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Some Excerpts from the

"True Christian Religion"

By Emanuel Swedenborg


1. THE FAITH OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND OF THE NEW CHURCH

This faith is first set forth in a universal and in a particular form, that it may serve as a preface set before the work that follows, also as a gate giving entrance to a temple, and as a summary, containing in their own mode the particulars that succeed.
2. THE FAITH OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND OF THE NEW CHURCH IN ITS UNIVERSAL FORM is as follows:
The Lord from eternity, who is Jehovah, came into the world to subjugate the hells and to glorify His Human; and without this no mortal could have been saved; and those are saved who believe in Him.
3. THE FAITH OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND OF THE NEW CHURCH IN A PARTICULAR FORM is as follows:
 

[2] THE PARTICULARS OF FAITH ON MAN'S PART are:

(1) God is one, in whom is a Divine trinity, and the Lord God the Savior Jesus Christ is that one.

(2) Saving faith is to believe in Him.

(3) Evils should not be done, because they are of the devil and from the devil.

(4) Goods should be done, because they are of God and from God.

(5) These should be done by man as if by himself; but it should be believed that they are done by the Lord in man and through man.

The first two are matters of faith, the next two of charity, and the fifth of the conjunction of charity and faith, thus of the conjunction of the Lord and man.

43. It is the essence of Love to love others outside of one self, to desire to be one with them, and to render them blessed from oneself. The essence of God consists of two things, love and wisdom; while the essence of His love consists of three things, namely, to love others outside of Himself, to desire to be one with them, and from Himself to render them blessed. And because love and wisdom in God make one, as has been shown above, the same three things constitute the essence of His wisdom; and love desires these three things, and wisdom brings them forth.

82. Jehovah God descended and assumed a Human that He might redeem men and save them. In the Christian churches at this day it is believed that God the Creator of the universe begat a Son from eternity, and that this Son descended and assumed a Human in order to redeem and save men. But this is an error, and of itself falls to the ground as soon as it is considered that God is one, and that it is worse than incredible in the sight of reason to say that the one God begat a Son from eternity, and that God the Father, together with the Son and Holy Spirit, each one of whom singly is God, is one God. This incredible notion is wholly dissipated, like a falling star in midair, when it is shown from the Word that Jehovah God Himself descended and became Man and also Redeemer.

89. God assumed the Human in accordance with His Divine Order. In the section that treats of the Divine omnipotence and omniscience it has been shown that God introduced order into the universe and into each and all things of it at the time of their creation, and therefore His omnipotence in the universe and in each and all things of it, proceeds and operates in accordance with the laws of His order. (This has already been treated of consecutively, n. 49-74.) Since, then, it was God who descended, and since (as is there shown) He is Order itself, it was necessary, if He was to become man actually, that He should be conceived, carried in the womb, born, educated, acquire knowledges gradually, and thereby be introduced into intelligence and wisdom. In respect to His Human He was, for this reason, an infant like other infants, a boy like other boys, and so on; with the sole difference that this development was accomplished in Him more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than in others. That this development was in accordance with order is evident from these words in Luke:

And the child Jesus grew and waxed strong in spirit. And Jesus advanced in wisdom, and in the stages of life, and in favor with God and man (Luke 2:40, 52). That this was done more quickly, more fully, and more perfectly than with others is evident from what is said of Him in the same Gospel, that When He was twelve years old He sat in the temple in the midst of the doctors and taught them and that all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers (Luke 2:46, 47; and afterwards, 4:16-22, 32). This took place because Divine order requires that man should prepare himself for the reception of God; and in proportion as he prepares himself, God enters into him as into His dwelling-place and home; and this preparation is effected by means of knowledges respecting God and the spiritual things pertaining to the church, and thus by means of intelligence and wisdom. For it is a law of order that in proportion as man approaches and gets near to God (which he must do wholly as if of himself) does God approach and get near to man, and conjoin Himself with man in man's interiors. It was in accordance with this order that the Lord progressed even to a oneness with His Father, as will be further shown in what follows.

