VII. The Origin of Evil
“Man himself is the origin of evil: not that that origin was put into man from creation, but that he himself, by turning from God to himself, put it into himself.”—C.L. 444.
INQUIRER.—My knowledge of the New Church doctrines is limited; but I understand that your views on religious subjects are essentially different from those generally taught.
MISSIONARY.—The idea may be new to you, as it is to many, but the fact is that we have a system of doctrine which has been Divinely revealed for the spiritual enlightenment of the world, and thus for the salvation of the human race. That is, the genuine truths of the Divine Word are now made known by the revelation of its internal sense. And this we have in the Writings of the New Church.
I.—What do you mean by the genuine truths of the Word? The expression is new to me.
M.—We employ new terms to express distinctively new truths, and to convey definitely spiritual ideas, respecting religious subjects. By genuine truths we mean the spirit, or real import, of the Word, which is within the mere letter, as the soul is within the body. For the mere letter is no more the essential Word than the merely physical body is the actual man. Both of these, indeed, are only the outward form.
I.—There is a passage where the Lord Jesus Christ says: “The words that I speak unto you are spirit, and they are life” (John vi. 63). I suppose the terms spirit and life have reference to the spiritual sense?
M.—Yes; the Apostle Paul also emphatically declares that “the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. iii. 6). It is by virtue of the spiritual sense of the Word that we obtain a knowledge of its genuine truths, and from these are derived the living, rational, definite ideas, which alone can make us really intelligent. The literal sense in itself, though also Divine, is full of contradictions, because these are mere appearances of truth.
I.—The Scriptures say that God is love, also that He is angry with the wicked every day. This is surely a contradiction, and it looks as if this must be an apparent truth; for God certainly cannot be infinite love and infinite wrath at the same time. The idea does not agree with the revealed truth of His immutability. Since God is love, and is also unchangeable— the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,—it seems to me that He must be love only, and that He cannot be angry with any one.
M.—Your remarks are in accordance with sound logic, and your conclusion is quite correct. That God is angry, that He manifests feelings of wrath or revenge, that He caused evil and created a hell, that He is arbitrary and cruel in the treatment of some of His creatures, that He casts the wicked into hell, and consigns His enemies to eternal torment in unquenchable fire, and a thousand other things, are all mere appearances of truth in the literal sense of the Scriptures.
I.—How, then, did evil originate? If God did not create hell, who did? And in what manner are the wicked punished, if God does not punish them?
M.—Ah! there you propound questions that require a great deal of time and consideration to answer properly. I fear it may not be possible for me to reply to them as fully as the importance of the subject demands. But we shall make as good use of the time at our disposal as we can.
I.—It is frequently much easier to ask questions than to answer them. But I want light on these dark problems; for it seems to me there is in the old systems of belief a fearful confusion of ideas concerning the points I have indicated.
M.—There is no doubt but that many of the theologians of the day are without any rational doctrine, to enable them satisfactorily to explain matters of this nature. There is great need for light. And He who is Himself the Light of the World desires that all His children should be brought from the darkness of ignorance to the light of intelligence and wisdom.
I.—That surely must be so.
M.—Let us now consider your questions, in the order in which you have put them. As to the first, respecting the. origin of evil, allow me to premise that God, our Creator, gives to man, His creature, the prerogative of thinking, of willing, and of acting in freedom. In the exercise of the faculties with which he is endowed, man has the ability to receive truth into his understanding, and at the same time good into his will, and thus to live according to Divine order. Or, he can do the reverse of this—think what is false, will what is evil, and also live contrary to Divine order. And to come into a life contrary to Divine order is to confirm the false and the evil, and thus wilfully to transgress the laws of God, and so to become wicked and perverse.
I.—Why did God not create man so that it was impossible for him to sin?
M.—Because He could not do so.
I.—Is that not, an unwarrantable assertion? Do you mean to say that anything is impossible with God? Surely there is no limit to His power.
M.—In the true sense of the word, there is no limit to the power of the Almighty. But it is impossible for the Lord to do anything that is contrary to His Divine order. The Lord is the God of heaven; and “order is heaven’s first law.” It is an absolute law of the Divine order that man should be a free agent. As a matter of fact, God could not create man, to be man in the true sense of the word, without endowing him with distinctively human faculties, and giving him the ability to exercise these faculties in freedom. Without free agency, man would be a sort of mechanical creature, and not really a human being.
I.—Very true; but how is man’s free agency related to the origin of evil?
M.—We shall see presently. And here let me assure you that our doctrine, fully considered, satisfactorily explains (to any one that can understand rational truth) the difficult problem as to the origin of evil.
I.—I am greatly pleased to learn that there is such a doctrine.
M.—In most ancient times, men, from the purely natural state to which they were created, passed by stages of development into the spiritual state; and thereafter by orderly progression they at length reached the celestial state. These things are described in the sublime symbolism of the first chapter of Genesis. Then, in times immemorial, the fall of man took place. The fall of man was a gradual degeneracy, continuing through many ages, and not a sudden transition from a good and holy to an evil and wicked state. The beginning of the fall originated in the desire, in the minds of the ancients, to understand things heavenly and Divine by means of the senses, that is, to prefer the evidence of the senses to revealed truth; or, as it may also be expressed, to believe the apparent truth from without rather than the real truth from within.
I.—What about the forbidden fruit? It has always seemed to me a queer thing that sin and death, disease, and all but universal misery, should be introduced into our world by the simple act of a person eating an apple.
M.—The account in Genesis is not to be taken literally, of course. It is purely symbolic language; and it is nonsense to imagine that physical, spiritual, and eternal death could come in consequence of eating any natural fruit. In fact, the literal interpretation of the Scripture in question quite defeats itself. We read: “Of every tree in the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die” (Gen. ii. 16, 17). But he did not literally die in that day. For again we read: “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” (Gen. v. 5). The Scripture, therefore, has no reference to physical death, as the literalists suppose. It is exclusively spiritual death, the death of the soul, that is treated of.
I.—How do you define the term “spiritual death”?
M.—When man ceases to receive life from the Lord, who is the infinite Fountain of life, he is spiritually dead. A man may be alive as to his body, but nevertheless be dead as to his soul. Of himself, man is spiritually dead, because of the perversion of his life, which is, by inheritance, his natural state. For this reason man requires to be regenerated, or born anew. But to those who confirm themselves in evil, and will not permit themselves to be brought into a state of good, the Lord says: “Ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life” (John v. 40).
I.—Now I should like you to explain something of the spirit of the passages you have quoted from Genesis.
M.—We will try. In the first place, then, let us consider that we do not understand the words of our Lord in their literal sense, when, for example, He says: “Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, ye have no life in you” (John vi. 53). Nor does a consistent method of interpretation require us to take the Scripture literally, when we read in Genesis about eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. For this, in like manner as the Lord’s words in John, has a spiritual sense. Eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of Man, means to receive and to appropriate the Divine good and the Divine truth from the Lord, in order that we may have spiritual and eternal life.
I.—Quite different from the notion of transubstantiation, to which millions in the Christian world still adhere.
M.—Eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in the symbolic style of expressing ideas, signifies man’s ascribing life and all things of his being, to himself, instead of to the Lord. But from what is revealed to us in the Word and the Writings, we learn that for man to be truly human, he must freely acknowledge that he receives life and all things good and true,—all pure motives, heavenly aspirations, ennobling thoughts and affections,—only from the Divine. Of himself, man is nothing but evil, and prone to confirm himself in false notions of every kind. Whatever is of the genuine human character in him, is from above. It is written: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven” (John iii. 27).
I.—All very true! And the ancient philosophers were therefore quite right when they said, that “in God we live, and move, and have our being.” It appears that in this respect they were really wiser than many of the learned of modern times, because these do not acknowledge this grand truth.
M.—It is the fundamental truth of the philosophy of human existence. God the Lord alone is self-existent, essential Life, Infinite, Divine, All-Good, All-Wise, Omnipotent, and Omniscient. Man, on the other hand, is a recipient of life, and of all human qualities, by influx from the Lord. The flowers and trees, the things of universal nature,—the countless forms of use and beauty, which adorn the bosom of the earth,—would immediately be dissipated, if the inflowing of the heat and light of the sun were to be withdrawn. The Lord is to the human soul, and to the forms in man recipient of life, what the sun is to the forms and substances of nature.
I.—Your comparisons seem to me quite legitimate, and they help to make the subject intelligible. But I must not interrupt you.
M.—We shall be able to understand this matter of the origin of evil more clearly, when we consider that both evil and falsity are the perversion of good and truth. That is to say, when men come into a state in which they were inclined to abuse their freedom, by thinking and willing, and hence acting, contrary to Divine order, then good and truth from the Lord (the essential principles which form the interiors of the human mind) were turned .into the opposite. Thus evil and falsity had their beginning in man.
I.—But how did men come into a state such as you describe?
M.—Because they permitted themselves to be deceived by the serpent. That is, they were not content to allow themselves to be led by the Lord; but came into a state in which they desired to be led by their own intelligence. They gave way to an inclination to love self and to depend upon their own prudence, instead of continuing to love the Lord supremely, and to trust implicitly in His Divine Providence. Their self-love then induced them to begin to believe nothing but what they could comprehend by means of the senses. This was the very origin of the degeneracy of the human race. And it continued to operate, until, in the fullness of time, the Lord Jesus Christ—who was “God manifest in the flesh”—said to the sensuous-minded Jews: “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the condemnation of hell?” (Matt. xxiii. 33).
I.—You said the language about those things in Genesis is symbolic. I suppose, then, we are not to understand that a serpent ever actually talked with a woman, and persuaded her to eat fruit?
M.—It is certain that no serpent ever literally talked. Nor did the knowledge of good and evil ever literally grow on a tree. The serpent is mentioned in the Word to represent the sensual principle in man, that is, all things which belong to his senses. To be a full and perfect man, one requires the sensual principle also. But this must be made subordinate. The higher principles of human nature should rule in man, and not those of his lower nature. To allow the sensuous propensities to become predominant, is the beguilement of the serpent.
I.—I now begin to get some light upon the subject. And it is gratifying, for I have been in the dark quite long enough.
M.—Let me endeavour to make it still more plain. When men, in most ancient times, began to feel inclined to think that they were wise and good from themselves, and so gradually ceased to be willing to acknowledge that they could only be really wise and good from the Lord, then they did that which is meant by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The celestial man—the man of the celestial Church—so long as he remained in a state of integrity, delighted to acknowledge that the Lord is All in all; that He every instant imparts life and the power to think and act; and that in His infinite mercy He will confer upon His children the joys of angelic life to all eternity. But it is evident that man fell from a state of innocence and purity; that a gradual degeneracy ensued; that men in the process of the ages became wicked, hard-hearted, and cruel; “earthly, sensual, and devilish.”
I.—No one can deny that such has been the outcome. And it is lamentable to think of the state of the Christian world to-day. The effects of the degeneration of the race are, in one form or another, constantly brought under our notice. There are shams, frauds, and deceptions of all sorts. There is a vast deal of disregard for the rights of one’s fellow-man. The Golden Rule is at this day at a fearful discount, although it is the only rule of life and conduct by which we can practise the principles of true religion. Men are careless as to what they believe, and equally so as to how they live. Large numbers in Christendom have become, or are becoming, sceptics, scoffers, rationalists, and atheists. In fact, when one reads so much about the evil doings of people as we read nowadays, it sometimes actually makes one feel ashamed of human nature. But I do not wish to change the subject. Please go on with your explanations.
M.—I was about to say something in reply to your question as to who created hell. Evil and false principles, in the aggregate, constitute hell. The angels receive the Divine good and the Divine truth from the lord, and of these the heavens are formed. But evil spirits, who are devils and satans, in the very act of reception, turn good and truth into the opposite, and of these the hells are composed. We know that reception is according to the character or quality of the recipient.
I.—It evidently could not be otherwise.
M.—We have illustrations of this in nature. Look at the difference existing in the forms of the vegetable and animal kingdoms. The wheat and the tares come up together. The rose and the thorn may grow side by side. The fruit-tree and the poison-producing plant flourish in the same soil. The same physical conditions surround the wolf and the lamb. The owl and the dove breathe the same atmosphere. All these things are developed, and live by virtue of the influences of the heat and light of the sun. But the forms, receiving these influences, being essentially different, the effects produced are various accordingly. The wheat gives us bread for our nourishment; the tares are useless weeds. The bloom and fragrance of the rose delight our senses of sight and smell; but there is nothing very attractive about the thorn. The luscious fruit gratifies our taste, and promotes good health; but the poisonous will destroy the body altogether. The wolf and the lamb are as opposite in their dispositions as they can be; and so are the owl and the dove.
I.—The Lord says: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves” (Matt. x. 16). By the sheep are evidently meant the good, and by wolves the evil.
M.—I have not quite finished the point of my illustration. I was about to add, that the Divine love and the Divine wisdom proceed from the Lord as the sun of heaven, for the benefit of all, irrespective of state. That He is no respecter of persons is plainly stated in the Scriptures; and is also meant when it is declared that “He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. v. 45). Love and wisdom, received by an angel, make him a form of heaven; but the same influences are with a devil turned into the opposite, and he becomes a form of hell. The angel is in pure, genuine, heavenly delight; and the evil spirit is in his own impure, sensual, infernal delight, agreeable to his state.
I.—I should like to hear an explanation of the difference between devils and satans.
M.—The devils are those in whom evil predominates, and who from evils are in falsities. The satans are those in whom falsity predominates, and who from falsities are in evils. The Lord said: “One of you is a devil,” because the one referred to, namely, Judas Iscariot, was under the influences of evil to such a degree that he finally betrayed the Lord (John vi. 70). And the Lord on one occasion called Peter, Satan, because that disciple objected to the Lord’s passing through those things which were necessary for Him to fully glorify His human, and to finish the work of redemption (Matt. xvi. 23).
I.—Your view seems to militate against the idea of a personal devil. How about His Satanic Majesty?
M.—There is no personal devil, in the sense of one big devil, or evil deity, who has supreme power in the internal regions, and rules there, as many have imagined. It is written: “I am the First, and I am the Last, and beside me there is no God” (Isa. xliv. 6). By devil and satan are respectively meant all evil and falsity in the aggregate. In the Apocalypse, for example, we read of “the dragon, that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” (xii. 9).
I.—I must now remind you of the question concerning the punishment of the wicked.
M.—The Lord says of those who confirm themselves in evil and in falsity, and make infernal loves the chief delight of their lives: “These shall go away into everlasting punishment” (Matt. xxv. 46). This expresses the truth of the matter. The wicked go away from the Lord. They turn their back upon heaven, with all its shining splendours, its glories, and its unspeakable felicities, and of their own free choice go down into the regions of eternal darkness and spiritual death. They have perverted the order of their life, have become forms of evil, and hence are like owls that cannot endure the light of the sun. They cannot abide in the presence of the beneficent Lord of heaven. And thus we read in the Apocalypse, that they hide themselves in dens, and say to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Matt. vi. 15, 16).
I.—The Lord, then, is not responsible for the sufferings of the wicked?
M.—Certainly not. The Lord desires all to be happy, in time and throughout eternity. And all who come unto Him that they may have life truly human, shall be blessed for evermore. But the Lord cannot compel any one to do right, to live a good life, and go to heaven; because this would be contrary to the Divine law of human free agency. It is sad to think that it should be so; but it is the insane delight of the wicked to violate the laws of Divine order, which have been ordained of God for the direction and guidance, the well-being and spiritual prosperity, of His children. And by the wilful violation of these beneficent laws, without which the universe could not exist for a moment, the evil bring punishment upon themselves; and this as inevitably as effects succeed causes. Let us remember that there is absolutely nothing arbitrary about the Lord’s dealings with His creatures. He is just in all His ways. He doeth all things well. He is, most truly, our Father in the heavens. We, His children, may confidently trust in Him, and in all circumstances of life look up to Him; for His Divine hand will lead us, and His Divine Providence will protect us, that no evil may do us harm. The Lord, whom alone we ought to acknowledge and worship, is pure Love Itself, infinite and unchanging. And it is a genuine truth, expressed in the letter of the Divine Word, where we read: “The Lord is good unto all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (Ps. cxlv. 9).
The Lord Jesus Christ and The Divine Trinity
by Philip N. Odhner
Swedenborg teaches that there is one Infinite Supreme Being who created the universe and all things in it out of His Divine Love and Wisdom.
The human mind can see that God is infinite. For if God were finite, or limited, there would have to be something that made Him finite and limited. And in that case that thing which made Him finite and limited would be the real source and origin of all things, and thus would be the real God. So also the human mind can see that God is eternal. For if God were not eternal, then He had a beginning in time. And if He had a beginning in time, then there was something previous to Him from which He had origin, and that previously existing thing would be God.
Because God is infinite and eternal He is one. There cannot be two infinite Beings. If there were two or more supposedly infinite Beings, one would limit and finite the other, and thus neither would be infinite. To think or speak of two or more infinite Beings is a contradiction in itself. Such an idea cannot enter the understanding of man.
That the one infinite God is Wisdom can be seen by man from a view of the starry heavens, in which the suns and planets can be seen held in a wonderful order. It can be seen also from a view of anything in nature in its smallest parts. For the microscope reveals the most wonderful order in the least things of creation, even as the telescope reveals such an order in the greatest things.
God is Love. This can be acknowledged by man from the fact that the order existing in the created universe bespeaks a Divine Purpose therein. And especially can it be seen that God is Love in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who showed forth the most perfect love for the eternal salvation of the whole human race.
God is Love and Wisdom. In all that He does His Love and His Wisdom are present. Everything that exists is therefore part of His Purpose in creation. But what is the Divine Purpose in creation? Can this be expressed in a way that the human mind can grasp? Swedenborg teaches as follows: “There are two things that make the Essence of God. Love and Wisdom; but there are three things that make the essence of His Love: to others outside of Himself, to will to be one with them, and to bless them from Himself. . . . These things of the Divine Love were the cause of the creation of the universe, and are the cause of its conservation.” (The True Christian Religion, 43, 46.)
It is the nature of love to love others outside of self, to will to be conjoined with them in love, and to make them happy. This is evident in all true human relationships. It is preeminently true of God. In Him is all life, all love and all wisdom. His will therefore is to create others outside of Himself whom He can bless with the gift of His Life, His Love, His Wisdom. His will is to give to others that which is in Him. This is the cause of all creation.
But God, being infinite, cannot create another infinite Being, or another God or gods, to receive His Love and Wisdom. It is impossible for there to be two or more infinite Beings. If there were a God from God, that God from God would either have to be not infinite and not eternal, and thus not a real God, or He would have to be infinite and eternal and thus absolutely one with the first God. For God to create and love another God would thus be God loving Himself in Himself. And this is contrary to the essence of God, which is to love others outside Himself.
God could not create others who have life and love and wisdom in themselves, but He could create finite beings who could be formed into vessels of His Life and Love and Wisdom. For this reason God first created the physical universe. Out of His own Love and Wisdom, which are the origins of all life and motion, He made the physical universe and the dead and inert matters therein. Some idea of how God so created the physical universe out of His Love and Wisdom can be gathered from the discoveries of modern science, in which it is seen that the dead and inert matters of the earth are in fact composed of things in the highest motion.
Out of the dead and fixed things of nature God formed vessels which can receive His Life. These vessels are men, the human race. These vessels God gifts with liberty and rationality, so that they can if they will receive understanding from God in ever increasing measure, and by the perfection of their lives receive the Love of God in ever increasing measure. These vessels can become images and likenesses of God. In such images and likenesses of God the Divine Purpose of creation can find its fulfillment, for such beings can receive God’s love and wisdom freely, can feel them to be their own, and can freely return the love of God. Between the infinite God and such beings there can be eternal conjunction. In this way a true and everlasting relationship can be established between God and those created by Him outside of Himself. But because God’s Love is infinite therefore He looks to an eternal increase of those who can receive His life, and out of them He forms for Himself an eternal Heaven in an eternal world, which is the Spiritual World. In this Heaven those who have become images and likenesses of God advance forever in the understanding and love of God and their neighbours.
Consider carefully the Divine Purpose of creation here set forth. It means that God’s Purpose in creating you is to make you an image and likeness of Himself, to make you an angel of heaven, to give you into eternity an increasing understanding of Him and an increasing love of what is good and true from Him. That is His interest and concern with you and with everyone in the human race.
Consider whether there can be any other cause of creation, or any other reason for your existence? Have you heard of any other explanation that is in agreement with the Scriptures and with the dictates of your own reason concerning God?
The Advent of the Lord into the World.
Swedenborg teaches that mankind in their first state of creation were as children, innocent and obedient. From the influx of the Love of God into their minds they were able to perceive the truths concerning God in all things of creation. They loved God and they loved their neighbour. This is the state of mankind that is described in the Bible as the Paradise of Eden.
But as the knowledge and the natural understanding of mankind increased they began to feel and believe that they could lead themselves in all matters of faith and wisdom. They began to believe that they were good and wise, and denied the truth that they were only vessels of good and of wisdom from God. This is represented in the Scriptures by the eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Because of this disorder men fell from their state of love and wisdom. More and more they removed themselves from the influx of God into their souls and minds. Finally the human race came into a state in which the Divine Purpose of creation was threatened and the human race itself was threatened with spiritual destruction.
Because of the removal of man from his first state of reception of the Love of God, it was necessary that a new kind of conjunction between God and man should be established. This was accomplished by the coming of God the Creator into the world.
In the Scriptures of the Old Testament, which were Divinely inspired and given to men by God during man’s gradual decline from his first state, it is foretold and promised many times that He who created the world would come into the world to redeem and save mankind.
We here quote a few such places from the Old Testament:
“For thus saith the Lord (Jehovah) that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it, He created it not in vain. . . . He formed it to be inhabited: I am the Lord (Jehovah) and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:18.)
