Man is Led and Taught By the Lord in Externals to All Appearance As Of Himself

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

In externals man is led and taught by the Lord in all appearance as if by himself. This takes place in man’s externals, but not in internals.

How the Lord leads and teaches man in his internals no one knows, as no one knows how the soul operates to cause the eye to see, the ear to hear, the tongue and mouth to speak, the heart to move the blood, the lungs to breathe, the stomach to digest, the liver and pancreas to assort, the kidneys to secrete, and countless other things. These things do not come to man’s perception and sensation.

The same is true of what is done by the Lord in the interior substances and forms of the mind, which are infinitely more numerous; the Lord’s operations in these are not manifest to man. But the effects, which are numerous, are manifest, as well as some of the causes producing the effects. These are the externals wherein man and the Lord are together. And because externals make one with internals (for they cohere in one series), the Lord can arrange things in internals only in accordance with the disposition that is effected by means of man in the externals.

Every one knows that man thinks, wills, speaks, and acts to all appearance as if from himself; and every one can see that without this appearance man would have no will or understanding, thus no affection or thought, also no reception of any good and truth from the Lord. This being so, it follows that without this appearance there would be no knowledge of God, no charity or faith, and consequently no reformation or regeneration, and therefore no salvation. From all this it is clear that this appearance is given to man by the Lord for the sake of all these uses, and chiefly that man may have the ability to receive and to reciprocate, whereby the Lord may be conjoined with him and he with the Lord, and that through this conjunction man may live forever. This is the appearance here meant.

(Divine Providence 174)
June 23, 2017

Conjunction of the Lord with Angels

  Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose
Selection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

All conjunction in the spiritual world is effected by means of looking [*by intent regard]. When any one there is thinking about another from a desire to speak with him, the other immediately becomes present, and they see each other face to face. It is the same when any one is thinking about another from an affection of love; but this affection produces conjunction, while the other produces presence only. This is peculiar to the spiritual world, for the reason that all there are spiritual beings; in the natural world, in which all are material beings, it is otherwise.

With men in the natural world the same takes place in the affections and thoughts of their spirit; but inasmuch as there are spaces in the natural world, while in the spiritual world the spaces are merely appearances, that which takes place in the thought of every one’s spirit, in the spiritual world takes place actually.

This has been said to make known how the conjunction of the Lord with angels is effected, and how the apparent reciprocal conjunction of angels with the Lord is effected. For all angels turn their faces to the Lord, and the Lord’s look is upon the forehead, because the forehead corresponds to love and its affections, while angels behold the Lord with the eyes, because the eyes correspond to wisdom and its perceptions. Nevertheless angels do not, from themselves, turn their faces to the Lord, but the Lord turns them to Himself; and He turns them by influx into their life’s love, and through that love enters into the perceptions and thoughts; and thus He turns them about.

Such a circle of love to thoughts and from thoughts to love from love, is in all things of the human mind. This circle may be called the circle of life. About this something may be seen in the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom, as the following:

Angels constantly turn their faces to the Lord as a sun. All the interior things of the angels, both of mind and of body, are likewise turned to the Lord as a sun. Every spirit, of whatever quality, turns himself likewise to his ruling love. Love conjoins itself to wisdom, and causes wisdom to be reciprocally conjoined with it. Angels are in the Lord, and the Lord is in them; and because angels are recipients the Lord alone is heaven.

The Lord’s heaven in the natural world is called the church; and an angel of that heaven is a man of the church who is conjoined with the Lord, and who becomes an angel of the spiritual heaven after he leaves this world. From this it is clear that what has been said of the angelic heaven applies equally to the human heaven that is called the church. That reciprocal conjunction with the Lord which makes heaven in man is revealed by the Lord in these words:-

Abide in Me and I in you. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for apart from Me ye can do nothing (John 15:4, 5, 7).

(Divine Providence 29, 30)
(*emphasis by editor)
June 9, 2017
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From Use, In Use, and For Use

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeFrom Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Lord’s Omnipresence and Omniscience can be Comprehended

The omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord can be comprehended also from the creation of the universe; for the universe was so created by Him that He is in things first and in things last, in the center and in the circumferences, and that the things in which He is are uses. This can be seen to be true from the creation of the universe, from the life of man, and from the essence of uses.

The creation of the universe can be in no way so well understood as from types of it in the heavens. There creation is unceasing and instantaneous, for in the spiritual world lands exist in a moment, and upon them paradisal gardens, and in these trees full of fruits, also shrubs, flowers, and plants of every kind. When these are contemplated by one who is wise, they are found to be correspondences of the uses in which the angels are, to whom they are given as a reward. The angels, moreover, in accordance with their uses have houses given them, full of utensils and beautiful things according to uses; also garments according to their uses, and food that is esculent and palatable according to their uses, and delightful conversations, which also are uses because they are recreations. All these things are given them gratuitously, and yet on account of the uses they perform. In a word, the whole heaven is so full of uses that it may be called the very kingdom of uses.

