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And When He Came to Himself

Isaac gives testimony to the inner reaches of his spirit. Laying self satisfaction aside, he witnesses the Lord in battle against the evil within him and vows to remain vigilant until His victory is sure. -Editor.

And when he came to himself ...he said, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." And he arose, and came to his father. (Luke 15:17-20)

The Lord knows I have strayed very far from Him. Hell deceived me through many stages of rebellion to the point where I believed that I was almost fully reformed, and was ready to handle anything with the Word that was in me. Before I came to myself, I thought that I was drawing closer to the Lord in all the trials I went through; I thought I was overcoming my inhibition in speaking the Word; I thought I was bringing people to the Lord in my missionary work; but instead I went about wasting all my inheritance of instruction in the Word by trying to accommodate it by my own intelligence to people wherever they were as to their spirit; and eventually, I began feeding swine, the sensuous affections in my mind that I used to confirm the Lord’s Law.

I gave up on rational truth as means for trying to bring people to the Lord, and resorted to seeking to excite the sensuous, because that is what I was doing with myself. By a “spiritual experience” I allowed myself to be fully inverted toward hell, and though thoroughly warned, I am ashamed to say that I entered into a relationship in which I pushed sexual boundaries with a smile, and began telling myself that masturbation was healthy. I thought I was ready for marriage and had earned righteousness by the restraint I had exercised for some years on homosexuality and love of the sex. I figured that I just had to let go and follow my heart, whatever it said to do, and the Lord would move. I called myself looking to the good in every human being, when in fact I had begun to ignore evil and had become more and more infatuated with the body though I tried hard not to be. I called myself experiencing the wisdom of ascending and descending love, but the ascending was only a building sensuous excitement clothed in the memory knowledge of conjugial love, and the descending was not from heaven into earth but from the sensuous lifted up into the hell of self-gratification. I chose this evil because I desperately wanted it. I knew better. I knew the truth. I allowed myself to be deceived.

Thus my insanity developed to near completion, and I thank God I am not damned. I had forsaken the true seed of faithfulness that was planted in me and forsaken the clear voice of the Lord, which changeth not. I had worked to generate excitement in the world at the mere fact that the Lord is knocking at the door, as though salvation for the human race was irresistibly just around the corner. I had lost sight of the fact that although the Lord is constantly at the door knocking for His children to practice repentance and invite Him in, we have free choice to choose or not choose Him. And if we are not repenting actively, it is because we love the sin we are in, and we are being damned. That is Divine Order.

If we are receiving the Lord’s Life, we will not weary of rooting out the death in us, nor will we cease to labor until the old man in us be crucified (Romans 6:6); but at the height of my foolishness, I thought I had already finished my spiritual labor, that heaven had reached from my inmost to my sensual; and then I began to to crave the husks that the swine in my mind were feeding off of, the increasingly elated delights of my outward life related to reputation, honor, gain, and sensual pleasure that I pictured as imminent upon entering the married state (Luke 15:16). I thought now that I had sought first the Kingdom of God, all these things would be added to me and that from my state of wholeness I could exercise power to move other people’s mountains with my love for marriage, not realizing that the mountain of self love within me had not actually budged, and that the picture in my mind of marriage that I had been praying for all my life was just that - a picture, an idyllic tapestry that I had woven together with many short threads, and one that I could not enter into (Matthew 6:33; 21:21, Mark 11:2). When the tapestry, so near complete, began unravelling at all the edges that I thought were sure, I began to fight for my picture with all that I had, thinking I was fighting to freely channel heaven when in fact I had tasted hell, the life of my own making, and was beginning to fight for it, confirming the denial that it was false. It was then that the hand of the Lord pressed mightily upon my soul, for though I was making myself believe that I was on cloud nine and walking through the gate into my own heavenly use, in reality, I was very lost and my soul was starving.