“Behold the Lord God (Lord Jehovih) will come with a strong hand, and His arm shall rule for Him.” (Isaiah 40:10.)
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord (Jehovah). (Zechar. 2:10.)
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord (Jehovah), that I will raise up unto David a just Branch . . . and this is His Name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD (Jehovah) OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:5,6.)
“And all flesh shall know that I Jehovah am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.” (Isaiah 49:26.)
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand in the latter day upon the earth.” (Job 19:25.)
“Let Israel hope in Jehovah … He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” (Ps. 130:7,8.)
“Yet I am Jehovah thy God from the land of Egypt . . . and thou shalt know no other God but me; for there is no Saviour beside me.” (Hosea 13:4.)
From these passages it is clear that the Old Testament teaches that there is one God, who is called Jehovah God, and that this God calls Himself the Saviour and the Redeemer, as well as the Creator. But now consider the following passages from the Old Testament, which foretell the Coming of the Creator into the world, and which clearly refer to the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord (the way of Jehovah), make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3.) It is said in the New Testament that this is a prophecy of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the Lord Jesus Christ. Here, in the Old Testament, the one for whom John prepared the way is called Jehovah and “our God.”
“Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14.) This prophecy is quoted in Matthew with reference to the birth of the Lord, and it is there added about the name Immanuel, “which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matt. 1:23.) Here therefore the Lord is called God with us, in both the Old and the New Testaments.
“Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord (this is Jehovah) ; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25:9.)
“Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6.)
From the above passages from the Old Testament it is clear that the one infinite and eternal God, Jehovah God, the Creator of the universe, promised that He would come into the world, and that this promise refers to the Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Swedenborg in his works shows not only that the Old Testament prophesies the coming of the Creator into the world, but also that the New Testament teaches that the Lord Jesus Christ is that Creator come into the world. This is taught in John, as follows:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (or, God was the Word.) The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-3, 14.)
How the Incarnation of God Took Place.
But how did God come into the world, and what did He do here that brings about the Redemption and salvation of the human race and makes possible again the conjunction of mankind with Him in the reception of His Love and Wisdom?
Swedenborg teaches that God came into the world by taking on a human body by means of birth from the virgin Mary. Consider what is said in the New Testament concerning the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ:
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35.)
This teaching can mean nothing else than that the one Infinite God was Himself the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord had no human father, as do all other human beings, but the infinite and eternal God was His Father. This means that the Lord had that in Him which was infinite and eternal, that which was life in itself. But because the Infinite cannot be divided as can the finite, this also means that God Himself was in Jesus Christ.
In the Lord Jesus Christ when He was first born into the world there were two distinct natures: that which He derived from Ilis Father, which was infinite and Divine, and that which He derived from Mary, which was merely human and which had within it the heredity of the human race.
Because the Lord had with Him that heredity from Mary He had with Him that which was mortal and vulnerable. In the heredity from Mary was the heriditary evil of the human race. He thus took on Himself the sins and iniquities of us all, and in His life in the world He overcame those evils in Himself. In that maternal heredity, which Swedenborg calls the maternal human of the Lord, the Lord met and conquered the evils which had taken possession of human minds and bodies. Through that maternal human the hells could attack His Divine Love for the salvation of the human race, and in it the Lord from His Divine soul met and conquered that attack.
Swedenborg teaches that two things took place by the incarnation of the Divine in the Lord Jesus Christ. First, the evil of the human race, hell itself, was subjugated by the Lord. The second thing was that the Lord during His life in the world reordered that human mind and body which He assumed through Mary, and conjoined and at length united it to His own Divine soul which He had from conception. This is what is called the Lord’s glorification. Through His glorification the Lord put off what He had derived from Mary and put on a new Human, the Divine Human, from His own Divine soul. Thus He made His Human Divine, and the Divine Human in Himself. Even as to the Human He became Life itself, Love itself and Wisdom itself.
As to His very soul, and also as to those things of His mind and body which the Lord had made one with the Divine, Jesus Christ was altogether one with the Father. As to those things of His human which had not yet been made Divine, He was as another person. This is why the Lord sometimes spoke of Himself as one with His Father, and at other times spoke as if the Father were another than Himself. But at His Resurrection the process of the glorification of His Human was complete, and then He was altogether one with the Father as to person and essence.
This may be illustrated in the following diagrams:
The Lord in His Human made Divine (D) is not another person than the Father, or another infinite and eternal God, but is the Father Himself clothed with the Human made Divine.
The Lord’s soul was Divine from conception. It was the Father in Him. And this is why the Lord taught that the Father was in Him. As the Lord glorified His Human, so that Human also was made Divine, and this is why the Lord says that He is one with the Father.
The one infinite and eternal God, now clothed in His Divine Human, is the Lord Jesus Christ glorified. He is God made Man, and Man made God. And in His Divine Human He has power over all things in heaven and on earth, as the Lord Himself says in Matthew:
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matt. 28:18.)
In the Divine Human the one infinite and eternal God has so embodied and accommodated His Divine Love and Wisdom that He may be seen and approached by man in man’s fallen state. In His Divine Human He can inflow into our minds and influence us in the love of what is good and true in spite of the heriditary corruption of our nature. And in the Divine Human we can if we are willing come to the idea of God in a truly rational human form. Thus through His incarnation we can see Him and understand Him and love Him in a way that is far superior to anything that ever existed previous to His Advent into the world. For in His Divine Human the Lord is seeable, approachable, able to be understood and loved.
These things God has done out of His infinite Mercy and Love for the human race, to make possible again His Divine Purpose with men, that He might bless them with eternal life and be conjoined with them in Love.
These things are meant by this in John:
“No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” (John 1:18.)
The Fruit or result of the Advent and Glorification of the Lord may be illustrated in the following diagrams:
1. A represents the Love and Wisdom of the one Infinite God flowing into men.
B is the interior mind of man, into which the Lord could inflow before the fall.
C. is the conscious or external mind of man into which the Lord also inflowed through the interior mind with those before the fall.
2. After the fall of man the interior mind was blocked up with evils, and the influx of God into man was obstructed.
3. A here represents the infinite Love and Wisdom clothed in the Divine Human. By means of this accommodation God can inflow directly into the conscious mind of man and enlighten it with truth and affect it with good. Through this man receives from the Lord the ability to fight against and remove the evils obstructing the interiors of his mind.
The Divine Trinity.
The New Testament speaks of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Many have understood this to mean that God is in three Divine Persons, each of whom is infinite and eternal, and each of whom is God and Lord. But the New Testament does not speak of Persons in God at all, much less of three Divine Persons existing from eternity.
It is admitted by many that the question of how three persons make one God is past all human understanding. And because of this mystery many people do not think deeply about God, believing that their minds are not capable of entering into such thought.
What does Swedenborg teach concerning the Divine Trinity?
From what has gone before in this lecture it can be seen that the Father, the one infinite and eternal God, is not one Divine Person and the Son another Divine Person. but that they are one. as soul and body are one. The Son. the Divine Human, is the Divine Body, and the Father is the Divine Soul in that Divine Bodv. Even as the soul and body of a man are not two people, but one person, so the Father and the Son, the Divine and the Divine Human of the Lord are one Divine Person.
But what then of the Holy Spirit?
Swedenborg teaches that the Holy Spirit is the Lord’s own Divine Spirit going forth from Him to men and angels. It is the Divine Love and Wisdom proceeding out of the Divine Human of the Lord to work the regeneration and salvation of mankind. This can be seen perfectly represented in the Gospel of .John:
“And when He had said this. He breathed on them and said. Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)
This was said after the Lord’s Resurrection. The Holy Spirit is there represented as the Breath of the Lord. His Breath is His Divine Truth going forth from Himself to men. Swedenborg calls this the Divine Proceeding, or, the Divine Operation.
That the Holy Spirit is the Divine proceeding from the glorified Human of the Lord is also taught in these passages from the New Testament: “But this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7:39.) The original Greek reads “The Holy Spirit was not yet, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
“It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (John 16:7.)
After the Lord was glorified, that is, after His Human was made Divine, the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which leads men into all truth, could come to men, because through the Divine Human the Divine Good and Truth can inflow into our minds.
The conclusion therefore is that the Divine Trinity is not a Trinity of Persons, but that it is a Trinity of essentials in the one Divine Person, our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father is the Divine itself, present in Him as the Soul. The Son is the Divine Human, which is the Body of that Divine Soul, and the Holy Spirit is the Divine Operation, the Divine Good and Truth proceeding from God to men.
This is taught also by Paul, in these words concerning the Lord:
“For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Col. 2:9.)
If you see God as one Divine Person, one Divine Man, and the Trinity in Him as Soul, Body and Proceeding, you will have an understandable idea of God and of the Divine Trinity in Him. This teaching is that which is given in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. It is the Supreme Truth concerning the Lord.
This truth may be summarized thus: That the Lord Jesus Christ is the one God of heaven and earth, that He is Jehovah, the Lord from eternity, that He is the Creator from eternity, that He is the Redeemer in time, that He is the regenerator into eternity, and thus that He is at the same time the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus Christ is our God. There is no other. To Him we owe all that is good and all that is true. All power in heaven and on earth is His. To Him alone should we pray. To Him alone should be our worship, our love, and the service of our lives.
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The New Church Idea of the Trinity
Chapter 2 from “The City of God”
by Rev. Karl Alden
The Scriptural Evidence
Let us contemplate the idea of the Trinity from what is revealed in the Old Testament, from the idea that the Messiah, God Himself, was to come into the world…. [In a discussion once, a minister] handed me a…volume on the Trinity, and I will never forget the first sentence. It read: “There is very little evidence in the Old Testament for a trinity of Persons.” That theologian was correct, for there is no real evidence at all in the Old Testament for a trinity of persons. Search it as you will, the only things you may seize upon to confirm a trinity are the words, “Let us make man in our image” and the three angels that appeared to Abraham to tell him of Isaac’s birth. The first one is dearly a plural of majesty, for it goes on to say, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.” (Genesis 1:27) It does not say, “created They him!”
In regard to the occasion when three angels appeared to Abraham, if we argued from this that there were three persons in God, we might just as well argue that God is a multitude, for a multitude of angels appeared to the shepherds in Bethlehem on Christmas night. Furthermore, in the next chapter of Genesis only two angels appeared to Lot. If they represented the trinity, who was left out?….
But let us look at the other side of the picture from the Old Testament. What evidence of God in one person does it give? We find it full of statements which declare this truth. “Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” (Dent. 6:4) This is so definite, so positive, so clear. Or consider Isaiah 43:11, “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Savior.” Imagine, if there had been a trinity of persons from eternity, the Father looking and seeing no Savior, passing by the Son as if He did not exist. Yet according to the Athanasian Creed, which all Christian orthodoxy swears by, “The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God; the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord, yet there be not three Gods and three Lords, but one God and one Lord.” (AE 1091)
Let us turn to a positive statement in Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the Trinity. “Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (9:6) There has been no doubt in the Christian mind that the Child concerning whom Isaiah prophesied was the Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly Handel, in his beautiful oratorio “The Messiah” so interpreted it. He uses that passage to great advantage and he leaves no shadow of doubt but that the Son who was to be born into the world was the babe that was born in Bethlehem on the first Christmas night.
“Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder.” What government? The government of the universe, all government, the laws and order of all creation. “The government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called . . .” Whose name? The Lord Jesus Christ’s name. He actually was called “Jesus”, but the prophet said that in addition He should be called “Wonderful.” He was the Wonder-Child, the child born without human father – the mystery of the ages. His name shall be called “Counselor.” He was to give man the truth that should guide him and make him free. But He should also be called “The Mighty God”, and furthermore He was to be called “The Everlasting Father.” I do not know whether you ever thought about it before, or noticed it, but here in the Old Testament, when it is being foretold that the God of heaven would come upon the earth, in the same sentence He is called Son and Father, “a Son shall be given us” who “shall be called the Everlasting Father.” That Son was the Lord Jesus Christ, and He was called by Isaiah “the Everlasting Father.” What could more clearly indicate that there is one Person in God, and that the Everlasting Father is the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ? Therefore, we find this great harmony between the Old and the New Testaments, for in each the one Person who is God is called both Son and Father.
The Trinity in God
There is not the least shadow of a doubt that there is a trinity in God. That is not the point. The point is: Is God a trinity of Persons, or is God one Person in whom dwelleth a trinity of attributes? The New Church believes that He is not a trinity of persons. A belief in a trinity of persons must lead inevitably, although perhaps not explicitly, to a belief in three separate Divine Beings, which amounts to a belief in three Gods, because to each Person in the Trinity is assigned a different office or function to perform, as that the Father is the Creator, the Son is the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit is the Sanctifier. The New Church believes in a trinity, but it believes that it is a trinity of functions that cluster about one Personality who is the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is impossible to maintain the trinity of persons from Scripture. In the first place, there is no mention of a trinity of three persons. The Father is mentioned, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but they are never called separate persons. They represent real relationships. If we were inclined to specious reasonings, we might even note that every man has many aspects. For example: to my father I was a son, to my son I am father. Thus I am both father and son according to the relationship in which I find myself, but I am never two persons. In respect to the Divine from eternity, the Divine born in time as Jesus was certainly its Son, but not a separate person, because the Divine dwelt in Him and was His soul; thus it is easy to see the Oneness of God when we think of Christ’s soul as the Father, His body as the Son, and His influence among men as the Holy Spirit, but how can one who believes in three Divine persons explain such passages as “I and My Father are one”, (John 10:30) “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father”, (John 14:9) “Before Abraham was, I am”, (John 8:58) “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me.” (John 14:11) A true religion will be able to understand and explain all of these passages.
In the first part of this chapter, I have endeavored to show that if Philip had really seen the Lord, he would have seen the Father in the Divine and mighty acts which the Lord did. I then endeavored to show that in the Old Testament there is a solidarity of teaching to the effect that there is one God in one Person, and that when His advent into the world was foretold by Isaiah he leaves no shadow of a doubt but that the Son and the Father were one in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Soul, Body, and Activity in Man
There is still another approach to the understanding of the Trinity. God created man in His own image and likeness. (Genesis 1:26,27) If, then, there is a trinity in God there is a trinity in man. This we find to be the fact. For in man we discover the trinity of soul, body, and use; the finite image and likeness of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let us look at this trinity in man. What is it that is the architect of the child that is growing in the womb of the mother? Our Writings say that it is the invisible soul given by the father, which, after it has produced conception, orders the destiny of the multiplying cells, giving to some the office of neural canal, to some the formation of a primitive heart, causing some to form bones, and others skin. The soul of man directs all this. Thus the soul builds for itself a body, a palace to dwell in, a temple into every minutest part of which it is able to enter.
The soul is always on a higher plane than the body. It can never be seen by the natural eye any more than the Lord could show Philip’s natural eye the Father. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him.” (John 1:18) Dissect the body as cleverly as you can, you will never find the soul; weigh the body immediately before and after death, you cannot find the weight of the soul; yet the soul is there and we may know of it by the work that it does in the body. The soul in each one of us, invisible though it be, governs all of our organs, all of those things that go on unconsciously – the beating of the heart, the respiration, the digestion of our food, the circulation of our blood, the thousands of muscular contractions that are necessary to perform any movement – all of these are ruled by the soul, the invisible soul of man.
The Writings tell us that this invisible soul is to the trinity in man, what the Father is to the trinity in the Lord. The infinite Divine Father is invisible in His universe. Only by taking on a body from Mary did He become visible on earth. So we say the Lord Jesus Christ reveals the Divine, just as we say our body reveals our soul.
The Divine Embodiment
When Gabriel appeared to Mary and said, “Blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:28) and told her that she was to become the mother of the Messiah, Mary was the first to doubt the virgin birth. She said, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Luke 1:34) Gabriel answered, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
The Divine flowed into Mary without any finite, limiting, separating vessel so that the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ, which caused the growth of His body, just as our soul has caused the growth of our body – that soul of His was Father to His body in that relationship, just as truly as our soul has been father to our body. But our soul has been cut off from the human father from whom we sprung, whereas the Divine Substance is continuous and cannot be separated. The Lord’s soul, therefore, flowed in and was never cut off from the Divine Soul which still governed the universe. That Divine – Jehovah from eternity – was always present as the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ. So the Father always dwelt in Him, and the Son more and more manifested the Father, so that at the end of His life in this world He could say to Philip, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.”
The Lord said, “No man hath seen God at any time.” The Father, the Infinite Divine within all nature, is above man’s poor power to comprehend. “No man hath seen God at any time.” The God that Abraham spoke with was an angel filled with the spirit of Jehovah. The God that Gideon saw, and the God that called to and spoke with Moses was also an angel filled with God’s spirit. “No man,” the Lord said, “hath seen God at any time.” The “Only Begotten”, because when the Lord came down into the world through the instrumentality of the Virgin Mary, that was the only vessel that had been prepared to receive the Divine, and to manifest the Divine on earth. “The Only Begotten Son hath declared Him.” That is, the Babe, the Lord Jesus Christ alone has declared the Father and through His many deeds and words manifested Him in this world.
When we first meet somebody, and see only his body, we see little of the real person. But as we get to know him and live with him and see how he reacts to sorrow and in the presence of joy; and how he meets adversity and how the various vicissitudes of life affect him, more and more we forget the body, and more and more we see the soul through the body, so at length we can say to our friends and quite truly: “You have never seen my soul, but all of my soul that you ever will see you will observe in the actions of my body.” We can never see the soul of anyone apart from the character manifested by the deeds of his body. Think of a man like Lincoln, for example. If we knew nothing of his character and his life, and we saw a picture of him we might say, “What an ugly man!” But when you and I look at a picture of Lincoln we do not say that because we know the soul of the man through his deeds and these we see shining through the features of his face. His mighty spirit irradiates his body.
The Holy Spirit
What about the Holy Spirit, which has also been called a separate person? It is truly difficult to understand how men could have thought of that as a separate person! After the Lord had risen from the dead, He appeared unto ten of His disciples and said, “Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21,22) His breath, His Divine majestic magnetism which has swept down through the ages, and has made men change their lives because of His teachings. He breathed on them and so He gave them His spirit, which, because He was holy, was the Holy Spirit.
The Trinity in Man
What about the trinity in man? What is there in him that corresponds to this breath of the Lord? It is what we do; it is the use we perform; it is our influence among the people with whom we live, our effect on other men; it is the spirit that goes forth from each one of us. We can often see the effect of man’s spirit when we contemplate the lives of the great men of the earth.
The story of Napoleon comes to mind. He had been exiled to the Island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea. After a hundred days he conspired to come back to France and land in the southern portion with a handful of men. Louis XVIII sent an army to capture him. When this army met Napoleon he stepped out before it and said, “Capture me, or fall in behind me.” So great was his magnetic personality that they fell in behind him. This happened four times on his way north to Paris and by the time that he got there all of Louis’ soldiers were Napoleon’s. Such was the spirit that went forth from that man!
We are in the image and likeness of God. As He has the Father within Him, so we have our soul. As He had the body from Mary to manifest that Father, so we have our bodies by which we show to the world the quality of our character. And as the Lord’s presence with us is called the Holy Spirit, because it is His spirit, so we, by our spirit, exert an influence among the men with whom we live.
A Trinity in Nature
But we can see the Trinity in an even simpler way than this. Because the Lord is the Creator of all, He has left an image of Himself in all things of creation. There is nothing that exists that does not have an invisible soul, a visible body, and a use. Take for example a watch: the invisible soul is the idea of it in the mind of its inventor. Its body is the materials that have embodied the inventor’s idea. Its use is indicating time. As long as someone’s idea is not embodied it remains invisible. We cannot see it. But when it is worked out and given a body, we can say of it, “Now I see what its inventor had in mind.”
The Father, like the idea, is invisible, but if you have really seen the Son you have seen the Father, just as when you have seen the finished object you have seen the idea which was in the mind of its inventor. The Lord came on earth that men might see Him, and through Him see the Divine Spirit that moves the universe, and having seen Him, that they might be inspired to receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit or inspiration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thus, if Philip had really seen the Lord, he would have seen the Father also. Had the Jews understood the Old Testament, they would have seen the Father, their God, in the Lord Jesus Christ. If we understand the trinity of soul, body, and use in ourselves we will understand the Trinity in God, and we will come to see that there is not a created thing in the universe which does not declare the trinity of an invisible idea, a material body, and a continuing use. The all pervading likeness of the Creator can be seen everywhere, by those who have eyes to see.
Chapter 3: Solving Some Perplexities Concerning the Trinity
In our last chapter we endeavored to show that there is one God in one person who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and that the testimony of the Old Testament, the testimony of the New Testament, and the testimony of reason all join together to establish the fact of the oneness of God, and the fact that that one God is in one Person who is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now and then there occur certain passages of Scripture which seem to indicate the existence of more than one person in the Trinity, passages which have perplexed the minds of earnest seekers after the truth.
First let us consider the passage which describes the Lord’s baptism in the River Jordan. We read in Matthew: “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him … And Jesus when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Him: and lo, a voice from heaven saying, `This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.” (3:13,16,17)
Some have read into this description a trinity of persons,, whereas all that is actually mentioned is a trinity of a Son, a dove, and a voice. We should not understand from this a trinity of a Son, a Holy Spirit, and God the Father speaking out of heaven and saying that He was pleased with His Son. If it had been the intention of the Gospel to teach us that there are three Divine persons in the Godhead, it would have been easy to have written that, as Jesus came up out of the water, the person of the Holy Spirit was seen descending upon Him, and that God the Father spoke from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; John 1:32) But the facts of the case are that there was only one person seen, and that was the person of the Son; the Spirit was not a dove, but was seen descending “like a dove”; and a voice was heard out of heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son.” In order to understand this we must have some comprehension of what was taking place with the Lord, and the manner of His incarnation, that is, His coming down to dwell among men in the flesh, and how that incarnation led to His glorification.
