Heaven and Hell
Life After Death Confirmed
|Posted at http://www.seniornet.org November 7, 1999
Heaven and Hell by E. Swedenborg. I love this book! Opened my eyes and my faith. As well as my science because the book is about what Swedenborg saw, and he was a trained scientist, and excellent observer, and obviously inspired by God to have these unique experiences for the sake of telling the story to the whole world.
The introduction to the discussion of this book has this sentence: "The creation of hell was an act not of punishment but of Divine Mercy." True, but I want to make it more specific. Swedenborg says that God did not create the hells but that they arose when people on earth willfully turned away from God's Order. God allowed this to happen, that is, permitted and provided for it, but God did not create it. All that God created is good.
Why then did God permit people to turn away to disorder (evil)? Swedenborg explains that it was from Love that God felt compelled to do this. God created us with the ability to keep turning towards Him in our daily living, or to turn away from Him. Without this freedom of turning to Order or turning to disorder, we would not be human, we would not be able to become angelic persons and live happily in the heavens to eternity.
What's nice is that we only need to struggle to turn away from dis-order while we're alive in the physical body--just a few decades. But when we pass on, and we begin our afterlife in heaven, we are awakened in our new glorious body (or spiritual heavenly body), and we live forever in blessedness. At that point we no longer need to struggle, but are actually born along subconsciously in the stream of Divine Providence. That's heaven. And you want to know the best part of heaven?
It's what Swedenborg saw thousands of times in his visits to heavenly societies for 27 years as he kept daily notes in his Diary: ALL THE PEOPLE THERE WHO ARE NOW CALLED "ANGELS," LIVE AS MARRIED COUPLES!!!!!
Of course Swedenborg was a devout Christian, son of the Royal family's Bishop in Sweden (1668-1772) and a "dualist sicentist" or theistic scientist. Swedenborg loved the Lord and revered the Holy Bible. He would never never say or write anything that was contrary to Holy Scripture. So he took great pains to PROVE from the Bible that there is marriage in heaven in our afterlife. And he fully explains the passages in the New Testament where it APPEARS to say that there are no marriages in the afterlife.
After reading this book you will be convinced that the Lord wants us to be married couples "as one flesh" (or one mind and spirit), and that the soul-mate relationship we crave for here on earth, doesn't get fully fulfilled until our heaven.
Oh, how beautiful. Thank you God for the good news!!
Life After Death Confirmed
The following quotations are from one of the Books of the Third Testament called Heaven and and Its Wonders and Hell, From Things Heard and Seen by Emanuel Swedenborg. It was first published in Latin in 1758, the year following the Second Advent of Christ. In this book, Swedenborg relates the details of his experiences in the spiritual world as a dual citizen. It is an eyewitness report of the spiritual geography and government of the societies of the heavens, hells, and the intermediate world of recent arrivals from the earths in the universe. Swedenborg's experiences served to empirically confirm the details in the Bible regarding our lot after death.
After being taught, the people then enter heaven so that the heavenly societies are formed by people from all religious denominations who strove to act well for the sake of being good and avoiding evil. On the other hand, people who have not been sincere in their religion come into the afterlife with a disposition to deny the trues of faith taught them by the angels, and instead are attracted to false beliefs promulgated by those spirits and devils who use this means to attract others to their hells.
Swedenborg reports that even those who were of the Christian faith and lead an outwardly Christian life, but yet were not sincere, come into the afterlife unprepared and are not willing to receive the true faith taught by the angels. This true faith is that people come to their heaven in eternal life only to the extent that they are sincerely interested in doing what the Word commands, that is, that they be altruistic, unselfish, and loving the truth for the sake of the good.
The revelations made in this book have caused quite a stir in the Christian world. Biographers of Swedenborg show evidence that John Wesley, founder of Methodism, wrote vicious attacks against Swedenborg, the main contention being that "faith alone" is sufficient for salvation and heaven. Many Protestants strongly feel that way today, but Swedenborg cautions all Christians to heed the necessity that they add "works" to their faith, or else their faith is not genuine. Swedenborg showed that we need to compel ourselves to do good in our daily transactions or else we remain in sins such as hate, selfishness, meritoriousness, prejudice, favoritism toward our own kind, and many others which are hellish affections.
The quotations that follow were selected from the footnotes Swedenborg wrote to most of the paragraphs in Heaven and Hell. These footnotes refer the reader to larger explanations of the topics in an earlier major Work in 12 volumes called the Arcana Coelestia or "Heavenly Secrets." The numbers in parenthesis refer to the numbered paragraphs in the book Heaven and Hell to which the footnotes are attached. The three dots indicate the places where Swedenborg gives paragraph numbers in Arcana Coelestia; these are not given here, but the interested reader may find them in Heaven and Hell at the paragraph, indicated in parentheses.
The phrases and sentences that are underlined will give the reader an overview of the principal descriptions that are of central importance to religious psychology. These were not underlined in the original. These selected propositions can be viewed as subject headings for research and exploration by religious psychologists.
By way of introduction, we will recall that the mind is patterned after the Heaven, so everything we read about the distinctions in Heaven we shall apply to correspondent distinctions in our mind, and therefore also, in the Church within us. In Number 20 of Heaven and Hell we read that "... there are in heaven general, specific, and particular divisions." The text goes on to specify the details of these distinctions. For instance, a general fact is that Heaven is divided into "Two Kingdoms:" an external region and an internal region. The external region is spiritual while the internal region is celestial. These are two distinct worlds of substances and realities; the spiritual region corresponds to cognitions while the celestial region corresponds to affections. In other words, regarding the organic constitution of our mind, it is composed of two worlds: the world of our cognitions (or understanding, reasonings, and hence, our -thoughts) and the world of our affections (or love, strivings, and hence, purposes and goals).
The inhabitants of the two Kingdoms in Heaven live distinct lives. Angels of the spiritual region have as their chief occupation and ruling love, to be useful to others in a genuine altruistic motive. These spiritual angels are "in love to the neighbor" and serve the Lord in that capacity. The Angels of the celestial region are higher and deeper into Heaven's essence because their ruling love is to serve the Lord through loving Him and His Word and thence loving the neighbor. Since all truth, wisdom, and good come from the Lord, the celestial Angels receive a purer form of Divine Truth and Divine Love. Nevertheless there is a space and cloud interposed between the highest of thankless and the Sun of Heaven from which Divine Love and Wisdom stream forth from the Divine Human, in the form of spiritual heat and light. This spiritual heat and light is received by all thermions of Heaven but in less pure form as the Angels live in affections more and more removed from the Lord in His visible Divine Human within themselves. Therefore it is said of celestial Angels that they "have Divine trues written in their hearts, and they perceive them, and as it were see them, in themselves"(Heaven and Hell 25; compare Isaiah 54:13).
Moving on from the general facts to specific facts, we are told that there are three Heavens; that is, hat Heaven has three distinct zones or, levels of life. The First Heaven is the lowest and most external, and its angelic inhabitants receive Divine Truth in a relatively grosser form as it is latered by the clouds there. In this First Heaven we are to distinguish the outer-lower regions and the inner-higher regions. The outer regions correspond to the cognitions in our mind, while the inner regions correspond to the affections in our mind. In other words, the part of us that has rational cognitions is located in the outer regions, while the part of us that has affections and loves is located in the inner regions. This is because we ratiocinate through the mediation of spiritual Angels' while we have feelings through the mediation of celestial Angels.