Jehovah God met me on the way as He met Moses in Exodus 4:24 to kill him. He touched my very soul with the Power of His Presence just enough to let me feel and know the second death1 I was choosing if I remained in the life of this great sin of confirmed sensual and sexual infatuation while calling myself His minister. I saw how false was the work I had prepared for myself with His name stamped on the outside. He struck fear in my whole being lest I reject His visitation. He presented me with a simple command: “Repent!”

His ministry has now begun in my life. I have chosen to abandon my journey to the foreign land of the imagination of an evil self-seeking heart, desiring to be lifted up above my neighbor. The Lord saw my wretched state and how I acknowledged it and had set my face to return to Him, fighting to walk, though severely weakened by near spiritual starvation (Luke 15:20). He ran to me and comforted me, that is, began doing battle in me as He promised, bringing me home to His Church of Truth where He has shown me in increasing ugliness the hells I was joined to, training my hands to war and giving me power to conquer (Psalm 144:1). He has shown me monsters in the spirit tied to my sin of condoned masturbation that relate to unquenchable sexual lust and the hell of adultery that drive such evil spirits from below; and He has strengthened me to stand until He removed them and their poisonous presence out of the bedroom and out of the house of my mind. The war is not over, but I am standing until He drives every evil spirit out of my land and makes sure the borders. He has shown me the parasite of fear connected to the hypocrisy of being in the Lord that was taking up most of my spiritual digestion and sapping all energy for the good fight of faith, the true fight of love; and not only shown me, He has blessed me to vomit this parasite out, showing me also how to be vigilant to guard my spirit against growing new ones. He has shown me homosexual spirits and how and when I got tied to them and their absolute aversion to the sphere of heaven. He has shown me how I have been deceived by their single-minded lust, that it is better to let them quietly coexist, that their filthy perversion is part of nature, that they are not abusers but have been abused - it is not so. I chose to love those spirits as a boy purely from the love of self and the flesh and knowing it was wrong, “playing” with them and then inviting their fantasy. NO! I will have no part in that lake of eternal hellfire and brimstone. Thank You, Lord!

There is a great gulf between heaven and hell (Luke 16:26). I will not defend hell in myself. I will not go to hell for anybody else. I rebuke hell with the power of truth from love, that is, with the Power of the Lord which is in and through repentance, and I will conquer in His Name, for hell cannot abide the Presence of the Lord. The Lord has shown me that the battle to the death of the old man is my reasonable service, and, praise God! I have now begun it. All those who have been willingly or unwillingly involved in homosexuality at any time, if they want a clean heart, must see that all forms of homosexuality are evil, contrary to the very sphere of heaven, and must acknowledge it and return to their Heavenly Father with a mind set to dwell forever in His house.

My Heavenly Father is strengthening me to humble myself under authority, and He renews me daily to bear my cross as a servant, loving Him above all, and my neighbor as myself (Luke 14:27). There is much work to be done, because the human-swine spirits I got myself tied to on my journey to insanity will hang on to my spirit for their very life (of infusing lust), and it is only gradually that they can be broken off. The self-righteous hypocrite spirits whose counsel and encouragement I had taken more and more closely must know from continuous experience that I am finished with them forever, that each time they return with a word for me I am more and more fierce in driving them away, not from my own power but by the Power of Divine Truth. Every evil spirit that wiled its way into my mind and heart under the appearance of innocent love must be seen for the ravening wolf it is and be put to the Sword and sent back to hell. My new pastor, Brother Miller, rebukes me straight out, as a good father will, not taking a lick of mess from my evil and conceited old man, which is constantly trying to take over again as it is put under my feet. I am so thankful for his leadership.

Peter rebuked the Lord for revealing “that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day,” and the Lord turned and said to Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence to me: for thou savourest not the things which be of God but those which be of men” (Matthew 16:23).

