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1688 - 1771
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From Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia 10597
"The Word teaches that a person is alive after death, for example where it says that God is not the God of the dead but of the living, Matt. 22:32; that Lazarus was taken up after death to heaven, but the rich man was cast down to hell, Luke 16:22,23ff; that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are there, Matt. 8:11; 22:32; Luke 16:23-25,29; that Jesus told the robber, Today you will be with Me in paradise, Luke 23:43; and in other statements elsewhere." (AC 10597)
"Nothing is permitted to happen that has not been foreseen, for otherwise it cannot happen." Swedenborg's Spiritual Experiences 1088 (SE 1088)
Theistic Psychology = eternity = heaven vs. hell = rational vs. irrational = human = good and truth = God the Divine Human. More here...
Everything not connected with something prior to itself falls into nothing. (AC 5084)
Angelic people have all their blessedness through truths from good. (AC 484)
Wives are by birth forms of love, so that it is innate in them to wish to be one with their husbands. But it is different with husbands; since they are not by birth forms of love, but designed to receive that love from their wives. (CL 216)
Sacred Scripture is the only doctrine which teaches how a man must live in the world in order to be happy to eternity. (AC 8939)
A thorough compilation of articles and links about Swedenborg
is available from Answers.com at:
For a brief biography of Swedenborg and his place in
the world today, see this article:
For links to free online books and articles about Swedenborg's Writings for the past one hundred years, click here: SwedenborgStudy.com
The Young Adult Connection and AIM by Peter Rhodes
Internal Senses of the Bible compiled by Ian Thompson at www.BibleMeanings.info
Spiritual Meaning of Words in the Bible Based on Swedenborg's Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Ian Thompson at www.biblemeanings.info/Words/index.html
Spiritual Meaning of Parables in the Bible, Based on Swedenborg's Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Ian Thompson at www.biblemeanings.info/Parables/index.htm
Spiritual Meaning of the Ten Commandments, Based on Swedenborg's
Correspondences, Compiled by Dr. Ian Thompson at
From Swedenborg's Arcana Coelestia
AC 2588. Abraham's wife. That this signifies in order that spiritual truth might be conjoined with celestial good, is evident from the representation of Sarah as a wife, as being spiritual truth conjoined with celestial good (see n. 1468, 1901, 2063, 2065, 2172, 2173, 2198, 2507); and from the representation of Abraham, as being celestial good conjoined with spiritual truth (see n. 2011, 2172, 2198, 2501). Whether we say "spiritual truth and celestial good," or "the Lord," it is the same; because the Lord is truth itself and good itself, and is the very marriage itself of truth and good, and of good and truth. How the case herein is can indeed be seen from the explication; but as these matters are among those which are obscure at this day, we may so far as possible illustrate them.
The subject here treated of is the doctrine of faith, concerning which the Lord thought in His childhood, namely, whether it was allowable to enter into it by means of rational things, and thus form for one's self ideas concerning it. His so thinking came from His love and consideration for the human race, who are such as not to believe what they do not comprehend in a rational manner.
But He perceived from the Divine that this ought not to be done; and He therefore revealed the doctrine to Himself from the Divine, and thereby at the same time all things in the universe that are subordinate, namely, all things of the rational and of the natural.
 How the case is with the doctrinal things of faith among men has been stated above (n. 2568), namely, that there are two principles from which they think, a negative and an affirmative; and that those think from the negative principle, who believe nothing unless they are convinced by what is of reason and memory-knowledge; nay, by what is of sense; but those think from the affirmative who believe that things are true because the Lord has said so in the Word, thus who have faith in the Lord.
They who are in the negative in regard to a thing being true because it is in the Word, say at heart that they will believe when they are persuaded by things rational and memory-knowledges. But the fact is that they never believe; and indeed they would not believe if they were to be convinced by the bodily senses of sight, hearing, and touch; for they would always form new reasonings against such things, and would thus end by completely extinguishing all faith, and at the same time turning the light of the rational into darkness, because into falsities.
But those who are in the affirmative, that is, who believe that things are true because the Lord has said so, are continually being confirmed, and their ideas enlightened and strengthened, by what is of reason and memory-knowledge, and even by what is of sense; for man has light from no other source than by means of the things of reason and memory, and such is the way with everyone. With these the doctrine thus "living lives;" and of them it is said, that they "are healed," and "bring forth;" whereas with those who are in the negative the doctrine "dying dies;" and it is said of them that "the womb closing is closed."
All this shows what it is to enter into the doctrine of faith by means of rational things, and what to enter into rational things by means of the doctrine of faith; but let this be illustrated by examples.