102. It is believed that the Lord as to His Human not only was, but still is, the son of Mary; but in this the Christian world is under a delusion. It is true that He was the son of Mary, but not true that He still is; for by the acts of redemption He put off the human from the mother and put on a Human from the Father; and this is why the Human of the Lord is Divine, and in Him God is Man, and Man is God. That He put off the human from the mother and put on a Human from the Father, which is the Divine Human, is shown by the fact that He Himself never called Mary His mother, as can be seen from the following passages:

The mother of Jesus said to Him, They have no wine. Jesus said unto her, Woman, what to Me and to thee? Mine hour is not yet come (John 2:3, 4);

and again:

When Jesus saw [from the cross] His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith unto His mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother (John 19:26, 27);

and on one occasion He did not acknowledge her:

It was told Jesus by some who said, Thy mother and Thy brethren stand without, desiring to see Thee. Jesus answering said, My mother and My brethren are these who hear the Word of God and do it (Luke 8:20, 21; Matt. 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35). Thus the Lord did not call her mother but "woman," and gave her to John as a mother. In other places she is called His mother, but not by
His own lips.

115. Redemption itself was a subjugation of the hells, a restoration of order in the heavens, and by means of these a preparation for a new spiritual church. That these three things are redemption I can affirm with all certainty, since at this day also the Lord is effecting a redemption, which began in 1757, together with a final judgment which was then accomplished. This
redemption has been going on up to the present time, and for the reason that at this day is the second coming of the Lord, and a new church is now to be established; and this could not be done without a previous subjugation of the hells and a restoration of order in the heavens. And as it has been granted to me to see all this, I am able to describe how the hells were subjugated, and the new heaven established and arranged: but this would require a whole volume. But how the final judgment was accomplished I have made known in a little work published at London in 1758. Redemption was a subjugation of the hells, a restoration of order in the heavens, and the establishment of a new church, because without these no one could have been saved. Moreover, they follow in order; for the hells must be subjugated before a new angelic heaven can be formed; and this must be formed before a new church can be established on earth; because men in the world are so closely connected with angels of heaven and spirits of hell as on both sides to be one with them in the interiors of their minds.

118. Without that redemption no man could have been saved, nor could the angels have continued in a state of integrity. It shall be told first what redemption is. To redeem means to liberate from damnation, to deliver from eternal death, to rescue from hell, and to release from the hand of the devil the captive and the bound. This the Lord did by subjugating the hells and establishing
a new heaven. Man could have been saved in no other way, for the reason that the spiritual world and the natural are so closely connected that they cannot by any means be separated. This connection is especially in the interiors of men, which are called their souls and minds, the interiors of the good being connected with the souls and minds of angels, and of the wicked with the souls and minds of infernal spirits. This union is such that if angels and spirits were taken away from man he would drop dead as a log. In like manner angels and spirits could not continue to exist if men were taken away from under them. This makes clear why redemption was effected in the spiritual world, and why it was necessary that heaven and hell should be reduced to order before a church could be established on earth. That this is so is very evident from the Apocalypse, where it is said that after the new heaven had been formed, the New Jerusalem, which is the New Church, descended from it (Rev. 21:1-2).

126. The passion of the cross was the last temptation which the Lord, as the greatest Prophet, endured, and was the means whereby His Human was glorified, that is, whereby it was united with the Divine of the Father; but it was not redemption. There are two things for which the Lord came into the world, and by means of which He saved men and angels, namely, redemption and the glorification of His Human. These two are distinct from each other; and yet in reference to salvation they make one. It has been shown in the preceding sections what the work of redemption was, namely, that it was a combat against the hells, a subjugation of the hells, and a restoration of order in the heavens. But glorification is the uniting of the Lord's Human with the Divine of His Father. This was effected gradually, and was completed through the passion of the cross. For every man on his part ought to draw near to God; and as far as man does draw near, God on His part enters into him. It is the same as with a temple, which first must be built, and this is done by the hands of men; afterwards it must be dedicated; and finally prayer must be made for God to be present and there unite Himself with the church. The union itself was made complete through the passion of the cross, because that was the last temptation endured by the Lord in the world; and it is by means of temptations that conjunction is effected. For in temptations apparently man is left to himself alone, although he is not; for God is then most nearly present in man's inmosts and sustains him; therefore when man conquers in temptation he is inmostly conjoined with God, as in temptation the Lord was inmostly united to God His Father. That in the passion of the cross the Lord was left to Himself is evident from His exclamation upon the cross:

O God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? (Matt. 27:46); as also from these words of the Lord:

No man taketh My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself I had power to lay it down, and I have
power to take it again. This commandment received I from My Father (John 10:18). From all this it can now be seen that it was not in respect to His Divine but in respect to His Human that the Lord suffered; and that thereby an inmost and thus a complete union was effected. This may also be illustrated by the fact that when a man suffers in body his soul does not suffer, but only grieves; and after the victory God takes away this grief and wipes it away as one wipes away tears from the eyes.

