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Spirit of Swedenborg Emanuel Swedenborg

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Spirit of Swedenborg

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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The Warfare of Regeneration

"Blessed be the Lord my strength,
Who teacheth my hands to war,
And my fingers to fight:
My goodness, and my fortress;
My high tower and my deliverer;
My shield, and He in whom I trust;
Who subdueth my people under me."
-- Psalm, CXLIV, 1, 2

"To Him That Overcometh"

Because man is reformed by conflicts with the evils of his flesh and by victories over them, the Son of Man says to each of the seven Churches, that He will give gifts "to him that overcometh."

-- True Christian Religion, n. 610

Without moral struggle no one is regenerated, and many spiritual wrestlings succeed one after another. For, inasmuch as regeneration has for its end that the life of the old man may die and the new and heavenly life be implanted, there will unfailingly be combat. The life of the old man resists and is unwilling to be extinguished, and the life of the new man cannot enter, except where the life of the old has been extinguished. From this it is plain that there is combat, and ardent combat, because for life.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 8403

Repentance and the Remission of Sins

He who would be saved, must confess his sins, and do repentance. To confess sins is to know evils, to see them in oneself, to acknowledge them, to make oneself guilty and condemn oneself on account of them. Done before God, this is to confess sins. To do repentance is to desist from sins after one has thus confessed them and from a humble heart has besought forgiveness, and then to live a new life according to the precepts of charity and faith.

He who merely acknowledges generally that he is a sinner, making himself guilty of all evils, without examining himself, -- that is, without seeing his sins, -- makes a confession but not the confession of repentance. Inasmuch as he does not know his evils, he lives as before.

One who lives the life of charity and faith does repentance daily. He reflects upon the evils in him, acknowledges them, guards against them, and beseeches the Lord for help. For of oneself one continually lapses toward evil; but he is continually raised up by the Lord and led to good.

Repentance of the mouth and not of the life is not repentance. Nor are sins pardoned on repentance of the mouth, but on repentance of the life. Sins are constantly pardoned man by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but still they adhere to man, however he supposes they have been remitted. Nor are they removed from him save by a life according to the precepts of true faith. So far as he lives according to these precepts, sins are removed; and so far as they are removed, so far they are remitted.

-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 159-165

Temptation and Prayer

When a man shuns evils as sins, he flees them because they are contrary to the Lord and to His Divine laws; and then he prays to the Lord for help and for power to resist them -- a power which is never denied when it is asked. By these two means a man is cleansed of evils. He cannot be cleansed of evils if he only looks to the Lord and prays; for then, after he has prayed, he believes that he is quite without sins, or that they have been forgiven, by which he understands that they are taken away. But then he still remains in them; and to remain in them is to increase them. Nor are evils removed only by shunning them; for then the man looks to himself, and thereby strengthens the origin of evil, which was that he turned himself back from the Lord and turned to himself.

-- The Doctrine Concerning Charity, n. 146

The Great Arena

In temptations the hells fight against man, and the Lord for him. To every falsity which the hells inject, there is an answer from the Divine. The falsities inflow into the outward man, the answer into the inward man, coming to perception scarcely otherwise than as hope, and the resulting consolation, in which, however, there is a multitude of things of which the man is unaware.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 8159

In temptations a man is left, to all appearance, to himself alone; yet he has not been left alone, for God is then most present in his inmost being, and upholds him. When anyone overcomes in temptation, therefore, he enters into closer union with God.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 126

"By Little and Little"

When man is being regenerated, he is not regenerated speedily but slowly. The reason is that all things which he has thought, purposed and done since infancy, have added themselves to his life and have come to constitute it. They have also formed such a connection among themselves that no one thing can be removed unless all are at the same time. Regeneration, or the implantation of the life of heaven in man, begins in his infancy, and continues to the last of his life in the world, and is perfected to eternity.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 9334

A New Man

When a man is regenerated, he becomes altogether another, and a new, man. While his appearance and his speech are the same, yet his mind is not; for his mind is then open toward heaven, and there dwell in it love for the Lord, and charity toward the neighbor, together with faith. It is the mind which makes another and a new man. The change of state cannot be perceived in man's body, but in his spirit. When it [the body] is put off then his spirit appears, and in altogether another form, too, when he has been regenerated; for it has then a form of love and charity with inexpressible beauty, in the place of the earlier form, which was one of hatred and cruelty with a deformity also inexpressible.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 3212


"It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

-- Matthew, XVIII, 14

Never could a man live, -- certainly not as a human being, -- unless he had in himself something vital, that is, some innocence, neighborly love, and mercy. This a man receives from the Lord in infancy and childhood. What he receives then is treasured up in him, and is called in the Word the remnant or remains, which are of the Lord alone with him, and they make it possible for him truly to be a man on reaching adult age. These states are the elements of his regeneration, and he is led into them; for the Lord works by means of them. These remains are also called "the living soul" in all flesh.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 1050

All states of innocence from infancy on, of love toward parents, brothers, teachers and friends; of charity to the neighbor, and also of mercy to the poor and needy; all states of goodness and truth, with their goods and truths, impressed on; the memory, are preserved in man by the Lord, and are stored up unconsciously to himself in his internal man, and are carefully kept from evils and falsities. They are all so preserved by the Lord that not the smallest of them is lost. Every state from infancy even to extreme old age not only remains in another life, but also returns. Returning, these states are such as they were during a man's abode in the world. Not only the goods and truths, stored up in the memory, remain and return, but likewise all the states of innocence and charity; and when states of evil and the false, or of wickedness and phantasy recur, these latter states are attempered by the former through the Divine operation of the Lord.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 561


