Extracts

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Life and love

swedenborg

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[1 of 1] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Love (heart) as inmost life/will" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 399"
1. The very life of a man is his love, and such as the love is, such is the life, and even such is the whole man: this, however, is to be understood of the ruling or reigning love only, for it is this which determines the quality of the man. This love has several others subordinate to it, which are its derivations. These subordinate loves show themselves under different appearances; but still they all have their root in the ruling love, and with it constitute one kingdom. The ruling love is as it were their king and head; this directs them, and by them as mediate ends attentively regards and is determined to its own end, which is the first and last of all; and this it does both directly and indirectly.
 2. The object of the ruling love is what a man loves above all things. This object is continually present in his thoughts, because it is in his will, and constitutes the veriest essence of his life. As for example: if a man loves riches above all other things, his mind is then continually employed about the ways and means of accumulating money and a great estate; success begets an inmost joy, disappointment an inmost misery; for his heart is in them. So again, if a man loves himself above all things, he bears himself in mind in everything, even in the minutest particulars: he thinks of himself, talks of himself, acts for the sake of self; for his life is the life of self.
 3. That which a man loves above all things forms the end of all his purposes: he regards it in all things even to the minutest particulars; it lurks in his will like the silent current of a river, drawing and bearing him away in its direction, even while he seems intent on other concerns; for it is his animating principle. It is this love which one man seeks to discover in another, and when he has found it, he thereby either leads him, or regulates all his dealings with him.
 4. A man is, in all respects, such as is the ruling principle of his life: it is this which distinguishes him from others: according to this his heaven is formed if he be a good man, and his hell, if he be a bad man; it is, in short, his very will, self-hood (proprium), and his nature; for it is the very esse (being) of his life. This cannot be changed after death, because it is the man himself.
 5. All a man's enjoyments, satisfactions, and happiness take their rise from his ruling love, and are of a quality agreeable to it; for what a man loves, that he calls delightful, because it touches him sensibly; but what he only thinks and does not love, he may also call delightful, but it is not the delight of his life. The delight of a man's love constitutes his good; and whatever is disagreeable to it, his evil.
 6. There are two kinds of love, from which, as from their proper fountains, all the varieties of good and truth derive their existence; and there are two kinds of love from which all the varieties of evil and the false derive their existence. The two kinds of love which give birth to all the varieties of good and truth, are love to the Lord and love towards our neighbor; and the two kinds of love which give birth to all the varieties of evil and the false, are the love of self and the love of the world. These two latter kinds of love, when they have the ascendency, are in direct opposition to the two former.
 7. The two kinds of love which give birth to all the varieties of good and truth, and which, as was just said, are love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, constitute heaven in a man, for they are the loves which reign in heaven; and as they constitute heaven in him, they also constitute the church in him; but the two kinds of love which give birth to all the varieties of evil and the false, and which, as was just said, are self-love and the love of the world, constitute hell in a man, for they are the loves which reign in hell; and consequently they destroy the church in him.
 8. The two kinds of love which give birth to all the varieties of good and truth, and which, as just observed, are the loves of heaven, open and form the internal spiritual man, for there they have their residence; but the two kinds of love from which all the varieties of evil and the false are derived, and which, as just observed, are the loves of hell, when they have the ascendency, shut up and destroy the internal spiritual man, and render a man natural and sensual, according to the extent and quality of their dominion.