Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday

  1. The Easter story from the Gospel of Luke:
    1. (Luke 24:1-12) Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, [the women who had come with Him from Galilee1] and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. {2} But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. {3} Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. {4} And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. {5} Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? {6} “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, {7} “saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'” {8} And they remembered His words. {9} Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. {10} It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. {11} And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. {12} But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
      1. A brief passage from the Writings to explain what it means
        1. AE 806:2 … the Lord came into the world to save the human race, who otherwise would have perished in eternal death, and that He saved them by subjugating the hells, which infested every man coming into the world and going out of the world, and at the same time by glorifying His Human, since thus He is able to keep the hells subjugated to eternity. The subjugation of the hells, together with the glorification of His Human, was accomplished by means of temptations admitted into the human that He had from the mother, and by continual victories therein. His passion in Gethsemane and on the cross was the last temptation and complete victory.
      2. On Easter morning, the Lord accomplished 2 things:
        1. Victory over hell
        2. Glorification of His Human
          1. hell too strong
            1. fought them in the human.
            2. won when He refused to live.
          2. whole life a process of putting off, glorifying.

    2. Put off human nature from Mary (habits, mannerisms)
    3. Glorified the Body – with him now in heaven – He appears the same.
      1. Illustrations:
        1. Think of the trees today, how they looked just a couple of weeks ago.
          1. Now new life appears it what seemed to be dead.
        2. Think of the caterpillar, which creeps around, then “dies”, and emerges as a butterfly.
          1. The flowers/bulbs begin looking as lifeless as this but soon begin to sprout (show) and then fill the spiritual world.
      2. The Lord rose from the dead on Easter morning to show us the way.
        1. Do not seek the living among the dead.
        2. Look at all these beautiful flowers, and imagine that you are looking at angels in heaven – every one once a seed or bulb that seemed to be “dead”, but now alive, more beautiful than ever, because Jesus Christ has shown us the way.
        3. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? {6} “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, {7} “saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'” AMEN.


LUK 23:55

The Parable of the Fig Tree

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Toronto, November 25, 2007


‘If it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ (Luke 13:9)

Whenever scripture speaks of a tree, it is really telling us something about a man, or something about a man’s mind or spirit. Everything about a tree stands for something human. For example, the branches stand for the things that we know about the world of nature that we have learned through our own senses, our own experience. The leaves signify rational truths, for these spring forth from the branches, just as rational thought springs forth from our thinking about the things we learn from the world of nature. The flowers of the tree signify the earliest spiritual truths that are formed from rational thought, and the fruits that follow the blossoms signify the kindness and thoughtfulness towards others that comes from a life according to the truths of the Word. (See AR 936)

There are many different kinds of trees mentioned in the Word, and they are ranked according to their relative value. Often the Olive tree is highest, because it produces olive oil, which was used to anoint kings and priests and which represents love to the Lord, the highest love of all. The fig is also highly regarded because it produces a valuable food. The grape vine is also regarded as a tree, and is highly regarded because of the wine it produces, which stands for Divine Truth. (See AR 936)

In other places in the Word, as in our first lesson, the trees are ranked according to their stature and appearance, as well as to the usefulness of their fruit. There were four levels, the Olive, the Fig, the Vine, and the Bramble. In this series, it is not just the fruit or the leaves that determines the ranking, but the usefulness of the wood and its appearance as well. (See Judges 9:8-15)

Fig trees receive prominent attention in the New Testament. The disciple Nathanael was first seen by the Lord sitting under a fig tree. The Lord prophesied about the judgement He had come to make on the Jewish Church when He told His disciples that just as the budding leaves on the fig tree foretold of summer, so also did the events they were witnessing each day foretell events to come. And it was the fig tree that received the brunt of the Lord’s anger when He cursed it for not having fruit, and the next day it was withered away.

The reason the fig tree received such attention from the Lord in the New Testament is because not only does it stand for a man, but it also stands for the whole of the Lord’s church on earth. Sometimes the tree represents the Jewish church, sometimes the Christian Church He was about to establish in the world. We can tell the difference from the context of the story, whether the tree produced good fruit, and what happened to it.

