Extracts

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God must be visible in the mind

swedenborg

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[1 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Church, New" (search under Outer Life/Religions, Ways)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 787"
The reason why this New Church is the crown of all the churches which have been to this time on the terrestrial globe is, because it will worship one visible God, in whom is the invisible God, as the soul is in the body; for thus, and no otherwise, can conjunction be effected between God and man; the reason of which is, because man is natural, and consequently thinks naturally, and the conjunction must be effected in his thought, and so in the affection of his love, and such conjunction is produced when a man thinks of God as a Man.
 Conjunction with an invisible God is like the conjunction of ocular sight with the expanse of the universe, of which it sees no end; it is also like sight in the midst of the ocean, which falls on air and water, and is lost in their immensity: but conjunction with a visible God is like the visible appearance of a man in the air or on the sea, stretching forth his hands and inviting to his embraces; for all conjunction of God with man must be likewise reciprocal on the part of man with God; and this reciprocity on man's part is not possible but with a visible God. That God was not visible before he assumed the Humanity, the Lord himself teaches in John: “Ye have neither heard the voice of the Father, nor seen his shape" (v. 37).


[2 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "Faith" (search under Outer Life/Doctrine, Rites, Scriptures)": source "True Christian Religion": detail "Section 339"
The reason why it is requisite to believe, that is, to have faith in God the Saviour Jesus Christ, is because such faith is directed towards a visible God in whom is the invisible, and faith towards a visible God, who is at the same time Man and God, gains admission into man; for faith in its essence is spiritual, but in its form natural, therefore in man it becomes spiritual-natural; for whatever is spiritual is received in that which is natural, that man may possess it as a something real. Bare and naked spirituality enters indeed into man, but then it is not received by him, being like ether, which flows in and out, without affecting him in any perceptible manner; for that it may affect him, it must be attended with perception, and consequently with reception in his mind; and this is not granted to man, except in his natural principle.
 But on the other hand, a faith which is merely natural, or which is deprived of its spiritual essence, is not faith, but only a kind of persuasion or science, having an appearance of faith in its externals, but with nothing in it of a saving nature, being destitute of any spiritual principle in its internals: such is the faith of all those who deny the Divinity of the Lord's Humanity; such was the faith of Arius, and such also is the Socinian faith, because each has rejected the Divinity of the Lord. For what is faith without a term or limit of direction, but, like an unbounded view, extending through the universe, where the sight of the eye, falling as it were into an empty void, is lost? In short, faith directed towards an invisible God is actually blind, because the human mind does not see its God; and the light of such a faith, since it is not spiritual-natural, is a false light; and this light is like that which shines in the tail of a glow-worm; or like the light which is seen in marshy ground, or over sulphureous earth, in the night-time; or like the light in decayed wood. Whatever is seen by this light is merely visionary, and the mind is deceived by a semblance of existences which are without truth or foundation. Such is the light of faith when directed towards an invisible God, particularly when God is conceived to be spirit, and spirit is conceived to be like ether: for what must be the consequence of such a conception, but that a man will look upon God as he looks upon ether, and will thus seek him in the universe, and not finding him there, will fancy nature to be the God of the universe? This is the source of the prevailing naturalism of the present times.
 But very different from the above is a faith directed towards the Lord God the Saviour, who by reason of his being God and Man may be both approached and seen in thought. Such a faith is not indeterminate, but has a term from which it originates, and to which it is directed back again, and being once received, it remains; as when a person has once seen an emperor or a king, whenever he recollects him at a future period, his distinct image recurs to his mind. The sight afforded by this faith is as when one looks on a bright cloud, and sees an angel in the midst of it, inviting him to come to him, in order that he may raise him into heaven: in such a manner the Lord appears to those who have faith in him; and he also draws near to every particular man, in proportion as the man knows and acknowledges him, which is in proportion as he knows and does his commandments, that is, as he shuns evils, and does good; and at length he comes into his house, and makes his abode with him, together with the Father, who is in him, according to these words in John: “Jesus said, He that hath my commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him; and we will come unto him, and make our abode, with him" (John xiv. 21, 23). These statements were written in the presence of the Lord's twelve apostles, who, while I was writing them, were sent to me by the Lord.


[3 of 3] Swedenborg (1688-1772, Sweden): primary subject "God, as Person, Divine Man" (search under Beings/God)": source "Arcana Coelestia, vol.10": detail "Section 8705"
No one can think of the Divine Itself unless he presents to himself the idea of a Divine Man; still less can anyone be conjoined by love with the Divine Itself except by such an idea. If anyone thinks of the Divine Itself without the idea of a Divine Man, he thinks indeterminately, and an indeterminate idea is no idea; or he takes up an idea of the Divine from the visible universe without an end, or which has its end in obscurity, which idea conjoins itself with the idea of the worshippers of nature; it also falls into nature, and thus becomes none at all. Hence it is plain that there would not be any conjunction with the Divine by faith, nor by love. All conjunction requires an object, and the conjunction is effected according to the quality of the object. Hence it is that the Lord as to the Divine Human is called “Mediator" and "Intercessor," but He mediates and intercedes with Himself.
 Nevertheless, what is remarkable, all who think from themselves or from the flesh concerning God, think of Him indeterminately, that is without any determinate idea; whereas they who think of God not from themselves nor from the flesh, but from the spirit, think about Him determinately, that is, they present to themselves an idea of the Divine under a human form. Thus do the angels in heaven think of the Divine, and thus did the wise ancients think, to whom also, when the Divine Itself appeared, it appeared as a Divine Man; for the Divine passing through heaven is a Divine Man. The reason is that heaven is a Grand Man. From all this it is evident what is the quality of the intelligent of the world, and what is the quality of the intelligent of heaven, namely, that the intelligent of the world remove from themselves the idea of the human. Hence it is that between their minds and the Divine there is no mediation, whence they have thick darkness; but the intelligent of heaven have an idea of the Divine in the Human; thus the Lord is to them mediation, and hence in their minds there is light.