Category — Life and Morality
It is needful for the Church to consider the interior causes of the laws of divorce given in the Word. By this all may come to a deeper understanding and love of the Conjugial, and of the uses of marriage, and hy this the Church may he protected against doubts and false reasonings about those laws. Doubts may arise because the laws of divorce are very strict, and in some cases their severity appears to bring much hardship on men. False reasonings about those laws may arise especially from this, that the laws of divorce in the World of Spirits are altogether different from those given for this world; from this some may suppose that in an interior state of the Church with man, the laws which apply there should take the place of the laws which apply in this world. An understanding of the interior causes of the laws of divorce will protect the Church from such doubts and such reasonings.
First we would draw your attention to the distinction between the Conjugial which must be received from the Lord in every man of the Church and the Corljugial union which may be formed between husband and wife. That there is such a distinction is well known from the teaching that Love Conjugial may be given with one married partner and not at the same time with the other. (C.L. 226, 531.) For the most part, however, this distinction has been overlooked in the past. Whenever the Conjugial, or Love Conjugial, has been mentioned, the thought with most has been only of the Conjugial union between husband and wife. As a consequence, the importance which the Word places upon the Conjugial which is to be received and formed in each man of the Church has not been noticed; many teachings which apply in the first place to the Conjugial in each man, have been applied only to the Conjugial union between the married partners.
Consider the following teachings of the Word about the Conjugial in each man:
That the Conjugial is the desire of living with one partner, and that every step made from religion and into religion is a step from the Conjugial and into the Conjugial. (C.L, 80.)
That Love truly Conjugial is from the Lord, and is with those who approach Him directly, and who love the trues of the Church and do its goods* (C.L. 70.)
That this Conjugial is inscribed on the minds of those who acknowledge the Lord and His Divine. (C.L. 338.)
That this Conjugial is the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian Religion. (C.L. 457, 458, 466, 531)
That it is chief among the essentials of human life, and that so far as a man is in this love he is spiritual, and so far as he should lose this love he approaches the nature of a beast. (First Index to Angelic Wisdom concerning Marriage, under “Conjugial”, and C.L. 230.)
That this Conjugial is guarded in man, whatsoever the state of marriage he may be in. (C.L, 531.)
Read these numbers carefully and you will see that it is the Conjugial with each man that is described in them. This Conjugial is with all men who acknowledge the Divine Human of the Lord in love and faith, and who live the life of religion. It is with all such men whether they in this life are married or not, and if married, whether or not they have been blessed with a Conjugial union with their partner. This Conjugial is of the utmost importance to the salvation and regeneration of the man of the Church. It is the first thing in the natural produced by man’s acknowledgment of the Divine of the Lord. It is the connecting link and bond between the internal things with man and his natural life. It is the principal and beginning of the descent of the celestial and spiritual with man into his natural, and serves as a plane there for the reception of them. No doubt this is one of the reasons why a whole book of the Word is devoted to Love Conjugial. If this Conjugial should be destroyed in a man, nothing of regeneration would be possible.
The Lord has ordered all things of Christian marriage for the reception and protection of this Conjugial with man, and also for the forming of a Conjugial union of husband and wife. The laws of marriage and the laws of divorce are given for both of these precious things. If a man of the Church should violate the laws of divorce, he is in the danger of harming the Conjugial in himself, as well as doing harm to the Church and to society in general. This is evident from what is said about a Christian who enters into polygamy, (C.L. 339), namely, that he profanes the marriage of the Lord and the Church.
Read that number and you will see that the same danger is present with those who obtain a divorce without just cause.
One with whom there is the Conjugial strives wholeheartedly for union with the married partner. Such a one does not put away the partner, even if that union is clearly absent, nor even if it appears to be impossible, but strives for such a conjunction as may be possible. This is evident from the following teaching:
“That these conjugial simulations, with a spiritual man conjoined to a natural, savor out of justice and judgment. The reason is because a spiritual man does what he does out of justice and judgment, wherefore he does not see these simulations as estranged from his internal affections, but as joined with them. For he acts seriously, and regards amendment as the end, and if this does not follow, he regards accommodation, for the sake of order in the house, for the sake of mutual aid, for the sake of the care of infants, for the sake of peace and tranquility. To these things he is led out of justice, and out of judgment he gives them into effect. That a spiritual man so cohabits with a natural man, is because a spiritual man acts spiritually, even with one who is natural.” (C.L. 280.)
A spiritual man, that is, one with whom is the Conjugial, strives for the ammendment of life with a partner who has it not. Although he is not in a union of souls and minds with that partner, he loves the spiritual welfare of the partner, and strives for it. Such a one would never put the partner away except for the causes given in the laws of divorce. To do such a thing would be to act against the conjugial striving in himself, and thus to act against the Conjugial itself.
It should be noted that the love of the spiritual welfare of one’s married partner must lie at the heart of any marriage, for without it there can be neither the Conjugial in oneself nor a Conjugial union with one’s partner. Even in those marriages in which the husband and wife live happily together, no union of souls and minds can take place unless the spiritual welfare of the married partner is held uppermost in the marriage. Without this, marriage would have in it only a natural conjugial, an apparent conjunction of minds arising out of external harmonies alone.
From these things it can be seen that the Conjugial in each man is not endangered by a marriage in which a Conjugial union has not been effected, but that it is endangered by the putting away of a married partner without a just cause in agreement with the laws of divorce given in the Word. This is an interior reason for the severity of the laws of divorce, and for the law that matrimony is to continue to the end of life in the world even though there be colds in relation to the Conjugial.
A further reason underlying these laws is that, except in the case outlined in the laws of divorce, no final judgment is to be made on a marriage in this world, as to whether something of a Conjugial union has been or may be formed within it. This is because the internal similitudes on which the essential conjunction of marriage rests are not primarily attributes of natural birth and native compatibility, but of the new birth of reformation and regeneration. So far as possible the Lord’s Providence Works for the formation of these internal similitudes, and thus for the new creation of the husband and wife for one another, during the whole course of their life in the world. A spiritual man, even though he may see that a Conjugial union is not yet present in his marriage, still would strive toward that union, and would not make any final judgment against its possibility.
From all these considerations it can be understood why it is said in the “Statement as to the Principle concerning Divorce,” that if the Church or the man of the Church violates the laws of order in respect to marriage, the Conjugial itself, which is the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian Religion, is violated, and that then the Divine Human of the Lord, from which the Conjugial descends, cannot be present in the Church.
Respecting divorce in the World of Spirits, the Word teaches as follows:
That married partners meet after death, consociate, and for some time live together as before in the world; this takes place in their first state in the World of Spirits, while they are in external things as before in the world; that successively, as they put off external things, and enter into their internals, they perceive the quality of the love and inclination which they mutually had for each other, and thence they perceive whether they can live as one or not; that if they can live as one, they remain married partners, but if not, they separate; that there is then given to the man a suitable wife, and to the woman a suitable husband. (C.L. 47b, 48b, 49, 50.) In that world divorce is granted when there is no similarity in their affections. (Memorabilia 6027.)
The separation of unsuitable partners in the World of Spirits is according to the law of the Spiritual World that external things must altogether agree with internal things in angels and spirits. They who differ in love and faith cannot live near each other, much less live in the same house. This general law of the Spiritual World is essential to life in that world, and there can be made no exception to it. But the general law of the natural world is that here external things must remain fixed in order that internal things may be changed and formed in man. Any essential change in the spirit or mind of man must be initiated in this world. This general law for the natural world is expressed in this teaching of the Word: “Mutation of organization is given solely in the material body, and is not at all givable in the spiritual body after the former has been rejected.” (Brief Exposition 110.) This law involves the whole reason for our being bom in the natural world.. If the laws governing the Spiritual World were to be applied outwardly to life in this world, if there were no fixed external order, independent, as it were, from the internal states of men, no reformation or regeneration could take place in this life. There would be no freedom of choice possible for man, for there would be nothing by which man could reflect upon his internal things, and by which he could cooperate with the Lord in changing them.
Consider what would take place, for example, if the law that riches in the Spiritual World are in accordance with the wisdom of the angels, were to be applied outwardly in this life. If that law were to be applied here, no man would be free to reject wisdom, and no man would be free to love and receive wisdom for its own sake. If such laws were to be applied outwardly in this life, man would be compelled in the things of religion, which is against the Law of the Divine Providence, All life in this world would in such a case be impossible.
If the laws of divorce in the World of Spirits were to be applied to this world, there would be no fixed order by which the Conjugial in each man could be formed and developed in marriage. And if the Conjugial had already been formed in a man, such an application of those laws to his life in this world would be contrary to his Conjugial longing, and destructive of it. Moreover, by the application of the laws of divorce in the World of Spirits to this life, marriages here would be exposed to all kinds of phantasy and cupidity, and a truly Christian society would be made impossible.
The things brought forward in the “Statement of the International Interior Council as to the Principle concerning Divorce” are vital for the Church. May it serve to awaken all of us to the Life that is in the ’Word, and to our need of being fully instructed in that Life. The Life that is in all things of the Word is the Life of the Lord’s Divine Human. All the laws of the Word, and all things of the Church, look to the ordering of human life in order that the Lord’s Life may be present and may be received within it. It is our hope that this Statement may serve this end.
The Rev, Philip N. Odhner
President of the International Council of Priests
October 17th, I960
A SERIES OF LECTURES
Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
Nova Domini Ecclesia Quae Est
The Lord’s New Church Which Is Nova Hierosolyma
Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania
THE STORY OF CREATION IN GENESIS
THE FIRST DAY OF CREATION
THE FIRST DAY
The understanding of truth by the enlightenment of the human mind. The creation of the World of mind and its relation to the world of matter.
Every study which one undertakes involves not only new ideas, but also new words, in a sense a new vocabulary appropriate to the subject. Therefore, if we are to enter more profoundly into the things of religion, we, of necessity, have to master new ideas, and acquire an appropriate usage of words, which to a degree departs in meaning from the same words as used in common speech. In regard to the subject which we will consider, the difficulties of understanding it are not so great as is the case in many technical subjects which the man of medium intelligence readily masters if he is interested in the subject. But when it comes to religion many expect to arrive at essential things without the kind of effort that they would put into the study of some other subject. Yet everything worthwhile requires effort; apart from effort a subject soon grows flat and stale. The kingdom of God is not for the mentally lazy.