Brothers and sisters, our sins have not been taken away before we confront them head on by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we go to Him alone, with a heart to vigilantly obey all He commands in His Word, we are not of His church and will surely perish. Under the covering of the Church of Truth the Mighty God has opened to me the truth that although I have resisted doing and thinking and willing evil, I have “not yet resisted unto blood," that is, I have not yet conquered, but that I can and must conquer, and that the battle must increase, and that the victory will be His alone; and so I must acknowledge Him in all my ways. The lost sheep of repentance of the will is more precious than the ninety-nine goods of outward charity I used to justify my mind and heart, and this one I have found I have put on my shoulder (Luke 15:7). Praise God! The lost coin of humility to receive instruction is more precious than the nine self-satisfied illusions of spiritual wealth that sat in the dark and unswept house of my spirit (Luke 15:9). Yes, Lord! We must acknowledge our sin and return with a mind set to serve sin no more but our Heavenly Father only, and He will teach us how to love our neighbor.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).

1 Eternal damnation of the spirit. See Revelation 2:11, 21:8

Isaac Synnestvedt

Isaac is a minister of the Church of Truth in Louisville, KY.

Reader Comments (18)

This is an intense account you give which brings up a lot of different things for me. I'll mention two for the moment.

You use active verbs and war-like imagery "we will not weary of rooting out the death in us, nor will we cease to labor until..."
"we will not weary of rooting out the death in us, nor will we cease to labor until." You couple these with many statements about the power, actually being the Lord's.

In my life at the moment, I gravitate towards language of surrender. Not quite passive language, but language in which I am not personally fighting, only trying to give the fight to the Lord. So you have set me thinking about whether (and how) the Lord is training MY hands for war. On this note, I love the balance in your concluding statement, "We must acknowledge our sin and return with a mind set to serve sin no more but our Heavenly Father only, and He will teach us how to love our neighbor."

The other issue is some what related. What is it to identify sin in our lives? What does it mean to take "responsibility" for evil traits? When are we culpable and does that change how we are to respond to the evils which afflict us? I've had the most peace when I am willing to say that "I love this thing, this thing is wrong and I don't have the power to resist it, so I pray to give up my will in deference to the Lord's will for me life."

Anyhow, that's where I will leave the thought for the moment. Brian

August 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

Your words brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for fighting the good fight. You will set others free with your story.
~Brother Ron

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRopemaker

Brother Isaac,

The power of your testimony resides in honesty and humility. Evil spirits desire for us not only to indulge in sins, but to make them our own. The Writings teach us that when we acknowledge all good and truth comes from the Lord, we also reject sins to hell where they originate. Yes, we were all born with biological (hereditary) inclinations to evils of every kind, but not a single one of those evils can make a home in ourselves if we allow the Lord to heal us.

Isaac, thank you for providing us with such an honest insight. It may be most helpful to those who think they're alone in their battle with sins.

August 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Maiorano


I appreciate the emphasis of your essay, but I also feel confused by it. It appears that you intend to reveal the movements within your spirit, but it feels elaborately veiled at the same time. It may just be an issue of style, but I fear that people who might want help with struggles like the ones you write about may not get any practical help from reading this. I guess I picture the same information coming out very differently if you were to sit down and speak to someone about it in person, and that your essential message would be more relatable if you had crafted the essay in a different manner. I am not wanting to discourage you, I think you are on a good path, but I did want to offer you this feedback so that you might calculate how effectively your message is coming across.

August 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlanna

Very good observation, Alanna. Isaac at present possibly has a keener interest in healing than in effectively getting his message across. But I don't know that this is true, as I don't know if he's talking about the present, or speaking of a distant past. Whether he's speaking of the present or of a distant past, he seems to be speaking as one not far from a realization of what has really happened. Being not far from that realization, or simply speaking as if it were so, he is close to the personal pain, humiliation and horror of it. And being close to the experience of these things, makes it difficult to speak of them in a way that does not come across as 'veiling'. As a most trite example, if one stubs one's toe, one is likely to walk gingerly for a while; similar thing happens when opening up and talking about painful feelings and experiences. I mention this only to provide a possible account for some of the confusion you may have felt while reading Isaac's essay. Your implication is a good and accurate one, that, as healing takes place, articulations of an experience will become clearer.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC1937

The key ingredient is the sense of "I".

