From Swedenborg's Works


Secrets of Heaven #2284

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2284. Maybe ten will be found there means if there were still a remnant. This is established by the symbolism of the number ten as a remnant, dealt with in §§576, 1738 of volumes 1 and 2.

Various earlier sections, such as §§468, 530, 560, 561, 660, 661, 1050, 1738, 1906, have stated and illustrated what a remnant is. It is everything good and everything true that lies stored away in our memory and in our life.

[2] People recognize that there is nothing good or true that does not come from the Lord. They recognize that goodness and truth are constantly flowing into us from the Lord but that we receive them in different ways, depending on how entrenched we have become in an evil life and false principles. These are the things that snuff out or choke off or overturn the goodness and truth that are constantly flowing in from the Lord. To prevent good from mixing with evil and truth with falsity, then, the Lord separates them; otherwise we would be destroyed forever. The goodness and truth we accept he hides in our inner self and refuses to release as long as evil and falsity are active in us. He lets it out only when we are in a reverent mood or anxious or dangerously sick and so on. What the Lord has hidden up in us this way is what is called a remnant, and the Word mentions it very often, but no one has yet realized that this is what it symbolizes.

[3] The type and amount of our remnant, or of goodness and truth in us, determines the blessings and happiness we enjoy in the other life, since as noted they lie hidden away in our inner self and come into view only when we have left bodily and worldly concerns behind.

The Lord alone knows the nature and size of our remnant. We cannot possibly know, because human nature these days is such that we can put on a show of goodness even when we have sheer evil inside. Then again we can look evil even when we are good inside. That is why no one is ever allowed to judge the quality of another's spiritual life. Again, only the Lord knows this. Everyone, though, is allowed to judge the quality of another's private and public life, since this is a matter of concern to human society.

[4] It is extremely common for us to form an opinion about some religious tenet and then judge that other people cannot be saved unless they believe what we do, even though the Lord forbade this (Matthew 7:1, 2). However, much experience has taught me that people of every religious persuasion are saved as long as they have acquired a remnant of goodness and seeming truth through a life of love for others. That is the message of the words "If ten are found, for the sake of ten they will not be destroyed," meaning if there was a remnant they would be saved.

[5] A life of neighborly love involves thinking well of people, wanting what is good for them, and feeling personal joy in the notion that others too are saved. If we wish to see no one saved but those who believe as we do, and particularly if we resent any other arrangement, our life is not one of neighborly love.

The truth of this can be seen simply from the fact that more non-Christians than Christians are saved. In the other life, non-Christians who have thought well of others and wished well to them accept the tenets of the faith better than those called Christian, and acknowledge the Lord more readily. (Nothing gives the angels more pleasure and happiness than teaching people who come into the other world from earth.)

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Many thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation and its New Century Edition team.

The Bible


Matthew 7:1



1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.