Only One Fountain of Life

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Heaven and Hell ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me, ye can do nothing. John 15:4, 5.

… from that one fountain of life, which is the Lord, nothing proceeds except Divine Good and Divine Truth which affect each one in accordance with the reception. Those who receive them in faith and life find heaven in them, but those who reject and suffocate them turn them into hell, for they turn good into evil and truth into falsity, thus life into death. The fact also that everything of life is from the Lord … all things in the universe have reference to good and truth – the life of a man’s will, which is the life of his love, relating to good, and the life of a man’s understanding, which is the life of his faith, relating to truth. Therefore, since everything good and true comes from above, it follows that so does everything of life.

This being the belief of the angels, they refuse all thanks for the good that they do and are indignant and withdraw if anyone attributes good to them. They are astonished that anyone believes that he is wise from himself or does good from himself. Doing good for one’s own sake they do not call good because it is from self; but doing good for the sake of good, they call good from the Divine, and they say it is this good that makes heaven because this Good is the Lord.

Such spirits as have confirmed themselves during their life in the world in the belief that the good that they do and the truth that they believe are from themselves or are appropriated to them as their own – which is the belief of all who attach merit to good actions and claim righteousness to themselves – are not received into heaven. The angels avoid them, regarding them as stupid and as thieves, stupid because they continually have themselves in view and not the Divine, thieves because they would take away from the Lord that which is His. These are opposed to the faith of heaven that the Divine of the Lord present with the angels makes heaven.

(Heaven and Hell 9-11)
April 26, 2017

Live with less anxiety and more joy

WORRY CAN’T CHANGE OUR PAST OR FUTURE, BUT IT CAN RUIN THE PRESENT.

We choose the lenses with which we view the world. To correct our lens, though, we have to take steps to change:

Reflect on our attitude or perspective about a situation. When we see a negative pattern, take responsibility for avoiding that mindset. Realize that we have no power on our own. Pray to the Lord for His strength. Try to stop worrying. We have the ability, with the Lord’s strength, to meet any challenge. Use every opportunity to practice using this new lens. Remember that the kingdom of heaven is not out there, but within us.


When we learn to love and accept the situation we’re in, we find the power to change–not the situation–but our perspective.

Worry

During stressful times, when unpaid taxes still lie on the table, the children argue upstairs, and images of war flash across the news, hope and patience seem hard to come by. Worry seems inevitable. But how much can we really gain from our furrowed brow? Consider this quote: “Worry is like a good rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” Another way to think of the futility of worry is to imagine someone carrying around a suitcase of old junk that he doesn’t use. If he complained to you about his aching back, wouldn’t you suggest he drop the suitcase?

But we tend to do the same thing, feeling troubled, tired, and pulled off-balance. We hang on to our burden because (we think) something bad might happen if we let it go. But the answer is so easy. If we simply let go—if we trust in the Lord—we suddenly feel lighter.

We hear this same message from the Lord’s own mouth when He says to His disciples, “Do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them…. Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Luke 12:22–24).

If we try to take the Lord’s command seriously, and avoid the habit of worrying, we can make a distinct difference in our inner nature. In the Heavenly Doctrines given through Emanuel Swedenborg, the book Secrets of Heaven 8474 describes the type of people who worry about the future: “They are not content with their lot, do not trust in God but in themselves, and have solely worldly and earthly things in view, not heavenly ones. These people are ruled completely by anxiety for the future….”

The passage goes on to describe, on the other hand, the kind of people who trust in the Lord: “Those who trust in the Divine are altogether different…in that they are not anxious, let alone worried, when they give thought to the morrow… They know that for those who trust in the Divine all things are moving toward an everlasting state of happiness….”

Impatience

Whenever worry enters our minds, another emotion tends to tag along with it: impatience. Often we grow impatient by worrying that life won’t turn out the way we think it should. We may unconsciously say to ourselves, “The Lord can’t handle it, so I’m going to worry for Him.”

Consider the following Biblical story, where King Saul becomes impatient with the Lord’s command, and relies on his own judgment instead. The setting is this: the Philistines have accumulated a huge army, and Saul is waiting for Samuel to offer sacrifices so he can go into battle with the Lord as his ally. “[Saul] waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So Saul said, ‘Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.’” As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came” (I Samuel 13:8–11). When Samuel shows up, he’s not happy with Saul. He says, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you. . . .now your kingdom shall not continue” (I Samuel 13:8–11, 13–14).

