From Swedenborg's Works

 

Secrets of Heaven #874

Secrets of Heaven (New Century Edition, Cooper Translation)      

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874. This scene depicts the first stage of regeneration following trial for the people of this church, a stage common to everyone who is being reborn: we imagine that we are doing good deeds and thinking true thoughts under our own power. Because we still cannot see clearly at all, the Lord lets us think this way.

Still, none of the good we do and none of the truth we contemplate while holding this opinion (a mistaken one) is the kind of goodness or truth that makes a part of faith. Nothing that we produce from ourselves can be good, because it is from ourselves — an impure and very unclean source. From an impure and unclean source nothing good can spring, because we are always thinking about how deserving and righteous we are. Some people, as the Lord teaches in Luke 18:9-14, go further and despise others in comparison with themselves. Others do other things just as bad. Self-centered desires add themselves to the mixture, making the exterior look good, although the interior is filthy.

As a consequence, the good that we do at this stage is not the good that belongs to faith. It is the same with the truth that we think. Even if the idea we adopt is absolutely true and is in itself a valid religious concept, nonetheless as long as we adopt it for selfish reasons, it has no religious good within it. Any truth, in order to be theologically true, has to have the good of faith from the Lord within it. That is when it first becomes good and true.

(References: Genesis 8:9)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 2041, 2053, 2946, 3812, 5162, 8409, 8869, 8941, 9166, 9219, 9229, 9299, 9954, 9959, 10035, 10115, 10283

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 25, 82, 83, 170, 183


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 151, 638


   Swedenborg Research Tools


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

The Bible

 

Luke 18:9-14

King James Version         

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9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

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Explanation of Luke 18      

By Rev. John Clowes M.A.

Verse 1. That man ought to keep his internal or spiritual mind continually open to Divine influx, notwithstanding all the opposition of the external or natural mind

Verses 2-6. Since however false principles may prevail in the latter mind, yet if the desire of truth grounded in good prevail at the same time in the former mind, it will sooner or later become accepting of the light of truth.

Verses 7-8. Which consideration ought therefore to be attended to, because it proves that the Divine Truth is always present with those who are in the love of it, to deliver them from all false and evil persuasions, however it may appear at times to be absent, and to produce no effect. (First part of Verse 8).

Verse 8. Still, at the end of the Church, when there is no longer any faith, because there is no charity, Divine Truth, though revealed from heaven, will not be received. (Latter part of Verse 8).

Verses 9-15. For at that time man will be under the delusive idea, that he may be admitted into heaven by virtue of his works, without any regard to the principle from which they are done, whereas none are admitted into heaven but the humble and the penitent, whose works are not done from themselves, but from the Lord.

Verses 15-16. That the goods and truths of innocence ought all to be ascribed to the Lord, because heaven consists in such acknowledgement, and the Lord has communication with those goods and truths.

Verse 17. None therefore can be admitted into heaven, unless they be principled in innocence.

Verses 18-28. Nor can any one enter into heaven, unless he acknowledge the Lord, even as to His Human essence to be the God of heaven, and that from him is every good which is good, and unless he live also according to the precepts of the decalogue, by abstaining from those evils as sins, which are there forbidden.

Verses 19-20. For the Lord alone is good, and the source of good, and the way to attain conjunction of life with Him is to observe His precepts, which precepts teach, that man ought not to destroy or pervert in himself the life of love and charity; nor to ascribe that life to himself, but to the Lord alone; nor to call anything good or true but what is of the Lord; thus that he should respect and exalt in himself the Divine good and truth above every other.

Verses 21-22. Yet these precepts cannot be fulfilled, until man removes his heart from riches, fights against cravings, and acknowledges the Lord to be god.

Verse 23. Which things appear grievous to those who are in the knowledges of truth separate from the good of charity.

Verses 24-25. Therefore those knowledges, when so separated from the good of life, are rather hindrances to the attainment of conjunction with the Lord, since it is contrary to Divine order that knowledges of themselves, without the life of love and charity, should introduce any one into heaven.

Verses 26-27. Nevertheless they are no hindrances in case the Divine Truth be respected and exalted.

Verses 28-30. Inasmuch as all who reject their hereditary evils and falsities and acknowledge the Lord as to His Human essence to be god, shall be elevated to communication and conjunction with the Lord, and to all the joys of His eternal kingdom.

Verses 31-33. That in the Church, where mere falsities of doctrine and evils of life prevail, Divine Truth will be blasphemed, and perverted, and its good destroyed, nevertheless the Human principle of the Lord will attain to plenary glorification.

Verse 34. But these things cannot be apprehended even by those who are principled in the goods and truths of the Church.

Verses 35-43. Until they receive spiritual understanding from the LORD.

Verse 38. Asking it of Him from the pure love of truth.

Verse 39. And are the more urgent to receive, in proportion as they meet with opposition.

Verses 40-41. And explore diligently the end or intention they have in view, when they seek the knowledge of the truth.

Verses 42-43. For in such case their understandings receive light by communication with the Lord's Divine Human principle, which they gratefully acknowledge, and which is thus acknowledged by others.

From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

Arcana Coelestia 874, 4314, 4783, 6405, 10248

Doctrine of Life 30


References from Swedenborg's drafts, indexes & diaries:

Apocalypse Explained 794

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Bible Word Meanings

spake
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

righteous
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

despised
We tend to think of "despising" something or someone as just a strong way of expressing dislike, but there is a further shade of meaning...

the temple
'Solomon's temple' represents heaven and the church.

pray
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

pharisee
The Pharisees were a sect of the Jewish church at the time of the New Testament. The name comes from a root that means "separate",...

prayed
When people pray in the Bible, it means they are opening up their internal states. When it is the Lord praying, or a figure who...

fast
To fast as in Mark 2:19, signifies to mourn on account of the defect of truth and good. Fasting corresponds to temptation.

week
'A week' signifies state, and 'the seventh week,' a holy state. The ancients understood 'a week' to mean any period divided into seven, whether days,...

heaven
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

tell
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

Every one
The phrase “Every one,” where it occurs in Genesis 20:7, signifies every thing or all things.

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


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