Someone once remarked that,

"The garbage man and the brain surgeon are equally rooted in Self. The garbage man who does his work in the ego-less condition, free from the fruits of his action, is, in the scriptures, viewed as superior to the brain surgeon who thinks, 'What a marvelous operation I have performed.' Ultimately, what a person does is inconsequential; how he regards what has befallen him to do is the index of his understanding."

So, the key ingredient is the sense of "I". It is not the key ingredient to a successful and prosperous life, but the key ingredient to a fall. Since everyone is ultimately rooted in or connected to (the One, Only, True and Very) Self, it is the "I" that falls. Without an "I", therefore, there can be no fall.

Explanations involving "evil spirits" are all fine and well, maybe even helpful to a point. But if there is no "I", there is nothing for 'evil spirits' to attack, latch on to, stir up, undermine, seduce, lead astray, wreck havoc upon, etc. It is thus a mistake, in a genuine and real sense, to gird oneself against the influence of 'evil spirits', for, in doing so, one is seeking to instantiate and concretize, so to speak, the very thing that gives so-called 'evil spirits' their power--a sense of "I".

Swedenborg talks about angels having power, and how, e.g., when an evil spirit is merely looked at by the angels he falls into a swoon (HH 232). But think about this for a moment. The power which angels have is not theirs, and they have it only to the extent that their self-image, sense of "I" or proprium is in a state of quiescence (HH 158). One way to look at this "ego-less" state is that power from the Lord then has a place in which to reside. This is a helpful way to look at it. It is helpful to look at it this way, because it is the way it is. But the corollary-like view should not be forgotten about. In this corollary-like view, when the "ego-less" state obtains, 'evil spirits' haven't any fuel to draw upon, i.e., they cannot gain strength from an absent "I". Deprived of, or not having access to, their life-giving fuel, of course they fall into swoons, wilt and/or 'crash'.

The 'best' way to do so-called combat against 'evil spirits' is not to strengthen the resistance capabilities of a 'self', but to 'deflate' the existing sense of self. This, a deflation of the existing sense of self, is what has happened to you, albeit in a roundabout manner, and without your intending it as such. It is a painful experience. Most painful. But while your pain through comes across loud and clear, the truth is you have been blessed by the heavens above with a wonderful opportunity, for the only way out of the difficulties is through the eschewal of the very thing that invited them in--which, ultimately, is what our futures lives are all about anyway.

o It will be seen in what follows that there is nothing...which is man's very own; it only seems to him as if it were. DP 78.3

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterac1937

Dear ac1937,

You insightfully expounded upon my earlier point that we should acknowledge all good and truth comes from the Lord.
This acknowledgement talkes the "I" out of our (the Lord's) battle with hell. We should resist evils "as of self" with the admission that the Lord alone conquers. Also, the closer we are to the Lord, the more we seem to ouselves to be our own. This is a result of heavenly freedom- which is to be truly free.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Maiorano

Dear Frank,

Yes, the closer we are to the Lord, the more we seem to ourselves to be our own, and the more clearly do we recognize that we are (not our own, but) the Lord's. It is a fine line and a delicate balance. The comment regarding the mistake of 'girding oneself against' (and similar statements) had to do not with the acknowledged 'as-if' self, but with the self believed to be genuine, real, concrete and truly ours (or 'us'). It is this latter illusion that inevitably borrows trouble.

As you rightly point out, it always comes back to the basics,

we should acknowledge all good and truth comes from the Lord. This acknowledgement takes the "I" out of our (the Lord's) battle with hell. We should resist evils "as of self" with the admission that the Lord alone conquers.


August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC1937

Dear Frank,

At the risk of appearing impertinent, I feel I must comment also upon the phrase 'insightfully expounded'. There was no intention to expound upon what you had earlier called attention to. Your words spoke the truth. And if in some way mine did too, then it would follow that it must have some relation to any truth previously spoken. I feel, too, that 'insightfully' may be somewhat of an overstatement.

May the Lord's yoke be easy, and His burden light. As He says.