Brief Quotations from Heaven and Hell as an Overall Outline
Note: A brief discussion follows the quotations.
"All things spring from things prior to themselves, thus from a First, and in like manner subsist, because subsistence is unceasing springing forth; therefore nothing unconnected is possible." (37)
"Nothing appears as one's own, except what is from his freedom. (45)
"Heaven is not granted from mercy apart from means, but in accordance with the life... If heaven were granted from mercy apart from means it would be granted to all." (54)
"The church is in man, and not outside of him, and the church in general is made up of men that have the church within them." (57)
"Man has an internal and an external; his internal is formed by creation after the image of heaven, and his external after the image of the world; and for this reason man was called by the ancients a microcosm." (57)
"Man is such as the ruling quality of his life... When love and faith rule they are in all particulars of man's life, although he does not know it." (58)
"The wise man thinks above (the) sense-conceptions of the external man." (74)
"There is a correspondence of all things of heaven with all things of man." (87)
"... all things that have existence in nature... are correspondences because the natural world with all things in it springs forth and subsists from the spiritual world, and both worlds from the Divine." (106)
"By means of the Word man has conjunction with heaven." (114)
"The Lord appears to each one in accordance with what he is." (120)
"When man is raised up from the sensual he comes into a milder light, and at length into heavenly light." (130)
"Divine truth going forth from the Lord is the only real thing... By means of Divine truth all things were created and made." (138)
"In the Word the "east" signifies love clearly perceived...; the "west" love obscurely perceived...; the "south" a state of light, that is, of wisdom and intelligence...; and the "north" that state in obscurity." (150)
"Alternations of state in respect to enlightenment and perception occur in heaven, like the times of day in the world." (155) (compare 165)
"The Lord cannot be present unless what is man's own is set aside... It is actually set aside when one is held in good by the Lord... The angels are being perfected to eternity." (158)
"In the Word places and spaces signify states... Distance signifies difference of state of life... In the spiritual world movements and changes of place are changes of state of life, because they originate in these... The same is true of journeyings...; illustrated by experience... For this reason "to journey" signifies in the Word to live and progress in life; and "to sojourn" has a like meaning... To go with the Lord means to live with Him... (192)
"Man may be led a long distance in respect to his spirit by means of changes of state, while his body remains in its place, also from experience..." (192)
Places and spaces are presented to the sight in accord with the states of the interiors of angels and spirits..." ( 195 )
Divine trues are the laws of order... All things of Divine order are gathered up in man and he is from creation Divine order in form... Man is not born into good and true, but into evil and falsity... When the Lord forms man anew, that is, regenerates him, He arranges all things in him in accordance with order, which means, into the form of heaven... (202)
"There is direct influx from the Lord and mediate influx through heaven... There is a direct influx of the Lord into the minutest parts of all things..." (208)
"There are two kinds of rule, one from love towards the neighbor the other from love of self... From the rule that is from love towards the neighbor flow all goods and all happinesses... In heaven no one desires to rule from the love of self, but all desire to minister, which means to rule from love to the neighbor; this is the source of their great power... From rule from the love of self all evils flow in..."(220)
"The understanding is receptive of truth, and the will of good... As all things have relation to truth and good, so every thing of man's life has relation to understanding and will... Angels are perfected to eternity... (221)
"The ideas of man's thought are opened in the after life, and what they are is presented to view to the life... The ideas of angels of the inmost heaven present an appearance of flamy light... The ideas of angels of the outmost heaven present an appearance of thin white clouds... Ideas of thought extend themselves widely into the societies of angels round about... (239)
"There is spiritual or angelic speech belonging to man, though he does not know it... The ideas of the internal man are spiritual, but during his life in the world man perceives them naturally, because he then thinks in what is natural. Man comes after death into his interior ideas... Those ideas then form his speech..." (243)
"Man is able to talk with spirits and angels; and the ancient people frequently talked with them... In some earths angels and spirits appear in human form and talk with the inhabitants... But on this earth at this day it is dangerous to talk with spirits, unless man is in true faith, and is led by the Lord..." (249)
"Spirits are unable to see through man anything that is in this solar world... (252)
"Spirits sent from one society of spirits to other societies are called subjects... Communications in the spiritual world are effected by such emissary spirits... A spirit when he is sent forth, and serves as a subject thinks from those by whom he is sent forth, and not from himself..." (255)
"External or bodily obsessions are not permitted at the present time, as they were formerly... But at present internal obsessions, which pertain to the mind, are permitted more than formerly... Man is inwardly obsessed when he has filthy and scandalous thoughts about God and the neighbor, and is withheld from making them known only by external considerations, which are fear of the loss of reputation, honor, gain and fear of the law and of loss of life..." (257)
"The most ancient people possessed heavenly arcane expressed in numbers, forming a kind of computation of the states of the church..." (263)
"So far as man is raised up from outward towards inward things he comes into light, that is, into intelligence... Elevation from outward to inward things is like elevation out of a mist into light... Inner things are more perfect because they are nearer to the Divine... In what is internal there are thousands and thousands of things that appear in what is external as one general thing... Consequently as thought and perception are more interior they are clearer..." (266)
"The sensual is the outmost of man's life... He is called a sensual man who judges all things and draws all his conclusions from the bodily senses... Such a man thinks in externals... His interiors are so closed up that he sees nothing of spiritual truth in them... Interiorly he is antagonistic to the things of heaven and the church... Sensual men are more cunning and malicious than others... They reason from the fallacies of the senses..." (267)
"That which universally rules or is dominant in man is in every particular of his life, thus in each thing and all things of his thought and affection... A man is such as his ruling love is... That which a man wills he loves, and that which he loves he has as an end... Therefore man is such as his will is, or such as his ruling love is, or such as the end of his life is..." (269)
"Man is so created that in proportion as he verges towards old age he may become like a little child, and that innocence may then be in his wisdom, and in that state he may pass into heaven and become an angel..." (278)
"True marriage love is innocence... Marriage love consists in willing what the other wills, thus mutually and reciprocally... They who are in marriage love dwell together in the inmosts of life... There is a union of the two minds, and thus from love they are a one... True marriage love derives its origin and essence from the marriage of good and truth... (281)
"All freedom pertains to love and affection, since what a man loves, that he does freely... Nothing appears as man's own except what is from freedom... Man must have freedom that he may be reformed... Otherwise no love of good and truth can be implanted in man and be appropriated seemingly as his own... Nothing that comes from compulsion is conjoined to man... If man could be reformed by compulsion every one would be reformed...Compulsion in reformation is harmful" (293)
"The life that flows in from the Lord varies in accordance with reception... With the evil the good that flows in from the Lord is turned into evil and the true into falsity .. .The good and the truth therefrom that continually flow in from the Lord are received just to the extent that evil and falsity therefrom do not obstruct... (297)
"There is true conscience, spurious conscience, and false conscience... Pain of conscience is an anxiety of mind on account of what is unjust, insincere, or in any respect evil, which man believes to be against God and against the good of the neighbor... Those have conscience who are in love to God and in charity towards the neighbor, but those who are not so have no conscience..." (299)
"The Word in the sense of the letter is natural... For the reason that the natural is the outmost in which spiritual and heavenly things, which are interior things, terminate and on which they rest, like a house upon its foundation... That the Word may be such it is composed wholly of correspondences... The conjunction of the Lord with man is through the Word, by means of the internal sense... (305)
"The church specifically is where the Word is and where the Lord is known by means of it, thus where Divine trues from heaven are revealed... The Lord's church is with all in the whole globe who live in good in accordance with the principles of their religion... And besides these all children wheresoever they are born... (308)