Just as Saul—when facing his enemies—worries about the risk of patiently following the Lord’s orders, we tend to feel the same way when we’re under pressure. We worry that if we follow the Lord’s way, it won’t turn out the way we want it to. Because of this impatience, worry, and lack of trust, Saul lost his kingdom. We also may lose out when we become impatient. Specifically, we lose:

Enjoyment of the situation. We think about being somewhere else or being with someone else, so we lose the delight of that moment. Infidelity thrives on this notion. Consider this quote: “A happy marriage is not about finding the right person. It’s about being the right person in the relationship.”

Forward spiritual progress. If we aren’t thinking about the present, we’re either worrying about the past or the future. We get concerned with time, and this skews our perception. We think physical, lower thoughts, and we forget higher matters. Worry can’t change our past or future, but it can ruin the present. When we dwell on the past or future, we lack motivation to make progress now.

Trust in the Lord. We begin to think the Lord isn’t managing the universe very well. Just as Saul lost the kingdom because he trusted his own agenda, when we trust in our own ideas, we make poor decisions. Scholar Christopher Syn wrote, “Anxiety springs from the desire that things should happen as we wish rather than as God wills.” This causes us to lose the kingdom—the happiness—the Lord wants us all to have.

So how can we achieve real patience, and gain back these things we’ve lost? First, we can make an effort to find contentment with what we have, and focus on being that person who is kind and loving rather than looking for that person elsewhere. Second, we can strive to make the best of our present situation, looking for opportunities to use our talents and reach out to others. And, finally, we can trust the Lord to bring good out of every situation, believing that what He says in His Word is true.

In his work, Secrets of Heaven (3827), Swedenborg explains how we can rise above impatience to an angelic state of love and acceptance, where time no longer matters: “When you are in a state of love…you are in an angelic state, that is to say, as if not in time…. For impatience is a bodily affection, and insofar as you are in it, so far you are in time…. By the affection of genuine love, we are withdrawn from bodily and worldly things, for our mind is elevated toward heaven and thus is withdrawn from things of time.”

In other words, if we focus on the fact that we’re not enjoying something, it becomes tedious. A student squirming in a class believes there’s somewhere else he needs to be. As soon as that bell rings, his whole world seems to change. But has it? We live in the world of our mind, our heart, our thoughts. A bell doesn’t change that world, but what we attach to that bell—our attitude—can change. Patience comes from being withdrawn from worldly things. When we learn to love and accept the situation we’re in, we find the power to change—not the situation—but our perspective. Because when we love something, we’re not paying attention to time.

Life is often compared to a journey. We can shuffle our feet and mope about the path we’re taking, but anxiety and impatience don’t change our speed or route. Instead, we can enjoy the scenery, confident that the direction of the stream of Divine Providence will steer us toward a more beautiful vista. So don’t waste today worrying. Cast your burden on the Lord. Take a glance at the flowers, or listen to the birds, and remember that the Lord is taking perfect care of each one of us, in every single moment.

By Rev. David Roth, pastor of the New Church of Boulder Valley in Colorado

This website contains a wealth of information about the New Church, and a practical, spiritual path to happiness. Read more about the beliefs of the New Church.

https://newchurch.org/

Full issue

Taught By The Lord

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

Passages from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word; and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (John 1:1, 14).

Every man is a man not from his face and body but from the good of his love and the truths of his wisdom; and because a man is a man from these, every man is also his own truth and his own good, or his own love and his own wisdom; and without these he is not a man.

But

[T]he Lord is Good itself and Truth itself, or, what is the same, Love itself and Wisdom itself; and these are the Word which in the beginning was with God and which was God, and which was made flesh.

Therefore to be taught from the Word is to be taught by the Lord Himself, because it is to be taught from Good itself and from Truth itself, or from Love itself and from Wisdom itself, which are the Word; but everyone is taught according to the understanding appropriate to his own love; what is taught beyond this does not remain.

All those who are taught by the Lord in the Word are instructed in a few truths while in the world, but in many when they become angels. For the interiors of the Word, which are Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, are implanted at the same time but are not opened in a man until after his death, when he is in heaven where he is in angelic wisdom; and this in comparison with human wisdom, that is, his former wisdom, is ineffable.

Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, which constitute angelic wisdom, are present in all things of the Word in general and in particular.

