accumulates, and remains in all his posterity; nor is it moderated except in those who are regenerated by the Lord." (A. C. 494.) And further: "Hereditary evil is from no other source than from parents; not, indeed, the evil which a man actually commits, but the inclination to it." (T. C. R. 521.) If a man inherited the actual evils of his parents, he would be born a sinner, and could not be saved. But no man is a sinner by birth. He becomes a sinner when he makes his own the evil to which he has the inherited inclination. (See also A. C. 8806, 3469.)
We are further taught that every church "decreases and degenerates, and its former integrity perishes, chiefly by reason of the increase of hereditary evil." (A. C. 494; T. C. R. 521.) Thus increasing by additions in each generation, it finally brings the church to its consummation and end. But the same law may operate affirmatively. This is the hope of the New Church,--the gradual increase of the inclination to good. Hence we read "that offspring born of two who are in love truly conjugial draw from their parents the conjugial of good and truth, from which they have an inclination and a faculty, if a son, for perceiving the things of wisdom, if a daughter for loving the things which wisdom teaches." (C. L. 202-205. See also A. C. 3469.)
No One Punished in the Other Life for Hereditary Evils.
"No one is punished on account of hereditary evils, but on account of his own evils." (A. C. 9069.)
Man is not punished on account of hereditary evils, nor even on account of any evil done in the world, but on account of the evils which he does after he is in the spiritual world. Evil done in the world goes with him into the spiritual world, and he does the same evils there, for which he is punished; but not for hereditary evils, nor evils previously done.
The tendency of hereditary evil is to come forth and take possession of the mind and life. It is then adopted as man's own, and shapes all his actions. It is necessary that hereditary evil should enter his understanding and thought, in order that its quality may become known, and that opportunity may be given him to accept it or reject it. If it is rejected, and continues to be rejected, it does not become his, and no punishment can follow,--punishment for what he has never done. Hence the need of instant resistance when evil enters the thought. This is what is meant by the words, "Agree with thine adversary quickly, whilst thou art in the way with him." (Matthew 5:25.) By the "way" is meant the thought. If hereditary evil is in this manner met and conquered, there is no punishment resulting from it, either in this world or the other.
On the above subject, in general, see A. C. 313, 1608, 2307, 2308, 9069; A. E. 989.
Submission signifies literally that which is placed under or below; in general, to yield, resign, or surrender to power or authority, to the control or government of authority. Transferring the thought to the Lord, we learn what is meant by submission in its religious or spiritual sense.
Much is said in our Doctrine on the subject of submission. This is because it is fundamental to spiritual life. We have spoken of this subject before, in the article on "Rebellion," pp. 57, 58, where it was shown that the only road to the removal of the life of hell is "in submission to the will of the Lord, to the rule of the Divine Law,... a submission that involves combat and resistance to the forces that rise up from below and excite a spirit of rebellion." We can hardly say more now. But see the teaching in the passages quoted in the next article.
Our present purpose is to present a more complete idea of submission, by the addition of the subject of prayer,--prayer before combat, prayer during combat, and prayer in acknowledgment and praise after combat, and that such prayer is heard in heaven, and by the Lord Himself. Let us quote here one passage: "But the worship of those who live a moral life from a spiritual origin is altogether different, for it is truly the worship of God. Their prayers are elevated to heaven and there heard, for the Lord draws their prayers through heaven to Himself." (A. E. 182. See also A. C. 9202; S. D. 4821, 4822; T. C. R. 108.) Prayer in church, prayer at home, prayer upon the knees before God, is thus introduced as an essential element in submission to the Divine will. But prayer may and should take place at any time, in any attitude of the body,--prayer for submission to the Providence of the Lord, and for help from Him in combat.
The Teaching Concerning Submission.
"The things of a lower place, because they ought to serve what is higher, must be in submission; without their submission, there is no conjunction possible." (A. C. 3091.) That is, man, being in a lower place, cannot be conjoined with the Lord, cannot be saved, without submission to the laws of Divine order.
In A. C. 4341, it is taught that conjunction is effected in no other way than by humiliation and submission, signified by the submission of Jacob to Esau, and that these two as one are brought about through temptations.
"There must be humiliation and submission in the presence of the Divine, when man is in worship.... The Lord wills humiliation and submission, not for His own sake, but for man's sake. For when man is in humiliation, he then has aversion to the evil and falsity in him, and thus removes them." (A. C. 4347.)
"The conjunction of the external man with the internal is not effected without temptation and spontaneous submission." (A. C. 5729.)
"In order that the Lord may render man blessed and happy, He wills a total submission." (A. C. 6138.)
"Humiliation and submission are the essentials of worship, for worship without these is not worship, but gestures in imitation of those who are in true worship, in which gestures there is nothing of life; for life from the Lord inflows only into the humble and submissive heart. (A. C. 8873.)
It is thus made dear that the habit of complaint at the ways of Providence is a condition of disorder in which the Lord is not present.
The spirit of submission will bring a realization that the laws of nature, even to its ultimates, as well as the doings of others outside of one's self, are all laws of Providence to the individual man, calling for obedience.
Reasons for the Permission of Evil.
Evil is permitted that there may be amendment of life. (A. C. 592.)
That freedom may exist. (A. C. 10177, 10178; D. P. 16; T. C. R. 479.)
That there may be temptations. (A. C. 6574.)
That evils may be seen, rejected, and removed. (D. P. 251, 275, 278.)
To prevent profanation. (A. C. 1327(4); D. P. 233, Seventh.)
Without the permission of evil, man cannot be led from evil to good, and so cannot be reformed and saved. (A. C. 6489, 6663; D. P. 234, 251, 275, 281, 2967, 333; S. D. 398.)
It is supposed that, because the Lord permits evil, He is the cause of evil. (A. C. 1832, 8227.) But all evil is from diabolical spirits. (A. C. 1874, 2768.)
The laws of permission are also laws of Providence. (D. P. 234, Chapter; A. E. 1159.)
The above teaching involves, in a summary view, that evils are permitted to the end that all things may be brought into order in heaven, in hell, and in the world. In heaven, by the breaking forth of evils in the imaginary heavens, causing the last judgment and its continuation, leading to the formation of the new heaven and the upbuilding of the new church. In hell, by evil spirits being permitted to do evil to one another, by which the external is repressed and brought into order, and is then compelled to perform uses. In the world, similar causes bring about external order, by which uses exist, and the necessity and compulsion for every man to do his daily work, under a law which operates with inexorable force--punishment in some form following when it is not obeyed.
Any evil that cannot be overruled for good is not permitted to come forth in either world. Hence, when an evil does occur or become active, the conclusion is safe and sure that it is for the good of mankind, looking especially to the spiritual increase of the church, to the regeneration of man, and the formation of heaven.
"They Rest Not Day and Night."
It is said of the four animals or cherubims (Revelation 4:8), that "they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." These words, in their inmost sense, treat of the Divine Providence of the Lord, which never rests or ceases to eternity." (A. E. 285.) This truth, like all universal truths, appears in the literal sense of the Word, as also in the human body, and in nature generally. In the Word, in many passages such as this: "Behold, Be that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." (Psalm 121:4.) In the human body, in all its operations, as in the case of the cerebellum. When the body is at rest at night the cerebrum sleeps, but never the cerebellum (A. C. 19772; S. D. 3183), restoring, refreshing, and invigorating. In this we see even a physical fulfilment of the words, "He giveth His beloved in sleep." (Psalm 127:2.) The heart, under the reign of the cerebellum, performs a similar office, never suspending its work until the body yields up its life. In nature, the same perpetual activity appears, as in the atmospheres and in the sun itself. It may be said of the sun, as representing the Lord, that it "neither slumbers nor sleeps." It does not always so appear, even as with the Divine operation of the Lord. The sun does not always shine; yet it does shine nevertheless, even if not seen by the eye of man or beast. The air and the ether are ever active, resting neither day nor night. We are not conscious of the labors of the cerebellum, but it never halts in its work. We are not always aware of the beating of the heart, but it beats, and continues to beat, even to the end.
All these works of nature are distinguished representatives of that perpetual Providence of the Lord in its unceasing guard, protection, and presence, never absent, and which "never rests or ceases to eternity."
The Fate of Man if the Lord Had Not Come.
Revelation teaches the supreme necessity for the coming of the Lord; also for the giving of the Word, and for the establishment of the church. If these three things had not taken place, especially if the Lord had not come, all mankind would have perished, and no man would now be living on the earth; even heaven itself would have been destroyed. In order, therefore, that heaven might exist, and men continue to live on earth, the Lord came into the world, and provided the Word, in which there is Divine Truth for angels and men, to be ever present with them in its mighty saving power. Without this, no human life, either in heaven or on earth, could have been preserved. (A. C. 10452.) For if the Lord does not effect His coming, the church perishes, and likewise all mankind, fulfilling the words of the prophet, "I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they were commoved, and the hills were overturned. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled." (Jeremiah 4:23-25.) We have in these words of Jeremiah a prophetic picture of what would happen to men in both worlds, if the Lord had not come to rescue and to save, by subduing the bells, by revealing His Word, and by establishing His church. Nothing else could have prevented the total extinction of all spiritual and natural life.
The Human Race Would Have Perished.
The following numbers exhibit, in the language of the Writings, what would have been the fate of man.
"Unless the Lord had come into the world, the whole human race on this earth would have perished." (A. C. 636, 637.)
"Unless the Lord, by His coming in the flesh, had freed the world of spirits from that wicked crew [the Antediluvian] the human race would have perished." (A. C. 1266.)
"It is an eternal truth, that unless the Lord had come into the world, and, by means of temptations admitted into Himself, had subdued and overcome the bells, the human race would have perished." (A. C. 1676.)
"Of necessity there must be communication of heaven with man, in order that the human race may subsist, and this by means of the church; for otherwise men would become like beasts,... and everyone would hasten without restraint to accomplish the destruction of the others." (A. C. 4545:7.)
"It was declared to me from heaven that the human race on this earth would have perished, so that not one man would have existed at this day, unless the Lord had come,... and assumed the human, and made it Divine." (L. J. 10.)
"Unless the Lord had come, the ... heavens formed of the inhabitants of this earth would have been transferred elsewhere, and the whole human race on the earth would have perished in eternal death." (A. E. 726:7.)
Finally, without the coming of the Lord, and the preservation of the human race thereby, the earth itself would have been dissolved; for "the angels said that an earth cannot subsist without the human race, because the Divine provides all things on an earth for the sake of man." (A. C. 9237. See also A. C. 468, 2025, 2853, 9276:7; H. H. 305a.)
The Body of the Lord in the Sepulchre.
In the literal sense of the Word, and in the Writings, the teaching is, that the body of the Lord was not disposed of in the same manner as takes place in the case of every man. That His body was not seen in the sepulchre, neither by the disciples, nor by the women, after it had been laid away, is the testimony of the four Gospels. (Matthew 28:6. Mark 16:6. Luke 24:3, 6. John 20:2, 12, 13, 15.) The testimony of the Writings on this point is also clear and distinct, as follows:
"The Lord made Divine all that was human with Him, ... which may appear to everyone from this, that the Lord alone rose from the dead as to the body." (A. C. 2083.)
"The Lord made the very corporeal in Himself Divine; ... therefore, also, He rose again from the sepulchre with His body." (A. C. 5078:2.)
"No man rises again in the body with which he was clothed in the world; but the Lord so arose, because He glorified His body, or made it Divine, while He was in the world." (A. C. 5078:6.)
"The Lord took it up into heaven all His Human glorified,... and left nothing of it in the sepulchre....He glorified the body itself, even to its ultimates, which are the bones and flesh." (A. C. 10125:4.)
"The Lord put on a human and glorified it ... even to ultimates, that is, even to the flesh and bones.... He left nothing of His body in the sepulchre." (A. E. 41.)
"Therefore He arose again, not only as to the soul, but also as to the body, which He glorified in the world, differently from any man. On this subject He also instructed the disciples, saying, 'Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have.'" (A. C. 10738.)
In these passages, and in several others, the appearance is that the material body of the Lord was changed or transformed into what is Divine, although this is not actually said. (See also A. C. 10825, 10826; D. L. W. 221; T. C. R. 170; A. E. 66, 1087.)
What Became of the Substances of the Lord's Body.
In the extracts, as quoted in the preceding article, the evidence is complete that the Lord rose with a body whole and entire, and left nothing in the tomb, as is the case with every man. But a further consideration is presented in what now follows:
"The Lord did not transmute the human nature from the mother into the Divine Essence, nor commix it with it. . . .
In the treatise on the Athanasian Creed, we have this teaching:
"That the Lord put off all the maternal in the sepulchre, and rising thence glorified Himself, and therefor He died; ... for in the sepulchre all such was to be dissipated." (Ath. Cr. 161.)
Again, "That the Lord in the sepulchre, thus by death, rejected all the human from the mother and dissipated it, ... and assumed a Human from the Father." (Ath. Cr. 162. See also 192.)
Meaning of the Words Transmute, Dissipate, and Reject.
In the passage quoted above from the Doctrine of the Lord (no. 35), it is said that the Lord did not transmute the nature from the mother into the Divine Essence, nor commix it with it, but that from material it was made Divine Substantial; and in the two passages quoted from the Athanasian Creed, it is said that the material body of the Lord was dissipated in the sepulchre, and rejected. Let us endeavor to see what is meant by the terms transmuted, dissipated, rejected, and Divine Substantial.
To transmute (transmutare) signifies "to change, turn, convert, alter." In English, from the Latin, it is "to change from one nature, form, or substance, into another; to transform; to change into a different substance," that is, from that in which it was before.
* Swedenborg was familiar with the teachings of the alchemists, and so used the term transmute with a full understanding of its meaning.
To dissipate (dissipare) signifies "to scatter, disperse, destroy, drive away." In English, to dissipate signifies "to scatter completely, to disperse and cause to disappear, used especially of things that can never again be collected or restored. To cause to vanish." It may be remarked that the term dissipate occurs about one hundred times in the Writings,* and in every instance it is used in the sense above indicated.
* According to the Potts Concordance.
To reject (rejicere) is also used (in Ath. Cr. 161) in connection with dissipate, signifying to cast off, refuse, and so to throw away as of no further use.
Divine Substantial (L. 35). The substances of the spiritual world are not material, but substantial,--spiritual substantial,--the latter a discrete degree more real than what is material. But infinitely more real are those substances called Divine Substantial, the substances of the Divine Body of the Lord. After, or as, what was material in His merely human body had been rejected, dispersed, dissipated in the sepulchre, we are told (L. 35) that "the Lord put on a Human from the Father," that is, a Divine Body from the Divine Substance of the Father, the material body from the mother being dispersed, dissipated, thrown away as of no further use.
The Divine Human After the Glorification.
Since it is directly stated that, in the final act of glorification, which took place in the sepulchre, "the Lord put off the human from the mother, which in itself was like the human of another man, and thus material, and put on a Human from the Father, which in itself was like His Divine, and thus substantial,... and that, since His Body was not now material, but Divine Substantial, He therefore came to His disciples when the door was shut, and that after He had been seen, He became invisible."
The Supreme Doctrine.
The doctrine of the Glorification of the Lord is the supreme doctrine of the church, treated of everywhere in Scripture in its inmost sense.
It may be said further, that what took place on the cross stands parallel with that which took place in the sepulchre, the one as the last temptation, and the other as the last act of glorification; and it would appear that any exhaustive study must take the two together. But the compass of such a subject is too great to be attempted in the present series of notes. Let us continue, then, with our brief consideration of the general subject of the Glorification of the Human of the Lord.
The Human Made Divine.
In a previous article on the subject of the Lord's Body, it was admitted that there is an appearance in certain passages of the Writings that in the sepulchre the substances of His body were changed, transformed, or transmuted into what is Divine, although it is not actually said in those numbers that this took place, which gives room for interpretation in the light of other teachings. That we have other teaching was shown in the quotations from the Doctrine of the Lord (no. 35) and from the treatise on the Athanasian Creed (nos. 161, 162), wherein it is shown that there was no transmutation into the Divine Essence of anything received from the mother, nor was it mingled with it, but that all was dissipated in the sepulchre, and that a Divine Human or Divine Body from the Father was taken on in the place of all that was natural and material.
