Man Who is Taught from the Word is Taught by the Lord Alone

Lastchurch - The Eternal PurposeSelection from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg

The Lord is the Word, and that all doctrine of the church must be drawn from the Word. Since, then, the Lord is the Word, it follows that the man who is taught from the Word is taught by the Lord alone. But as this is not easily comprehended, it shall be illustrated in the following order:

(1) The Lord is the Word because the Word is from Him and treats of Him.

(2) Also because it is the Divine truth of the Divine good.

(3) Thus to be taught from the Word is to be taught from the Lord.

(4) That this is done mediately through preaching does not take away the immediateness.

First: The Lord is the Word because the Word is from Him and treats of Him. That the Word is from the Lord is denied by no one in the church. That the Word treats of the Lord alone is not denied, indeed, but neither is it known. This has been set forth in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Lord (n. 1-7, 37-44); also in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 62-69, 80-90, 98-100).

Since, then, the Word is both from the Lord alone and treats of the Lord alone, it follows that when man is taught from the Word he is taught from the Lord, since the Word is the Divine; and who except the essential Divine, from whom the Word is and of whom it treats, can communicate the Divine, and plant it in the heart? When, therefore, the Lord speaks of His conjunction with the disciples He says:-

That they should abide in Him, and His words in them (John xv. 7). That His words are spirit and life (John 6:63).

And that He makes His abode with those who keep His words (John xiv. 20-24).

To think from the Lord, therefore, is to think from the Word, seemingly through the Word. [That all things of the Word have communication with heaven has been shown in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture, from beginning to end.] And since the Lord is heaven, this means that all things of the Word have communication with the Lord Himself. It is true that the angels of heaven have communication; but this, too, is from the Lord.

Secondly: The Lord is the Word, because it is the Divine truth of the Divine good. That the Lord is the Word He teaches in John in these words:-

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).

As heretofore this has been understood to mean only that God taught men through the Word, it has been explained as a hyperbolical expression, not meaning that the Lord is the Word itself; and for the reason that it was unknown that by “the Word” the Divine truth of the Divine good is meant, or, what is the same, the Divine wisdom of the Divine love. That these are the Lord Himself is shown in Part First of the work on The Divine Love and the Divine Wisdom; and that these are the Word is shown in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 1-86).

How the Lord is the Divine truth of the Divine good shall also be briefly told.

Every man is a man not from his face and body but from the good of his love and from the truths of his wisdom; and because it is from these that a man is a man, every man is also his own truth and his own good, or his own love and his own wisdom. Apart from these he is not a man.
But the Lord is good itself and truth itself, or, what is the same, He is love itself and wisdom itself; and these are the Word which was in the beginning with God and which was God, and which became flesh.

Thirdly: Thus to be taught from the Word is to be taught by the Lord Himself, because it is to be taught from good itself and truth itself, or from love itself and from wisdom itself, which are the Word, as has been said. But every one is taught according to the understanding that belongs to his own love; what is beyond this is not permanent.

All those who are taught by the Lord in the Word are taught a few truths in the world, but many when they become angels; for the interiors of the Word, which are Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, although implanted at the same time, are not opened in man until after his death, thus in heaven, where he is in angelic wisdom, which in comparison with human wisdom, that is, man’s former wisdom, is ineffable. That Divine spiritual and Divine celestial things, which constitute angelic wisdom, are present in all things, and in each thing of the Word, may be seen in the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem concerning the Sacred Scripture (n. 5-26).

Fourthly: That this is done mediately through preaching does not take away the immediateness. The Word must needs be taught mediately through parents, teachers, books, and especially the reading of it. Nevertheless it is not taught by these, but by the Lord through them. And this the preachers know, and they say that they do not speak from themselves but from the spirit of God, and that all truth, like all good, is from God. They are able, indeed, to declare the Word, and bring it to the understanding of many, but not to the heart of any one; and what is not in the heart perishes in the understanding; “the heart” meaning man’s love. From all this it can be seen that man is led and taught by the Lord alone, and is led and taught immediately by Him when this is done from the Word. This is the arcanum of arcana of angelic wisdom.