138. CHAPTER 3 THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE DIVINE OPERATION

All those of the clerical order who have cherished any right idea of the Lord our Savior, when they enter the spiritual world (which generally takes place on the third day after death), receive instruction at first about the Divine trinity, and particularly about the Holy Spirit, that it is not a God by itself, but that the Divine operation proceeding from the one and omnipresent God is what is meant in the Word by the Holy Spirit. They are thus particularly instructed about this, because very many enthusiasts after death fall into the insane phantasy that they themselves are the Holy Spirit; also because many belonging to the church who had believed while in the world that the Holy Spirit spoke through them, terrify others with the words of the Lord in Matthew (12:31, 32), claiming that to speak against what the Holy Spirit has inspired into them is the unpardonable sin. Those who after instruction relinquish the belief that the Holy Spirit is a God by itself are then taught that the unity of God is not divided into three persons, each one of whom is singly God and Lord, according to the Athanasian creed; but that the Divine trinity is in the Lord the Savior, like the soul, the body, and the proceeding energy in every man. After this they are prepared for receiving the faith of the new heaven; and when so prepared a way is opened for them to a society in heaven where a like faith prevails, and an abode is given them among brethren, with whom they are to live in blessedness to eternity. As God the Creator and the Lord the Redeemer have already been treated of, it is now necessary to treat also of the Holy Spirit; and this subject, like the others, shall be considered under appropriate heads, as follows:

(1) The Holy Spirit is the Divine Truth and also the Divine Energy and Operation proceeding from the one God in whom is the Divine Trinity, that is, from the Lord God the Savior.

(2) The Divine Energy and Operation, which are meant by the Holy Spirit, are, in general, reformation and regeneration; and in accordance with these, renovation, vivification, sanctification, and justification; and in accordance with these latter, purification from evils and forgiveness of sins, and finally salvation.

(3) The Divine Energy and Operation which are meant by the "sending of the Holy Spirit," are, with the clergy especially, enlightenment and instruction.

(4) The Lord makes these energies operative in those who believe in Him.

(5) The Lord operates of Himself from the Father, and not the reverse.

(6) The spirit of man is his mind and whatever proceeds from it.

163. THE DIVINE TRINITY. God the Creator, together with creation, has been treated of; also the Lord the Redeemer, together with redemption; and lastly the Holy Spirit, together with the Divine operation. Having thus treated of the Triune God, it is necessary to treat also of the Divine trinity, which is known and yet unknown in the Christian world; for only through this can a right idea of God be acquired; and a right idea of God in the church is like the sanctuary and altar in a temple, or like the crown upon the head and the scepter in the hand of a king on his throne; for on a right idea of God the whole body of theology hangs, like a chain on its first link; and if you will believe it, everyone is allotted his place in the heavens in accordance with his idea of God. For that idea is like a touchstone by which the gold and silver are tested, that is, the quality of good and truth in man. For there can be no saving good in man except from God, nor any truth that does not derive its quality from the bosom of good. But that it may be seen with both eyes what the Divine trinity is, the explanation of it shall be divided into sections as follows:
(1) There is a Divine Trinity, which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

(2) These three, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are the three essentials of one God, and they make one as soul, body, and operation make one in man.

(3) Before the world was created this Trinity was not; but after creation, when God became incarnate, it was provided and brought about; and then in the Lord God the Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.

(4) In the ideas of thought a Trinity of Divine Persons from eternity, or before the world was
created, is a Trinity of Gods; and these ideas cannot be effaced by a lip-confession of one God.

(5) A Trinity of Persons was unknown in the Apostolic church, but was hatched by the Nicene Council, and from that was introduced into the Roman Catholic church, and from that again into the churches separated from it.

(6) From the Nicene Trinity and the Athanasian Trinity together a faith arose by which the whole Christian church has been perverted.

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