 It is from the doctrine of the Word, that the first and principal thing of doctrine is love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor. They who are in the affirmative in regard to this can enter into whatever things of reason and of memory, and even of sense, they please, everyone according to his gift, his knowledge, and his experience. Nay, the more they enter in, the more they are confirmed; for universal nature is full of confirmation.
But they who deny this first and principal thing of doctrine, and who desire to be first convinced of anything true by means of the things of reason and memory, never suffer themselves to be convinced, because at heart they deny, and all the time take their stand in favor of some other principle which they believe to be essential; and finally, by confirmations of their principle they so blind themselves that they cannot even know what love to the Lord and love to the neighbor are.
And as they confirm themselves in what is contrary, they at length confirm themselves in the notion that no other love is possible that has any delight in it except the love of self and of the world; and this to such a degree (if not in doctrine, yet in life) that they embrace infernal love in place of heavenly love.
But with those who are not in the negative nor as yet in the affirmative, but are in doubt before they deny or affirm, the case is as above stated (n. 2568), namely that they who incline to a life of evil fall into the negative, but they who incline to a life of good are brought into the affirmative.
 Take another example: It is among the primary things of the doctrine of faith that all good is from the Lord, and all evil from man, that is, from one's self. They who are in the affirmative that it is so, can confirm themselves by many things of reason and of memory-knowledge, such as that no good can possibly flow in except from good itself, that is, from the Fountain of Good, thus from the Lord; and that the beginning or principle of good can be from no other source; finding illustration in all things that are truly good, in themselves, in others, in the community, and also in the created universe.
But they who are in the negative confirm themselves in what is contrary by everything they think of, insomuch that at last they do not know what good is; and dispute among themselves as to what is the highest good, being deeply ignorant of the fact that it is the celestial and spiritual good from the Lord, by which all lower good is made alive, and that the delight therefrom is truly delight. Some also think that unless good is from themselves, it cannot possibly come from any other source.
 Take as another example the truth that they who are in love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor can receive the truths of doctrine and have faith in the Word, but not they who are in the life of the love of self and the world; or what is the same, that they who are in good can believe, but not they who are in evil. They who are in the affirmative can confirm this by numberless things of reason and memory. From reason they can confirm it on the ground that truth and good agree, but not truth and evil; and that as all falsity is in evil, so it is from evil; and that if any who are in evil nevertheless have truth, it is on the lips, and not in the heart; and from their memory-knowledge they can confirm by many things that truths shun evils, and that evils spew out truths.
But they who are in the negative confirm themselves by alleging that everyone, of whatever character, is able to believe just as well as others, even though he lives in continual hatred, in the delights of revenge, and in deceit; and this even while they themselves altogether reject from their doctrine the good of life, after the rejection of which they do not believe anything.
 That it may be still more manifest how the case herein is, let us take this example: They who are in the affirmative that the Word has been so written as to possess an internal sense which does not appear in the letter, can confirm themselves therein by many rational considerations;
as that by the Word man has connection with heaven; that there are correspondences of natural things with spiritual, in which the spiritual are not seen; that the ideas of interior thought are altogether different from the material ideas which fall into the words of language; that man, being born for both lives, can, while in the world, be also in heaven, by means of the Word which is for both worlds; that with some persons a certain Divine light flows into the things of the understanding, and also into the affections, when the Word is read; that it is of necessity that there should be something written that has come down from heaven, and that therefore the Word cannot be such in its origin as it is in the letter; and that it can be holy only from a certain holiness that it has within it.
He can also confirm himself by means of memory-knowledges;
as that men were formerly in representatives, and that the writings of the Ancient Church were of this nature; also that the writings of many among the Gentiles had this origin; and that it is on this account that in the churches such a style has been revered as holy, and among the Gentiles as learned, as examples of which the books of many authors might be mentioned.
But they who are in the negative, if they do not deny all these things, still do not believe them, and persuade themselves that the Word is such as it is in the letter, appearing indeed worldly, while yet being spiritual (as to where the spiritual is hidden within it they care little, but for manifold reasons are willing to let it be so), and this they can confirm by many things.
