Trust vs. Certainty

April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

When we trust in the Lord, we know that He will provide. We may not know how He will provide, but we can be confidence that He has our eternal welfare at heart. But in a state of temptation, we have doubt. We want to feel certain about what is going to happen.
‘By what shall I know that I shall inherit it?’ means temptation directed against the Lord’s love which wished to be made quite certain of the outcome. This becomes clear from the feeling of doubt which the words express. Anyone who is undergoing temptation experiences doubt as regards the end in view. That end is the love against which evil spirits and evil genii fight and in so doing place the end in doubt. And the greater his love is, the more they place it in doubt. Unless the end in view which a person loves is placed in doubt, and even in despair, there would be no temptation. A feeling of certainty about the outcome precedes, and is part of, victory. (AC 1820; Elliot)
All of us have a need for certainty in our lives. None of us are comfortable when chaos reigns. We don’t all, however, need the same kind of certainty in our lives. Some of us really like fixed routines in our lives, others don’t mind living moment to moment. Some of us need fixed and definite answers to our religious questions and issues, while some of us our comfortable not knowing for sure what the right answer or action is.
Sometimes our need for certainty prompts us to create more certainty than actually exists. Instead of believing that there is value in both “looking before you leap” and “not crossing the bridge before you get to it”; we hold fast to just one approach.
In states of spiritual temptation, evils spirits cast a darkness over our confidence in the Lord’s providing. We are not content with a trust that the Lord will provide what is best for out eternal welfare. We want certainty. We want to know what He will provide and how he will do. And we want His provision to be what we want and like.
Unfortunately what we often want is not what is best for our eternal welfare. Trust in the Lord means that we have to endure some uncertainty.

April 23, 2017 § Leave a comment

Recently I read:

That ‘He brought him outside’ means the sight possessed by the Interior Man, which from external things sees internal things, becomes clear from the meaning of ‘bringing outside’ and at the same time from what follows next. Internal things are ‘brought out’ when someone looks with his physical eyes at the starry sky and from this thinks about the Lord’s kingdom. Whenever a person sees anything with his eyes, yet so to speak does not see the things he sees, but from them sees or thinks of the things that belong to the Church or to heaven, his interior sight, that is, the sight of his spirit or soul, is being ‘brought outside’. Strictly speaking the eye itself is nothing else than the sight of the spirit itself ‘brought outside’, the specific purpose of this being that from external things a person may see internal things, that is, that from objects existing in the world he may reflect continually on things that exist in the next life, for it is for the sake of that life that he lives in the world. (AC 1806; Elliot)

My knowledge of correspondences is limited. I can only form very general ideas of the spiritual meaning of the Lord’s natural creation. 

In reading the above passage from the Arcana Celestia I was led to think about how important it is to ask ourselves what the Lord wants us to see when we look at things. This is especially true when we look at other people and what they are doing.

What does the Lord want me to see? The good in a person? Their evils? Does He want me to see an object of sexual desire?

Just asking ourselves what the Lord wants me to see when we look or think about others has a profound impact on what we see.

Self-Examination

April 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

We all know that self-examination is the beginning of repentance (TCR 525); and hence reformation and regeneration.

Self-examination is a skill. It is something we get better at the more we practice it. It is a skill that improves as we get older.

When we are young, and first starting to practice self-examination, we most likely only look at our actions. Our actions are easy to see. It is usually easy to determine whether or not our actions are evil, that is, breaking one of the Ten commandments. And since we are not looking deeper into ourselves, it is easy to condemn our action without making ourselves feel like we are an evil person.

The truth of the matter is that we are evil people. Over and over again the Heavenly Doctrines remind us that we are nothing but evil. And guess what, this does not change even when we are angels. All the good and truth we have in us is from the Lord. Our ability to see evil and shun it as a sin is from and by the Lord. It is imperative that we acknowledge this. It humbles us and allows us to open our heart and minds so that the Lord can flow in and do His good and implant His wisdom.

When we read or hear that we are nothing but evil, we do not usually feel that we that evilness. We do not feel like that scum. Nor should we. The hells like us to focus on such teachings and to become depressed and paralyzed by them. The Lord on the other hand, gives us His good and truth is such a way that we feel it to be our own. The Lord wants us to feel good about ourselves. Still, we need to acknowledge the truth, that of ourselves (apart from the Lord) we are nothing but evil and that all the good and truth we see, do, or experience are from Him. This I believe gets easier as we practice self-examination. And it becomes easier with age.

Hypozeuxis

April 13, 2017 § 2 Comments

Hypozeuxis” is an odd word. It showed up as the “Word of the Day” at Dictionary.com (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/hypozeuxis). Hypozeuxis is a rhetorical device. It when a writer (or speaker) uses a series of parallel clauses, each of which has its own subject and predicate. 