"The doctrine of the church must be derived from the Word... Without doctrine the Word is not understood... True doctrine is a lamp to those who read the Word... Genuine doctrine must be from those who are enlightened by the Lord... Those who are in the sense of the letter without doctrine come into no understanding of Divine trues... And they are led away into many errors... (311)
"There are as many degrees of life in man as there are heavens, and they are opened after death in accordance with his life... Heaven is in man... The man who receives from the Lord the good of love and of faith is called in the Word an angel...(314)
"The heathen equally with the Christians are saved... Those born where the Word is and where the Lord is known are not on that account of the church, but only those who lead a life of charity and of faith... The Lord's church is with all in the whole world who live in good in accordance with their religion and acknowledge a Divine, and such are accepted of the Lord and come into heaven... (318)
"Those who have lived well in accordance with their religion are taught by angels and readily accept the trues of faith and acknowledge the Lord... (321)
"All kinds of men are born into evils of every kind, even to the extent that what is their own is nothing but evil... Consequently man must needs be reborn, that is, regenerated... All evils are from the love of self and of the world, when those loves rule... These evils are contempt of others, enmity, hatred, revenge, cruelty, deceit... And from these evils comes all falsity... (342)
"It is the part of the wise to see and perceive whether a thing is true before it is confirmed, and not merely to confirm what is said by others... Only those can see and perceive whether a thing is true before it is confirmed who are affected by truth for the sake of truth and for the sake of life... The light of confirmation is not spiritual light but natural light, and is even sensual light which the wicked may have... All things, even falsities, may be so confirmed as to appear like trues..." (352)
"Charity towards the neighbor is doing what is good, just, and right, in every work and in every employment... Thus charity towards the neighbor extends to all things and each thing that a man thinks, wills, and does... A life of piety apart from a life of charity is of no avail, but together they are profitable for all things..." (360)
"All the happiness and delight of life is from uses... In general, life is a life of uses... Angelic life consists in the goals of love and charity, thus in performing uses... Performing uses is serving the Lord... Everyone's character is such as are the uses he performs..." (361)
"To enter from knowledge into the trues of faith is contrary to Divine order... Those that do this become demented in respect to the things of heaven and the church... And in the other life, when they think about spiritual things they become as it were drunken... When spiritual things are entered into through knowledges they cannot be comprehended... It is permitted to enter from spiritual things into knowledges which pertain to the natural man, but not the reverse, because there can be spiritual influx into the natural, but not natural influx into the spiritual... The trues of the Word and of the church must first be acknowledged, after which it is permissible to consider knowledges but not before..." (365)
" In the Word "dearth" signifies resurrection, for when man dies his life still goes on..." (445)
"The heart corresponds to the will, thus to the affection which belongs to the love, while the respiration of the lungs corresponds to the understanding, thus to the thought... The beating of the heart and respiration of the lungs reign in the body throughout, and flow mutually into every part... Affection is a continuation of love..." (446)
"The heart corresponds to the Lord's celestial kingdom, the lungs to His spiritual kingdom..." (449)
"The true of doctrine of the church derived from the Word must be the starting-point, and these must first be acknowledged, and afterward it is permitted to consult knowledges... Thus it is permitted for those that are in an affirmative state towards the trues of faith to confirm them rationally by knowledges, but it is not permissible for those who are in a negative state" (455)
"Profanation is the mixing of good and evil and of truth and falsity in man... Only those can profane truth and good, or the holy things of the Word and the church, who first acknowledge them, and still more, who live according to them, and who afterwards recede from the belief and reject it, and live for themselves and the world... If man after repentance of heaven relapses to former evils, he profanes, and his latter state is then worse than his former... The lot of profaners in the other life is the worst of all, because not only the good and truth they have acknowledged, but also their evil and falsity remain, and as these cling together, the life is rent asunder..." (456)
"The face is so formed as to correspond to the interiors... The correspondence of the face with the affections of the mind (are... -- many details given)... With angels of heaven the face makes one with the interiors that belong to the mind... Therefore in the Word the face signifies the interiors that belong to the mind, that is, to the affection of thought... In what manner the influx from the brain into the face has been changed in the process of time and with it the face itself as regards its correspondence with the interiors..." (457)
"After death man is possessed of every sense, and of all the memory, thought, and affection, that he had in the world, leaving nothing behind except his earthly body." (461)
"A good man, spirit, or angel, is his own good and his own truth, that is, he is wholly such as his good and truth are... This is because good is what makes the will and truth the understanding; and the will and understanding make every thing of life in man, spirit, or angel... It is the same thing to say that a man, spirit, or angel is his own love" (463)
"Man has two memories, an outer and an inner, or a natural and a spiritual memory... Man does not know that he has an inner memory... How far the inner memory surpasses the outer (many details...) The things contained in the outer memory are in the light of the world, but the things contained in the inner are in the light of heaven... It is from the inner memory that man is able to think and speak intellectually and rationally... All things and each thing that a man has thought, spoken, and done, and that he has seen and heard, are inscribed on the inner memory...That memory is the book of life... In the inner memory are trues that have been made trues of faith, and the goods that have been made goods of love... Those things that have become matters of habit and have come to be things of the life, and have thus disappeared from the outer memory, are in the inner memory... Spirits and angels speak from the inner memory, and consequently have a universal language... The languages of the world belong to the outer memory" (463)
"Man after death is such as his life had been in the world." (470)
"As all things that exist according to order in the universe have relation to good and truth, so in man all things have relation to will and understanding... For the reason that the will is a recipient of good and the understanding a recipient of truth... It amounts to the same whether you say truth or faith, for faith belongs to truth and truth belongs to faith; and it amounts to the same whether you say good or love for love belongs to good and good belongs to love... From this it follows that the understanding is a recipient of faith, and the will a recipient of love... And since the understanding of man is capable of receiving faith in God and the will is capable of receiving love to God, man is capable of being conjoined with God in faith and love, and he that is capable of being conjoined with God in love and faith can never die... " (473)
"The will of man is the very being (esse) of his life, because it is the receptacle of love or good, and the understanding is the outgo (existere) of life therefrom, because it is the receptacle of faith or truth... Thus the life of the will is the chief life of man, and the life of the understanding proceeds therefrom... In the same way as light proceeds from fire or flame... From this it follows that man is man by virtue of his will and understanding therefrom... Every man is loved or esteemed by others in accordance with the good of his will and of his understanding therefrom, for he that wills well and under stands well is loved and esteemed; and he that understands well and does not will well is set aside and despised... After death man continues to be such as his will is, and his understanding therefrom... Consequently after death man continues to such as his love is, and his faith therefrom; and whatever belongs to his faith and not also to his love then vanishes, because it is not in the man, thus not of the man..." (474)
"Interior things flow in successively into exterior things even down to the extreme or outmost, and there they come forth and have permanent existence... They not only flow in but in the outmost they form the simultaneous... Thereby all interior things are held together in connection, and have permanent existence... Deeds or works are the outmosts which contain the interiors... Therefore being recompensed and judged according to the deeds and works is being recompensed and judged in accordance with all things of one's love and faith, or of his will and thought because these are the interiors contained in deeds and works... (475)
"A "way", a "path," a "road," a "street," and a "broad street" signify trues leading to good, or falsities leading to evil... "To sweep (or prepare) a way" means to prepare for the reception of trues that lead to good..." (479)