 In order to present the subject to the apprehension of the simple, take as an example the following matter of knowledge. They who are in the affirmative that sight is not of the eye, but of the spirit, which sees the things that are in the world through the eye as an organ of its body, can confirm themselves by many things;
as from our hearing things said by others; in that they refer themselves to a certain interior sight, into which they are changed; which would be impossible unless there were an interior sight; also that whatever is thought of is seen by an interior sight, by some more clearly, by others more obscurely; and again, that things we imagine present themselves not unlike objects of sight; and also that unless it were the spirit within the body that saw the objects which fall within the ken of the eye as the organ of sight, the spirit could see nothing in the other life, when yet it cannot but be that it will see innumerable and amazing things that cannot possibly be seen with the bodily eye.
Then again we may reflect that in dreams, especially those of the prophets, many things have been seen although not with the eyes. And finally, should anyone be skilled in philosophy, he may confirm himself by considering that outer things cannot enter into inner things, just as compounds cannot into simples; and therefore that things of the body cannot enter into those of the spirit, but only the reverse; not to mention a host of other proofs, until at last the man is persuaded that the spirit has sight, and not the eye, except from the spirit.
But they who are in the negative call every consideration of this kind either a matter of nature or one of fancy, and when they are told that a spirit possesses and enjoys much more perfect sight than a man in the body, they ridicule the idea, and reject it as an idle tale, believing that if deprived of the sight of the bodily eye they would live in the dark; although the very opposite is the truth, for they are then in the light.
 From these examples we may see what it is to enter into the things of reason and memory-knowledge from truths, and what it is to enter into truths from the things of reason and memory-knowledge; and that the former is according to order, but the latter contrary to order; and that when we do that which is according to order we are enlightened; but when we do that which is contrary to order, we are made blind.
All of which shows of how great concern it is that truths should be known and believed; for man is enlightened by truths, but is made blind by falsities. By truths there is opened to the rational an immense and almost unbounded field; but by falsities comparatively none at all, although this does not appear to be so. It is because the angels are in truths that they enjoy wisdom so great; for truth is the very light of heaven.
 They who have blinded themselves by not being willing to believe anything which they do not apprehend by the senses, until at length they have come to believe nothing, were in old times called "serpents of the tree of knowledge;" for such reasoned much from sensuous things and their fallacies, which easily fall into man's apprehension and belief, and thereby they seduced many (see n. 195, 196). In the other life such are readily distinguished from other spirits by the fact that in regard to all things of faith they reason whether it be so; and if they are shown a thousand and a thousand times that it is so, still they advance negative doubts against every proof that is offered; and this they would go on doing to all eternity.
So blind are they on this account that they have not common sense, that is, they cannot comprehend what good and truth are; and yet every one of them thinks himself wiser than all in the universe; making wisdom to consist in being able to invalidate what is Divine, and deduce it from what is natural. Many who in this world have been esteemed wise, are preeminently of this character; for the more anyone is endowed with talent and knowledge, and is in the negative, the more insane he is, beyond all others; whereas the more anyone is endowed with talent and knowledge, and is in the affirmative, the wiser he is able to be.
It is by no means denied man to cultivate the rational faculty by means of memory-knowledges; but that which is forbidden is to harden ourselves against the truths of faith which belong to the Word.
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47. DIVINE LOVE AND DIVINE WISDOM MUST NECESSARILY HAVE BEING [Esse] AND HAVE FORM [Existere] IN OTHERS CREATED BY ITSELF.
It is the essential of love not to love self, but to love others, and to be conjoined with others by love. It is the essential of love, moreover, to be loved by others, for thus conjunction is effected. The essence of all love consists in conjunction; this, in fact, is its life, which is called enjoyment, pleasantness, delight, sweetness, bliss, happiness, and felicity. Love consists in this, that its own should be another's; to feel the joy of another as joy in oneself, that is loving. But to feel one's own joy in another and not the other's joy in oneself is not loving; for this is loving self, while the former is loving the neighbor. These two kinds of love are diametrically opposed to each other. Either, it is true, conjoins; and to love one's own, that is, oneself, in another does not seem to divide; but it does so effectually divide that so far as any one has loved another in this manner, so far he afterwards hates him. For such conjunction is by its own action gradually loosened, and then, in like measure, love is turned to hate.
Swedenborg in Divine Love and Wisdom Number 47
A List of Famous Writers Who
Said They've Been Influenced by Swedenborg
(includes Calvin Coolidge, Helen
Keller, Carl Gustav Jung, Henry James Sr., William Butler Yeats, Arthur Conan Doyle,
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Jorge Luis Borges, Honoré de Balzac, Elizabeth Barret Browning,
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thomas Carlyle, Walter M. Horton, Hiram Powers, and others)
Why I believe by JudyE and other articles and links
Biography by Dr. Jane K. Williams-Hogan
Swedenborgs Missionary Work by Rev. Donald L. Rose A review of Swedenborg's publishing and promotion activities of the books of the heavenly doctrines.