(Divine Providence 172:4,5)
 March 16, 2017
 http://lastchurch.blogspot.ca/

Divine Source – How to think of it?

divineDo you feel your life is missing something? Are you interested in higher states of awareness? For example the awe and wonder you might have once felt when contemplating the world of nature. Or the sense of peace, contentment, and even joy that perhaps you had as an infant or you fleetingly glimpse in the ordinary life of work and home. Wherever you find these inspirations, the question remains what are their source? What is it that inspires? Many people intuitively feel there is a higher entity beyond themselves that is the divine source of such feelings. One that might be able to provide them with direction and purpose.

If you have this inkling, you may be interested in reconstructing the idea of ‘divine being’. Not with a view to paying homage to an angry controlling judge in the sky that has often come to be seen to do with sexism, racism, ecological exploitation, as well as the exercise of power over others. Instead you may be seeking to put your hope in a creative spirit beyond our ordinary consciousness. One that promotes equality, the natural world and freedom.

The universe came into being from a conscious, spiritual source, but that conscious spiritual source is not necessarily similar to how our cultural interpretations describe their “god.” (Emanuel Kuntzelman, spiritual writer)

Can any rational ideas help towards finding this divine source in personal spiritual experience? How can we think of a mystical origin of all that is good?

The divine not a controlling deity

There is plenty of suffering in the world. Hunger, homelessness, murder, theft etc. People ask if there really were a God, then why does He allow this? Why does He permit human beings to greedily take more than their fair share of resources, to kill and steal.

But I would ask whether this is the kind of deity we really want? One who imposes social justice in everything and prevents all crime? I would suggest that if human freedom to behave badly, even wickedly, were taken away from us by a such an absolute degree of supernatural control, then the inner freedom inherent in our human nature would be destroyed.

An alternative view of our divine source

In other words I am arguing that a divine source of love is one that wants our deeper happiness. A good spiritual state can only come in the long run when we freely choose to act in humane ways. Even if this means that we might bring suffering upon ourselves in the meantime.

I would suggest one way forward in our thinking is to imagine a real presence of love and wisdom quietly acting in the world. Not controlling what is going on but nevertheless compensating to some degree for what is negative and bad. This divine image is very different from the god figure who determines all that happens that some dogmatic religious people arrogantly tell us to believe in.

People sometimes ask if there really is some spiritual reality beyond ourselves, why cannot it be obvious to all? But I would say that not being subject to proof shows its non-controlling nature. We have the freedom to believe as we wish; to follow one path or another.

In my opinion, the divine Source offers the gift of liberation from all within our minds that causes us unhappiness of heart. The gift of our inner freedom is precious.

The divine not a condemning deity

According to Christianity, mankind deserves to be punished but Jesus gets punished for us.  Unlike the traditional Christian doctrine, my understanding of our divine Source is not one that  wants to see painful suffering as atonement. You cannot conceive of compassionate love as condemning. Love wants the best for someone, not the worst.

The Divine seen as a Sun

In a state of vision, the mystical philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg reports inwardly seeing, what he thought of as, the divine Source. It appeared as a sun shining on the populace of heaven with the heat of love and the light of wisdom. He says it is the origin of all spiritual and natural things such as our natural sun which shines on the earth.

The divine not a trinity of individuals

One biblical idea is that of a tri-personal god. Taken literally, this seems to be a godhead of three male divine persons in one God, called Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Many think this has no rational logic to it. Clear thinking people thus understandably reject it.

However, if we consider these three figures as metaphors for three aspects of the divine, then arguably the picture becomes more acceptable. I’m thinking of divinity with the three-some nature of humanity. We each have a heart of feeling, a head of understanding and hands for action. Thus we can conceive of a divine heart of love, divine head of wisdom and divine hands of power doing what is loving and wise through the agency of us human beings.  Can we not inwardly experienced these as three aspects of the one divine source called the Christ-within? Or you might prefer the term ‘Christ-consciousness’. This, I feel, is the divine source beyond me, who is also present within me. I know this presence as my inner teacher, my inner comforter, my inner inspiration.

Conclusions

I think those who reject the Christian religion are throwing out the dirty bath water. They rightly, get rid of the old dogmas that even many good church-goers only pay lip service to these days. But are the non-religious also throwing out the baby with the bath water?  The innocent baby that I believe reveals the beautiful idea of divine love and wisdom that lies hidden behind the universe. The secret presence within my soul I can learn to better experience and follow.

Copyright 2017 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

Hope – But what to pin it on?

Turn on the television news, look at your bank statement, listen to your friend’s woes. Faced with the basic problems of living who hasn’t despaired of things ever turning out okay? How are you to be delivered from all that is going wrong with the world – the hate and violence, crime, stress, family breakdown, business dishonesty? What power for good is going to make a real difference? In what can you turn to for confidence about things improving?