"In the highest sense, the Lord is the neighbor, because He is to be loved above all things; but loving the Lord is loving what is from Him, because He Himself is in everything that is from Him, thus it is loving what is good and true... Loving what is good and true which is from the Lord is living in accordance with good and truth, and this is loving the Lord... Every man and every society, also one's country and the church, and in a universal sense the Lord's kingdom, are the neighbor, and doing good to these from a love of good in accord with their state is loving the neighbor; that is, their good that should be consulted is the neighbor... Moral good also, which is honesty, and civil good, which is justice, are the neighbor; and to act justly and honestly from the love of honesty and justice is loving the neighbor... Thus charity towards the neighbor ex ends to all things of the life of man, and loving the neighbor is doing what is good and just and acting honestly from the heart, in every function and in every work... The doctrine in the Ancient Church was the doctrine of charity, and from that they had wisdom..." (481)
"Man's own consists in loving himself more than God, and the world more than heaven, and in making nothing of his neighbor in comparison with himself, thus it consists in the love of self and the world... Man is born into his own, and it is dense evil... From what is man's own not only every evil but also every falsity is derived... The evils that are from what is man's own contempt for others, enmity, hatred, revenge, cruelty, deceit... So far as what is man's own rules, the good of love and the truth of faith are either rejected or suffocated or perverted... What is man's own is hell in him... The good that man does from what is his own is not good, but in itself is evil..." (484)
"From correspondence "darkness" in the Word signifies falsities, and "thick darkness" the falsities of evil... To the evil the light of heaven is thick darkness... Those that are in the hells are said to be in darkness because they are in falsities of evil... In the Word "the blind" signify those that are in falsities and are not willing to be taught..." (487)
"In the Word a "hole" or "the cleft of a rock" signifies obscurity and falsity of faith... Because a "rock" signifies faith from the Lord...; and a "stone" the truth of faith..." (488)
"The defilements of truth correspond to urine..." (488)
"In the Word a "field of corn" signifies a state of the reception and growth of truth from good... "Standing corn" signifies truth in conception... "Vineyards" signify the spiritual church and the trues of that church... "Precious stones" signify the trues of heaven and the church transparent from good... A "window" signifies the intellectual faculty which pertains to the internal sight..." (489)
"A "garden," a "grove," and a "park," signify intelligence... This is why the ancients celebrated holy worship in groves... "Flowers" and "flower beds" signify trues learned and knowledges... "Herbs," "grasses," and "grass plots" signify trues learned... "Trees" signify perceptions and knowledges..." (489)
"Vastations are effected in the other life, that is, those that pass into the other life from the world are vastated... The well disposed are vastated in respect to falsities, while the evil are vastated in respect to truths... Elevation into heaven is impossible until such things have been removed, because they obstruct heavenly things and are not in harmony with them... Those who are to be raised up into heaven are thus prepared for it... The region where those vastations are effected is called the lower earth... Some are quite willing to be vastated... Some are vastated by fears... Some by being infested with the evils they have done in the world, and with the falsities they have thought in the world, from which they have anxieties and pangs of conscience..." (513)
"So far as man is living in accordance with order, that is, so far as he is living in good in accordance with Divine trues, he is receiving heaven in himself... Evils and falsities are contrary to order; nevertheless those who are in them are ruled by the Lord not in accordance with order but from order... It is impossible for a man who lives in evil to be saved by mercy alone, for that would be contrary to Divine order..." (523)
"In the internal sense of the Word by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord in respect to the Divine Itself and the Divine Human is meant... In heaven Abraham is unknown... By David the Lord in respect to Divine royalty is meant... The twelve apostles represented the Lord in respect to all things of the church, that is, all things pertaining to faith and love... Peter represented the Lord in respect to faith, James in respect to charity, and John in respect to the works of charity... The twelve apostles sitting on twelve thrones and judging the twelve tribes of Israel, signified that the Lord will judge in accord with the trues and goods of faith and love... The names of persons and of places in the Word do not enter heaven, but are changed into things and states; and in heaven these names cannot even be uttered... Moreover, the angels think abstractly from person..." (526)
"A life of charity is a life in accordance with the Lord's commandments... Man continues to be after death such as was his life of charity in the world... Heavenly blessedness flows in from the Lord into a life of charity... Mere thinking admits no one into heaven; it must be accompanied by willing and doing good... Unless doing good is joined with willing good and thinking good there is no salvation nor any conjunction of the internal man with the external..." (535)
"The Lord rules the hells." (536)
"The Lord casts no one into hell; the spirit casts himself down. In the Word anger and wrath are attributed to the Lord, but they are in man, and it is so expressed because such is the appearance to man when he is punished and damned... Evil also is attributed to the Lord, although nothing but good is from Him..." (545)
"All who are in the hells are in evils and in falsities therefrom derived from the loves of self and of the world. Before the evil are cast down into hell they are devastated of trues and goods, and when these have been taken away they are of themselves carried into hell... The Lord does not devastate them, but they devastate themselves... Every evil has in it what is false; therefore those who are in evil are also in falsity, although some do not know it... All who are in hell speak falsities from evil..." (551)
"Those who do not know what it is to love the neighbor imagine every man to be a neighbor, and that good is to be done to every one who is in need of help... They also believe that every one is neighbor to himself, and thus that love to the neighbor begins with self... The distinctions of neighbor are as many as the distinctions of good from the Lord, and there should be distinction in doing good to every one in accordance with the quality of his state, and this is a matter of Christian prudence..." (558)
"The "sun of the world" signifies the love of self... In this sense "to worship the sun" signifies to worship those things that are antagonistic to heavenly love and to the Lord... "The sun's growing hot" means an increasing lust of evil..." (561)
"There is an influx from the spiritual world into the natural world... There is also an influx into the lives of animals... And into the subjects of the vegetable kingdom... This influx is a continual endeavor to act in accordance with the Divine order..." (567)
"Those who are purely sensual and have scarcely anything of spiritual light correspond to the teeth... In the Word a "tooth" signifies the sensual, which is the outmost of the life of man... Gnashing of teeth in the other life comes from those who believe that nature is everything, and the Divine nothing..." (575)
"By means of the equilibrium between heaven and hell man is in freedom." (597)
"Heavenly freedom pertains to heavenly love, or the love of good and truth... And as the love of good and truth is from the Lord freedom itself consists in being led by the Lord... Man is led into heavenly freedom by the Lord through regeneration... Man is kept by the Lord between heaven and hell, and thus in equilibrium, that he may be in freedom for the sake of reformation... Compelling one's self is from freedom, but not being compelled.... A man ought to compel himself to resist evil... Also to do good as if from himself, and yet to acknowledge that it is from the Lord... Man has a stronger freedom in the temptation combats in which he conquers, since he then compels himself more interiorly to resist, although it appears otherwise... Infernal freedom consists in being led by the the loves of self and of the world and their lusts... Infernal freedom, which consists in being led by the loves of self and of the world, is not freedom but servitude... For servitude is in being led by hell... Man's capacity to give attention to subjects, to think, and to draw conclusions analytically, is from influx... Man could not live a single moment if influx from the spiritual world were taken away from him; from experience... The life that flows in from the Lord varies in accordance with the state of man and in accordance with reception... With those who are evil the good that flows in from the Lord is changed into evil, and the truth into falsity; from experience... At the present day man believes that all things are in himself and are from himself, when in fact they flow in; and this he might know from the doctrine of the church, which teaches that all good is from God, and all evil from the devil... But if man's belief were in accord with this doctrine he would not appropriate evil to himself nor would he make good to be his own... Those who deny heaven or know nothing about it do not know that there is any influx from heaven... Influx is through the internal man into the external, or through the spirit into the body, and not the reverse, because the spirit of man is in the spiritual world, and his body in the natural... The internal man is in the spiritual world and the external in the natural world... There is an appearance that there is an influx from the externals of man into internals, but this is a fallacy... With man there is influx into things rational, and through these into knowledges, and not the reverse... The Lord's influx is into the good of man, and through good into truth, and not the reverse... Good gives the capacity to receive influx from the Lord, but truth without good does not..." (603)
HERE ENDS THE QUOTATIONS FROM HEAVEN & HELL.