The Doctrine of the Incarnation and Glorification
At birth the Lord had a soul which was continuous with the Divine. He had a body which was purely material, which He had assumed from the Virgin Mary, so that the Christ-Child that the shepherds adored on Christmas night had a human body and a Divine soul. He was the Son of Mary as to His body, but was also the Son of God because He had a Divine soul which was continuous with the Father, that is, with the Infinite God of the universe. It is true that the God of heaven and earth was just as present in Bethlehem the night before He was manifest to the shepherds as He was the night that He became manifest. But before Christmas night His presence was invisible. However, when He was born in Bethlehem He took on a body visible in this world which should more and more clearly reveal the Divine soul within it.
The babe, Jesus, gradually grew up, and as He matured the process of glorification was taking place. Therefore, the Lord said in prayer to the Father, “Glorify Thou Me with Thine ownself with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)
Every man was created into the image of God, and man is human because God is Divinely human; and God was Divinely human before any man was ever created. In the process of His glorification the Lord gradually, little by little, put off the human which He had taken purely from His mother Mary, and in its place put on the Divine Human which He had with the Father. This was the Divine Human quality into whose image and likeness man was originally created.
Let me illustrate this principle with sight. When the Lord was born in Bethlehem as a babe, He could see only as far as His natural sight extended. This human sight He derived from His mother Mary. But as the Lord was glorified He put off the limited sight from Mary, and in its place He put on unlimited sight from the Father, that is, omniscience, the ability to see everywhere. To give an example of what I mean: On the occasion when He sat at the table of Simon the Pharisee and a woman came in and anointed His head with precious ointment and washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head, the Lord saw not merely Simon, but He saw into Simon’s heart as well, and disclosed what Simon had said within himself: “This man if He were a prophet would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touched Him for she is a sinner.” (Luke 7:39) By reading Simon’s thoughts the Lord showed that He had put off the human limited sight from Mary, and had put on the Divine Human sight from the Father.
The teaching about our Lord’s glorification is profound, but it can be comprehended rationally. Permit me to recall for you Samuel Noble’s comparison: Suppose that a linen handkerchief represents the natural body that the Lord took on from Mary. If we pull out a thread of linen, and in its place weave in a thread of gold, and if we do this for every thread of the warp, and then for every thread of the woof, in the end we will have a handkerchief that is the same shape, and the same size as the original, but it is all transformed into gold. The point of the illustration is this: The Lord came into the world primarily to give us an image of God that we can know, see, worship, and love; and, if, when He departed out of the world He had left no image of Himself, the work of the incarnation would have been in vain. But He did leave such an image because, although He gradually glorified the body taken from Mary, and put off everything human and finite from her, nevertheless, He has given to our minds the picture of His earthly personality, in that although He is now glorified, we can still see Him as the Lord Jesus Christ.
This process of glorification with Him was gradual. It did not happen suddenly. When He was twelve years of age, He began to realize that the temple was His Father’s house. He be came conscious that He was not Joseph’s son. He therefore said to Mary and Joseph, when they found Him in the temple, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) He was beginning to perceive that God’s temple was His Father’s temple, and that the worship o£ God was His Father’s business, and so from those words we know that there was commencing to come into His consciousness the idea of His Messiahship. But this realization took place gradually in Him.
At the time that He was baptized in the River Jordan He was thirty years of age. In the letter of the Word we have no hint except for His appearance in the temple at twelve years of age as to the states which He passed through, but in Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia – where the spiritual sense of the Word is given – we have many, many details as to the progressive states that He underwent as He gradually glorified the human taken from Mary by putting it off and replacing it with the Divine Human from the Father.
The Voice and the Dove
At His baptism, which took place at the beginning of His public ministry, there is recorded a further revelation to His own consciousness of the meaning of His Messianic mission. The voice from heaven which said, “Thou art My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”, was the voice of the Divine soul within Him, giving Him a clearer perception as to His calling. It was not the voice of a second person sounding from heaven. For that matter, we know that heaven is not up in the clouds, but heaven is the perception of good ends, the perception of the real purpose of life. “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
As to the dove, surely we cannot think that the Holy Spirit is a dove, even if Luke states that it “descended in bodily appearance like a dove.” What could it be but a symbol, a representative appearance? Now, if we study a dove, as it is used in the Word of God, we will understand its true meaning. When Noah sent out a dove to make sure that the earth was dry, it first came back empty; it then brought back an olive leaf and finally it went forth and returned no more. Here the dove is the symbol of the truth of faith from good. We further learn that the dove is a bird which is peculiar for its monogamic mating instincts, and because of that has become a symbol of conjugial love; and in the deeper sense the dove is a symbol of the marriage of good and truth, which is the very fruit of regeneration, for when man tries to do the things he knows how to do, and turns the knowledge he has into the deeds of life, then good and truth with him are married, that is, the “desire” is wedded to the “know-how.” The end product is a state of regeneration. The dove which descended upon the Lord represented the communication between the Divine soul and the body which was being glorified – a communication which, as He progressed toward glorification, would end in a complete oneness; for, after the resurrection on Easter morning, we no longer find any mention of the Father and the Son, but He is always as Thomas expressed it, “My Lord and My God.” (John 20:28)
Let me leave one thought for you to ponder before turning from the scene of the baptism. If we dwell on the letter only, there is mention made of one person only, for a dove can hardly be thought to be another person, and certainly a voice cannot. In close connection with this, in the fourth chapter of the book of Revelation, the same type of symbolism is used. John said that in his vision he saw the Lord sitting upon a throne. Before Him he saw seven golden candlesticks. Those seven golden candlesticks were said to be the spirit of the churches, the Holy Spirit. If we are inclined to take things literally, we cannot be satisfied with having one spirit, but now we have seven Holy Spirits. If we go on to the fifth chapter, again we have God upon the throne, and we have the Lamb mentioned; and the Lamb that had been slain and was alive again very obviously refers to the Lord’s life in this world. In order scrupulously to avoid any appearance of two persons, the symbolism, the innocence of the Lamb, is used so that there can be no shadow of a doubt but that there is only one person, the person sitting on the throne. And the chapter says that the Lamb that was before the throne, and which represents the Lord dwelling in this world, – this Lamb had seven eyes, and the seven eyes again were the spirit, the Holy Spirit, that went out through the church. Are there seven spirits? Is the Lord a Lamb? Of course the Lord is not a Lamb, but the Lamb represents the innocence of the Lord, the innocence by means of which He takes away the sins of the world, by bringing people into a state of innocence similar to the innocence which He Himself had.
The Witness of the Father
Another passage that presents some difficulty is one which occurs in one of the Lord’s discourses. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto Him, Thou bearest record of Thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of Myself, My record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, My judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent Me. It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me. Then said they unto Him, Where is Thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know Me nor My Father: if ye had known Me ye should have known My Father also.” (John 8:12-19)
It has been argued that the Lord spoke of two persons when He said, “It is written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true,” and added, “I am one that bear witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me He beareth witness of Me.” But let us look at the language itself. If this is rightly understood, it not only testifies that the Lord and the Father are not two persons, but it testifies to their complete and perfect oneness. “I am not alone” – “I and My Father that sent Me.” The Divine Soul within Him and the body that manifested Him were inseparably one, and consequently, wherever He was, the Father that sent Him was also present. Note that this is often misquoted as if it had meant, “I am one that bear witness of Myself, and the Father is another that beareth witness of Me.” But there is no such word as “another” in the text. The text reads, “I am one that beareth witness of Myself, and the Father that sent Me beareth witness of Me.”
A falsity can usually be reduced to an absurdity. Suppose you apply the Mosaic law literally to the passage, with the idea that the Lord was using this means to prove to the Jews that He and the Father were two persons, and consequently, being two persons, they could bear a true witness. What would this imply? Would you not have to interpret it in one of two ways? Either the testimony of two men establishes the truth, or the testimony of two gods; either the Lord and the Father are two finite men that bear witness, or they are two Gods that bear witness; because otherwise you do not have the two men, in the mouths of whom an act is to be established. ‘I am one man, and My Father is another man’, or `I am one God and My Father is another God’. Both of these ideas are repugnant to our thought.
The Jews believed that the Lord was quite a different person than God. They did not believe that they were one person. Jesus had to convince them that the Father was in Him, and He was in the Father, and so He went on to say, “Ye neither know Me, nor My Father”, and they said, “Where is Thy Father?” And Jesus replied, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.” These words are an exact parallel to the words He spoke to Philip – His own disciple – and to the Lord’s answer to this wondering disciple. But the Jews were trying to corner Him, trying to prove that He was not the light of the world, that He had no right to say that He was the light of the world, and no right to claim any Messiahship; so that when they said, “Where is Thy Father?” – it was asked from malice and skepticism. When Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father”, it was asked from love and from a real desire to be instructed; and yet the Lord’s answer to the two questions was so very similar. To Philip He said, “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father”; and to the Jews He said, “If ye had known Me, ye should have known My Father also.”
Two Spiritual Witnesses
To the New Church person it is revealed that the whole of the Word is written to inspire man in his spiritual journey. It is not written for the purpose of teaching scientific facts, or merely as a guide for his life in this world. It is written to teach him about the world of spiritual life. So let us see what the subject of two witnesses yields when we take up Deuteronomy, the seventeenth chapter, where it says, “At the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death.” (v. 6) It does not take very much imagination to understand that as soon as you interpret the Hebrew law in a broader way than the letter you come to see spiritual values which apply to Christians, but which were never recognized by the Jews. For example: we do not enforce the rite of circumcision, but we do plead for purification of the heart, (Jer. 9:25) the reformation of baptism which it represented. All of the Jewish laws are part of the Word of God and contain a spiritual sense that relates to man’s regeneration in every age and nation.
The beautiful words of the Lord, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20) means that where a man has truths and goods wedded in his mind this makes possible the Lord’s presence with him. The two witnesses are the will and the understanding, which, if they are united in falsity and evil, condemn a man to hell, but if they are united in good and truth invite the presence of the Lord.
Returning to the text under consideration: the Lord says that He is one witness, and the Father is the other witness. This fits the parallel exactly. The Father is the Divine Love or Will, and the Son who manifested Him in this world is the Divine Wisdom, the Word which became flesh and dwelt among us, and makes the Divine Love visible. When the Lord said that He was the light of the world, and said that He was not alone, but was one that bore witness, and the Father bore witness of Him, the spiritual meaning is that the Divine Wisdom, of which He, as the Word made flesh, was the embodiment and the Divine Love dwelling within Him both bore witness and testified to the fact that He was the light of the world.
If the Jews had really known Him, they would have known the Father also, just as, if Philip had really seen the Lord, he too would have seen the Father, because the Father was present in Divine power and majesty in all the deeds which the Lord did: the feeding of the five thousand, the giving of sight to the blind, and the like. All of these acts were done through the power of His divine soul. Therefore, if we rightly understand this passage it not only does not teach that there are two persons in God, but it shows the unity between the Divine Soul and the Son who was born to manifest that Soul, and who, through glorification was ever progressing toward unity with that Soul.
But what is meant by the Hebrew law that no one should be condemned except from the mouth of two or three witnesses? This is very interesting and very important. We cannot imagine that when a man, shortly after death, is to be judged either to heaven or to hell, the Lord would have to call witnesses from among the angels who have known that person, and ‘that if two or more be found that agree together, he would be condemned. Rather does the Lord judge each man from the man’s own book of life – the book of life that is written on man’s internal memory. That book of life is composed of the affections of his will, which is one witness, and of the things inscribed on his understanding, which is the other witness. The two witnesses that go with man into the spiritual world are thus thoughts of his understanding, and the deeds of his will. No man is condemned to hell either from the will alone, or from the understanding alone. A man, through no fault of his own, may be brought up in many falsities for which he is not responsible. His understanding may need a great deal of instruction after he comes into the spiritual world, but if he has lived according to the conscience that he has, he will be taught the truth after death, and his understanding will be reformed and brought into a true marriage with his good will; so that the witness of man’s understanding alone, without witness of the will, would never condemn him to hell. Similarly we are taught that all who die as infants go to heaven, although no one has a regenerate will until it has been slowly and gradually formed by shunning evils as sins against God. No one is sent to hell unless intelligently, knowingly, he gave the consent of his understanding to the evil desire of his will. Only when the witnesses confirm each other, or when the will and the understanding are mated in the evil deed from set purpose, is he condemned. For then there are two witnesses to condemn him.
The Lord on the Cross
Another passage that has given some difficulty, when it was not rightly understood, concerns the Lord’s outcry on the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama, sabachthani? that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) Some have supposed that because He cried out to God that this is evidence that God was somewhere else, and that the God to whom He cried was another person, supposedly the Father. But isn’t it strange that if there really were a trinity of persons that He did not call from the cross, “My Father, My Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”
Orthodox Christianity believes that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. When He cried out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” – did He then cry out to the God who was the Father, the God who was the Holy Spirit, or the God who He Himself was? Christianity is based firmly on the belief that Christ was God; why, then, should we suppose that He cried out to any other Divinity beside the Divinity that was within Himself? Since He is God, is it not most natural to suppose that He felt in the torture of the cross that His Divine Soul was slipping from Him? It seems most logical that, if the Father had been a Being apart from the Son, and He was appealing to the Father for help, crying in lamentation that He had been abandoned, He would have said, “My Father, My Father, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” But he did not. Comparison with human experience will show us why.
Each one of us has his ideals, and we all know that from time to time we fall short of living up to our ideals. Sometimes we do things that are contrary to our ideals, and looking back and reflecting on those deeds we wonder why we abandoned our ideals. David voices the same sentiment in the psalm, when he says, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me?” (Ps. 42:5) David was not talking to some one else; he was talking to his better self, to his higher nature, to the things that he really believed and strove for, for these things seemed to have deserted him.
So with the Lord on the cross. He had no evils to regret, but this was the last and final temptation by which He completely purified the body taken from Mary, and hence, there was, as it were, a last cry of despair of the human body from Mary which was now being put off by the Divine and seemed to be separated from it. It was not a prayer to a third person to intercede, nor a despairing cry to a third person because He had abandoned Him. This whole episode is another instance of how a knowledge that the Father was the Divine Soul within our Lord makes clear what might otherwise be construed as an evidence of more than one person in God. If we once gain the concept that the Divine was ever working in and through the human, these passages yield more and more light.
In this chapter I have endeavored to point out how the voice, the dove, and the Son at the baptism can be regarded as a foreshadowing of the process of the glorification, preparatory to the Lord’s entrance into His public ministry. I have shown how the two witnesses, when rightly understood, represent the witness of the soul within, or the Divine good as manifested in the Divine wisdom, which was the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, the two witnesses being love and wisdom, or good and truth. Lastly, I explained that when the Lord cried out on the cross, He did not cry out to the Father, but to the God within Himself, which, during this last and most grievous of all His temptations seemed to have forsaken Him.
-from Rev. K.R. Alden, The City of God (Bryn Athyn, PA: The General Church Publication Committee, 1961)
“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose son is he?…” Matt. 22:41-42
The question that our Lord Jesus puts here to the Pharisees is the most fundamental question concerning Christian thought and faith that can be put to anybody in any age. Jesus Christ Himself is the center of Christianity, so the most fundamental questions of faith are those that concern the Person of Christ. If a man really holds to right views concerning the Person of Jesus Christ, he will sooner or later get right views on every other question. If he holds a wrong view concerning the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is pretty sure to go wrong on everything else sooner or later. “What think ye of Christ?” That is the great central question; that is the vital question.
And the most fundamental question concerning the Person of Christ is — is Jesus Christ really God? Not merely, is He Divine, but, is He actually God? When I was a boy, to say you believed in the Divinity of Christ meant that you believed in the real Deity of Christ, that you believed that Jesus was actually a Divine Person, that He was God. It no longer means that. The Devil is wise, shrewd, and subtle, and he knows that the most effectual way to instill error into the minds of the inexpert and unwary is to use old and precious words and put a new meaning into them. So when his messengers masquerading as “ministers of righteousness” seek to lead, if possible, the elect astray, they use the old precious words, but with an entirely new and entirely different and entirely false meaning. They talk about the Divinity of Christ, but they do not mean at all what intelligent Christians in former days meant by it. Likewise, they talk of the atonement, but they do not mean at all the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ in our place by which eternal life is secured for us. And oftentimes when they talk about Christ, they do not mean at all our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the actual historic Jesus of the four gospels; they mean an ideal Christ, or a Christ principle.
So our subject is not the Divinity of Christ, but the Deity of Christ; and our question is not, is Jesus Christ Divine, but rather, is Jesus Christ God? Was that Person Who was born in Bethlehem nineteen hundred and twenty-one years ago, and Who lived thirty-three or thirty-four years here upon earth as recorded in the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Who was crucified on Calvary’s cross, Who rose from the dead the third day, and was exalted from earth to heaven to the right hand of the Father — was He God manifest in the flesh, was He God embodied in a human being? Was He, and is He, a Being worthy of our absolute faith and supreme love and our unhesitating obedience and our wholehearted worship, just as God the Father is worthy of our absolute faith and supreme love and unhesitating obedience and our wholehearted worship? Should all men honour Jesus Christ even as they honour God the Father (John 5:23). Not merely is He an example that we can wisely follow, or a Master whom we can wisely serve, but is He a God Whom we can rightly worship? I presume that most of us do believe that He was God manifest in the flesh and that He is God today at the right hand of the Father, but why do you believe so? Are you so intelligent in your faith, and therefore, so well-grounded in your faith that no glib talker or reasoner, no Unitarian or Russellite (JW) or Christian Scientist or Theosophist, or other errorist can confuse you and upset you and lead you astray?
It is important that we be thoroughly sound in our faith at this point and thoroughly well-informed, wherever else we may be in ignorance or error, for we are distinctly told in John 20:31 that “these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” It is evident from these words of the inspired apostle John that this question is not merely a matter of theoretical opinion, but that it is a matter that concerns our salvation. It is to confirm and instruct you in your blessed faith, your saving faith in Jesus Christ as a Divine Person.
When I studied the subject of the Divinity of Christ in the theological seminary, I got the impression that there were a few texts in the Bible that conclusively proved that He was Divine. Years later I found that there were not merely a few proof texts that proved this, but that the Bible in many ways and in countless passages clearly taught that Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh. Indeed, I found that the Doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ formed the very warp and woof of the Bible.
The first line of proof of the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus is that many names and titles clearly implying Deity are used of Jesus Christ in the Bible, some of them over and over again, the total number of passages reaching far into the hundreds. Of course, I can only give you a few illustrations at this time. Turn with me first of all to Revelation 1:17, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.” The text shows clearly that our Lord Jesus was the speaker, and here our Lord Jesus distinctly calls Himself “The First and the Last.” Now this, beyond a question, is a Divine name, for in Isaiah 44:6 we read, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” In Revelation 22:12,13, our Lord Jesus says that He is the Alpha and Omega. His words are, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Now in this same book in the first chapter and the eighth verse the Lord God declared that He is the Alpha and the Omega. His words are, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” In I Corinthians 2:8, the apostle Paul speaks of our crucified Lord Jesus as “The Lord of glory.” His exact words are, “Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” There can be no question that “The Lord of glory” is Jehovah God, for we read in Psalm 24:8-10, “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.” And we are told in the passage already referred to that our crucified Lord Jesus was the King of glory; therefore, He must be Jehovah.
In John 20:28 Thomas addressed the Lord Jesus as his Lord and his God: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” Unitarians have endeavored to get around the force of this utterance made by Thomas by saying that Thomas was excited and that he was not addressing the Lord Jesus, but was saying “my Lord and my God” as an ejaculation of astonishment, just the way that profane people sometimes use these exclamations today. But this interpretation is impossible and shows to what desperate straits the Unitarians are driven, for Jesus Himself commended Thomas for seeing it and saying it. Our Lord Jesus’ words immediately following those of Thomas are, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
In Titus 2:13 our Lord Jesus is spoken of as our “great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” In Romans 9:5 Paul tells us that “Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever.” The Unitarians have made desperate efforts to overcome the force of these words, but the only fair translation and interpretation of these words are found in our Authorized Version. There can be no honest doubt to one who goes to the Bible to find out what it actually teaches, and not to read his own thought into it, that Jesus is spoken of by various names and titles that beyond a question imply deity, and that He in so many words is called God. In Hebrews 1:8 it is said in so many words, of the Son, “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” If we should go no further it is evidently the clear and often repeated teaching of the Bible that Jesus is really God.
But there is a second line of proof that Jesus Christ is God, a proof equally convincing, and that is, all the five distinctively Divine attributes are ascribed to Jesus Christ, and “all the fulness of the Godhead” is said to dwell in Him. There are five distinctively Divine attributes, that is, five attributes that God alone possesses. These are Omnipotence, Omniscience, Omnipresence, Eternity and Immutability. Each one of these distinctively Divine attributes are ascribed to Jesus Christ.
First of all, omnipotence is ascribed to Jesus Christ. Not only are we taught that Jesus had power over diseases and death and winds and sea and demons, that they were all subject to His word, and that He is far above all principality and power and might and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world to come (Eph. 1:20-23), but in Hebrews 1:3 it is said in so many words that He “[upholdeth] all things by the word of his power.”