Hope in bodily pleasure

One answer is to rely on bodily pleasure. Who doesn’t look forward to escaping home at the end of a fraught day and crashing out. Some people get a bit tipsy after work trying to forget their troubles. Or indulge in comfort eating. Those who are bored with life perhaps look forward to the excitement of a new sexual thrill or dangerous sport. Others may take recreational drugs to enhance their mood.

Whatever your fix, you will know deep down that it can’t be relied upon to make things better other than on a temporary basis. Bodily indulgence is just a temporary distraction that never really solves anything.

Hope in technology

How about counting on technological invention to permanently make life very different? Given time, engineers, who designed vacuum cleaners and washing machines, will probably create other labour saving equipment in the home. The electronics industry will probably change your life as much as did computers and smart phones.

But do machines make you any more contented? Do they reduce work stress or just give us more emails to answer? Do they help us cope with personal relationships or just take away our privacy whilst using social media? Do they liberate human beings from mundane work or just make people redundant?

Hope in politics

You might be banking on politics to make a real difference to your life. The hope is that it may produce a better world to live in. National government can provide solutions to social and economic problems by ensuring good public services such as education and health care. Can politicians do all this and at the same time protect the environment, encourage commercial enterprise and pay for our security? Certainly, they are happy to appeal for votes with policies claimed to meet the country’s need for good housing, high rates of employment, a sense of social justice, and a level of socially cohesion that enables good community relations.

The trouble is there seems in Britain to be a widespread disenchantment with the main political parties. Can we really hope politicians will offer us salvation from our economic and social woes or will they just be too busy slagging off the other side creating falsehood, fear and smear? How can national policies expect to radically change the way human beings behave towards each other in the home, and in the workplace? What the government do cannot make us show more respect for others, give us a social conscience, and reduce our self-interest.

Hope in therapy

Perhaps you should be looking to some form of counselling to rid you of unpleasant feelings like anxiety and depression. Talking with a friend or with a professional therapist is for you when going through a bad time or when you have emotional problems you can’t sort out on your own. You can hope that life will be made easier if you look at your problems in a different way and learn new personal skills.

Critics, however, point out that with over a 25% drop out rate from professional therapy, what may count is how you and the other person get on. What is called the quality of the therapeutic relationship. But choosing who is best for you to work with in confidence is virtually impossible in advance. Also although therapists may be seen as the new high priests, they can’t actually solve the deeper issues of life – tissues to do with your sense of identity, the meaning you attach to being alive, your eventual death and an unknowable future. Nor can they alleviate the socially caused problems that beset you, over which you have no influence.

Hope in oneself

Many will feel that if you want a job doing well then do it yourself. In other words in the end one has to put one’s hope in one’s own solutions to difficulties. Don’t depend on others but become more self-reliant. Taking responsibility for dealing with the mess you find yourself in can be liberating. It can reduce the feeling of helpless dejection by giving a new sense of control. This self-confidence may seem to be a good idea for those who feel they are managing life’s difficulties.

But when you are in crisis being confronted by failure, and factors beyond your own influence then you will be brought up sharp by the burdens of reality and a sense of helplessness. The need is to turn to something that is stronger then yourself to effect change. Members of AA turn to a higher power to help them abstain from alcohol.

Hope in the transcendent

In my view, in rightly rejecting the punitive and judgmental ideas of traditional religion, many people today nevertheless believe in a life force that gives nature its vitality. Others recognize a universal spirit which inspires humane compassion and love; and a divine providence that provides us with the opportunities for learning life’s lessons so that we can become wiser and calmer in the face of adversity.

hopeI happen to believe that what saves you, from all that is bad, is a humble acknowledgment that what is good ultimately does not come from the world or from yourself. For we humans are finite. Instead it originates in an infinite source of goodness itself, far beyond your or my own strength to create. A source of divine love and wisdom which is both mysteriously simultaneously transcendent beyond us and immanently present within us. To find a lasting sense of hope is to put one’s faith in this divine power. Perhaps that is why even in these secular times in Britain many people in crisis, who do not normally do so, pray to God when they are desperate for help.

Copyright 2015 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

 

Chapter XVIII. Man at Birth.

THIS diagram presents

The degrees that are composed of spiritual substances, all of which are from the father,

The parts which are organized of material substances and are from the mother,

The taint of hereditary evil from the father and mother respectively, and

The development of the degrees at birth. *

* note: For the name of each degree of the spiritual mind and each of the natural, see Diagram XIII; this applies to all subsequent diagrams.