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The propositions that are outlined in this brief survey of Swedenborg's overall proposal, may be summarized by categorizing them into 7 groups, each with its own title or topical area. They are: Reality; Theology/Church; Correspondences; Love/Charity; Dual Citizenship; Depth of Consciousness; and One's own/the Self. I will now briefly summarize the propositions through these 7 areas.
There is nothing in the universe that can exist by itself, that is, unconnected (37). This proposition is strictly scientific and rational. Its denial is that God created the world out of nothing -- a non-scientific and irrational belief. That God created and governs all things in the universe through the Word means that He accomplished the desires of His Love through the wisdom of His Truth. The Word is Divine Truth; through this there is Divine Wisdom which is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. God created all things through Divine Truth, which is the Word. As well, God created all things into a Divine Order; there cannot exist anything except through this Divine Order. This Divine Order is the Word; hence by studying the written Word we learn the secrets of Divine Order. In the Word all things mentioned are connected in orderly series. There isn't a single verse, word, or letter that can be altered without thereby falsifying the whole. This Law is also manifested in material objects: all things in the physical universe are interconnected -- there are no 'empty' places. Deep space, like the stars and intergalactic clouds, is made of the stuff of energy fields that also makes up the atom, gene, and sub-atomic elements. This is also true of the spiritual world, hence of our spirit -- our thoughts and feelings.
Since our thoughts and feelings are in the universe (the spiritual world), they are also subject to this Law. All our thoughts and all our feelings are connected to the thoughts and feelings of others; these interconnections appear externally as societies and cities in the spiritual world. Each one of us is inwardly a spirit and when we die here, we awaken in the world of spirits, with our familiar self in a new spiritual body that appears at first quite similar to the body we left on earth just a few hours before. When we are born on earth as a baby we are born to be immortal. Growing up on earth is a preparation for heavenly life in eternity. God has created the physical universe, and continues to maintain it, for the sole purpose of providing a suitable training ground for future angels. This is the purpose for all the earths in the universe, and all are inhabited by races of human beings. This vast population of births will continue to increase to infinity, and will continue to increase the population of the heavens to infinity. And all this infinite detail is supervised, governed, and produced by God through His Order. This Order is rational, and thence, all things created are connected.
Every space and atomic element has a deeper space within, unreachable to humans or angels, even as they evolve to eternity. The Lord maintains all things through this interior, unreachable space; this is called "influx" (208). The human individual was designed and created to be a microcosm; that is, a world in miniature. However, this miniature world was not made to be a different world than the macrocosm; rather, the microcosm which each of us is, replicates the macrocosm in all its details. By studying ourselves we discover as well the Law of the macrocosm, and by studying the macrocosm we will find there an image of ourselves. This reciprocity is known in science today as the principle of "organicity." The universe is a Grand Man. The parts of the universe are functionally equivalent to the parts of a human being.
This interconnection and reciprocity of all things in the universe may be specifically illustrated as follows: all things have relation to good and truth ; the will receives the good, while the understanding receives the truth (221). This is a basic proposal that is repeated numerous times in the Third Testament, and is called in all of the Word "the Marriage Supper of the Lamb." This is the crowning achievement for which we were born since it is the sole means by which we can enter through the narrow door of Heaven, and of Heaven on earth within the person. When we reach the state of life in which we are able to harmonize all our thoughts and feelings, that is, all the things of the understanding with all the things of the will. In still other words, we can say that our thoughts are servants to our intentions and strivings. Whatever rules our affections within is an expression of the will in us. The will is the governor within us. The will is an organ of the mind made up of spiritual substances from heaven. This organ is capable of receiving from the surrounding celestial sphere, the power of spiritual heat beaming forth from the angels in heaven. This also applies to the perversion of the will, in which case it receives the adulterated heat that beams forth from the genii in hell. Thus, our will is a passive organ of reception of celestial or infernal heat, and through this received power, the will obtains control over the mind and the body. Fortunately, the action of the will upon the mind and body is subject to veto power from our understanding. So, when negative or unlawful heat is flowing into it from the wicked genii, and from this attempts to inject scandalous and selfish thoughts and intentions, we can step in with our conscience or reasoning, and veto the act, intention, or fantasy. We cannot always control what we feel and what we think, but we can always approve or disapprove of it. This is called spiritual freedom. We are assured in the Third Testament that the Lord never allows a person's spiritual freedom to be lessened in any way by circumstances or experiences of life.
There is thus a need for there to be a harmonious marriage between the things of our understanding and the things of our will. When this harmony is attained, we become perfect in the sight of the Lord; we become regenerated; we have a new will, a new spirit, which is not our own but the Lord's Own with us; this way we are saved, and thus can enjoy eternal life in eternal progress of wisdom and love. This is the reason that the Marriage of the Lamb is the holiest symbol, the deepest heavenly secret to be found in the revelations of the Word. Through the celestial marriage of the Lord in heaven with the Church in us on earth, there is formed in us a complete harmony of all the things of our will with all the things of our understanding. In the body, this corresponds to a healthy individual in whom the circulation of the blood and the functions of respiration are harmoniously and organically interconnected, and thus give health to all the organs and parts of the body. We-have the freedom to prepare for this marriage and enter into it during our life on earth. Thus we can experience our heaven here on earth, and when we die and enter full citizenship there, it will be a place familiar, a home at last.