AC 1937

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC1937

Dear ac1937,

I used the word "expounded" but what I meant to say is- you've ADDED to our conversation. I'm sure of it because while I was taking a walk to the store- I kept thinking of how I should keep the "I" out of my motives.

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Maiorano

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, AC1937 (Please write a full essay for

This talk of "I" has been illuminating and confusing to me. Confusing, as I am always confused by trying to understand "I" and illuminating because I am gradually coming to clearer and better sight of what it is and isn't.

Its almost odd to me how fully the Lord seems to thrust a sense of "I" onto us. The appearance is full and compelling... and that appearance only grows (if we follow the Lord's leading). If the appearance of self-life is such a great gift that God is giving us, why is so easily corrupted? We take an good appearance, confirm it as the reality and find ourselves living in a toxic illusion.

This is why I love the language of surrender at this point in my life. I am not a great judge of the difference between my hellish sense of "I" which wants to take over the universe and the gift of a heavenly sense of self which the Lord gives me. But I can surrender both - whatever goes on inside me, I can work to turn it over to the Lord and pray that His will be done. I love this practice, and it brings me the greatest sense of the Lord's power and presence.


August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

One of the difficulties I have found in recent weeks with these postings is that the possession of Swedenborg's works is enough to suggest a fast track for the reader to the highest levels. Consequently, there has been a great deal of discussion on conjugial love, but in my view very little understanding of what it means.
In some respects, I feel that Isaac may have lost sight of the fact that he assumed too much about what he knew as though the knowing made it part of life, instead of life shaping itself around the knowledge. This re-ordering is in fact the first principle of regeneration and is essentially reformation - and it cannot be avoided, for all sorts of reasons concerning the self and its rootedness in sheer physicality.
Perhaps this is a useful place to mention Genesis chapter 48, in which Jacob's insistence on the dominance of Ephraim is regarded as a necessary step in the regenerative process, despite Joseph's protest. It may be an appearance, but any other order could lead to disastrous ruin as seen in the Very Ancient Church. We must learn truths first, as matters of doctrine, and it is this doctrine that, as it becomes a habitual part of life, begins to effect an inversion later on. In this way, our own predilections and dispositions, however varied, are gradually turned towards the deeper things that Manasseh represents.
But to try and avoid this level and jump straight to the highest level is bound to be disastrous. It is hard enough as it is with the lower rungs of reformation as every single thing we do we find to be self-motivated in one way or another. Yet this is the starting-place, and we are allowed to make mistakes and errors of judgement since these are the guides that change the life lived as what is learnt from the doctrines struggles to become a part of it.
But this is no critique of Isaac's article, which I was gratified to read. Failure has been a large part of my own learning curve and continues to be so, for I am continually stubbing my toe. But is this not the counterpoint of permissions to providence?

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkarl

Dear Brian,

If the appearance of self-life is such a great gift that God is giving us, why is so easily corrupted?

This is a good question. The first thought that comes to mind is, "Only God is imperishable." After that, anything can be misused, and anything which is misused may become 'corrupted'. Swedenborg states that the origin of evil lies in the abuse of our freedoms to think and to will. So, the gift doesn't become corrupted on its own, but is, if it happens, due to the misuse or abuse of the freedoms to think and will. And that these freedoms can be misused or abused is due to the laws of permission.

This talk of "I" has been illuminating and confusing to me. Confusing, as I am always confused by trying to understand "I" and illuminating because I am gradually coming to clearer and better sight of what it is and isn't.

I experienced a kind of "uh-oh" feeling after going on about this "I" business, so it's not overly surprising someone has said something about it. I have gone through these alternations, too, and still do. And not just with the topic of "I". Having had a lot of experience with these alternations ('a lot of experience' having more to do with quantity than quality), I can only say that in one state of mind it is confusing, and in another state of mind it is clear.

Here's a little snippet from my journal, which has appeared in various guises over many years: "I don't understand it. I see it, but don't understand it. Not with 'normal' understanding. Let's put it this way--it's easier to see than to understand."