Concerning what is from the father and what from the mother, we read-

“The soul which is from the father is the man himself and the body which is from the mother is not man in itself but from him and is only the clothing of the soul woven of such [materials].. are of the natural world. but the soul is of such [substances] as are in the spiritual world. Every 3 man after death lays aside the natural which he carried from his mother, and retains the spiritual which was from the father, together with a certain limbus [an envelop] of the purest [substances] of nature around it.”- TCR 103.

“The soul is from the father and the body from the mother; for the soul is in the seed of the father and is clothed with a body in the mother; or, what is the same, all the spiritual [organism] man has is from the father and all the material [organism] he has, from the mother.” TCR 92.

“There is a difference between what man receives from his father and what he receives from his mother. Man receives from his father all that is internal, his very soul or life is from the father; but he receives from his mother, all that is external. In a word, the interior man or the spirit is from the father but the exterior man or the body is from the mother.”-AC 1815.

“That the inmost of life, which is from the father, is continually flowing in and operating upon the external which is from the mother and endeavoring to make this like itself, even in the womb, may be manifest from sons in that they are born with the inclinations of the father, and sometimes grandchildren and great grandchildren with the inclinations of the grandfather, and the great grandfather; this is because the soul which is from the father continually wills to make the external which is from the mother like itself and an image of itself.” AC 6716

“Nothing is provided in the womb of the mother except a body conceived by and derived from the soul.”-TCR 167.

“Man is born spiritual as to his soul, and is clothed with a natural which makes his material body.”-TCR 583.

“The soul of man that lives after death is his spirit and this is in perfect form a man.”-.DLW 394.

“The mind of man is the man himself; for the first rudiments of the human form, or the human form itself with each and everything of it, is from the beginnings continued out of the brain through the nerves. This is the form into which man comes after death, and which is then called a spirit and an angel, and which is in all perfection a man, but spiritual: the material form, which is added and superinduced in the world, is not a human form from itself but from the former.” – DLW 388.

“The life of every man is from the father and only the clothing is put on in the mother, hence it is that every man has his name from the father and not from the mother.”-A.S. (N.Y. Ed., p. 45; London Ed., p. 52.)

“Since man is not life but a recipient of life it follows that the conception of man from his father is not a conception of life but only of’ the first and purest form receptive of life, to which as a stamen or beginning, substances and matters are successively added in the womb in forms adapted to the reception of life in their order and degree.” DLW 6.

Since the fall, man is the subject of hereditary evil. We read, –
“Man’s inmost [or spirit] is from the father, whereas the exteriors, or those parts which clothe that inmost, are from the mother; each, namely, what he derives from the father and the mother,

      is tainted with hereditary evil.”-AC

4963

      . (Also AC

1902

      ,

895

      .)

“All the evils which man derives from his parents, which are called hereditary evils, reside in his natural and sensual man but not in the spiritual.”-AE 543 [b].

“Man is born into evils of every kind from his parents and these reside in his natural man which of itself is diametrically opposed to the spiritual man” – TCR 574; (also AC 1902.)

The inmost A and the natural body E and F are the most developed at birth and are drawn large to indicate this. The spiritual mind B and the natural mind C are drawn small to indicate that at birth they are advanced but slightly beyond their rudimental state as at conception, requiring years for development to be effected by discrete degrees successively.

The extremes which are the inmost and the natural body are at birth very large in comparison with the intermediates B and C.

By the inmost as an active and the natural body as a reactive all the intermediate degrees are formed out and stored with remains during childhood and thus are prepared for reformation and regeneration in after years.

The whole natural body (all that the infant takes on from nature) consists, as said above, of the limbus and the gross body. The limbus is the higher and mental part and is retained after death, the gross body being rejected. (See Diagrams XV and XVI.)

The spiritual mind B is drawn in white to indicate its purity. There is no taint of ancestral evil in this mind of the child, as there was no evil in the spiritual mind of the father. Into this mind, which is in form or image a heaven, evil cannot enter; yet this mind may be closed and rendered almost inoperative by the reaction against it of the natural mind confirmed in evil as is the case with the wicked. (DLW 270, 261, 432; AE 176, 739.)

The natural mind is drawn dark to indicate the taint of hereditary evil from the father. (DLW 432, 270; D. W. in AE III, 4, and IV.)