Now, if the two passages just referred to be taken as decisive and truly interpretative, then when it is said that "the Lord rose again, not only as to the soul, but also as to the body, ... differently from any man" (A. C. 10738), the meaning is that He rose again with a body which had taken the place of the body from the mother,--a body from the Divine of the Father. Or, when it is said that "He rose again on the third day with the whole body" (L. 35), the meaning is, that He rose again with a body whole and entire, that is, Divine, descending from the Divine of the Father within Him, taking the place of that body from the mother and from nature which had prepared the way--parallel with the work of John the Baptist--and which, having performed this use, was removed or altogether put away, in the sense that all that was hereditary from Mary the mother, and through her from the Jewish nation and Jewish Church, together with all that was from nature and from the world, that is, all that was from hell, was totally removed by the processes of regeneration, that is, by the Divine act of glorification, extending through the series of years that He was on earth with men, having effected at the same time the Divine work of redemption.
The Divine Body from the Father.
In the extract above from the Doctrine of the Lord (no. 35) it is said that the Lord "put off the human from the mother,... and put on a Human from the Father." By transposing the word Human to the word Body, the passage would read, that the Lord "put off the body from the mother,...and put on a Body from the Father." This transposition is indeed made in the same number (L. 35), where it is said that the Lord, after He had risen, "showed Himself in His Human Body before His disciples" (L. 35), that is, He showed Himself in His glorified Body, the Body taken on from the Father, His Divine Body, now occupying the place of the body from the mother.
What a Man Inherits from His Mother.
We are familiar with the teaching that a man's soul is from his father, and his body from his mother. (T. C. R. 103, and elsewhere.) Let us here note the fact that a man inherits more from his mother than the mere physical body of flesh and bones. But it is not essential to this series to discuss this phase of the subject at large. We merely wish to call attention to the well-known teaching that the Lord had no soul from any human origin, but that the soul in Him was the Divine Itself,--the Divine which is called the Father. "I am in the Father, and the Father in me; ... the Father that dwelleth in me, He doeth the works." (John 14:10.) "Who does not know that the child has the soul and life from its father, and that the body is from the soul?
The second point we wish briefly to present is, that the Lord took on from Mary, by natural inheritance, not only a body of flesh and blood, but also her mental states, which included not only the natural good in her, but the evil tendencies of the Jewish nation, and of the whole human race. This body from Mary the Lord wholly removed by acts of glorification, and took on in its place a Body from the Father, Divine, Omnipresent, Infinite--present in all the world of creation, and not anything in it from the human of the mother.
The Lord Now Has All the Planes of a Man in the World.
The material body of the Lord, inherited from Mary, could not have been transmuted into the Divine Essence, any more than the substances of the natural world could be so transmuted, transformed, changed into the substances of the spiritual world. That this is impossible, the Writings teach everywhere. And as man casts aside his material body at death, and takes on a new body,--entire, distinct, and complete, a spiritual body,--which is not now material but substantial, no material particle remaining in it, so the Lord completely cast aside and rejected all that was material from the world, and took on a new Body from the Divine Itself, which is called Divine Substantial. (L. 35.)
This prepares us to understand in a measure the teaching that the Lord, previous to His coming, had in Himself only the planes which an angel has, but that now, through incarnation and glorification, He has all the planes a man in the world has, but Divinely complete and perfect. (See H. H. 57, 304; D. L. W. 233; A. E. 1112(2).) He and none other is now the Divinely perfect Man.
The Descent of the Divine by Glorification.
In this connection, it is important to understand that the glorification is both a descent and an ascent. The descent is primary and essential. The ascent is the appearance, but the descent gives expression to the thing as it really is. The ascent is by truth to good; the descent is by good to truth. The descent is the Divine Love coming down to be with men, even as the voice from heaven said to John, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, their God." (Revelation 21:3.) This descent of the Divine by glorification is the essential coming of the Lord. By it the Lord caused Himself to be present with men as He was never present before; and it is to be an eternal presence for the sake of His New Jerusalem. This descent was successive, gradual, beginning with the first man created; forming, first, the celestial heaven, then the spiritual heaven, then the natural, and finally the church on earth. He did bow the heavens and come down, beginning with His First or Highest, and concluding with His Last or Lowest, even as He said to John, "Fear not; I am the First and the Last. I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore." (Revelation 1:17, 18.)
There is a fallacy abroad in the Church, that the Lord by glorification returned to the Divine and became invisible as He was before His coming. There can be no greater lapse, no greater error of the human understanding. By his glorification and descent to men, He became more visible than ever before, having now in Divine perfection and visibility all the planes of a man in the world, and even all the planes of nature itself. He is no longer an angel, but He is a Man,--the one and only God Man,--the First and the Last, embracing man and the created universe in between His First and His Last--in the hollow of His hand, as it were.
The Divine of the Lord is in Three Degrees.
It was said in what precedes that the Lord, by incarnation and glorification, has taken upon Himself all the planes of a man in the world. He had before only what an angel has,--a Divine Celestial and a Divine Spiritual; but now He has in addition a Divine Natural. A man has these three planes temporarily, or during his life in the world, but the Lord now has them to eternity. Hence the teaching is "that there are three infinite and uncreated degrees of altitude in the Lord, and three finite and created degrees in man." (D. L. W. 230-235.) "Wherefore, these three degrees (infinite and uncreate) are inscribed on man, because they are in God Man, that is, in the Lord"; but "in man they are finite and created"; and thus "concerning the Lord," the Divine Human, the savior of the world, "nothing but what is Infinite can be predicated, and concerning man nothing but what is finite." (D. L. W. 231.)
And further, we learn that "it has been told me from heaven, that in the Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, before the assumption of the Human in the world, there were two prior degrees actually, and the third degree in potency, such also as they are with the angels; but that, after the assumption of the Human in the world, He also superinduced the third degree, which is called the natural, and that by this He became a Man similar to a man in the world, yet with the difference that this degree, like the (two) prior degrees, is Infinite and Uncreate, but that those degrees in an angel and in a man are finite and created." (D. L. W. 233.)
And we learn still further that "the reason why the Lord from eternity, or Jehovah, superinduced this third degree by the assumption of the Human in the world, was because He could not enter into the world except by a nature similar to a human nature, thus not except by conception from His Divine, and by birth from a virgin; for thus He could put off nature, which in itself is dead, and still a receptacle of the Divine, and put on the Divine." (D. L. W. 234.) That the Lord is not infinite and uncreate in these degrees of the Divine, is but an appearance for the sake of accommodation to the reception of angels and men.
The Uses of Baptism.
To baptize signifies to dip, to immerse, to cleanse or purify by washing. At first, baptism was by immersion of the whole body (A. C. 10239), but afterwards by applying water to the head, as representing the same as when applied to the whole body. (A. C. 10011.) The word "baptize" does not occur in the Old Testament, but the thing is there in the term "wash" and other terms signifying purification, especially in the term "circumcision, which signifies the same as baptism, namely, purification from evils, or regeneration. The Most Ancient Church knew nothing of circumcision. Its origin was in the Ancient Church, and the custom spread to many nations. It was enjoined upon Abraham and his descendants, not as anything new, but as a rite to be restored on account of its representation, as was the case with all the rites of the Israelitish Church.
But these representatives were abolished by the Lord when He came, and in their place He established Baptism and the Holy Supper (T. C. R. 670), to represent and include in one compass all the rites of the Ancient and Israelitish Churches. The historical, and at the same time the spiritual, reason why baptism was substituted for circumcision and all the washings of the Jewish Church was that the Christian Church might be distinguished from the Jewish (T. C. R. 674), having in view the establishment of an internal church in place of the external church which preceded. For the Israelitish Church was a wholly external church, and the Christian Church was established and began as an internal or spiritual church, but ceased to be so after the Council of Nice. The form remained, but the spirit was gone.
The Use of Baptism in General.
Baptism is in itself a spiritual use. As a form, it is representative of that spiritual use. It is represented in the ultimates of nature by water as a cleansing and purifying agent,--the purification of the soul by spiritual truth; even as the Holy Supper is representative of the nourishment of the soul in the uses of the bread and wine as nourishment for the body.
In the chapters on Baptism and the Holy Supper in the True Christian Religion, the teaching is that the uses of these two sacraments cannot be known without a knowledge of the spiritual sense of the Word. (T. C. R. 667, 698, also in 674.) This knowledge has now been given, in order that the New Church may know the real uses of the two great Sacraments. The reason why these real uses of the Sacraments cannot be known without the spiritual sense is because that sense reveals the true idea of God and a knowledge of the spiritual world, revealing at the same time the Divine presence, and the presence of the spiritual world, when Baptism is performed and the Holy Supper administered.
The First Use of Baptism.
There are three uses of Baptism. The first use is introduction into the Christian Church, and at the same time insertion among Christians in the spiritual world. (T. C. R. 677.) In order to understand this first use, it is important to know what is meant by the Christian Church, into which man is introduced by Baptism.
Broadly considered, the term "Christian Church" includes every religious body that bears the name of Christian, and into which a person is introduced by Baptism. They who are so introduced on earth are inserted among those in the spiritual world who are of the same religious belief; even as we read, "In the spiritual world, everyone is inserted into societies and congregations there according to the quality of the Christianity in him or outside of him." (T. C. R. 680.) It will thus be seen that anyone who bears the name of Christian, of whatever sect or denomination, is inserted by Baptism into a society of his own faith in the spiritual world, and into no other. He cannot go elsewhere than among his own. If he is baptized into a body of the Christian Church that holds a belief in a trinity of Divine Persons, he is inserted among those of the same faith in the spiritual world, and it cannot insert him into any other society; for instance, it cannot insert him into a society of those who believe in and worship one Divine Person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What is meant by the "Christian Church"
We are not left in doubt as to the meaning of the term "Christian Church." There are three passages which make the matter clear, as follows: 1. "The spiritual sense of the Word is revealed at this day because the Christian Church, such as it is in itself, is now first beginning; the former Church was Christian only in name, but not in reality and essence." (T. C. R. 668.) 2. "The Christian Church which the Lord founded when He was in the world is now first being built up by Him." (T. C. R. 674.) 3. "The spiritual sense is now disclosed, because hitherto Christianity has existed only in name, and with some a kind of shadow of it; for up to this time men have not approached and worshipped the Savior Himself, as the only God, in whom is the Divine Trinity.... But because Christianity itself is now first arising, and a New Church ... is now being instituted by the Lord, in which God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are acknowledged as one, because they are in one Person, it has pleased the Lord to reveal the spiritual sense of the Word, that this Church may come into the very use itself of Baptism and the Holy Supper." (T. C. R. 700.)
This teaching makes clear, leaving no doubt, that the New Church is now the Christian Church.
Insertion Among Christians in the Spiritual World.
Baptism is not only introduction into the Church on earth, but it is insertion at the same time (simul tunc) among Christians in the spiritual world. What is done in this world is done at the same time in the other, for we are there as to our spirits. What a man does in his body, he also does in his spirit, and his spirit is in the spiritual world. He is, by the act of Baptism, inserted as to his spirit among spirits in the spiritual world who are of his religious faith, whatever that faith may be. If his faith be a faith in the true God, Jesus Christ our Savior, and his life has been a life of obedience to Him, he is inserted among those Christian spirits who are in the same faith, and who are being instructed and prepared for the New Christian Heaven,--performing the same use that the New Church on earth is performing, namely, preparing men for heaven. These societies are the Christian Church, are the New Church, in the spiritual world.
It will be observed that the term "spiritual world" is used in a universal sense, even as the term "Christian" is so used; and, like the term "Christian," it is also used in a specific sense, meaning, not the whole spiritual world, but that state or region in the world of spirits where true Christians are, and are being prepared for the New Heaven.
The word insertion signifies to sow, implant, ingraft,-a more complete word than introduction; it is a more interior introduction; for their entrance into a heavenly society is imminent, the final work of introduction is being performed, and they are about to enter upon their reward. The word ingraft is expressive. It signifies to insert a branch of a tree or shrub into another tree or shrub for the sake of propagation; and the dictionary gives it a figurative sense,-"to insert or introduce in such a way as to make it a part of something," thus establishing an organic, a living, connection. The truth is, that by baptism at the beginning of regeneration a man is implanted, ingrafted, as to his inmost life in a heavenly society, and his insertion among Christians in the spiritual world is but a necessary step towards this goal of his life.
Instruction to Follow Baptism.
The indication given in the chapter on Baptism (T. C. R. 677) is that instruction in the doctrine of the church should be given after Baptism. This indication is given as follows: "That not only infants are baptized, but also foreign proselytes,... and this before they have been instructed, merely from the confession that they wish to embrace Christianity." (T. C. R. 677.) Infants re not instructed before baptism, and the passage quoted establishes it as a general rule of order for the church. All that is needed is a spirit of affirmation, a general confession of belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as God, and that evils are to be shunned as sins against Him, according to the requirement in our Baptismal Service.
This general affirmation is what is represented by the tribe of Dan, namely, "the affirmative of truth and good, which is the first of all things when faith and charity begin with man." (A. C. 3923.) The tribe of Dan was situated at the northern entrance into the Land of Canaan, which Land represented the Church, and Dan signified entrance into it by "the affirmative of truth and good." This "first of all things when faith and charity begin "is when Baptism takes place.
The Baptism of Infants.
The importance of the Baptism of infants, or of little children before the age of seven years, is made plain to us. Baptism may take place later, even in adult life. (H. D. 206.) But its use in the period of infancy is taught as follows: "Without the Christian sign, which is Baptism, some Mahometan spirit, or some one of the idolaters, may apply himself to Christian infants newly born, and also to children, and infuse into them an inclination for his religion, and thus draw away their minds and alienate them from Christianity, which would be to distort and destroy spiritual order." (T. C. R. 678.) This is a danger which is seen when it is understood that children are in a state similar to that of gentiles, and hence have a tendency to go off in spirit and live among them by doing the things the gentiles do, and even to stay among them, and become as pagans in adult life,--a state in which a large part of the Christian World now is, and one that is on the increase. (A. R. 750.) It is well known that children love the things the gentiles love, such as camping in the woods or by the sea, fishing and hunting, and other things of a similar nature, These things are useful and safe enough, if the children, by an early Baptism, have been introduced among true Christian spirits.
The Instrumentality of the Priest.
Baptism is not fully understood until it be known what is the instrumentality of the priest who performs the office; that is, until it be known that the spirits who are with the priest when he functionates come into communication with the person baptized, who is, in fact, transferred into the midst of them, inserted among them, by the act of Baptism. Before Baptism, he is in the midst of one class of spirits, but by Baptism he is placed among the spirits who are associated with the priest in his office as priest. This transfer and change is effected when the person baptized, in answer to the inquiry of the priest, declares his faith, and when the priest touches his forehead in applying the water, and by the laying on of hands when the blessing is administered. Touch is communication. It is transfer. It is introduction. It is insertion. And in the case of the true Church it is insertion among Christians in the spiritual world,--all effected through the office of the priest, and on the confession of the applicant for Baptism.
But if the priest is a priest of a false religion, the introduction is not into a true Church on earth, nor is there any insertion among true Christians in the spiritual world. It is insertion among those spirits who are represented by the priest of a false religion on earth; for the candidate has just affirmed his belief in the false God of a false religion. For what the priest is, and what he represents, passes over to the novitiate, and it cannot be otherwise. And no future change or transfer can be made, except on the basis of a sincere confession and a sincere repentance,--a sincere turning to the true God, our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Second and Third Uses of Baptism.