(Divine Providence 172)
June 17, 2017
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Wisdom

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Wisdom once was a universally admired quality. In the present world this has changed especially in the “developed” Western world where there is an ambivalence about it. In the world of commerce and government where the emphasis is on materialism, knowledge, competitive performance, efficiency and results, wisdom tends to be dismissed. But at the same time amongst the public there is a demand for books of the collected wisdom from different cultures.

For Swedenborg wisdom cannot be found in a book. It is not a collection of ideas but, along with love, it is an essential of a truly human life. He explains that everyone is born with two receptacles to receive life from God, the will and the understanding. The will receives love and the understanding wisdom. They are completely interdependent. Love is dependent on the quality of its wisdom and vice versa. Their relationship is like that of the heat and light of a flame.

It is this association of heat with love and light with wisdom that is the origin of the use of heat and light in many sacred scriptures.

As part of the gift of life we are given free will and an ability to reason. So we have a choice about the kind of love we have and whether or not we become wise.

To be truly wise a person loves God and their neighbour and therefore they love what is good and true because it is good and true. A person who has no such love but only loves the self and world may be theologically knowledgeable and intellectually clever but will never be spiritually wise because he has no desire for genuine wisdom. Neither will a person who dismisses spiritual things and relies solely on worldly and natural ideas because spiritual wisdom is based on spiritual concepts and awareness. People such as these may be “wise” in the eyes of the world but they cannot be truly wise.

In ancient cultures wisdom was often associated with not only spirituality but also old age because people only reach their potential by making a spiritual journey. They move from a self-centred love to a God centred and unselfish love. This takes a lifetime so true wisdom became associated with age.

A wise person develops many qualities, such as, a love for what is good and true, humility, integrity, compassion, empathy, honesty, justice, and innocence. Throughout the history of every culture and religion these are the qualities that have been recognised in people who are wise. This does not mean that they become naïve. As Jesus succinctly put it, “Be as wise as serpents but as innocent as doves”

It is encouraging to read of a few people such as Charles Handy in his book “The Hungry Spirit” stating that such qualities are essential in the modern Western world and no business or political party can continue to function for long if they ignore or dismiss them.

Here are three quotes on wisdom:

It is obvious from actual experience that love generates warmth and wisdom generates light. When we feel love, we become warmer, and when we think from wisdom, it is like seeing things in the light. We can see from this that the first thing that emanates from love is warmth and that the first thing that emanates from wisdom is light. Emanuel Swedenborg in Divine Love and Wisdom 95

 Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it  Albert Einstein

Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.  Kahlil Gilbran

http://www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/meaning-of-life.htm

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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.

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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

 

Fulfilment

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“I must do something worthwhile with my life, achieve my potential.” I think that’s a common feeling, but so is “I want to feel needed, liked and appreciated.” And these two feelings don’t always fit together easily. We may feel pressured to fulfil other people’s expectations of us, although part of us would rather “do it our way”. Some of us also wonder “But what does God expect from me?” How can we best find fulfilment?

Emanuel Swedenborg assures us that we will all find it in some way eventually. Whatever character we choose to adopt is capable of endless development, of filling out with more and more depth and detail, bringing us an increasing sense of completeness.tower of babel

Our chosen character is sure to be unique. It will be “our way”. Still, the more it involves of really caring for others’ happiness, the greater will be the potential for beauty, the finer our sense of fulfilment.

The Bible pictures some negative kinds of fulfilment. One is people trying to build the ‘Tower of Babel’ up to the sky “to make a name for themselves” but bringing on themselves total confusion. (Genesis 11:1-9)

Another is a rich man storing up wealth for himself, but dying before he can enjoy it. (Luke 12:13-21)

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A fulfilled character cannot be all love, nor all thought, nor action alone. True love will draw wisdom to itself, like a marriage partner, and their offspring will be good actions. The three make completeness.

Many people feel wonderful fulfilment in producing children, while others are distressed that they cannot. In spirit we all are equally children of God, but can feel our achievements of sharing light and love as our children.

So it is reaching our potentials for creativity, for being useful, and for actively caring for others that cause us to feel ‘filled full’ and complete deep down inside.

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