The spiritual body being derived from the natural mind and as it were one with it, is also tainted with evil from the father and is drawn in dark to indicate this.

That the spiritual mind, the germ of which is from the father, is free from taint of evil and in heavenly form and order and that the natural mind, the germ of which is also from the father, is tainted since the fall, may be seen in Divine Love and Wisdom 432, and in Divine Wisdom (in AE ) III, 4.

The two higher degrees of “the little brain, in the order and form of heaven” (DLW 432) constitute the spiritual mind and are equivalent to the three planes of that mind (B in this diagram), and are the two degrees of the spiritual mind B in the 2nd form, which illustrates the degrees of the mind as presented inDivine Love and Wisdom 432 and DivineWisdom (in AE ) III,4. These numbers describe the rudiments of the spiritual and natural minds; the inmost A is not mentioned in them though its presence is implied. The two interior degrees in the order and form of heaven are the two degrees B in the 2nd form. The exterior degree which was in opposition to the form of heaven is the natural mind C in the 2nd form, and is equivalent to the three degrees of C in the first form. The natural mind like the other parts is variously described in the Writings-in one degree, in two and in three, according to the purpose in different passages.

The subject in Divine Love and Wisdom 432, and Divine Wisdom (in AE ) III, 4, is the primitive of man which is a spiritual substance not visible in natural light but only in spiritual and is the seed from the father by which conception takes place. The exterior degree mentioned therein does not include the limbus which is composed of natural substances but consists only of that part of the natural mind which is composed of spiritual substances. (See Chapter VIII.)

The inmost, the spiritual and the natural mind, and the spiritual body are formed of spiritual substances, as shown above, and in their strictly initial state as at conception are derived directly from the father, at which time the ultimate parts are more rudimental than the internal parts and especially more rudimental than the inmost or soul proper as this is the first form from which the others proceed.

This diagram shows the development reached at birth, not the form of the initial at conception. We have in part shown the quality of the paternal faculties at the period of birth by their quality at conception. During growth in the womb no change occurs in their hereditary quality though they undergo an important development which as to the spiritual body is very great, but as to the mental faculties less. Whatever growth occurs in these paternal faculties A B C D from conception to birth must be from an incorporation of spiritual substances; growth from natural substances occurs only in the parts from the mother which are the limbus and the gross body.

The evil from the mother inheres of course in the organism drawn directly from her, called in the whole the natural body. The inmost of this body consists of those purest substances of nature which compose the merest external of the natural mind (mentioned in DLW 257.) This is illustrated in Diagram XV at E. In this mental part from the mother the evil from her primarily inheres, tainting thence the gross body. This mental part is the limbus E E in this diagram. To indicate this taint of evil E and F are drawn in dark.

We have already shown, -That the natural mind consists of spiritual substance and at the same time of natural substance,That from its spiritual substance arises thought but not from its natural substance,That the spiritual substance is initially from the father and the natural substance at birth from the mother,That the natural substance appertaining to the mind constitutes after death the cutaneous envelop of the spiritual body,That by such envelop the spiritual body subsists, that is, is preserved permanently in form because the natural is the containing element.And that in the part of the natural mind composed of natural substances (the limbus in this diagram) and not in any part of the mind composed of spiritual substances, the taint of maternal evil resides.

To see that evil can inhere in these substances we must reflect that they are organized into a mental form constituting the merest external part of the natural mind conjoined to the spiritual part of it which spiritual part thinks and wills immediately within the natural, so that while this merest external is itself incapable of thought still it is the lowest and active seat of thought during life in the world. The thought is necessarily qualified by the state of this external, and is brought into act by the gross body. That evil does inhere in the part of the natural mind composed of natural substances (the maternal part) as well as in the part composed of spiritual substances, may be seen in Divine Love and Wisdom 270. This external is the seat of the external memory or memory of the body (AE 193[a]) both before and after death, though after death it is quiescent. This memory composed of material substances is usually called natural, exterior, or corporeal (as in HH 461; AC 2469-2494, and AE 569 [a], 832), but in Spiritual Diary 2752, it is called the outmost or material memory. When this memory quiesces after death, the internal memory formed of spiritual substances and appertaining to that part of the mind which is from the father comes into conscious activity.

This external from the mother is the residence of all impressions and knowledge received through the senses whether gained by physical and sensible experience or by instruction in science, morals and religion, and also the residence of all conscious emotions arising from within. In this part only can man by introspection become conscious of his evils and falsities for here only can they be distinctly perceived. This is that ultimate or external in which man is together with the LORD and wherein he must directly cooperate with the LORD; the LORD alone working in the interiors. (DP 119, 120.) What lies further in is not perceptible except by outflow into this plane: only in this outer plane can be clearly seen the light of spiritual truth, and distinctly felt the warmth of celestial love.

