From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #2190

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2190. 'And he said, Behold, in the tent' means that it existed within holiness. This is clear from the meaning of 'a tent' as holiness, dealt with in 414, 1102, 1566, 2145. Rational truth is said to have existed within holiness because it existed within good. All good is called holy because it is an attribute of love and charity, which are derived wholly from the Lord. But as are forms of good, so are forms of holiness. Goods are formed, that is, they are born and develop, through the truths of faith. The nature of them therefore depends on the nature and the amount of the truth of faith that has been implanted in charity, as stated immediately above in 2189. From this it becomes clear that forms of good or holiness differ with each individual. Although they seem to be alike in the outward form they take they are not alike in their inward forms. And this applies both to people who are outside the Church and to those inside it. Within the good of charity residing with a person more is present than man can possibly believe. Present within it are all things that constitute his faith, and consequently they are present in the holiness of his worship. The nature of the holiness of his worship is visible to the angels as if seen in broad daylight, even though that person knows nothing further than that some degree of holiness exists with him. Myriads upon myriads of his thoughts concerning the goods and truths of faith and of the affections deriving from these are present within the holiness existing within him. But the general character of the holiness of worship will in the Lord's Divine mercy be spoken of elsewhere.

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

The Bible

 

Genesis 18

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1 Yahweh appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.

2 He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood opposite him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth,

3 and said, "My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please don't go away from your servant.

4 Now let a little water be fetched, wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.

5 I will get a morsel of bread so you can refresh your heart. After that you may go your way, now that you have come to your servant." They said, "Very well, do as you have said."

6 Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, "Quickly prepare three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes."

7 Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a tender and good calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to dress it.

8 He took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. He stood by them under the tree, and they ate.

9 They asked him, "Where is Sarah, your wife?" He said, "See, in the tent."

10 He said, "I will certainly return to you when the season comes round. Behold, Sarah your wife will have a son." Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him.

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.

12 Sarah laughed within herself, saying, "After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?"

13 Yahweh said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh, saying, 'Will I really bear a child, yet I am old?'

14 Is anything too hard for Yahweh? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes round, and Sarah will have a son."

15 Then Sarah denied, saying, "I didn't laugh," for she was afraid. He said, "No, but you did laugh."

16 The men rose up from there, and looked toward Sodom. Abraham went with them to see them on their way.

17 Yahweh said, "Will I hide from Abraham what I do,

18 since Abraham has surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed in him?

19 For I have known him, to the end that he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of Yahweh, to do righteousness and justice; to the end that Yahweh may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him."

20 Yahweh said, "Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous,

21 I will go down now, and see whether their deeds are as bad as the reports which have come to me. If not, I will know."

22 The men turned from there, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham stood yet before Yahweh.

23 Abraham drew near, and said, "Will you consume the righteous with the wicked?

24 What if there are fifty righteous within the city? Will you consume and not spare the place for the fifty righteous who are in it?

25 Be it far from you to do things like that, to kill the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be like the wicked. May that be far from you. Shouldn't the Judge of all the earth do right?"

26 Yahweh said, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sake."

27 Abraham answered, "See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord, who am but dust and ashes.

28 What if there will lack five of the fifty righteous? Will you destroy all the city for lack of five?" He said, "I will not destroy it, if I find forty-five there."

29 He spoke to him yet again, and said, "What if there are forty found there?" He said, "I will not do it for the forty's sake."

30 He said, "Oh don't let the Lord be angry, and I will speak. What if there are thirty found there?" He said, "I will not do it, if I find thirty there."

31 He said, "See now, I have taken it on myself to speak to the Lord. What if there are twenty found there?" He said, "I will not destroy it for the twenty's sake."

32 He said, "Oh don't let the Lord be angry, and I will speak just once more. What if ten are found there?" He said, "I will not destroy it for the ten's sake."

33 Yahweh went his way, as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham, and Abraham returned to his place.