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Spirit of Swedenborg Emanuel Swedenborg

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Spirit of Swedenborg

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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The Sacred Scriptures

"They testify of Me."
-- John, V, 39

God's Word

In its inmosts the Sacred Scripture is no other than God, that is, the Divine which proceeds from God.... In its derivatives it is accommodated to the perception of angels and men. In these it is Divine likewise, but in another form, in which this Divine is called "Celestial," "Spiritual," and "Natural." These are no other than coverings of God. Still the Divine, which is inmost, and is covered with such things as are accommodated to the perceptions of angels and men, shines forth like light through crystalline forms, but variously, according to the state of mind which a man has formed for himself, either from God or from self. In the sight of the man who has formed the state of his mind from God, the Sacred Scripture is like a mirror in which he sees God, each in his own way. The truths which he learns from the Word and which become a part of him by a life according to them, compose that mirror. The Sacred Scripture is the fulness of God.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 6

In Its Bosom Spiritual

The Word in its bosom is spiritual. Descending from Jehovah the Lord, and passing through the angelic heavens, the Divine (in itself ineffable and imperceptible) became level with the perception of angels and finally the perception of man. Hence the Word has a spiritual sense, which is within the natural, just as the soul is in the body, or as thought is in speech, or volition in action.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 193

The Letter of the Word

The truths of the sense of the letter of the Word are in part appearances of truth, and are taken from things in nature, and thus accommodated and adapted to the grasp of the simple and also of little children. But being correspondences, they are receptacles and abodes of genuine truth; and are like enclosing and containing vessels. The naked truths themselves, which are enclosed and contained, are in the Word's spiritual sense; and the naked goods in its celestial sense.

The doctrine of genuine truth can also be drawn in full from the literal sense of the Word; for the Word in this sense is like a man clothed, whose face and hands are bare. All that concerns man's life, and so his salvation, is bare; the rest is clothed.

-- Doctrine Concerning the Sacred Scripture, nn. 40, 55

Its Language

The whole natural world corresponds to the spiritual world; not only generally, but in detail. Whatever comes forth in the natural world from the spiritual, is therefore called correspondent. The world of nature comes forth and subsists from the spiritual world, just as an effect does from its efficient cause.

-- Heaven and Hell, n. 89

What is Divine presents itself in the world in what corresponds. The Word is therefore written wholly in correspondence. Therefore the Lord, too, speaking as He did from the Divine, spoke in correspondence.

-- True Christian Religion, n. 201

"And behold a ladder set on the earth, and its head reaching to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And behold Jehovah standing above it." The ladder set between earth and heaven, or between the lowest and the highest, signifies communication. In the original tongue the term ladder is derived from an expression which signifies a path or way, and a path or way is predicated of truth. By a ladder, therefore, one extremity of which is set on the earth, while the other reaches to heaven, is signified the communication of truth which is in the lowest place with truth which is in the highest, indeed with inmost good and truth, such as are in heaven, and from which heaven itself is an ascent as it were from what is lowest, and afterward when the order is inverted, a descent, and is the order of man's regeneration. The arcanum which lies concealed in the internal sense of these words is, that all goods and truths descend from the Lord, and ascend to Him, for man is so created that the Divine things of the Lord may descend through him even to the ultimates of nature, and from the ultimates of nature may ascend to Him; so that man might be a medium uniting the Divine with the world of nature, and uniting the world of nature with the Divine, that thus, through man, as through the uniting medium, the very ultimate of nature might live from the Divine, which would be the case had man lived according to Divine order.

-- Arcana Coelestia, nn. 3699-3702

Its Function

Divine truth, in passing from the Lord through the three heavens to men in the world, is written and made the Word in each heaven. The Word, therefore, is the union of the heavens with one another, and of the heavens with the Church in the world. Hence there flows in from the Lord through the heavens a holy Divine with the man who acknowledges the Divine in the Lord and the holy in the Word, while he reads it. Such a man can be instructed and can draw wisdom from the Word as from the Lord Himself or from heaven itself, in the measure that he loves it, and thus can be nourished with the same food with which the angels themselves are fed, and in which there is life, according to these words of the Lord:

"The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

"The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

-- Apocalypse Explained, n. 1074

How to Use It

They who, in reading the Word, look to the Lord, by acknowledging that all truth and all good are from Him, and nothing from themselves, -- they are enlightened, and see truth and perceive what is good from the Word. That enlightenment is from the light of heaven.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 9405

Its Dissemination of Light

There cannot be any conjunction with heaven unless somewhere upon the earth there is a Church where the Word is and by it the Lord is known. It is sufficient that there be a Church where the Word is, even though it should consist of few relatively. The Lord is present by it, nevertheless, in the whole world. The light is greatest where those are who have the Word. Thence it extends itself as from a centre out to the last periphery. Thence comes the enlightenment of nations and peoples outside the Church, too, by the Word.

-- Doctrine concerning the Sacred Scripture, nn. 104, 106

A Canon on a New Principle

The books of the Word are all those which have an internal sense. In the Old Testament they are the five books of Moses, the book of Joshua, the book of Judges, the two books of Samuel, the two books of Kings, the Psalms of David, the Prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zecharaiah, Malachi; and in the New Testament the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John; and the Apocalypse.

-- Arcana Coelestia, n. 10,325 New Thought Music is music from the soul

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