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There are some who are in doubt before they deny, and there are some who are in doubt before they affirm. They who are in doubt before they deny are they who incline to a life of evil; and when this life carries them away, then insofar as they think of the matters in question they deny them. But they who are in doubt before they affirm are they who incline to a life of good; and when they suffer themselves to be bent to this by the Lord, then insofar as they think about those things so far they affirm. (AC 2568)
"Emanuel Swedenborg's theological first editions are rich with ornaments.
Swedenborg sent his theological
into the world heavily and consistently adorned with graphic decorative touches.
Yet few know of their existence. Although every theological word penned by
Swedenborg has long ago been translated into English, although subsequent Latin
editions, and translations into thirty-four languages, have brought his unique
thoughts and experiences before the world, the ornaments that formed an integral
part of his original publications have been all but lost."
From: The Ornaments in Swedenborg's Theological First Editions by Jonathan S. Rose, M.Div., Ph.D. Available online at: www.glencairnmuseum.org/ornaments/Ornaments.htm
Some of the People Who Were Influenced by Swedenborg
"The most remarkable step in the religious history of recent ages is that made by the genius of Swedenborg." Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I admire Swedenborg as a great scientist and a great mystic at the same time. His life and work have always been of great interest to me." Carl Jung, Psychologist
"For you Westerners, it is Swedenborg who is your Buddha, it is he who should be read and followed!" D. T. Suzuki, Zen Buddhist Scholar
"The correlations between what Swedenborg writes of some of his spiritual experiences and what those who have come back from close calls with death report is amazing." Raymond Moody, author of Life After Life
"People who have had near-death experiences peek through the door of the after-life, but Swedenborg explored the whole house." Kenneth Ring, founder of International Association for Near Death Studies (I.A.N.D.S.)
"Let me explain why Swedenborg merits scrutiny. It is a fact that the greatest poets and prose writers have borrowed liberally from him. The list is long: first Blake, as his direct spiritual descendant; then Goethe, a fervent reader of Swedenborg (as was Kant followed by Edgar Allan Poe, Baudelaire, Balzac, Mickiewicz, Slowacki, Emerson, Dostoevsky...." Czeslaw Milosz, 1980 Nobel Prize, Literature
"Swedenborg's enormous work has been my companion throughout my entire life." Henry Corbin, Islamic Scholar
"Swedenborg's message has meant so much to me! It has given color and reality and unity to my thought of the life to come; it has exalted my ideas of love, truth, and usefulness; it has been my strongest incitement to overcome limitations." Helen Keller
"I have come back to Swedenborg after vast studies of all religions... Swedenborg undoubtedly epitomizes all the religions - or rather the one religion - of humanity." Honore de Balzac
"More truths are confessed in Swedenborg's writings than in those of any other man... One of the loftiest minds in the realm of mind... One of the spiritual suns that will shine brighter as the years go on." Thomas Carlyle, Theologian
"Swedenborg was one of the world's greatest geniuses. With his rare intellect and deep spiritual insight he has much to contribute to our modern life." Norman Vincent Peale
"To my mind, the only light that has been cast on the other life is found in Swedenborg's philosophy. It explains much that was incomprehensible." Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Other artists, writers, thinkers and leaders influenced by Swedenborg include:
Jorge Luis Borges
John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
|Henry James, Sr.,
Henry David Thoreau
William Butler Yeats
Bill Wilson (co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous)
|©2001 Information Swedenborg
Inc. All Rights Reserved. Original here:
Quoting from Swedenborg's Divine Providence No. 279:
Affections, which belong to the will, are nothing but changes of state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and that thoughts, which belong to the understanding, are nothing but changes and variations in the form of these substances, and that memory is a permanent state of these changes and variations. Everyone acknowledges, when it is stated, that affections and thoughts exist only in substances and their forms, which are subjects; and as these exist in the brain, which is full of substances and forms, they are said to be purely organic forms. No one who thinks rationally can help laughing at the fanciful notions of some that affections and thoughts do not exist in forms that are substantiated, but that they are exhalations formed into shapes by heat and light like images appearing in the atmosphere. For thought can no more exist apart from a substantial form than sight apart from its form which is the eye, hearing apart from its form which is the ear, and taste apart from its form which is the tongue. If you examine the brain you will see innumerable substances, and likewise fibers; you will also see that everything in it is organized. What need is there of any other than this ocular proof?