The reason that few are willing to spend the energy required in acquiring a knowledge of religion that they would readily spend on other subjects is that their love is weak. While the things of this world grip their interest, the things of eternal life do not grip them sufficiently, wherefore on encountering the first difficulty, they give up.
One seeking truth wishes a calm presentation, and not a highly emotional or oratorical presentation which deprives the mind of the quietness of mood necessary for an unbiased judgment. Religious talks often arouse the emotions to such an extent that one can not see whether what is said is true or not.
The object of these lectures is not to persuade, but to present certain things for your calm consideration.
In this country most persons believe in a God, that is, they are theists and not atheists; but generally speaking, the idea of God is decidedly vague, and there are many shades of opinion varying from those who hold to the strict traditions of our grandparents to the scientist who finds an unknown force or intelligence behind the natural phenomena with which he deals and which he calls God.
Even in the churches the idea of God with the great majority has become somewhat vague. There are few who accept the Bible in the same way as our forefathers did.
Our idea and thence thought of God may be based on three types of approach to the subject:
First, the approach through a written revelation: with the Christians through what is called the Bible. This is sometimes called the historical approach.
Second, the approach through the objective world. This approach may be divided into two kinds: the approach of the scientist who as it were sees God behind the order of the universe, or as the active force within the atom; and the approach of the artistically inclined who see God behind the harmony of creation.
Third, the approach through the subjective world of mind. These feel the presence of God as inspiration from within, as the source of love and wisdom.
With those who believe in God there is generally some thing of all these methods of approach and each has its place; but in the world such as it is at this day, the scientific approach tends to dominate and take a place of importance beyond its due.
The reason for this is that men have fallen into an intensive pursuit of material ends. They have been overcome by an all-pervading desire to satisfy first their material wants at the expense of all else. This pursuit has concentrated the thought on science as the means to this goal with the result that the thought of God has become largely a scientific idea of God.
Science with the exception of psychology deals with the objective world, and even psychology is based largely on objective experiments, which can be scientifically demonstrated on the plane of physical sensation.
To form our ideas according to the objective world, the world around us, is the easiest course, the course requiring the least reflection.
A child, if it were not pointed out to him, would have considerable knowledge of his surroundings before he realized that he had an eye that sees; and when he knows he has an eye he still cannot see his own eye. After growing older a child has a far more extensive knowledge of his environment before he comes to realize that he has a mind which is the means of his being conscious of the world; and even when he grows up, it is hard for him to realize that the actual consciousness of the world around us is within us and not as it appears outside of us, for we appear to see a tree at a distance and are not aware that the sensation is in the eye.
The tendency is to carry something of this childish attitude over into adult life, with the result that the world of material things around us seems to us more real than the world of mind.
It also appears as if the mind were formed and received its activity from the sensations which come to it from the outer world; but that this is a fallacy can be seen from the fact that a more internal activity cannot be caused by a lower type of activity. This may be seen illustrated by the following example:
If a soft iron bar is held in a north and south direction and hammered while so held, it becomes magnetized, that is, it becomes a magnet. The reason for this is that all iron consists of magnetic particles. These particles are normally facing in every direction, so that they neutralize each other; but when the bar is hammered, the earth’s magnetic field brings these particles into alignment with the result that the bar becomes what is called magnetized. The appearance is that the hammering gave to the bar its magnetic force, but the truth is that the hammering merely permitted the magnetic particles so to arrange themselves that their force becomes evident to us.
Another illustration is the electric generator. The turning of the wheels appears to be the source of the electricity, whereas in reality the turning of the wheels so arranges the electrical particles in which the electrical force resides, that the force may be felt and used.
The same is true of the mind. The sensations from the outer world impinging upon the brain do not cause mental activity such as thoughts, affections, things of love and wisdom, but sensations are the means of the things of the mind so arranging themselves that we become conscious of our mind. The case is analogous to the hammer on the iron bar, where the hammering was not the cause of the magnet, but merely the means of the magnetic force, intrinsically present in the particles of the iron, manifesting its activity as magnetic force.
The highest form of activity we know is mental activity, the activity of affection, thought, love and wisdom, things of which we are subjectively conscious, if we reflect upon them.
It is obvious that the most appropriate thought concerning God is thought which primarily is based on the highest activity.
We can become aware of, that is, the activity of the human things of love and wisdom, and secondarily on the creation of the objective world of matter with its various forms of activity. In a word, that the primary thought of God be a Divinely Human idea, and not primarily a scientific non-human idea; that we think of God as Divine Love and Wisdom and, being such, that he is primarily the origin of mind, and thence of the material world; and that we view the world of matter as the means by which the world of mind manifests itself.
All people have viewed God as being in a human form. This concept was first brought into question by one of the ancient Greek philosophers, who said that if cows were able to portray their gods, they would portray them as cows, etc. This line of thought led to the disparagement of what is called the anthropomorphic idea of God, the idea of God in the form of man. In the Genesis account of creation it is said that God created man in His image and likeness; and if we see that man is primarily man from the form of his mind, and only secondarily from the form of his body, and see the body as a manifestation of the soul on a lower plane, we can see that the idea of God as a Divine Man is the highest concept possible to man, and the only one which is truly appropriate. God is indeed infinitely more than man, but it is only by means of a Divine Human idea, that we can have any appropriate idea of Him, and thus be conjoined to Him by love.
We indeed do not think of God as being spatial, as being a spatial figure seated somewhere in the universe, but if we see Him as Divine Love and Wisdom, and see the body as a representative or manifestation of the soul, we can visualize God as a Divine Man.
If we can see this, it no longer appears strange that man is described as being created in the image and likeness of God. Nor does it appear so strange that the Logos, the Word, the Divine Truth, which was in the beginning, should be made flesh and dwell among us; and we behold His Glory as described in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, where also it is said, that He was the light of the world which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Was not this light the same light of which we read in the first chapter of Genesis, where the first day of creation is described: “And God said, Let there be light, and there was light, and God saw the light that it was good”?
The first chapter of Genesis appears to treat of the creation of the physical universe, the world of the physical creation, the objective world, This in the wisdom of God was so provided in order that children, and all peoples who are in a childish state, may think of God as the Creator of the wonderful world in which we live. For to a child, and to all who are in a childish state, this is the only world which has any reality to them.
Yet the Word of God is also for the wise, for the adult who realizes that the world of mind is just as real and more essential than the world of matter, and that the primary creation is the creation of the world of mind.
That the seven days of creation, essentially, are not a literal description of the creation of the physical universe, is evident from the fact that light is described as being created on the first day, while the sun, moon and stars are said to be created on the fourth day.
That there is a light of the mind in which men see truth, as well as a light of the body in which men see physical objects, is a matter of common thought and speech, as well as of common expression in the Bible or in the Word of God. We have an instinctive feeling that this form of expression is not a mere simile, but that there is a correspondence between the seeing of the eye, and the seeing of the mind, and that the light of the mind is as real a light as the light of the sun.
Concerning the first day of creation we read: “And darkness was upon the faces of the deep and the spirit of God moved upon the faces of the waters. And God said, Let there be light.” Genesis 1:2. Anyone who is willing can feel that the darkness here spoken of is the darkness of the man who is in doubt and obscurity, who is searching for the light of truth, but cannot find it, and therefore feels himself as in a deep, or in an abyss of ignorance, and that the spirit of Cod is the mercy of God, the mercy of our Lord, leading him into the light of truth.
The spirit of God is said to move. The word in the Hebrew also means to brood. As a hen broods over her eggs, the spirit of God moves or broods over the waters.
That waters mean truths is evident from the words of our Lord in the New Testament, but of this we will treat more fully in our next lecture. Here the faces of the waters are the knowledges of the truths of religion we learnt in our childhood, but which appear obscure and dark when we become adult and find that none can satisfactorily explain to us the things we have been taught. It is the Lord’s mercy moving and brooding upon these knowledges of truth that brings to man the first light, which brings him to the first day of the re-creation of his spirit, the first light that God really is, that God is the All in all of life.
The Bible commences with the words: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Are we to think here merely of the sky, or where the word “heaven” occurs, are we to think of what our Lord called “the kingdom of heaven within you”? Does “the beginning” merely refer to some ancient time, or does it mean the beginning of man’s awakening when a vision of the kingdom of God is granted to him?
As “heaven” stands for the “kingdom of heaven within you”, so earth stands for the kingdom of earth in man, for the earthly things of the mind, earthly thoughts and affections.
If the Bible is the Word of God, it cannot treat, as to its spirit, of any thing but the things of the spirit.
What importance would many things written in the Bible have if they did not have hidden within them the things of the spirit?
We read “the letter killeth, the spirit giveth life”.
THE SECOND DAY
The distinction between inner and outer thought. Inspiration. Truth and how it purifies the mind.
In the preceding lecture we considered some of the things involved in the first day of creation. It was shown that the seven days of creation, which apparently treat of the creation of the material world, as to their spirit treat of how the Lord God, the Logos, the Word of God, or the Divine Truth, creates the living spirit or the new mind in man. It was also shown that the word “creation” when used in the Word of God, as to its spirit always treats of the creation of the things of the spirit, as in the fifty-first Psalm, where we read: “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Verse 10.
It was shown that all true and appropriate thought of God was a thought of Him as being Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, thus as a Divine Man, and that man was thus to be created in His image; also that God, being Divine Good and Divine Truth, descended on earth as the Logos, the Divine Truth, arid became flesh, as described in the first chapter of John.
The first day treats of man being a “void” or “emptiness”, a “deep” or an “abyss”. As long as man pays all his attention to and directs his interests towards material ends, to the satisfaction of his material wants and pleasures, as to his spirit he is void and empty, and he is in darkness as to the things of the spirit; in fact, he is a “deep” or ~‘abyss” of ignorance in relation to all things above the plane of material existence. The spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters is the Lord’s mercy, reviving the things of religion which the man has been taught in his childhood.
Children in states of innocence are delighted when taught about God, about heaven. Things like Christmas, the hearing the story of the birth of the Lord, make a deep impression on them. When a child grows up, such things recede into the background, and man centers his attention on gaining the things of the world. Still these childhood memories and impressions remain, and can be revived. It is these remains of things from a man’s childhood which are the waters over which the spirit of God moves or broods.
If the spirit of God touches these things, a man begins to come into light, into the light that God is, that He is the All in all things of life. It is the dawning of this light which creates in man the things of the first day of his spiritual creation, the beginning of the “creation of a new heart and a new spirit”.