So far as I know, these alternations of states of mind (understanding, awareness, perception, etc.) are normal and useful. And Swedenborg has a lot to say about why they are normal and how they are useful.

Karl wrote, "[W]e are allowed to make mistakes and errors of judgement since these are the guides that change the life lived as what is learnt from the doctrines struggles to become a part of it."

But how can 'mistakes and errors of judgement' serve as guides? I mean to ask, what must be true in order that 'mistakes and errors of judgement' can serve as guides? I believe a good answer is that there must be a distinction between the understanding and the will. If there weren't such a distinction, there would be no possibility of repentance (let alone of reformation or regeneration).

DLW 244 has something relevant and interesting to say, It is obvious that the understanding can be in spiritual light even when the will is not in spiritual heat; and from this it also follows that the understanding does not lead the will, or that wisdom does not beget love, but only teaches and shows the way--teaching how a man ought to live, and showing the way in which he ought to go.

So, inherent in the struggles mentioned by Karl are two basic periods. (This is an oversimplification, but let's stick with it for now.)

In one period, the understanding is functioning as an agent of the will, pretty much doing its bidding (e.g, while rationalizing to myself the appropriateness or correctness of something I really know is neither appropriate nor correct (if I didn't really know, I wouldn't bother to try rationalize it to myself)).

And in the other period, the understanding is somewhat detached from the will, and saying to the will (so to speak, and in effect), "Listen, there is a better way. I can see it, and I want to follow it. But your cooperation is needed, and this is the direction for you to face so I can follow the better way."

During the first period, the understanding's sight, perception and comprehension is basically in keeping with the dictates of the will (or its delights). And during the second period, the understanding's sight, perception and comprehension leans more towards being in accordance with something else, spiritual light, say, or filtered rays of truth from God.

Most of my mistakes and errors of judgment will occur during the first basic period. And it'll take experiencing that second basic period for an awareness of these mistakes and errors of judgment to serve as a guide. (I say 'experiencing that second basic period' because my being in it is God's doing, and not something I can force myself into.)

So, getting back to the original observation with this oversimplification in mind, it is fairly easy to see that the sight, perception and comprehension of the understanding is subject to variation (if not outright fluctuation). This being so, it follows that what at one time may seem confusing (filtered rays of God's truth, say, during the first period), may at another time seem relatively clear (those filtered rays of God's truth, e.g., during the second period), and vice versa.

Now, I suppose it could be said that, in one sense, "from self" occurs during the first basic period, when those filtered rays of God's truth are not getting through to the understanding, and "as if from self" occurs during the second period, when those very same rays are getting through.

I don't know of anyone who has (or seems to others with discernment to have) experienced a genuine turn around of the preferred direction of their will or way of being that would not say or agree that, despite everything they put into, it would not have happened were it not for something other than and something not themselves--not that their efforts were not needed or in some way instrumental, but that it was something not themselves working through those efforts that gets the credit. And, further, that were it not for that 'something not themselves', all their efforts would have been for naught. In cases like these, these is no "I" left, except one which says, "Thank you, God." (I'm oversimplifying again, but, again, to make a point.)

(Quick 'quiz' (for reflection): How or in what way might the quote from DLW 244, and the so-called two basic periods, relate to what Karl calls attention to, i.e., to Ephraim? to Manasseh? And how might 'surrendering' play a role?)

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC1937

Dar Karl,

After reading your comment last night, it was a happy coincidence to have randomly read AC 7002 today.

Thank you,

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC1937

"But they who have compelled themselves to resist what is evil and false- although at first they supposed that this was from themselves or from their own power, but were afterwards enlightened to see that their effort was from the Lord, even to the least of all the particulars of the effort- these in the other life cannot be led by evil spirits, but are among the happy. Thus we may see that a person ought to compel oneself to do what is good and to speak what is true."

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Maiorano


Thanks for the useful quotation. Please provide a reference. We have just added some Comment Guidelines linked from the about page. These include the request that commenters do their best to provide references for cited ideas and quotations.