It has been shown that there are three uses of Baptism. The first use has been explained, and much that was said casts a light upon the second and third uses. Hence it is not necessary to enter at large upon the two uses that follow. It was also shown that a plenary ignorance exists in the Christian World concerning the spiritual uses of Baptism. This is because the spiritual world is not known; nor is the Lord God our Savior acknowledged. Without this knowledge and acknowledgment, and without obedience, no Baptism is true Baptism, no Baptism is Christian Baptism; and he who knows, and does not acknowledge, does not really know; and he who does not obey by following the Lord ceases to acknowledge, and after death will not even know.
The second use of Baptism, therefore, is the instruction which follows Baptism, by which the spiritual world becomes known, and by which the God who has all power in heaven and on earth,--God in His Human, our Lord Jesus Christ,--is obeyed by keeping His commandments. This introduces to the third use, which is regeneration itself,--the final use, the end in view from the beginning, the one idea in all the uses, for which all that precedes is a preparation, and in which Baptism is made complete,--complete in the knowledge, acknowledgment of, and obedience to, the Lord; in the love of Him and conjunction with Him, which is salvation and eternal life. By the second use, the spiritual mind or heaven is opened. By the third use, this opening is established and confirmed, and the angels are present with man.
The Baptism of John.
The uses of Baptism are not fully understood until it is known what is involved in the Baptism of John, and in the Baptism of the Lord by John; and when at the same time the distinction between the Baptism of John and Christian Baptism has been brought into view.
Elijah the prophet was to come and prepare the way for the Lord, and the Lord taught the multitudes that John was the Elijah who was to come. (Matthew 11:14.) John and Elijah both represented the Lord as to the Word, especially the Word of the Old Testament, and in particular the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the Lord and His coming into the world. And since, in its broad aspect, the entire Old Testament is such a prophecy, all looking to the advent of the Lord, it can be seen why John and Elijah are coupled together, when the representation of the Lord in His coming as the Word is under consideration,--the two prophets representing the same thing.
John, appearing in the wilderness of Judea, proclaimed the advent of the Messiah, and preached the baptism of repentance, calling upon the Jews to repent of their sins. It was necessary that they should repent, because they had made the commandments of God of none effect through their traditions. (Matthew 15:6.) They had perverted and profaned the Law, as given to Moses on Mount Sinai, and for that reason the communication with heaven by the externals of their worship was about to be severed; the breaking of which meant the ruin and destruction of that nation and of all mankind. Hence a reformation must take place.
The Wrath to Come.
It is recorded that "when John saw the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (Matthew 3:7.) It was by the Pharisees and Sadducees that the communication with heaven was about to be severed. This they did not know, but they knew from the Prophets that the coming of the Messiah was to be a time of great wrath. They knew not the nature of this wrath, or its spiritual cause, but a prophet was proclaiming in the wilderness that the great day of wrath was at hand, and He was calling upon the Jews to come and be baptized, repenting of their sins, and in this manner to prepare for the great day of Jehovah. And they believed that, if they heeded the voice of the prophet, the Messiah would come and deliver them from a foreign yoke, and make them the greatest nation in the world, subjecting all people to their dominion. They were to be led by their fears, and at the same time by their ruling love, to prepare for the Messiah. And so there "went out to John, Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jordan, to be baptized of him in the Jordan, confessing their sins." (Matthew 3:5, 6.) Crowds came to him from the whole land, and so there was a reformation practically of the whole Jewish nation, in preparation for the coming of the Lord.
The repentance to which they were called was not the repentance of the Christian Church which was to come, but a representative repentance. "Unless this representation had preceded, the Lord could not have manifested Himself....
Smiting the Earth With a Curse.
"John prepared the way by baptism, and by proclaiming the Lord's coming; without that preparation, all in the world would have been smitten with a curse, and would have perished." (T. C. R. 688.) This is foretold in the closing words of the Old Testament: "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord; and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." (Malachi 4:5, 6.) By the "fathers" in this passage (and in Luke 1:16, 17) are meant the angels of the ancient heavens, who, because of the intervening imaginary heavens, had been separated from the children, that is, from the simple good in all the religions of the world. This communication must be restored; the "fathers" and the "children" must be reconciled, or a mighty curse would follow. This reconciliation was represented in the baptism performed by John, on the basis of which the Lord effected a last judgment upon the imaginary heaven, casting the evil of that false heaven into hell, and receiving the simple good into the heaven which had been occupied by the evil. This last judgment was the "great and dreadful day of the Lord," the "day of great wrath," the "day of a mighty curse," unless the "fathers and the sons" could be reconciled. But the wrath predicted was not the wrath of an angry God, nor was the curse the curse of God, but a wrath and a curse that had its origin in hell.
The Baptism of the Lord.
The baptism of the Lord was similar in the outward form, and in its general effect, to the baptism of others by John. But with the Lord Himself, in Himself, the effect had no finite limitation, as with men. These effects were infinitely more far-reaching and universal, extending through all time into eternity itself. Let us remember that Baptism is introduction and insertion, as has been explained. With the Lord it was introduction on earth into the Jewish Church, now reformed and brought into its former order externally and temporarily by the baptism of John; and it was thus prepared to receive Him; and the Lord Himself was made ready actively to begin His work of salvation, for which all His previous life with men had been a commencement and a preparation.
By the baptism of John, the Lord also inserted Himself among those in the spiritual world who were looking for the Messiah. In all the ancient religions, there was some kind of expectation of a Messiah, who was to come into the world to be the Savior of men. (See what is said of the Wise Men from the East. A. C. 3249, 3762, 9293.) All these,--the simple good of all nations,--continued this looking after death, and were gathered together in the spiritual world. The Lord must place Himself among them, to lead and teach them, to form a new heaven of them, from which a new church could descend,-"the future church of the Lord." He at the same time closed the hells, that the good might be led safely into heaven, which He entered more interiorly, making His presence felt by the angels more than ever before.
In what manner does the baptism of John differ from the Christian Baptism which followed? The fact that the Apostles re-baptized those who were converted to Christianity, and who had been baptized by John, indicates clearly that they saw a distinction. Concerning this we learn from the Book of the Acts (19:1-6) that the action of the Apostles was based upon the teaching of the Lord, that what is meant by the Holy Spirit was not in existence when John baptized. (See John 7:39 and T. C. R. 158.) Hence there was a distinction in the representation of the two baptisms. "The baptism of John represented the cleansing of the external man, but the baptism which is at this day among Christians represents the cleansing of the internal man, which is regeneration. (T. C. R. 690.) For, as has been shown, John's baptism had in view a reformation of the Jewish Church, and a restoration of its representative character, having as its basis a representative repentance. But the purpose in Christian Baptism was a true spiritual reformation, a spiritual restoration of the internal order of the Ancient Church; for the internal of the Ancient Church was similar to that of the Christian Church (A. C. 1083, 1141), but not to that of the Jewish Church. And so the Baptism of the Christian Church was representative of a true spiritual repentance from sin. This distinction was also indicated in what was said by John to the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to him. "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me ... shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire" (Matthew 3:11); and in what John said to the Lord, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" (Matthew 3:14.)
The Teaching Concerning the Baptism of John.
"By the baptism of John a way was prepared that Jehovah God might descend into the world and perform redemption." (T. C. R. 688.)
"That John will be sent before the Lord, lest that nation should then perish." (P. P. Malachi 4:3, 4.)
"Without this sign in heaven before the angels, the Jews could not have subsisted and lived at the coming of Jehovah, that is, of the Lord, in the flesh." (A. R. 776.)
"John was the prophet sent to prepare a way for Jehovah, that He might come down into the world and accomplish the work of redemption; and he prepared the way by baptism, and at the same time by proclaiming the Lord's coming; and without such a preparation, all therein would have been smitten with a curse, and would have perished." (T. C. R. 688.)
"A way was prepared by the baptism of John, because by it they were introduced into the future church of the Lord, and were inserted in heaven among those who waited for and desired the Messiah; and thus they were guarded by angels, that the devils might not break forth from hell and destroy them." (T. C. R. 689.) The future church of the Lord was as yet in the new heaven, which was then being formed by the Lord; it afterwards descended on earth through the work of the Apostles. It is similar now.
"All would have perished,... unless a way had been prepared for Jehovah by means of baptism, which caused a closing of the hells, and a guarding of the Jews from total destruction." (T. C. R. 689.)
Hence it appears "with what a curse and destruction the Jews would have been smitten, unless they had been prepared by the baptism of John to receive the Messiah,... and they were prepared by this, that they were enrolled and numbered in heaven among those who in heart expected and desired the Messiah; hence angels were sent to guard them." (T. C. R. 691.)
"Unless a representative of purification from falsities and evils by baptism had prepared that nation for the reception of the Lord, it would have perished by diseases of every kind at the presence of the Divine. This is what is meant by the words, 'Lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.'" (A. E. 724(7).) The remnant escaped spiritual death, and all were rescued from natural death "by diseases of every kind." In this we have an intimation of what the word escapes now by the new Christian Baptism.
"The Baptism of the lord Himself signified the glorification of His Human.... Therefore, when He permitted John to baptize Him, He said, 'Thus it becometh us to fulfill all the justice of God' (Matthew 3:15),... which signified the subjugate the hells, and to bring the hells and the heavens into order, and to glorify His Human." (A. C. 10239; T. C. R. 144.) Thus it will be seen that the Lord, when in the world, did things according to His own order, which is meant by "fulfilling the justice of God."
The Three Great Evils.
The three great evils to which mankind is subject are war, pestilence, and famine; and there are three great spiritual evils to which these three correspond. (A. C. 1327, 2799, 10219; A. E. 386:10.) So long as the spiritual evils exist and are active, their corresponding natural evils are permitted; nor can the latter be prevented, so long as evil passions have control of the human mind and spirit. With the descent of the New Jerusalem, and the consequent increase of spiritual enlightenment with some, and in the wider spread of natural enlightenment, or of enlightened self-interest, as it is called, a diminishing of the three great evils mentioned may be expected; but a total wiping out or removal of them may not be looked for until many ages elapse. Human hopes have been aroused, especially during the past century, looking to a diminution or removal of these great evils; but the experience of the late World War did not exhibit many phases of encouragement looking to that end. In the opinion of some, no greater savageness and ferocity has been exhibited in the wars of the past. In addition to the horrors of war, a pestilence spread rapidly over the world, causing the death of thousands; famine in many places showed its ugly head; and a cry was heard, doubtless in both worlds, "O Lord, how long! "Surely the time has come for a looking to the Divine Source of remedy and healing for the woes of man. It will not come from human help, except a palliative healing, but only from the Source indicated in the cry of the Psalmist, "Lord, help us, for vain is the help of man." (Psalm 60:11.)
The Evil of War.
War as a great evil is depicted in the Writings; yet the permission of war is pointed out as inevitable; and it is even shown that there is such a thing as a righteous war.
That war is not according to Divine order, is shown in the fact that there is none in heaven, that there was none in the Most Ancient Church on this earth (A. C. 8118), and that there is none on the planet Jupiter. "When I was about to tell them that on this earth there are wars, they turned away, and were unwilling to hear." (A. C. 8117.)
Those who go to the extreme of "pacifism" see no righteous war. But such minds do not look to Divine Revelation for the guidance of their thought; or, if they do, they quote the words of the Lord where He said, "Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." (Matthew 5:39.) The New Churchman needs only to be told that in these words the genuine truth is concealed, and that it is not possible for them to be literally carried out. They were spoken in this form by the Lord for the sake of the spiritual sense.
That there is such a thing as a righteous war in the present condition of the world, the Doctrine makes plain. "Wars which have for an end the defense of one's country and the church are not contrary to charity. (T. C. R. 407; S. D. 4346.) It is taught further that a war for defense is justified, but rarely .war for invasion; and even the angels of heaven defend themselves, but evil spirits attack. (D. P. 252.) And a commander who is in charity "does not go to war except for the protection of his country, and he becomes the aggressor only when aggression is defense." (Charity 164.) There are some examples in history where aggression or invasion of another country was defense. But more often it is the other way. The Spiritual Diary (no. 1397) speaks of those "who in war love nothing but carnage and plunder, and have especial delight therein." Then, on the other hand, the passage speaks of soldiers seen in the other life who are among the blessed.
Wars in the Future.
Wars cannot be abolished, but they may be diminished, and their horrors mitigated; and labors to this end call for sympathy and encouragement. We are informed that the state of the outer world will be similar after the Last Judgment to what it was before, and among the things that are to continue are mentioned wars; but the state of the church will be dissimilar hereafter. (L. J. 73.) Hence those who labor for the wiping out of all war are attempting the impossible. This is not a work of wisdom. But it is wise to endeavor to reduce wars to a minimum, and especially to lessen the horrors that have usually attended them.
The Love of the Human Race.
From the Doctrine of Charity (no. 85), we learn that "to love another kingdom more, by promoting its use more, would be contrary to the good of the kingdom in which one is; for which reason one's country should be loved in a higher degree." The importance and use of patriotism, or love of country, is shown here and in many passages of the Writings. But a distinction is made between the love of another country than one's own and the love of the human race as a whole. Hence we read that "the object of charity is a man, a society, one's own country, and the human race; and all are the neighbor in a strict and in a wide sense" (Charity 72), and that "the human race is the neighbor in the widest sense." (Charity 87.) Thus we are to love our country, and love her more than we love another country; but a love of the good of the human race as a whole is a wider love than the love of one's country. (See also A. E. 1226; D. Love VI.)
Like every love, the love of country may be perverted, and become a selfish love, a love of rule, a love of conquest, a will and purpose to dominate over other countries; and thus the love of country, inspired by the Lord for the sake of salvation, may be turned into its opposite.
On the importance and use of patriotism or love of country, see A. C. 6821; H. H. 64, 517; T. C. R. 412, 414. On the selfish love of country, see T. C. R. 441; S. D. 5399. On the love of the human race, see as above. But there are still higher loves,--the church, the Lord's kingdom, and the Lord Himself. (See A. C. 2425, 6023, 6818-6824.)
Who is My Neighbor?
In answer to a certain lawyer who tempted Him, saying, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" The Lord expounded the doctrine of charity as contained in the Two Great Commandments. "But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?" Then followed the story of the good Samaritan, closing with the question, "Which now of these, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves?" The lawyer answered, "He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." (Luke 10:25-37.) "The Samaritan who showed mercy signifies the gentiles who are in the good of charity" (A. E. 444(14)), for "to have compassion signifies to exercise mercy and charity from within, since mercy and charity are one." (Ibid.) Hence "those who are in good are the neighbor" (A. C. 6708), and "everyone is the neighbor according to the quality of his good." (A. R. 32.) The evil are also the neighbor, but good is to be done to them in a different manner. (A. C. 708.) It is the same with nations as with individuals.
There are three spiritual activities that cannot be separated, namely, temptation, combat, and prayer. Temptation is the anxiety attendant on combat. To combat is to fight, to resist an enemy. Prayer is an essential element of combat,--prayer for help, for light to see and strength to resist. Without prayer, a looking to the Lord (Charity 2), without supplication for help, without acknowledgment of the source of help, the combat is from self; self is the end in view, and the combat is of no avail. Prayer is the acknowledgment of the need of help in resisting evil. Man is to fight as if the fighting depended upon himself and his own unaided powers, but at the same time acknowledging that all power is from the Lord alone.
The end in all combat is to protect or preserve something that is in danger of loss or injury; and the need of help appears when the opposition or attack is too strong to be overcome by individual effort. Then comes in the need of the appeal for help to the only Source of help. "I will lift up mine eyes to the mountains, from whence cometh my help. My help is from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth." (Psalm 121:1, 2.) The Lord brings help when there is resistance to evil on the part of man. The Lord then enters, fights for man, and removes the evil.
Let us see clearly these three essentials of all spiritual growth,--temptation, combat, and prayer; and that unless these three are together, temptation is not temptation, combat is not combat, and prayer is not prayer. And seeing clearly, acknowledging in heart, we shall realize that "if a man by combat against evils as sins has procured for himself in the world something spiritual, even though but little, he is saved, and his uses afterwards grow, as a grain of mustard seed grows into a tree, according to the words of the Lord in Matthew." (13:32. D. Love XVIIe.)