"O Thou who hearest prayer;
Unto Thee shall all flesh come."
-- Psalm, LXV, 2

Prayer, in itself considered, is speech with God. There is then some inward view of the objects of the prayer, and answering to that something like an influx into the perception or thought. Thus there is a kind of opening of the man's interiors toward God, with a difference according to the man's state and according to the nature of the object of the prayer. If one prays out of love and faith and only about and for things heavenly and spiritual, then there appears in the prayer something like revelation, which shows itself in the affection of the suppliant, in hope, solace, or an inner gladness.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 2535


"I will come into Thy house in the multitude of Thy mercy;
In Thy fear will I worship toward Thy holy temple."
-- Psalm, V, 7


One should not omit the practice of external worship. Things inward are excited by external worship; and outward things are kept in holiness by external worship, so that things inward can flow in. Moreover, a man is imbued in this way with knowledge, and prepared to receive celestial things, so as to be endowed with states of holiness, though he is unaware of it. These states of holiness the Lord preserves to him for the use of eternal life; for in the other life all one's states of life recur.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 1618


Baptism and the Holy Supper are the holiest acts of worship. Baptism and the Holy Supper are as it were two gates, through which a man is introduced into eternal life. After the first gate there is a plain, which he must traverse; and the second is the goal where the prize is, to which he directed his course; for the palm is not given until after the contest, nor the reward until after the combat.

-- True Christian Religion, nn. 667, 721


Baptism was instituted for a sign that a man is of the Church and for a memorial that he is to be regenerated. For the washing of baptism is no other than spiritual washing, which is regeneration. All regeneration is effected by the Lord through truths of faith and a life according to them. Baptism, therefore, testifies that a man is of the Church and that he can be regenerated; for it is in the Church that the Lord is acknowledged, Who regenerates man, and there the Word is, where are truths of faith, by which is regeneration.

-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 202, 203

The sign of the cross which a child receives on the forehead and breast at baptism is a sign of inauguration into the acknowledgment and worship of the Lord.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 682


The Holy Supper was instituted that by means of it there might be conjunction of the Church with heaven, and thus with the Lord. When one takes the bread, which is the Body, one is conjoined with the Lord by the good of love to Him, from Him; and when one takes the wine, which is the Blood, one is conjoined to the Lord by the good of faith in Him, from Him.

-- Heavenly Doctrine, nn. 210, 213

In the Holy Supper the Lord is fully present, both as to His glorified Humanity, and as to the Divine. And because He is fully present, therefore the whole of His redemption is; for where the Lord the Redeemer is, there redemption is. Therefore all who observe the Holy Communion worthily, become His redeemed, and receives the fruits of redemption, namely, liberation from hell, union with the Lord, and salvation.

-- True Christian Religion, nn. 716, 717


"Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me."
-- Matthew, XI, 29

There are those who believe that it is difficult to live the life which leads to heaven, which is called the spiritual life, because they have heard that one must renounce the world, must divest himself of the lusts called the lusts of the body and the flesh, and must live spiritually. They take this to mean that they must cast away worldly things, which are especially riches and honors; that they must go continually in pious meditation on God, salvation, and eternal life; and must spend their life in prayers and in reading the Word and pious books. But those who renounce the world and live in the spirit in this manner acquire a melancholy life, unreceptive of heavenly joy. To receive the life of heaven a man must by all means live in the world and engage in its duties and affairs and by a moral and civil life receive the spiritual life.

That it is not so difficult to live the life of heaven, as some believe, may be seen from this: when a matter presents itself to a man which he knows to be dishonest and unjust, but to which he inclines, it is only necessary for him to think that it ought not to be done because it is opposed to the Divine precepts. If a man accustoms himself to think so, and from so doing establishes a habit of so thinking, he is gradually conjoined to heaven. So far as he is conjoined to heaven the higher regions of his mind are opened; and so far as these are opened he sees whatever is dishonest and unjust; and so far as he sees these evils they can be dispersed -- for no evil can be dispersed until it is seen.

-- Heaven and Hell, nn. 528, 533

The Decalogue

"Come, let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten." -- Jeremiah, L, 5

The conjunction of God with man, and of man with God, is taught in the two Tables which were written with the finger of God, called the Tables of the Covenant. These Tables obtain with all nations who have a religion. From the first Table they know that God is to be acknowledged, hallowed and worshipped. From the second Table they know that a man is not to steal, either openly or by trickery, nor to commit adultery, nor to kill, whether by blow or by hatred, nor to bear false witness in a court of justice, or before the world, and further that he ought not to will those evils. From this Table a man knows the evils which he must shun, and in the measure that he knows them and shuns them, God conjoins him to Himself, and in turn from His Table gives man to acknowledge, hallow and worship Him. So, also, He gives him not to meditate evils, and, in so far as he does not will them, to know truths freely.

-- Apocalypse Explained, n. 1179

As one views the two tables, it is plain that they are so conjoined that God from His table looks to man, and that in turn man from his table looks to God. Thus the regard is reciprocal. God for His part never ceases to regard man, and to put in operation such things as are for his salvation; and if man receives and does the things in his table, reciprocal conjunction is effected, and the Lord's words to the lawyer will have come to pass, "This do, and thou shalt live."

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