The Lord governs the universe by means of its interconnected parts. This is the meaning of Divine Order, or Divine Truth, or Divine Wisdom. From this Wisdom, filtered down through the spheres, our organ of understanding receives light, which is a spiritual substance. When this substance enters the organ of understanding in our mind, we experience or become conscious of trues within our rational reasonings. That is, we learn to reason with material ideas from the natural mind; afterwards, we acquire the ability to reason within our thoughts. These reasonings lead us to principles and explanations. When these self-made principles and explanations are arrived at objectively and in the context of a love of truth, they are called "apparent trues" or "external trues." These self-made trues are not genuine but they can serve for genuine trues that stream into the organ of understanding from the spiritual world. Good self-made principles of living become organic vessels or receptors within which genuine spiritual trues can inflow and prosper. Then we become wise. Thus in order to become wise from revealed ideas, we first need to clean our intellectual house from rubbish -- from subjectivity, from error, from illusion, from ignorance, from fantasy, superstition, falsity, dishonesty, and so on. In other words, we first need to become scientists or scholars so that we can develop organs of reception for spiritual ideas streaming out from the inner world.
While all this learning is going on in us the Lord minds the store! He sees to it that we survive and that we are given the opportunities to learn, and at no time does He permit that we lose our total spiritual freedom. This freedom is to approve or disapprove of whatever enters into our will and understanding. By approving or disapproving of everything received we retain our selfhood, our individuality, our integrity as a unique person in the universe for all times. The Lord governs the minutest aspects that are in and around us since He rules from the inmost parts of everything. From our birth onward, the Lord governs all our perceptions and experiences. By approving or disapproving of the good and the evil, the true and the false, in every experience, we become an independent self, conscious of its own freedom and existence. The Lord maintains this for all whether we end up in heaven or in hell (536).
At first it appears to us that this selfhood is total. We do not think that spirits and angels mediate our thoughts and feelings. We seem to ourselves to be quite alone on the inside. This illusion is necessary so that we may grow into maturity of mind believing that we are self-sufficient living beings. Later however, we are ready to acknowledge what our rational mind gives us to understand through spiritual ideas received from the Word. Though we continue to feel that we are self-sufficient, nevertheless we acknowledge and perceive rationally that we are nothing, merely dead vessels or organs of reception. The only thing that is ours, genuinely ours, is our love, our affection for the things that we like and delight in. Our affections when confirmed become ours. To be poor in spirit is to live without exercising spiritual freedom, which is the freedom to approve and disapprove of our thoughts and feelings all day long. The more we exercise this freedom the more our poor spirit gets rich, with a richness that is eternal.
At first it appears to us that this selfhood we gain through our experiences, is acquired with great cost in suffering and unhappiness. As we learn from bitter experience we have the bitterness to focus on, and in those states we feel victimized by fate, by circumstances: God appears to us to have a stern Law. The Word literally talks of His anger, His wrath, His disappointment and repentance, His threats, His punishments---but this is only an appearance, an illusion in the midst of our self-pity and meritoriousness. Sometimes we even feel, Why me, Lord? or perhaps, Is this necessary, O Lord-? To represent this necessity to us, the Lord willed Himself to go through human temptations, so that He may better thereby fight for us against the evils and falsities we hold on to.
The Third Testament reveals that God became flesh on earth so that He may better meet us in our hells, and from there fight within us against our false beliefs and false impressions. By becoming a mere human, God who was already Human Divine, was able to acquire newly created Divine Organs such as His disciples on earth were able to touch and love. The disciples, like the people of those days, were not capable of loving God. They had too many inherited and acquired beliefs against trues of the Word. They were lost spiritually and all of humankind on earth stood to lose for ever the potential to reach heaven. So God had to come and rescue us in the hell into which we had gotten ourselves into as a result of insisting that we were self-sufficient. God came to deliver us from hell on earth, and He came by putting on human flesh from earth. The baby Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem (the House of Bread), was the stupendous phenomenon of God-within-man, of the Infinite within the finite, of the Perfect within the imperfect. The boy Jesus first evolved a conscious lower rational made of only material ideas: He had a name, a country, a family, a neighborhood, a tradition. Soon however, He began to have experiences and perceptions that showed Him to be of a different origin than other people. Afterwards, He slowly was given to discover more and more about Himself, to perceive more and more the Infinity within himself, and finally, to understand His mission on earth and Who He really was.
Within this Self-discovery as God, Jesus experienced innumerable temptations. These are battles in hell against those who have become insane; from the will and intentions of this crew called "the devil," pours forth into our mind all sorts of scandalous, cruel, and irrational thoughts, fantasies, and desires. The boy and man Jesus fought this crew throughout His 33 years of life in an imperfect body. He conquered them all without damaging a single person; instead, He put them away in a state of mind that prevents them from pouring out their spheres of hatred. To themselves where they are these devils and genii appear to continue in their delights of fantasy, but they no longer have any effect on us. Instead, we are being led by milder spirits against whom we have our own weapons of defense, namely the trues and doctrines of the Word. This final victory was obtained at the end of the great battle against the hells, when the Lord willed Himself to to be crucified. crucified. Upon His resuscitation, the Lord had created for Himself a Divine Organ that did not exist until then: the visible Divine Human in the body of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. This body of earthly flesh and bone was now "glorified," which means that it was free of all earthly contamination and could be taken directly to the heavenly regions where the angels could take a good look at Him.
What a fabulous day that must have been when, for the first time in the history of creation, the angels in eternity were able to behold this Jesus born on earth and in Whom God was. This Divine Body was an evolutionary miracle: it was the focal matrix of the Infinite within the Finite. Through this Divine Body, the Lord God Jesus Christ now reigns in the ultimates of the universe. He reigns within our lowest and most sensuous thoughts, ideas, and feelings. From these most materialistic beginnings, in which we are, we are elevated by Him into a purer light and heat of life. This means that our conscious understanding rises above the ideas of temporal states, and perceives our dual citizenship. From this new vantage point our ideas and feelings are led by the Lord ever upward, and finally into heaven. The state of heaven is reached when our will and understanding are in unity or harmony.
Thus, we begin to perceive that the Lord is not angry, nor vengeful, nor impotent in the face of the devil, nor does He punish or cast into hell. We begin to perceive that these ideas are merely forerunners, given to us by the Word so that we may retain a fear of God and a belief in His omnipotence. But later, when we become mature, we perceive that this anger and punishment is the anger of the proud spirits with us and the fantasy of the demented. Their anger punishes us with our own approval! The Lord is there to make sure they don't overdo it. He only permits that which will be to the benefit of the persons involved, both us on earth and the spirits in the spirit world.