Those, on the other hand, who perform no uses, are sent into the hells, where they are compelled by a judge to perform tasks; and if they refuse no food is given them and no clothing, nor any bed but the ground, and they are scoffed at by their companions as slaves are by their masters. The judge even permits them to be their bond servants, and if they entice others from their tasks they are severely punished. All this is done until they yield. But those who cannot be made to yield are cast out into deserts, where a morsel of bread is given them daily, and water to drink, and they dwell by themselves in huts or in caves; and because they perform no uses the land about them is so barren that a grassy sod is rarely seen upon it. In such deserts and hells I have seen many of noble descent, who in the world gave themselves up to idleness, or sought offices, the duties of which they discharged not for the sake of use but for honor and gain, which were the only uses regarded.

The uses performed in the heavens and the tasks done in the hells are in part like those done in the world, although for the most part they are spiritual uses, that cannot be described by any natural language, and (what I have often wondered at) do not fall into the ideas of natural thought. But this is generally the case with what is spiritual. In the unceasing and instantaneous creation of all things in the heavens there can be seen as in a type the creation of the universe with its globes, and that there is nothing created in these except for use, and in general, one kingdom of nature for another, the mineral kingdom for the vegetable, this for the animal, and both for the human race, that they may serve the Lord for performing uses to the neighbor.

From the life of man. When this is regarded from the creation of all things in it no part will be found that is not for use, not a fiber or minute vessel in the brains, in the organs of sense, in the muscles, or in any of the viscera of the thorax and the abdomen, or anywhere else, that is not for the sake of use in general and in particular, thus for the sake of the whole and of each thing connected with it, and not for its own sake. The greater forms, which are called members, sensories, muscles, and viscera, which are made up and organized from fibers and vessels, all are formed from use, in use, and for use, so that they may be simply called uses, of which the whole man is composed and formed. It is therefore clearly evident that they have no other origin and no other end than use.

That every man likewise was created and born for use is clearly evident from the use of all things in him, and from his state after death, when, if he performs no use, he is accounted so worthless that he is cast into infernal prisons or into desert places. That man is born to be a use is clear also from his life; for a man whose life is from a love of uses is wholly different from one whose life is from a love of idleness. By a life of idleness is meant a life made up of social interaction feasting, and entertainments. A life from the love of uses is a life of love of the public good and of love to the neighbor, and also a life of love to the Lord, for the Lord performs uses to man through man, consequently a life of the love of uses is the spiritual Divine life, and everyone who loves a good use and does it from a love for it is loved by the Lord, and is received with joy by the angels in heaven. But a life of the love of idleness is a life of the love of self and the world, and thus a merely natural life; and such a life does not hold the thoughts together, but diffuses them into every vain thing, and thereby turns man away from the delights of wisdom and immerses him in the delights of the body and of the world alone to which evils cling; therefore after death he is let down into the infernal society to which he has attached himself in the world, and is there compelled to work by force of hunger and lack of food. By uses in the heavens and on the earths are meant the ministries, functions, and pursuits of life, employments, various domestic tasks, occupations, consequently all things that are opposite to idleness and indolence.

From the essence of uses. The essence of uses is the public good. With the angels the public good in the most general sense means the good of the entire heaven, in a less general sense the good of the society, and in a particular sense the good of the fellow citizen. But with men the essence of uses in the most general sense is both the spiritual and the civil good of the whole human race, in a less general sense the good of the country, in a particular sense the good of a society, and in an individual sense the good of the fellow citizen; and as these goods constitute the essence of uses, love is their life, since all good is of love and the life is in the love. In this love is everyone who takes delight in the use he is in because of its usefulness, whether he is a king, a magistrate, a priest, a minister, a general, a merchant, or a workman. Everyone who takes delight in the use of his function because of its usefulness loves his country and fellow citizens; but he who does not take delight in it because of its usefulness, but does it solely for the sake of self, or solely for the sake of honor and wealth, does not in his heart love his country and fellow citizens, but only himself and the world. This is because no one can be kept by the Lord in love to the neighbor unless he is in some love for the public good; and no one can be in that love unless he is in the love of use for the sake of use, or in the love of use from use, thus from the Lord.

