True Christian Religion - Emanuel Swedenborg - E-Book

True Christian Religion E-Book

Emanuel Swedenborg




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Table of Contents


Chapter 1. God The Creator

Chapter 2. The Lord The Redeemer

Chapter 3. The Holy Spirit And The Divine Operation

Chapter 4. The Sacred Scripture Or Word Of The Lord

Chapter 5. The Catechism Or Decalogue Explained In Its External And Its Internal Sense

Chapter 6. Faith

Chapter 7. Charity, Or Love To The Neighbor, And Good Works

Chapter 8. Freedom Of Choice

Chapter 9. Repentance

Chapter 10. Reformation And Regeneration

Chapter 11. Imputation

Chapter 12. Baptism

Chapter 13. The Holy Supper

Chapter 14. The Consummation Of The Age, The Coming Of The Lord, And The New Heaven And New Church





THE FAITH OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND OF THE NEW CHURCH This faith is first set forth in a universal and in a particular form, that it may serve as a preface set before the work that follows, also as a gate giving entrance to a temple, and as a summary, containing in their own mode the particulars that succeed. It is called the faith of the New Heaven and of the New Church because heaven which is the abode of angels, and the church which is made up of men, act as a one, like the internal and the external man; consequently the man of the church who is in the good of love from the truths of faith and in the truths of faith from the good of love, is, in respect to the interiors of his mind, an angel of heaven; and being such he after death enters heaven and there enjoys happiness in proportion to the state of conjunction of his love and faith. Let it be known that in the New Heaven, which the Lord is now establishing, this faith is its preface, gate, and summary.

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THE FAITH OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND OF THE NEW CHURCH IN ITS UNIVERSAL FORM is as follows: The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to subjugate the hells and to glorify His Human; and without this no mortal could have been saved; and those are saved who believe in Him. [2] This is called the faith in its universal form, because this is the universal principle of faith; and the universal principle of faith must be in each thing and in all things of it. It is a universal principle of faith that God is one in essence and in person, in whom is a Divine trinity, and that He is the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ. It is a universal principle of faith that no mortal could have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world. It is a universal principle of faith that He came into the world to remove hell from man, and that He did remove it by means of contests with it and victories over it, and thereby He subdued it and reduced it to order and made it obedient to Himself. It is a universal principle of faith that He came into the world to glorify His Human which He took on in the world, that is, to unite it with the Divine from which [are all things], and thereby He eternally holds hell in order and under obedience to Himself. As this could be accomplished only by means of temptations admitted into His Human, even to the last of them, which was the passion of the cross, He endured even that. These are the universal principles of faith relating to the Lord. [3] The universal principle of faith on man’s part is that he should believe in the Lord; for by believing in Him there is conjunction with Him and thereby salvation. To believe in the Lord is to have confidence that He saves; and as only those who live rightly can have this confidence, this, too, is meant by believing in Him And this the Lord teaches in John: This is the Father’s will, that everyone that believeth in the Son may have eternal life (John 6:40); and again: He that believeth in the Son hath eternal life; but he that believeth not in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him (John 3:36).

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THE FAITH OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND OF THE NEW CHURCH IN A PARTICULAR FORM is as follows: Jehovah God is love itself and wisdom itself, or is good itself and truth itself; and in respect to Divine truth, which is the Word, and which was God with God, He came down and took on the Human for the purpose of reducing to order all things that were in heaven, and all things in hell, and all things in the church; because at that time the power of hell prevailed over the power of heaven, and upon the earth the power of evil over the power of good, and in consequence a total damnation stood threatening at the door. This impending damnation Jehovah God removed by means of His Human, which was Divine truth, and thus He redeemed angels and men, and thereupon He united, in His Human, Divine truth with Divine good or Divine wisdom with Divine love; and so, with and in His glorified Human, He returned into His Divine in which He was from eternity. All this is meant by these words in John: The Word was with God, and God was the Word. And the Word became flesh (1:1, 14); and in the same: I came out from the Father and am come into the world; again I leave the world and go unto the Father (16:28); and also by these words: We know that the Son of God is come, and has given us understanding that we may know the True; and we are in the True, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and life eternal (1 John 5:20). From these words it is clear that without the Lord’s coming into the world no one could have been saved. It is the same today; and therefore, without the Lord’s coming again into the world in Divine truth, which is the Word, no one can be saved. [2] THE PARTICULARS OF FAITH ON MAN’S PART are: (1) God is one, in whom is a Divine trinity, and the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ is that one. (2) Saving faith is to believe in Him. (3) Evils should not be done, because they are of the devil and from the devil. (4) Goods should be done, because they are of God and from God. (5) These should be done by man as if by himself; but it should be believed that they are done by the Lord in man and through man. The first two are matters of faith, the next two of charity, and the fifth of the conjunction of charity and faith, thus of the conjunction of the Lord and man.