 The question arises, What is affection and what is thought in the mind? This may be inferred from all the things in general and in particular in the body where there are many viscera, each fixed in its own place and all performing their own functions by changes and variations of state and form. It is well known that they are engaged in their own operations - the stomach, the intestines, the kidneys, the liver, the pancreas, and the spleen, the heart and the lungs, each organ in its respective operation. All these operations are kept in motion from within, and to be moved from within is to be moved by means of changes and variations of state and form. Hence it may be evident that the operations of the purely organic substances of the mind are of a similar nature, with this difference, that the operations of the organic substances of the body are natural, while those of the mind are spiritual, and that both act together as one by correspondences.
 The nature of the changes and variations of state and form in the organic substances of the mind, which are affections and thoughts, cannot be shown to the eye; but still they may be seen as in a mirror from the changes and variations in the state of the lungs in speaking and in singing. There is, moreover, a correspondence; for the sound of the voice in speaking and singing, and also the articulations of sound, which are the words of speech, and the modulations of singing, are caused by means of the lungs, and sound corresponds to affection and speech to thought. Further, sound and speech are produced by affection and thought; and this is effected by changes and variations in the state and form of the organic substances in the lungs, and from the lungs through the trachea or windpipe, in the larynx and glottis, then in the tongue and finally in the lips. The first changes and variations of the state and form of sound take place in the lungs, the second in the trachea and larynx, the third in the glottis by the various openings of its orifice, the fourth in the tongue by its various adaptations to the palate and teeth, and the fifth in the lips by their various modifications of form. Hence it may be evident that the mere changes and variations, successively continued, in the state of organic forms produce sounds and their articulations, which are speech and singing. Now, since sound and speech are produced from no other source than the affections and thoughts of the mind, for they exist from these and are never apart from them, it is clear that the affections of the will are changes and variations in the state of the purely organic substances of the mind, and that the thoughts of the understanding are changes and variations in the form of those substances, as is the case in the pulmonary substances.
 As affections and thoughts are simply changes in the state of the forms of the mind, it follows that memory is nothing else than a permanent state of these changes. For all changes and variations of state in organic substances are such that once they have become habitual they are permanent. Thus the lungs are habituated to produce various sounds in the trachea, to vary them in the glottis, to articulate them in the tongue, and to modify them in the mouth; and when once these organic activities have become habitual such sounds are in the organs and can be reproduced. (DP 279)
More Swedenborg Related Links on the Web
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More Links to Swedenborg ResourcesSwedish Roots: The Revelator and His Revelation
Results of a 12-day visit to Sweden and Swedenborg's roots there, including genealogy, June 1997.
|It shall first be
explained what a spirit is, and what an angel is. All persons after death come, in the
first place, into the world of spirits, which is midway between heaven and hell, and there
pass through their own times, that is, their own states, and become prepared, according to
their life, either for heaven or for hell. So long as people stay in that world they are
called spirits. They who have been raised out of that world into heaven are
called angels; but those who have been cast down into hell are called either satans
or devils. So long as these continue in the world of spirits, those who are
preparing for heaven are called angelic spirits; and those who are preparing
for hell, infernal spirits; meanwhile angelic spirits are conjoined with
heaven, and infernal spirits with hell. All spirits in the world of spirits are
adjoined to people still on earth; because people still on earth, in respect to the
interiors of their minds, are in like manner between heaven and hell, and through these
spirits they communicate with heaven or with hell according to their life. It is to be
observed that the world of spirits is one thing, and the spiritual world another; the
world of spirits is that which has just been spoken of; but the spiritual world includes
that world, and heaven and hell. (From Swedenborg's Divine
Love and Wisdom No. 140) (DLW 140)
|And so, meanwhile
back on earth, what does all this mean? It means the vertical community!! We
are members of a horizontal community (as in "I'm an American in the year 2000")
and simultaneously, we are members of a vertical community. Our language and style
and behavior pattern are influences from the horizontal community; our thoughts and
feelings are influences from the vertical community. What a mind blower: I'm
not alone in my thoughts and feelings! Swedenborg called it spiritual influx.