Omniscience is also ascribed to Him. We are taught in the Bible that Jesus knew men’s lives, even their secret history (John 4:16-19), that He knew the secret thoughts of men, knew all men, knew what was in man (Mark 2:8; Luke 5:22; John 2:24,25), which knowledge we are distinctly told in 2 Chronicles 6:30 and Jeremiah 17:9-10, that God alone possesses. We are told in so many words in John 16:30 that Jesus knew “all things,” and in Colossians 2:3 we find that in Him “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Omnipresence is also ascribed to Him. We are told in Matthew 18:20 that where two or three are gathered together in His Name, that He is in the midst of them, and in Matthew 28:20 that wherever His obedient disciples should go, He would be with them, even unto the end of the age, and in John 14:20 and 2 Corinthians 13:5 we are told that He dwells in each believer, in all the millions of believers scattered over the earth. In Ephesians 1:23 we are told that He “filleth all in all.”
Eternity is also ascribed to Him. We are told in John 1:1 that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” In John 8:58 Jesus Himself said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Note that the Lord Jesus did not merely say that “before Abraham was I was,” but that “before Abraham was, I AM,” thus declaring Himself to be the eternal “I AM.” Even in the Old Testament we have a declaration of the eternity of the Christ who was to be born in Bethlehem. In Micah 5:2 we read, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” And in Isaiah 9:6 we are told of the child that is to be born, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” And in Hebrews 13:8 we are told, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”
His immutability is also taught in the passage just quoted from Hebrews, and in the first chapter of the same book, in verses eleven and twelve, we find that while even the heavens change, the Lord Jesus does not change. The exact words are, “They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as cloth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”
Each one of the five distinctively Divine attributes were ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ. And in Colossians 2:9 we are told in so many words, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily [in a bodily form].” Here again we might rest our case, for what has been said under this heading, even if taken alone, clearly proves the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It shows that He possesses every perfection of nature and character that God the Father possesses.
But we do not need to rest the case here. There is a third unanswerable line of proof that Jesus Christ is God, namely, all the distinctively Divine offices are predicated of Jesus Christ. There are seven distinctively Divine offices. That is to say, there are seven things that God alone can do, and each one of these seven distinctively Divine offices is ascribed to Jesus Christ. The seven distinctively Divine offices are: Creation, Preservation, Forgiveness of Sin, the Raising of the Dead, the Transformation of Bodies, Judgment and the Bestowal of Eternal Life, and each of these is ascribed to Jesus Christ.
Creation is ascribed to Him. In Hebrews 1:10 these words are spoken of our Lord: “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands.” The context clearly shows that the Lord addressed is the Lord Jesus. In John 1:3 we are told that “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Preservation of the universe and of everything is also ascribed to Him in Hebrews 1:3 where it is said of the Lord Jesus, “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person [God’s], and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
The forgiveness of sin is ascribed to Him. He Himself says in Mark 2:5-10 when His power to forgive sins was questioned, because that was recognized as a Divine power, “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins.”
The future raising of the dead is distinctly ascribed to him in John 6:39,44, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The transformation of our bodies is ascribed to Him in Philippians 3:21. In 2 Timothy 4:1 judgment is ascribed to Him. We are told that He shall “judge the quick and the dead.” Jesus Himself declared that He would be the judge of all mankind and emphasized the fact of the Divine character of that office. In John 5:22,23 He said, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.” The bestowal of eternal life is ascribed to Him time and time again. In John 10:28 He Himself says, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” and in John 17:1,2, He says, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” Here then, we have the seven distinctively Divine offices all predicated of Jesus Christ. This alone would prove that He is God, and we might rest the case here, but there are still other proofs of His absolute Deity.
Statements Which in the Old Testament Are Made Distinctly of Jehovah, God, Taken in the New Testament to Refer to the Lord Jesus Christ
The fourth line of proof of the absolute Deity of Jesus Christ is found in the fact that over and over again statements which in the Old Testament are made distinctly of Jehovah, God, are taken in the New Testament to refer to Jesus Christ. We have not time to illustrate this at length, but will give but one illustration where many might be given. In Jeremiah 11:20 the prophet says, “But, O LORD of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them: for unto thee have I revealed my cause.” Here the prophet distinctly says that it is Jehovah of Hosts Who judgest and triest the reins and the heart. And in the 17th chapter and the tenth verse Jeremiah represents Jehovah Himself as saying the same thing in these words, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” But in the New Testament in Revelation 2:23 the Lord Jesus says, “…I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” We are distinctly told in the context that it is “The Son of God” who is speaking here. So Jesus claims for Himself in the New Testament what the Lord in the Old Testament says is true of Himself and of Himself alone. In very many other instances, statements which in the Old Testament are made distinctly of God the Father, are taken to refer to Jesus Christ. That is to say, in New Testament thought and doctrine, Jesus Christ occupies the place that God the Father occupies in Old Testament thought and doctrine.
The Way the Name of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son Are Coupled Together
The fifth line of proof of the absolute Deity of our Lord is found in the way in which the name of Jesus Christ is coupled with that of God the Father. In numerous passages His name is coupled with the name of God the Father in a way in which it would be impossible to couple the name of any finite being with that of the Deity. We have time for but a few of the many illustrations that might be given. A striking instance is in the words of our Lord Himself in John 14:23 where we read, “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” Here our Lord Jesus does not hesitate to couple Himself with the Father in such a way as to say “We,” that is, God the Father and I, will come and make our abode with him. In John 14:1 He said, ‘Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” If Jesus Christ was not God, this is shocking blasphemy. There is absolutely no middle ground between admitting the Deity of Jesus Christ and charging Christ with the most daring and appalling blasphemy of which any man was ever guilty.
Divine Worship to be Given to Jesus Christ
There is a sixth line of proof of the absolute Deity of our Lord Jesus. Those already given have been decisive, each one of the five have been decisive, but this, if possible, is the most decisive of them all, and that is that we are taught in so many words that Jesus Christ should be worshipped as God, both by angels and men. In numerous places in the gospels we see Jesus Christ accepting without hesitation a worship which good men and angels declined with fear and which He Himself taught should be rendered only to God (Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:52; Matt.14:33; Acts 10:25,26; Rev. 22:8,9; Matt. 4:9,10). A curious and very misleading comment is made in the margin of the American Standard Revision upon the meaning of the word translated “worship” in these passages, and that is that “the Greek word translated worship denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a ‘creature’ or to the ‘Creator.”‘
Now this is true, but it is utterly misleading; for while this word is used to denote “an act of reverence paid to a creature” by idolaters, our Lord Jesus Himself distinctly says, using exactly the same Greek word, “thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve,” and on the other hand he says in John 5:23 that “all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the father.”
And in Revelation 5:8-13 the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders are represented as falling down before the Lamb and offering worship to Him just as worship is offered to Him that sitteth upon the throne, that is, God the Father. In Hebrews 1:6 we are told in so many words, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”
One night in the inquiry room in Chicago I stepped up to an intelligent looking man at the back of the room and said to him, “Are you a Christian?” He replied, “I do not suppose you would consider me a Christian.” I said, “Why not?” He said, “I am a Unitarian.” I said, “What you mean then is that you do not think that Jesus Christ is a person that should be worshipped.” He replied, “‘That is exactly what I think,” and added, “the Bible nowhere says we ought to worship Him.” I said, “Who told you that?” He replied, “My pastor,” mentioning a prominent Unitarian minister in the city of Boston. I said, “Let me show you something,” and I opened my Bible to Hebrews 1:6 and read, “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” And he said, “Does it say that?” I handed him the Bible and said, “Read it for yourself,” and he read it and said, “I did not know that was in the Bible.” I said, “Well it is there, isn’t it?” “Yes it is there.” Language could not make it plainer. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus, the Son of God, is to be worshipped as God by angels and men, even as God the Father is worshipped.
Incidental Proofs of the Deity of Jesus Christ
The six lines of proof of the Deity of Jesus Christ which I have given you leave no possibility of doubting that Jesus Christ is God, that Jesus of Nazareth is God manifest in a human person, that He is a being to be worshipped, even as God the Father is worshipped. But there are also incidental proofs of His absolute Deity which, if possible, are in some ways even more convincing than the direct assertions of His Deity.
1. Our Lord Jesus says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Now any one that makes a promise like that must either be God, or a lunatic, or an impostor. No one can give rest to all who labor and are heavy laden who come to him unless he is God, and yet Jesus Christ offers to do it. If He offers to do it and fails to do it when men come to Him, then He is either a lunatic or an impostor. If He actually does it, then beyond a question, He is God. And thousands can testify that He really does it. Thousands and tens of thousands who have labored and were heavy laden and crushed, and for whom there was no help in man, have come to Jesus Christ and He actually has given them rest. Surely then He is not merely a great man, but He is in fact God.
2. Again in John 14:1 Jesus Christ demands that we put the same faith in Him that we put in God the Father and promises that in such faith we will find a cure for all trouble and anxiety of heart. His words are, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” It is clear that He demands the same absolute faith to be put in Himself that is to be put in God Almighty. Now in Jeremiah 17:5, Scripture with which our Lord Jesus was perfectly familiar, we read “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man,” and yet with this clear curse pronounced upon all who trust in man, Jesus Christ demands that we put trust in Him just as we put trust in God. It is the strongest possible assertion of Deity on His part. No one but God has a right to make such a demand, and Jesus Christ, when He makes this demand, must either be God or an impostor; but thousands and tens of thousands have found that when they did believe in Him just as they believe in God, their hearts were delivered from trouble no matter what their bereavement or circumstances might be.
3. Again, the Lord Jesus demanded supreme and absolute love for Himself. It is clear as day that no one but God has a right to demand such a love, but there can be no question that Jesus did demand it. In Matthew 10:37 He said to His disciples, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me,” and in Luke 14:26,33, he says. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” There can be no question that this is a demand on Jesus’ part of supreme and absolute love to Himself, a love that puts even the dearest relations of life in an entirely secondary place. No one but God has a right to make any such demand, but our Lord Jesus made it, and therefore, He must be God.
4. In John 10:30 the Lord Jesus claimed absolute equality with the Father. He said, “I and my Father are one.”
5. In John 14:9 our Lord Jesus went so far as to say, “…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He claims here to be so absolutely God that to see Him is to see the Father Who dwelleth in Him.
6. In John 17:3 He says, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” In other words, He claims that the knowledge of Himself is as essential a part of eternal life as knowledge of God the Father.
There is no room left to doubt the absolute Deity of Jesus Christ. It is a glorious truth. The Saviour in Whom we believe is God, a Saviour for Whom nothing is too hard, a Saviour Who can save from the uttermost and save to the uttermost. Oh, how we should rejoice that we have no merely human Saviour, but a Saviour Who is absolutely God in all of His fulness and perfection.
On the other hand, how black is the guilt of rejecting such a Saviour as this! Whoever refuses to accept Jesus as his Divine Saviour and Lord is guilty of the enormous sin of rejecting a Saviour Who is God. Many a man thinks he is good because he never stole, or committed murder, or cheated. “Of what great sin am I guilty?” he complacently asks. Have you ever accepted Jesus Christ? “No.” Well, then, you are guilty of the awful and damning sin of rejecting a Saviour Who is God.
“But,” you answer, “‘I do not believe that He is God.” That does not change the fact nor lessen your guilt before God. Questioning a fact or denying a fact never changes it, regardless of what Mary Baker Eddy may say to the contrary.
Suppose a man had a wife who was one of the noblest, purest, truest women that ever lived, would her husband’s questioning her purity and nobility change the fact? It would not. It would simply make that husband guilty of awful slander; it would simply prove that man to be an outrageous scoundrel.
So, denying the Deity of Jesus Christ does not make His Deity any less a fact, but it does make the denier of His Deity guilty of awful, incredible blasphemous slander against the Lord God of Heaven. It also proves that you who deny His Deity to be ________________ . I leave your own conscience to finish the sentence thus begun.
Copied by Stephen Ross for WholesomeWords.org from The Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian Faith by R. A. Torrey. New York: George H. Doran, ©1918.
More Information on R. A. Torrey
Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772) was a Swedish philosopher and scientist who, at 56, had a spiritual awakening and wrote numerous books on his theological views and related topics. He advocated a version of Christianity where works count as much as faith, with the trinity existing in Jesus, instead of three separate entities. Swedenborg derived inspiration from dreams and visions, and claimed to be able to visit heaven and hell at will. His works were widely read after his death and highly regarded by poets, writers and mystics such as Blake, Baudelaire, Strindberg, Balzac, Yeats, Jung, and William James.
The following electronic texts have been converted automatically for sacred-texts by a volunteer. Swedenborg’s writings are indexed by paragraph number. Each of the texts have been arbitrarily separated into 50-paragraph files.
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1747-65] tr. by George Bush, John H. Smithson and James F. Buss [1883-9]
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1749-56] tr. by John F. Potts [1905-10]
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1757-9] tr. by John Whitehead 
Last Judgment Posthumous
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1757-9] tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
Last Judgment Continued
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
Heaven and Hell
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John C. Ager 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
Earths in the Universe
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by Samuel H. Worcester 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by Samuel H. Worcester 
Prophets and Psalms
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by J.E. Schreck 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1762-3] tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1762-3] tr. by John Whitehead 
Divine Love and Wisdom
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John C. Ager 
Doctrine of Faith
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John F. Potts 
Doctrine of Life
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John F. Potts 
Doctrine of Sacred Scriptures
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John F. Potts 
Doctrine of the Lord
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John F. Potts 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by William Frederic Wunsch 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg 
God the Savior
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
Interaction of the Soul and Body
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
True Christian Religion
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
Invitation to the New Church
by Emanuel Swedenborg,  tr. by John Whitehead 
The Gist of Swedenborg
by Julian K. Smyth and William F. Wunsch 
A little anthology of Swedenborg’s writings.
Emanuel Swedenborg was a religious teacher, Swedish scientist, mystic, philosopher, theologian, chemist, inventor and could speak eleven languages. His religious system was called Swedenborgianism and his writings were incorporated in the Church of the New Jerusalem which was founded about fifteen years after his death.
Emanuel Swedenborg was the son of a Lutheran minister who provided a very strict religious atmosphere with focus on the Bible in the upbringing of his son. Emanuel abandoned the traditional Christianity and rejected the theology of Trinitarian; the God in three person, as well as the belief Jesus alone embodied the Godhead.
He did not intend to establish a new religious sect. He believed the New Church would include members from all of the Christian churches. Emanuel Swedenborg completed thirty volumes of religious writings. It was through these writings that started a new religion. It was in 1810 that a society was founded to publish the Swedenborg words in the English language. There were about 18 volumes of the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg that were published between 1901 and 1916. His teachings were seen as heretical and in his last years ecclesiastical proceedings were held against some of his Swedish disciples.
Emanuel Swedenborg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on January 29, 1688. He was the son of a Lutheran bishop who was also a hymn writer. Swedenborg considered himself a Lutheran even though his ideas were very different than the doctrine of his church. Emanuel was a distinguished scientist and was in the House of Nobles of the parliament of Sweden. Emanuel Swedenborg traveled to Germany and Holland and lived in England from 1710 to 1713.
Theology was only a part of the accomplishments of Emanuel Swedenborg. His engineering skills made him well known far and wide. He traveled extensively and was made the Assessor of the Royal College of Mines in 1716. He was active in the proceedings of the House of Nobles and was a devoted Reformer. He studied practically every field of scientific investigation and wrote profusely on every subject he tackled. His studies of the human brain, psychology, man and the animal kingdom were all published before 1747.
In 1743, Swedenborg had a profound religious crisis which led to trances where he accounted talks with angels, Jesus, devils and human souls who had departed (including popes and kings), as well as other theologians such as Calvin and Luther. Swedenborg had felt close to death and had a dream that a roaring wind picked him up and threw him on his face. Next there was a hand that clutched his hand and he believed he saw Christ. He studied Hebrew and wrote on subjects that were revealed to him.
Swedenborg devoted himself to prophesy and spiritual investigation. Emanuel Swedenborg had also experienced a revelation which enabled him able to view the spirit world and was unrestricted by physical perception in 1743. On Easter Monday in 1744, Swedenborg believed that Christ asked him to circle around the solar system, which revealed both spiritual significance as well as establishing science assumptions about the planets. Swedenborg claimed the moon was inhabited by a race of people which spoke through their stomachs and the sound was like belching. Swedenborg was convinced God intended him to be a spiritual emissary and explore higher planes and report his findings to mankind. He says that he visited Heaven and Hell while in his ecstatic trances.
Emanuel Swedenborg claimed to have communications and visions with spirits and angels to help him prepare to set forth the teachings of the New Church. He believed this introduction took place in 1757 with the second coming of Christ. He also claimed to have received the true sense of the Scriptures from the Lord himself.
Swedenborg also demonstrated his talents of clairvoyance and prophecy. July 19, 1759, he was three hundred miles from his home and knew there was a horrendous fire in Stockholm. The next day the account of the firs was confirmed. Emanuel Swedenborg visited Queen Louisa Ulrika of Sweden in 1758. The Queen asked him to tell her something about her deceased brother Augustus William. The next day Swedenborg whispered something in the Queen’s ear that made her go pale then she explained that only she and her brother knew what he had whispered. There was a woman who had come to Swedenborg because she had lost an important document and wanted him to contact a recently deceased person to find this document. Swedenborg did and the document was found. Swedenborg also went into a trance and described the assassination of Peter III, the Russian Tsar in 1762.
He never married and spent his later years in England. There is where he died and was buried in London on March 29, 1772. The followers of Swedenborg founded the New Jerusalem Church in England in 1778 and it was founded in the United States in 1792. The Swedenborg Society was established in 1810. Emanuel Swedenborg’s remains were moved from London and moved to Uppsala Sweden, where his skull was stolen from his gravesite.
Emanuel Swedenborg taught and believed God created mankind to exist simultaneously in the physical world and in the spiritual world. He believed the spiritual world belonged to the inner domain. He taught that memory is what survives after death. Swedenborg taught Heaven is populated by spirits of the dead and they continue to live their lives like they did on earth. He claimed Hell did not contain satan and mankind makes their own personal Heaven or Hell. He taught there was no such thing as a personal devil or satan, but rather these names signified the whole society of evil spirits and part of the spiritual nature of man. He taught this spiritual nature could never be annihilated, not even in Heaven.
Swedenborg taught that the spirit world is in a number of circular spheres of different sizes, all having the same middle point with each one containing their own inhabitants. He believed life in spirit is similar to that on the earth plane with houses, schools, and even churches. Swedenborg taught the process of death is aided by good spirits or angels, with everyone resting for a few days after their death and then regaining their full consciousness without change to the person’s internal nature.
He taught there was no such thing as eternal punishment, and that anyone finding themselves in Hell has the ability to work towards a higher level. Emanuel Swedenborg taught the existence of an eternal Hell was a Hell of human creation, rather than divine punishment for sin. He taught all religions could be saved, and salvation was not exclusive to the Christians.
He taught marriage is a form of spiritual union and that it continues in the spirit world. Even though Swedenborg did not marry, he believed the union between a man and a woman was necessary to complete the human unit.
Swedenborg believed God and the material world is the same thing and God, which is Jesus Christ, is present in everything. He believed Jesus Christ is the Trinity of Love, Wisdom and Energy. Teaching the human body is the kingdom of the soul his doctrine of correspondence stated all phenomena of the physical world have their spiritual correspondences. This was the instrument for the interpretation and revelation of hidden meaning within scripture. Swedenborg believed only the Pentateuch books of the Bible (the first five books of law written by Moses), the Old Testament books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Psalms and the Prophets from Isaiah to Malachi, and the four Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the New Testament, and the book of Revelation were the only communication of the True Word of God. Emanuel Swedenborg taught everything in the Bible had to be taken literally as well as seeking to reveal the hidden meaning of the Word. He taught Adam and Eve were real people, Noah was a real person and that Revelation told what was happening on the spiritual level, rather than a a prophesy of what will happen in the future Last Days.
Swedenborg taught the crucifixion of Jesus did not atone for the sins of mankind. Swedenborg also rejected the traditional doctrines of the Trinity and instead taught man had his own spiritual freedom and responsibilities and taught that eternal life was an inner condition which started with earthly life, and redemption occurred through personal adjustments of spiritual states. Swedenborg taught that practical love was necessary in every relationship.
He taught God came down to earth as Jesus when the world was in need of healing. He believed Jesus taught the ways of love and restored the order of creation. He believed God is now present to the whole human race through the human body that was taken at His birth in Bethlehem and was made fully divine and brings a special healing love to mankind in the human form.
Emanuel Swedenborg taught the infinite love of God for the whole human race is perpetual. He rejected the idea of God being angry with mankind. He taught God always looks upon mankind with love.
Swedenborg taught when the bodily functions of respiration and circulation cease, man still does not die. He explained man is separated from their corporeal part that was used by him in the world. When man passes on they are only going from one world into another. Swedenborg continued to teach the newly dead person does not know he is dead, because he is still in his body. Swedenborg taught the first state of man after death is like his same state he had in the world and believes he is still in the world. The dead person then has a desire of knowing what Heaven is and what Hell is then he chooses which he desires.
He taught the spiritual state is less limited. He explained the perceptions, thoughts and memories are more perfect and the concept of time and space no longer cause the obstacles that they do in a physical life. He believed the spirits are in a more perfect state.
He taught dying man can meet other departed spirits whom he knew in his physical life. These departed spirits may help the dying man during his passage into the beyond. The spirits may instruct their recognized friends concerning the state of eternal life. Swedenborg wrote the past life of these dead men may be shown to him in a vision and he would remember every detail of the vision. It is impossible to conceal anything according to Swedenborg.
Swedenborg taught there was no such thing as Christian redemption. He taught humans were the most important entity; seeing things in the human terms, judging according to human perceptions, values and experiences. Swedenborg taught the spiritual world was populated exclusively by deceased human beings that are grouped together according to their natural inclinations. He believed Christ was to be regarded as the highest manifestation of humanity.