In the first chapter of Genesis we are told that on the second day God made an expanse (translated at times firmament) in the midst of the waters, which was to distinguish between the waters below the expanse and the waters which were above the expanse and that God called the expanse heaven.
If we think of the natural universe, this description has little meaning. Possibly one might think of the waters above as being the clouds and the waters below as being the seas, but to make this kind of distinction before the creation of the sun and moon. which were said to be created on the fourth day, is impossible.
It follows that what is described as taking place on what is called the second day of creation has a hidden meaning, for as it stands it appears to have little sense.
The subject of the second day of creation is the waters. That the Lord Jesus Christ used water as a symbol or representative of something of the spirit is self-evident, for we read that Jesus said: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture bath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38.
The “Scriptures” here referred to are such places as the following:
“With joy shall ye draw water out of the well of salvation.” Is. 12:3.
“They have forsaken the Lord, the fountain of living waters.”
“Living waters shall go forth from Jerusalem.” Zech. 14:8.
There are many other places in both the New and the Old Testaments where it is self- evident that waters stand for something of the spirit. Therefore water and washing was chosen as a representative of purification, and is used in the sacrament of baptism.
The meaning of water is most clearly evident in the fourth chapter of John. where we read: “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith unto thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living waters. Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the waters that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the waters that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto Him, ‘Sir, give me this water that I thirst not, neither come hitherto draw.” John 4:10-15
If we are not like the woman of Samaria, but are willing to acknowledge the ancient symbolism or representation of water, we can find an intelligent and important meaning in the distinction made between the waters and the waters on the second day of creation.
Waters stand for and represent truth. There are two things necessary for the sustenance of the life of the body: food and drink; and there are two things necessary for the sustenance of the life of the spirit: truth and good, or, what is the same, wisdom and love, for all living truth is of wisdom, and all living good is of love.
If a man is willing to believe, truths, like a river, will flow out of his inner man: “Rivers of living water out of his belly.”
The subject of the second day of creation is therefore the distinction that is made between truths of a higher order, and truths of a lower order: waters above and below the expanse.
That such a distinction can be made is evident from the distinction between concrete thought and abstract thought
Concrete thought is all thought which is based on the physical senses of hearing, sight, touch, etc. Abstract thought is all thought which is based on man’s awareness of his conscious mind, awareness of his thoughts, feelings, affections, understanding, etc. Abstract truths therefore have to do with man’s mental world, the world which he knows by reflecting on the operations of the mind. Of this world he is aware, not through the physical senses, but directly. Concrete thought, on the other hand, deals with the physical world of his environment.
Another general distinction between truths closely related to the above is the distinction between scientific thought or the facts of science, and religions thought with its truths.
A more profound distinction, however, may be made, which is the essential subject of our consideration of what is involved in this day of creation. A man may have been taught knowledges about religion, about God, etc., from his youth, and yet these knowledges may be largely a matter of memory, of knowing them from having been taught, and may not be a matter of inspiration, of insight, of understanding them in a living way.
When a man has merely learned the things of religion in the same way as he has learned other subjects, they are together with his knowledges of other subjects in his outer mind. This is why it is first said: “Let there be an expanse or firmament in the midst of the waters and let it distinguish between the waters in the waters.” In this state distinction is made between the truths of religion and other truths, but all on the same plane, with the same faculties of the mind. In the verse following, however, it is said: “God made a distinction between the waters which were under the expanse, and the waters which were above the expanse.” That is, it is seen that a man has higher faculties of the mind, an inner life, and lower faculties of the mind, which have to do with his outer life, and that the living things of religion have to do with the inner or higher faculties of the mind, and that the living truths, called the waters above the expanse, are in these higher faculties.
Therefore it immediately follows, “and God called the expanse heaven”.
The “heaven” here spoken of is “the kingdom of heaven”, which the Lord says is “within you”. All spiritual insight, all genuine inspiration, all living spiritual truths, are in this kingdom of heaven within man. These are the waters above the expanse, whereas truths which have only been learned, and are knowledges in the memory, are the waters under the expanse.
With most persons the things of religion remain with other knowledges in the lower mind. In fact, most persons are unaware of any higher faculty of the mind in which insight, inspiration, the living truths of the spirit, have their seat or reside; and as long as one’s interest is directed mainly to the things of the world, to its pleasures and satisfactions, one remains unconscious of the higher faculties of the mind. It is only when the pursuit of material ends is weakened that such faculties begin to open up.
We read, therefore, in the Writings of Swedenborg: “At the present day this state (the second day) seldom exists without temptations, misfortune or sorrow, by which the things of the body and the world, that is such as are proper to man, are brought into quiescence (or quietness) and as it were die. Thus the things which belong to the external man are separated from those which belong to the internal man.” Arcana Coelestia No. 8.
At the end of each day it is said that the evening and the morning were the first day, second day, etc. Whereas at the end of the first day it is said: “And God called the light day and the darkness he called night.” Every man whose mind is opened to God and to the things of the spirit, finds himself at times in the morning of the things of the spirit, when he sees that God is, and that all that is good and true with him is from God. Such happy states are followed by ones of obscurity and darkness; doubts arise and one falls into the things of self and self-interest. If one has cared for higher things, this condition of mind brings sadness and one raises one’s eyes to a new dawn. Thus life consists of days, each with its morning and evening.
In the morning one is raised into the things of the light of the spirit, the things of God. In the evening one sinks into one’s own selfish thoughts and feelings, and the things of the spirit grow dim.
As the subject of the second day of creation is the waters and the distinction made between the waters, we will here continue the consideration of what is meant by water in the Bible or Word of God.
The first miracle our Lord Jesus Christ did was the miracle of turning water into wine. The water was placed in “pots of stone after the manner of the cleansing of the Jews”. Water and washing, as is self-evident, stood for the purification or cleansing of the spirit. A man by living according to the truth is purified from evil.
The water stood for truths which had been learned, truths in the memory, truths of the letter. These truths are turned in man into living truths of the spirit represented by wine. When a man comes to perceive from the Lord the living spirit of the Word of God, when he sees the teaching of the Word of God in application to the things of his soul, far above the natural appearances of the Bible, above the things of history, time, place and person, sees things universally as treating of the kingdom of God within, then the truths which he has learned are turned from water into wine.
The meaning of the waters below the expanse or firmament and the waters above the expanse which were called heaven, in the second day of creation, is very similar to the meaning of the water and wine of the first miracle of the Lord, where the wine has a similar signification to the waters above the expanse which were called heaven. The waters above the expanse and the wine both stand for the spirit of living truth in contrast to the water below, or the waters in the pots, which stand for truths in the memory, or truths understood naturally, or as to their letter.
We find this same contrast again in the words of John the Baptist: “I baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matt. 3:11. Here John the Baptist stands for the letter of the Word, the first understanding of the Bible or Word of God, calling a man to repentance. whereas the Lord stands for the spirit of the Word, giving inspiration, and a spiritual understanding of the Word, represented by the Baptism of the Holy Spirit; and fire stands for the fire of love, the spiritual love of God and the neighbor.
The Lord said to Nicodemus, “I say unto thee, except man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” John 3:5.
To be born of water signifies to come into a new life based upon the Word of God, a life of obedience to the commandments of the Lord. But as at first the commandments are understood as to their letter, an external obedience is given to them. In this state a man regards his acts as being of primary importance, but does not take heed to the motives, the spirit behind the acts. This is being born of water, also to be baptized with water; but to be born of the spirit requires far more; to be born of the spirit involves understanding the spirit of the Lord’s commands. To fulfill the spirit, one must not only change one’s life as to its appearances before the eyes of men, but one must search one’s motives, one’s intentions, thoughts and feelings, for these must also be born again of God. The purification of water is the purification of the outward life. The purification of the spirit is the purification of one’s inmost life, a life which few see: the purification of the feelings and thoughts one has in secret.
The sad condition of the world, with its sorrows, its evils, its hatreds, is the result of man’s not suffering God to make an expanse, a firmament, which divides the waters below from the waters above the expanse, the waters above being the kingdom of God in the inner or in the internal man, where the spirit of truth has its abode or dwelling place: truth which is not only a matter of knowledge, but which is living. Purifying truth changes the life, not only the life which is seen by man, but the life of one’s inmost love and intention.
Lord’s New Church which is Nova Hierosolyma
Statement about Sodomy
September 16,1988 Bryn Athyn, Pa.
The International Interior Council and the International Council of Priests in joint meetings have considered the position of those in the Church who are practising sodomy. They present the following things for your consideration. In the Church all things have to be judged by the Church’s understanding of the Word of the Lord. The opinions of the world, which are constantly changing with the times, have no importance with regard to the principles by which the Church should be led.
It is the understanding of the Councils that according to the Word, sodomy is an evil which does great harm to the spiritual life of man. The attached paper contains teachings of the Word that sustain that understanding. Sodomy is to be considered as a transgression of the sixth Commandment. Though we may not have light about how the inclination to homosexuality comes into existence, just as we know little about the cause of other sexual deviations, the Church cannot condone the practice of it, any more than the practice of any other disorderly inclination. To condone those evils would be unfaithful to the Lord’s Word and do harm to the Church, since the end of the Church is to strive for the conjunction with Heaven and the Lord.
The Councils wish to add that conjugial love is the fundamental love of Heaven. It is the privilege of the New Church that the Lord has revealed this truth to it. The Church therefore encourages sound marriage relationships as the basis for the coming into a state of conjugial love. For the same reason, it discourages all things of life that according to the Word might be harmful to conjugial love. In the second part of the Work on Conjugial Love laws of order are stated for those who cannot yet enter married life, laws that protect the potentiality of coming into conjugial love.
Among those laws there is none that would give rise to the idea that homosexuality could serve that purpose, though it may be true that there are more and less evil forms of sodomy. To the contrary, the Word makes it clear that sodomy is adultery. Consequently, those members who practice sodomy cannot be considered differently from those who are in a life contrary to other Commandments of the Decalogue.
Rev. Peter van Balen,
International Council of Priests
With regard to the teachings about sodomy, those of the Church must acknowledge that the internal evil which produces sodomy in the Spiritual World is present with everyone from birth, and must be faced in the order of regeneration, (Cp. Apocalypse Revealed 502.) All the external evils mentioned in the Word signify in their internal sense things which must be faced by men in the order of regeneration.
Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: it is abomination.
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Arcana Coelestia 2220:
In the following chapter it appears as if by Sodom is signified the evil of the worst adultery, still nevertheless by it in the internal sense nothing else is signified than evil out of the love of self.
Arcana Coelestia 2322:
They who grasp the Word out of the sense of the letter alone, can suppose that by Sodom is meant filthiness which is against the order of nature: but in the internal sense by Sodom is signified the evil of the love of self; out of this evil all evils of whatsoever kind gush forth, and the things which thence gush forth are called adulteries in the Word and are described by them.
Spiritual Diary 2675:
Concerning Sodomy. (Heading) In the other life they who are sinners of sodomy, they in their life had believed nothing about the life after death, nor that there is hell and Heaven, but that they are altogether as beasts, and would die like them. … In the other life they are treated most miserably and are punished with infernal torments, which are so dire they can scarcely be described; and moreover they (constitute) the region of the tail, where are the faeces, because they are dung, and dwell in privies.
In the Spiritual World, in hell, and with those on the way to hell, every conjunction of the evil and false in the mind produces some form of adultery in the external of their lives. Sodomy is produced there by the love of commanding out of the love of self. This is described in the following numbers:
Apocalypse Explained 1006:2:
There are sodomitic hells for those who were in evils out of the love of commanding over others out of the sole delight of commanding and in no delight of uses.
De Coniugio 86:
The love of self, especially of ruling and still thinking out of the Word, is such as there was at Sodom….
Spiritual Diary 6696: XXIX:
That they who are in the highest degree of commanding out of the love of self, and not for the sake of uses, are in Sodom.
It is from these things in the Spiritual World that the internal sense of Sodom in the Word is derived, namely the evil of the love of self, especially in the form of the love of commanding, ruling and dominating out of the love of self, without any love of use.
SERMON ON MATTHEW 10:28
Lessons: Ps.34; Matt.10:24-39; A.C. 6071:2-5.
Rev. Theodore Pitcairn January 5, 1964 Bryn Athyn.
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt.10:28.)
In explication of the above text we read: “He who has learned from the literal sense of the Word that God is angry, that He punishes, leads into temp¬tation, casts into hell, and causes evil, may be drawn into a false idea, as that from good Itself which is God, can come evil, thus what is opposite to Him; when yet from good comes good, and from evil comes evil. But this scientific appears with quite another aspect if interior trues are insinuated into it, as, for instance, this truth: that it is the evil with man that causes him to be angry, that leads man into temptation, punishes, casts into hell .
“In like manner this true: that all worship must begin with holy fear, within which is the thought that God will reward the good and punish the evil. The simple and little children must believe this, because they do not yet appre¬hend what permission is even according to the Lord’s words, ‘Rather fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.’ (Matt.10:28.) and when they be¬gin by not daring through fear to do what is evil, there is gradually insinuated love together with good, and then they begin to know that nothing but good is from God, and that evil is from themselves, and at last that all evil is from hell,” (A.C.6071.)
Many in the New Church do not realize that they should be at first in a simple state in which they are in the fear of the Lord, We read: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Ps.111:10.)
Whenever the Lord comes to man in the Divine True, man comes into a state of fear of the Lord, as we read concerning John when he saw the Lord as the Son of Man: “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.” (John 1:17.) Also when the brethren of Joseph, were to be brought back to Joseph on account of the silver cup, they fell on the ground before Joseph out of fear.
Without fear society would be impossible. If it were not for the fear of the law, men could destroy each other. This is obvious with children if children did not stand in a certain fear of their parents and teachers, they would run totally wild. With adults this is not so obvious, because they have more self control, and hid their evils, yet the same is true of adults, in so far as they are not regenerated.
While some people are born with more courage and some with less courage, all have by nature a fear of what may happen to them. The words of our text teach us that we should rise above the bodily and worldly fear and come into the fear of hell, or what is the same a fear of our own evil and falsity, which if not overcome, will draw us to hell.
At one time, in the churches, the sermons, were largely centered on threatening men with hell fire if they did not repent. In a reaction to this extreme the churches for the most part now preach love, and depricate fear; yet fear is one of the essential means of preserving the human race. Nearly every man has a fear of danger to ones body and reputation, but, if he comes to feel that this life is only a moment compared to eternity, he can rise above the fears of this world and come into the fear for his salvation.
Read the ful text: SERMON ON MATTHEW 10:28 by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn
SIX DOCTRINAL CLASSES ON THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN VARIOUS RELATIONS AND FOUR SERMONS ON THE TWO GREAT COMMANDMENTS
THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE IN RELATION TO LIFE IN GENERAL
Bryn Athyn, Friday, November 20th 1936
In this series of classes we will treat of:
1. The Divine Providence in relation to life in general.
2. The Divine Providence in relation to a man’s occupation:
a. In relation to a minister,
b. To a teacher,
c. To a man whose occupation is in the world.
3. The Divine Providence in relation to other duties:
a. To the Church,
b. To the country,
c. To a man’s family.
4. The Divine Providence in relation to recreation.
5. The Divine Providence in relation to marriage.
In the Prologue of the Canons of the New Church we read: “In so much as the true things of life become of life, for so much the true things of faith become of faith, and not the least more or less. Some are of science and not of faith”. How easy it is to imagine that we are in the true things of faith when there is so little spiritually living in our daily life; in which case what we believe to be the true things of faith are with us but dead scientifics of faith.
A man must walk with equal step, the true things of life becoming of life and the true things of faith becoming of faith: what is more or less is of evil, for true things of faith, apart from the spiritual good of life, are dead, and the good of life not formed by true things is but a false appearance.
The following are examples of truths of faith and truths of life:
1. The Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, the first three of which are truths of faith and the remaining seven truths of life.
2. The Two Great Commandments in the New Testament, the first of which looks to love and faith in the Lord, and the second to charity towards the neighbor.
3. The faith of the New Heaven and the New Church in the Newest Testament, as found in the opening numbers of the True Christian Religion, where it speaks of:
a. The universals of faith relating to the Lord.
b. The universal principles of faith on man’s part.
4. Also in the Principles of the Academy, the Doctrine upon which the General Church* is founded, we find a similar division:
a. The first two principles are truths of faith.
b. The remaining ten are truths of life.
The internal advance of the Church depends on the increase of the good and the true, called in the Word fructification, or bearing fruit, and multiplication, or on the birth of spiritual sons and daughters. Where there are no births of spiritual sons and daughters, the Church will die just as surely as where there are no births of natural sons and daughters.
The question is this; Is the General Church having an increase of true things of life which become of life, and hence of true things of faith which become of faith? If there is not an increase in the true things of life which become of life, then all intellectual advancement is mere theological speculation, theological scientifics, which are of the memory and not of faith.
Since the coming into existence of the Principles of the Academy, what truths of life have been born in the Church? What new perceptions as to how a man should live? What are the signs of the times? Is the Church becoming more distinctive in its life? More like a heavenly society and less like the world about us? Does the sphere of the world affect us less? On the other hand, is it difficult for us not only to advance in distinctive true things of life which become of life, or even to maintain those set down in the Principles of the Academy?
If the latter is true it is indeed a serious situation, for a Church cannot stand still. If the Church does not go forward it goes backward and this at an accelerating speed; and when the Church starts to go backward it is indeed in a desperate state. While the New Church will endure for ever, history testifies that societies of the Church have a tendency to degenerate. How quickly the early dawn of the Church in England and America passed through noon into evening, until it died, save for the renewal in the Academy.
The great question is, How much do we believe in the Lord and in the Word? To believe is far more than merely to know and acknowledge; to believe is primarily of the life, for we read: “To believe in the Lord is not merely to acknowledge Him, but also to do His commandments; for only to acknowledge Him is solely of the thought out of some understanding, but to do His commandments is also of the acknowledgment out of the will”, T.C.R. 151.
Another great question is, Do we believe in the Divine Providence, not only in generals, but also in particulars and singulars? To acknowledge only the Divine Providence in generals, particulars, and singulars, is not enough; it must also be believed, that is, it must be of the life.
If a man in states of distress or despair, or in states of victory, raises his mind to the Lord and His Providence, and during the matters of his daily life fails to do this, he only believes in Providence in generals and disbelieves it in particulars and singulars, and this is true no matter how much he may think that he acknowledges it. Such a belief in the Divine Providence in generals is similar to deathbed repentance and is not saving. The Divine Providence must be believed in momentarily, or the belief is nothing.
Again, to put the question in a different form: A heading in Divine Providence reads: “That one’s proper prudence is nothing; and that it only appears to be something, and that it also should appear as if it were; but that the Divine Providence out of most singular things is universal”, n. 191. Let every one ask himself, does he merely acknowledge this or does he actually believe this? That is, is this a matter of his understanding only, or is it a matter of daily life? Does he meditate daily that he must act as if from himself, according to what appears like prudence, that his so acting is internally seen to be an appearance, and that in reality man’s prudence is nothing, it merely appears to be something, and should so appear? Is this belief continually ruling, inmostly ruling subconsciously in all the acts of his life, even when his mind is engaged on other things? Such a belief cannot exist without daily prayer and meditation, accompanied by daily repentance.
We are taught that the Lord does more things for every man every moment of his life than can be comprehended in any number. Again we must ask, do we believe this or do we only acknowledge it? If we believe this then every moment of our life our belief gives some little return to the Lord for the infinite things which He is doing for us every moment of our life, and this return from the will is ever present like the beating of the heart, even when the understanding is engaged in other things; this is the constant beating of the heart that is meant by loving the Lord with all the heart. The understanding must also continually give a return to the Lord like the constant breathing of the lungs; this is loving the Lord with all the soul, but of this man is not always aware. A sound heart, a heart of flesh new from the Lord, beats steadily with love to the Lord, and a man in such a state only notices when the heart stops or flutters.
We are told that in Heaven the Angels constantly face the Lord in the east, and this no matter in what direction they turn. So also it must be with the man of the New Church if he is to be truly a man of the Church. He must constantly face the Lord in the east, and this no matter in what direction he turns his mind, whether to the Church, to his business, to his family, to his country, or even to his recreation; he must constantly face the Lord in the east; otherwise the New Church is but a name we have stolen. If there is not a daily turning away from the sphere of the world, in our uses, our duties, and in our recreation, by means of repentance, we cannot believe in the Divine Providence.