All my thoughts and feelings stream into my mind from all those other minds in the
spiritual world who have been there and are there. Each one of us joins them when we
pass on, and the stream or network of thoughts and feelings continues to reverberate and
circulate and take new patterns endlessly, forever. This process is managed by the
Laws of Divine Providence. From Leon James Swedenborg Glossary, see the entry for
"Vertical Community" by Leon James--Continued
|These are the general principles
of all religions by which everyone can be saved. To acknowledge God and to refrain from
doing evil because it is against God are the two things which make religion to be
religion. If one of them is wanting it cannot be called religion, since to acknowledge God
and to do evil is a contradiction; so also is to do good and yet not acknowledge God, for
one is not possible without the other. It has been provided by the Lord that almost
everywhere there should be some form of religion, and that in every religion there should
be these two principles; and it has also been provided by the Lord that everyone who
acknowledges God and refrains from doing evil because it is against God should have a
place in heaven. For heaven in the complex resembles one Man whose life or soul is the
Lord. In that heavenly Man there are all things which are in a natural man with that
difference which exists between things heavenly and things natural. From Swedenborg's Divine Providence.
|Swedenborg warns that nothing is more
important in our life here on earth than to understand how our
feelings rule our thoughts. Without this understanding, truth appears as falsity, and
good appears as evil. What a stupendous blunder, robbing us of all lasting intelligence,
wisdom, and the warmth of love. Swedenborg has witnessed the lot of those of us who end up
in mind's hell with such stubbornness as to keep us there endlessly. Such is the virtual
power of the human spirit given to it by the Divine through continuous, ceaseless influx
of spiritual substances into the mind. by Leon
in this article.
|CL 1. I anticipate that many who read the following descriptions and the accounts at the ends of the succeeding chapters will believe they are figments of my imagination. I swear in truth, however, that they are not inventions, but actual occurrences to which I was witness. Nor were they witnessed in any condition of unconsciousness but in a state of full wakefulness. For it has pleased the Lord to manifest Himself to me and send me to teach the doctrines that will be doctrines of the New Church, the church meant by the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. To this end He has opened the inner faculties of my mind and spirit. As a result, it has been made possible for me to be in the spiritual world with angels and at the same time in the natural world with men, and this now for twenty-five years.* * From Conjugial Love by Swedenborg, published in the year 1768.|
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Selections from Swedenborg's Writings
Conjugial Love book:
CL 34. (3) Everyone's own love remains in him after death. People know that love exists, but they do not know what love is. They know that it exists from common conversation. For instance, people say that "he loves me," that a king loves his subjects and the subjects love their king, that a husband loves his wife, and a mother her children, and vice versa, also that this person or that loves his country, his fellow citizens, his neighbor. So, too, with matters abstracted from person, as in saying that one loves this or that thing.
But even though love is so frequently mentioned, nevertheless scarcely anyone knows what love is. Whenever someone meditates on it, he cannot then form for himself any idea in his thought about it, thus he cannot bring it into the light of his understanding, because it is not a matter of light but of warmth. Therefore he says either that love is not anything, or that it is merely some stimulus flowing in through his vision, hearing and social interaction, which thus affects him. He does not know that love is his very life, not only the general life in his whole body and the general life in all his thoughts, but also the life in every single particle of them.
The wise person can perceive this from considering the following proposition: If you take away the impulse of love, can you form any thought? Or can you perform any action? In the measure that the affection belonging to love cools, is it not true that in the same measure thought, speech and action cool? And the warmer the affection grows, the warmer they grow?
Love, therefore, is the warmth in a person's life or his
vital heat. The warmth of the blood, and also its redness, have no other origin. The fire
of the angelic sun, which is pure love, causes it.
333. The operation of the Divine Providence for the salvation of man is said to begin at
his birth and to continue right on to the end of his life. In order to understand this it
should be known that the Lord sees what the nature of a man is, and foresees what he
desires to be, and thus what he will be; and in order that he may be a man and therefore
immortal, the freedom of his will cannot be taken away, as has been shown above in many
Therefore the Lord foresees man's state after death and provides for it from his birth right on to the end of his life. With the wicked the Lord provides by permitting and continually withdrawing them from evils; while with the good He provides by leading them to good. Thus the Divine Providence is unceasing in the work of saving man. However, no more can be saved than desire to be saved, and only those desire to be saved who acknowledge God and are led by Him; but those do not desire to be saved who do not acknowledge God and who lead themselves; for these give no thought to eternal life and salvation, while the others do. This the Lord sees and still He leads them, leading them according to the laws of His Divine Providence, contrary to which He cannot act, since so to act would be to act contrary to His Divine Love and contrary to His Divine Wisdom, that is, contrary to Himself.
 Now since the Lord foresees the state of all after death and also foresees the places in hell of those who do not desire to be saved, and the places in heaven of those who desire to be saved, it follows, as has been said, that He provides their places for the wicked by permitting and withdrawing, and their places for the good by leading; and unless this were done continually from the birth of everyone to the end of his life neither heaven nor hell would continue to exist, for without this foresight and Providence at the same time neither heaven nor hell would be anything but confusion. It may be seen above (n. 202, 203) that everyone has his place provided for him by the Lord from this foresight.