He taught that life and death was a continuous cycle of a person’s life time. Swedenborg explained in the spiritual world thoughts are communicated like on the earthbound realm. He taught that people can travel anywhere on the earth and see places they had never seen before. He also taught people have a Heavenly and a spiritual desire to enter Heaven. Emanuel Swedenborg taught people do not keep their faith if it does not come from a Heavenly desire.
He rejects blind faith or the mystery of the scripture as being religious methodologies, the organized system of studying the principles of religion. He taught if a person doesn’t understand a religious belief, it will never become a part of their soul.
Emanuel Swedenborg taught life is to be lived in freedom in accordance with reason. He believed God approved of this freedom. He believed the mind is formed by studying the Bible, theology and through life experience.
I. All religion is of the life, and the life of religion is to do that which is good
II. No one can from himself do what is good that is really good
III. In proportion as a man shuns evils an sins, in the same proportion he does goods, not from himself but from the Lord
IV. In proportion as any one shuns evils as sins, in the same proportion he loves truths
V. In proportion as any one shuns evils as sins, in the same proportion he has faith, and is spiritual
VI. The decalogue teaches what evils are sins
VII. Murders, adulteries, thefts, false witness, together with all concupiscence for these things, are the evils which must be shunned as sins
VIII. In proportion as any one shuns murders of every kind as sins, in the same proportion he has love toward the neighbor
IX. In proportion as any one shuns adulteries of every kind as sins, in the same proportion he loves chastity
X. In proportion as any one shuns thefts of every kind as sins, in the same proportion he loves sincerity
XI. In proportion as any one shuns false witness of every kind as sin, in the same proportion he loves the truth
XII. No one can shun evils as sins so as to be inwardly averse to them except by means of combats against them
XIII. A man ought to shun evils as sins and fight against them as of himself
XIV. If any one shuns evils for any other reason than because they are sins, he does not shun them, but merely prevent them from appearing before the world
I. ALL RELIGION IS OF THE LIFE, AND THE LIFE OF RELIGION IS TO DO THAT WHICH IS GOOD
LIFE 1. Every man who has religion knows and acknowledges that he who leads a good life is saved, and that he who leads an evil life is damned; for he knows and acknowledges that the man who lives aright thinks aright, not only about God but also about his neighbor; but not so the man whose life is evil. The life of man is his love, and that which he loves he not only likes to be doing, but also likes to be thinking. The reason therefore why we say that the life is to do that which is good is that doing what is good acts as a one with thinking what is good, for if in a man these two things do not act as a one, they are not of his life. The demonstration of these matters shall now follow.
LIFE 2. That religion is of the life and that the life of religion is to do that which is good is seen by everyone who reads the Word, and is acknowledged by him while he is reading it. The Word contains the following declarations:–
Whosoever shall break the least of these commandments, and shall teach men so, shall be called the least in the kingdom of the heavens; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens. For I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:19, 20).
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7:19, 20).
Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but he that doeth the will of My Father who is in the heavens (Matt. 5:21).
Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and in Thy name done many mighty things? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me ye that work iniquity (Matt. 5:22, 23).
Every one who heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and everyone that heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man who built his house upon the sand (Matt. 5:24, 26).
Jesus said, Behold, the sower went forth to sow some seeds fell on the hard way, others fell upon the rocky places, others fell among the thorns, and others fell into good ground; he that was sown upon the good ground, this is he that heareth the Word, and attendeth to it, who thence beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. When Jesus had said these things, He cried, saying, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear (Matt. 13:3-9, 23, 43).
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father, and then shall He render unto everyone according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).
The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given unto a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43).
When the Son of man shall come in His glory, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory. And He shall say to the sheep on His right hand, Come ye blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me I was sick, and ye visited Me I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer, When saw we Thee so? And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye did it unto Me. And the king shall say the like things to the goats on the left, and because they have not done such things, He shall say, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:31-41).
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance even now is the axe laid unto the root of the trees every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire (Luke 3:8, 9).
Jesus said, Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Every one that cometh unto Me, and heareth My words, and doeth them, he is like a man building a house, and he laid a foundation upon the rock; but he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that built a house upon the earth without a foundation (Luke 6:46-49).
Jesus said, My mother and My brethren are these who hear the Word of God, and do it (Luke 8:21).
Then shall ye begin to stand, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and He shall answer and say to you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).
This is the judgment: that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil; for everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God (John 3:19-21).
And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29).
We know that God heareth not sinners; but if any man be a worshiper of God, and do His will, him He heareth (John 9:31).
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).
He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth Me not keepeth not My words (John 14:21-24).
Jesus said, I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser; every branch in Me that beareth not fruit, He taketh away and every branch that beareth fruit, He cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit (John 15:1, 2).
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, and ye shall be made My disciples (John 15:8).
Ye are My friends if ye do the things which I command you; I have chosen you, that ye should bear fruit, and your fruit should abide (John 15:14, 16).
The Lord said to John, To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: I know thy works; I have this against thee, that thou hast left thy first charity; repent, and do the first works, or else I will move thy lamb stand out of its place (Rev. 2:1, 2, 4, 5).
To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: I know thy works (Rev. 2:8, 9).
To the angel of the church in Pergamos write: I know thy works, repent (Rev. 2:12, 16).
To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: I know thy works and charity, and thy last works are more than the first (Rev. 2:18, 19).
To the angel of the church in Sardis write: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, but art dead; I have not found thy works perfect before God; repent (Rev. 3:1-3).
To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: I know thy works (Rev. 3:7, 8).
To the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: I know thy works; repent (Rev. 3:14, 15, 19).
I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow with them (Rev. 14:13).
Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, all according to their works (Rev. 20:12, 13).
Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work (Rev. 22:12).
In like manner in the Old Testament:–
Recompense them according to their work, and according to the deed of their hands (Jer. 25:14).
Jehovah, whose eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men, to give everyone according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his works (Jer. 32:19).
I will visit according to his ways, and will reward him his works (Hos. 4:9).
Jehovah, according to our ways, according to our works doth He to us (Zech. 1:6).
And in many places it is said that the statutes, commandments, and laws were to be done:–
Ye shall observe My statutes, and My judgments, which if a man do, he shall live by them (Lev. 18:5).
Ye shall observe all My statutes, and My judgments, that ye may do them (Lev. 19:37; 20:8; 22:31).
The blessings, if they did the commandments; and the curses if they did them not (Lev. 26:4-46).
The sons of Israel were commanded to make for themselves a fringe on the borders of their garments, that they might remember all the commandments of Jehovah, to do them (Num. 15:38, 39).
So in a thousand other places. That works are what make a man of the church, and that he is saved according to them, is also taught by the Lord in the parables, many of which imply that those who do what is good are accepted, and that those who do what is evil are rejected. As in the parable
Of the husbandmen in the vineyard (Matt. 21:33-44):
Of the fig-tree that did not yield fruit (Luke 13:6-9):
Of the talents, and the pounds, with which they were to trade (Matt. 25:14-31; Luke 19:13-25):
Of the Samaritan who bound up the wounds of him that was wounded by robbers (Luke 10:30-37):
Of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31):
Of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-12).
LIFE 3. That everyone who has religion knows and acknowledges that whoever leads a good life is saved, and that whoever leads an evil one is damned, is owing to the conjunction of heaven with the man who knows from the Word that there is a God, that there is a heaven and a hell, and that there is a life after death. Such is the source of this general perception. Therefore in the doctrine of the Athanasian Creed respecting the Trinity, which has been universally received in the Christian world, the following declaration, at the end of it, has also been universally received:–Jesus Christ, who suffered for our salvation, ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father Almighty, whence He will come to judge the quick and the dead and then they that have done good will enter into life eternal, and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.
LIFE 4. In the Christian Churches, however, there are many who teach that faith alone saves, and not any good of life, or good work, and they add that evil of life or evil work does not condemn those who have been justified by faith alone, because such are in God and in grace. Wonderful to say, however, although they teach such things, they nevertheless acknowledge (in consequence of a perception from heaven common to all) that those who lead a good life are saved, and that those who live an evil one are damned. That they do acknowledge this is evident from the Exhortation which not only in England but also in Germany, Sweden, and Denmark is read in the places of worship before the people coming to the Holy Supper. As is well known, it is in these kingdoms that those are found who teach that faith alone.
LIFE 5. The Exhortation read in England before the people who approach the Sacrament of the Supper, is as follows:–The way and means to be received as worthy partakers of that Holy Table is, first, to examine your lives and conversations by the rule of God’s commandments; and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life; and if ye shall perceive your offenses to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbors, then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them, being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other, and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offenses at God’s hand; for otherwise the receiving of the Holy Communion doth nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, a hinderer or slanderer of His Word, an adulterer, or be in malice or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to that Holy Table; lest after the taking of that Holy Sacrament the devil enter into you as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul.
LIFE 6. (In this paragraph Swedenborg presents a translation into Latin of the foregoing Exhortation.)
LIFE 7. I have been permitted to ask some of the English clergy who had professed and preached faith alone (this was done in the spiritual world), whether while they were reading in church this Exhortation–which faith is not even mentioned–they believed it to be true; for example, that if people do evil things, and do not repent, the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas, and destroy them both body and soul. They said that in the state in which they were when reading the Exhortation they had no other knowledge or thought than that this was religion itself; but that while composing and elaborating their discourses or sermons they had a different thought about it, because they were then thinking of faith as being the sole means of salvation, and of the good of life as being a moral accessory for the public good. Nevertheless it was incontestably proved to them that with them too there was that common perception that he who leads a good life is saved, and that he who leads an evil one is damned; and that they possess this perception when they are not in what is their Own.
LIFE 8. The reason why all religion is of the life, is that after death everyone is his own life, for the life stays the same as it had been in this world, and undergoes no change. For an evil life cannot be converted into a good one, nor a good life into an evil one, because they are opposites, and conversion into what is opposite is extinction. And, being opposites, a good life is called Life, and an evil one Death. This is why religion is of life, and why its life is to do what is good. After death a man is such as his life had been in this world, see (HH n. 470-484).
II. NO ONE CAN FROM HIMSELF DO WHAT IS GOOD THAT IS REALLY GOOD
LIFE 9. That hitherto scarcely anyone knows whether the good done by him is from self or from God, is because the church has sundered faith from charity, and good is of charity. A man gives to the poor; relieves the needy; endows places of worship and hospitals; has regard for the church, his country, and his fellow-citizen; is diligent in his attendance at a place of worship, where he listens and prays devoutly; reads the Word and books of piety; and thinks about salvation; and yet is not aware whether he is doing these things from himself, or from God. He may be doing the very same things from God, or he may be doing them from self. If he does them from God they are good, if from self they are not good. In fact there are goods of this kind done from self which are eminently evil, such as hypocritical goods, the purpose of which is deception and fraud.
LIFE 10. Goods from God, and goods from self, may be compared to gold. Gold that is gold from the inmost, called pure gold, is good gold. Gold alloyed with silver is also gold, but is good according to the amount of the alloy. Less good still is gold that is alloyed with copper. But a gold made by art, and resembling gold only from its color, is not good at all, for there is no substance of gold in it. There is also what is gilded, such as gilded silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, and also gilded wood and gilded stone, which on the surface may appear like gold; but not being such, they are valued either according to the workmanship, the value of the gilded material, or that of the gold which can be scraped off. In goodness these differ from real gold as a garment differs from a man. Moreover rotten wood, dross, or even ordure, may be overlaid with gold; and such is the gold to which pharisaic good may be likened.
LIFE 11. From science a man knows whether gold is good in substance, is alloyed and falsified, or is merely overlaid; but he does not know from science whether the good he does is good in itself. This only does he know: that good from God is good, and that good from man is not good. Therefore, as it concerns his salvation for him to know whether the good he does is from God, or is not from God, this must be revealed. but before this is done something shall be said about goods.
LIFE 12. There are civic good, moral good, and spiritual good. Civic good is that which a man does from the civic law: by means of and according to this good is the man a citizen in the natural world. Moral good is that which a man does from the law of reason: by means of and according to this good is he a man. Spiritual good is that which a man does from spiritual law: by means of and according to this good is he a citizen in the spiritual world. These goods succeed one another in the following order: spiritual good is the highest, moral good is intermediate, and civic good is last.
LIFE 13. A man who possesses spiritual good is also a moral man and a civic man; but a man who does not possess spiritual good may appear to be a moral man and a civic man, yet is not so. The reason why a man who possesses spiritual good is also a moral man and a civic man, is that spiritual good has the essence of good within it, and moral and civic good have this essence from spiritual good. The essence of good can be from no other source than Him who is good itself. Think the matter over from every point of view, and try to find out from what it is that good is good, and you will see that it is so from its inmost being (esse), and that that is good which has within it the esse of good; consequently that that is good which is from good itself, thus from God; and therefore that good which is not from God, but from man, is not good.
LIFE 14. From what has been said in the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture (Sacred n. 27, 28, 38), it may be seen that what is highest, what is intermediate, and what is last, make a one, like end, cause, and effect; and that because they make a one, the end itself is called the first end, the cause the intermediate end, and the effect the last end. From this it must be evident that in the case of a man who possesses spiritual good, what is moral in him is intermediate spiritual, and what is civic is ultimate spiritual. And for this reason it has been said that a man who possesses spiritual good is also a moral man and a civic man; and that a man who does not possess spiritual good is neither a moral man nor a civic man, although he may appear to be so both to himself and to others.
LIFE 15. That a man who is not spiritual can yet think rationally and speak from that thought, like a spiritual man, is because man’s understanding can be uplifted into the light of heaven, which is truth, and can see from it; but his will cannot be in the same way uplifted into the heat of heaven, which is love, so as to act from that heat. It is for this reason that truth and love do not make a one in a man unless he is spiritual. And it is for this reason also that man can speak; and it is this which makes the difference between a man and a beast. It is by means of this capacity of the understanding to be uplifted into heaven when as yet the will is not so uplifted, that it is possible for a man to be reformed and to become spiritual; but he does not begin to be reformed and become spiritual until his will also is uplifted. It is from this superior endowment of the understanding over the will, that a man, of whatever character he may be, even if evil, is able to think and therefore to speak rationally, as if he were spiritual. That still in spite of this he is not rational, is because the understanding does not lead the will, but the will leads the understanding. The understanding merely teaches and shows the way, as has been said in the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture (Sacred n. 115). And so long as the will is not in heaven together with the understanding, the man is not spiritual, and consequently is not rational; for when he is left to his will or love, he throws off the rational things of his understanding respecting God, heaven, and eternal life, and adopts in their stead such things as are in agreement with his will’s love, and these he calls rational. But these matters shall be elucidated in the treatises on Angelic Wisdom.
LIFE 16. In the following pages, those who do what is good from themselves will be called natural men, because with them the moral and the civic is in its essence natural; and those who do what is good from the Lord will be called spiritual men, because with them the moral and the civic is in its essence spiritual.
LIFE 17. That no one can from himself do any good that is really good, is taught by the Lord in John:–
A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven (John3:27).
He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).
“He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit,” means that all good is from the Lord; “fruit” means what is good. “Without Me ye can do nothing,” means that no man can from himself do anything. Those who believe in the Lord, and from Him do what is good, are called Sons of light (John 12:36; Luke 16:8); Sons of the bridechamber (Mark 2:19); Sons of the resurrection (Luke 20:36); Sons of God (Luke 20:36; John 1:12); Born of God (John 1:13); It is said that they shall see God (Matt. 5:8); That the Lord will make His abode with them (John 14:23); That they have the faith of God (Mark 11:22); That their works are done from God (John 3:21). These things are all summed up in the following words:–
As many as received Him, to them gave He power (potestas) to be sons of God, to them that believe in His name; who were born, not of bloods, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12, 13).
To “believe in the name of the Son of God,” is to believe the Word and to live according to it; “the will of the flesh,” is what is proper to man’s will, which in itself is evil; “the will of man,” is what is proper to his understanding, which in itself is falsity from evil; those “born of” these, are those who will and act, and also think and speak, from what is proper to themselves; those “born of God,” are those who do all this from the Lord. In short: that which is from man is not good; but that which is good is from the Lord.
III. IN PROPORTION AS A MAN SHUNS EVILS AN SINS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE DOES GOODS, NOT FROM HIMSELF BUT FROM THE LORD
LIFE 18. Who does not or may not know that evils stand in the way of the Lord’s entrance to a man? For evil is hell, and the Lord is heaven, and hell and heaven are opposites. In proportion therefore as a man is in the one, in the same proportion he cannot be in the other. For the one acts against the other and destroys it.
LIFE 19. So long as a man is in this world, he is midway between hell and heaven: hell is below him, and heaven is above and he is kept in freedom to turn himself to either the one or the other; if he turns to hell he turns away from heaven; if he turns to heaven he turns away from hell. Or what is the same, so long as a man is in this world he stands midway between the Lord and the devil, and is kept in freedom to turn himself to either the one or the other; if he turns to the devil he turns away from the Lord; if he turns to the Lord he turns away from the devil. Or what is again the same, so long as a man is in this world he is midway between evil and good, and is kept in freedom to turn himself to either the one or the other; if be turns to evil he turns away from good; if he turns to good he turns away from evil.
LIFE 20. We have said that a man is kept in freedom to turn himself one way or the other. It is not from himself that every man has this freedom, but he has it from the Lord, and this is why he is said to be kept in it. (Concerning the equilibrium between heaven and hell, and that man is in it and owes his freedom to that fact, see Heaven and Hell (HH n. 589-596; 597-603). That every man is kept in freedom, and that from no one is it taken away, will be seen in its proper place.
LIFE 21. It is plainly evident from all this that in proportion as a man shuns evils, in the same proportion is he with the Lord and in the Lord; and that in proportion as he is in the Lord, in the same proportion he does goods, not from self but from Him. From this results the general law: IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS EVILS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE DOES GOODS.
LIFE 22. Two things however are requisite: first, the man must shun evils because they are sins, that is, because they are infernal and diabolical, and therefore contrary to the Lord and the Divine laws and secondly, be must do this as of himself, while knowing and believing that it is of the Lord. But these two requisites will be considered in subsequent chapters.
LIFE 23. From what has been said three things follow:–i. If a man wills and does goods before he shuns evils as sins, the goods are not good. ii. If a man thinks and speaks pious things while not shunning evils as sins, the pious things are not pious. iii. If a man knows and is wise in many things, and does not shun evils as sins, he is nevertheless not wise.
LIFE 24. i. If a man wills and does goods before he shuns evils as sins, the goods are not good. This is because, as already said, he is not in the Lord before he does so. For example: if a man gives to the poor, renders aid to the needy, contributes to places of worship and to hospitals, renders good service to the church, his country, and his fellow-citizens, teaches the Gospel and makes converts, does justice in his judgments, acts with sincerity in business, and with uprightness in his works; and yet makes no account of evils as being sins, such as fraud, adultery, hatred, blasphemy, and other like evils, then he can do only such goods as are evil within, because he does them from himself and not from the Lord, and therefore self is in them and not the Lord, and the goods in which is a man’s self are all defiled with his evils, and have regard to himself and the world. And yet these very deeds that have just been enumerated are inwardly good if the man shuns evils as sins (such as fraud, adultery, hatred, blasphemy, and other like evils), because in this case he does them from the Lord, and they are said to be “wrought in God” (John 3:19-21).
LIFE 25. ii. If a man thinks and speaks pious things while not shunning evils as sins, the pious things are not pious. This is because he is not in the Lord. If for example he frequents places of worship, listens devoutly to the preaching, reads the Word and books of piety, goes to the sacrament of the Supper, pours forth prayers daily, and even if he thinks much about God and salvation, and yet regards as of no moment the evils which are sins (such as fraud, adultery, hatred, blasphemy, and other like evils), he then cannot do otherwise than think and speak such pious things as inwardly are not pious, because the man himself is in them with his evils. At the time indeed he is not aware of them, yet they are present within deeply hidden out of his sight; for he is like a spring the water of which is foul from its source. His performances of piety are either mere customs of habit, or else are the outcome of self-merit or hypocrisy. They do indeed rise up toward heaven, but turn back before they get there, and settle down, like smoke in the atmosphere.
LIFE 26. I have been permitted to see and hear many after death who reckoned up their good works and performances of piety, such as those mentioned above (n. 24, 25), and many others besides. Among them I have also seen some who had lamps and no oil. Inquiry was made as to whether they had shunned evils as sins, and it was found that they had not, and therefore they were told that they were evil. Afterwards also they were seen to go into caverns where evil ones like them had their abode.
LIFE 27. iii. If a man knows and is wise about many things, and does not shun evils as sins, he is nevertheless not wise. This is so for the reason already given: that he is wise from himself and not from the Lord. If for example he has an accurate knowledge of the doctrine of his church and of all things that belong to it, if he knows how to confirm them by the Word and by reasonings, if he knows the doctrines held by all churches for ages, together with the edicts of all the councils, and even if he knows truths, and also sees and understands them; thus if he knows the nature of faith, charity, piety, repentance and the remission of sins, regeneration, baptism, the Holy Supper, the Lord, and redemption and salvation, still he is not wise unless he shuns evils as sins, because his knowledges (cognitiones) are devoid of life, being of his understanding only and not at the same time of his will; and such knowledges in time perish, for the reason given above (n. 15). After death also the man himself throws them off, because they are not in accordance with his will’s love. Nevertheless knowledges are in the highest degree necessary, because they teach how a man is to act; and when he acts them, then they are alive in him, and not till then.
LIFE 28. All that has been said thus far is taught by the Word in many places, of which only the following shall be presented. The Word teaches that no one can be in good and at the same time in evil, or what is the same, that no one can be (in respect to his soul) in heaven and at the same time in hell. This is taught in the following passages:–
No man can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (Matt. 6:24).
How can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things, and the evil man out of its evil treasure bringeth forth evil things (Matt. 12:34, 35).