The fig tree in particular, stands for natural good, the good that we do naturally, without instruction, and so it also particularly represents the Jewish Church as it was when the Lord was on earth. This was appropriate because the people of the Jewish church were mostly interested in natural things such as their rituals and laws, while they were not much interested in the spiritual things within their rituals and laws. Therefore the fig, which signifies natural good represents the Jewish church in particular. This tells us why the Lord, when finding no figs on the fig tree, cursed it so that it withered away.

The Jewish Church, which was established by the Lord Himself, should have been doing many good things in the world, but it was not. It was not producing good fruit, and so it was “cursed,” that is, brought to a conclusion, “consummated” and replaced by the Christian Church. The Heavenly Doctrines explain:

One who does not know that all things of the Word contain a spiritual sense, may believe that the Lord did this to the fig tree from indignation because He was hungry; but “fig tree” means here not a fig tree, but the church in relation to natural good, in particular, the Jewish Church (AE 386:29).

The scripture passage tells us that the Lord came to a fig tree and found “nothing but leaves” (Mt. 2:19). The Heavenly Doctrines tell us that the leaves signify the truths of the sense of the letter of the Word, the stories of scripture. Indeed, the Jewish church did have the Old Testament scripture and held it in high regard – but they did not live according to its teachings.

It is a hard saying, but if we are to look at the evidence presented in the New Testament, and at the examples of how the Pharisees and Sadducees thought and acted towards others we can see that as a nation they had come into evil, even though individual Jews were still able to shun what was evil and live a good life. These Jews who loved truth are the ones who loved what the Lord was teaching, who followed Him, and who believed in Him. But the fact that there were good men at that time does not change the fact that as a church, they were in dense falsities and in evil loves. What good was done was done in spite of the teachings of the church, and did not spring forth from it.

That nothing whatever of natural good would ever be able to exist with this church ever again in the future is represented by the Lord saying to the fig tree, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” (Mt. 2:19). At one time the Jewish church had been able to serve the Lord’s ends on earth, but it was no longer able to do this. It could no longer serve as the particular church in the world which had the Word and by it knew the Lord.

Like a fruit tree which produces only leaves, The Jewish Church was to be discarded as no longer suitable to serve as the Lord’s church on earth. The time was right for this to happen because the Lord had come on earth and was now ready to establish the new church that would take the place of the Jewish church, the church which would serve as the tree of life to the spiritual and natural worlds.

However, we would be missing the point entirely if we were to think that this lesson applied only to the Jewish Church, and that somehow this message does not apply to our own time and to our own church. The Christian Church sprouted up and for a time produced leaves and fruit, but when faced with a battle between those who believed absolutely in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and those who denied His divinity, the leaders of the Christian Church compromised and created an impossible image of God, the trinity of persons, instead of having the courage to face the challenge to the Lord’s divinity and stay with the genuine faith that church had been founded upon: the faith Jesus Christ was Himself Jehovah God come to earth.

When the doctrine of the trinity was invented by the church leaders, the tree that was the Christian Church lost its leaves, its genuine faith, and we know that no tree can live, let alone produce good fruit, without its leaves. So the tree of the Christian Church also withered and died. Now the responsibility rests with the New Church. The challenge is to establish and maintain the Doctrine of Genuine Faith from the Word, and at the same time, teach its truths, and lead men to the life of heaven by means of those truths.

The difficulty is to establish the proper balance between leaves and fruit. If we put too much emphasis on the leaves, the doctrine, we can fall into faith alone. On the other hand, if too much emphasis is put on the fruit, the activities of the church, we can fall into works alone, and at the same time loose our doctrinal integrity.

We have to face the fact that the New Church is a doctrinal church, and that in order to maintain that doctrine every one of us must take the time to study the Word in a regular, organized fashion – both the priests, and the laymen. It is too easy to get involved in all kinds of activities and believe that by so doing we have fulfilled our obligations to the church and to our neighbour and so therefore no longer need to study the Word. An even more subtle danger is to think that by talking about the business and politics of the church we are actually discussing doctrinal matters. So often we find ourselves talking about budgets, or buildings, or staffing, and we think that we are talking about “the Church,” but we are actually only speaking of our concerns for natural, man-made forms.

What is essential is for us to come together from time to time to discuss the doctrines of the church so that our understanding of the doctrines can be increased – and then we can benefit by discussing the ways of applying them in our lives with each other. If we centre and direct our lives on what we learn from the Word through our own study, then the tree which is the New Church will have both healthy leaves, and will produce useful fruit.