We are told in the Word that if a man were to see his proprium he would flee from it as from a monster. Again, the proprium may be compared to a decaying corpse, the stench of which a man’s nostrils must be opened to perceive, if he is to rid himself of its dominion. Do we daily scent something of this?
The celestial Angels are in the greatest humility, and can pray for mercy, for the reason that a thousand times more clearly than others they perceive the disgusting horribleness of their proprium, and therefore they can be held by the Lord a thousand times more free from its influence, than can other Angels.
Concerning those who thus believe it is written: In the first state God seems to be absent; but after this state comes another, which is the state of conjunction with God; in this man acts similarly, but then out of God; nor does he then need, similarly as before, to ascribe to God every good thing that he wills and does, and every true thing that he thinks and speaks, because this is written upon his heart, and thence is inwardly in every action and speech of him. Similarly the Lord united Himself to His Father, and the Father Himself to Him”, T.C.R. 105.
* By the General Church in this work is meant the General Church of 1937 (wed editor, 2014).
Good Friday Service [on the love of self in relation to the things of the Word, the Doctrine and the Church]
“And as they did eat, He said, Amen I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto Him, Lord is it I?
“And He answered and said, he that dippeth hand with Me in the dish, the name shall betray Me… Then Judas, who betrayed Him, answered and said, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.”
If we are to come into the internal use of the Word, we should see that all things of the Word apply to ourselves, and that all the persons spoken of in the Word represent things that are in us.
We read: “The Lord being betrayed by Judas signifies that He was betrayed by the Jewish nation.” (Doctrine of Life 16)
Judas and the Jewish nation signifies the love of self. The Lord, with man, is love from the Lord into the Lord. It is nothing but the love of self which betrays the Lord in us.
The love of self is spoken of in three senses in the Word.
Concerning the favorable sense of the love of self we read: “The man, who is in the good of charity and faith, also loves himself and the world, but no otherwise than as a means to an end. With him the love, of self has regard to love of the Lord; for he loves himself as a means to the end that he may serve the Lord; and the love of the world has regard to love of the neighbor: for he loves the world as a means for the sake of the end that he may serve the neighbor.” (A.C. 7819)
“The reason the love of self and the love of the world are infernal loves, and the reason that man was able to come into them and thus destroy the will and understanding in himself, is that from creation the love of self and the love of the world are celestial; for they are loves of the natural man, which are of service to spiritual loves, as foundations are of service to houses. For from the love of self and the world man wills well to his body: he wants to be fed, clothed, and housed, to take thought for his household, to solicit employment for the sake of use, and even to be honored according to the dignity of the affairs which he administers, for the sake of obedience; and also to be delighted and recreated from the delights of the world. But all these things must be for the sake of the end which is use. For by these things he is in a state to serve the Lord, and to serve the neighbor. But where there is no love of serving the Lord and the neighbor, and only a love of serving himself from the world, then from being celestial, that love becomes infernal.” (D.L.W. 396)
There is an intermediate love of self which, while not good, can yet lead to goods, and there is the infernal love of self which makes hell for we read: “For example: if any one loves himself above others, and from this love studies to excel others in moral and civil life, in scientifics and doctrinal things, and to be exalted to dignities and also to wealth above others; and yet he acknowledges and adores God, performs offices to the neighbor from the heart, and does from conscience what is just and fair – the evil of this love of self is that with which good and truth can be mixed… Whereas, he who loves himself above others, and from this love despises others in comparison with himself, hates those who do not honor, and, as it were, adore him, and feels the delight of hatred and revenge – the evil of that love is that with which good and truth cannot be fixed; for they are contraries.” (A.C.3993.9)
The former evil of the love of self spoken of above can in time be purified and become the genuine love of self. While the latter love of self is totally infernal and must be cast out.
As we are frequently taught, the love of self, when not in the feet, is an infernal love which is the opposite of love into the Lord. If we are to have a further idea of this love we must come to a fuller idea of what love into the Lord is, and from this see the love of self which is its opposite.
We are taught that in the first place we are to love the Lord as to His essence and thence His person, and not the other way around. To love the Lord as to His essence is to love the Lord as to His Divine Love, His Divine Wisdom and as to His Divine use. No man can internally do this unless he is in the things of the Divine love, the Divine Wisdom, and the Divine Uses from the Lord. The Lord says, He that loveth Mo keepeth My Commandments, and the keeping of the Commandments of the Lord in the internal sense is nothing else than being in the things of Divine love, Divine wisdom and Divine use from the Lord.
We are taught that the Lord does more things for man every moment than can be comprehended in any number. While we can not comprehend the things of Infinite love, wisdom and use, which the Lord is doing for us every moment of our lives, we can comprehend a few of such things, and the more we advance the more of these things we can comprehend.
To love the visible Lord, in His Divine Human, is to love the Lord’s working or operation, His changing of our lives by regeneration; His constant effort to lead us away from our own proprial things into the things of eternal life. This is a tremendous work, and if our eyes are open we can see the Lord laboring to save us, out of His Great Love and Wisdom. At first we see this only occasionally, in great events of our life, in times of great joy or sorrow. If we become spiritual we see this in many things, and particularly in the spiritual things the Lord does for us through others, if we are in love to the neighbor. If a man should become celestial he would perceive some thing of the Lord’s love, wisdom and use in the Lord’s working in him from moment to moment. In every least event of his spiritual and natural life, he would perceive the Lord’s Divine Providence, and in this the Lord’s Divine Love and Wisdom. It therefore might be said: to love the Lord is to love His Divine Providence. The Divine Providence works in various ways; inmostly it works in ways that no angel or man can comprehend. The celestial can perceive the Lord’s presence, in the things of love and wisdom which are immediate from the Lord, and the wonder of the working of the Lord in the inmost of their mind.
To understand this commandment, not to commit adultery, we must understand the origin of adultery, and in order to understand the origin of adultery we must understand the nature of the marriage between husband and wife.
We read: “There is the truth of good and good from truth from that or truth from good and good from truth; and that in those two there is inherent from creation an inclination to conjoin themselves into one. The truth of good or truth from good is masculine, or the good of truth or good from that truth is the feminine. But this can be more distinctly comprehended if for good we say love, and for truth wisdom. Wisdom cannot exist with men except by the love of growing wise. Wisdom from this love is meant by truth from good.” (C.L. 88).
“With the male the inmost is love and the clothing is wisdom, or he is love veiled over with wisdom, in the female the inmost is that wisdom of the male, and its clothing is love therefrom. But this is feminine love and is given to the wife through the wisdom of the husband. That the feminine is from the masculine, or the woman was taken from the man appears in Genesis. Jehovah took one of the ribs of the man.” etc. (C.L. 30). In diagram I we see the order of Conjugial Love. In diagram II the disorder leading to adultery.
When the man does not come into A – the love of growing wise, he still comes into a kind of understanding of the true, but an understanding, which not having in it substance and life turns into the conceit of his own intelligence. Such a man looks to truth or doctrine alone for his salvation, and he looks to his wife for the flattery of his understanding. But the wife perceiving that there is nothing substantial in his understanding does not flatter it, wherefore his love instead of going forth to his wife returns to himself and then he seeks love elsewhere, where he can find the flattery he seeks.
Observe that if the man skips over the love of growing wise for the sake of life, in the first state of marriage there is still apparent love, but it is a love of his wife for the sake of himself and for the sake of the flattery he receives in the first states of marriage.
In the woman her A is formed by the essence of her husband’s wisdom. If the husband is not in the love of growing wise his understanding lacks this essence of wisdom and the inmost of a woman cannot be formed from it. But whether the husband has such wisdom or not, the wife may still skip over her inmost which is wisdom, and seek conjugial love in B but in this case there is no internal in her love of her husband, she then seeks to bind her husband to the things of her love; she loves her husband for the sake of her self and the love and admiration which he shows towards her; and, because the husband feels the lack of the life of truth which is the soul of a woman in her love, he cannot give her the love and admiration which she demands, wherefore her love returns to herself, and then goes elsewhere, where she receives the love and admiration which she craves.
When this internal disjunction takes place, then the woman accuses the man of only caring for intellectual and doctrinal matters and of neglecting the things of life and of love, and of over looking the natural. While the husband accuses the wife of being in merely natural good, natural loves, and of not seeing the importance of the true, and both are often right.
“‘That the devil may not seduce them and put evils into their hearts; knowing that while they are not led by the Lord, he leads and breathes in evils of every kind, such as hatreds, revenges, cunnings, deceits as a serpent breathes in poisons.” [AE 1148]
As is generally known in the Church the devil in the most general sense stands for hell. In a less general sense as when compared to Satan, the devil stands for the hell opposed to the celestial kingdom, while Satan stands for the hell opposed to the spiritual kingdom. In the abstract sense the devil stands for the love of self; for it is the love of self which forms the hell opposed to the celestial kingdom while it is the love of the world which makes the hell opposed to the spiritual kingdom. To seduce, as to its roots, means to lead aside, or lead astray, that is, to lead off the way. The Lord said: “I am the way.” The Lord Himself is the strait and narrow path which leads to heaven. The moment the man does not live in the presence of the Lord, he is off the path of life, he has been seduced, or led astray.
Inmostly seen it is nothing but the love of self inflowing from the hells, which seduces man, or leads him astray, takes him away from the way which is the Lord. The Lord with a mighty force works to keep man on this holy way, the hells work with all their power to seduce him or lead him out of the way. It is said that the devil seduces them and puts evils into their heart; or what is the same, it is the love of self that seduces men and puts evils into their hearts. Let us therefore consider the nature of the love of self further in order that we may see why this is so.
In order to consider this matter more deeply we will quote again a number from the Journal of Dreams which was quoted in the sermon last week.