A good tree produceth not evil fruit, nor doth an evil tree produce good fruit. Every tree is known by its own fruit; for of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes (Luke 6:43, 44).
LIFE 29. The Word teaches that no one can do what is good from himself, but that he does it from the Lord:–
Jesus said, I am the true vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He cleanseth it, that it may bear more fruit. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye except ye abide in Me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather him, and cast him into the fire, and he is burned (John 15:1-6).
LIFE 30. The Word teaches that in proportion as a man has not been purified from evils, his goods are not good, nor are his pious things pious, and neither is he wise: it also teaches the converse:–
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly indeed appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe unto you, for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also (Matt. 23:25-28).
The same appears from these words in Isaiah:–
Hear the word of Jehovah, ye princes of Sodom give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto Me? bring no more a meat-offering of vanity; incense is an abomination unto Me; new moon and sabbath, I cannot bear iniquity; your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth; therefore when ye spread forth your hands I will hide Mine eyes from you; yea, if ye make many prayers, I will not hear; your hands are full of bloods. Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doing from before Mine eyes; cease to do evil; though your sins have been as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they have been red, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:10-18).
These words in brief amount to this: that unless a man shuns evils, nothing of his worship is good, and in like manner nothing of his works, for it is said, “I cannot bear iniquity, make you clean, put away the evil of your doings, cease to do evil.” In Jeremiah:–
Return ye every man from his evil way, and make your works good (Jeremiah 35:15).
 That the same are not wise is declared in Isaiah:–
Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and intelligent before their own faces (Isaiah 5:21).
The wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the intelligence of the intelligent; woe unto them that are deeply wise, and their works are done in the dark (Isaiah 29:14, 15).
Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, and put their stay on horses, and trust in chariots because they are many, and in horsemen because they are strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek Jehovah. But He will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity. For Egypt is man, and not God; and the horses thereof are flesh, and not spirit (Isaiah 31:1-3).
Thus is described man’s self-intelligence. “Egypt” is memory-knowledge; a “horse,” the understanding therefrom; a “chariot,” the doctrine therefrom; a “horseman,” the intelligence therefrom; of all of which it is said, “Woe to them that look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek Jehovah.” Their destruction through evils is meant by: “He will arise against the house of the evildoers, and against the help of them that work iniquity.” That these things are from man’s Own, and that consequently there is no life in them, is meant by its being said that “Egypt is man and not God,” and that “the horses thereof are flesh and not spirit.” “man,” and “flesh,” denote what is man’s Own; “God,” and “spirit,” denote life from the Lord; the “horses of Egypt,” denote self-intelligence. There are many such things in the Word concerning intelligence from self, and intelligence from the Lord, which can be seen only by means of the spiritual sense.
 That no one is saved by means of goods from self, because they are not good, is evident from the following:–
Not everyone that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but he that doeth the will of My Father: many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied by Thy name, and by Thy name cast out demons, and in Thy name done many mighty things? but then I will profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).
Then shall ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, open to us; and ye shall begin to say, We did eat and drink in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets; but He shall say, I tell you I know ye not whence ye are, depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity (Luke 13:25-27).
For such persons are like the Pharisee, Who stood in the temple and prayed, saying that he was not as other men, an extortioner, unjust, an adulterer; that he fasted twice in the week, and gave tithes of all that he possessed (Luke 18:11-14). Such persons moreover are those who are called Unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10).
LIFE 31. That no man can from himself do what is really good, is the truth. But so to use this truth as to do away with all the good of charity that is done by a man who shuns evils as sins is a great wickedness, for it is diametrically contrary to the Word, which commands that a man shall do. It is contrary to the commandments of love to God and love toward the neighbor on which the Law and the Prophets hang, and it is to flout and undermine everything of religion. For everyone knows that religion is to do what is good, and that everyone will be judged according to his deeds. Every man is so constituted as to be able (by the Lord’s power, if he begs for it) to shun evils as of himself; and that which he afterwards does is good from the Lord.
IV. IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS EVILS AS SINS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE LOVES TRUTHS
LIFE 32. There are two universals that proceed from the Lord: Divine good, and Divine truth. Divine good is of His Divine love, and Divine truth is of His Divine wisdom. In the Lord these two are a one, and therefore they proceed from Him as a one, but they are not received as a one by angels in the heavens, or by men on earth. There are both angels and men who receive more from Divine truth than from Divine good; and there are others who receive more from Divine good than from Divine truth. This is why the heavens are distinguished into two distinct kingdoms, one of which is called the celestial kingdom, and the other the spiritual kingdom. The heavens that receive more from Divine good constitute the celestial kingdom, and those which receive more from Divine truth constitute the spiritual kingdom. Concerning these two kingdoms into which the heavens are divided, see (HH n. 20-28). But still the angels of all the heavens are in wisdom and intelligence in proportion to the degree in which the good in them makes a one with truth. The good that does not make a one with truth is to them not good; and on the other hand the truth that does not make a one with good is to them not truth. From this we see that good conjoined with truth constitutes love and wisdom in both angel and man; and as an angel is an angel, and a man a man, from the love and wisdom in him, it is evident that good conjoined with truth causes an angel to be an angel of heaven, and a man a man of the church.
LIFE 33. As good and truth are a one in the Lord, and proceed as a one from Him, it follows that good loves truth and truth loves good, and they will to be a one. It is the same with their opposites: evil loves falsity, and falsity loves evil, and these will to be a one. In the following pages the conjunction of good and truth will be called the Heavenly Marriage, and that of evil and falsity the Infernal Marriage.
LIFE 34. It follows from these premises that in proportion as anyone shuns evils as sins, in the same proportion he loves truths (for in the same proportion he is in good, as has been shown in the preceding chapter); and also that in proportion as anyone does not shun evils as sins, in the same proportion he does not love truths, because in the same proportion he is not in good.
LIFE 35. It is indeed possible for a man to love truths who does not shun evils as sins; yet he does not love them because they are truths, but because they minister to his reputation, and thereby to his honors or gains, so that if they do not minister to it he loves them not.
LIFE 36. Good is of the will, truth of the understanding. From the love of good in the will proceeds the love of truth in the understanding; from the love of truth proceeds the perception of truth; from the perception of truth comes thought about truth; and from all of these together comes the acknowledgment of truth which in the true sense is faith. (That this is the progression from the love of good to faith, will be shown in the treatise on Divine Love and Divine Wisdom.)
LIFE 37. As good is not good unless it is conjoined with truth, as already said, it follows that previous thereto good does not come into manifest being. But as it continually desires to come into manifest being it longs for and procures truths in order to do so, for truths are the agency of its nourishment and formation. This is the reason why a man loves truths in the same proportion that he is in good, consequently in the same proportion that he shuns evils as sins, for it is in proportion that he does this that anyone is in good.
LIFE 38. In proportion as anyone is in good, and from good loves truths, in the same proportion he loves the Lord, because the Lord is good itself and truth itself. The Lord is therefore with man in good and in truth. If the latter is loved from good the Lord is loved, but not otherwise. This the Lord teaches in John:–
He that hath My commandments, and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me He that loveth Me not keepeth not My words (John 14:21, 24).
If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love (John 15:10).
The “commandments” and “words” of the Lord are truths.
LIFE 39. That good loves truth may be illustrated by comparison with a priest, a soldier, a trader, and an artificer. With a priest:–If he is in the good of the priesthood, which is to care for the salvation of souls, to teach the way to heaven, and to lead those whom he teaches, then in proportion as he is in this good (thus from his love and its desire) he acquires the truths which he may teach, and by means of which he may lead. But a priest who is not in the good of the priesthood, but is in the delight of his office from the love of self and of the world, which to him is the only good, he too from his love and its desire acquires those truths in abundance in proportion as he is inspired by the delight which is his good. With a soldier:–If he is in the love of military service, and is sensible of its good, whether it be that of national defense, or that of his own fame, from this good and according to it be acquires its special knowledge, and if he is a commander, its intelligence; these are like truths by which the delight of love which is his good is nourished and formed. With a trader:–If he has taken up this calling from the love of it, he learns with avidity everything that enters into and makes up that love as its means; these also are like truths, while trading is his good. With an artificer:–
If he applies himself with earnestness to his work, and loves it as the good of his life, he purchases tools, and perfects himself by whatever pertains to a knowledge of it, and by these means he so does his work that it is a good. From these comparisons it is evident that truths are the means through which the good of love comes into manifest being, and becomes something; consequently that good loves truths in order that it may do so. Hence in the Word to “do the truth” means to cause good to come into manifest being. This is meant by Doing the truth (John 3:21);
Doing the Lord’s sayings (Luke 6:47); Keeping His commandments (John 14:24); Doing His words (Matt. 7:24); Doing the Word of God (Luke 8:21); and by Doing the statutes and judgments (Lev. 18:5). And this also is to “do what is good,” and to “bear fruit,” for “good” and “fruit” are that which comes into manifest being (est id quod existit).
LIFE 40. That good loves truth and wills to be conjoined with it, may also be illustrated by comparison with food and water, or with bread and wine. Both are necessary. Food or bread alone effects nothing in the body in the way of nourishment; it does so only together with water or with wine; and therefore the one has an appetite and longing for the other. Moreover in the Word “food” and “bread” mean good, in the spiritual sense; and “water” and “wine” mean truth.
LIFE 41. From all that has been said it is now evident that he who shuns evils as sins, loves truths and longs for them; and that the more he shuns them, so much the more love and longing does he feel, because so much the more he is in good. The result is that he comes into the heavenly marriage, which is the marriage of good and truth, in which is heaven, and in which must be the church.
V. IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS EVILS AS SINS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE HAS FAITH, AND IS SPIRITUAL
LIFE 42. Faith and life are distinct from each other in the same way as are thinking and doing; and as thinking is of the understanding and doing is of the will, it follows that faith and life are distinct from each other in the same way as are the understanding and the will. He who knows the distinction between the two latter knows that between the two former; and he who knows the conjunction of the two latter knows that of the two former. For this reason something shall first be set forth about the understanding and the will.
LIFE 43. Man possesses two faculties, one of which is called the will, and the other the understanding. They are distinct from each other, but are so created that they may be a one, and when they are a one they are called the Mind, so that the human mind consists of these two faculties, and the whole of man’s life is in them. Just as all things in the universe that are in accordance with Divine order bear relation to good and truth, so do all things in man bear relation to the will and the understanding; for the good in a man belongs to his will and the truth in him belongs to his understanding, these two faculties being their receptacles and subjects; the will, of all things of good, and the understanding of all things of truth. The goods and truths in a man are nowhere else, and so therefore neither are the love and faith, because love is of good and good is of love, and faith is of truth and truth is of faith. It is of the utmost importance to know how the will and the understanding make one mind. They do so in the same way that good and truth make a one, for there is a like marriage between the will and the understanding to that which exists between good and truth. The nature of this latter marriage has been in some measure told in the preceding chapter, and to this we should add that just as good is the very being (esse) of a thing, and truth is its derivative manifestation (existere), so the will in man is the very being of his life, and the understanding is its derivative manifestation, for the good that is of the will shapes itself forth in the understanding, and presents itself to view within fixed and settled outlines (certo modo).
LIFE 44. It has been shown above (n. 27, 28) that a man may know many things, may think them over, may understand them, and yet may not be wise. And as it is the province of faith to know and to think, and still more to understand, that a thing is true, a man may well believe that he has faith and yet not have it. The reason why he has it not, is that he is in evil of life, and evil of life and truth of faith cannot possibly act as a one. The evil of life destroys the truth of faith, because the evil of life is of the will and the truth of faith is of the understanding, and the will leads the understanding and makes it act as a one with itself, so that if there is anything in the understanding that is not in accord with the will, and the man is left to himself, and thinks from his own evil and the love of it, he then either casts out the truth that is in the understanding, or else by falsifying it forces it into oneness. Quite different is it with those who are in the good of life: such when left to themselves think from what is good, and love the truth that is in the understanding because it is in accord. In this way there takes place a conjunction of faith and life such as is that of truth and good, and both these conjunctions are like that of the understanding and the will.
LIFE 45. From all this then it follows that just in so far as a man shuns evils as sins, just so far has he faith, because just so far is he in good, as shown above. This is confirmed also by its contrary: that he who does not shun evils as sins, has not faith because he is in evil, and evil inwardly hates truth. Outwardly indeed he may act as a friend to truth, and suffer it to be in the understanding, may even love to have it there; but when what is outward is put off, as is done after death, he first casts out truth his friend in this world, then denies that it is truth, and finally feels aversion for it.
LIFE 46. The faith of an evil man is an intellectual faith, in which there is nothing of good from the will. Thus it is a dead faith, which is like the breathing of the lungs without there being any life or soul in it from the heart. Moreover the understanding corresponds to the lungs, and the will to the heart. Such faith is also like a good-looking harlot dressed up in crimson and gold, but full of disease and corruption. A harlot also corresponds to the falsification of truth, and therefore in the Word signifies it. Such faith is also like a tree luxuriant in foliage but barren of fruit, which the gardener cuts down. A tree moreover signifies a man, its leaves and blossoms signify the truths of faith, and its fruit the good of love. But very different is that faith in the understanding which has in it good from the will. This faith is living, and is like a breathing of the lungs in which there is life and soul from the heart. It is also like a lovely wife whose chastity endears her to her husband. It is also like a tree that bears fruit.
LIFE 47. There are many things that appear to be mere matters of faith, such as that there is a God; that the Lord, who is God, is the Redeemer and Saviour; that there is a heaven and a hell; that there is a life after death; and many other things of which it is not said that they are to be done, but that they are to be believed. These things of faith also are dead with a man who is in evil, but are living with a man who is in good. The reason is that a man who is in good not only acts aright from the will but also thinks aright from the understanding, and this not only before the world but also before himself when he is alone. Not so a man who is in evil.
LIFE 48. We have said that these things appear to be mere matters of faith. But the thought of the understanding derives its coming into manifest being (trahit suum existere) from the love of the will, which is the inmost being (qui est esse) of the thought in the understanding, as has been said above (n. 43). For whatever anyone wills from love, he wills to do, he wills to think, he wills to understand, and he wills to speak; or, what is the same, whatever anyone loves from the will, he loves to do, he loves to think, he loves to understand, and he loves to speak. To this is also to be added, that when a man shuns what is evil as a sin, he is in the Lord, as shown above, and the Lord then works everything. And therefore to those who asked Him what they should do that they might work the works of God, He said:–
This is the work of God, that ye believe in Him whom He hath sent (John 6:28, 29).
To “believe in the Lord” is not only to think that He is, but also to do His words, as He teaches elsewhere.
LIFE 49. That those who are in evils have no faith, no matter how much they may suppose themselves to have it, has been shown in the spiritual world in the case of persons of this character. They were brought into a heavenly society, which caused the spiritual sphere of faith as existing with the angels to enter into the interiors of their faith, and the result was that the angels perceived that those persons possessed only what is natural or external of faith, and not what is spiritual or internal of it, and therefore those persons themselves confessed that they had nothing whatever of faith, and that in the world they had persuaded themselves that to believe or have faith consists in thinking a thing to be true, no matter what the ground for so thinking. Very different was perceived to be the faith of those who had not been in evil.
LIFE 50. From all this it may be seen what spiritual faith is; and also what is faith not spiritual. Spiritual faith exists with those who do not commit sins, for those who do not commit sins do things that are good, not from themselves but from the Lord (n. 18-21), and through faith become spiritual. Faith with these is the truth This the Lord teaches in John:–
This is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, because their works were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God (John 3:19-21).
LIFE 51. All the foregoing is confirmed by the following passages in the Word:–
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45; Matt. 12:35).
The “heart” in the Word means man’s will, and as man thinks and speaks from this, it is said: “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which goeth out of the heart, this defileth the man (Matt. 15:11, 18). The “heart” here too means the will. Jesus said of the woman who anointed His feet with ointment:–
Her sins are forgiven for she loved much thy faith hath saved thee (Luke 7:47, 50);
from which it is evident that when sins have been remitted or forgiven, thus when they exist no longer, faith saves. That those are called “sons of God” and “born of God” who are not in the Own of their will, and consequently are not in the Own of their understanding; that is to say, who are not in evil and from this in falsity; and that these are they who believe in the Lord, He Himself teaches in (John 1:12, 13), which passage may be seen explained above in (n. 17), at the end.
LIFE 52. From these premises there follows this conclusion:–That no man has in him a grain of truth more than he has of good; thus that he has not a grain of faith more than he has of life. In the understanding indeed there may exist the thought that such or such a thing is true, but not the acknowledgment which is faith, unless there is consent thereto in the will. Thus do faith and life keep step as they walk. From all this it is now evident that in proportion as anyone shuns evils as sins, in the same proportion he has faith and is spiritual.
VI. THE DECALOGUE TEACHES WHAT EVILS ARE SINS
LIFE 53. What nation in the wide world is not aware that it is evil to steal, to commit adultery, to kill, and to bear false witness? If men were not aware of this, and if they did not by laws guard against the commission of these evils, it would be all over with them; for without such laws the community, the commonwealth, and the kingdom would perish. Who can imagine that the Israelitish nation was so much more senseless than other nations as not to know that these were evils? One might therefore wonder why these laws, known as they are the world over, were promulgated from Mount Sinai by Jehovah Himself with so great a miracle. But listen: they were promulgated with so great a miracle in order that men may know that these laws are not only civic and moral laws, but are also spiritual laws; and that to act contrary to them is not only to do evil to a fellow-citizen and to the community, but is also to sin against God. For this reason those laws, through promulgation from Mount Sinai by Jehovah, were made laws of religion; for it is evident that whatever Jehovah God commands, He commands in order that it may be of religion, and that it is to be done for His sake, and for the sake of the man that he may be saved.
LIFE 54. As these laws were the first-fruits of the Word, and therefore the first-fruits of the church that was to be again set up by the Lord with the Israelitish nation, and as they were in a brief summary a complex of all those things of religion by means of which there is conjunction of the Lord with man and of man with the Lord, they were so holy that nothing is more so.
LIFE 55. That they were most holy is evident from the fact that Jehovah Himself (that is, the Lord) came down upon Mount Sinai in fire, and with angels, and promulgated them from it by a living voice, and that the people had prepared themselves for three days to see and to hear; that the mountain was fenced about lest anyone should go near it and should die; that neither were the priests nor the elders to draw near, but Moses only; that those laws were written by the finger of God on two tables of stone; that when Moses brought the tables down from the mountain the second time, his face shone; that the tables were afterwards laid away in the ark, and the ark in the inmost of the tabernacle, and upon it was placed the mercy-seat, and upon this cherubs of gold; that this was the most holy thing of their church, being called the holy of holies; that outside the veil that hung before it there were placed things that represented holy things of heaven and the church, namely, the lampstand with its seven golden lamps, the golden altar of incense, and the table overlaid with gold on which were the loaves of faces, and surrounded with curtains of fine linen, bright-crimson, and scarlet. The holiness of this whole tabernacle had no other source than the Law that was in the ark.
 On account of this holiness of the tabernacle from the Law in the ark, the whole people of Israel, by command, encamped around it in the order of their tribes, and marched in order after it, and there was then a cloud over it by day, and a fire by night. On account of the holiness of that Law, and the presence of the Lord in it, the Lord spoke with Moses above the mercy-seat between the cherubs, and the ark was called “Jehovah there.” Aaron also was not allowed to enter within the veil except with sacrifices and incense. Because that Law was the very holiness of the church, the ark was brought by David into Zion; and later it was kept in the midst of the temple at Jerusalem, and constituted its shrine.
 On account of the Lord’s presence in that Law and around it, miracles were wrought by the ark in which was that Law: the waters of Jordan were cleft asunder, and so long as the ark was resting in the midst of it, the people passed over on dry ground; when the ark was carried round the walls of Jericho they fell; Dagon the god of the Philistines fell down before it, and afterwards lay on the threshold of the temple without his head; and on its account the Bethshemites were smitten to the number of many thousands not to mention other miracles. These were all performed solely by the Lord’s presence in His Ten Words, which are the commandments of the decalogue.
LIFE 56. So great a power and so great a holiness existed in that Law for the further reason that it was a complex of all things of religion for it consisted of two tables of which the one contains all things that are on the part of God, and the other in a complex all things that are on the part of man. The commandments of this Law are therefore called the “Ten Words,” and are so called because “ten” signifies all. But how this Law is a complex of all things of religion will be seen in the following chapter.
LIFE 57. As by means of this Law there is a conjunction of the Lord with man and of man with the Lord, it is called the “Covenant,” and the “Testimony,” the “Covenant” because it conjoins, and the “Testimony” because it bears witness, for a “covenant” signifies conjunction, and a “testimony” the attestation of it. For this reason there were two tables, one for the Lord and the other for man. The conjunction is effected by the Lord, but only when the man does the things that have been written in his table. For the Lord is constantly present and working, and wills to enter in, but man must open to the Lord in the freedom which he has from Him; for the Lord says:–
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me (Rev. 3:20).
LIFE 58. In the second table, which is for man, it is not said that man must do this or that good, but that he must not do this or that evil, as for example, “Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet.” The reason is that man cannot do any good whatever from himself, but when he no longer does evils, then he does good, not from himself but from the Lord. That by the power of the Lord a man is able to shun evils as of himself if he begs for that power, will be seen in the following pages.
LIFE 59. What has been said above (n. 55) respecting the promulgation, holiness, and power of that Law, will be found in the following places in the Word:–
That Jehovah came down on Mount Sinai in fire, and that the mountain smoked and quaked, and that there were thunderings, lightnings, a thick cloud, and the voice of a trumpet (Exod. 19:16, 18; Deut. 4:11; 5:22-26).
That before the descent of Jehovah the people prepared and sanctified themselves for three days (Exod. 19:10, 11, 15).