Everything previously said about the Jewish, Christian, and New Churches also applies in much the same way to the man of the church – to each one of us individually. This is particularly expressed by what is called the “Parable of the Fig Tree” in Luke (as read in the second lesson), which tells of a man who had a fig tree in his vineyard that did not produce figs. He ordered his helper to cut it down because it was useless. But the gardener asked for a little more time, a chance to loosen the dirt around the roots, to fertilize the tree, to give it one more year to produce figs, and then, if it still could not produce, he would cut it down.

Let us for a moment imagine ourselves as that tree.

                  1. Who among us is producing figs as he should?
                  2. Who among us stands ready today to be inspected by the owner of the vineyard?
                  3. Who among us has taken the truth revealed to us in the Word and used it to produce many useful, fruitful deeds for our neighbour, our country, and our church?
                  4. Who among us does not feel the need for a just little more time to prepare, to make ready to produce good fruits for the Master of the vineyard?

In many places in the New Testament, the Lord tells us that the kingdom of heaven is like a vineyard. The Lord is the owner of that vineyard, and the harvest is that time when each of us makes our journey from this world into the next, that is, the death of the natural body. We are all trees in the Lord’s vineyard, and the warning should be as clear to us as the promise. The warning is that those trees in His vineyard that, having been given every opportunity and aid, have not produced any good fruit, will be cut down and cast into the fire. The promise is that those who do use what has been given them by the Lord, those who heed His warning, when the harvest-time comes, they will find themselves in the heavenly vineyard, producing flavourful and nourishing fruit to eternity.

The Psalmist wrote,

Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinner,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree

Planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.

(Psalm 1:1-3)


First Lesson: JDG 9:7-21

Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: “Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you! {8} “The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ {9} But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?’ {10} “Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ {11} But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?’ {12} “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us!’ {13} But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?’ {14} “Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us!’ {15} And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble And devour the cedars of Lebanon!’ {16} “Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves; {17} “for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; {18} “but you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother; {19} “if then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. {20} “But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” {21} And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. Amen.

Second Lesson: MAR 11:12-24, LUK 13:6-9

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. {13} And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. {14} In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it. {15} So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. {16} And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. {17} Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” {18} And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. {19} When evening had come, He went out of the city. {20} Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. {21} And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” {22} So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. {23} “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. {24} “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

(Luke 13:6-9) He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. {7} “Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ {8} “But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. {9} ‘And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”

Third Lesson: Arcana Coelestia 9337

In the Word throughout man is likened to a tree, and his truths of faith are signified by the leaves (n. 885), and his goods of love by the fruits (n. 3146, 7690).

From this it is plain not only that “to be fruitful” denotes an increase of good; but also that good is man’s chief thing, even as the fruit is the chief thing of a tree. The leaves are indeed put forth first, but for the sake of the fruit as the end. That which is the end is not only the last, but it is also the first thing, because it is the one and only thing regarded in the means, thus it is everything. The case is similar with the good of love relatively to the truths of faith. Such was the signification of “a fig-tree,” of which we read in the following passages:-

Every tree is known by its fruit. Of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; but the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil. Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke vi. 44-46.)

From all this it is evident that the fruit of faith, as it is called, is the primary thing of faith; and that faith without fruit, that is, without the good of life, is only a leaf; and thus that when a man (here meant by “the tree”) abounds in leaves without fruit, he is the fig-tree which withers away and is cut down.




A Sermon by Rev. Donald L. Rose

Preached in Bryn Athyn June 25, 1995

“Settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist” (Luke 21:14,15).

The Lord said these things to followers who were later persecuted and brought before councils. Their accusers thought by confronting them they could weaken the cause of Christianity. But it turned out differently. Those confrontations became opportunities for the strengthening and growth of Christianity.

The boldness and eloquence of the disciples, although they were just fishermen, was nothing short of astonishing. Of one outspoken disciple it is said, “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke” (Acts 6: 10). In the 4th chapter of Acts we read of two disciples who were confronted: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marvelled” (Acts 4:13). (King James Version says “unlearned and ignorant men.”) They had a boldness and assurance, and their answers were powerful.

They were somehow triumphant even when they were beaten and imprisoned, and in some cases put to death (see Luke 21:16). We will mention one example of that in a moment.