In this external part of the natural mind every maternal inclination whether evil or good has its primal abode. Here too reside all mental bias, faculty, disposition and ability, from the mother. These however are subject to more or less modification and even practical nullification from the various conditions of the gross body.

Not only does the body from the mother partake of her quality good or bad but there are always induced upon its interior and often upon its exteriors the quality and likeness of the father also. This is done in the construction of the body from the substances furnished by the mother during gestation. Results produced after birth are not here presented. The infusion of the father’s quality into this maternal structure is in part accomplished by the influence of the soul of the child which was from the father and consequently fully imbued with his quality. This soul sits mistress in the formation of that natural human which it is assuming from the mother and weaves more or less fully the materials furnished by her into its own form and quality. It is according to order that the active, here the spirit, shall form the reactive, here the body, as fully as may he after its own nature and gift it with its own quality that it may perform its intended use. This agrees with Arcana Coelestia AC 10125 where the meaning is not that the body is composed of spiritual substances from the soul but that the soul forms the natural substance from the mother into a body resembling itself (See also AC 6716, 10823; TCR 82, 103; DLW 388.)

According to the above order the spirit of the child first forms those purest substances of nature from the mother into the enveloping part or limbus of the natural mind, that it may use that covering as the lowest seat of its thought and the medium by which it may flow into the gross body; and it also forms this body of grosser and grossest substances of nature and places therein the five senses as organs for sensing the outer world, acquiring knowledge and expressing its own feeling and thought. Although the soul of the child measurably imparts its own quality to that natural external it does not remove the quality of the mother. (TCR 103; AC 6716.

We said the quality of the father is imparted to the body of the child chiefly by the child’s own soul, but the quality of the father is communicated to the body of the child by being first appropriated by the mother and by her transmitted to the child in the substances and forms furnished by her. In some cases (and there will be more as the Church advances) the father’s likeness flows in each globule of the mother’s nervous fluid and his image in every drop of her blood. Something of this exists in most instances if not in all. (Marriage page 9, item 22; Latin Edition, p 7. AE 1004.) Still whatever of paternal quality thus reaches the child’s body is first materialised and imparted as the mother’s also. Conversely, the father may appropriate the sphere of the mother and impart it as his own to the spirit of the child and thence to its body.

Errors Regarding the Child’s Inheritance from the Mother.BECAUSE the external acquired by the first rational is called the maternal rational it has been inferred that the rational as an organic faculty is from the mother. Not so. That faculty before regeneration, and with the LORD before Glorification, is called maternal in consequence of clothing itself with an external acquired by means of the maternal but not from it. Moreover the above inference conflicts with the teaching, “that all the spiritual which man has is from the father” (TCR 92 and 103) and that the maternal rational does not exist at birth but is acquired by instruction and sensuals of various kinds. (AC 1893-1895.)

In regard to the maternal rational (called the first rational and represented by Ishmael) it should be recollected that this rational is formed by truths obscured by appearances which appearances are to be dispersed during regeneration; this is the rejection of the maternal rational. From Arcana Coelestia AC 2654, 3207, 2557, we see that this rational is called maternal only because it is mediately, not directly, from the mother.

Another misconception is that because the child inherits somewhat of inclination and talent from the mother, it derives from her some part of its spiritual organism also. Not so. The child inherits no part of its spiritual organism from the mother. These maternal characteristics inhere in the mental part of the natural derived from the mother. (See Diagram XV.)

That the soul is from the father and the body from the mother rightly understood involves no disparagement of the functions of the mother. That no disparagement is involved appears from the following:

I. The maternal part of the natural mind is the seat of all the mental states inherited from the mother and is the seat of the natural memory (AE 193), and during life is the active seat of all the degrees derived from the father. Although this maternal part of the natural mind becomes quiescent after death it still servestwo great and indispensable uses to eternity. (1) It is an envelop of the spirit holding its structure in form and its state entire, thus preventing its disintegration through the volatility of its spiritual substances. (2) It preserves the state of man after death as determined by his ruling end, changeless to eternity, securing to the enduring heaven and preventing the evil from sinking good an ever into deeper hells.

II. Without the natural furnished by the mother there could be no propagation of the human race, thus no heaven of angels which is the Divine end of creation.