That bounds were set round the mountain, lest anyone should come near its base, and should die and that not even were the priests to come near, but Moses only (Exod. 19:12, 13, 20-23; 24:1, 2).
That the Law was promulgated from Mount Sinai (Exod. 20:2-17; Deut. 5:6-21).
That that Law was written by the finger of God on two tables of stone (Exod. 31:18; 32:15, 16; Deut. 9:10).
That when Moses brought those tables down from the mountain the second time, his face shone (Exod. 34:29-35).
That the tables were kept in the ark (Exod. 25:16; 40:20;Deut. 10:5; 1 Kings 8:9).
That upon the ark was placed the mercy-seat, and upon this the golden cherubs (Exod. 25:17-21).
That the ark, together with the mercy-seat and the cherubs, constituted the inmost of the tabernacle, and that the golden lampstand, the golden altar of incense, and the table overlaid with gold on which were the loaves of faces, constituted the exterior of the tabernacle and the ten curtains of fine linen, bright-crimson, and scarlet, its outermost (Exod. 25:1-40; 26:1-37; 40:17-28).
That the place where the ark was, was called the holy of holies (Exod. 26:33).
That the whole people of Israel encamped around the habitation in order according to their tribes, and marched in order after it (Num. 2:1-34).
That there was then over the habitation a cloud by day and a fire by night (Exod. 40:38; Num. 9:15-23; 14:14; Deut. 1:33).
That the Lord spoke with Moses from over the ark between the cherubs (Exod. 25:22; Num. 7:89).
That the ark, from the Law within it, was called Jehovah-There, for when the ark set forward, Moses said, Rise up, Jehovah; and when it rested be said, Return Jehovah (Num. 10:35, 36),
and see further (2 Sam. 6:2; Ps. 132:7, 8).
That on account of the holiness of that Law Aaron was not allowed to enter within the veil except with sacrifices and with incense (Lev. 16:2-14).
That the ark was brought into Zion by David with sacrifices and with shouting (2 Sam. 6:1-19).
That on that occasion, Uzzah, who touched it, died (2 Sam 6:6 and 7).
That the ark was placed in the midst of the temple in Jerusalem, where it constituted the shrine (1 Kings 6:19; 8:3-9).
That by the Lord’s presence and power in the Law that was in the ark, the waters of Jordan were cleft asunder, and so long as the ark rested in the midst of it, the people passed over on dry ground (Josh. 3:1-17; 4:5-20).
That when the ark was carried around them, the walls of Jericho fell (Josh. 6:1-20).
That Dagon the god of the Philistines fell to the earth before the ark, and afterwards lay upon the threshold of the temple headless (1 Sam. 5:1-4).
That on account of the ark the Bethshemites were smitten, to the number of many thousands (1 Sam. 6:19).
LIFE 60. That the tables of stone on which the Law was written were called “the tables of the covenant,” and that from them the ark was called “the ark of the covenant,” and the Law itself “the covenant,” see (Num. 10:33; Deut. 4:13, 23; 5:2, 3; 9:9; Josh. 3:11; 1 Kings 8:19, 21; Rev. 11:19). The reason why the Law was called the “covenant,” is that “covenant” signifies conjunction; and it is therefore said of the Lord that:–
He shall be for a covenant to the people (Isa. 42:6; 49:8);
and He is called:–
The messenger of the covenant (Mal. 3:1);
and His blood:–
The blood of the covenant (Matt. 26:28; Zech. 9:11; Exod. 24:4-10).
And therefore the Word is called the “Old Covenant,” and the “New Covenant.” Moreover covenants are made for the sake of love, friendship, association, and thus for the sake of conjunction.
LIFE 61. That the commandments of this Law were called the “Ten Words,” see (Exod. 34:28; Deut. 4:13; 10:4). They are so called because “ten” signifies all, and “words” signifies truths, for there were more than ten words. As “ten” signifies all, the curtains of the tabernacle were ten (Exod. 26:1); And for the same reason the Lord said That a certain man who was to receive a kingdom, called ten of his servants, and gave them ten pounds to trade with (Luke 19:13). And for the same reason also the Lord Likened the kingdom of the heavens to ten virgins (Matt. 25:1). For the same reason also, The dragon is described as having ten horns, and upon his horns ten diadems (Rev. 12:3). In like manner the beast that came up out of the sea (Rev. 13:1). And another beast also (Rev. 17:3, 7). Likewise the beast in Daniel (Daniel 7:7, 20, 24). The like is signified by ten (Leviticus 26:26; Zechariah 8:23). This is the origin of tithes, for “tithes” (or “tenths”) signify something from all.
VII. MURDERS, ADULTERIES, THEFTS, FALSE WITNESS, TOGETHER WITH ALL CONCUPISCENCE FOR THESE THINGS, ARE THE EVILS WHICH MUST BE SHUNNED AS SINS
LIFE 62. It is well known that the Law of Sinai was written on two tables, and that the first table contains the things of God, and the other the things of man. That the first table contains all things that belong to God, and the second all that belong to man, does not appear in the letter, yet are they all in them, and it is for this reason that they are called the Ten Words, by which are signified all truths in the complex (n. 61). But in what way all things are in them cannot be set forth in a few words, but may be apprehended from what has been presented in the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture (Sacred n. 67). This is why it is said “murders, adulteries, thefts, and false witness of every kind.”
LIFE 63. A religious tenet has prevailed to the effect that no one is able to fulfill the law the law being not to kill, not to commit adultery, not to steal, and not to bear false witness. Every civic man and moral man is able to fulfill these commandments of the law by a civic and moral life; but this tenet denies that he can do so by a spiritual life; from which it follows that his not doing these evils is only for the sake of avoiding penalties and losses in this world, and not for the sake of avoiding penalties and losses after he has left it. It is for this reason that a man with whom this tenet has prevailed, thinks these evils allowable in the sight of God, but not so in that of the world.
 And in consequence of such thought from this his tenet, the man is in concupiscence for all these evils, and refrains from doing them merely for the world’s sake; and therefore after death such a man, although he had not committed murders, adulteries, thefts, and false witness, nevertheless desires to commit them, and does commit them when the external possessed by him in this world is taken away from him. Every concupiscence he has had remains with him after death. It is owing to this that such persons act as one with hell, and cannot but have their lot among those who are there.
 Very different is the lot of those who are unwilling to kill, to commit adultery, to steal, and to bear false witness for the reason that to do these things is contrary to God. These persons, after some battling with these evils, do not will them, thus do not desire to commit them: they say in their hearts that they are sins, and in themselves are infernal and devilish. After death, when the external which they had possessed for this world is taken away from them, they act as one with heaven, and as they are in the Lord they come into heaven.
LIFE 64. It is a common principle of every religion that a man ought to examine himself, repent, and desist from sins, and that if he fails to do so he is in a state of damnation. That this is a common principle of every religion, see (n. 4-8.). Teaching the decalogue is also a common thing throughout the whole Christian world, and by it little children are commonly initiated into the Christian religion, for it is in the hands of all young children. Their parents and teachers tell them that to commit these evils is to sin against God, and in fact while speaking to the children they know nothing different. We may well wonder that these same persons, and the children too when they become adults, think that they are not under this Law, and that they are not able to do the things that belong to it. Can there be any other cause for their learning to think in this way, than that they love evils and consequently the false notions that favor them? These therefore are the people who do not make the commandments of the decalogue a matter of religion. And that these same persons live without religion will be seen in the Doctrine of Faith.
LIFE 65. All nations in the wide world who have religion possess precepts like those in the decalogue, and all who from religion live them are saved, and all who do not live them from religion are damned. When those who live them from religion are instructed after death by the angels, they receive truths, and acknowledge the Lord; the reason of which is that they shun evils as sins, and are consequently in good, and good loves truth, and from the desire of this love, receives it (n. 32-41). This is meant by the words of the Lord to the Jews:–
The kingdom of God shall be taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43).
And also by these:–
When therefore the Lord of the vineyard shall come, He will destroy those evil men, and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen, who shall render him the fruits in their season (Matt. 21:40, 41).
And by these:–
I say unto you that many shall come from the east and the west, and from the north and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God, but the sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness (Matt. 8:11, 12; Luke 13:29).
LIFE 66. We read in Mark:–
That a certain rich man came to Jesus, and asked Him what he should do to inherit eternal life, and that Jesus said to him, Thou knowest the commandments: Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not be a false witness, Thou shalt not defraud, Honor thy father and mother. And he answering said, All these things have I kept from my youth. And Jesus looked upon him and loved him, yet said unto him, One thing thou lackest; go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor; so shalt thou have treasure in the heavens and come, take up the cross and follow Me (Mark 10:17-22).
It is said that Jesus “loved him.” This was because the man said that he had kept those commandments from his youth. But because he lacked three things, which were that he had not removed his heart from riches, had not fought against concupiscences, and had not yet acknowledged the Lord to be God, the Lord said that he should “sell all that he had,” by which is meant that he should remove his heart from riches; that he should “take up the cross,” by which is meant that he should fight against concupiscences; and that he should “follow Him,” by which is meant that he should acknowledge the Lord to be God. The Lord spoke these things as He spoke all things by correspondences. (Sacred n. 17.) For no one is able to shun evils as sins unless he acknowledges the Lord and goes to Him, and unless he fights against evils and so removes concupiscences. But more about these matters in the chapter on combats against evils.
VIII. IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS MURDERS OF EVERY KIND AS SINS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE HAS LOVE TOWARD THE NEIGHBOR
LIFE 67. “Murders of every kind” include enmity, hatred, and revenge of every kind, which breathe murder, for murder lies hidden in them, like fire in wood underneath the ashes. Infernal fire is nothing else, and this is the origin of the expressions to “kindle with hatred,” and to “burn with revenge.” All these are “murders” in the natural sense. But in the spiritual sense “murders” mean all methods of killing and destroying the souls of men, which methods are varied and many. And in the highest sense “murder” means to hate the Lord. These three kinds of “murder” form a one, and cleave together, for he who wills the murder of a man’s body in this world, after death wills the murder of his soul, and wills the murder of the Lord, for he burns with anger against Him, and desires to blot out His name.
LIFE 68. These kinds of murder lie inwardly hidden in man from his birth, but from early childhood he learns to veil them over with the civic and moral behavior that he is bound to show toward men in the world, and in proportion as he loves honors or gains he guards against their appearance. This forms his external, while his internal is these kinds of murder. Such is man in himself. Now as when he dies he lays aside that external together with his body, and retains the internal, it is evident what a devil he would be unless he were reformed.
LIFE 69. As the kinds of murder mentioned above lie inwardly hidden in man from his birth, as has been said, and at the same time thefts of every kind, and false witness of even kind, together with the concupiscences for them (of which we shall speak farther on), it is evident that unless the Lord provided means of reformation, a man must perish everlastingly. The means of reformation provided by the Lord are as follows: That man is born into total ignorance; that when newly born he is kept in a state of external innocence; a little after in a state of external charity; and later in a state of external friendship; but in proportion as he comes into the exercise of thought from his own understanding, he is kept in a certain freedom of acting according to reason. This is the state that has been described above (n. 19), and the description shall be here repeated for the sake of what is to follow:–So long as a man is in this world he is midway between hell and heaven; hell is below him, and heaven is above him and he is kept in freedom to turn himself to either the one or the other; if he turns to hell he turns away from heaven if he turns to heaven he turns away from hell. Or what is the same, so long as a man is in this world he stands midway between the Lord and the devil, and is kept in freedom to turn himself to either the one or the other; if he turns to the devil he turns away from the Lord; if he turns to the Lord he turns away from the devil. Or what is again the same, so long as a man is in this world he is midway between evil and good, and is kept in freedom to turn himself to either the one or the other; if he turns to evil he turns away from good; if he turns to good he turns away from evil. (n. 20-22.)
LIFE 70. Now as evil and good are two opposite things, precisely as are hell and heaven, or as are the devil and the Lord, it follows that if a man shuns evil as sin, he comes into the good that is opposite to the evil. The good opposite to the evil that is meant by “murder,” is the good of love toward the neighbor.
LIFE 71. As this good and that evil are opposites, it follows that the latter is removed by means of the former. Two opposites cannot be together, even as heaven and hell cannot; if they were together there would be lukewarmness, of which it is said in the Book of Revelation:–
I know that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot; but because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth (Revelation 3:15, 16).
LIFE 72. When a man is no longer in the evil of murder, but in the good of love toward the neighbor, whatever he does is a good of this love, and therefore it is a good work. A priest who is in this good does a good work whenever he teaches and leads, because he acts from the love of saving souls. A magistrate who is in this good does a good work whenever he delivers a decision or a judgment, because he acts from the love of taking care of his country, of the community, and of his fellow-citizen. The same with a trader: if he is in this good, everything of his trading is a good work; there is in him the love of the neighbor; and his country, the community, his fellow-citizen, and also the members of his household, are the neighbor whose welfare he has care for in providing for his own. A workman also who is in this good, works faithfully from it, for others as for himself, fearing his neighbor’s loss as he would his own. The reason why the doings of these men are good works, is that in proportion as anyone shuns evil, in the same proportion he does good, according to the general law stated above (n. 21), and he who shuns evil as sin, does good not from himself but from the Lord (n. 18-31). The contrary is the case with him who does not regard as sins the various kinds of murder, which are enmities, hatred, revenge, and many more. Whether he be priest, magistrate, trader, or workman, whatever he does is not a good work, because every work of his partakes of the evil that is within him; for his internal is what gives it birth. The external may be good, but only as regards others, not as regards himself.
LIFE 73. The Lord teaches the good of love is many places in the Word. He teaches it in Matthew by what He says about reconciliation with the neighbor:–
If thou art offering thy gift upon the altar, and there remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Be well-minded to thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him lest the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. Verily I say unto thee, thou shalt not come out thence, till thou hast paid the last farthing (Matthew 5:23-26).
To be “reconciled to one’S brother,” is to shun enmity, hatred, and revenge; that it is to shun them as sin is evident. The Lord also teaches in Matthew:–
All thing whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12);
thus that we should not do evil. He teaches the same in many other places. The Lord also teaches that to be angry with one’s brother or the neighbor rashly, and to hold him as an enemy, also to commit murder (Matt. 5:21, 22).
IX. IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS ADULTERIES OF EVERY KIND AS SINS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE LOVES CHASTITY
LIFE 74. To “commit adultery,” as mentioned in the sixth (or as it is usually called, the seventh) commandment, means, in the natural sense, not only to commit whoredom, but also to do obscene things, to speak lascivious things, and to think about filthy things. But in the spiritual sense to “commit adultery” means to adulterate the goods of the Word, and to falsify its truths. In the highest sense to “commit adultery” means to deny the divinity of the Lord, and to profane the Word. These are the “adulteries of every kind.” The natural man is able to know from rational light that to “commit adultery” includes in its meaning the doing of things obscene, the speaking of things lascivious, and the thinking of things that are filthy; but he does not know that to commit adultery means also to adulterate the goods of the Word and to falsify its truths, and still less that it means to deny the divinity of the Lord and to profane the Word. Consequently neither does he know that adultery is so great an evil that it may be called diabolism itself, for he who is in natural adultery is also in spiritual adultery, and the converse. That this is so, will be shown in a separate little work entitled De Conjugio. But those who from their faith and their life do not regard adulteries as sins, are in adulteries of every kind at once.
LIFE 75. That in proportion as anyone shuns adultery, in the same proportion be loves marriage; or what is the same, in proportion as anyone shuns the lasciviousness of adultery, in the same proportion he loves the chastity of marriage, is because the lasciviousness of adultery and the chastity of marriage are two opposite things, and therefore in proportion as anyone is not in the one, he is in the other. It is precisely as has been said above at n. 70.
LIFE 76. No one can know the nature of the chastity of marriage except the man who shuns as a sin the lasciviousness of adultery. For a man may know that in which he is, but cannot know that in which he is not. If from description or from thinking about it a man knows something in which he is not, be nevertheless knows of it merely as of something in the dark, and there remains some doubt about it, so that no one sees anything in the light and free from doubt until he is actually in it. This last therefore is to know, whereas the other is both to know and not to know. The truth is that the lasciviousness of adultery and the chastity of marriage stand toward each other exactly as do hell and heaven, and that the lasciviousness of adultery makes hell in a man, and the chastity of marriage makes heaven. But the chastity of marriage exists solely with the man who shuns as sin the lasciviousness of adultery (n. 111).
LIFE 77. From all this we can conclude and see, in no dubious manner, whether a man is a Christian or not, and even whether a man has any religion or not. If from his faith and from his life a man does not regard adulteries as sins, then he is not a Christian, and neither has he any religion. And on the other hand, if a man shuns adulteries as sins, and especially if on that account he feels aversion for them, and still more especially if on that account he abhors them, then he has religion, and if he is in the Christian Church he is a Christian. But more about these matters in the little work entitled De Conjugio, and in Heaven and Hell, (HH n. 366-386).
LIFE 78. That to “commit adultery” means also to do obscene things, to speak lascivious things, and to think about filthy things, is evident from the Lord’s words in Matthew:–
Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery but I say unto you that whosoever looketh on the woman of another to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:27, 28).
LIFE 79. That to “commit adultery” in the spiritual sense means to adulterate the good of the Word and to falsify its truth, is evident from the following passages:–
Babylon hath made all the nations drink of the wine of her fornication (Rev. 14:8).
The angel said, I will show thee the judgment of the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication (Rev. 17:1, 2).
Babylon hath made all the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her (Rev. 18:3).
God hath judged the great harlot who did corrupt the earth with her fornication (Rev. 19:2).
“Whoredom” is predicated of Babylon, because “Babylon” means those who arrogate to themselves the Lord’s Divine sovereign power, and profane the Word by adulterating and falsifying it; and for this reason Babylon is called:–
The mother of the whoredoms and of the abominations of the earth (Rev. 17:5).
 The same is signified by “whoredom” in the prophets, as in Jeremiah:–
In the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible obstinacy in committing adultery and walking in lying (Jeremiah 23:14).
And in Ezekiel:–
Two women, the daughters of one mother, committed whoredom in Egypt; they committed whoredom in their youth; the one committed whoredom when she was Mine, and doted on her lovers the Assyrians her neighbors; she bestowed her whoredoms upon them, yet she forsook not her whoredoms in Egypt; the other corrupted her love more than she, and her whoredoms were more than the whoredoms of her sister; she added to her whoredoms, she loved the Chaldeans, the sons of Babel came to her to the bed of loves, and defiled her with their whoredom (Ezekiel 23:2-17).
These things are said of the Israelitish and the Jewish Church, here called the “daughters of one mother.” Their “whoredoms” mean adulterations and falsifications of the Word, and as in the Word “Egypt” signifies memory-knowledge, “Assyria” reasoning, “Chaldea” the profanation of truth, and “Babel” the profanation of good, it is said that they “committed whoredom” with them.
 The same is said of “Jerusalem,” by which is signified the church in respect to doctrine:–
Thou didst trust in thy beauty, and didst commit whoredom because of thy renown, so that thou pouredst out thy whoredoms on everyone that passed by; thou hast committed whoredom with the sons of Egypt thy neighbors, great of flesh, and hast multiplied thy whoredom; thou hast committed whoredom with the sons of Asshur; and when thou wast not satisfied with those with whom thou didst commit whoredom, thou hast multiplied thy whoredoms unto the land of traffic, to Chaldea. An adulterous woman that receiveth strangers instead of her husband! All give hire to their harlots, but thou hast given hire to all thy lovers that they may come unto thee on every side in thy whoredoms. Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of Jehovah (Ezek. 16:15, 26, 28, 29, 32, 33, 35).
That “Jerusalem” means the church may be seen in the Doctrine of the Lord (L n. 62, 63). (The like is signified by “whoredoms” in (Isa. 23:17, 18; 57:3; Jer. 3:2, 6, 8, 9; 5:1, 7; 13:27; 29:23; Micah 1:7; Nahum 3:4; Hos. 4:10, 11; Lev. 20:5; Num. 14:33; 15:39.) For the same reason the Lord called the Jewish nation an adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39 16:4; Mark 8:38).
X. IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS THEFTS OF EVERY KIND AS SINS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE LOVES SINCERITY
LIFE 80. To “steal,” in the natural sense, means not only to commit theft and robbery, but also to defraud, and under some pretext take from another his goods. But in the spiritual sense to “steal” means to deprive another of his truths of faith and his goods of charity. And in the highest sense to “steal” means to take away from the Lord that which is His, and attribute it to one’s self, and thus to claim righteousness and merit for one’s self. These are the “thefts of every kind.” And they also make a one, as do adulteries of every kind, and murders of every kind, of which we have already treated. The reason why they make a one is that they are one within another.
LIFE 81. The evil of theft enters more deeply into a man than any other evil, because it is conjoined with cunning and deceit; and cunning and deceit insinuate themselves even into the spiritual mind of man in which is his thought with understanding. That man possesses a spiritual mind and a natural mind will be seen below.
LIFE 82. That in proportion as anyone shuns theft as a sin, in the same proportion he loves sincerity, is because theft is also fraud, and fraud and sincerity are two opposite things, so that in proportion as anyone is not in theft in the same proportion he is in sincerity.
LIFE 83. Sincerity is to be understood as including integrity justice, fidelity, and rectitude. In these no man can be from himself so as to love them from and for themselves. But he is in them who shuns as sins, fraud, cunning, and deceit, and is therefore in them not from himself but from the Lord (n. 18-31) Such is the case with a priest, a magistrate, a judge, a trader, and with everyone in his own office and his own work.
LIFE 84. This is taught by the Word in many passages, among which are the following:–
He that walketh in righteousnesses, and speaketh uprightnesses; he that despiseth oppressions for gain, that shaketh his hands from holding bribes, that stoppeth his ears from the hearing of bloods, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil he shall dwell on high (Isa. 33:15, 16).
