From Swedenborg's Works

 

True Christianity #571

True Christianity (Rose translation)      

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571. Chapter 10: Reformation and Regeneration

Now that repentance has been treated, the next topic in order is our reformation and regeneration. These two both follow our repentance and are moved forward by it.

There are two states that we all inevitably enter into and go through if we are to turn from an earthly person into a spiritual person. The first state is called reformation, the second is called regeneration. In the first state we look from our earthly self toward having a spiritual self; being spiritual is what we long for. In the second state we become someone who is both spiritual and earthly. The first state is brought about by truths (these have to be truths related to faith); through these truths we aim to develop goodwill. The second state is brought about by good actions that come from goodwill; through these actions we come [more deeply] into truths related to faith.

To put it another way, the first state is a state of thought that occurs in our intellect; the second state is a state of love that occurs in our will. As the second state begins and progresses, a change takes place in our minds. There is a reversal, because then the love in our will flows into our intellect and leads and drives it to think in agreement and harmony with what we love. As good actions that come from love take on a primary role, and the truths related to faith are relegated to a secondary role, we become spiritual and are a new creation [2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15]. Then our actions come from goodwill and our words come from faith; we develop a sense of the goodness that comes from goodwill and a perception of the truth that is related to faith; and we are in the Lord and in a state of peace. In brief, we are reborn.

[2] If we begin the first state while we are in this world, we can be brought into the second state after we die. If we do not begin the first state while we are in this world, we cannot be brought into the second state or be reborn after we die.

These two states can be compared to the increase of light and heat that occurs as the day progresses in springtime. The first state is like the early light before dawn, when the rooster crows. The second state is like the dawn and the morning. The further development within the second state is like the increase of light and heat as the day progresses toward noon.

These two states can also be compared with the growth of grain crops. In the first stage they are like grass; after that they develop ears or fruiting spikes; and finally the grain itself grows within those structures.

These two states can also be compared with the growth of a tree. It begins as a sprout growing out of a seed in the ground. This then becomes a shoot. Then branches form and are adorned with leaves. Then the tree blossoms and fruit begins to grow in the heart of the flowers. As the fruit grows and develops, it produces new seeds, which are in effect the tree's offspring.

The first state, the state of reformation, can be compared to the state of a silkworm when it draws silky threads out of itself and wraps itself in them. After all its hard work [of transformation], it becomes able to fly in the air and feeds no longer on leaves as before but on the nectar of flowers.

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 Nicodemus
Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus reveals important insights into Jesus' mission on earth.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17


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

The Bible

 

Galatians 6:15

English: King James Version         

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15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

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From Swedenborg's Works

Explanations or references:

True Christian Religion 675, 687


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Scriptural Confirmations 62, 85

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


Word/Phrase Explanations

christ
Christ is one of the names of the Lord. It derives from Greek, and means "the anointed one," a King or Messiah. Christ as King...

circumcision
Circumcision (Gen. 17:10) signifies purity.

From Swedenborg's Works

 

True Christian Religion #687

True Christian Religion (Chadwick translation)      

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687. Moreover, baptism as representing regeneration is evidenced by many things in heaven and in the world. In heaven, as just said, by white and purple clothing, and besides by the wedding of the church with the Lord; also by the new heaven and the new earth, and the New Jerusalem coming down from there, of which He who sits upon the throne said:

Behold, I shall make all things new, Revelation 21:1-5.

It is also meant by the river of water of life 1 which issues from the throne of God and the Lamb (Revelation 22:1-2); and also by the five wise virgins who had lamps and oil, and went in with the bridegroom to the wedding (Matthew 25:1-2, 10). One who is baptised, that is, regenerated, is meant by every creature (Mark 16:15; Romans 8:19-21) and by a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15); for creature is derived from being created, which also means being regenerated (see Apocalypse Revealed 254).

(References: Apocalypse Revealed 254)


[2] In the world there are various representations of regeneration, such as the way all the earth's products flower in springtime, and then stage by stage develop until they bear fruit; and likewise by the way any tree, shrub or flower grows from the first month of warm weather until the last. Another representation is the stages by which all fruits gradually ripen from the first rudiments to the full development. Then again it is represented by early morning and late evening showers, and by dew, which when it falls makes flowers open, and the shades of night make them close again; or again by the fragrant smells from gardens and fields. Another representation is by the rainbow in the cloud (Genesis 9:14-17), as well as by the glorious colours of sunrise. In general it is represented by the way everything in the body is continually renewed by means of the chyle and animal spirit, and so by the blood, which perpetually undergoes purification from exhausted matter, and is so renewed and, so to speak, regenerated.

[3] If we turn our attention to the humblest creatures on earth, there is a wonderful picture of regeneration presented by the way silk-worms and many caterpillars are transformed into nymphs and butterflies, and other insects which as time goes on are adorned with wings. To these examples even more trivial ones can be added, such as the fondness of certain birds for plunging in water in order to wash and cleanse themselves, after which they revert to their role as song-birds. In short, the whole world from first to last is full of representations and models of regeneration.

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Footnotes:

1. Reading vitae for vivae in accordance with the Greek; so also in AR.

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 Becoming an Angel Book or Mural
Nature provides us with many illustrations of regeneration or spiritual rebirth. Let children make pictures of these illustrations, then display as a mural or book.
Project | Ages 4 - 14

 Becoming an Angel (sheet music)
Song | Ages 4 - 14


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


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