Chapter 1. God The Creator

Since the Lord’s time the Christian Church has passed through the several stages from infancy to extreme old age. Its infancy was in the lifetime of the apostles, when they preached throughout the world repentance and faith in the Lord God the Savior. That this is what they preached is evident from these words in the Acts of the Apostles: Paul testified, both to the Jews and to the Greeks, repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). It is a noteworthy fact that some months ago the Lord called together His twelve disciples, now angels, and sent them forth throughout the spiritual world, with the command to preach the gospel there anew, since the church that was established by the Lord through them has at this day become so far consummated that scarcely a remnant of it survives; and this has come to pass, because the Divine trinity has been divided into three persons, each one of whom is God and Lord. [2] Because of this a sort of frenzy has invaded not only all theology, but also the church that from the Lord’s name is called- Christian. It is called a frenzy because men’s minds have been made so demented by it as not to know whether there is one God or three. On the lips there is one God; but in the thought of the mind there are three; consequently, the mind and lips, that is, the thought and speech, are at variance; and the result of this variance is that there is no God at all. The naturalism that prevails at this day is from no other source. Consider, if you will, with the lips speaking of one and the mind thinking of three, whether one of these statements does not, when they meet within, cancel the other. Consequently, when a man thinks about God, if he thinks at all it is nothing more than thought from the mere name God, unaccompanied by any sense of the meaning of the name that involves any knowledge of God. [3] The idea of God, with all conception of Him, having been thus rent asunder, it is my purpose to treat, in their order, of God the Creator, of the Lord the Redeemer, and of the Holy Spirit the Operator, and lastly of the Divine trinity, to the end that what has been rent asunder may be again made whole; which is done when the reason of man is convinced by the Word and by light therefrom that there is a Divine trinity, and that the trinity is in the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ, like the soul, the body, and what goes forth from these, in man; and that thus this article in the Athanasian Creed is true: In Christ God and man, or the Divine and the Human, are not two, but are in one person; and as the rational soul and the flesh are one man, so God and man are one Christ.

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THE UNITY OF GOD. As the acknowledgment of God from a knowledge of God is the very essence and soul of the entire contents of theology, it is necessary that the unity of God should be the first thing treated of. This shall be set forth in order in the following sections: (1) The entire Holy Scripture, and the doctrines therefrom of the churches in the Christian world, teach that God is one. (2) There is a universal influx [from God] into the souls of men of the truth that there is a God, and that He is one. (3) For this reason, there is in all the world no nation possessing religion and sound reason that does not acknowledge a God, and that God is one. (4) Respecting what the one God is, nations and peoples have differed and still differ, from many causes. (5) Human reason can, if it will, perceive and be convinced, from many things in the world, that there is a God, and that He is one. (6) If God were not one, the universe could not have been created and preserved. (7) Whoever does not acknowledge a God is excommunicated from the church and condemned. (8) With the man who acknowledges several Gods instead of one, there is no coherence in the things relating to the church. These propositions shall be unfolded one by one.

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(1) The entire Holy Scripture, and all the doctrines therefrom of the churches in the Christian world, teach that there is a God and that He is one. The entire Holy Scripture teaches that there is a God, because in its inmosts it is nothing but God, that is, it is nothing but the Divine that goes forth from God; for it was dictated by God; and from God nothing can go forth except what is God and is called Divine. This the Holy Scripture is in its inmosts. But in its derivatives, which are below and from these inmosts, the Holy Scripture is adapted to the perception of angels and men. The Divine is likewise in these derivatives, but in another form, in which it is called the celestial, spiritual, and natural Divine. These are simply the draperies of God; for God Himself, such as He is in the inmosts of the Word, cannot be seen by any creature. For He said to Moses, when Moses prayed that he might see the glory of Jehovah, that no one can see God and live. This is equally true of the inmosts of the Word, where God is in His very Being and Essence. [2] Nevertheless, the Divine, which forms the inmost and is draped by things adapted to the perceptions of angels and men, beams forth like light through crystalline forms, although variously in accordance with the state of mind that man has formed for himself; either from God or from himself. Before everyone who has formed the state of his mind from God the Holy Scripture stands like a mirror wherein he sees God; but everyone in his own way. This mirror is made up of those truths that man learns from the Word, and that he appropriates by living in accordance with them. From all this it is evident, in the first place, that the Holy Scripture is the fullness of God. [3] That the Holy Scripture teaches not only that there is a God, but also that God is one, can be seen from the truths which, as before stated, compose that mirror, in that they form a coherent whole and make it impossible for man to think of God except as one. In consequence of this, every person whose reason is imbued with any sanctity from the Word knows, as if from himself, that God is one, and feels it to be a sort of insanity to say that there are more. The angels are unable to open their lips to utter the word “gods,” for the heavenly aura in which they live resists it. That God is one the Holy Scripture teaches, not only thus universally, as has been said, but also in many particular passages, as in the following: Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah (Deut. 6:4; also, Mark 12:29). Surely God is in thee, and beside Me there is no god (Isa. 45:14). Am not I Jehovah? and there is no god besides me? (Isa. 45:21). I am Jehovah thy God and thou shalt acknowledge no god beside Me (Hosea 13:4). Thus, saith Jehovah, the king of Israel, I am the First and the Last, and beside Me there is no god (Isa. 44:6). In that day Jehovah shall be king over all the earth; in that day Jehovah shall be one and His name one (Zech. 14:9).