All who are in hell, or led by emissaries from the hells, are in evils and falsities to which they hold on insanely because of love of self and the world (551). The deeper a person enters hell and then confirms the relationship through approval and habits of life, the deeper the human degradation they experience, and the more permanent the state becomes. While on earth, our spirit enters the hells through the mediation of other spirits who are there, so that when we die, we come into their familiar midst, and dwell with them. While still on earth, our understanding is given the power to approve or disapprove of this association. We can observe this association in the details of our thoughts, intentions, and enjoyments. We enjoy whatever they enjoy. We cannot have any enjoyment of life without the mediation of spirits and angels. So whenever we enjoy something we may ask ourselves: Is this activity right or wrong, lawful according to the Word or unlawful? If we perceive that the activity we enjoy -be it a thought, fantasy, sensation, or act -- is unlawful, we then know that we are in company with evil spirits. We must then love God more than our self, and disapprove of the enjoyment of an unlawful act or experience. This is a sacrifice to God. Because it feels like a loss it is called "bearing one's cross," but it is not a heavy burden since what we gain by giving it up is far more delightful and abundant.
The organic influx into our will and understanding from within is an influx that originates from the spiritual world. This is a one-way influx for there cannot be any influx from the natural into the spiritual, but only from the spiritual into the natural (567). This influx is the cause of every thought and feeling; take away the influx and there is no thought, no feeling, no reasoning of any kind (603). The will receives that part of the influx that corresponds to heat, power, impulse, change; the understanding is the organ that receives that part of the influx that corresponds to light, perception, awareness, intellectual consciousness, rationality. Thus, all things of good that we have in our will, and all things of truth that we have in our understanding, are from this reception (603). The influx is from the internal self in the spiritual world into the external self in the natural world (603).
The Church is an internal state quite distinct from the external church to which we also belong, though some do not. Every person may not have an external church affiliation, but every person has an internal Church affiliation. The state of this inner Church within us undergoes many changes, but eventually, it is this state that determines whether we end up in heaven or down in hell. The state of the Church within us is exactly as the marriage of good and truth within our will and understanding. For instance, if our will engages in unlawful activities and our understanding stands by without disapproval, the Church within us is being adulterated or perverted. The more we associate with evil spirits, freely out of our own insistence, the more the Church within us is adulterated and falsified. As this proceeds, our understanding is filled with false beliefs, illogical propositions, and irrational plans; from these falsities then come evils of all kinds which our will absorbs and confirms: deceit, hatred, revenge, cruelty, jealousy, anger, discontentment, disease, insanity, and so on. Thus, as the Church within us is adulterated we lose all trues and all goods of life.
But when we are mindful of our conscience and our religions, whatever it may be, we are watering the grasses of the Church within us; the Church within us then prospers and grows, trues and goods from the influx stream into our will and understanding and we are empowered to be creative, happy, altruistic, genuine, honest, intelligent, wise. The Church within us is universal and does not depend on external religious affiliation; it is only necessary that people do good in accordance with the dictates of their own religion (308). External religion or church is however essential since the will and the understanding at birth are filled with inherited weaknesses and perversions. Therefore, the Lord wills that there be religion in every society, that there be an external church which is organized in accordance with the Word or Sacred Writings from the Word, and therefore, that all people may be exposed externally to the revelations of our dual citizenship. The external church functions as an educational institution to teach the trues of the Word in the form of theological doctrines. Without doctrine a person cannot understand the Word (311).
The Third Testament teaches that the heathen equally with the Christians are saved (318). As well, Christians are not saved unless they act in life what their faith dictates. Thus all people, Christian, Jew, Moslem, Buddhist, or agnostic and atheist are equal in that their external beliefs and faith are not going to determine their spiritual lot. Only that counts which is confirmed in life. Whatever our external creed is, the only thing that matters is our internal creed -- and this creed is nothing but the state of the Church within, whether we approve or disapprove what our conscience dictates. The external creeds are not crucial because all those who have lived a good life according to their conscience, are instructed by angels when they come into the afterlife, and thereupon acknowledge the trues with thankfulness and delight (321). Conscience is to remain the ruling influence and not some ethic or creed learned from others. Conscience is the ability to perceive what is right or wrong in the light of doctrines from the Word. Thus the criteria for right and wrong are from the spiritual world, and it is not permitted to construct one's own ethical standards, not taken from the Word (365).
It is permissible to confirm the ethics of the Word but not to draw up one's own apart from the Word. This means that we must retain the positive bias towards the Word and towards doctrines drawn from the Word, or else we destroy our conscience, and hence the ability to do the right thing and be saved (455). Our conscience is completely destroyed when we deliberately ignore it after we've acknowledged its holy origin; this is called a state of profanation of the Word and leads a person to sure hell (456). Conscience is the state of the Church within us, that is, the state of our good and true within our will and understanding. We get rewarded with the life of heaven in accordance with our demonstrated actions and thoughts: our recompense is received into our good intentions, our deeds with a good purpose, what in the Word is called "works." The person who has lived in evil, that is, approved of unlawful thoughts and feelings, cannot be saved by the mercy of the Lord (523) -- or else the Lord would will that all should be saved. Salvation is possible only when doing good is joined with willing and thinking good (535).
(to be continued)
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769. On the condition of souls after death the general and detailed beliefs are these.
Human souls after death are spirits (pneumata), about which they entertain the idea that
they are like a puff of wind. Being in this form, they are stored until judgment-day
either in the center of the earth, where they have their pu*, or in the limbo described by
the early Fathers. But there are divergent views about these matters. Some hold that they
are ethereal or airy shapes, thus resembling ghosts and specters, some of which live in
the air, some in the woods, and some in waters. Others hold that the souls of the departed
are transported to other planets or stars, and are there given dwellings. Some hold that
after thousands of years they come back into bodies. But most people believe that they are
kept until the time when the whole universe together with the globe with its lands and
seas will perish. This will be by fire, which will either burst out from the center of the
earth, or fall from the sky like an all-embracing thunderbolt. Then the graves will be
opened, and the stored souls will be clothed again with their own bodies, and be
transported to the holy city of Jerusalem. Thus they will live together on another earth
in resplendent bodies, some lower down, some higher up; for the height of the city will be
twelve thousand stades, the same as its breadth and length** (Rev. 21:16).
770. What happens if you ask a clergyman or a layman whether they believe all these things for sure? For instance, that the people before the flood together with Adam and Eve, and the people after the flood together with Noah and his sons, as well as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob together with all the prophets and apostles, and likewise all the rest of human souls, are all still stored in the bowels of the earth or flit about in the ether or the air. Ask whether they believe that souls will be clothed again with their own bodies and coalesce with them, despite the fact that their corpses have been eaten by worms, rats or fish, and in the case of Egyptian mummies consumed by people*; when some have been reduced to skeletons burnt clean by the sun or have dissolved into dust. Ask too if they believe that the stars of the sky will then fall upon the earth, although the earth is smaller than a single star. Ask whether such things are not paradoxes, which reason can explode as it does contradictions. To this some will have no answer to make. Some will say that this is a matter of faith, 'and we keep our understanding subject to faith.' Some will say that not only these things, but much else that is beyond the grasp of reason, are possible to God's omnipotence. When they mention faith and omnipotence, reason is banished. Sound reason then either disappears, and becomes as nothing, or becomes like a specter and is called madness. 'Are not these things,' they add, 'what the Word says? Surely everyone thinks and speaks as the Word tells us.'
