Use is The Neighbor

Lastchurch - The Eternal Purpose

Selection from Apocalypse Explained ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The uses through which men and angels have wisdom

To love uses is nothing else than to love the neighbor, for use in the spiritual sense is the neighbor. This can be seen from the fact that everyone loves another not because of his face and body, but from his will and understanding; he loves one who has a good will and a good understanding, and does not love one with a good will and a bad understanding, or with a good understanding and a bad will.  And as a man is loved or not loved for these reasons, it follows that the neighbor is that from which everyone is a man, and that is his spiritual.  Place ten men before your eyes that you may choose one of them to be your associate in any duty or business; will you first find out about them and choose the one who comes nearest to your use?  Therefore he is your neighbor, and is loved more than the others.  Or become acquainted with ten maidens with the purpose of choosing one of them for your wife; do you not at first ascertain the character of each one, and if she consents betroth to you the one that you love?  That one is more your neighbor than the others.  If you should say to yourself, “Every man is my neighbor, and is therefore to be loved without distinction,” a devil-man and an angel-man or a harlot and a virgin might be equally loved. Use is the neighbor, because every man is valued and loved not for his will and understanding alone, but for the uses he performs or is able to perform from these. Therefore a man of use is a man according to his use; and a man not of use is a man not a man, for of such a man it is said that he is not useful for anything; and although in this world he may be tolerated in a community so long as he lives from what is his own, after death when he becomes a spirit he is cast out into a desert.

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.

(Apocalypse Explained 1193)
May 24, 2017
* Photolithograph has “kingdom of the heavens.” Schmidius also has it. The Greek is “Kingdom of God.”

Freedom Heavenly Freedom and Infernal Freedom

Freedom Heavenly Freedom and Infernal Freedom

Heavenly freedom is that which is from the Lord, and all the angels in the heavens are in this freedom. It is, as was said, the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love, that is of the affection of good and truth. The quality of this freedom may appear from the fact that from an inmost affection every one who is in it communicates his own blessedness and happiness to others, and that it is a blessedness and happiness to him to be able to communicate. And as such is the universal heaven, therefore every one is a centre of the blessednesses and happinesses of all, and all are at the same time the centre of that of the individuals. This communication is effected by the Lord, by marvellous influxes, in the incomprehensible form which is the form of heaven. From this it may be seen what heavenly freedom is, and that it is from the Lord alone.

How far distant the heavenly freedom which comes from an affection of good and truth is, from the infernal freedom which is from an affection of evil and falsity, may appear from the fact that the angels in the heavens, if only they think of such freedom as is from an affection of evil and falsity,—or what is the same, from the lusts of the love of self and of the world,—are instantly seized with internal pain and on the other hand, when evil spirits only think of the freedom which is from the affection of good and truth,—or what is the same, from the desires of mutual love,—they instantly fall into agonies. And what is wonderful, so opposite is the one freedom to the other, that to good spirits the freedom of the love of self and of the world is hell and on the other hand, to evil spirits the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love is hell. Hence all are distinguished in the other life according to their freedom, or what is the same, according to their loves and affections and consequently according to the delights of their life, which is the same as according to their lives. For lives are nothing else than delights, and these are nothing else than the affections of loves. (AC n. 2872, 2873)

To do evil from the delight of love appears like freedom but it is servitude, because it is from hell. To do good from the delight of love appears like freedom, and also is freedom, because it is from the Lord. Servitude consists therefore in being led of hell, and freedom in being led of the Lord. This the Lord thus teaches in John: “Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. The servant abideth not in the house for ever; the Son abideth for ever. If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed“(viii. 34-36).

The Lord keeps man in freedom of thought, and in so far as external restraints do not hinder,—which are the fear of the law and of life, and the fear of the loss of reputation, of honour, and of gain,—He keeps him in freedom of action. But by freedom He turns him away from evil, and by freedom inclines him to good, —so gently and so tacitly leading, that the man does not know but that all proceeds from himself. Thus in freedom the Lord implants and inroots good into the very life of man; and it remains to eternity. The Lord thus teaches this in Mark: “The kingdom of God is as a man who casteth seed into the earth, .. . and the seed springeth, and groweth up while he knoweth not. The earth bringeth forth fruit of herself” (iv. 26-28). (ibid. n. 9586, 9587)

The evil spirits that are with man, whereby he communicates with hell, regard him but as a vile slave; for they infuse into him their own lusts and persuasions, and thus lead him whithersoever they desire. But the angels, by whom man communicates with heaven, regard him as a brother, and insinuate into him affections of good, and of truth; and they thus lead him by freedom, not whither they desire, but whither the Lord pleases. From this it may be seen what the quality is of the one and of the other; and that to be led of the devil is slavery, but to be led of the Lord is freedom.

Spirits newly arrived are much perplexed to conceive how no one can do good from himself, nor think truth from himself, but from the Lord; believing that they should thus be like machines without any self-determination; and if so, that they must hold down their hands and suffer themselves to be acted upon. But they are told that they ought entirely of themselves to think, will, and do good, and that otherwise they cannot receive a heavenly proprium, and heavenly freedom; but that still they ought to acknowledge that good and truth are not from them, but from the Lord. And they are taught that all the angels are in such acknowledgment, yea, in the perception that it is so; and the more exquisitely they perceive themselves to be led of the Lord, and thereby to be in the Lord, the more they are in freedom.

Whoever lives in good, and believes that the Lord governs the universe, and that from Him alone comes all the good of love and charity and all the truth of faith, yea, that life comes from Him, and therefore that from Him we live, move, and have our being, is in such a state that he can be gifted with heavenly freedom, and with this also peace; for then he trusts only in the Lord, and counts other things of no concern, and is certain that then all things tend to his good, blessedness, and happiness to eternity. But he who believes that he governs himself, is in continual disquietude, being borne away into passionate desires, into solicitude about things to come, and thus into manifold anxieties. And because he so believes, the lusts of evil and the persuasions of falsity also adhere to him. (ibid. n. 2890-2892 )

The presence of the Lord implies liberty, the one follows the other; for the more intimately present the Lord is, the more free is man; that is, in proportion as he is in the love of good and truth he acts freely. Such is the nature of the Lord’s influx by means of angels. But on the other hand the influx of hell is effected by evil spirits, and is attended with the violence and impetuosity of domination,—their ruling desire being to subdue man to such a degree that he may be as nothing and they everything; and then he becomes one of them,—and scarcely one, being as nobody in their eyes. Hence, when the Lord delivers man from their yoke and dominion there arises a conflict. But when he is liberated, or in other words regenerated, he is so gently led of the Lord by angels that there is not the least appearance of bondage or authority; he is led by what is delightful and happy, and is loved and esteemed,—as the Lord teaches in Matthew: “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (xi. 30). It has been given me to know by much experience that it is exactly the contrary with evil spirits; by whom, as was said, man is regarded as nothing, and who, were it in their power, would torment him every moment. (ibid. n. 905)