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It is known that the doctrines of the churches in the Christian world teach that God is one. This they teach because all their doctrines are from the Word, and so far as one God is acknowledged both with the lips and the heart these doctrines are consistent. To those who confess one God with the lips only, but in heart accept three, as is true of many at this day in Christendom, God is nothing but a word on the lips; and all their theology is a mere idol of gold enclosed in a shrine, the key to which the priests alone hold; and when such read the Word they perceive no light in it or from it, not even that God is one. To such the Word appears blurred with blots, and in regard to the unity of God entirely covered with them. It is these who are described by the Lord in Matthew: In hearing ye shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see and not discern. Their eyes they have closed, lest haply they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart, and should turn themselves and I should heal them (Matt. 13:14, 15). All these are like men shunning the light, and entering chambers without windows, and groping about the walls, searching for food or money, and at length acquiring a vision like that of birds of the night, seeing in darkness. They are like a woman having several husbands, who is not a wife but a lascivious courtesan; or they are like a virgin who accepts rings from several suitors, and after the nuptials bestows her favors not upon one only, but also upon the others.

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(2) There is a universal influx from God into the souls of men of the truth that there is a God, and that He is one. That there is an influx from God into man is evident from the universal confession that all good that is in itself good, and that exists in man and is done by him, is from God; in like manner everything of charity and everything of faith; for we read: A man can take nothing except it be given him from heaven (John 3:27); and Jesus said: Without Me ye are unable to do anything (John 15:5); that is, anything that pertains to charity and faith. This influx is into the souls of men because the soul is the inmost and highest part of man, and the influx from God enters into that, and descends therefrom into the things that are below, and vivifies them in accordance with reception. The truths that are to constitute belief flow in, it is true, through the hearing, and are thus implanted in the mind, that is, below the soul. But by means of such truths man is simply made ready to receive the influx from God through the soul; and such as this preparation is, such is the reception, and such the transformation of natural faith into spiritual faith. [2] There is such an influx from God into the souls of men of the truth that God is one, because everything Divine, regarded most generally as well as most particularly, is God. And as the entire Divine coheres as one, it cannot fail to inspire in man the idea of one God; and this idea is strengthened daily as man is elevated by God into the light of heaven. For the angels in their light cannot force themselves to utter the word “gods.” Even their speech closes at the end of every sentence in a oneness of cadence; and there is no other cause of this than the influx into their souls of the truth that God is one. [3] In spite of this influx into the souls of men of the truth that God is one, there are many who think that the Divinity of God is divided into several possessing the same essence; and the reason of this is that when the influx descends it falls into forms not correspondent, and influx is varied by the form that receives it, as takes place in all the subjects of the three kingdoms of nature. It is the same God who vivifies man and who vivifies every beast; but the recipient form is what causes the beast to be a beast and man to be a man. The same is true of man when he induces on his mind the form of a beast. There is the same influx from the sun into every kind of tree, but the influx differs in accordance with the form of each; that which flows into the vine is the same as that which flows into the thorn; but if a thorn were to be engrafted upon a vine the influx would be inverted and go forth in accordance with the form of the thorn. [4] The same is true of the subjects of the mineral kingdom; the same light flows into limestone and into the diamond; but in the diamond it is transmitted, while in the limestone it is quenched. In human minds these differences are in accordance with the forms of the mind, which become inwardly spiritual in accordance with faith in God, together with life from God, such forms being made translucent and angelic by a faith in one God, and on the contrary, made dark and bestial by a faith in more than one God, which differs but little from a faith in no God.

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(3) For this reason, there is in all the world no nation possessing religion and sound reason that does not acknowledge a God, and that God is one. As a consequence of the Divine influx into the souls of men, treated of just above, there is in every man an internal dictate that there is a God and that He is one. And yet there are some who deny God, and some who acknowledge nature as god, and some who acknowledge more gods than one, and some who worship images as gods; which is possible because such have blocked up the interiors of their reason or understanding with worldly and corporeal things. thereby obliterating their first or childhood idea respecting God, and at the same time rejecting religion from their breasts and casting it behind their backs. Christians acknowledge one God; but in what manner is evident from their established creed, which is as follows: The Catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity. There are three Divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and yet there are not three Gods, but there is one God. There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit, and their divinity is one, their glory equal, and their majesty coeternal. Thus, the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. But like as we are compelled by Christian verity to confess each person singly to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three Gods or three Lords. Such is the Christian faith respecting the unity of God. But that the trinity of God and the unity of God in that creed are inconsistent with each other will be shown in the chapter on the Divine trinity. [2] The other nations in the world possessing a religion and sound reason agree in acknowledging that God is one; all the Mohammedans in their empires; the Africans in many kingdoms of that continent; the Asiatics in their many kingdoms; and finally, the Jews to this day. Of the most ancient people in the golden age, such as had any religion worshiped one God, whom they called Jehovah. The same is true of the ancient people in the succeeding age, until monarchical governments were established, when worldly and afterwards corporeal loves began to close up the higher regions of the understanding, which previously had been open, and had been like temples and sacred recesses for the worship of one God. In order to reopen these and thus restore the worship of one God, the Lord God instituted a church among the posterity of Jacob, and made this the first of all the commandments of their religion: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (Exod. 20:3). [3] Moreover, the name Jehovah, which He at this time restored, signifies the supreme and only Being, the Source of everything that is or exists in the universe. Jove, a name derived possibly from Jehovah, was worshiped as a supreme god by the ancient heathen; and many other gods who composed his court they also clothed with divinity; while in the following age wise men, like Plato and Aristotle, confessed that these were not gods, but were so many properties, qualities, and attributes of the one God, being called gods because there was something Divine in each of them.

