Extracts

image_left

First shall be last ...

swedenborg

image_right
[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Regeneration (new birth)" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 233[5]"
It is the enjoyment of man's life to love himself and the world above all else. This enjoyment cannot be removed it a moment, but only gradually. In the measure in which it remains in man, evil is stronger in him and can be removed only as self-love becomes a love of uses, or as the love of ruling is not for it own sake but for the sake of uses. Uses then make the head, and self-love or the love of ruling is at first the body under the head and finally the feet, on which to walk. Who does not see that good should be the head, and that when it is, the Lord is there? Good and use are one. Who does not see that when evil is the head, the devil is there? As civil and moral good and, in its external form, spiritual good, too, are still to be received, who does not see that these then constitute the feet and the soles of the feet, and are trodden on?
 Inasmuch, then, as man's state of life is to be inverted so that what is uppermost may be lowermost, and the inversion cannot be instantaneous, for the chief enjoyment of his life, coming of self-love and the love of ruling, can he diminished and turned into a love of uses only gradually, the Lord cannot introduce good sooner or further than this evil is removed; done earlier or further, man would recede from good and return to his evil.


[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Faith, alone without charity" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.7": detail "Section 5351"
[Commentary on Genesis XLI v. 51] Yet as man's will is not discernible except through the understanding (for the understanding is the will in form, or the will adapted to the sense), it is therefore supposed that the truth which proceeds from the understanding is the firstborn, and yet it is not, except in appearance, for the reason given.
 Hence arises the old controversy as to whether the truth of faith, or the good of charity, is the firstborn of the church. Those who decided from the appearance, said that truth is the firstborn, but those who did not decide from the appearance, acknowledged that good is the firstborn. Hence also at the present day faith is made the first and very essential of the church, and charity is made secondary and not essential; but men have wandered much farther from the truth than the ancients, by declaring that faith alone saves. In the church by "faith" is meant all the truth of doctrine, and by "charity" all the good of life. They indeed call charity and its works the "fruits of faith”; but who believes that fruits do anything for salvation when it is believed that a man may be saved by faith at the last hour of his life, whatever his previous life has been, and when in their teaching they even separate works, which are of charity, from faith, saying that faith alone saves without good works, or that works, which are of the life, do nothing for salvation? Oh, what a faith! and oh, what a church! they adore dead faith, and reject living faith; and yet faith without charity is as a body without a soul, and we know that a body without a soul is removed from sight and cast forth, because of its stench: so is it with faith without charity in the other life. All those who have been in faith so called without charity are in hell, while all who have been in charity are in heaven; for every one's life remains, but not his doctrine except in so far as it is derived from his life.