Additionally, we are exploring ways to improve the function of our comment platform, though its too early yet to promise changes in this area. Until then, we will just have to rely on the ongoing, high quality of content.


August 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterNew Church Perspective

Dear New Church Perspective,

I purposely left out the reference number for the above quotation because A.C. 1937- [3] is coincidently the screen name of the previous post. I shall resume citing reference numbers in the proper fashion. Thank you.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Maiorano

Dear Frank,

I like your choice of a couplet from AC 1937; it goes well with the discussion. Some remarks pertaining to the couplet follow.

If the lexical order of the two statements is reversed, and each statement then paraphrased, the statements might appear as follow,

A. A person ought to compel his- or herself to do what is good and to speak what is true.

B. They who compel themselves to resist what is evil and false at first suppose that this is from themselves or from their own power, but afterwards come to see that their effort is from the Lord, even to the smallest of all the particulars of their effort.

Statement A goes well with the the fourth of the five specifics (of the faith of the new heaven and and the new church) reported in TCR 3[2], and statement B goes well with the third and fifth specifics mentioned therein.

(The fourth specific is, "We must do things that are good--they belong to God and come from God"; the third specific is, "We must not do things that are evil--they belong to the Devil and come from the Devil"; and the fifth specific is, "We must do these things as if we ourselves were doing them, but we must believe that they come from the Lord working with and through us"--True Christian Religion 3.)

There are more than a few places in the Writings where an explanation is provided as to why there may be or is a strong sense that I am thinking and intending from myself, when yet I cannot think and intend anything on my own; Divine Providence 290 is one such place, and another is Arcana Coelestia 2946, the first paragraph of which concludes with, "Therefore they are allowed to think that good and truth originate in themselves".

Nevertheless, thinking or experiencing in terms of the appearance does not change the reality.

And calling attention to the reality is not a denial of the appearance (or its usefulness).

Thus, if the comments posted by myself above are read through again, I believe nothing will be found which can be reasonably taken as a suggestion (let alone a statement) either that the appearance does not exist or that evil ought not be resisted, but, mainly, that a 'deflation' of the 'self' is a better way of combating evil than a girding of oneself.

The following three quotes are from the Arcana Coelestia extracts included in The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 277 (just after "All good flows in from the Lord, and all evil from hell"):

Man believes all things to be in himself and from himself, when nevertheless they inflow, as he might know from the doctrinal of the church, that all good is from heaven, and all evil from hell (n. 4249, 6193, 6206).

But if he would believe as the thing is, he would not appropriate evil to himself, but cast it back from himself into hell, neither would he make good his own, and thus would not claim any merit from it (n. 6206, 6324, 6325).

How happy the state of man would then be, as he would view both good and evil from within, from the Lord (n. 6325).

And here some random quotes bearing relation to the 'deflation' of 'self':

No one is able to shun evils as sins unless he acknowledges the Lord and goes to Him, and unless he fights against evils and so removes concupiscences. Doctrine of Life 66

When in humiliation, then man is removed from what is his own. Apocalypse Explained 291

The humiliation of man is not for the sake of the Lord's love of glory, but for the sake of His Divine love, and in order that He can thereby inflow with good and truth and make the man blessed and happy. Arcana Coelestia 3539

It is into the humiliation with a man that the Divine can inflow; for the reason that in this state the loves of self and of the world, and consequently the infernal things which oppose, are removed. Arcana Coelestia 3539

The Divine cannot flow in except into a humble heart, since so far as man is in humiliation, so far he is absent from his proprium, and thus from the love of self. New Jerusalem and Heavenly Doctrine 129

The Lord flows with power into those who are humble; but not into those who are puffed up, because the former receive influx, but the latter reject it. Arcana Coelestia 9039

When a man is in humiliation he can receive good from the Lord, because he has then been separated from the love of self and its evils, which are the obstacle. Arcana Coelestia 5957

I once heard someone ask, "If God and I are not close, who moved?"


August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAC1937
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