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All sound reason, even when it is not religious, sees that every composite thing would of itself fall to pieces unless it depended upon some one thing; as in the case of man, composed of so many members, viscera, and organs of sensation and motion, unless they all depended on one soul; or the body itself, unless it depended on one heart. The same is true of a kingdom unless it depends on one king; a household, unless on one master; and every office, of which there are many kinds in every kingdom, unless on one officer. What would an army avail against the enemy unless it had a leader having supreme power, and officers subordinate to him, each of them having his proper command over the soldiers? So would it be with the church if it did not acknowledge one God, or with the angelic heaven, which is like a head to the church on earth, in both of which the Lord is the very soul. This is why heaven and the church are called His body; and when these do not acknowledge one God they are like a dead body, which being useless is carried away and buried.

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(4) Respecting what the one God is, nations and peoples have differed and still differ, from many causes. The first cause is that knowledge and consequent acknowledgment of God are not possible without revelation; nor are a knowledge of the Lord, and a consequent acknowledgment that “in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” possible except from the Word, which is the crown of revelations; for it is by the revelation given to man that he is able to approach God and to receive influx, and thereby from being natural to become spiritual. The primeval revelation extended throughout the world; but it was perverted by the natural man in many ways, which was the origin of religious disputes, dissensions, heresies, and schisms. The second cause is that the natural man is not capable of any perception of God, but only of the world and adapting this to himself. Consequently, it is among the canons of the Christian Church that the natural man is opposed to the spiritual, and that they contend against each other. This explains why those who have learned from the Word or other revelation that there is a God have differed and still differ respecting the nature and the unity of God. [2] For this reason those whose mental sight depended on the bodily senses, but who nevertheless had a desire to see God, formed for themselves images of gold, silver, stone, and wood, under which as visible objects they might worship God; while others who discarded idols from their religion found for themselves representations of God in the sun and moon, in the stars, and in various objects on the earth. But those who thought themselves wiser than the common people, and yet remained natural, from the immensity and omnipresence of God in creating the world acknowledged nature as God, some of them nature in its inmosts, some in its outmosts; while others, that they might separate God from nature, conceived an idea of something most universal, which they called the Being of the universe [Ens universi]; and because such have no further knowledge of God this Being becomes to them mere rational abstraction [ens rationis] which has no meaning. [3] Everyone can see that a man’s knowledge of God is his mirror of God, and that those who know nothing about God do not see God in a mirror with its face toward them, but in a mirror with its back toward them; and as this is covered with quicksilver, or some dark paste, it does not reflect the image but extinguishes it. Faith in God enters into man through a prior way, which is from the soul into the higher parts of the understanding; while knowledges about God enter through a posterior way, because they are drawn from the revealed Word by the understanding, through the bodily senses; and these inflowings meet midway in the understanding; and there natural faith, which is merely persuasion, becomes spiritual, which is real acknowledgment. Thus the human understanding is like a refining vessel, in which this transmutation is effected.

