Life, apparently from oneself


[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Appearance, of life/action from oneself" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 504"
A man is an organ of life, and God alone is life: God infuses his life into the organ and all its parts, as the sun infuses its heat into a tree and all its parts; and God grants man a sense that the life in himself is as if it were his own, and is desirous that he should have such a sense of it, to the intent that he may live as of himself, according to the laws of order, which are as many in number as the precepts of the Word [Bible], and might thus dispose himself to receive the love of God; nevertheless God continually with his finger, as it were, holds the perpendicular tongue which is over the balance, in order to moderate its motions; but still he never violates free-determination by compulsion. A tree cannot receive any thing which the heat of the sun introduces through the root, unless it acquire a degree of warmth and heat in all its filaments; nor can the elements rise through the root, unless all its filaments, from the heat received, also give out heat, and thus contribute to the passage. This is precisely the case with a man, in consequence of the heat of life he receives from God; but still he differs from the tree in this respect, that he feels the life in himself as his own, although it is not his: so far however as he believes it to be his, and not God's, he receives from God the light of life, though not the heat of love, but the heat of love from hell, which being of a gross nature, obstructs and closes up the purer branches and fibers of the organ, just as impure blood does the capillary vessels of the body.
 Thus a man from a spiritual being makes himself a merely natural one. His free-determination is a consequence of this circumstance, that he has a sense of life being in himself as his own; and God permits him to have such a sense for the sake of conjunction, which cannot be effected unless it be reciprocal, and it becomes reciprocal when a man acts from freedom altogether as of himself. Had not God permitted him to have such a sense, he would not have been a man, or a subject of eternal life; for the faculty of reciprocal conjunction with God is what makes him a man and not a beast, and is the true ground and cause of his living after death; and this is an effect of free-determination in spiritual things.

[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Action, and reaction" (search under Cosmology/Science)": source "Divine Love and Wisdom": detail "Section 68"
In life alone there is action, and the reaction is excited by the action of life. This reaction appears as if it belonged to the created subject, from the fact that it exists when the subject is acted upon. Thus in man it appears as if the reaction were his, because he has no other feeling than that the life is his, when yet a man is only a recipient of life. From this cause it is that man from his hereditary evil reacts against God. But in proportion as he believes that all his life is from God, and that all the good of life is from the action of God, and all the evil of life from the reaction of man, in the same proportion reaction becomes the property of the action, and the man acts with God, as from himself. The equilibrium of all things is from action, and at the same time from reaction, and everything must be in equilibrium. These things are said that man may not believe that he himself ascends to God by himself, but by the Lord.

[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Appearance, of life/action from oneself" (search under Inner Life/Teachings)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 473"
A man can draw no other conclusion from his sensible impressions than that he lives from a life which is his own; for in the connection subsisting between the instrumental and the principal, the latter is perceived by the former as its own, or as something belonging to itself, and cannot therefore distinguish it from itself; for the principal cause and the instrumental act together as one cause, according to a maxim established and allowed in the learned world. The principal cause is life, and the instrumental cause is the mind of man. It appears also as if beasts possessed in themselves created life, but this is a similar fallacy; for all beasts are organs created to receive light and heat from the natural world and from the spiritual at the same time, every species being a form of some particular natural love, and receiving light and heat from the spiritual world mediately through heaven or hell, the gentle kinds through heaven, and the fierce through hell. Man alone receives light and heat, that is, wisdom and love, immediately from the Lord; and herein consists the difference between them.