A Special Providence.
What is called a "special Providence" is a special Divine interposition for the benefit of an individual or group, in which others are not included. This special intervention of Providence will often come, it is supposed, in answer to prayer. The fallacy of this belief will appear where it is known that what the Lord gives to one He gives to all. But all do not receive alike. The difference is not in the Lord, but in the man who receives. The Lord cannot possibly refuse to one what he gives to another even as wise parent is the same to all his children. Prayer is good when it opens the way to the action which prepares the mind to receive what the Lord is giving to all who can receive.
The Divine Wisdom is omnipresent,-everywhere and with everyone. And influx is according to form. It is man that refuses to receive. That the Lord is present with every man, and wills to be received, and that man may receive or reject, is shown in the words: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20.) The Lord is present with all, urging to be received; but man is free to receive and free to reject. He may open the door, and he may not. This Divine gift of freedom is ever preserved, even with the most depraved. If a man thinks that what is granted to him is for himself alone, and not for all, the way is opened for a conceit of his own good, since he believes that he is a special object of Divine favor.
It indeed appears as if there were a special Providence, both in the Word and in human experience.
Do the Writings Teach a Special Providence?
The following passages present the appearance, and also the real truth:
We read of "a peculiar (or special) Divine Providence of the Lord." (A. C. 6025.) The Israelites are spoken of as "a peculium* above all people, signifying that in such case the Divine Truth will be with them more than with others." (A. C. 8768.) "The Lord's mercy is universal, that is, towards all, and is also special towards those who abstain from evils." (A. C. 8307.) Because of abstaining from evils, they are receptive more than others.
* Translated "peculiar treasure" in the Common Version. (Exodus 19:5.)
The genuine truth is given in many passages, as follows:
"There is not a special mercy for one more than for another." (H. H. 364.)
"The Lord in no wise acts upon any one particular without acting simultaneously upon all." (D. P. 124, 125.)
"The influx of life from the Lord is varied according to the forms receiving.... But it is to be known that life itself is not changed and varied." (A. E. 349:3.)
"The Divine is not different in different subjects, but one created subject is different from another." (D. L. W. 54.)
"Many think that the Divine of the Lord is divided, ...because when the influx descends, it falls into forms not correspondent; but the form itself varies it." (T. C. R. 8.)
In several passages it is stated that "the Lord appears to everyone according to his quality, because according to reception." (A. C. 6832:2, 8819 and elsewhere.) And the subject is illustrated by examples from nature in many places.
Further Concerning a Special Providence.
It was shown above that by "standing at the door" (Revelation 3:20) is meant the omnipresence of the Lord; and that since He is present with every man, asking for admission, there is no such thing as a special Providence for one man more than for another; and that the appearance of a special Providence arises from the fact that one man "opens the door" (by repentance) and another does not, making it possible for the Lord to enter in and bless the one and not the other.
A change of scene reveals to us the devil standing at the door, knocking for admittance; and the freedom of man, Divinely given, is shown in the fact that he may admit the Lord or he may admit the devil; and it can be seen from this that the devil or hell also has a kind of omnipresence, like that of heaven. Heaven and also hell are, as it were, omnipresent; that is, within the bounds of the created universe. Beyond is the Infinite.
Now there is no law of heaven that is not turned into its opposite in hell; and it is not a passive opposition. Hence the ever-present danger to mankind. But, through the omnipresent mercy of the Lord, man is placed in the midst between the two opposing forces, and it is given him, as it were, to hold the balance of power, and to turn the scale, admitting the one or the other, thus deciding his final lot. And so we reach the conclusion that there is no special Providence, except in the outward appearance. The Lord interposes with His Divine power when the individual himself opens the way according to the laws of order granted him to exercise.
Every man will finally open his door to that which comes from above, or to that which comes from below; and as his lot is thus decided, so it remains.
Names and Their Significance.
A name is that by which anyone is known, and by which one is distinguished from another. (A. C. 2009:9.) Inanimate objects also have names, as mountains, lakes, rivers, etc.; and many of them have received names from certain notable characteristics. In ancient times, this rule was followed in giving names to persons. (A. C. 1946.) "And thou shalt call his name Ishmael, because the Lord hath heard thine affliction." (See also the naming of Jacob's sons in Genesis 29 and 30.)
The names of this world do not pass into heaven (A. C. 10216; T. C. R. 300), but a new name is given to every one according to the quality of his life. And the Lord Himself speaks of His "new name" (Revelation 3:12), by which is signified that "those who will be in the New Jerusalem will acknowledge the Divine Human of the Lord, ... which was not before acknowledged in the church." (A. E. 224.) And as the angels acknowledge and worship the Divine Human of the Lord, it is said that the name of the Lord in heaven is not the same as on the earth with men. (A. E. 1022.) It is also said that every angel has a name, but not the name he had in the world. (A. E. 676; A. C. 10216; T. C. R. 300.) It is indeed stated that "no angel in heaven has any name" (A. C. 1705); but the context shows a full agreement with the teaching elsewhere, which is, that "there are no names in the spiritual world as in the natural world; for in the spiritual world all are named according to the quality of their life." (A. E. 676, 735:3, 892; A. R. 8.) Thus every angel, on entering heaven, receives a new name; and no name in the world, or in the literal sense of the Word, whether of the Lord or of man passes over into heaven. (A. C. 10216.) The name of the Lord in heaven is His Divine Human, signifying that in His Human He is God Himself; for it is the Divine Human by which God is known, and there is no other name in heaven or under heaven by which man can be saved. (Acts 4:12.)
The Book of Job.
The Book of Job, like other ancient books, was written "by pure correspondences"; but the spiritual sense in that book "does not treat of the holy things of heaven and the church, like the spiritual sense in the prophets; therefore, that book is not amongst the books of the Word." (A. E. 543:18.) In the story of the Trojan Horse (A. C. 2762) a natural or historical event is described in the language of correspondences, for by that time they had lost a knowledge of the spiritual sense "like that in the prophets." Writing by correspondences, however, still existed, but they described in that language the doings of men and the phenomena of nature, etc. Further information on this subject is given in the Arcana Celestia (1756, 9942) where we are informed that the ancient profane writers continued to write in the ancient style, though they no longer described the things of heaven and the church in that manner, but instead thereof things historical, civil and moral. And it is added that the Boob of Job and Solomon's Song were written in this way; therefore, neither are they books of the Word. (See also A. C. 3901, 3540:4; S. S. 20, 21; A. E. 740:14.)
All the planes of truth exist in the Word. Besides the celestial and spiritual senses, which treat of the Lord, of heaven, and of the church, there is an internal natural sense or internal historical sense, treating of "things historical, civil, and moral," even down to the things of nature. There is no truth that is not originally in the Word. But in ancient times a knowledge of its spiritual truths was gradually lost; the science of correspondences remained, but men did not receive by it a knowledge of things spiritual.
When the movement called "spiritualism" began, it was proposed in the New Church to call it "spiritism,"* since there was in it nothing spiritual, but merely the gross materialism of the other world. The spirits who speak through the mediums make plain that they know nothing of the Lord, nothing of the spiritual truths of the Word, nor anything of a truly spiritual heaven. The truth is, the Lord alone speaks with man--to every man. (A. C. 904.) The angels do not desire it, knowing that it is contrary to order. It is not permitted to evil spirits. If it occurs, it is because man invites it, and opens the way, violating the order and commandment of God (Isaiah 8:19, 20); just as other evils are forbidden, and yet are permitted for reasons of Divine Wisdom, looking to the freedom of man, and thus to his salvation. (D. P. 134, 275.)
* The suggestion is said to have been made by Mr. Sampson Reed, of Boston.
The New Church was disturbed for a time by the claim of certain ones that they had been called to complete the work of Swedenborg by revealing the celestial sense of the Word, since, as was asserted, Swedenborg revealed only the spiritual sense. They were ignorant, or unwilling to believe, that the revelations of Swedenborg were made by the Lord Himself, and that the celestial sense appears in the Writings everywhere, shining on every page. For the celestial sense treats of the Lord alone, and of His Divine work for the salvation of men. (A. C. 8943, 9389; S. S. 80; A. E. 435:4.)
A germ of spiritism does exist with some, however, in the belief that open communication will be restored to the New Church as it existed with the most ancient people.
The Danger of Intercourse with Spirits.
The danger of modern spiritism was foreseen (Isaiah 8:20, and in the Writings throughout), and provision made that the church should be protected from the threatened loss of spiritual life, as shown in the numbers which follow.
"If spirits were allowed to use the exterior memory [of man], the human race would perish.... Man would not then be able to think from his own memory, but only from that of the spirit." (A. C. 2477, 2478.) He would no longer be free, but a slave.
"No one is reformed by visions and by discourse with the dead, because they compel." (D. P. 134.) In this number the words of Abraham to the rich man in hell are quoted, in which it is plainly shown that communication with heaven is by the Word only, and not by speech with spirits (Luke 16:27-31), the Word being the sole medium of communication and of salvation.
In D. P. 321, the teaching is, that if man were instructed by spirits what to believe and do, human rationality and liberty would perish.
"It is believed by many that man can be taught by the Lord by means of spirits speaking with him. But those who believe this, and desire it, do not know that it is associated with danger to their souls." (A. E. 1182.) It is then stated that neither men nor spirits know that they are with each other, and the indication is given that in this is the safety of man. (See also A. E. 1183; S. D. 1622, 1902.)
Swedenborg was not a spiritistic medium. Spirits did not speak through him, nor any angel, but the Lord alone.
"No angel wished, nor spirit dared, to speak anything to me, still less to instruct me, concerning anything in the Word or any doctrine from the Word; but the Lord alone has taught me." (D. P. 135.)
"I testify in truth ... that from the first day of that call I have not received anything which pertains to the doctrines of that Church from any angel, but from the Lord alone while I read the Word." (T. C. R. 779.) He was the medium of the Second Coming of the Lord, and of that only. But the only is the all.
To evangelize signifies to announce good tidings, to proclaim the advent of the Lord (Isaiah 52:7; 61:1), and the proclamation is made by printing (T. C. R. 779; A. C. 9353) and by preaching (A. C. 3488:8.) Evangelization is external and internal. External evangelization is, in part, what is usually called missionary work. In its broad aspect, it is addressed to all who have hitherto been in the darkness of ignorance. (Matthew 4:16.) There are three classes of them,--the simple good in the Christian world, children and the gentiles. The good tidings are to be conveyed to all of these, but with variety according to their state. (A. R. 66, 73.)
Evangelization is instruction. External evangelization is instruction in the genuine truths of the literal sense of the Word, and internal evangelization is instruction in the truths of the internal sense. Thus there are two states of the church; the first is the beginning, the calling, the invitation, the preparation; the second is the upbuilding by instruction in the particulars of truth.
The "better instructed" are those who teach the internal sense of the Word. The first instruction is by those who teach the literal sense of the Word or the genuine truths therein.
The Field of Evangelization.
"The field is the world." (Matthew 13:37, 38.) By the "field is the world" is meant the whole human race, but in particular those of mankind who, after the Last Judgment, can be formed into a church, on account of their being affirmative to the truths of revelation, and who are signified by the "remnant." (Isaiah 1:9.) The spirit of affirmation exists with them, because they are in the good of charity. (A. C. 9295.) This is the field of evangelization in general, or of external evangelization. It is with the children and youth of the church; it is with all in the Christian world whose minds are open to receive; and it is with the gentiles. This form of evangelization is first in time, preparatory, and introductory. But internal evangelization is first in end, and builds the church itself. Neglect this internal field, and the church remains external, and its course will be downward and outward.
Internal evangelization involves the formation of church societies, with pastors trained and prepared to teach the particulars of the Heavenly Doctrine, or the internal sense of the Word, whose field will be primarily and essentially the adult mind of the church, especially the minds that have become intelligent in the truths of the church through the reception of instruction based on the reading of the Writings.
Evangelization is not a single but a perpetual announcement of the Lord and of His coming, and a perpetual call to repentance. "The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light.... From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:16, 17.)
The Mode of Evangelization.
Evangelization is effected by means of the printed and the spoken Word. The art of writing and printing "was provided by the Lord for the sake of the Word" (A. C. 9353), that it might be made known to all men. After the fall, the written Word became a necessity for the salvation of the human race. It was not needed in the Golden Age, for men at that time had immediate communication with heaven.
There have been several written Words in succession. First, the Ancient Word for the Ancient Church; then the Israelitish Word, as embodied in the Old Testament; then the Christian Word, or the Gospels and the Book of Revelation; and finally, the Word for the Church of the New Jerusalem, being the internal sense of the Word as given in the letter of the previous Revelation. In all and each of these, the Word was and is to be made living by evangelization and worship. (A. C. 9925.)
As with all previous written and printed Revelations, the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem was to be written, printed, and published to the whole world. (T. C. R. 779.) But the printed Word and doctrine was not intended to exclude the spoken Word.*
* It has been held by some that the indication given in T. C. R. 719 looks to printing and publication societies only, and that no other form of organization is needed.
It is important to take a comprehensive view of what is meant by the dragon in the Apocalypse. When it is mentioned, we usually think of justification by faith alone, but it covers a larger field. It includes all forms: the pride of self-intelligence; the belief that man lives from himself, and not from God; all the activities of the love of the world from the love of self. He is called "the prince of this world" (John 12:31; 16:11); he is "that ancient serpent, the Devil and Satan" (Revelation 12:9); he is the serpent in the Garden of Eden; he is Lucifer, son of the morning (Isaiah 14:12); and he is called by other names and titles in the Word throughout, especially where the imaginary heaven, and the judgment upon it, is treated of; for he is that heaven. And since there is an imaginary heaven at the end of every church, which is then judged by the Lord, we can see how universal is the falsity of evil represented by the dragon; for he is the author of all the falsifications and perversions of the Word. And the dragon still exists. He is still the prince of this world "that deceiveth the whole world" and "them that dwell on the earth" (Revelation 12:9; 13:14), from whom there is no deliverance except by the Lord through His Divine work of redemption, and through the regeneration of the individual man by Him.
Since the dragon is also called a "flying serpent," and appears as such in the spiritual world, it may be interesting to note the tradition of a flying serpent in ancient times. Herodotus says that they existed in Egypt. But modern historians find themselves unable or unwilling to confirm the statement of Herodotus.*
* The seraph is translated "flying serpent" twice in Isaiah (14:29; 30:6); and the Israelites were bitten by the seraph in the desert. (Numbers 21:6.) Gesenius, after saying there was no such thing as a flying serpent, remarks that it was probably a flying lizard, which is not venomous. (See seraphim.)
It is well to remember that the dragon's influence may invade the New Church itself.
The Dragon as Revealed in the Writings.
The dragon is the same as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, signifying the sensual. (A. C. 6952.)
The dragon is a serpent "which not only creeps on the ground but also flies." (A. E. 714:3.)
By the dragon is meant those who made God three and the Lord two. (A. R. 537, 565.)
All who are sensual, that is, who reason from appearances in the Word, and at the same time from appearances in nature, are meant by the dragon. (A. R. 550, 563, 841.)
The state of those meant by the dragon shown in a Memorable Relation. (A. R. 655.)
For a long time the spiritual sense of the Word will not be acknowledged, because of the persecutions of the dragon. (T. C. R. 207.)
By the dragon is not meant those who deny God and the Lord, and who reject the Word and the doctrine of the church; for these never appear in heaven, but are cast into hell immediately after death. (A. E. 737.) By the dragon is meant those who acknowledge these truths, but are inwardly in evil.
The interior falsifications of the Word, signified by the dragon, "exist only with the learned leaders," but not with the common people. By these latter the church is helped. (Revelation 12:16. A. E. 764.)
It was the dragon who persecuted the Lord when He was in the world, and excited the priests and elders against Him. (S. D. 502-505.) Hence every imaginary heaven existing before a last judgment is called "the dragon."