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(5) Human reason can, if it will, perceive and be convinced, from many things in the world, that there is a God, and that He is one. This truth may be confirmed by innumerable things in the visible world; for the universe is like a stage, upon which evidences that there is a God and that He is one are continually exhibited. To illustrate this, I will cite this Memorable Relation from the spiritual world: Once while I was talking with angels, certain spirits that had recently arrived from the natural world were present. Seeing them, I bade them welcome, and told them many things they had not known before about the spiritual world. After this I asked them what knowledge about God and about nature, they had brought with them from the world. “This,” they said, “that nature is the operative power in all things that are done in the created universe; and that God, after creation, endowed nature with and impressed upon it that capability and power; and that God merely sustains and preserves that power lest it perish; consequently, all things that spring forth or are produced and reproduced upon the earth are now ascribed to nature.” But I replied that in nothing is nature of itself the operative power, but God through nature. And when they asked for proof I said, “Those who believe the Divine operation to be in every least thing of nature find in very many things they see in the world much more evidence in favor of a God than in favor of nature. [2] For those who find evidences in favor of the Divine operation in every least thing of nature observe attentively the wonderful things that are seen in the production of plants and of animals. In the Production of Plants, they observe that from a little seed sown in the ground there goes forth a root, and from the root a stem, and successively branches, buds, leaves, flowers, and fruits, even to new seeds, just as if the seed knew the order of succession or development by which to renew itself. What rational person can imagine that the sun, which is pure fire, knows this, or that it can impart to its heat and light the power to produce such effects and to have such uses in view? Any man whose reason looks upward, when he sees these things and properly considers them, must needs conclude that they are from one whose wisdom is infinite, that is, from God. In this conclusion those who recognize a Divine operation in all the particulars of nature confirm themselves when they observe these things. On the other hand, those who do not recognize such an operation in nature behold these things with the eyes of their reason in the back of the head, and not in the front. These are such as derive all the ideas of their thought from the bodily senses, and confirm the fallacies of the senses, saying, ‘Do you not see the sun accomplishing all these things by means of its heat and light? Is that which you do not see of any account?’ [3] Those who confirm themselves in favor of the Divine carefully observe the wonderful things they see in the Production of Animals; as in regard to eggs (speaking first of these), the chick in its seminal state lies concealed in them With every thing requisite for its formation, and also for its entire development after it is hatched until it becomes a bird in the form of the parent. Moreover, to any mind that thinks deeply, things which excite wonder are presented whenever winged creatures in general are observed; as that both the smallest and largest of them, both the invisible and the visible, that is, both minute insects and great birds and beasts, possess organs of sense, namely, sight, smell, taste, and touch; also organs of motion, which are muscles, for they fly and walk; also viscera connected with the heart and lungs which are moved by the brains. All these things are seen also by those who ascribe everything to nature; but such merely notice their existence, and claim that they are products of nature. This they claim because they have turned away their minds from all thoughts of the Divine; and those who have done this, when they behold the wonderful things in nature, are unable to think about them rationally, still less spiritually; but they think sensually and materially; thus they think in nature from nature, and not above nature; and such differ from beasts only in being endowed with rationality, that is, only in an ability to understand if they wish to. [4] Those who have turned themselves away from all thought of a Divine, and have thereby become corporeal-sensual, never consider that the sight of the eye is so gross and material that it sees many small insects as a single obscure object; and yet each one of these is organized for sensation and motion, and is consequently endowed with fibers and vessels, with a minute heart and pulmonic tubes, with minute viscera and with brains; and these are composed of nature’s purest elements, these textures corresponding to life in its lowest degree whereby their least parts are severally actuated. Considering the grossness of our bodily vision, to which many such insects, with the innumerable parts in each, appear as a single minute indistinct object, while yet it is from this vision that sensual men think and draw conclusions, it is evident how gross their minds must be, and in what darkness they must be respecting spiritual things. [5] “Any man is able, if he will, to find evidences in favor of a Divine in the visible things of nature; and this he does whenever he thinks of God and of His omnipotence in the creation of the universe, and of His omnipresence in the preservation of it; as, for instance, when he sees that among the birds of heaven each species knows its own food and where to find it, recognizes its companions by sight and sound, and among other species knows which are friends and which enemies; that they know how to mate, to form marriages, construct their nests skillfully, place their eggs in them and hatch them, also the period of incubation; and when the young have been hatched they love them most tenderly, shelter them beneath their wings, feed and nourish them, and this until they are able to provide for themselves and to perform like offices. If anyone is willing to think about a Divine influx through the spiritual world into the natural he can see it in these creatures; and can also, if he will, say from his heart that the sun through its heat and light cannot be the source of such knowledge, for the sun from which nature has its rise and essence is pure fire, and consequently its effluent heat and light must be utterly dead; and thus he may reach the conclusion that these knowledges are from a Divine influx through the spiritual world into the outmosts of nature. [6] “Anyone can find evidences in favor of a Divine in the visible things of nature when he observes those worms which are moved by the joy of a peculiar love to aspire after a change of their earthly state into one somewhat analogous to a heavenly state. For this purpose they crawl into suitable places, enclose themselves in a covering, and thus place themselves in a womb from which to be born again; and there they become chrysalids, aureliae, nymphs, and finally butterflies; and having undergone this transformation and been decked with beautiful wings according to their species, they fly forth into the air as into their heaven, and there disport themselves merrily, marrying, laying eggs, and providing for themselves a posterity, meanwhile nourishing themselves with sweet and pleasant food from flowers. Who that sees evidences in favor of a Divine in the visible things of nature can help seeing in these as worms an image of man’s earthly state, and in these as butterflies an image of his heavenly state? Those who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature behold the same things, but having rejected man’s heavenly state from their thought they call them mere operations of nature. [7] “Anyone can find evidences in favor of a Divine in the visible things in nature when he gives thought to what is known of bees, their knowing how to collect wax from roses and blossoms, to suck out honey, to build cells like little houses, to arrange them like a city, with streets for going in and out; their smelling from a distance the flowers and herbs from which they collect wax for their houses and honey for food, being loaded with which they fly back straight to their hive. Thus they provide themselves with food for the coming winter as if they foresaw it. They also appoint a mistress over themselves as queen, and through her they propagate a posterity; and for her they build a sort of palace above themselves, and place guards around it. When the time for propagation arrives, accompanied by her guards, which are called drones, she goes from cell to cell, and lays her eggs, which her retinue seal up lest they be injured by the air. Thus, a new generation is born; and when this generation has reached the proper age to be able to repeat the process it is expelled from the hive, and the new swarm, after gathering into a body to prevent separation, flies forth to find itself a home. About the time of autumn, as the drones have added nothing to the supply of wax or honey, they are led out and deprived of their wings to prevent their returning and consuming the food on which they had spent no labor. From this and other facts it can be seen that on account of the use they perform for the human race these insects receive by influx from the spiritual world a form of government similar to that which is formed among men on the earth, and even among the angels in the heavens. [8] What man of sound reason does not see that the natural world cannot be the source of all this? What has the sun, from which nature springs, in common with a government which so vies with and closely resembles heavenly government? From these and like facts exhibited among animals, one who acknowledges and worships nature confirms himself in favor of nature; while he who acknowledges and worships God confirms himself from the same facts in favor of God; for the spiritual man sees in them spiritual things, and the natural man sees in them natural things, thus each in accord with his character. For my own part, such things have been to me evidences that from God there is an influx of the spiritual world into the natural. Consider, moreover, whether you are able to think analytically of any form of government, of any civil law, or any moral virtue, or any spiritual truth, except on the supposition that there is an inflow of the Divine from its own wisdom through the spiritual world. As to myself, I am not able to do so, and never have been. I have now for twenty-six years continually observed that influx perceptibly and sensibly; I therefore speak from what I know. [9] “Can nature pursue use as an end, and arrange uses in order and in forms? Only a wise being is able to do this; and God alone, whose wisdom is infinite, is able so to order and form the universe. Who else can foresee and provide food and clothing for man-food from the products of the field, from the fruits of the earth, and from animals; and clothing from the same sources? It is among these marvelous facts that those petty worms called silkworms clothe with silk and magnificently adorn both women and men, from queens and kings even to maidservants and menservants; and that a petty insect like the bee supplies the wax for the tapers that make temples and palaces brilliant. All these and more are conclusive proofs that God from Himself through the spiritual world operates all things that take place in nature. [10] “To all this let me add the fact that I have seen in the spiritual world those who from things visible in the natural world had confirmed themselves in favor of nature until they had become atheists; and that in spiritual light the understanding of such appeared to be open below, but closed above, for the reason that in their thought they had looked down toward the earth, and not up toward heaven. Above their sensual faculties, which form the lowest part of the understanding, a kind of covering flashing with infernal fire was seen, in some cases like soot, and in others livid like a corpse. Let everyone therefore beware of these confirmations in favor of nature; and let him confirm himself in favor of God; there is no lack of means. “

