Extracts

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Religion

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[1 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Religion, fundamentals of" (search under Outer Life/Religions, Ways)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 326[9] - 326[10]"
To acknowledge God, and to refrain from evil because it is contrary to God, are the two acts that make religion to be religion. If one is lacking, it cannot be called religion, for to acknowledge God and to do evil is a contradiction; so it is, too, to do good and yet not acknowledge God; one is impossible apart from the other.
 The Lord has provided that there should be some religion almost everywhere and that these two elements should be in it, and has also provided that everyone who acknowledges God and refrains from doing evil because it is against God shall have a place in heaven. For heaven as a whole is like one man whose life or soul is the Lord. In that heavenly man are all things to be found in a natural man with the difference which obtains between the heavenly and the natural.
 It is a matter of common knowledge that in the human being there are not only forms organized of blood vessels and nerve fibers, but also skins, membranes, tendons, cartilages, bones, nails, and teeth. These have a smaller measure of life than those organized forms, which they serve as ligaments, coverings, or supports. For all these entities to be in the heavenly humanity, which is heaven, it cannot be made up of human beings all of one religion, but of men of many religions. Therefore all who make these two universals of the church part of their lives have a place in this heavenly man, that is, heaven, and enjoy happiness each in his measure.


[2 of 2] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Salvation" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "Divine Providence": detail "Section 330[3] - 330[6]"
By its divine wisdom divine love provides the means by which every man can be saved. To say that there is any predestination except to heaven is therefore to say that divine love cannot provide means to salvation, when yet the means exist for all, and these are of divine providence which is boundless. The reason that there are those who are not saved is that divine love desires man to feel the felicity and blessedness of heaven for himself, else it would not be heaven to him, and this can be effected only as it seems to man that he thinks and wills of himself. For without this appearance nothing would be appropriated to him nor would he be a human being. To this end divine providence exists, which acts by divine wisdom out of divine love.
 But this does not do away with the truth that all are predestined to heaven and no one to hell. Were the means to salvation lacking, it would; but the means to salvation have been provided for everyone, and heaven is such that all of whatever religion who live rightly have a place in it. Man is like the earth which produces fruits of every kind, a power the earth has as the earth. That it also produces evil fruits does not do away with its capability of producing good fruits; it would if it could only produce evil fruits. Or, again, man is like an object which variegates the rays of light in it. If the object gives only unpleasing colors, the light is not the cause, for its rays can be variegated to produce pleasing colors.
 That only those who have been born in the church are saved is an insane heresy. Those born outside the church are human beings equally with those born within it; they have the same heavenly origin, and like them they are living and immortal souls. They also have some religion by virtue of which they acknowledge God's existence and that they should live aright. One who acknowledges God and lives aright becomes spiritual in his measure and is saved. It may be protested that they have not been baptized, but baptism does not save any who are not washed spiritually, that is, regenerated, of which baptism is a sign and reminder.
 It is also objected that the Lord is not known to them and that there is no salvation without him. But salvation does not come to a person because the Lord is known to him, but because he lives according to the Lord’s precepts.