“I perceived that I was unworthy above others and the greatest of sinners for the Lord has granted me to go more deeply with my thoughts in certain matters than many others have done; and I perceived that here lies the very fountain of sin viz. in thoughts which are brought to the work; so that in this manner my sins come from a deeper source than in the case of many other persons. Herein I perceived my unworthiness and my sins to be greater than those of others; for it is not enough to call oneself unworthy, for this may be done while the heart is far away from it, and it may be a pretense, but to perceive that one is such this is the grace of the spirit. I thought and strove by means of my thoughts to gain a knowledge of how to avoid all that is impure, but I noticed nevertheless that on all occasions something from the love of self intruded itself and was turned about in the thought; as for instance, when any one did not show the proper regard for me, according to ray own imagination, I always thought ‘If you only knew what grace I am enjoying you would act otherwise’ which at once was something impure having its source in the love of self. After a while I perceived this and prayed God to forgive it… Thus I observed clearly there was still with me that pernicious apple which has not yet been converted which is the root of Adam and hereditary sin, yea, and an infinite number of other roots of sin are with me.” (74, 75)
From the above we can see that the very root of evil called the devil, resides in feeling and thinking oneself superior to others.. This is the first state. In the case of Swedenborg, he recognized and from the Lord he combated against this so that it did not proceed further.
“Such as hatreds, revenges, cunnings, deceits, as a serpent breathes in poisons.” [A sermon on AE 1148]
Hatreds, revenges, cunnings, deceits, describe the internal and external evils in relation to the will and the understanding.
Hatred, is of the will, and revenges are the acts which proceed from the will. Cunning is of the understanding and deceits, are the acts which come forth from this cunning.
To view these evils we must see them as the opposites of goods. Hatreds are the opposite of loves; revenges are the opposite of showing mercies, and doing good; cunning is the opposite of innocence; and deceit is the opposite of acting sincerely.
Every one has a natural idea of these goods and their opposite evils. But such goods and such evils in the natural man do not differ much from such loves and acts with animals. What such evils are in the internal sense is hidden in the internal sense of the Word.
While the evils spoken of in the external sense of the Word are natural evils, this does not mean that this sense is not important to us. In the early states of reformation these are the only evils we see, and if in such states we do not combat and overcome them, we can never come to more interior states in which we must see and combat against more interior evils.
One who does not combat against natural hatred, can never be brought to see what interior hatred is; one who does not combat against natural revenge, can never come to see what interior revenge is; one who does not combat against natural cunnings and deceits, can never come to recognize interior cunnings and deceits. We must first come to recognize these natural evils in ourselves, and come to have a horror of them; and thus be brought to the goods of the natural to which these evils are opposed.
Any one who reflects can easily observe how, when one opposes him, or resists him, particularly in relation to his ruling loves, or ignores him, or fails to respect or honor him, or even pays insufficient attention to him; how he tends to become angry with such a one, and tends to take revenge, by hurting him or by speaking ill of him.
One can also easily observe, if he reflects, how he cunningly strives to accomplish his own ends, how he puts on appearances to persuade others, how he says things which are not exactly true, or gives a twist to things to take advantage of others.
There is nothing more important to begin with, than by shunning cunning and deceits to come to a natural innocence, and sincerity in all things of our natural life. This first natural innocence and sincerity is not however, natural innocence and sincerity itself. It is only after shunning interior cunning and deceit, and thereby coming to an interior innocence and sincerity, that a new nat¬ural can come into existence in which there is natural innocence and sincerity itself out of the Divine Human of the Lord, who is innocence itself.
“Knowing that while they are not led by the Lord, the devil will lead and breathe in evils of all kinds such as hatreds, revenges, cunnings and deceits” (A.E. 1148)
The general teaching of the text is that man is, at all times, led either by the Lord, or by hell. This is a well known teaching of the Lord, but one which few believe in the life. Man’s nature is to seek for his own life, which appears to be neither of Heaven or of hell, but such a life is not possible. While we are not led by the Lord we are led by the devil. If we seek a life that is not continually from the Lord, the devil leads. The devil specifically signifies the love of self. A man who loves his own life is necessarily led by the love of self which inflows from hell.
When man permits himself to be so led, the devil inspires or breathes in evils of all kinds, such as hatreds and revenges, cunnings and deceits. It should be noted that hatreds and revenges are the evils of the will. Hatred is of the internal evil of the will, revenge, the external. Cunnings and deceits are the evils of the understanding, cunning, the internal evil, and deceit, the external.
We belong to a nation which is characterized by good-naturedness, tolerance and friendliness, and the whole of education in this land looks to the fostering of these virtues. When we therefore read that anger and revenge are the characteristic evils that the devil inspires, this seems foreign to our very nature.
To many it may appear that they have no enemies, and that they have a friendly feeling towards all. If generally recognized evils are condemned, no one is angry, and yet this apparent friendliness and tolerance is deceptive. What church appeared more tolerant and more in the desire to preserve freedom for the individual than the church in which we were brought up, – and yet how angry and intolerant it became at the manifestation of the internal sense of the Word. From this we can learn a lesson that applies to all.
For the most part, anger and revenge are not aroused by condemnation of what is generally recognized as evil, but by a judgment on what is believed to be good. Particularly is anger aroused when an external good or truth which was originally from the Lord, but in which the Lord no longer dwells, is soon in the light of an interior truth; for such a truth touches the apparent goods and truths which are dearest to a man, and cause him to react with what appears to him as righteous indignation, and appropriate punishment. So does the anger and revenge inspired by the devil appear to the man.
All evil and falsity arise from the separation of a good and truth of a lower degree from the good and truth of a higher degree, while regeneration consists in reducing the apparent goods and truths of a lower degree into subservience to the goods and truths of a higher degree, until they become genuine and servo the higher degree. This process continues in its ascent from one degree to another.
Consider the following illustration. If a man, living in a town near a well-loved and awe-inspiring mountain, beyond which lay a great range of mountains, were to rise on wings to a great height, then the near-by mountain would appear to sink until it appeared like an insignificant hill, while the great range of mountains in the distance would look greater, higher, and more magnificent than from below. If, on his return, he told the people of the town how insignificant and small their beloved mountain looked from on high, compared to the great range of mountains beyond, they would become angry. Hills and mountains represent loves and when from an elevation it is seen that the loves which are near and dear to a man are little and insignificant, compared to the loves that a man has only seen at a distance, his anger is aroused, and this tends to carry over into revenge.
“Thou shalt not steal.” (Exodus 20:15)
All the Ten Precepts of the Decalogue look to the universal reigning of the Divine Human in all things of man’s love and faith, in all the good and true with man, in all things of his will and understanding. If this end is not with us in the keeping of the Precepts, then they become with us a mere moral and civil code, less than they are with the gentiles. The goods which are commanded in these Precepts are the Lord’s. They are the goods which He made receptible to men when He fought and suffered to glorify His Human. The evils forbidden in these precepts are the evils which prevent the reception of the goods and trues of the Divine Human in the mind of man. They prevent the Lord’s reigning universally in the goods and trues in the love and faith with man. For this cause alone they are sins against God. The man of the Church should hot think of these Precepts in any other way. If the man of the Church does think of these Precepts in any other way, and we must face the fact that often we do think of them in another way, then it is because the thought is influenced by one or another of the evils forbidden in them.
Of the seventh Precept, “Thou shalt not steal,” it is said in the Arcana Coelestia: “Thou shalt not steal, signifies that his spiritual goods must not be taken away from anyone, and that those things which are the Lord’s must not be attributed to self.” (Arcana Coelestia 8905.)
Looked at from a merely natural viewpoint, the evil of theft does not appear as bad as the evil of murder or of adultery. But it is said in the Word that this evil enters more deeply into man than other evils, because it is conjoined with cunning and deceit. (Doctrine of Life 81.) It is a colder crime, in which the understanding of a man is closely involved. There is a conscious use of the false in this evil. There are two great evils with men from which all others spring, the love of commanding all things from the love of self, and the love of possessing all things from the love of the world. One is of the love of evil, and the other of the love of the false.
Looking from the outside inwards, the love of the world is a lesser evil than the love of self, the love of possessing is a lesser evil than the love of commanding all things, the false is lesser than the evil. But if we regard things as they proceed from within towards the outside, then we can see that there is a love of possessing all things which originates from the love of commanding all things, there is a love of the world which is out of the love of self, and there is the false which is out of evil. And these are more developed, hardened, confirmed forms of those terrible evils, and are deeper. In this series, the false is worse than the evil. The false is the last refuge of the evil, and it is the very stronghold of the evil in the human mind. From this stronghold the evil can win back to itself the whole mind by its cunning and deceit. In this we can see that the latter Commandments forbid evil ‘and false things which are worse than the things forbidden in the former.
“Thou Shalt Not Steal”
We read: “Amen, amen, I say unto you, he that entereth not by the door into sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 1, 7-10)
All goods and truths which a man has from the Word and the Church out of his own will and his own understanding are stolen things, in which the Lord is not present, and which therefore lack an internal. Wherefore we read: “If the rational is consulted the Doctrine becomes null and void.” Unless a man has given up the life of his proprial will and understanding he always consults his rational, and then ail things from the Word and from the Doctrine of the Church are with him stolen things, an external without an internal.
Do we not see with every man, that strong tendency to steal. In churches generally, we see an effort to increase the Church in numbers, power and prestige, by appealing to the proprial will and understanding of men and women. Appeals are made to the natural affections, and the intel-lect is flattered. Or where this is not done, threats and anathema, are used to inspire fear, fear of hell, and fear of losing the pleasures of heaven. Let us not think that we are free of such dangers.
We are told that the devils are not averse to worshipping God the Father, but they are averse to the Lord in His Divine Human. The Father is the Lord the Creator, the Divine Human is the Lord the Redeemer. Man is not averse to acknowledging God the Creator, but he is, by hereditary nature, averse to acknowledging the Lord the Redeemer, for he is averse to Redemption. He is not willing, from his proprium, to acknowledge that, “A total damnation stands before the door and threatens.” The door of both his will and understanding, for he trusts in the rationality he has from creation and in his instinctive good feelings, which he has from birth. To give up trust in these is to give up his life, and this he does not easily do.
There is an expression commonly used, “appealing to a man’s better instincts,” such an expression implies a climbing up some other way like a thief and a robber, and not entering through the door, that is the Lord Who is the door. The man of the Most Ancient Church did indeed have human instincts by creation, instincts of love into Good and towards his neighbor, for he was born into the order of his life. We are not born into the order of our life, and if we appeal to man’s better instincts, we climb up some other way, and come to apparent goods and truths, which are only externals without internals. Man’s internals are formed by innocence from the Lord, and a man cannot be in innocence from the Lord unless he believes, that it is solely by the Lord’s undergoing temptation in him, and by His overcoming and subjugating the hells which rule in him, that he can be saved. The moment a man loses this perception he is a thief and steals.
