Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)



The proprium is the basis of the conscious life of man; apart from proprium there can be no life which could be felt, and therefore no individuality. As is known, there are two diametrically opposed things which are called the proprium; one is called mans proprium, and the other is called the celestial, or, as usually translated, the heavenly proprium.

The proprium, or that which is proper to man, in contradistinction to that which is proper to the Lord, is wholly evil; in fact, so evil that we read that “even with the mast celestial angel, the proprium is nothing but falsity and evil.” (A. C. 633. See also H. H. 592.) On the other hand, the celestial proprium is the medium of conjunction with the Lord. To quote: “Heaven, thus the Church, are united to the Lord through the Proprium, . . . for without proprium there is no union. . . . The difference between the angelic and celestial proprium which is from the Lord, and the infernal and diabolical proprium which is from self, is like that between heaven and hell.” (A. C. 252.) This being so, it is evident that the celestial proprium is holy and pure, and cannot as to the least thing be mixed with mans own proprium without profanation, although for a long time it may appear to the man as if they were mixed. Thus we read “that the celestial which is the Lords Proprium, which alone is celestial and holy, was not to be commingled with mans proprium, which is profane.” (A. C. 1001.)

As mans own proprium is wholly evil and false, it cannot receive anything of good or truth; wherefore, if man is to be saved, he must receive a new proprium from the Lord which can reciprocate the inflowing love and wisdom; and it is this that is called the celestial proprium. It is the purpose of this address to bring forth from the Word the teaching concerning this proprium.

As the celestial proprium is the uniting medium between the Lord and man, it is the Lords own with man, and is in no wise mans own, although it appears to man as if it were.
This teaching is given in innumerable places in the Latin Word, from which the following are quoted:

“As regards flesh, in the supreme sense it signifies the Proprium of the Lords Divine Human, which is Divine Good; in the relative sense, it signifies the voluntary proprium of man vivified by the Proprium of the Divine Human, that is, by His Divine Good. This proprium is what ii called the celestial proprium, which in itself is the Lords alone appropriated to those who are in good and thence in truth.” (A. C. 3813.) “It is celestial love which the Lord then insinuates, and through which he creates his proprium; and therefore the Lord wants it to appear as his, although it is not his.” (A. C. 1937:6.) “If there were no reception, there would be no reciprocal, which makes what is Gods to be as if mans.” (A. E. 802:3.)

“Angels are not angels from their proprium, for their proprium is evil; it is only removed, and in proportion as it is removed, the angels receive love and wisdom, that is, the Lord, in themselves. Everyone can see that the Lord must dwell with angels in that which is His; and that it is His Own Proprium, which is Love and Wisdom, and not at all in the proprium of angels, which is evil.” (D. L. W. 114.)

“For angels are all withheld from their proprium, and are kept in the Lords Proprium, which is Good Itself; but spirits who are in the hells are all in their proprium.” (H. H. 591.)

“For the Lord must be in the Divine, and not in the proprium of any one.” (A. C. 9338:6.)

“Their proprium is nothing but what is evil and damned; but the Lords proprium, which they receive, is good.” (A. C. 7784.)

“The Lord is not conjoined with the proprium of man, but with His Own with him.” (A. E. 254.)

The case with the celestial proprium from the Lord is this, namely, that from the Divine Love He continually wills to give what is His to man, and does it so far as man can receive.” (S. D. Min. 4681.)

“As man, as to his proprium, is nothing but evil and falsity, therefore, of the Divine Mercy, he can be removed from his proprium. These means are given in the Word; and when man operates by these means, that is, thinks, speaks, wills and acts from the Divine Word, he is then kept by the Lord in Divine things, and thus withheld from proprium; and when this lasts, as it were a new proprium is formed, both voluntary and intellectual, . . . which is completely separated from the proprium of man.” (A. E. 585.)
“The two witnesses are the good of love and charity, and the truth of doctrine and faith; it is these that testify concerning the Lord, for they are from the Lord, and are His with man.” (A. E. 649.)

As the celestial proprium is the Lords with man, and is in no wise mans own, as to its origin and essence it is purely Divine; it is from the Lords Proprium, yea, it is the Lords Proprium. By glorification, the Lord made His Proprium the Divine Itself, wherefore we read: ” The Lord was born in the Church . . . that of His Divine Power He should unite the Divine Celestial Proprium to the human proprium in His Human Essence, so that they might become one in Him.” (A. C. 256.) From His Proprium, which is the Infinite Divine, there is a Divine thence with angels and men, which is as it were finite. This Divine thence with angels and men is the celestial proprium as to its origin and as to its essence.

Concerning the Divine Itself and the Divine thence, we read: “But let it be understood that the Divine in Itself is the Lord, while the Divine from Itself is the Divine from the Lord in created things.” (D. P. 52.) Concerning the Divine essence of the Lord with man, we read: ” The laws of order enjoined upon man are, that he should acquire for himself truths from the Word. . . . The laws of order on the part of God then are, that He will draw near and fill these truths with His Divine Light, and thus fill the man’s natural faith, which is mere science and persuasion, with a Divine essence; it is the same with charity.” (T. C. R. 73.)

Thus it can be seen that it is truths and charity filled with a Divine essence that are the celestial proprium. Although such truths and such charity filled with a Divine essence are the Lords and not mans, nevertheless they appear to be mans, although in themselves they are Divine. Thus we read: “Man is able . . . thus to receive the Divine; and he who is able to receive, so as to be able to see and perceive it in himself, cannot but be conjoined with the Lord, and by this conjunction live to eternity. What would the Lord do with the whole created universe, unless He had created images and likenesses of Himself, to whom He could communicate His Divine.” (D. P. 324.)
The point of this number is, that if man were not “able to receive the Divine, so as to see and perceive it in himself,” there could be no angelic individuality, and thus no celestial proprium with man.

Read the full paper on the Proprium by Rev. Theodore Pitcairn

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