 This may be illustrated by the following
comparison. If a javelin thrower or a musketeer were to aim at a target and a straight
line were drawn from the target a thousand feet beyond it; and if he should err in his aim
by only a nail's breadth, his weapon or bullet, at a distance of a thousand feet, would
diverge very far from the line drawn beyond the mark. So would it be if the Lord did not
every moment, even every least fraction of a moment, regard eternity in foreseeing and
providing everyone's place after death. This, however, is done by the Lord because all the
future is present to Him and all the present is to Him eternal. It may be seen above (n.
46-69, 214, and following numbers) that the Divine Providence in everything it does has
regard to the infinite and the eternal.
|From Swedenborg's The True
771.In the chapter on the Sacred Scripture I showed that the literal sense of the Word is written by appearances and correspondences. Each of its details therefore contains a spiritual sense in which truth is illuminated by its own light, and the literal sense is in shadow. So to prevent the people of the new church, like those of the old church, going astray in the shadows obscuring the literal sense of the Word, especially as regards heaven and hell, how they will live after death, and on the present occasion about the Lord's coming, the Lord has been pleased to open the sight of my spirit, thus admitting me to the spiritual world. I have been allowed not only to talk with spirits and angels, with relations and friends, even with kings and princes, who have met their end in the natural world, but also to see the astonishing sights of heaven, and the pitiful sights of hell. So I have seen how people do not pass their time in some pu deep in the earth, nor flit around blind and dumb in the air or in empty space, but live as human beings in a substantial body, in a much more perfect state, if they come among the blessed, than they experienced previously when living in material bodies.
 So to prevent people from plunging yet deeper into erroneous ideas about the destruction of the sky we see and the earth we live on, and consequently about the spiritual world, as the result of ignorance, which leads to worshipping nature and this automatically to atheism - something which at the present time has begun to take root in the inner rational minds of the learned - to prevent then atheism from spreading more widely, like necrosis in the flesh, so as to affect as well the outer mind which controls speech, I have been commanded by the Lord to make known various things which I have seen and heard. These include heaven and hell, the Last Judgment, and the explanation of Revelation, which deals with the Lord's coming, the former heaven and the new heaven, and the holy Jerusalem. If my books on these subjects are read and understood, anyone can see what is meant there by the Lord's coming, a new heaven and the New Jerusalem.
True Christian Religion
TCR 475. IV. SO LONG AS MAN LIVES IN THE WORLD, HE IS KEPT MIDWAY BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL, AND IS THERE IN SPIRITUAL EQUILIBRIUM, WHICH IS FREEDOM OF CHOICE.
In order to know what freedom of choice is and the nature of it, it is necessary to know its origin. Especially from a recognition of its origin it can be known, not only that there is such a thing as freedom of choice, but also what it is. Its origin is in the spiritual world, where man's mind is kept by the Lord. Man's mind is his spirit, which lives after death; and his spirit is constantly in company with its like in the spiritual world, and at the same time by means of the material body with which it is enveloped, it is with men in the natural world. Man does not know that in respect to his mind he is in the midst of spirits, for the reason that the spirits with whom he is in company in the spiritual world, think and speak spiritually, while his own spirit thinks and speaks naturally so long as he is in the material body; and the natural man cannot understand or perceive spiritual thought and speech, nor the reverse.
This is why spirits cannot be seen. But when the spirit of man is in company with spirits in their world, he is also in spiritual thought and speech with them, because his mind is interiorly spiritual but exteriorly natural; therefore by means of his interiors he communicates with spirits, while by means of his exteriors he communicates with men. By such communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If it were not for such communication, man would have no more thought or other thought than a beast, and if all connection with spirits were taken away from him, he would instantly die.
 But to make it comprehensible how man can be kept midway between heaven and hell and thereby in spiritual equilibrium from which he has freedom of choice, it shall be briefly explained. The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell; heaven then is overhead, and hell is beneath the feet, not, however, in the center of the globe inhabited by men, but below the lands of the spiritual world, which are also of spiritual origin, and therefore not extended [spatially], but with an appearance of extension.
 Between heaven and hell there is a great interspace, which to those who are there appears like a complete orb. Into this interspace, evil exhales from hell in all abundance; while from heaven, on the other hand, good flows into it, also in all abundance. It was of this interspace that Abraham said to the rich man in hell:
Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that they who would pass from hence to you cannot, neither can they who are there cross over to us (Luke 16:26).