"That the dragons there stood around and vehemently opposed (the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem) with all their might, and this even to the crying out and torment of those who were in favor of that Doctrine, I can testify. Thence it is evident that those who are like them in the world will also oppose the reception of that Doctrine." (A. E. 711.)
Let us not forget that all falsification of the doctrine of the New Church itself is included in the signification of the dragon.
A Phase of Regeneration.
Certain evils may be active in the natural or external man, and appear to others, and yet the regenerative process may be going on within. Evils are active in the natural of every man during regeneration, but they do not always appear outwardly. By introspection everyone can illustrate this by what he sees in himself. Some are more skillful than others in concealing their evils, or in hiding them from the eyes of the outer world; and some are not as yet consciously aware of them; still others are aware, and are fighting, but the removal is long delayed.
It is an essential teaching of the church that the internal man is regenerated before the external; as we read: "The internal man is first regenerated by the Lord, and afterwards the external.... The internal man is regenerated by thinking and willing the things of faith, but the external by a life according to them." (A. C. 8746.) For "to regenerate the internal by means of the external is contrary to order." (T. C. R. 593; see also 591, 596, 600.)
This teaching is a help to the attitude of charity, when the evils of others outwardly appear. A sign that the internal is being regenerated is when there is a love of the spiritual truths of the Word; for where genuine love is, there is a will and an endeavor to do. The spiritual law here set forth is also a law of nature. The human body requires a number of years for its growth; a tree does not reach its full growth in a year; etc. Hence the fallacy of instantaneous regeneration by faith alone.
In the attitude of charity there is mercy. To exercise mercy is to receive mercy.
"All things come to the angels gratis from the Lord. Clothing, food, and habitations are all given them gratis." (H. H. 266.) By gratis is meant that which is given out of good will, without thought of recompense, as parents in giving to their children. The Lord gives all things gratis to all in both worlds, but the law has its fullest operation with the angels of heaven; for they are more fully prepared to receive what the Lord has to give. So fully are they attuned to the Divine will to give, that they have but to desire a thing, and it is given them at once. This is but the outward effect of their internal state of love and wisdom from the Lord. They have no care or anxiety in the acquisition; and so they are contented with their lot, with happiness inexpressible. They ask of the Lord only for what they need, wishing for nothing more. With them the petition is fulfilled, "Give us this day our daily bread."
The Lord requires no return for what He gives, except the acknowledgment that it is all from Him; but even this is not for the sake of Himself, but for the sake of man.
Now every law of the spiritual world is illustrated in the natural, which the discerning eye may see; for even here all things are given gratis by the Lord. For example, the heat and light of the sun, the ether by which we see, the air which we breathe, the water we drink, and other things innumerable. Thus the same law operates in both worlds. The difference is, that in the spiritual world it operates more quickly, more completely, and more manifestly, even to sight and sense.
The Responsibility of Knowing.
"What good is it to know, unless what one knows another knows also?" (Influx 18.) Knowledge not applied to use is then compared to "riches stored in a casket, and only looked at occasionally," and again laid away. Wonders innumerable, truths never before known, had been revealed to Swedenborg. What must he do with it all? He answers the question. "I am obliged by conscience to make these things known." (Ibid.) He faithfully performed the work. And he desired no reward, nor rank, nor title, save that of Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To withhold from mankind any part of what had been revealed--which he had been advised to do--is with us unthinkable. At times we hear of someone drawing truths from the Writings and presenting them as his own, little realizing the iniquity of such action. Spiritual theft, it is called. (S. S. 67; Life 80; A. E. 1083.)
Now what is the duty of those who know the things revealed? "What good is it to know, unless what one knows another knows also?"
The answer calls, first, for the proclamation of the truth to the world by all the agencies organized for the purpose, and the telling of the glad tidings by each individual to his fellow; second, living according to the truth we know. This evangelizes more than we realize, for, like the food we eat, it passes out of the range of our conscious knowledge. But it goes on living, acting, informing, in this world and the other, out of the reach of our vision, as far as the stars; that is, to the angelic societies. For the Lord, by means of what we know and do, and on the basis of it, Himself evangelizes in both worlds. "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth." (John 3:8. See A. C. 10240; A. E. 419:6, 1153.)
Preaching the Internal Sense of the Word.
Shall sermons in the New Church expound the internal sense of the Word? The answer is easily in the affirmative when it is realized that the internal sense has been revealed by the Lord in His Second Coming. That it has been so revealed, is shown in hundreds of passages in the Writings. (See, for instance, A. C. 3398:4; H. H. 1; L. J. 28; A. R. 24, 820; S. S. 112; T. C. R. 668, 669; A. E. 641:3.) If it has been revealed, then the reading of the books which contain it should be one of the chief religious duties of a New Churchman; and it should be the chief topic of a sermon in the New Church. The literal sense should also be explained, but it is not to occupy a primary place in the sermon. The use of the literal sense in all teaching is to confirm and illustrate the doctrine of the internal sense.
If those who constitute the membership of the New Church do not practice a regular reading of the Writings, and are not taught the internal sense,--or, what is the same, the truth of the Writings,--from the pulpit, in the doctrinal class, and in other ways, spiritual starvation is at hand, and the church will be planted elsewhere.
Girding on the Armor of War.
"Let not him that girdeth on his armor boast himself as he that putteth it off." (I Kings 20:11.) So said Ahab, King of Israel, in a message to Ben-Hadad, King of Syria. The words were doubtless a common saying in ancient times, expressing a natural truth, and involving at the same time a spiritual law. He that girdeth himself and goeth forth to battle may not boast himself as he that returneth with victory. As a spiritual law, we have in this a picture of the regenerate life. On the one hand, it is the spiritual man who in the beginning is disposed to exalt himself, confident of victory in a battle not yet fought. On the other hand, it is the celestial man who, with victory won, exalts, not himself, but the Lord. The first state is meant by "him that girdeth on his armor," the second by "him that putteth it off." In the first state, it is the thought of one's own merit; in the second, it is the merit of the Lord.
The subject is illustrated by the following relation concerning the education of infants in heaven: "When they become adult, they are let back into a state of their hereditary evil, not that they may suffer punishment, but that they may know that, of themselves, they are nothing but evil, and that it is from the mercy of the Lord that they are taken out of the hell which is with them into heaven; and that they are in heaven, not from any merit of their own, but from the Lord; and thus that they may not boast before others of the good which is with them, for this is contrary to the good of mutual love, as it is contrary to the truth of faith." (H. H. 342.) We have here but a picture of a stage or stages in the regenerate life of every man.
The Worship of an Invisible God.
The worship of an invisible God, called the Father, prevails in the Christian World; and some in the New Church have held that the Lord, by His glorification, became invisible, and that when He appears it is through an angel, as before His coming. But let us see what the teaching is.
"The idea of an invisible God is nothing but an idea of nature in its first principles." (A. C. 10736; H. H. 3; A. E. 52.) "What is invisible does not fall into any idea of thought." (A. C. 10737.) The angels wonder that there are men "who think of what is invisible ...when they think of God." (H. H. 86.) "Faith in an invisible God is actually a blind faith, because the human mind does not see its God." (T. C. R. 339.) "There can be no conjunction with an invisible God." (T. C. R. 786.) "Conjunction with an invisible God is like the conjunction of the sight of the eye with the expanse of the universe, of which it sees no end." (T. C. R. 787.)
That the Lord Jesus Christ is the one visible God is taught in the Writings throughout, as in the following examples: "Faith in God the Savior Jesus Christ is faith in a visible God, in whom is the invisible." (T. C. R. 339.)
"The Lord appears in a Divine angelic form to those who acknowledge and believe in a visible Divine, but not to those who believe in an invisible Divine." (H. H. 79.) "The New Church is the crown of all the churches,... because it will worship one visible God, in whom is the invisible God, as the soul is in the body." (T. C. R. 787.)
The Lord was indeed invisible before His advent. But the idea of a visible God was even then preserved in the fact that He appeared through an angel, whom He filled with His Spirit, and who spake from Him. (H. H. 254.) But now He appears in His own Divine Human, "in a Divine angelic form."
The Lord in His Divine Human is present in heaven with the angels, in the world with men, and even with the devils in hell (T. C. R. 62), and He appears when He wills.
An Animal with a Living Soul.
The early chapters of Genesis treat "first of those who lived like wild beasts (fera) and at length became spiritual men; then of those who became celestial men, and constituted the Most Ancient Church." (A. C. 286.) The first period is described in chapter 1: 2; the second in the rest of chapter 1; the third in chapter 2. Of those in the first period it is said "that there was at first no church, because they were without good and truth, signified by the earth being 'void and empty'; and that they were then in dense ignorance, and in falsities signified by 'darkness on the face of the deep'; the first enlightenment is signified by the 'Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters,' and by God's saying, 'Let there be light!'" (A. E. 294.) Further, "that by a 'wild beast after its kind'... is not signified a wild beast, but an animal in which is a living soul." (A. C. 774.)
We receive further light when it is understood that the race and the individual develop along parallel lines. The first men were animals with a living soul, differing from the other animals of the forest in this, that they were capable of mental development. A little child, or an infant at birth, is also an animal with a living soul, but capable of mental growth, as it was with the first men, who in their state were like little children.
Revelation in Africa.
The Africans are mentioned many times in the Writings. Some of the numbers treat of the Africans after death. In some it is uncertain whether what is said is about the Africans in this world or the other. The following numbers relate to the Africans in this world:
"Since the Africans are such, even in the world, there is at this day a revelation among them, which, beginning at the center, extends round about, but not as yet to the sea." It is added that the heavenly doctrines are orally dictated to them by angelic spirits. (C. L. J. 76.)
"This is done by the Lord alone by means of revelations, and not by missionaries from Christians." (S. D. 4777.)
It is stated that the Africans in our world are in illustration more than Europeans. (S. D. 5518.)
A map is given of the region where the revelations are being made. (S. D. 5946.)
The heavenly doctrine is being dictated by instructors "to the men in Africa with whom they have communication.... Hence there is now a revelation there." (S. D. 5946; L. J. Post. 116.)
"At this day, some speak with Africans in the world, instructing them orally." (L. J. Post. 124.)
The above extracts illustrate the law that revelation is not complete until it descends into ultimates in the natural world. In the Christian World, this descent was first to Swedenborg, and through him to others. It is similar in Africa, though in a different way. But the law is the same.*
* That revelation takes place at the same time in both worlds is plainly taught in A. E. 6415.
Revelation is at first confined to a few, whether in Europe or in Africa. The fact that confirmation has not been given by any of the external modes of communication affords no evidence in the matter. We are told the reasons why the spread is slow in the Christian World. In Africa, a probable reason is that most of them are as yet in simple states.
As it is with the Ancient Word, so with any knowledge by an external way of revelation in Africa--the time is not yet.
Additional Consideration - Africa.
In what is said in some of the passages that treat of revelation to the Africans, there are indications of an intimate relation between the revelation in Africa and that which has been given in the Christian World. It is clear, at any rate, that revelation could not have been made in Africa until it had taken place in the Christian World, where the Word is, and the Lord is known by the Word, It is also clear that neither of the two revelations could have been made until after the Last Judgment. (See also A. E. 260a.)
Within the last fifty years new conditions have arisen in Africa. The white man has come upon the scene-shut out before from various causes. The new conditions are the communication of the Africans with the outer world,--trade, commerce, general education, instruction by the missionaries in the Letter of the Word. Even New Church missions have been established.
No One Saved by a Moral Life Alone.
The Church in Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) represents those who live a moral but not a spiritual life. Many believe that moral life is a spiritual life. How far from the truth this is, is shown in the Writings throughout. (See A. E. 188, 189, 190.) A man must be moral, however, before he can be spiritual. But a spiritual life must ever be the end in view,--that is, the spiritual world, heaven, and the Lord; for the term "spiritual" includes all of those. It is a life of acknowledgment, faith, and worship,--worship of the Lord Jesus Christ in thought and will, in speech and act; it is a life of resistance to evil because it is sin against God. But a moral life alone is to live for the world, to be seen of men. A merely moral man worships himself and the things of the world and the flesh. While he is outwardly moral, and has persuaded himself that he is a moral man, in his inward thought there is no morality, but a cherishing and inclining to evil of every kind.
A spiritual life within a moral life was what the young man needed who came to the Lord. "All these (commandments) have I kept from my youth up." (Matthew 19:20.) He had lived a moral life, but not a truly religious life; and so "he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." Concealed in his moral life was the love of himself and the world.
A Pharisee and a publican worshipped in the temple. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not as other men, exalting himself because of an outward morality. But the publican, in his humility, cried out: "God be merciful to me a sinner!" And our Lord said: "This man went down to his house justified rather than the other." (Luke 18:10-14.) A moral life is the foundation, but it is not the house.
We are informed that a man who is neither moral nor spiritual is cast into hell immediately after death. (C. L. 17.) It is like the case of a confirmed criminal on earth, who is cast out of society when his guilt becomes known.
Suspicion is defined as "the imagination or apprehension of the existence of something, especially something wrong or hurtful, without proof, or upon very slight evidence, or upon no evidence." (Webster.) And Bacon is quoted as saying: "Nothing makes a man suspect much, more than to know little; and therefore men should remedy suspicion by procuring to know more." In these extracts we have a true picture of suspicion.
Where suspicion is, there is also impatience, and an unhappy state of unrest. A sincere self-examination will doubtless lead to the discovery that charity is deficient; and where charity is lacking, the mind becomes a prey to a false imagination and a disposition to form hasty judgments. Such a state of mind, prone to form unjust judgments, and carried away by the appearance, forgets the teaching of the Lord, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge a just judgment" (John 7:24), and that "the Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7.)
A cruel state of suspicion is all-pervading in hell, and it is also a general condition in the world. Frequently, in suspicion, its origin is in the wish that it be so. The wish is the father to the thought. They who are in charity will fight suspicion as an enemy to spiritual life, suspending judgment until the facts are known, remembering even then that it is the truth that judges. (John 12:48.)
From the Writings we learn that suspicion is closely allied to jealousy, especially in married life; that although there is a just jealousy, too often it is inspired by those evil spirits who are implacable enemies of conjugial love. (C. L. 357, 374.)
Spontaneous Generation. (1)
The common idea of spontaneous generation is, that it is something produced without seeds sown in the earth, or springing from the ground without any known cause, whether the product be vegetable or animal. A reader of the Heavenly Doctrine knows, however, that in the phrase "spontaneous generation" we are but using the language of appearances.
From ancient times to the present there have been men of science who have believed in spontaneous generation; but the vast majority of scientific teachers in our day have satisfied themselves that no such thing exists, and reject it as a fallacy. In the Doctrine, the phrase "spontaneous generation" does not occur, but the thing itself is there. Spontaneous generation, so-called, was everywhere in the beginning, but it was provided that generation should continue by means of seeds. (T. C. R. 78; A. C. 1632; A. E. 1209:3, 1212:5.) But it also exists now. The phrase is not used in the Writings, as was said, but we shall show in the next article that there is plain teaching on the subject.
Spontaneous Generation. (2)
"The question now is whether such things exist from eggs conveyed to the place, either through the air, or by rains, or by streams of water; or whether they exist from the humors or effluvia in such places. Experience and observation does not support the opinion that such noxious animacules and insects are hatched from eggs carried thither, or hidden everywhere in the earth from its creation." (D. L. W. 342. The subject is further developed in the number. See also 341, 347, and T. C. R. 470.)
Spontaneous generation is not believed, because the active and immediate presence of the spiritual world is not known or acknowledged.
Nature the Same in Greatest and Least Things.
In his early studies, Swedenborg saw the need of new doctrines, in order to interpret the phenomena of nature. (Five Senses 489, and elsewhere.) It was afterward revealed to him that the Word also could not be understood without true doctrine, nor the spiritual world. The law is universal. No field of work can be entered and explored without the aid of guiding principles or doctrines. Without this, a man is at sea.