The text applies of course to us and, we might say, in a much less dramatic fashion. We will not likely be brought before courts and kings nor openly challenged and assailed by enemies.

But we do stand to be attacked by the enemies of our spiritual life. And the more we learn about the assaults of evil spirits on followers of the Lord, the more do we see that it too is dramatic and momentous. Falsities from hell itself assail the person who is being tempted, and the Writings say that to every falsity the hells inject, there is an answer from the Divine.

What we experience in temptation is anxiety, discouragement even to despair. We do not know that evil spirits from hell are fighting against us, nor do we know that the Lord is fighting for us, and the answers from the Divine to the false accusations and undermining thoughts do not come clearly to our consciousness. Here is what the Writings say: “As regards temptations … the hells fight against man, and the Lord for man; to every falsity the hells inject, there is an answer from the Divine …. The answer from the Divine flows into the internal or spiritual man … and in such a manner that it scarcely comes to the perception otherwise than as hope and consequent consolation, in which there are nevertheless innumerable things of which the man is ignorant” (AC 8159:3). (In that answer which we feel only as hope and comfort there are countless blessings that the person has no knowledge of” – new translation.)

Here is the context of the words of the text: “… they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. … [N]ot a hair of your head shall be lost. In your patience possess your souls” (Luke 21:12-19).

The very first Christian to die for his beliefs found that the confrontation was indeed an occasion for testimony. He was falsely accused and brought before a council to answer. His eloquent speech takes up the whole of the 7th chapter of the book of Acts. It is said, “When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. … [T]hey cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord and they cast them out of the city and stoned him” (Acts 7:54,57).

That speech which so affected them had begun thus: “… brethren … listen: the God of glory appeared to our father Abraham” and he told the story through Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Solomon, and when he was finished he gazed up into heaven and saw the glory of God. And as they rained stones on him he said, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit’ and ‘Lord, do not charge them with this sin.’ And when he had said this he fell asleep” (Acts 7:2,59,60). It is said that those who looked at him “saw his face as the face of an angel” (Acts 6:15).

A radiant peace surrounded him. The Lord had promised that nothing would harm them. They were at peace even in death.

“Settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer.” Think deliberately about the future, and think of how not to think of the future. In one of the Lord’s parables a man is called foolish because he did not think ahead intelligently. “Foolish one, tonight your soul will be required of you, and then whose will those things be which you have provided?”

Oh, he had thought and meditated within himself about the future. But what was the level of his thinking? To quote the Gospel: “And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do? … I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater … And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years …” (Luke 12:17-21).

He could look down the road years ahead. He could figure out what he was going to do, and what he was going to say, and God called him a fool. How does our future look to us? How much strength and endurance do you have for what lies in store for you? Can you handle what is yet to come? Do you have the wit? Will you have the wit to respond to what may come to pass?

We live in the illusion that our strength, our intelligence, our very life is from ourselves. How big is our reservoir of energy or endurance or prudence? Since it seems that life is our own, we think in terms of calling on our reserves. Once the disciples set off in a boat on a journey with the Lord. And it had slipped their mind that they should have stored some provision. To quote from the Gospel of Mark, “Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, and they did not have more than one loaf with them in the boat” (8:14). That was what was on their mind, and the Lord said to them, “Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? … do you not remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up? How is it that you do not understand?”

He got them to answer the question, and He could ask them on a much later occasion, “When I sent you without money bag, sack and sandals, did you lack anything? So they answered, Nothing” (Luke 22:35). Think of the uncertain times of youth that you have passed through. You made it through your teens. Has the Lord kept you safe thus far? Has He provided?

It is too bad that some people have concluded that it is virtuous not to make provision for the future. It’s understandable. The Lord has given us the message that He will provide. Seek the kingdom of God, and these things will be added to you. But the Writings say this does not mean we should not provide ourselves with food, clothing, “and even resources for the time to come; for it is not contrary to order for anyone to be provident for himself and his own.” The new translation speaks of “resources for the future; for it is not contrary to order to make provision for oneself and one’s dependents” (J. Elliott’s translation).

But there is the matter of putting trust in the Divine. Notice the verb tribuo, something you do. It is translated to “attribute” or to “ascribe.” See how it is used in this teaching about charity in a person engaged in business. “He thinks of the morrow, and yet does not think of it. He thinks of what should be done on the morrow, and how it should be done; and yet does not think of the morrow, because he ascribes the future to the Divine Providence and not to his own prudence.” And then it adds, “Even his prudence he ascribes to the Divine Providence” (Charity 167).

