Apocalypse Explained #104

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104. Verse 4. But I have against thee that thou hast left thy first charity, signifies that they do not make such a life as those lived who were in the church at its beginning, the essential of knowledges. This is evident from the signification of "first charity," as being a life according to the knowledges of good and truth, such as those lived who were in the church at its beginning (of which presently); and from the signification of "leaving that charity," as being not to make it the essential of knowledges; for those who are eager for the knowledges of truth and good, and who believe that they are saved thereby, make knowledges essential, and not life, when yet a life according to knowledges is the essential. But as this essential of the church and of salvation is treated of in what follows, more will there be said about it. Charity is life, because all life in accordance with the precepts of the Lord in the Word is called "charity;" therefore to exercise charity is to live according to those precepts. (That this is so, see in The Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, in the chapter on Love to the Neighbor or Charity 84-106; and in the small work on The Last Judgment 33-39.) The life of the church at its beginning is here meant by "first charity;" for every church begins from charity, and successively turns away from it to faith alone or to meritorious works. (On which subject, and on charity, see what is shown in the Arcana Coelestia, namely, that every church begins from charity, but in process of time turns away from it, n. 494, 501, 1327, 3773, 4689; thus to falsities from evil, and at length to evils, n. 1834, 1835, 2910, 4683, 4689; commonly to faith alone, n. 1834, 1835, 2231, 4683, 8094. A comparison of the church in its beginning and in its decline, with the rising and setting of the sun, n. 1837; and with the infancy and old age of man, n. Arcana Coelestia 10134; that the church is not with man until the knowledges of good and truth have been implanted in the life, n. 3310; that charity constitutes the church, n. 809, 916, 1798, 1799, 1844, 1894; that the internal of the church is charity, n. 4766, 5826; that there would be one church, and not many, as at this day, if all were regarded from charity, although they might differ in respect to doctrinals of faith and rituals of worship, n. 1286, 1316, 1798, 1799, 1834, 1844, 2385, 2982, 3267, 3451; that worship of the Lord consists in a life of charity, n. 8254, 8256; that the quality of worship is according to the quality of charity, n. 2190.)

(References: Arcana Coelestia 1798-1799, 1834-1835; Revelation 2:4; The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 84-106)

  
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References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 94, 105, 106, 151


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Thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation for their permission to use this translation.


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