Every man, as to his spirit, is in the midst of this interspace, solely for this reason, that he may be in freedom of choice.
 Because this interspace is so large and because it appears to those who are there like a vast orb, it is called the World of Spirits. Moreover, it is full of spirits, because every man after death first goes there, and is there prepared either for heaven or for hell. There he is among spirits, in company with them, as formerly he was among men in the world. There is no purgatory there; that is a fiction invented by the Roman Catholics. But that world has been treated of particularly in the work on Heaven and Hell (London, 1758, n. 421-535).
TCR 476. Every man from infancy even to old age is changing his locality or situation in that world. When an infant he is kept in the eastern quarter towards the northern part; when a child, as he learns the first lessons of religion, he moves gradually from the north towards the south; when a youth, as he begins to exercise his own thoughts, he is borne southward; and afterwards when he judges for himself and becomes his own master, he is borne into the southern quarter towards the east, according to his growth in such things as have regard interiorly to God and love to the neighbor. But if he inclines to evil and imbibes it, he advances towards the west.
For all in the spiritual world have their abodes according to the quarters; in the east are those who are in good from the Lord, because the sun, in the midst of which is the Lord, is in that quarter; in the north are those who are in ignorance; in the south, those who are in intelligence; and in the west, those who are in evil. Man himself is not kept as to his body in that interspace or middle region, but only as to his spirit; and as his spirit changes its state by advancing towards good or towards evil, so is it transferred to localities or situations in this quarter or in that, and comes into association with those who dwell there.
But it must be understood that the Lord does not transfer man to this or that place, but man transfers himself in different ways. If he chooses good, he together with the Lord, or rather the Lord together with him, transfers his spirit towards the east. But if man chooses evil, he together with the devil, or rather the devil together with him, transfers his spirit towards the west. It must be noticed that where the term heaven is here used, the Lord also is meant, because the Lord is the all in all things of heaven; and where the term devil is used, hell also is meant, because all who are there are devils.
TCR 477. Man is kept in this great interspace, and midway therein continually, for the sole purpose that he may have freedom of choice in spiritual things, for this is a spiritual equilibrium, because it is an equilibrium between heaven and hell, thus between good and evil. All who are in that great interspace are, as to their interiors, conjoined either with the angels of heaven or with the devils of hell; or at the present day either with the angels of Michael or with the angels of the dragon. After death every man betakes himself to his own in that interspace and associates himself with those who are in a love similar to his own, for love conjoins everyone there with his like, and causes him to breathe out his soul freely, and to continue in his previous state of life. But the externals that do not make one with his internals are then gradually put off, and when this has been done the good man is raised up to heaven, and the evil man betakes himself to hell, each to such as he is at one with as to his ruling love.
TCR 478. This spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be illustrated by various forms of natural equilibrium. It is like the equilibrium of a man bound about his body or at his arms between two men of equal strength, one of whom draws the man between them to the right, and the other to the left, so that the man in the middle can freely turn this way or that as if unrestrained by any force; and if he turns toward the right he draws the man on his left forcibly toward him, even bringing him to the ground. It would be the same with any unresisting person, even if bound between three men on his right, and the same number on his left, of equal power; also if bound between camels or horses.
 Spiritual equilibrium, which is freedom of choice, may be compared to a balance, in each scale of which equal weights are placed; but if a slight weight is then added to either scale, the tongue of the scale begins to vibrate. It is similar with a pole or large beam balanced on its support. Each and all things within man, as the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the rest, are in such a state of equilibrium; and for this reason each is able to discharge its functions in perfect quiet. It is the same with all the muscles; if they were without such equilibrium all action and reaction would cease, and man would no longer act as a man. Since, then, all things of the body are in such equilibrium, so are all things of the brain, and consequently all things of the mind therein, which relate to the will and understanding.
 There is a freedom also belonging to beasts, birds, fishes and insects; but these are impelled by their bodily senses, prompted by appetite and pleasure. Man would not be unlike these if his freedom to do were equal to his freedom to think. He, too, would then be impelled by his bodily senses, prompted by lust and pleasure. It is otherwise with one who heartily accepts the spiritual things of the church, and by means of them restrains his freedom of choice. Such a man is led by the Lord away from lusts and evil pleasures and his connate avidity for them, and acquires an affection for what is good, and turns away from evil. He is then transferred by the Lord nearer to the east, and at the same time to the south of the spiritual world, and is introduced into heavenly freedom, which is freedom indeed.
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