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(6) If God were not one, the universe could not have been created and preserved. The unity of God may be inferred from the creation of the universe, because the universe is a work coherent as a unit from things first to things last, and dependent upon one God as a body upon its soul. The universe was so created that God might be omnipresent, and hold each and all of its parts under His direction, and keep its parts together as one body perpetually, which is to preserve it. Moreover, because of this Jehovah God declares: That He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega (Isa. 44:6; Rev. 1:8, 17). And elsewhere: That He maketh all things, spreadeth forth the heavens above, and stretcheth forth the earth by Himself (Isa. 44:24). This vast system which is called the universe is a work coherent as a unit from things first to things last, because in creating it God had a single end in view, which was an angelic heaven from the human race; and all things of which the world consists are means to that end; since he who seeks an end seeks also the means. [2] Consequently, whoever regards the world as a work containing means to that end is able to look upon the created universe as a work coherent as a unit, and to see that the world is a complex of uses, existing in a successive order, looking to the human race (from which is the angelic heaven) as its end. The Divine love can be intent upon no other end than the eternal blessedness of men, having its source in the Divine; and its Divine wisdom can bring forth nothing but uses that are means to that end. Surveying the world from this most general idea, every wise man can comprehend that the Creator of the universe is a One, and that His essence is love and wisdom; consequently there can not be in it the smallest particular in which there does not lie hidden some use, more or less remote, for man-food from the fruits of the earth and from animals, and clothing from the same sources. [3] How wonderful it is that the insignificant silkworm should clothe with silk and magnificently adorn both women and men, from queens and kings to maidservants and menservants; and that a petty insect like the bee should supply wax for the tapers which make temples and palaces brilliant. Those who study in minute detail a few things in the world, and not all things in their most general relations, including ends, mediate cases, and effects, and who, furthermore, do not deduce creation from Divine love through the Divine wisdom, are unable to see that the universe is the workmanship of one God, and that He dwells in every particular use because He dwells in the end. For in every case one who is in an end must be in the means also, since the end is inmostly in all the means, actuating and directing them. [4] Those who do not regard the universe as the workmanship of God and the dwelling-place of His love and wisdom, but as the workmanship of nature and the dwelling-place of the sun’s heat and light, close the higher regions of their mind against God, and open its lower regions for the devil, and consequently put off their human nature and put on a bestial nature, and not only think themselves to be like the beasts but actually become so. For they become foxes in cunning, wolves in fierceness, panthers in treachery, tigers in cruelty, and crocodiles, serpents, owls, and other birds of night, in the several characteristics of these. Moreover, in the spiritual world those who are such do at a distance actually appear like these wild beasts. Thus, does their love of evil portray itself.