A fundamental doctrine of natural truth, formulated by Swedenborg, he expresses as follows: "Such as nature is in the greatest things, and in those obvious to the senses, such also it is in the lesser, yea, in the least." (E. A. K. III: 215; Principia x. 8; Generation 128. Five Senses 277.) That is, the least and invisible things of nature are similar to the greatest or visible forms; for nature is always like herself. The microcosm is in the image of the macrocosm. We find this law afterwards stated in the form of revealed truth; but instead of nature it is now "the Divine in the greatest and least things is the same" (D. L. W. 77), which is illustrated by this, that "the Divine in the whole heaven and the Divine in an angel is the same." (Ibid. 79.)
Swedenborg formulated other doctrines of natural truth, such as the doctrine of forms, the doctrine of order, the doctrine of series and degrees, and the doctrine of correspondences. He was afterwards to learn that these and other doctrines or laws of nature were also spiritual laws characteristic of the Word of God, revealing at the same time the nature of the spiritual world. The remarkable agreements, even in the terms used, will strike any New Church reader of Swedenborg's philosophical works. It but illustrates the fact that in his early studies he was being guided and prepared by the Lord for the great work which was to come.
The Divine Knowledge of Evil.
In the NEW JERUSALEM MESSENGER for April 4, 1883, an article appeared over the signature of "D. H. H.," in which Habakkuk 1:13 is quoted as teaching or suggesting that the Lord is ignorant of the existence of evil. The verse in Habakkuk reads: "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity." The writer says that these words are commonly thought to mean that the Lord does not look upon evil with approbation, but he thinks it may be given a stronger meaning, namely, that "the Lord does not see anything at all of evil," and he devotes more than a column to a consideration of the subject.
In the MESSENGER of April 18th, 1883, an answer appeared over the signature of "W. G., Jr.," in which the writer says: "The statements seem to me to be contrary to the teachings of the Word and the doctrines of the Church." He then quotes T. C. R. 62, as teaching that the Lord sees and knows the evils and falses of those who are in hell which is confirmed by a plain statement in Psalm 139. The writer then says: "If the Lord did not see the evil in us, He would not know us, neither could He provide for us or bring us into heaven.... We should in no way limit the knowledge of the Most High."
In the MESSENGER of May 2d, "D. H. H." admits the force of what "W. G., Jr." says, and modifies his position.*
* "D. H. H." was Daniel Hudson Howard, of Brockton, Mass. "W. G., Jr." was the Rev. Warren Goddard, Jr., Pastor of the Providence Society, Rhode Island.
While the verse quoted from Habakkuk does appear in a general way to teach that the Lord does not see and know evil, an examination of its internal sense reveals the fact that the verse, and the entire chapter, treats of the last judgment upon the imaginary heavens, when the evil were cast out from the presence of the Lord in heaven. Hence it is said (in P. P.) that the subject of the chapter is "the total devastation of the church, and its rejection," that is, the rejection of the church in both worlds by the Lord, which rejection was the judgment. This, then, is what is meant by the words, "Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look upon iniquity."
The Divine Omniscience.
It may be of interest to have a further development of the subject of the Divine Knowledge of Evil. The term "omniscience," since it means all-knowledge, admits of no exception or limitation.
The Lord is omniscient in heaven, in hell, and in the world with men. Ignorance cannot possibly be predicated of the Divine all-knowledge. And yet omniscience is not the same in hell as it is in heaven. The universal prevalence of evil instead of good qualifies, but does not banish, the idea of omniscience, neither of omnipresence, nor of omnipotence. All of this will doubtless plainly appear in the light of the doctrine which is herein to follow.
Every reader of the Writings knows, every reader of the Sacred Scripture knows, every man in any religion knows, that the evil he sees in himself has been revealed to him as evil by the Lord alone. Those only who are entirely outside of the sphere of light from the spiritual sun do not know this, being in ignorance of evil as evil. A temporary obscuration of thought may occur in the midst of grievous temptation, or from other cause, but soon the light will shine again in the mind of the regenerating man. The importance cannot be too strongly emphasized,--the importance of believing, acknowledging, confessing, that the Lord knows and sees every least thing we think and do, and is present, guiding, directing or permitting it. The practical bearing of this principle,--the principle that because the Lord sees and knows evil, we also can see and know it, and be given power to depart from it,--is a truth beyond price. Let us repeat: How do we see and know evil, how do we discover evil within us, except from Him who knows all things, except from Him, in whose Divine vision nothing escapes, nothing is able to hide itself? For even "if I make my bed in hell, behold Thou are there!" Not even the rocks and the mountains of hell can hide the evil from the Divine omniscience. The evil would hide if they could.
Doctrine Concerning the Divine Omniscience.
The following extracts will exhibit in plain language the teaching of Revelation concerning the Divine omniscience in heaven, in hell, and in the world:
"God ... perceives, sees, and knows all things, even to the most minute, which are done according to order, and from these all things that are done contrary to order." (T. C. R. 59.)
"God is omniscient in hell, as well as in heaven, and likewise perceives, sees, and knows their evils and falsities from the good and truth in which He is.... For we read: 'If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there.' (Psalm 139:8.) And in another passage: 'If they dig through into hell, thence shall my hand take them.' (Amos 9:2, 3.)" (T. C. R. 62.) And we are told that the Lord grants even to "the angels in heaven to see what is done in hell." (T. C. R. 61.)
We read further that "those who are in the bells ... appear to those in heaven as often as the Lord pleases; ... for to the angels is given the ability, from the place where they are, of seeing all things that exist in hell." (A. C. 8237.) It is added that the privilege is also granted at times to good spirits.
Again, it is said that "the angels can see each and all things in the hells, but not the reverse." (A. C. 5427.)
Their sight into the hells is not from themselves, but from the Lord. They see because the Lord sees, just as we see our individual evils because the Lord sees them, and reveals them to us. "For the Lord perceives and knows all things in general and in particular from eternity." (A. C. 6851.)
"From the omniscience of the Lord all things are made manifest to Him," that is, all things in heaven and in hell, as shown in the context of the number. (A. E. 298:11.)
Again, concerning the judgment we read that "He who is to judge must see all the states of the man who is to be judged, from infancy to the end of life in the world, and afterwards to eternity." (A. E. 687:4.)
And finally, "The Lord alone resists evils with man. ...For every single evil is conjoined with innumerable evils; ... and to resist the hells so conjoined is impossible for anyone but the Lord alone.... For the Lord alone knows what is the quality of man, and what his evils are, and in what connection they are with other evils, thus in what order they are to be removed, that man may be healed from within, or radically." (A. E. 1166.)
It is made clear in the numbers which follow that the Lord foreknows or foresees the state of the heavens, the state of the bells, and the state of men in all worlds, even to the minutest particulars thereof, from eternity to eternity, and that there never has been, nor ever will be, anything concealed from the Divine all-seeing eye.
"All things in man, even to the least, are foreseen by the Lord, and provided for, in regard to his future state to eternity." (A. C. 2679e.)
"The Lord never repents, because He foresees all things, in general and in particular, from eternity." (A. C. 587.) The purpose of this number is to show that the Lord not only sees evil, but foresees it from eternity. To say that He repents involves that something has occurred of which He did not know beforehand that it would occur, or which was not foreseen and provided for.
"Providence is predicated of good, but foresight of evil; for all good flows in from the Lord; wherefore good is provided, but all evil is from hell. ... Wherefore evil is foreseen." (A. C. 5155.)
Again, "Foresight cannot be predicated of good, because good is in the Divine, and exists from the Divine.... But foresight can be predicated of ... evil; for evil exists outside of the Divine from others who are opposed to the Divine." (A. C. 5195.)
"The Lord foresees evil and provides good ... from the first beginning of life even to eternity." (A. C. 9296.)
"The Lord sees of what quality a man is, and foresees what he wills to be, thus what he is to be.... The Lord foresees the states of all after death, and also foresees the places in hell of those who are not willing to be saved, and the places in heaven of those who are willing to be saved." (D. P. 333.)
"The Lord foresaw from eternity what the quality of the human race would be, and what would be the peculiar quality of each member of it, and (He foresaw) that evil would continually increase, until at length man would of himself rush headlong into hell. Wherefore, the Lord has not only provided the means by which man may be bent from hell and led to heaven, but also by His Providence He bends and leads.... The Lord also foresaw that man of himself would incline towards the deepest hell." (A. C. 3854.) There is much more in this number to the same effect.
The Divine foreknowledge is plainly indicated in these words of Matthew: "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him." (6:8.) The things the regenerating man needs to know of the Lord are that his evils may be pointed out to him, with the power given to resist them.
The Divine Presence in Hell.
The Doctrine teaches that "the Lord alone resists evils with man, and not through the angels of heaven." (A. E. 1166.) The Lord indeed operates this mediately through heaven, at the same time that He does it immediately from Himself, "but still in such a manner that no angel knows anything of it." (Ibid.) In order to accomplish this Divine work, and at the same time to preserve the integrity of the heavens and the existence of the church on earth, the Lord is not only omnipresent in hell, but He is also omnipotent and omniscient there.
But how the Lord is present in hell is of interest to know, since it has been revealed. It goes without saying that the Lord is not interiorly present in evil, and that in this sense He is not present in hell; but to say that He is not present in hell in any sense would be most unwise, since it would negative direct teaching. It is, therefore, incumbent upon us to find out from the Doctrine as revealed how the Lord is present in hell, since it is so asserted most positively in many passages. He is present in hell in the same sense that He is present with the evil man on earth, but not in his evils. And so the teaching is that the Lard is not present in hell, but around hell. He is not present in an evil spirit, but around him, on the outside of him. He is not present in evil, but around it, on the outside of it, pressing upon it to restrain and hinder, that order may be established and preserved; and order is essential in hell, that uses may be performed there, just as it is with men in this world. Order is for the sake of use in both worlds, whether in heaven, in hell, or with men on earth; and the Lord is present where order is; He is present where use is; as we read, "The Lord's kingdom is over heaven and over hell, and His kingdom is a kingdom of uses." (D. P. 26.)
The Divine Presence in Hell--the Teaching.
That the Lord is universally present in hell--not within, but around it--we are informed in the following passages:
"The life pertaining to those who are in hell is in their ability to think and will, to speak and act,--a faculty derived from that life which is God acting upon them from without,... continually impelling them to order." (A. E. 1143.)
"A man-angel is led by the Lord both from within and from without; but a man-devil is led by himself from within, and by the Lord from without; ... also, a man-devil is led by the Lord to order from without, but by himself against order from within." (A. E. 1145.)
Infernal order is defined to be when "evil is in the midst and good is rejected to the circumference" (A. C. 3993:12), the very opposite of heavenly order. Hence, with the evil "order is inverted, for good with them is without, and evil is within." (H. H. 499.)
Finally, we read that "the Lord is present with everyone, for life is from no other source." ... With the evil in hell "the Lord is present and directs their ends as far as possible to what is good; but His presence with them is called absence." (A. C. 2706.) It is called "absence," because He is not in them, as with the angels, but outside and around them.
The Lord is not only present with the evil in hell, outside and around them, but He is present in their inmost; for we read that "with every angel and every man there is an inmost or supreme degree." (H. H. 39.) It is because of this inmost degree of life in every man that even the evil live to eternity. (L. J. 25.) It is above all human or angelic consciousness,--the very abode itself of the Lord in every man. It is thus that the whole of hell is in His grasp. (See also A. C. 1999; T. C. R. 70.)
The Divine Omnipresence in General.
"It is a general canon in heaven that God is in every man, in the evil as well as in the good, but that man is not in God, unless he lives according to order; ... for God is omnipresent in the universe, and in all and single things of it.... The absence of God from man is no more possible than the absence of the sun by its heat and light from the earth." (T. C. R. 70.)
Again, "The Lord is present both with the worthy and the unworthy [who come to the Holy Supper] because He is omnipresent, in heaven, in hell, and in the world, consequently with the evil as well as with the good." (T. C. R. 719.) The distinction between the Lord's presence with the evil and with the good is then shown. His presence with the evil is merely His external presence, but with the good His presence is also internal.
Then, after saying that the Lord knows the entire state of the angels of heaven and the men of the church, it is added that "the Lord is also present with those who are outside of heaven and the church, who are in hell, or will come into hell, and knows their whole state." (A. E. 1223, 1224.)
"The Lord is everywhere present with light, even in the bells; ... otherwise the infernals would have no ability to think and speak." (A. C. 4531.) That is, unless the Lord were present with the evil in hell, they could neither see, think, nor act. They would be annihilated.
Again, "God is omnipresent from the firsts to the lasts of His order; that He is also omnipresent in hell, was shown in the preceding article." (T. C. R. 64.) Hence there is order in hell, and God is present in that order.
Finally, "God is not in space, although He is omnipresent, and with every man in the world, and with every angel in heaven, and with every spirit under heaven." (D. L. W. 7.)
"Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him, saith the Lord?
The Divine Invitation.
The Lord invites all men to come to Him. The word "invitation" is derived from a root signifying to speak, hence to ask, invite, call. The Lord speaks in His Word. He asks, invites, man to come to Him, calls upon him to come; and with the invitation is a promise to give, and the gift is life eternal. The invitation and the promise appear to the seeing eye in every verse of Scripture, and on every page of the Writings. But no one is compelled to come. He may come, or he may turn his face away and depart. There is no shadow of compulsion. Men compel, but the Lord invites. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28.) "And whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17.) "Come, and gather yourselves together to the supper of the great God." (Revelation 19:17.) These last words "signify the Lord, from Divine Love,... calling and inviting to the New Church, and to conjunction with Him, thus to life eternal, all who are in the spiritual affection of truth, and who think of heaven." (A. R. 831.) This is the burden of all the forms of invitation.
From the Writings we learn that "the reason why the Word is (now) revealed ... as to its spiritual sense, before the Church is fully devastated, is because the New Church will then be established, into which all who are of the former Church are invited." (A. E. 948.) And further, that "an invitation (is given) to the whole Christian world to enter this Church, and to receive the Lord worthily." (Coronis LV.) "The invitation or calling is universal." (T. C. R. 358.)
Invitation on the Part of Man.
That man should open the door, and invite the Lord to enter, but that he is in full freedom to invite or reject, Revelation teaches from beginning to end; and the same principle is illustrated in the laws of nature; for every universal law of heaven makes its appearance in some form in nature. Let us consider an example in the human body. In the chapter on the "Pleura" in the Animal Kingdom (II, 425, note x), it is stated that "the blood is not intruded into the viscera or the muscles by the power of the aorta; but it is invited from the bed of the aorta, according to the need of each particular viscus." That is, the aorta or great artery, through which the heart sends its blood to all parts of the body, does not force its blood upon a viscus or muscle, but leaves the latter free to invite or select the kind or quality of blood it needs. "For each member demands more or less, according to the intensity of its action, and one quality or another according to the nature and mode of its operation, or according to the character of its function." (Ibid.)
In order to provide for a principle of free choice or invitation, avoiding compulsion, the arterial branches to the various organs depart from the aorta at right angles. Observing the operation of the same law in all nature, as in the human body, Swedenborg used the word "invitation" to embody it. It was afterwards revealed to him as a law of the spiritual world, and of the spiritual life of man. God acts or inflows, and man, as of himself, having the eternal gift of freedom, invites and receives, or rejects.
God compels no man. Man may invite God, if he will, and this even in hell itself.
The relative frequency of the suicidal act suggests inquiry into its cause, and at the same time into the lot of suicides after death. It is from the evil in the other world who wish to destroy man, inspired by a spirit of hatred and murder. They are such as formerly destroyed whole armies. (Isaiah 37:36. A. C. 5717; S. D. 1783.) These are now under restraint, but they are still able to drive individuals to self-slaughter, such as indulge much in anxieties with but little effort at self-control. These murderous spirits "flow into the chambers of the brain, inducing melancholy even to despair," impelling a man to destroy himself. (S. D. 1336, 1783.) It is revealed that the endeavor of Providence is to deter man from entering into the extreme state of despair, since that state, caused by evil spirits (A. C. 5246), is attended with a loss of freedom and rationality; and if this became general, the human race would perish. But it cannot be prevented with some, and we are told why it is then allowed. It is because "it is better that he should be permitted to perish as to his body than as to his soul; ... for unless such a one perished bodily in this manner, by insanity and suicide, he could not well be prevented from perishing to eternity. (S. D. 1783.) But it is of Divine order that man should live, and continue his appointed work in the world.
