Extracts

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Saint Paul

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Saint Paul" (search under Outer Life/People, Places, History)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4412"
Paul is among the worst of the apostles, as has been made known to me by much experience. The love of self, by which he had been ensnared prior to his preaching of the Gospel, remained with him even afterwards, and because he was then almost in the same state, he was prompted by that love and by his nature to want to be in crowds, doing everything with the motive of being the greatest in heaven, and judging the tribes of Israel. That he remained of this nature afterwards is shown by much experience, for I spoke with him more than with the others. In fact he is such that the rest of the Apostles in the other life rejected him from their company, and they no longer acknowledge him as one of them—this for the reason also that he allied himself with one of the worst devils, who wants to control all things, and pledged himself to him in order to achieve this.
 There were many other points, which would be too much to recount. If all the things I know about Paul should be described, it would fill sheets. The fact that he wrote the epistles does not prove his good character, for even the impious can preach well, and write letters. It is one thing to be, and it is another to speak and write, as was also said to him. Moreover, in his epistles he did not mention the least word about the Lord, or what He taught, nor does he mention a single parable of His, so he received nothing from the life and preaching of the Lord—which was also said to him, whereas in the Evangelists is the very Gospel itself.


[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Saint Paul" (search under Outer Life/People, Places, History)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.3": detail "Section 4631a"
I spoke with Paul, saying that he wished to be the introducer, and that the Lord would accept those whom he introduced—which is ridiculous, since introduction is not arbitrary, but the result of one's life, which no one knows but the Lord. I said that if he had understood the Word [Bible] according to the letter, this function must belong to Peter, to whom the keys of the kingdom of the heavens had been given [Matt. 16:19], and that therefore he would be stealing from him. He said that he wanted to steal that function from him and claim it for himself, because he has labored more. Paul has an utter aversion to Peter, and says that he understands nothing, and therefore can do nothing.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Saint Paul" (search under Outer Life/People, Places, History)": source "Spiritual Experiences, vol.4": detail "Section 4824"
That Paul's letters do not have an inner meaning is known in the other life. But they were permitted to be in the church lest those of the Church do evil to the Word of the Lord, in which there is an inner meaning, because if people live in an evil way and still believe in the holy Word, they then do evil to heaven. Therefore Paul's epistles were permitted, and therefore Paul was not allowed to take up one parable, not even a teaching of the Lord, and present and explain it, but took up all things from himself. The Church does indeed explain the Word of the Lord but does so using Paul's Epistles, on which account it has withdrawn everywhere from the good of charity and taken up the truth of faith, which even though the Lord taught it, He did so in such a way that the good of charity was everything.