Since, then, each thing, and all things in the world were created in the beginning for use, and in man also all things were formed for use, and the Lord from creation regarded the whole human race as one man, in which each individual is likewise for use or is a use, and since the Lord Himself, as has been said above, is the life of that man, it is clear that the universe was so created that the Lord is in things first and in things last, also in the center and in the circumference, that is, in the midst of all, and that the things in which He is are uses. And from all this the Lord’s omnipresence and omniscience can be comprehended.

(Apocalypse Explained 1226)
June 3, 2017
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Unique expressions of God’s love

 

Unique expressionsHave you ever been so appreciative of a quality in another person that you had to tell them immediately because you felt you might burst otherwise? Or have you ever participated in an group exercise of naming characteristics you love in each other? I recently led an exercise in a church service where I called on someone in the room, and everyone else in the room spoke of the positive qualities they saw in that person. It was a powerful, even sacred experience. These are amazing experiences, because something holy happens in those moments of expressing love. Something changes as we focus our love for one another and speak it aloud.

One of the things that has been striking me profoundly in the last couple years is what the New Church tells us about love. A beautiful teaching is that love, by its very definition can’t keep itself to itself, it has to be shared.

“The essence of love is loving others than oneself, wishing to be one with them and devoting oneself to their happiness…. The third essential of God’s love, to devote Himself to the happiness of others, is to be recognized in everlasting life, which is blessedness, bliss and happiness without end, which He gives to those who receive His love into themselves. For God, just as He is Love itself, is also blessedness itself. For every love breathes out an aura of joy from itself, and the Divine Love breathes out the very height of blessedness, bliss and happiness forever” (Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christianity 43).

Love cannot exist unless there is something that it loves; it needs a receptacle.

“The hallmark of love is not loving ourselves but loving others and being united to them through love. The hallmark of love is also being loved by others because this is how we are united. Truly, the essence of all love is to be found in union, in the life of love that we call joy, delight, pleasure, sweetness, blessedness, contentment, and happiness. The essence of love is that what is ours should belong to someone else. Feeling the joy of someone else as joy within ourselves—that is loving” (Emanuel Swedenborg, Divine Love and Wisdom 47).

God is love, and His love is the reason we were created. So you were breathed into existence out of God’s love, for the purpose of God’s love. That is the reason you exist, so that God can love you. What an amazing thought! And if any of us were not here, there would be some unique expression of God’s love which we are each an instrument of in someone else’s life that would be missing from their life and from the world. That is an incredible thing to think about. Each of our lives is meant to be an instrument of that love which would be missing in other people’s lives without us.

It is up to us to share that love, share that expression of the Lord that we were created for, with others. We need to carry that same conviction into our interactions with all the people in our lives so that when we use the words “God is Love,” and when we talk about how the Lord loves all His children, everyone we come in contact with will come to really believe it. We need to make sure people feel and trust that our love for them is coming from a heartfelt conviction and that we care more about them than we do about what’s comfortable for us. Not just for our friends, but everyone around us, on both an individual and a global scale.

The Lord has called each of us by name and is lifting us up to new lives. This is where all hope comes from.


 Reflection

Take this challenge:

  • Think of someone you love, feel neutral about, or are in conflict with.
  • Speak/write the positive qualities you see in them.
  • Hold them in a loving place in your heart.
  • Observe any shifts that occur within you as you do this.

 

Ethan McCardell is the pastor at the Light for Life New Church in Seattle, WA. Visit www.lightforlifenewchurch.org for more information.

https://newchurch.org/

Full issue

DAILY INSPIRATION

“In its essence, marriage love is nothing else than the willing of two to be one, that is, their desire that the two lives shall become one life.”

Married Love 215

 

The Primary Thing of the Church, by which There is Conjunction

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

From Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
For Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood … Rev 5:9
… the signification of “thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood,” as being that He conjoined us to the Divine by the acknowledgment of Him, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him; for “to redeem” signifies to liberate from hell, and thereby to appropriate men to Himself, and thus enjoin them to the Divine …. The “blood of the Lord” signifies Divine truth proceeding from Him; and because man by the reception of Divine truth from the Lord is liberated from hell and conjoined to Him, therefore “Thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood” signifies conjunction with the Divine by the reception of the Divine truth from the Lord.
…the angels who are with men have no perception of these things according to that sense [of the letter], but according to the spiritual sense, for they are spiritual and therefore think spiritually and not naturally. To angels, “redeeming man in His blood” means liberating man from hell, and thus claiming and conjoining man to Himself by the acknowledgment of Him, and by the reception of Divine truth from Him. Moreover, the church may know that this is so; for it may know that no one is conjoined to the Divine by blood, but by the reception of the Divine truth, and the application of it to the life.