The example in dictionary.com was from Julius Caesar:

Veni, vidi, vici” or “I came; I saw; I conquered”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veni,_vidi,_vici

The Lord also uses this rhetorical device in the Heavenly Doctrines:

I am well aware of the fact that many people will say that nobody can possibly speak to spirits or angels as long as he is living in the body, and that many will call it delusion. Some will say that I have spread these ideas around so as to win people’s trust, while others will say something different again. But none of this deters me; for I have seen, I have heard, I have felt. (AC 68; Elliot)

nam vidi, audivi, sensi (AC 68; Latin)

http://newchristianbiblestudy.org/exposition/translation/arcana-coelestia-elliott/gen-2/680?compareTo=arcana-coelestia

 

 

 

The Correspondence of Pot Holes

April 13, 2017 § Leave a comment

As I was reading the other day I came across this passage:

Falsities are called ‘pits’ on account of the filthy water these contain (AC 1688)

Immediately pot holes popped into my mind. Pot holes also hold filthy waters, and so would correspond to falsities. 
Pot holes also damage cars, just as pits can damage horses and carriages. Horses are a means of transportation and correspond to the understanding. I suspect that cars also correspond to the understanding.  There is, however, a difference between horses and cars. Horses are natural creations of the Lord and cars are artificial creations of man. So while horses can correspond to Divinely inspired intelligence, cars would correspond to human intelligence.

Adoration

February 25, 2017 § Leave a comment

 …let it be realized that all true worship consists in adoration of the Lord. Adoration of the Lord consists in being humble; and being humble consists in the self-acknowledgement that with oneself there is nothing living and nothing good, but that with oneself everything is dead, indeed corpse-like. Being humble also consists in the acknowledgement that everything living and everything good come from the Lord. The more a person acknowledges these things not just with the lips but in his heart, the more humility he has; and consequently the more adoration – which is true worship – and the more love and charity, and the more happiness. (AC 1153.2)

Legends – Concluding Remarks

January 19, 2017 § Leave a comment

My original intention was to analyze and comment on all 16 of Kurt Simmon’s Legends. The facts of each legend are different. For the most part, however, their responses would use the kind of arguments that we have already used. Consequently, there does not seem to be much point in continuing.

But to briefly summarize:

Legend 7.  The teachings on “Charity in the case of the priest; Charity in the case of Governors,…Officials under them,…Judges,…the Commander of the Army, …the Common Soldier,…the Business Man,…the Workman,…the Farmers,..Ships’ Captains,…Sailors,…Servants.”  (Doctrine of Charity 160ff.)

While the charity involved in these occupations are not covered in the same detail in the published works, there is nothing taught here that is contrary to any teaching in the published works

Legend 8. The teaching that “There are two foundations of truth; one from the Word, and the other from nature.” (Spiritual Diary/Spiritual Experiences 5709)

Again, there is nothing in SR 5709 and SD 5710 that is contradicted by the published works.

Legend 9. The teaching that “Unless the present little work is added to the preceding work, the church cannot be healed.” (Invitation to the New Church 25)

In this instant, there is no comparable teaching in the published works. Yet, there is no way show that it is false.

Legend 10. The teaching that Swedenborg’s revelation “surpasses all miracles.” (Invitation to the New Church 39, 43, 44, 55, Coronis, heading “L”)

Again, there is no comparable teaching in the published works. That, however, does not make the teaching false. To not see the Heavenly Doctrines as a miracle is to not see or appreciate the wondrous blessing the Lord has bestowed upon us by their revelation.

Legend 11. The term “New Christian Church” appears only in the Coronis, heading “L.”

Yet there is a “new Christian heaven” which makes one with the church on earth.

Legend 12. The Canons of the New Church aren’t, and the Invitation to the New Church isn’t.

I really cannot respond to this one. I have no idea what he means.

Legend 13. The teaching that “The Holy Spirit…passes through men to men, and in the church chiefly through the clergy to the laity.” (Canons of the New Church, Holy Spirit IV)

I think that this is just another way of saying what is taught in Divine Providence 154:

IT IS A LAW OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE THAT MAN SHOULD BE LED AND TAUGHT BY THE LORD FROM HEAVEN BY MEANS OF THE WORD, AND DOCTRINE AND PREACHING FROM THE WORD, AND THIS TO ALL APPEARANCE AS OF HIMSELF.

Legend 14. The teaching that there are 10 laws of Divine Providence (Apocalypse Explained 1155-1185), as opposed to the five listed in Divine Providence (71ff.).

There are often many ways to look at the same thing. One way will bring out one aspect, another way different aspect.   For example, heaven is often divided into two kingdoms, and other times into three heavens. Sometimes, each heaven is divided into three degrees. Do any of the five laws in Divine Providence contradict any of the ten laws in the Apocalypse Explained?

Legend 15. The teaching that ” in the church, there must be a filleted primate, parish priests, and curates under them.”  (Coronis 17)

I don’t think that point of this passage is to provide names for different kinds of priest, but to show that there should be an hierarchical order. See New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 313 and 314.

Legend 16. The name “Church of the New Jerusalem” does not appear in the Writings.

And yet we have the phrase “the Lord’s church on earth, which is the New Jerusalem” (TCR 188.13).

None of the legends are matters of faith that affect one’s salvation. In that sense, it matters not whether or not they are believed or not believed.

I am very uncomfortable with idea that these teachings in the unpublished works should be rejected simply because they are not repeated word for word in the published works.

Personally I think Kurt Simons should have attempted show us how and why these teachings are false and there they are contradicted in the published works.