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(7) Whoever does not acknowledge a God is excommunicated from the church and condemned. Whoever does not acknowledge a God is excommunicated from the church, because God is the all of the church; and Divine things which are called theological are what constitute the church; consequently a denial of God is a denial of all things pertaining to the church; and this denial is what excommunicates the man; thus he is excommunicated not by God, but by himself. And he stands condemned because he who is excommunicated from the church is also excommunicated from heaven; since the church on earth and the angelic heaven make one, like the internal and the external or the spiritual and the natural in man; and man was so created by God that in respect to his internal he might be in the spiritual world and in respect to his external in the natural world; consequently he was created a native of both worlds, in order that the spiritual which belongs to heaven might be implanted in the natural, which belongs to the world, just as seed is planted in the ground; and that man might thus become fixed and endure to eternity. [2] The man who has excommunicated himself from the church and thus from heaven by a denial of God has closed up in himself his internal man in respect to his will and its genial love; for man’s will is the receptacle of his love, and becomes its dwelling-place. But he cannot close up his internal man in respect to its understanding, for if he could and did he would be man no longer. Nevertheless, his will’s love infatuates with falsities the higher faculties of the understanding; and in consequence the understanding becomes closed to the truths pertaining to faith and the goods pertaining to charity; thus, more and more against God, and also against the spiritual things of the church. Thus man is shut out from communion with the angels of heaven, and when so shut out he enters into communion with the satans of hell, and thinks as they think; and all satans deny God, and think foolishly about God and the spiritual things of the church; and in the same way does the man think who is conjoined with them. [3] When such a man is in his spirit, as he is when left privately to himself, he suffers his thoughts to be led by the delights of evil and falsity which he has conceived and brought forth in himself; and he then thinks that God has no existence, but is merely a word uttered from the pulpit to hold the common people in obedience to the laws of justice, which are, the laws of society. He also thinks the Word, from which ministers proclaim a God, to be a mass of missionary tales, which have been made holy by authority, and the Decalogue or catechism to be merely a little book to be thrown aside when it has been well worn by the hands of little boys, since it teaches that parents ought to be honored, forbids murder, adultery, theft, and false witness; and who does not learn the same things from civil law? He thinks of the church as an assembly of simple, credulous, and weak-minded people, who see what they see not. He thinks of man, and of himself as a man, as being like a beast, and of life after death as of the life of a beast after death. [4] Thus does his internal man think, however differently his external man may speak. For, as just said, every man has an internal and an external; and it is the internal that makes the man, that is, the spirit, which is what lives after death; while the external, in which by a semblance of morality he plays the hypocrite, is laid in the grave; and on account of his denial of God the man then stands condemned. In respect to his spirit every man is associated in the spiritual world with his like, and becomes as one of them. It has frequently been granted me to see there in societies the spirits of men still living, some in angelic and some in infernal societies, and also to converse with them for days; and I have wondered how the man himself while still living in the body could be wholly ignorant of this. Thus, was it made clear that he who denies God is even now among the damned, and that after death he is gathered to his own.

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(8) With men who acknowledge several Gods instead of one there is no coherence in the things relating to the church. He who in his belief acknowledges and in his heart worships one God is both in the communion of the saints on earth and in the communion of the angels in heaven. These are called “communions,” and are communions, because such are in the one God and the one God is in them. Moreover, they are in conjunction with the entire angelic heaven, and, I might venture to say, with all and each of its inhabitants, for they are all like the children and descendants of one father, whose dispositions, manners, and features are similar, whereby they recognize each other. The angelic heaven is harmoniously arranged in societies in accordance with all the varieties of the love of good, and these varieties center in one universal love, which is love to God; from which love all are born who in belief acknowledge and in heart worship the one God, who is both the Creator of the universe and the Redeemer and Regenerator. [2] But it is a wholly different matter with those who approach and worship several gods instead of one, and with those who talk of one and think of three, as do those in the church at this day who divide God into three persons, and declare that each person by himself is God, and attribute to each one special qualities or properties that do not belong to the others. From this arises a disintegration not only of the unity of God but of theology itself, and still further of human thought, to which theology belongs. And what can follow from this but perplexity and incoherency in things of the church? That such is the state of the church at this day will be shown in the Appendix to this work. The truth is that the division of God, or of the Divine essence, into three persons, each one of whom by Himself or singly is God, induces a denial of God. It is as if a man should enter a temple to worship, and see painted on a tablet over the altar one God as the Ancient of days, another as the great High Priest, and the third as a flying Aeolus, with the inscription: “These three are one God;” or like seeing there the unity and trinity depicted as a man with three heads on one body, of three bodies under one head, which would be monstrosities. If anyone should enter heaven with such an idea, he would certainly be cast out headlong, even if he should declare that the head or heads mean the essence, and the body or bodies its different properties.