The Lot of Suicides after Death.
We are told of "a certain one who in the life of the body had been reduced by melancholy to despair, until, being instigated by diabolical spirits, he destroyed himself by thrusting a knife into his body. This spirit came to me complaining that he was miserably treated by evil spirits, saying that he was amongst furies, who continually harassed him.... He was seen by me, holding a knife in his hand, as though he would plunge it into his breast, with which knife he labored very hard, wishing to cast it from him, but in vain." (S. D. 1336.) It is then added that "whatever happens in the last hour of death remains a long time before vanishing away." (S. D. 1337.) It is thus made plain that one's condition is not improved by such a sudden and violent transfer from the one world to the other; and if improvement should come, it will only be after much tribulation and delay, even as it is in corresponding conditions of this world.
The state which leads to suicide may be met partly by medicines or other natural agencies, but only in part. As in all chronic conditions, the cooperation and voluntary effort of the individual himself is needed--voluntary effort from a moral and spiritual ground, and this continuing for a considerable length of time. A chronic or a more or less confirmed condition of body or mind is not removed in a moment. There is no such thing as instantaneous regeneration, on either the physical or spiritual plane of life. The true and sure remedy is in a continuous battle, day after day, and year after year, in doing continuously what we are so frequently taught to do in the Heavenly Doctrine, namely, shunning evils as sins against God.
The Word in the Sanctuary.
The term repository is not a direct translation of the words used in the Latin of the Writings to express the idea of a place for the Word. The terms in the original are sacrarium, adytum, and sanctuarium. "A copy of the Word ... is kept in every larger society of heaven in its sacrarium." (S. S. 72, 73. See also A. R. 669; A. E. 1067.) Adytum is used in A. R. 669; A. E. 1067; A. C. 10261:9; T. C. R. 209, 508. Sanctuarium occurs in A. C. 3210; C. L. 75, 77; A. E. 1088; Canons, Holy Spirit, V., 4. In most of the numbers the indication is that an enclosure, chamber or room is meant, and not an ark or chest.
In history and in Scripture the indications afforded above are fully confirmed. Among the Romans the sacrarium was a place for prayer, an oratory, a private chapel. The adytum was the inmost part of a temple, the sanctuary into which none but priests could enter; a secret place or chamber; a private chamber, a sanctum. The sanctuary was the inmost of the tabernacle and temple, called the holy of holies, in which was kept the ark of the covenant. It is well known that the holy of holies was a sacred enclosure, into which the high priest alone could enter. But since the internal sense has been revealed, the Word is no longer to be kept in a secret chamber, but exposed to view. It is so in heaven. "The Word in the adyta of the temples in the spiritual world shines before the eyes of the angels as a great star." (T. C. R. 209.) In this and other numbers a single copy of the Word is indicated.
Hence, instead of an ark or chest, a church with us should contain, where practicable, a sacrarium or sanctuary for the Word. An altar could occupy in it a central position, and upon it the Word would be lying in full view of the people. To complete the form of an enclosure, something like a rood screen (with a gate) could be used, through which the altar with the Word upon it could always be seen.
Angels Defending the Evils of Man.
Angels present with man defend him from the assaults of evil spirits. "They even defend his falsities and evils." (A. C. 761.) This teaching is predicated of a man in spiritual temptations, in whom there is some good of life from the Lord; and justice requires that even his falsities and evils should be defended against the malignant assaults of evil spirits, who accuse and condemn.
It is also said that the angels defend the evils of man because they love him and desire his salvation. In this they are inspired by the Lord, whose love is infinite. For even falsities and evils are made of use in His work of salvation.
Not only in the spiritual world, but also in the natural, the tendency exists to punish men beyond their deserts; and it is also known that a love of justice and fair play will be aroused, causing a man to defend even the evils of another, when it is seen that there is a brutal desire to punish beyond the merits of the case. There is then, in the mercy of the Lord, some one provided to help and defend. For, as is said in the above passage, if the angels did not, when help is needed, defend even the falsities and evils of man, "he would succumb." This law is of wide application.
Even the evil in hell are protected from undue punishment; for the Lord loves even them. It is from this cause that every man defends the evils of those he loves.
Evil of Sin and Evil Not of Sin.
There is evil which is at the same time sin, and there is evil which has not yet become sin. Evil which is not sin is evil in the will which has not been confirmed in the understanding. That which is so confirmed is sin, even if it has not descended into act; for spiritually the intention is the act. The evil which is not sin is evil in the will, hereditary in its origin, or that which has gone forth from hereditary evil unconsciously into act, as with children and all who are in the innocence of ignorance. The Lord spake of these two kinds of evil to the Pharisees, who said, "Are we blind also? Jesus said, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth." (John 9:40, 41. See A. C. 9069.) If they had been ignorant like children, or like many among the gentiles, they would have no sin; but since they were in evils confirmed by falsities in the understanding, and had acted accordingly, they were sinners against God, as shown in their confirmed denial of the Messiah who had come from heaven. The Lord Himself was in evil without sin. (See NEW CHURCH LIFE for December, 1922, p. 673.) It was the inclination to evil inherited from the mother, and through her from the Jewish nation, but which was never ultimated by Him in thought or dead. It appeared in His thought, that He might see it, fight against it, and overcome it. Without this there could have been no redemption. No man could have been saved.
The conclusion is manifest. Evil should not be permitted to enter the thought and abide there. It should be resisted as soon as it appears.
Further Concerning the Two Kinds of Evil.
The following extracts, and their context not copied here, together with the other references given, will exhibit to the reader a clearer view of what is meant by the evils of sin and the evils not of sin.
"The evils which proceed solely from the will, thus not from previous thought, are such as man is inclined to hereditarily, or from some former action thence; these are not imputed to him unless he has confirmed them in his intellectual part." (A. C. 9009.)
"Evil from the voluntary, and not at the same time from the intellectual part, does not condemn, for the man does not see it, and so does not consider whether it be evil; ... but to see and understand that a thing is evil, and still to do it, makes a man guilty." (A. C. 9069, 9075, 9132.)
"It appears as if evils themselves destroy man's spiritual life, but they do not of themselves destroy it, but by means of falsities. The reason is, that evils without falsities do not enter into the thought, for they are of the will only, and not at the same time of the thought, and those things which are of the will, and not at the same time of the thought, cannot destroy.... But when he confirms evils in his thought, then they destroy." (A. E. 1109. See in full D. P. 318, 319.)
Hence it is clear that not evil alone, nor falsity alone, causes sin to be sin, but the two together,--the conjunction of evil and falsity. This is what condemns man, and makes hell. It is similar with good and truth. Good alone does not save, nor truth alone, but the two together, that is, the marriage of good and truth. Good without truth will save man eventually if he persists in it, as we see in the case of those who are in the lower earth, and those in a corresponding state in this world. When truth is received and conjoined with good, man then becomes an angel of heaven. But truth alone can never save.
No Predestination to Hell.
There is such a thing as predestination when rightly understood, and a right understanding is now attainable. For the new Revelation teaches that "no one is ever predestined to hell, but all to eternal life." (A. C. 6488; D. P. 322.) And "any predestination except to heaven is contrary to the Divine Love ... and to the Divine Wisdom." (D. P. 330.) And so it is not surprising that strong language should be used respecting it in the Writings. It is called "a cruel heresy." (D. P. 332.) It is "an enormous birth." (B. E. 64.) It is "damnable and cruel,... and the faith of the New Church abhors it as a monster." (B. E. 66.) "Those are delirious ... who teach it." (T. C. R. 56.) It is "detestable." (T. C. R. 485.) "It is not only an insane heresy, but also a cruel heresy. (T. C. R. 487.) It is "a monstrous faith, that God predestines men to hell." (T. C. R. 488.) "By it religion is abolished." (Coronis XLVI.) On the other hand, we are given the doctrine of Love and Mercy, that "it is of the Divine Providence that every man can be saved, and they are saved who acknowledge God and live well; and man himself is in fault if he is not saved." (D. P. 322.) For "the Lord wills the salvation of all, and the damnation of no one." (H. H. 524; A. C. 1735; D. L. W. 37; and elsewhere.)
The will of the Lord, and the Divine endeavor to save all, is seen in the fact that all are drawn to heaven, and no one is ever shut out or forbidden to enter. It frequently happens that evil spirits are elevated out of hell even into heaven. For the Lord has said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me." (John 12:32.) This drawing of the Divine Love is felt everywhere, even in hell, causing at times a desire of evil spirits to depart from hell and enter into heaven. This is permitted them, but as the sphere of heaven is so opposed, so hostile, to their life's love, they quickly depart, desiring nothing so much as to get away from heaven.
Predestination and Doubt.
To be in doubt is to hesitate, to be uncertain as to the truth or falsity of any given proposition, to be undecided what to believe or accept. It is an unhappy state of mind, and is frequently attended with much mental suffering and torment. It is, in fact an accompaniment of what the Doctrines call spiritual temptation. The subject of predestination provides a striking example of the serious nature of doubt. This heresy is so insidious and persuasive that some in the New Church, even among the young people, are troubled and infested by it, and are disposed to entertain doubts as to the Providence of the Lord in the salvation of man. It is a form of mental disease, coming from the spiritual world, from evil spirits, to torment and sicken the hearts of men. But, in the mercy of the Lord, there is a remedy at hand, even though the curative process is slow, and gradual in its effects. Let anyone disturbed accept the truth of Revelation literally when it is said that there is no predestination except to heaven; then do not admit or dwell upon a doubt. Fight it on its approach with prayer for help.
Let us see what the teaching is concerning the danger attendant on doubt. "Once, when I was thinking about the influx of life from the Lord, and was revolving on some doubts, it flowed in from heaven that no attention should be paid to a thousand objections and reasonings from fallacies." (A. C. 6469.) For "the mind cannot be admitted into wisdom until it is free from doubt." (A. C. 2718; S. D. 2546, 3667.) It is thus made clear that spiritual advancement is hindered in states of doubt, for the power of hell is operating to cause a turning of the face away from heaven and the Lord.
Resuscitation at Death.
Concerning resuscitation when the body dies, we learn that "it appears as if a man were dead when respiration ceases; still he is not dead until the motion of the heart ceases, which usually takes place afterwards.... This is evident from the life of infants in the womb, also from the state of adults in swoons and suffocations, in which the heart performs its systolic and diastolic motions while the lungs are at rest; yet the man lives, although without sensation or motion.... The separation of the spirit from the body generally takes place on the second day after the last agony." (D. Wis. VII(4). See also A. C. 168-189, 314-319; H. H. 445-448.)
In several of the numbers we are told of a tacit or silent beating of the heart after respiration ceases. Something of this has been observed in certain of the lower animals, as in the case of frogs. Perhaps there is an approximation to it in all animals, including man; that is, a silent beating of the heart continuing after apparent death.
We are informed also of "an aromatic odor, like that of an embalmed corpse, being perceived ... when celestial angels are present" with the dying. (A. C. 175, 1518; H. H. 449; D. Min. 4702.) What has been called the "odor of sanctity" deserves investigation in this connection.
Another important element appears. Swedenborg says: "I have heard from heaven that some who die, when they lie upon the bier, before they are resuscitated, think even in their cold body, nor do they know otherwise than that they still live, but with the difference that they cannot move any material particle which is proper to the body." (H. H. 433.) In this, as well as in other numbers, the question is raised as to the proper treatment of the body for at least two days after apparent death. Should the body suffer any violence at this time?
Historically, superstition was the practice of observing and interpreting signs and wonders by the ancient nations, even down to the present time, and taking various forms. This habit appears absurd to the modern student, but to nations like the Greek and Roman it was serious and sincere; for to them it involved obedience to the will of the gods, as made manifest by the flight of birds, the appearance of the entrails of a slaughtered animal, or by other omens or portents which called for faith and obedience.
Superstition is now defined to be "an excessive reverence for that which is unknown or mysterious." As stated in the Writings, it is with those who are in externals without an internal, "whose religion is not a religion, but a superstition, and whose worship is idolatrous." (Coronis 51; T. C. R. 821.) Being idolatrous, it is a worship of the external, in which there is dense ignorance of spiritual things, no knowledge of the true God, and a closing of the internal to heaven; but which may be opened by the truths of revelation and repentance of life.
In the Ancient Church, representatives were multiplied. At first there was in them a true knowledge of God and a true worship of Him, together with a life of charity. But this state came to an end, and men began to worship the representatives themselves, with no thought or knowledge of any internal. The Jewish Church was in this state of religious superstition,--the blind worship of the external; and a similar condition spread far and wide over the ancient world, and finally took possession of the Christian Church itself in its worship of images; and a more interior form of idolatry or superstition followed in the worship of a false God, an invisible God, which is a most interior form of idolatry, the worst kind of a blind superstition.
Hence, in the decline of the church, superstition takes the place of faith, charity departs, and a malignant god is worshipped in the form of some evil spirit from hell. (A. C. 4444:4; S. D. 5460 1/2.)
Separation From the World.
The church is the Lord's kingdom on earth. It is in the world, but not of the world; even as the Lord said, "My kingdom is not of this world." (John 18:36.) The men of the church were to live a life, while in the world, that was to be distinct and separate from the world. What was it in the world from which the church should separate itself? The Lord made this clear in His prayer to the Father: "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from evil." (John 17:15.) It was not the world, but the evil of the world, from which the men of the church should separate themselves. The words had application to the apostles, and to the early Christian Church, and in a broad sense to the church in all time.
The principle of asceticism was already active in the Eastern countries, and the early Church was in danger of an extreme application of the teaching concerning the necessity of a separation from the world. The danger was foreseen, and the Church was warned. But the final surrender came, and a complete separation from the life of the world is a fact in the history of the Christian Church which has continued to exist in some form even to the present time. And in the Heavenly Doctrine the New Church itself is warned of the danger.
We are told that Lot sitting at the gate of Sodom "signifies to be indeed among the evil, but still to be separate from them,... not as to civil society, but as to spiritual life." (A. C. 2324.) Civil life is the life of the state, but spiritual life is the life of the church. The men of the church are to live a life separate and distinct from the evils and falsities of a perverted church, but are to join with other men in the active uses of the world.
No Spiritual Birth Without Temptation.
As there is no natural birth without trial, pain, distress, so there is no spiritual birth without the bitterness of temptation, continuous with brief intervals from infancy to the end of life, and for a period after death. And even a mind spiritually gifted may not always realize the early beginning and late ending of that which in the new Revelation is called "temptation,"--a period having its inception in childhood, and not terminating until after a sojourn in the world of spirits. It is true that children do not experience what is properly called temptation; but without some beginnings of it in childhood there will be none in later life; and without some continuance of it for a period after death there will be no passage onward into heaven.
Those who are ignorant of what temptation is, and what it accomplishes, suppose that a man can be regenerated without temptation, or that one temptation is sufficient for spiritual life. This ignorance prevails where the Heavenly Doctrine is unknown, where it is unknown that regeneration is not only a new birth, but also a new growth,--a new life following a new growth, as the growth of the natural body follows birth into the natural world.
The old life must die, that man may live a new life as a spiritual man in a spiritual world. But the natural man resists the entrance of the new life, and the result is conflict, or what is called in the Writings "temptation combat." It is a battle for life,--a battle between the spiritual and the natural man,--and it does not cease until one or the other is subdued. But the Divine promise is spoken, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." (Revelation 2:10.)