Jehovah, who shall abide in Thy tent? who shall dwell in the mountain of Thy holiness? He that walketh uprightly, and doeth righteousness; he that slandereth not with his tone, nor doeth evil to his companion (Ps. 15:1-3).
Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me he that walketh in the way of the upright, be shall minister unto Me. He that worketh deceit shall not dwell in the midst of My house he that speaketh lies shall not stand before Mine eyes. In the dawning will I cut off all the wicked of the land, to cut off from the city all the workers of iniquity (Ps. 101:6-8).
That unless a man is interiorly sincere, just, faithful, and up-right, he is insincere, unjust, unfaithful, and base, is taught by the Lord in these words:–
Except your righteousness shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:10).
The “righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees” means the interior righteousness in which is the man who is in the Lord. That he is in the Lord is taught by the Lord Himself in John:–
The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given unto them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected into one that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them (John 17:22, 23, 26).
From this it is evident that they are “perfect” when the Lord is in them. These are they who are called The pure in heart, who shall see God and, Those who are perfect as is their Father in the heavens (Matt. 5:8, 48).
LIFE 85. It has been said above (n. 81), that the evil of theft enters more deeply into a man than any other evil because it is conjoined with cunning and deceit, and that cunning and deceit insinuate themselves even into the spiritual mind of man in which is his thought with understanding. Something shall therefore now be said about the Mind of man. The mind of man is his understanding and will together, (n. 43.)
LIFE 86. Man possesses a natural mind and a spiritual mind. The natural mind is below, and the spiritual mind above. The natural mind is the mind of man’s world, and the spiritual mind is the mind of his heaven. The natural mind may be called the animal mind, and the spiritual mind the human mind. Man is discriminated from the animal by possessing a spiritual mind. By means of this mind he can be in heaven while still in the world; and it is by means of this mind also that man lives after death.
 In his understanding a man is able to be in the spiritual mind, and consequently in heaven, but unless he shuns evils as sins he cannot be in the spiritual mind and consequently in heaven, as to his will. And if he is not there as to his will, he is not in heaven, in spite of the fact that he is there in understanding, for the will drags the understanding down, and causes it to be just as natural and animal as it is itself.
 Man may be compared to a garden-his understanding to light, and his will to heat. In winter time a garden is in light but not in accompanying heat, but in summer time it is in light accompanied by heat. Just so a man who is in the light of the understanding alone is like a garden in winter time, whereas one who is in the light of the understanding and at the same time in the heat of the will is like a garden in summer time. Moreover the understanding is wise from spiritual light, and the will loves from spiritual heat, for spiritual light is Divine wisdom, and spiritual heat is Divine love.
 So long as a man does not shun evils as sins, the concupiscences of evils block up the interiors of the natural mind on the part of the will, being like a thick veil there, and like a black cloud beneath the spiritual mind, and they prevent its being opened. But in very deed the moment a man shuns evils as sins, the Lord inflows from heaven, takes away the veil, dispels the cloud, opens the spiritual mind, and so introduces the man into heaven.
 So long as the concupiscences of evils block up the interiors of the natural mind (in the way we have indicated), so long is the man in hell; the moment however that these concupiscences have been dispersed by the Lord, the man is in heaven. Furthermore: so long as the concupiscences of evils block up the interiors of the natural mind, so long is the man natural; but the moment they have been dispersed by the Lord, he is spiritual. Furthermore: so long as the concupiscences of evils block up the interiors of the natural mind, so long is the man animal, differing only in his ability to think and speak, even of such things as he does not see with his eyes, which ability he derives from his capacity of uplifting his understanding into the light of heaven. The moment however that these concupiscences have been dispersed by the Lord, the man is a man, because he then thinks what is true in the understanding from what is good in the will. And furthermore: so long as the concupiscences of evils block up the interiors of the natural mind, the man is like a garden in winter time, but the moment these concupiscences have been dispersed by the Lord, he is like a garden in summer time.
 The conjunction in a man of the will and the understanding is meant in the Word by “heart and soul,” and by “heart and spirit.” For example: that we must love God With all the heart, and with all the soul (Matt. 22:37). And that God will give A new heart, and a new spirit (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26, 27). The “heart” means the will and its love, and the “soul” and the ” spirit,” the understanding and its wisdom.
XI. IN PROPORTION AS ANY ONE SHUNS FALSE WITNESS OF EVERY KIND AS SIN, IN THE SAME PROPORTION HE LOVES THE TRUTH
LIFE 87. To “bear false witness,” in the natural sense, means not only to play the false witness, but also to lie, and to defame. In the spiritual sense, to “bear false witness” means to declare some false thing to be true or some evil thing good, and to persuade others that it is so; and the converse. And in the highest sense, to “bear false witness” means to blaspheme the Lord and the Word. These are the three senses of “bearing false witness.” That these make a one in the man who bears false witness, utters a lie, or defames, is evident from what has been shown respecting the three senses of all things of the Word, in the Doctrine of the Holy Scripture (Sacred n. 5-7, 57).
LIFE 88. As lying and the truth are two opposite things, it follows that in proportion as anyone shuns lying as sin, in the same proportion he loves the truth.
LIFE 89. In proportion as anyone loves the truth, in the same proportion he desires to know it, and in the same proportion is affected at heart when he finds it. No one else comes into wisdom. And in proportion as anyone loves to do the truth, in the same proportion he is sensible of the pleasantness of the light in which the truth is. It is the same with all the other things spoken of above; with sincerity and justice in the case of one who shuns thefts of every kind; with chastity and purity in the case of one who shuns adulteries of every kind; and with love and charity in the case of one who shuns murders of every kind; and so forth. On the other hand, one who is in the opposites to these heavenly things knows nothing about them, although everything that is truly something is present in them.
LIFE 90. It is the truth that is meant by the “seed in the field,” of which the Lord said:–
A sower went forth to sow, and as he sowed some fell upon the way, and it was trodden down, and the fowls of heaven devoured it; and some fell upon stony places, and as soon as it was sprung up, because it had no root it withered away; and some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprung up with it and choked it; and other fell into the good ground, and sprung up, and bare fruit manifold (Luke 8:5-8; Matt. 13:3-8; Mark 4:3-8).
Here the “sower” is the Lord, and the “seed” is His Word, thus the truth; the “seed upon the way” exists with those who do not care for the truth; the “seed upon stony places” exists with those who do care for the truth, but not for its own sake, thus not interiorly the “seed in the midst of thorns” exists with those who are in the concupiscences of evil; but the “seed in good ground” exists with those who love the truths that are in the Word from the Lord, and do them from Him, thus who bear fruit. That these things are meant is evident from the explication of the parable by the Lord (Matt. 13:19-23, 37; Mark 4:14-20; Luke 8:11-15). From all this it is evident that the truth of the Word cannot take root in those who do not care for the truth, nor in those who love the truth outwardly and not inwardly, nor in those who are in the concupiscences of evil, but in those in whom the concupiscences of evil have been dispersed by the Lord. In these the “seed”–that is, the truth– takes root in their spiritual mind (n. 86).
LIFE 91. It is a general opinion at the present day that to be saved consists in believing this thing or that which the church teaches, and that it does not consist in keeping the commandments (which are, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness) in both the restricted and the extended sense. For it is maintained that works are not regarded by God, but faith, when nevertheless the truth is that in proportion as anyone is in these evils, in that same proportion he has no faith (n. 42-52). Take counsel of reason and observe whether, so long as he is in the concupiscence of these evils, any murderer, adulterer, thief, or false witness is able to have faith; and also, further, whether the concupiscence of these evils can be shaken off in any other way than by refusing to will to commit them for the reason that they are sins, that is, because they are infernal and devilish. So that whoever imagines that being saved consists in believing this thing or that which is taught by the church, while himself remaining thus evil in feeling and in character, must needs be a “foolish man,” in accordance with the words of the Lord in (Matthew 7:26). Such a church is thus described in Jeremiah:–
Stand in the gate of Jehovah’s house, and proclaim there this word: Thus saith Jehovah of Armies the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, the temple of Jehovah, are these. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, We are delivered, while ye do all these abominations? Is this house become a den of robbers? Behold, I, even I, have seen it, saith Jehovah (Jeremiah 7:2-4, 9-11).
XII. NO ONE CAN SHUN EVILS AS SINS SO AS TO BE INWARDLY AVERSE TO THEM EXCEPT BY MEANS OF COMBATS AGAINST THEM
LIFE 92. Everybody knows from the Word and from doctrine drawn from it that the Own of man is evil from his birth, and that this is the reason why from inborn concupiscence he loves evils and is drawn into them. This is why he desires to have revenge, and to commit fraud, defamation, and adultery. And unless he ties thought that such things are sins, and on this account resists them, he does them whenever an opportunity offers, provided that his reputation and thereby his honors and gains do not suffer. Consider also that unless he has religion the man does these things from delight.
LIFE 93. As this Own of man constitutes the first root of his life, it is evident what kind of a tree a man would be unless this root were plucked up, and a new root planted in its place. He would be a rotted tree, of which it is said that it must be cut down and cast into the fire (Matt. 3:10; 7:19). And this root is not removed and a new one set in its place unless the man regards the evils that constitute the root as injurious to his soul, and on this account desires to rid himself of them. But as these evils belong to man’s Own, and are therefore delightful to him, he cannot do this except against his will, with a struggle, and therefore with battling.
LIFE 94. Every one does this battling who believes in the existence of hell and of heaven: that heaven is eternal happiness, and hell eternal unhappiness; and that those who do evils go to hell, and those who do goods to heaven. And one who thus fights acts from within, and against the concupiscence itself which constitutes the root of the evil, for one who fights against anything does not will it, and to desire is to will. This shows that the root of evil is not removed except by means of combat.
LIFE 95. In proportion therefore as anyone battles with and thus removes evil, in the same proportion good takes its place, and from this good the man in the same proportion looks evil in the face, and sees that it is infernal and horrible, and on this account he not only shuns it, but feels averse to it, and at last abhors it.
LIFE 96. A man who fights against evils cannot but do so as of himself, for one who does not fight as of himself does not do so at all, but stands like an automaton that sees nothing and does nothing, and from evil he is continually thinking in favor of evil, and not against it. But be it well known that it is the Lord alone who fights in a man against his evils, and that it only appears to the man that he fights of himself, and also that the Lord wills that it should so appear to him, because without this appearance no combat takes place and therefore no reformation.
LIFE 97. This combat is not severe except in the case of those who have given free rein to their concupiscences, and have indulged them of set purpose, and also in the case of those who have stubbornly cast off the holy things of the Word and of the church. With others it is not severe; let them even once in a week, or twice in a month, resist the evils they are inclined to, and they will perceive a change.
LIFE 98. The Christian Church is called the church militant, and it cannot be called militant except as against the devil, and thus against the evils that are from hell. Hell is the devil. And the temptation that the man of the church undergoes is this warfare.
LIFE 99. Battlings against evils, which battlings are temptations, are treated of in many places in the Word. They are meant by these words of the Lord:–
I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone but if it die, it beareth much fruit (John 12:24).
And also by these:–
If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it and whosoever shall lose his life for My sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it (Mark 8:34, 35).
The “cross” means temptation, as also in (Matt. 10:38; 16:24; Mark 10:21; Luke 14:27). By his “life” is meant the life of man’s Own, as also in (Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Luke 9:24; John 12:25), which is also the “life of the flesh that profiteth nothing” (John 6:63). In regard to battlings against evils, and victories over them, the Lord speaks in the Revelation to all the churches:–
To the church in Ephesus: To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (Rev. 2:7).
To the church in Smyrna: He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death (Rev 2:11).
To the church in Pergamos: To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it (Rev 2:17).
To the church in Thyatira He that overcometh, and that keepeth My words unto the end, to him will I give power (potestas) over the nations; and the morning star (Rev 2:26, 28).
To the church in Sardis He that overcometh shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels (Rev 3:5).
To the church in Philadelphia: He that overcometh I will make a pillar in the temple of My God, and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, of the New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from My God, and My new name (Rev 3:12).
To the church in Laodicea: He that overcometh I will give to him to sit down with Me in My throne (Rev 3:21).
LIFE 100. These battlings are temptations (HD n. 187-201); Whence and what they are (HD n. 196, 197) Now and where they take place (HD n. 198) What good they effect (HD n. 199) That the Lord fights for man (HD n. 200); Concerning the Lord’s battlings or temptations (HD n. 201).
XIII. A MAN OUGHT TO SHUN EVILS AS SINS AND FIGHT AGAINST THEM AS OF HIMSELF
LIFE 101. It is in accordance with Divine order that man should act in freedom according to reason, because to act in freedom according to reason is to act from himself. And yet these two faculties, Freedom and Reason, are not proper to man, but are the Lord’s in him; and in so far as he is a man they must not be taken away from him, because without them he cannot he reformed, for without them he cannot perform repentance, he cannot fight against evils, and afterwards bring forth fruits worthy of repentance. Now as it is from the Lord that man possesses freedom and reason, and as man acts from them, it follows that he does not act from himself, but as from himself.
LIFE 102. The Lord loves man and wills to dwell with him, yet He cannot love him and dwell with him unless He is received and loved in return. From this alone comes conjunction. For this reason the Lord has given man freedom and reason, freedom to think and will as of himself, and reason in accordance with which he may do so. To love and to be conjoined with one in whom there is nothing reciprocal is not possible, nor is it possible to enter in and abide with one in whom there is no reception. As there are in man, from the Lord, reception and reciprocation, the Lord says:–
Abide in Me, and I in you (John 15:4).
He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit (John 15:5).
At that day ye shall know that ye are in Me, and I in you (John 14:20).
The Lord also teaches that He is in the truths and in the goods that a man receives and that are in him:–
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you. If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love (John 15:7, 10).
He that hath My commandments, and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me and I will love him, and will make My abode with him (John 14:21, 23).
So that the Lord dwells in a man in what is His own, and the man dwells in those things which are from the Lord, and thus dwells in the Lord.
LIFE 103. As there is in man, from the Lord, this ability to reciprocate and return, and consequently this mutuality, the Lord says that a man must do the work of repentance, which no one can do except as of himself:–
Jesus said: Except ye repent ye shall all perish (Luke 13:3, 5).
Jesus said: The kingdom of God is at hand; repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:14, 15).
Jesus said: I am come to call sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32).
Jesus said to the churches: Repent (Rev. 2:5, 16, 21, 22;3:3).
It is also said:–
They repented not of their works (Rev. 16:11).
LIFE 104. As there is in man, from the Lord, this ability to reciprocate and return, and consequently this mutuality, the Lord says that a man must keep the commandments, and also that he must bring forth fruit:–
Why call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46-49).
If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them (John 13:17).
Ye are My friends, if ye do the things which I command you (John 15:14).
Whosoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the kingdom of the heavens (Matt. 5:19).
Every one therefore who heareth these words of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken to a wise man (Matt. 7:24).
Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8).
Make the tree good, and its fruit good (Matt. 12:33).
The kingdom shall be given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matt. 21:43).
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire (Matt. 7:19).
And so in many other places: from all which it is evident that a man must act of himself but from the Lord’s power, which he must petition for. For this is to act as from himself.
LIFE 105. As there is in man, from the Lord, this ability to reciprocate and return, and consequently this mutuality, a man must render an account of his works, and will be requited according to them. For the Lord says:–
The Son of man shall come, and shall render to every man according to his deeds (Matt. 16:27).
They shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evils unto the resurrection of judgment (John 5:29).
Their works do follow with them (Rev. 14:13).
They were judged every man according to his works (Rev. 20:13).
Behold, I come, and My reward is with Me, to give every man according to his work (Rev. 22:12).
If there were in man no reciprocality, there would be no imputation.
LIFE 106. As in man there are reception and reciprocality, the church teaches that a man must examine himself, confess his sins before God, desist from them, and lead a new life. It may be seen above (n. 3-8) that every church in the Christian world teaches this.
LIFE 107. Unless there were reception by man, and at the same time a taking thought as it were by him, nothing could have been said about faith, for faith is not from man. Without this reception and reciprocality, man would be like chaff in the wind, and would stand as if lifeless, with mouth open, and hands hanging down, awaiting influx, devoid of thought and action in regard to the things that concern his salvation. It is indeed true that he is by no means the agent in regard to these things, but yet he is a reagent as of himself. But these matters will be set forth in still clearer light in the treatises on Angelic Wisdom.
XIV. IF ANY ONE SHUNS EVILS FOR ANY OTHER REASON THAN BECAUSE THEY ARE SINS, HE DOES NOT SHUN THEM, BUT MERELY PREVENTS THEM FROM APPEARING BEFORE THE WORLD
LIFE 108. There are moral men who keep the commandments of the second table of the decalogue, not committing fraud, blasphemy, revenge, or adultery; and such of them as confirm themselves in the belief that such things are evils because they are injurious to the public weal, and are therefore contrary to the laws of humane conduct, practise charity, sincerity, justice, chastity. But if they do these goods and shun those evils merely because they are evils, and not at the same time because they are sins, they are still merely natural men, and with the merely natural the root of evil remains imbedded and is not dislodged; for which reason the goods they do are not goods, because they are from themselves.
LIFE 109. Before men, a natural moral man may appear exactly like a spiritual moral man, but not before the angels. Before the angels in heaven, if he is in goods he appears like an image of wood, if in truths like an image of marble, lifeless, and very different from a spiritual moral man. For a natural moral man is an outwardly moral man, and a spiritual moral man is an inwardly moral man, and what is outward without what is inward is lifeless. It does indeed live, but not the life that is called life.
LIFE 110. The concupiscences of evil that constitute the interiors of man from his birth can be removed by the Lord alone. For the Lord inflows from what is spiritual into what is natural; but man, of himself, from what is natural into what is spiritual; and this influx is contrary to order, and does not operate into the concupiscences and remove them, but shuts them in closer and closer in proportion as it confirms itself. And as the hereditary evil thus lurks there, shut in, after death when the man becomes a spirit it bursts the cover that had hidden it here, and breaks out like the discharge from an ulcer that has been healed only outwardly.
LIFE 111. There are various and many causes that make a man moral in the outward form, but unless he is moral in the inward form also, he is nevertheless not moral. For example: if a man abstains from adulteries and whoredom from the fear of the civil law and its penalties; from the fear of losing his good name and esteem; from the fear of the consequent diseases; from the fear of his wife’s tongue in his home, and the consequent inquietude of his life; from the fear of the husband’s vengeance, or that of some relative; from poverty, or avarice; from disability caused either by disease, abuse, age, or impotence; nay, if he abstains from such things on account of any natural or moral law, and not at the same time on account of the spiritual law, he nevertheless is inwardly an adulterer and whoremonger, for none the less does be believe that such things are not sins. As toward God, therefore, he in his spirit makes them not unlawful, and so in spirit he commits them, although not in the body in the sight of the world; and therefore after death, when he becomes a spirit, he speaks openly in favor of them. From all this it is evident that an ungodly man is able to shun evils as injurious, but only a Christian can shun them as sins.
LIFE 112. It is the same with thefts and frauds of every kind, with murders and revengeful acts of every kind, and with false witness and lies of every kind. No one can of himself be cleansed and made pure from such things, for within every concupiscence there are infinite things which the man sees only as one simple thing, whereas the Lord sees the smallest details of the whole series. In a word, a man cannot regenerate himself, that is, form in himself a new heart and a new spirit, but the Lord alone can do this, who Himself is the Reformer and the Regenerator. Therefore if a man wills to make himself new by his own sagacity and intelligence, it is merely like painting an ugly face, or smearing a skin detergent over a part that is infected with inward corruption.
LIFE 113. Therefore the Lord says in Matthew:–
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and the platter, that the outside may be clean also (Matthew 23:26).
And in Isaiah:–
Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your works from before Mine eyes, cease to do evil and then though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they have been red like crimson, they shall be as Wool (Isaiah 1:16, 18).
LIFE 114. To what has already been said shall be added the following:
–1. Christian charity, with everyone, consists in faithfully performing what belongs to his calling, for by this, if he shuns evils as sins, he every day is doing goods, and is himself his own use in the general body. In this way also the common good is cared for, and the good of each person in particular.
–2. All other things that he does are not the proper works of charity, but are either its signs, its benefactions, or its obligations.
1 That is, a complex whole which constitutes a unity. (Tr)
1 This projected little work was afterwards expanded by Swedenborg into a large one, and was published by him in Amsterdam in the year 1768, under the (translated) title: The Delights of Wisdom concerning Conjugial Love; after which follow the Pleasures of Insanity concerning Scortatory Love. The original MS outline for the De Conjugio is now preserved in the library of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. It was published in the original Latin at Tubingen by Dr. Jo. Fr. Im. Tafel in the year 1860. (TR)
1 The Latin word proprium is the term used in the original text that in this and other places has been rendered by the expression “Own.” The dictionary meaning of proprius, as an adjective, is “one’s own,” “proper,” “belonging to one’s self alone,” “special,” “particular,” “peculiar.” The neuter of this which is the word proprium, when used as a noun means “possession,” “property;” also “a peculiarity,” “characteristic mark,” “distinguishing sign,” “characteristic.” The English adjective “own” is defined by Webster to mean “belonging to,” “belonging exclusively or especially to,” “peculiar so that our word “own” is a very exact equivalent of proprius, and if we make it a noun by writing it “Own,” in order to answer to the Latin proprium, we effect a very close translation. (TR)
1 That man has freedom from the Lord, see above (n. 19, 20); and in the work on Heaven and Hell (HH n. 589-596, 597-603). What freedom is, see the Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, published in London in 1758 (HD n. 141-149).
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