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To this I will add the following Memorable Relation: I saw some who had recently come from the natural world into the spiritual world talking together about three Divine persons from eternity. They were dignitaries of the church, and one of them was a bishop. They came up to me; and after some talk about the spiritual world, respecting which they had before known nothing, I said, “I heard you speaking of three Divine persons from eternity; I beseech you to disclose to me this great mystery according to the conception you had formed of it in the natural world from which you have lately come.” Then the bishop, looking at me, said, “I see that you are a layman, therefore I will set forth my ideas on this great mystery, and will instruct you. My conception of the matter was, and still is, that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit sit in the center of heaven upon magnificent and lofty seats or thrones-God the Father on a throne of pure gold, with a scepter in His hand; God the Son at His right hand on a throne of the purest silver, with a crown on His head; and God the Holy Spirit near them, on a throne of dazzling crystal, holding a dove in His hand; and that round about them in triple order are hanging lamps glittering with precious stones; while at a distance from this circle stand innumerable angels, all worshiping and singing praises; and furthermore, that God the Father is continually talking with His Son about those who are to be justified, and they together judge and determine who on earth are worthy to be received by them among the angels, and crowned with eternal life; while God the Holy Spirit, on hearing the names of such, hastens to them throughout the earth, carrying with Him gifts of righteousness as so many tokens of salvation for the justified; and the instant He approaches and breathes upon them He disperses their sins, as a ventilator drives the smoke from a furnace and makes it white. He also takes away the stony hardness of their hearts, and imparts the tenderness of flesh, and at the same time renews their spirits or minds, and regenerates them, giving them infantile faces; and finally He seals them in the forehead with the sign of the cross, and calls them ‘the elect’ and ‘sons of God. ‘“ Having finished this speech the bishop said, “Thus did I in the world elucidate this great mystery; and as most of our order there applauded my utterances, I am persuaded that you also, who are a layman, will assent to them. “ [2] When the bishop had ceased speaking, I looked at him, and also at the dignitaries with him, and I noticed that they all gave full assent to what he had said. I therefore began to reply, and said, “I have given close attention to the statement of your belief, and from it I gather that you have conceived and cherish an idea of the triune God that is wholly natural, sensual, and even material, and that there inevitably follows from it the idea of three Gods. Is it not thinking sensually of God the Father to conceive of Him as seated on a throne with a scepter in His hand; and of the Son on His throne with a crown on His head; and of the Holy Spirit on His with a dove in His hand, and as hastening over the world in accordance with what He hears? And as such an idea results from your statements, I cannot assent to them; for from my childhood I have not been able to admit into my mind any other idea than that of one God; and since I have accepted and hold no other idea, all that you have said has no weight with me. I also saw that ‘the throne’ on which Jehovah is said in Scripture to sit means His kingdom, the ‘scepter’ and ‘crown,’ government and dominion; the ‘sitting at the right hand,’ God’s omnipotence through His Humanity; also that by what is attributed to the Holy Spirit the operations of the Divine omnipresence are meant. Assume, sir, if you please, the idea of one God, and rightly dwell upon that in your reasonings, and you will at length clearly apprehend that this is so. [3] Furthermore, you admit that God is one, in that you make the essence of these three persons one and indivisible; while yet you do not allow anyone to say that this one God is one person, but he must say that there are three persons and this you do lest the idea of three Gods, such as you entertain, should be lost; also you ascribe to each person a property different from those of the others. In all this do you not divide your Divine essence? And this being so, how can you say and also think that God is one? I could excuse you if you had said that the Divine is one. How can anyone on hearing that ‘The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and singly each person is God, ‘ possibly think of God as one? Is it not a contradiction, to which assent is utterly impossible? That they cannot be said to be one God, but only to have a like Divinity, may be thus illustrated. A number of men forming one senate, assembly, or council, cannot be called one man; although when each and all have the same opinion, they may be said to be one in thought. Neither can three diamonds of the same substance be called one diamond; although they may be called one in substance. Moreover, each diamond would differ from the others in value according to its weight, which would not be true if they were one instead of three. [4] But I perceive the reason why three persons, each one of whom is by Himself singly God, are called by you one God, and why you enjoin upon everyone in the church so to speak, namely, because all sound and enlightened reason in the world acknowledges God to be one, and in consequence you would be covered with shame if you too did not speak in like manner. And yet when you utter the words ‘one God’ while in your thoughts there are three, that shame does not prevent your giving utterance to both of these ideas.” After this conversation the bishop with his clerical companions withdrew, and as he departed, he turned and tried to say, “There is one God;” but he could not say it, because this thought restrained his tongue, and with open mouth he gasped out, “Three Gods!” At this strange sight the bystanders laughed derisively and departed.

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