Liberation from hell by the Lord was accomplished by His assuming the Human, and through it subjugating the hells, and reducing to order all things in the heavens, which could have been done in no way except by the Human; for the Divine operates from firsts through ultimates, thus from Himself through the things that are from Himself in ultimates, which are in the Human. This is the operation of Divine power in heaven and in the world.

Liberation from hell by the Lord was also accomplished by His glorifying His Human, that is, making it Divine; for thus and not otherwise could He hold the hells in subjection forever; and as the subjugation of the hells and the glorification of His Human was accomplished by means of temptations admitted into his Human, His passion of the cross was His last temptation and complete victory. That “He bore the sins of all” signifies that He admitted into Himself all the hells when He was tempted, for from the hells all sins or evils ascend, and enter into man and are in him; therefore the Lord’s “bearing sins” signifies that He admitted the hells into Himself when tempted; and His “taking away sins” means that He subjugated the hells, in order that evils may no more rise up from them, with those who acknowledge the Lord and receive Him, that is, who receive in faith and life the Divine truth proceeding from Him, and who are thus conjoined to the Lord.

It was said that “Thou didst redeem us to God in Thy blood” signifies conjunction with the Divine by the acknowledgment of the Lord, and the reception of Divine truth from Him; and as the church is founded on this, I will state briefly how conjunction is thereby effected:

The primary thing is to acknowledge the Lord, to acknowledge His Divine in the Human, and His omnipotence to save the human race; for by that acknowledgment man is conjoined to the Divine, since there is no Divine except in Him; for the Father is there; for the Father is in Him, and He in the Father, as the Lord Himself teaches; consequently they who look to another Divine near Him, or at His side, as those are wont to do who pray to the Father to have mercy for the sake of the Son, turn aside from the way and worship a Divine elsewhere than in Him.

Moreover, they then give no thought to the Divine of the Lord, but only to the Human, when yet these cannot be separated; for the Divine and the Human are not two, but a single person, conjoined like soul and body, according to the doctrine received by the churches from the Athanasian Creed.

Therefore to acknowledge the Divine in the Lord’s Human, or the Divine Human, is the primary thing of the church, by which there is conjunction; and because it is the primary it is also the first thing of the church. It is because this is the first thing of the church, that the Lord, when He was in the world, so often said to those whom He healed, “Believest thou that I can do this?” and when they answered that they believed, He said, “Be it done according to thy faith.” This He so often said that they might believe, in the first place, that from His Divine Human He had Divine omnipotence, for without that belief the church could not be begun, and without that belief they could not have been conjoined with the Divine, but must have been separated from it, and thus would not have been able to receive anything good from him.

Afterwards the Lord taught how they were to be saved, namely, by receiving Divine truth from Him – Truth is received when it is applied to the life and implanted in it by doing it; therefore the Lord so often said that they should do His words. From this it can be seen that these two things, namely, believing in the Lord and doing His words, make one, and can by no means be separated; for he who does not do the Lord’s words does not believe in Him; so also he who thinks that he believes in Him and does not do His words does not believe in Him, for the Lord is in His words, that is, in His truths, and by them He gives faith to man.

From these few things it can be known that conjunction with the Divine is effected through the acknowledgment of the Lord and the reception of Divine truth from Him. This, therefore, is what is signified by “the Lamb redeeming us to God in His blood.”

(A portion of Apocalypse Explained 328:2, 4-7)
May 29, 2017
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Trust vs. Certainty

The State of a Vastated Church

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

 Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Scarcely anyone knows how the case is with the rejection of an old church and the adoption of a new church. He who does not know man’s interiors and their states, and consequently man’s states after death, cannot but infer that those who are of the old church, and in whom good and truth have been laid waste, that is, are no longer at heart acknowledged, are to perish, either as the antediluvians perished by the flood, or as did the Jews by expulsion from their land, or in some other way. But when the church has been laid waste, that is, when it is no longer in any good of faith, it perishes chiefly in respect to the states of its interiors, thus in respect to its states in the other life. Heaven then removes itself away from them – and consequently the Lord – and transfers itself to others, who are adopted in their stead; for without a church somewhere on the earth there is no communication of heaven with man; for the church is like the heart and lungs of the Grand Man on the earth.

They who are then of the old church, and thus are removed from heaven, are in a kind of *inundation as to their interiors, and in fact in an inundation over the head. This inundation the man himself does not observe while he lives in the body, but he comes into it after death. In the other life this inundation plainly appears like a thick cloud by which they are encompassed and separated from heaven. The state of those who are in this thick cloud is that they cannot possibly see what the truth of faith is, and still less what is its good; for the light of heaven, in which is intelligence and wisdom, cannot penetrate into this cloud. This is the state of a vastated church.

(Arcana Coelestia 4423)

[*inundate – to cover with a flood]

May 19, 2010
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