It is generally known that there is a conscience, but it is hardly known what it is. It remained for the new Revelation to tell us what conscience is. It is thought to be a kind of mental disturbance or pain, joined with regret for something that has been done, causing the loss or decline of one's reputation before the world. Evil spirits have a like disturbance from a like cause, but they have no conscience. There is no conscience in hell. That which appears like conscience there arises from fear of punishment. For we read that fear alone restrains the infernals. (A. C. 7280, 7788.) Their fear looks like conscience, but it is good-will to self and not to the neighbor, which is the opposite of a conscience. For with the evil in hell, and in large part with men in the world, there is no repentance, no sorrow and regret for evil willed or done to another. It is merely sorrow and regret for the punishment which follows the doing of evil. Where this kind of repentance is wanting, there is no conscience.
A true conscience is formed in man by the truths of doctrine from the Word, received into the understanding and loved for their own sake. When so loved, a man lives according to them, and such a life is a life of true religion; but those who are in truths alone, and not in a life according to them, have no conscience.
A prayer for a true conscience is a prayer for a new will and a new understanding, as expressed in the words of the Psalm (51:10): "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and make new a firm spirit within me,"--a new life in the will, and a new thought in the understanding.
The Divine Accommodation.
The Divine accommodation is the Lord appearing, bringing Himself into view that He may be seen, known, and loved. For the Lord loves man, and so must come to him, that man may love Him in return, and that he may be conjoined with Him by love; for love is conjunction, it is eternal life, it is heaven itself.
In order that heaven may be formed as the eternal abode of men, it is necessary that the Lord should make Himself present with angels in heaven, and with men in the world, as the Creator and Preserver; and this He becomes when His Human is made Divine. Such is the Divine accommodation. (See A. C. 5337, 8920-8922; T. C. R. 370.)
This doctrine is also presented in another form as follows: "The presence of the Lord with man is adjunction, and thus conjunction by contiguity, and this contiguity is nearer and fuller as man loves the Lord, that is, keeps His commandments." (A. R. 55.) Conjunction by contiguity is the Lord accommodating Himself, rendering conjunction possible with finite man.
The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved.
It is said of John that he was the disciple whom Jesus loved. (John 13:23; 19:26; 21:7, 20.) This is not said of any other disciple, and it gives John a distinguished and leading place.
Now because John represented the good of charity, or the good of use (A. C. 7038:3), he also represented the New Church, in which charity or use was to be the first of the church. Hence we are told that the Lord loves the New Church more than the preceding Churches (A. R. 879); and this is given as the reason why John is called the beloved disciple, the first of the twelve apostles.
John is variously represented, but the representations are essentially one. He is the good of charity, good works, uses, the good of life, good in act, the good of love to the Lord. Finally, he is doctrine concerning the Lord, or the Lord Himself as to doctrine; this he is called when he speaks to the seven churches. "John to the seven churches which are in Asia." (Revelation 1:4.) Doctrine concerning the Lord is the Divine Doctrine as given in the Writings of the New Church, given to be read, to be heard, and to be kept by all who are to be of that Church. For it is said, "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein; for the time is at hand." (Revelation 1:3.) The time is the time of the Second Coming, and John is the prophet of that coming. "Blessed is he that readeth." Amen.
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
Abstinence, Temperance better than 87
Abstinence, Total 112
Abstract and Concrete, The 17
Abuse and Use of Wine 88, 90, 112
Accommodation, The Divine 236
Accusation 12, 59
Acknowledgment of the Lord 35
Adulterous Generation, An 21, 22
Africa, Revelation in 206
Ancient Church 93
Ancient Church Widespread 28
Angels Defending the Evils of Man 227
Angels Learn from the Falsities of Hell 76
Animal with a Living Soul 205
Apostles, Calling of the 71
Appearances in the Spiritual World 75, 127
Appearances in the Literal Sense 127
Appearances of Truth 51
Appearances, Real 76
Aristotle 17, 49
Armor of War 203
As From Himself 61, 63, 64, 69
As the Tree Falls 115
Athens and Sparta 9
Atmosphere, A Watery 79
Baby Talk 23
Baptism of Infants 171
Baptism, Instruction follows 170
Baptism of John 174, 175, 176, 178
Baptism of the Lord 177
Baptism, The Uses of 165, 161, 173
Beginning, Commencement and 133
Birth, No Will and Understanding before 129
Bitterness of Rebellion 58
Body, The Divine 160
Body of the Lord in the Sepulchre 154
Body, Substance of the Lord's 155
Bones of Joseph 82
Capital Punishment 145
Celestial, The Term 100
Cerebellum, Involuntary Motion from the 129
Chance, Games of 116
Children, Scripture Stories to 27
Children, Punishment of 113
Children, Reasoning with 113
Christian Church 168
Christian Conjugial 20
Christian Good 96
Christian Paganism 9
Christians, Insertion Among 169
Church, Increase of the 6, 108
Church, Prayer for the 30
Cicero 17, 45
Civilization, Ancient and Modern 11
Closing the Eyes at Death 144
Coals of Fire on His Head 122
Combat, Temptation 186
Coming of the Lord 153
Command, The Lord does not 75
Commencement and Beginning 133
Commentary, A Needed 23
Comparison of Passages 6
Concrete and Abstract 17
Conduct, Good 18
Confession of Sin 121
Conjugial Love 20
Conjugial Love, Definitions of 68
Conjugial Love, Rarity of 20
Conjugial, The Christian 20
Consent in the Marriage Service 74
Consociation, Spiritual 104
Content in God 53
Contiguity, Presence of the Lord by 135
Contiguity and Continuity, Distinction between 135
Correspondences in Ancient Greece 27
Creation of the First Man 7
Curse, Smiting the Earth with a 176
Dead, Speaking Ill of the 30
Death, Closing the Eyes at 144
Death, Fear of 119
Death, First State after 116
Death Penalty 145
Death, Resuscitation at 232
Decalogue, Second Table of the 4, 35
Decision by Lot 70
Delphi, Oracle of 92
Demon of Socrates 48
Descent of the Divine by Glorification 163
Destroy, Whom the gods would 77
Disciple Whom Jesus Loved 237
Disease 24, 25
Dissipate, Meaning of the word 156
Divine Accommodation 236
Divine Body, The 160
Divine, Descent of the 163
Divine Foreknowledge 217
Divine Human 157, 159
Divine Invitation 222
Divine Knowledge of Evil 213
Divine of the Lord in Three Degrees 164
Divine Omnipresence 220
Divine Omniscience 214, 216
Divine Presence in Hell 218
Dogs, Use of 46
Dominion, Love of 19
Doubts 27, 231
Dragon, The 197, 198
Drunkenness, The Angels Abhor 86
Early Obedience 42, 91
Eating and Drinking Together 103
Endeavor, Force and Motion 140
Enemies, Signification of 122, 123
Error in Divine Revelation? 12
Europe, the Field of 21
Evangelization 194, 195, 196
Evil and Falsity, Removal of 7
Evil from Evil Spirits 45
Evil, Hereditary 147
Evil not from Man Himself 45
Evil of Sin, and Evil not of Sin 228
Evil of War 181
Evil, Permission of 69, 150
Evil, Two Kinds of 229
Evils of Man, Angels Defending the 227
Evils, Three Great 181
Ex Post Facto Laws 11
Faith Alone, Origin of 95
False Witness, Bearing 50
Falsities of Hell, Angels learn from the 76
Falsity of Evil 51
Fashion of Man's Heart Evil, The 91
Fate of Man if the Lord had not come 153
Father, Divine Body from the 160
Father in Heaven 99
Fear of Death 119
Feasts, Ancient 104
Feasts, Creek and Roman 61
Feasts on the Planet Jupiter 104
Feasts of Charity 103
Few, New Church at first with 107
Fiat Justitia, Ruat Caelum 33
Firstborn, the Law of the 94
First Man, Creation of the 7, 55
First State after Death 116
First Truths are Appearances of Truth 51
Flesh and Spirit 100
Flowers, Signification of 142
Foreknowledge, Divine 217
Freedom 70, 75
Friendship in Marriage 47
Function, Structure and 29
Future Known Only to the Lord 24, 95
Games of Chance 116
Generation, Spontaneous 210
Genesis, First Chapters of 27
Gentiles Must First Become Christian 98
Genuine Truth 51
Glorification of the Human of the Lord 154 to 164
God Shaddai 37
God, Worship of an Invisible 204
Good, Attributing to One's Self 97
Good, Christian 96
Good Conduct 18
Good, Natural 84
Good, Spiritual 83
Gratis, Given 200
Greece, Correspondences in Ancient 27
Greece, Heroic Age in 93
Greece, Wise Men of 9
Guilty, Punishing the Innocent for the 85
Health 24, 58
Human Race, The Love of the 184
Heaping Coals of Fire on His Head 122
Heart, The Fashion of Man's 91
Heat, Vital 15
Hell, Angels Learn from the Falsities of 76
Hell, Impurities of 102
Hell, No Predestination to 230
Help from the World 81
Hereditary Evil 147
Heroes of Mythology 93
Historicals, Memorabilia and the 1
History, Writing in the Form of 27
Horse, The Trojan 28
Human, Glorification of the Lord's 154 to 164
Human Race, The Love of the 184
Human Race would have Perished 153
Idleness the Devil's Pillow 10
Impatience 65, 95
Increase of the Church 6, 108
Indefinite, The 80
Index, A Needed 53
Infants, Baptism of 171
Infinite, The 80
Innocent, Punishing the 85
Inquisition into the Lives of Others 12
Insanity 66, 67, 77
Insertion Among Christians 169
Instruction Follows Baptism 170
Internal Sense, Preaching the 202
Invisible God, Worship of an 204
Invitation, The Divine 222
Invitation on the part of Man 223
Jehovah, The Name Unknown to the Israelites 37
Jesting from the Word 18
Job, The Book of 191
John the Baptist 174, 175, 176, 178
John the Disciple 237
John on the Island of Patmos 143
Joseph, Bones of 82
Judas Iscariot 71
Knowing, Responsibility of 201
Knowledge of Evil, The Divine 213
Law of the Firstborn 94
Laws, Ex Post Facto 11
Leading or Ruling 75
Literal Sense, A Commentary on the 23
Literal Sense, Origin of the 127
Lord, Acknowledgment of the 35
Lord, Baptism of the 177
Lord, Body of the 154
Lord Does Not Need the Help of Man, The 7
Lord Dwells in His Own with Men, The 134
Lord Has All Planes, The 162
Lord, Love to the 3
Lord, Presence of the 135
Lord without Sin, The 54
Lot, Decision by 70
Love of the Human Race 184
Love of the Neighbor 4, 185
Love to the Lord 3
Loves of the Natural Man, The Two 128
Man, As from Himself 61, 63, 64, 69
Man, Maternal Inheritance of 161
Man, The First 7, 55
Man, The Lord does not need the help of 7
Marriage, Friendship in 47
Marriage, Monogamic 20, 68
Marriage Service, Obedience in the 74
Married Life, Happiness in 6
Meditation when Alone 42
Memorabilia, The Need and Use of the 1
Memory of Things Never Seen or Heard 118
Moral Life without a Spiritual Life 36, 208
Morality without Religion 36
Mother, What Man Inherits from His 161
Most Ancient Church 93
Mystery of Regeneration 100
Mythology, Heroes of 93
Mythology, History in 28, 46
Natural Good 84
Natural Sun is Dead. 14
Nature, Invisible World of 40
Nature the Same in Greatest and Least Things 212
Neighbor, Love of the 4
Neighbor, Who is My 185
Nemesis, Signification of 111
New Church, an Internal first to be Formed 108
New Church at first confined to a few 107
New Church, Christians invited to the 98
New Church in the Christian World 21
New Church, No Rapid Increase in the 108
New Church, Organization of the 124
New Church, Prayer for the 30
News from Earth 15
Obedience, Early 42, 91
Obedience in the Marriage Service 74
Omnipresence, The Divine 220
Omniscience, The Divine 214, 216
Order, Preservation of 10
Organization, More than One 24
Paganism, Christian 9
Pallas Athene 48
Patmos, John on the Island of 143
Peace of Heaven 44
Perish, Mankind would 153
Permission of Evil 69, 150
Perpetual Motion, Fallacy of 63
Persons, Thought of 59
Phenomena, Cause of in the Spiritual World 75
Philosophers, Creek and Roman 77
Philosophy, Swedenborg's 38, 40
Planes, The Lord Has All 162
Plate, Writings of 17
Poetry, Origin of 27
Prayer for the Church 30
Prayer in Retirement 42
Prayer, The End in 120
Prayer, The Lord's 30, 99
Preaching the Internal Sense of the Word 202
Predestination and Doubt 231
Predestination to Hell, There is no 230
Presence in Hell, The Divine 218
Presence, Effect on Man of the Angelic 97
Presence of the Lord 135
Preservation of Order in the World 10
Priest, Instrumentality of the 172
Primary Truths 51, 105, 106
Proverbs, Origin of 27
Providence, A Special 187, 189
Providence in Lotteries 70
Punishment After Death 11, 147
Punishment, Capital 145
Punishment of the Innocent for the Guilty 85
Purification by Truths 101
Rarity of Conjugial Love 20
Reading the Word, Delight in 8
Reasoning with Children 113
Rebellion 57, 58, 149
Regeneration, A Phase of 199
Regeneration, Before Adult Age, No 113
Regeneration in Sickness, No 8
Regeneration is Preparation for Use in Heaven 109
Regeneration, Mystery of 100
Reject, Meaning of the Word 156
Removal of Evil and Falsity 7
Representation does not Respect upon the Person 73
Representation of Judas 72
Responsibility of Knowing 201
Resuscitation at Death 232
Revelation in Africa 206
Revelation, No Error in Divine 12
Reverence for the Word 18
Ruling and Leading 75
Sacrifices Abolished by the Lord 131
Sacrifices Not Commanded 130
Sacrifices, Why Permitted 131
Salvation, The Two Essentials of 35
Same, No Two Things the 136
Sanctuary, The Word in the 226
Science, Intelligence and Wisdom 143
Separation from the World 234
Shaddai 37, 38
Sickness, No Regeneration in 8
Sin, Confession of 121
Sin, Evil of 228, 229
Sin, Without 54
Smiting the Earth with a Curse 176
Snare, Morality without Religion a 36
Snow in Heaven 125, 127
Solomon, Derivation of the Wisdom of 115, 123
Soul, Animal with a Living 205
Sparta, Athens and 9
Speaking Ill of the Dead 30
Speech, Angelic 2
Spiritism, Dangers of 192
Spirits, Danger of Intercourse with 193
Spirits not to be Spoken to Harshly, Evil 30
Spiritual Good 83
Spiritual Sun 5
Spiritual, the Term in the Writings 100
Spiritual World, Phenomena of the 75
Spiritual World, Presence of the 29
Spontaneous Generation 210
Square, Meaning of the word 137
State, Priority of Ownership by the 69
Structure and Function 29
Submission 57, 148
Sun, Natural 14
Sun, Spiritual 5
Sun, Worship of the 14
Supreme Doctrine, The 158
Swedenborg not a Scientific Investigator 40
Swedenborg's Philosophy 38
Temperance Better than Abstinence 87
Temptation, No Spiritual Birth without 235
Temptations of the Lord 3
Terms Used in the Writings 97, 100
Thinking, Importance of Right 140
Time Breeds Impatience, The Sense of 65, 95
Total Abstinence 112
Transmigration of Souls, Belief in the 118
Transmute, Meaning of the word 156
Trojan Horse, The 28
Truths, First 51, 105, 106
Truths, Purification by 101
Unconnected, Nothing exists 64
Use and Abuse of Wine 88, 90, 112
Vengeance is Mine 11
Vital Heat 15
War, Evil of 181
War, Girding on the Armor of 203
Wars, Future 183
Wars, Righteous 182
Watery Atmosphere, A 79
Whom the Gods would Destroy 77
Will and Understanding, None before Birth 129
Wine, Use and Abuse of 88, 90, 112
Word in the Sanctuary 226
Word, Origin of the Literal Sense of the 127
Word, Preaching the Internal Sense of the 202
World, Help from the 81
World, Separation from the 234
Worship of an Invisible God 204
Worship of the Sun 14
Wrath to Come, The 115
Writings as the Word, The 31, 33