III. Although the spiritual faculties are not from the mother, they must for regeneration acquire an external, from various knowledges and truths, to embody themselves; and these are obtainable only by means of the natural from the mother.

Let no one then undervalue the function of the mother in comparison with that of the father, his impossible without hers, hers eternally conserving the fruit of h

Previous: Chapter XVII. All the Degrees in Trines. Up: Discrete Degrees Next: Supplement.

 

 

Do spiritual symbols mean anything today?

One example of a spiritual symbol is the image of a tree of life.  This is a universal symbol – appearing in ancient wisdom. We find it across cultures, religions and mythology. It turns up as the Yggdrasil (the world tree) of Norse religion, as part of the Jewish Kabbalah and as an Armenian religious symbol, to mention just a few examples.

What does the Tree of life mean to us now?

The Tree of Life appears in the first book of the Bible, Genesis, and also the last – the book of Revelation. At the beginning and the end. It’s almost as if it’s the framework into which the rest of the Bible fits.

We find the Tree of Life at the beginning at the centre of a garden and at the end at the centre of a holy city that descends from heaven. Swedenborg’s interpretation of this spiritual symbolism helps me relate to this; it reflects my changing relationship with the Divine; it is different at the beginning from what it becomes or grows into at the end.

For me, the bits in-between are a depiction of my spiritual wanderings and challenges to reach a spiritual maturity; a deeper connection with my experience of what is spiritual and a living relationship with the Divine Creator.

What is the beginning of our life like?

God has no beginning but we as his finite creations definitely do begin at a point in time. Our beginnings start in an experience of unity and connection, in the oneness of the Divine, yet it is necessary for us to develop into conscious independent individuals in order to choose to return to the forgotten, lost unity and connection of the One Life that creates, loves and sustains us.

This wonderful unity and connection with all that is living, I see in the beautiful Garden of Eden. This undoubtedly idyllic and innocent picture relates to what we experience in the infancy of our spiritual life. It is in the centre of this Garden where we discover or experience the Tree of Life.

Trees are powerful symbols of enduring, substantial mental and spiritual attitudes.
For me, the Tree of Life symbolises the perception that we are all united and connected by the Creative Love that gives life to all. To have this at the centre of one’s life is to perceive that the One Life can be experienced in many facets in other people and the world of nature; the One in the many.

What is the journey through life like?

Another tree appears in the Garden – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and this is very attractive to us. What sort of perception do we gain from eating its fruit? Its presence gives us a choice; do we decide what is good and true for ourselves or depend purely on it being revealed to us by God? We have minds of our own; surely we can decide for ourselves what we should do?

It is almost inevitable that we turn away from dependence on the Divine to choose and develop our own sense of identity, our ego. Life is then identified as being in the separate individual, myself, because that is what I experience. Therefore I no longer wish to be a part of the Garden of Eden experience which is about being receptive and dependant on Divine revelation.

So I embark on a long spiritual journey passing thought many trials and challenges in order to learn about myself and be self-sufficient.

A part of this quest for enlightenment is expressed in the following quotation from an article in Chrysalis magazine entitled Odyssey by David Garrett:

The loneliness of “coming to oneself” is acutely painful. At some point, in a mysterious way, the seeker dares to consider the possibility that the loneliness and the failure are because the quest was attempted entirely by his own efforts….For the first time, the seeker becomes experientially aware of an inner source that is deeper and more resourceful than the ego. As he/she turns to it, the feeling of being stuck recedes. The cold and barren world tingles and warms. The inner earth sprouts green shoots. Each time she/he consciously relates to the inner wise one, life quickens. When he /she ignores it, vitality ceases.

What is the end of my life like?

There is the possibility of discovering afresh the ‘tree of life’ perception in one’s spiritual maturity – but not in a garden. Now it is at the centre of a city. The Holy City at the end of the Bible is always descending from heaven, therefore I am once again open to Divine revelation coming from a God-given rationality, structured yet full of vitality and dynamism. This is an integration of all that has previously taken place in my experience and comes from heart, mind and service to others.

At the end of the journey one can re-discover what had been lost, and make one’s way back to the beginning to the Tree of Life – but it is different yet paradoxically the same. Perhaps what is to be discovered is always the same, eternal and enduring, but the change has taken place in oneself. This reminds me of the T.S. Eliot poem, Four Quartets, as follows;

We shall not cease from exploration
And at the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of the earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always –
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well….

Copyright 2010 Helen Brown