Does that fortunate person who ascribes the future to the Divine just do this at one point in life? Or is it not something to be done deliberately through the progressing stages of life?

Settle it in your hearts. Deliberately ascribe the future to the Lord’s Providence, and do so, if you can, until you can feel a sense of relief as if someone had removed a false burden from you.

Do not think of this merely as “either/or,” as if to say, either you trust in Divine Providence or you do not. It can be a quantitative thing. Some attribute a little bit to the Divine Providence and a lot to themselves (see AC 2694:2). The Writings use the phrase “the more”: the more they ascribe, the stronger or wiser they are (see AC 4932). In our lives we gradually come to ascribe more to the Lord and less to ourselves (see TCR 610 and 105).

The disciples were to learn that peace, the wonderful prize of peace, is to be found in the Lord Himself. He said, “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (Luke 16e). En to cosmo thlipsin exete alla tharsete – In the world you will have affliction, trouble, but take heart. Have courage. I have defeated. I have conquered. I have overcome the world.

Our picture of the future can become less a matter of speculation and worry and more and more a picture of the Lord as one in whom to confide and one who grants peace. Peace has in it confidence in the Lord that He will provide, and that He leads to a good end. “When someone is in this faith, he is in peace, for he then fears nothing and no solicitude about future things disquiets him” (AC 8455).

We sometimes say that the future looks dark. And the unknown is a kind of darkness. But when we ascribe the future to the Lord, we may say at any time in history or at any stage of our life, that the future has light in it, being in the hands of Him who is the light of the world.

Settle it in your hearts anew today. Ascribe the future to the Lord. And He will give you what to think and do, and He will give you peace. Amen.

Lessons: Matt. 10:16-31, DP 179, AC 2493

Divine Providence 179

As a foreknowledge of future events destroys the human itself, which is to act from freedom according to reason, therefore it is not granted to anyone to know the future; but everyone is permitted to form conclusions concerning future events from the reason; hence reason with all that pertains to it enters into man’s life. It is on this account that a man does not know his lot after death, or know of any event before he is involved in it. For if he knew this, he would no longer think from his interior self how he should act or how he should live in order to meet the event, but he would only think from his exterior self that he was meeting it. Now this state closes the interiors of his mind in which the two faculties of his life, liberty and rationality, especially reside. A longing to know the future is innate with most people, but this longing derives its origin from the love of evil. It is therefore taken away from those who believe in the Divine Providence, and there is given them a trust that the Lord is disposing their lot. Consequently they do not desire to know it beforehand lest they should in any way set themselves against the Divine Providence. This the Lord teaches by many passages in Luke (12:14-48).

That this is a law of the Divine Providence may be confirmed by many things from the spiritual world. Most persons when they enter that world after death desire to know their lot. They are told that if they have lived well their lot is in heaven, and if they have lived wickedly it is in hell. But as all, even the wicked, fear hell, they ask what they should do and what they should believe to enter heaven. They are told that they may do and believe as they will, but that they should know that in hell, good is not done and truth is not believed, but only in heaven. To each one the answer is: “Seek out what is good and what is true; then think the truth and do the good, if you are able.” So in the spiritual world as in the natural world all are left to act from freedom according to reason; but as they have acted in this world so do they act in the spiritual world. His own life awaits everyone and consequently his own lot, for the lot pertains to the life.

Arcana Coelestia 2493

1 have spoken with the angels concerning the memory of things past, and the consequent anxiety regarding things to come; and I have been instructed that the more interior and perfect the angels are, the less do they care for past things, and the less do they think of things to come; and also that from this comes their happiness. They say that the Lord gives them every moment what to think, and this with blessedness and happiness; and that they are thus free from cares and anxieties. Also, that this was meant in the internal sense by the manna being received daily from heaven; and by the daily bread in the Lord’s Prayer; and likewise by the instruction not to be solicitous about what they should eat and drink, and wherewithal they should be clothed. But although the angels do not care for past things, and are not solicitous about things to come, they nevertheless have the most perfect recollection of past things, and the most perfect mental view of things to come; because in all their present there are both the past and the future. Thus they have a more perfect memory than can ever be thought of or expressed.