Every young man and woman is given gifts from the Lord: the young man particularly, a kind of youthful understanding of truth, an enthusiasm for it, and a youthful ideal of usefulness.
But the young man begins to steal the understanding of the truths he has been given and make them favor himself, and his own ends. He loses the innocence of youth, and thus the internal is stolen away. He must then look to the Lord for a new understanding in which there can be formed a new good of innocence, and must repent of his theft.
“Man after death continues such as his will or ruling love is. The man who has celestial and spiritual love goes to heaven; while the man who has bodily and worldly loves and no celestial and spiritual love goes to hell.” (H.H. 480, 481)
Much is said in the Word about man’s ruling or dominating love.
We are taught in many places that one’s place in Heaven or in hell, ones place in a society of heaven or hell is according to ones ruling or dominating love, and that after death this ruling love cannot be changed to eternity. This subject is therefore of the greatest importance. Regeneration consists in the change of the ruling love; the rejection of an evil ruling love and the acquiring of a new ruling love from the Lord.
With those in external states the important thing is an obedience to the commandments; but the Lord wills those of the New Church to be internal men and women. Thus to take heed not only to what they say and do, but to take heed as to their loves.
It is often thought that man cannot know the internal of himself and of others, but carefully note the following teaching. We read:
“All the delights that a man has are the delights of his ruling love, for he feels nothing to be delightful except what he loves, thus especially what he loves above all things. These delights are various. In general, there are as many as there are ruling loves, consequently as many as there are men, spirits and angels; for no one’s ruling love is in every respect like that of another.
Only from a knowledge of correspondences can it be known what spiritual delights every one’s natural delights are changed into after death, and what kind of delights they are. In particular it teaches what it is that corresponds, and what kind of a thing it is. Therefore, any one that has this knowledge can ascertain and know what his own state after death will be, if he only knows what his love is and what its relation is to the universally ruling loves spoken of above, to which all loves have relation. But it is impossible for those who are in the love of self to know what their ruling love is, because they love what is their own, and call their evils goods; and the falsities that they incline to and by which they confirm their evils they call truths. And yet if they were willing they might know it from others who are wise, and who see what they themselves do not see. This, however, is impossible with those who are so enticed by the love of self that they spurn all teaching of the wise.” (H.H.487)
All spiritual charity has to do with becoming regenerate and being of assistance to the neighbor in his or her regeneration. And, as we have said; regeneration and thence salvation, consists in the changing and then the perfecting of the ruling love.
We are told that one’s delights are entirely according to the ruling loves; wherefore if a man knows the nature of the delights of himself and of others, he knows the ruling love of himself and of others… But as stated in the above quotation, no one can know this unless he knows the correspondence between spiritual delights and natural delights and is wise.
“And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove, and she returned not again unto him any more.” (Gen. 8:12)
He stayed yet other seven days, signifies a second holy state in which the Lord is still more manifestly present with man. And sent forth the dove signifies a new receiving of the goods and truths of faith. And she returned not again unto him any more, signifies a free state.
Concerning the free state signified by the dove not returning we read in the Third Lesson as follows:
“So long as he was in the ark, he was in a state of slavery… When man has been regenerated, he for the first time comes into a state of freedom, having before been in a state of slavery. It is slavery when cupidities and falsities rule, and freedom when the affections of the good and the true do so… When he is in a state of slavery, that is when cupidities and falsities rule, the man, who is under subjugation to them, supposes that he is in a state of freedom; but this is a gross falsity, for he is then carried away by the delight of cupidities and their pleasures, that is by the delights of his love, and because this is done by delights, it appears to him as freedom… It is quite unknown to very many what a life of freedom is… A life of freedom, or freedom, is simply and solely being led by the Lord.” (A.C. 891, 2)
“The more present the Lord, the more free the man; that is, the more man is in the love of the good and the true, the more freely he acts. Such is the influx of the Lord through the angels. But on the other hand, the influx of hell through evil spirits is forcible and impetuous, striving to dominate, so that he may be nothing, and that they may be everything.” (A.C. 905)
The above is a well known teaching in the New Church, and also known in the first Christian Church; for the Lord, when in the world taught as follows:
“If ye continue in My word ye shall be My disciples and the truth shall make you free… Amen, amen, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin… If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:30-36)
But while this truth is known, still it is not known, for it is not understood.
In general, those in the New Church think that they are in the truth and that they are therefore free, while others who do not have the truth, given by the Lord in His Second Coming, do not have the truth and are therefore not free. That this is a false idea is evident from this, that the freedom spoken of in our text, is one of the last states of regeneration; many states of reformation, temptation and regeneration have to be passed through before a man comes to this state of freedom. Few come to this state of freedom in this world, although, all who are being reformed or regenerated, come into this state of freedom in heaven.
When the Lord said, “The truth shall make you free”, it is not meant that the knowledges of truth will make you free; for there are many who have an abundance of the knowledges of truth in their memory, who can speak about them intelligently, and can explain them maybe better than others, and yet who are by no means free, but are under the dominion of cupidities and falsities.
The truth, which makes you free, is not the truth in the memory, but the truth in the life. All truth continually flows into man from the Lord, and is received in the knowledges of truth which man has acquired from without.
We read: “Judge not lest ye be judged; for with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. (Matt. 7:1-2) Without Doctrine this can be adduced to confirm that it is not to be said of evil that it is evil, thus that we are not to judge that an evil person is evil. But from Doctrine it is allowable to judge, but justly. For the Lord says, Judge a just judgment.” (John 7:21, S.S. 512)
In the above passage from the Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture, is pointed out an apparent contradiction in the New Testament, a contradiction which can only be reconciled by Doctrine. When we come to examine the Newest, and last, Testament, the Writings of Swedenborg, we again find an apparent contradiction in what is said concerning judging.
We read: “Therefore a man is never allowed to judge concerning another as to the quality of his spiritual life; for the Lord alone knows this. But everyone is allowed to judge concerning another as to his quality as to moral and civil life; for this is of importance to society.” (A.C. 22843).
Similar teaching to the above is given in various places in the Latin Word as is well known in the Church. On the other hand we read:
“Love and faith are meant in the spiritual sense by works … From this it is that works signify, not the things which appear in outward form, but the things of the will and the thought. That this is so is known to every one who reflects. Who that is wise regards a man from his deeds alone and not from his will? If the will is good he loves the deeds; but if the will is evil he does not love the deeds. He sees the deeds but interprets them according to the intention of the will. He that is spiritual attends still less to the deeds, but explores the will; for the reason already given that deeds in themselves are nothing, but all that they are is from the will (A. E. 983)
Moral and civil goods can be seal in natural light, a light in which all but the insane can see.
That moral and civil good and evil San be seen in natural light is taught in the Arcana Coelestia as follows:
“The Israelitish nation might have known these laws (that parents are to be honored, that murder, adultery and theft are not to be committed, and that no one should bear false witness) from natural light alone; for what nation is there which does not know them?” (A.C. 8862)
It is self-evident that every man can see natural truth in natural light, not only the truths of natural science, but also truths of civil and moral life, and can judge concerning them from a faculty of natural rational understanding. Were not this true the world would be insane and human society would be impossible.
“From the love of self springs contempt of others, in comparison with self, then the derision and abuse of them, afterwards enmity if they do not favor, and finally the delight of hatred, the delight of revenge, thus the delight of violence, nay of cruelty” (A.C. 9348).
Everyone is born into the love of self; but this love does not, at first, appear to man, and often not to others, in its ugliness. It often hides under the appearance of love towards others and even under the appearance of love into the Lord.
This love can only be discovered in its .affects. The first of these effects if the contempt of others in comparison with ourselves, but even this evil, which is the most prevalent, seeks to hide itself; it hides itself behind the love of things which are one’s own. Observe how men of all nations despise other nations in comparison with their own; how members of churches despise other churches in comparison with their own; how one despises other families in comparison with one’s own family; how one despises other professions in comparison with one’s own profession. If one is scientific, acute or learned how one despises those who are not scientific, acute or learned. If one is artistic or sensitive how one despises those who are not artistic or sensitive. If one is sociable, and affable, how such a one despises those who are not sociable or affable. If one is generous and kindly how such a one despises those who are less generous and kindly. If one is subtle in understanding, influencing or persuading others, how one despises those who have not such talents. If one is quick at grasping the things of the Word and doctrinals thence, one despises those who do this with difficulty. Everyone finds things by means of which he despises others in comparison with himself, and from which he holds others, particularly those who do not agree with himself, in contempt. The evil despise the good, either thinking or calling them hypocrites.
The contempt of others in comparison with self is more in evidence, and is of a mere interior quality with those who cling ardently to their church than with others.
One who knows many truths of faith can more clearly see the evils and falsities of others, than those who have not such truths, but unless he is in humility he does not see his own evils and falsities. Seeing the evils and falsities of others he is in greater contempt of others in comparison with himself than are those who do not have truths of faith. The more truths of faith one has, if the love of self is not shunned, the more the contempt of others in comparison with self grows, until it despises all in the universe in comparison with oneself.
From the contempt of others there arises derision and abuse of them. Observe how much so-called humor has in it contempt of others, – derision, ridicule, and mockery; observe the great delight felt in such derision and ridicule. Observe also the delight in the abuse of others, in criticizing, and in speaking of their faults, especially in regard to those who do not favor ourselves. Finally such an attitude breaks forth in an attitude of enmity towards those who do not favor ourselves, or our own.
Let anyone observe his attitude towards those who are critical of him, or are critical of his family, his country, or his church, and do not favor him, and see if a feeling of enmity is not present towards them. How few there are who are not delighted when misfortune overtakes those who have been critical of them, or their own and have manifested disfavor towards them.
“Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it: and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:24-25).
Our text commences with the words “Amen, Amen”, or, as in the King James version of the Bible “Verily, Verily”, or it might be said “Truly, Truly”. When the Lord said “Amen, Amen”, it means that what follows is of the greatest importance.
The word “Amen” comes from the Hebrew word meaning the true. The repetition of the word “Amen” means that the true must be received in both the understanding and in the will, and thus this true must rule in the whole of man’s life.
On account of the great importance of the teaching of our text, this teaching is given in different terms seven times in the New Testament. “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 he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39) “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.” (Matthew 16:24,25) And nearly the same words are repeated in Mark 8:34,35 and in Luke 9:23,24. In Luke 17:33 it is said “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.”
