True Christianity #719

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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719. The Lord Is Present and Opens Heaven to Those Who Approach the Holy Supper Worthily; He Is Also Present with Those Who Approach It Unworthily, but He Does Not Open Heaven to Them. Therefore As Baptism Brings Us into the Church, So the Holy Supper Brings Us into Heaven

What it is to approach the Holy Supper worthily and what it is to approach it unworthily will be covered under the two headings following this one, since the approach that we should have to the Holy Supper will make it easier to recognize the approach that is its opposite [722-724, 725-727].

The reason why the Lord is present with both the worthy and the unworthy is that he is omnipresent in heaven and in hell and also in the world; therefore he is equally present with the evil and the good. With the good (the regenerated), though, he is present both generally and personally. The Lord is in them and they are in the Lord; and where the Lord is, there heaven is as well. In fact, heaven constitutes the body of the Lord; therefore being in his body is the same as being in heaven.

[2] The presence of the Lord with those who approach the Holy Supper unworthily, on the other hand, is general but not personal. To put it another way, it is an external presence but not an internal presence. The Lord's general or external presence allows us to live as human beings and enjoy the capacity to know, to understand, and to speak from our intellect in a rational way. (Since we are born for heaven and are therefore born to be spiritual, we are not like animals, which are merely earthly.) We also enjoy the capacity to will and do the things that our intellect is able to know, understand, and articulate in a rational way. If our will refuses to go along with the truly rational insights in our intellect, which are also intrinsically spiritual, we become an external person.

The Lord's presence with people who go no further than understanding what is true and good is general and external in nature; but his presence with people who go further and actually will and do what is true and good is both general and personal, or both internal and external.

[3] People who go no further than understanding and saying things that are true and good are like the foolish young women who had lamps but no oil. People who not only understand and say things that are true and good but also will them and do them are like the prudent young women, who were let in to attend the wedding while the others stood at the door and knocked but were not allowed in (Matthew 25:1-12).

These statements show, then, that the Lord is present and opens heaven to those who approach the Holy Supper worthily, and that he is also present with those who approach it unworthily, but he does not open heaven to them.

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