Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The uses through which men and angels have wisdom
Man, therefore, is such as his use is. But uses are manifold; in general they are heavenly or infernal. Heavenly uses are those that are serviceable more or less, or more nearly or remotely, to the church, to the country, to society, and to a fellow-citizen, for the sake of these as ends; but infernal uses are those that are serviceable only to the man himself and those dependent on him; and if serviceable to the church, to the country, to society, or to a fellow citizen, it is not for the sake of these as ends, but for the sake of self as the end. And yet everyone ought from love, though not from self-love, to provide the necessaries and requisites of life for himself and those dependent on him.
When man loves uses by doing them in the first place, and loves the world and self in the second place, the former constitutes his spiritual and the latter his natural; and the spiritual rules, and the natural serves. This makes evident what the spiritual is, and what the natural is. This is the meaning of the Lord’s words in Matthew:
Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens* and its justice, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33).
“The kingdom of the heavens” means the Lord and His church, and “justice” means spiritual, moral, and civil good; and every good that is done from the love of these is a use. Then “all things shall be added,” because when use is in the first place, the Lord, from whom is all good, is in the first place and rules, and gives whatever contributes to eternal life and happiness; for, as has been said, all things of the Lord’s Divine providence pertaining to man look to what is eternal. “All things that shall be added” refer to food and raiment, because food means everything internal that nourishes the soul, and raiment everything external that like the body clothes it. Everything internal has reference to love and wisdom, and everything external to wealth and eminence. All this makes clear what is meant by loving uses for the sake of uses, and what the uses are from which man has wisdom, from which and according to which wisdom everyone has eminence and wealth in heaven.
* Photolithograph has “kingdom of the heavens.” Schmidius also has it. The Greek is “Kingdom of God.”