In the Apocalypse it is said: “And they loved not their soul, even unto death.” (12:11)
In explication of these texts we read: “And they loved not their souls unto death”,…signifies the faithful who have endured temptation, and who have regarded the life of the world as of no account in comparison with the life of Heaven.” (A.E.750)
Again “Jesus said Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringth forth much fruit.
All churches and civilizations have had their infancy, childhood, and adult age, followed by a decline. When a church comes to its spiritual fall, although it may long continue for many centuries as an external organization, a new church is raised up. At the end of the Most Ancient Church, represented by Adam and his descendants, the church was first cast out of Paradise and then came to an end in an overflowing of evil and false things, represented by a flood, and a new church called Noah and his sons was established. Later a church was established with Abraham and his descendants which, when it fell into hypocrisy, was judged by the Lord, at His Coming into the world, and the Christian Church was established. The fall and judgment of the Christian Church by the Lord, at His Second Coming, are prophesied in the Gospels and the book of Revelation. Following this a New Church is instituted, called, in the book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem or, to use the Greek of the Gospels, Nova Hierosolyma.
The fall of the Noachic Church is represented by what is said about the tower of Babel.
We read: “The whole land was of one lip, and their words were one.” (Gen. 11:1.)
Lips and words signify the doctrine or teachings of the Church, for it is by the lips and by words that the teachings are communicated from man to man. To have one lip, and the words being one, signifies that there was one teaching or doctrine. The church called Noah, which included his descendants, was widespread, and there were many nations around the land of Canaan which belonged to this church. In these nations there was a variety of worship and teachings, yet this variety was a harmonious variety, a harmony which made them one and united them into one church.
As long as there is a spirit of spiritual or real charity, different organizations of the church in different lands make it one, for all have good will and therefore understand each other.
Take two men who are humble and are of good will but who differ as to their doctrinal position. In speaking together, if one points out the error that the other is in, the one who has his position criticized carefully considers the criticism to see whether there is any truth in it; and if, after prayer to God, he finds that there is, he modifies his point of view. He may then point out errors in the other’s point of view. Thus, although the emphasis may remain different, an ever-increasing harmony of thought develops between them. If, however, there is no humility and no good will, antagonism on account of doctrinal difference increases. The same is true of churches. If all churches were in good will and were willing to humble themselves before the Word of God and give up all their cherished ideas which do not agree with the Word of God, there would be internal unity. This, however, does not mean that there should be an ecumenical coming together of churches at the sacrifice or compromising of the truth. For example, if those who believe in the Divine nature of the Word of God —and therefore believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is their Lord and their God—compromise and join with those who believe that the Bible is a human production and deny the Virgin birth and the Divinity of the Lord, they still have nothing spiritually in common. When a compromise is made as to the very essence of faith, those having no faith in the Word of God prevail and all living faith perishes.
The prevailing idea is that charity involves abstaining from a forceful exposure of false ideas. But this is not a Christian idea, for the Lord condemned the false ideas of those with whom He dwelt on earth in the sharpest of language; yet He did this out of pure love, saying, “0 Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!” (Luke 13:34.)
Union of church organizations may have as its purpose increase of power and influence, protection from a common enemy, improvement of one’s image before others, or reduction in the cost of running a church. Such union has nothing to do with good will or charity, although it may put on such an appearance, just as thieves are friendly to each other in order to protect themselves or for the sake of uniting to carry out their ends.
It is said of those who built the tower of Babel that they journeyed from the east. The east, or sunrise, signifies love to the Lord and charity. To go from the east means that they departed from love and charity.
They said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, . . . and let us make us a name. (Genesis 11:4)
A city signifies doctrine or teaching, and a tower in the unfavorable sense signifies the loftiness that comes from loving one’s self in the first place. “… and its head in heaven” signifies even having dominion over the things of heaven, or the divine things of the church. “. . . and let us make a name” signifies that they desired to have a reputation for power.
It is the nature of a man who has not been born again to long for power and influence, to long to be able to command and domineer over others. In churches the leaders who have such ambitions invent teachings which add to their power and authority. Examples of this in the Christian Church are claims involving the power to admit or not to admit into heaven; also, the idea that one has been called by the Lord to the ministry, when frequently the call was an imaginary response to a personal ambition. Every doctrinal position taken by a church or congregation for the sake of influence or popularity, every political attitude which does not humbly submit to the Word of the Lord, no matter what the consequences, but strives for the prosperity of this world or the increase of membership or wealth, becomes a city and tower of Babel.
When such an attitude prevails, to prevent profanation the Lord is said to go down, confound their lip that they hear not the lip of their fellow. (Genesis 11:7.) This signifies that the inner truth in the Word of God is taken from them and thejr are left “in the letter”—which is not understood and about which they begin to quarrel and dispute, so that there is no agreement and they are deprived of their power.
The literal-minded in the above passages will think of the man Abraham, but those who think more deeply can see that Abraham represents the Lord, whose children we may become. To Isaac it is also said, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the land he blessed” (Genesis 26:4), and to Jacob it is said: “Blessed be he that blesseth thee.” (Genesis 27:29.)
(from the book My Lord and My God by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn)
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matt 6:13)
“And lead us not into temptation.” In explanation of this phrase in the Latin Word we are in various places told that it is according to the appearance that man is led into temptation by the Lord, but in reality the Lord leads no one into temptation, this being done by the hells.
Concerning these words we read: “It was granted me to have a perception of angelic ideas about these words in the Lord’s Prayer: ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ Temptation and evil were rejected by the nearest good spirits, by a certain idea perceptible within me, and this until what is purely angelic, namely, Good, remained, without any idea of temptation and evil; the literal sense thus perishing altogether. In the first rejection innumerable ideas were formed respecting this good – how good may come from man’s affliction while the affliction still is from man and his evils in which there is punishment, – and this with a kind of indignation adjoined with it that it should be thought that temptation and its evil come from any other source, and that anyone should have any thought of evil in thinking of the Lord” (A.C. 1875)
Temptations are according to man’s love, and the severity of the temptation is according to the greatness of the love. A temptation is a trial of the love. If a man has only natural loves, he can only undergo natural trials or temptations: if a man has spiritual loves, he undergoes spiritual temptations. The Lord, because He had a Divine Love of the salvation of the human race, underwent the most grievous temptation of all.
Much is said in the Word about temptation, and its use, namely, that without temptation man cannot be regenerated, nor can the love of self and the world be overcome, nor can the external be made obedient to the internal The sign of the victory in temptation is that man no longer despises others in comparison with himself, but considers himself as unworthy, and regards others as more worthy than himself.
We read: “Some suppose that man can be regenerated without temptation, and some that he can be regenerated when ho has undergone one temptation; but it is to be known that no one is regenerated without temptation, and that many temptations succeed one after another. The reason is that regeneration takes place to the end that the life of the old man may die, and that new life which is celestial may be insinuated; from which it may be evident that a combat is absolutely necessary.” (A.C. 8403.)
If temptations ere so necessary why are we told to pray not to be led into temptation? But before considering this question, let us consider what is the sign that a temptation is a spiritual temptation, for there are many natural trials which appear as if they were spiritual. A temptation is always e loss or an apparent loss of what we hold dear. The most severe natural temptations are due to the loss of those we hold dear, such as family and friends whom we love, a loss either by death, or by the breaking of a friendship, or by disappointment in perceiving that those whom we love have turned towards evil, or have turned against us. Spiritual temptations have to do with the Lord, His Word and the Church, but temptations in regard to the Lord and the Church, which appear spiritual on account of the subject, may be only natural To illustrates Many love their Church personally, because it is their Church, and they have been brought up in it; they love it as a natural msn loves his country, namely, because it is his; thus the love of the Church has its origin in self, whether he has been brought up in it or whether he has adopted it. Such a one suffers when the Church suffers, and he suffers particularly if the Church in which he is treats him harshly or persecutes him, but this is only a natural temptation. Again, many love the Lord because He is their God, thus personally. If such find their love of the Lord or their faith growing weak, or if the Lord appears to be unmerciful towards them, they suffer, but this is a natural and not a spiritual temptation.
It is only those who love the Lord, His Word, and His Church spiritually, that is, not primarily as to person or in relation to oneself, that can undergo spiritual temptations. That are the signs of such a love?
“Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
Or as in Luke :
“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.” (Luke 11:4.)
All things which a man has are from the Lord, whether they are celestial, spiritual, natural, or material things. They are given to man to use as if of himself. Man either uses these things according to Divine order, and then ascribes them with their use to the Lord, or he misuses them and abuses them, and ascribes them with their use to himself. All the gifts from the Lord which he ascribes to himself are debts, and when, from ascribing thorn to himself he abuses them, they become sins
But what is the nature of these debts?
First as to the more interior debts for which man must be forgiven:
A man is given a perception of certain true things of the internal sense of the Word. These true things are impressed on his internal memory and become cognitions there. In a following state a man fails to ascribe these cognitions to the Lord, but instead, by means of these cognitions he strives to acquire further true things from the internal sense of the ’’lord, but from himself. Due to the cognitions he knows he can in appearance do this, but they are stolen things, for which he is in debt to the Lord. They are things gotten by climbing up some other way, like a thief or a robber, instead of entering by moans of the Lord, who is the door.
Every man who is of the internal Church at times does this; wherefore he must come into a state of repentance, and pray, “Forgive us our debts, or our sins”
Again, a man applies the things of Doctrine to his life, but forgets that he cannot do this of himself, but solely from the Lord; wherefore he immediately falls into that which is meritorious, for which he must, after examining himself, repent, and ask forgiveness for this debt which he owes the Lord.
Observe how everywhere we can see stolen things, debts for which forgiveness is often not asked.
A young man or woman is granted an inspiration, which is a common thing in youth, on the basis of youthful innocence; but he soon becomes proud of his abilities; vanity takes hold of him, and he spoils his gifts.
An old man or woman who has experienced much during a long life becomes proud of his knowledge of life, with the result that he becomes more stupid than the young.
See how a man prides himself in his intelligence and how a woman prides herself in her womanly perception or intuition, with the immediate result that the man loses his intelligence and the woman her perception. As soon as a man thinks about his intelligence, and still more if he speaks about it, he becomes internally unintelligent; as soon as a woman from having had perceptions prides herself on her perceptions, and still more if she speaks about her perceptions, all perception leaves her. Wherefore if one does not continually ask forgiveness for one’s debts, one is carried away.