771. In the chapter on the Sacred Scripture I showed that the literal sense of the Word is written by appearances and correspondences. Each of its details therefore contains a spiritual sense in which truth is illuminated by its own light, and the literal sense is in shadow. So to prevent the people of the new church, like those of the old church, going astray in the shadows obscuring the literal sense of the Word, especially as regards heaven and hell, how they will live after death, and on the present occasion about the Lord's coming, the Lord has been pleased to open the sight of my spirit, thus admitting me to the spiritual world. I have been allowed not only to talk with spirits and angels, with relations and friends, even with kings and princes, who have met their end in the natural world, but also to see the astonishing sights of heaven, and the pitiful sights of hell. So I have seen how people do not pass their time in some pu deep in the earth, nor flit around blind and dumb in the air or in empty space, but live as human beings in a substantial body, in a much more perfect state, if they come among the blessed, than they experienced previously when living in material bodies.
 So to prevent people from plunging yet deeper into erroneous ideas about the destruction of the sky we see and the earth we live on, and consequently about the spiritual world, as the result of ignorance, which leads to worshipping nature and this automatically to atheism - something which at the present time has begun to take root in the inner rational minds of the learned - to prevent then atheism from spreading more widely, like necrosis in the flesh, so as to affect as well the outer mind which controls speech, I have been commanded by the Lord to make known various things which I have seen and heard. These include heaven and hell, the Last Judgment, and the explanation of Revelation, which deals with the Lord's coming, the former heaven and the new heaven, and the holy Jerusalem. If my books on these subjects are read and understood, anyone can see what is meant there by the Lord's coming, a new heaven and the New Jerusalem.
774. The Lord is perpetually present with every person, wicked as well as good, for no one could live without His presence. But His coming is restricted to those who receive Him, and these are those who believe in Him and keep His commandments. It is the Lord's perpetual presence which gives a person the faculty of reason and the ability to become spiritual. This is brought about by the light which comes from the Lord as the sun of the spiritual world, which a person can receive in his understanding. That light is the truth which gives him the power of reasoning. The Lord's coming, however, takes place with the person who combines heat with that light, that is, combines love with truth. For the heat radiated by that same sun is love for God and towards the neighbor. The Lord's presence by itself, and the enlightenment it brings to the understanding, can be compared with the presence of sunlight in the world; unless it is combined with heat, everything upon earth is desolate. But the Lord's coming can be compared with the coming of heat, which happens in springtime. Since then heat is combined with light, the earth is softened up, seeds sprout and bear fruit. Such is the parallel between the spiritual environment of a person's spirit and the natural environment of his body.
|From Swedenborg's The New
Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine (NJHD)
54. IV. LOVE IN GENERAL.
The very life of man is his love, and such as the love is, such is the life, yea, such is the whole man. But it is the governing or ruling love which constitutes the man. That love has many loves subordinate to it, which are derivations. These appear under another form, but still they are all in the ruling love, and constitute, with it, one kingdom. The ruling love is as their king and head; it directs them, and, through them, as mediate ends, it regards and intends its own end, which is the primary and ultimate end of them all; and this it does both directly and indirectly. That which is of the ruling love is what is loved above all things.
55. That which man loves above all things is continually present in his thought, and also in his will, and constitutes his most essential life. As for example, he who loves riches above all things, whether money or possessions, continually revolves in his mind how he may obtain them. He inmostly rejoices when he acquires them, he grieves inmostly when he loses them; his heart is in them. He who loves himself above all things regards himself in each thing: he thinks of himself, he speaks of himself, he acts for the sake of himself, for his life is the life of self.
56. Man has for an end that which he loves above all things; he regards it in each and all things. It is in his will like the latent current of a river, which draws and bears him away, even when he is doing something else; for it is this which animates him. It is such that one man explores and also sees it in another, and either leads him according to it, or acts with him.
57. Man is altogether of such a quality as the ruling principle of his life is; by this he is distinguished from others; according to this is his heaven if he be good, and his hell if he be evil. It is his will itself, his proprium, and his nature, for it is the very esse of his life: this cannot be changed after death, because it is the man himself.
58. All the delight, pleasure, and happiness which anyone has, are derived from his ruling love, and are according to it; for that which man loves, he calls delightful, because he feels it to be so: he may, indeed, also call that delightful which he thinks but does not love; but this is not the delight of his life. The delight of love is what he esteems good; and that which is undelightful is to him evil.
59. There are two loves, from which, as from their very fountains, all goods and truths exist; and there are two loves, from which all evils and falsities exist. The two loves, from which are all goods and truths, are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor; and the two loves from which are all evils and falsities, are the love of self and the love of the world. The two latter loves are in direct opposition to the two former loves.
60. The two loves from which are all goods and truths, and which, as has just been stated, are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, constitute heaven with man, and therefore they reign in heaven; and since they constitute heaven with man, they also constitute the church with him. The two loves, whence are all evils and falsities, and which, as has just been said, are the love of self and the love of the world, constitute hell with man; wherefore also they reign in hell.
61. The two loves whence are all goods and truths, and which, as already observed, are the loves of heaven, open and form the internal spiritual man, because they reside there. But the two loves whence are all evils and falsities, when they rule, shut and destroy the internal spiritual man, and render man natural and sensual, in proportion to the extent and quality of their dominion.
62. FROM THE ARCANA COELESTIA
Love is the esse of man's life (n. 5002). Man, spirit, and angel, are altogether as their love is (n. 6872, 10177, 10284). Man has for an end what he loves (n. 3796). What man loves and has for an end reigns universally with him, that is, in each and all things (n. 3796, 5130, 5949). Love is spiritual heat, and the very vital principle of man (n. 1589, 2146, 3338, 4906, 7081-7086, 9954, 10740). All the interiors with man, which are of his understanding and will, are disposed in a form according to his ruling love (n. 2023, 3189, 6690). Love is spiritual conjunction (n. 1594, 2057, 3939, 4018, 5807, 6195, 6196, 7081-7086, 7501, 10130). Hence all in the spiritual world are consociated according to their loves (ibid.). Affection is continuation of love (n. 3938). All delight, pleasure, happiness, and joy of heart, are of love; and their quality is according to the quality of the love (n. 994, 995, 2204). There are as many genera and species of delights and pleasures as there are of the affections which are of the love (n. 994, 995, 2204). The delight of the love is more vile in proportion as it is more external (n. 996). Man after death has such a life as is the quality of his love (n. 2363).
63. Further particulars respecting love and its essence and quality, may be known from what has been said and shown above, concerning good and truth; also from what has been said and quoted concerning the will and the understanding; and also from what has been said and quoted concerning the internal and the external man; because all things which are of the love refer themselves either to goods or to evils; and so also all things which are of the will: and since the two loves of heaven open and form the internal spiritual man; but the two loves of hell close and destroy it. Hence applications may be made and conclusions drawn respecting the quality of love in general and particular.
64. Love is also treated of in the work on Heaven and Hell; namely, that the Divine of the Lord in the heavens is love to Him and love towards the neighbor (n. 13-19). All who are in the hells are in evils, and thence in falsities from the loves of self and of the world (n. 551-565). The delights of every love in the other life are turned into corresponding things (n. 485-490). Spiritual heat in its essence is love (n. 133-140).
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