Emanuel Swedenborg’s Heaven and Hell Chapter 2

The following is Chapter 2 of Emanuel Swedenborg’s book Heaven and Hell, taken from Sacred-Texts.com because their website is not mobile friendly. So I copied the preface here which will be read and discussed during our family study time this coming Saturday. Information about the Chinese translation of this book can be seen here.

II. IT IS THE DIVINE OF THE LORD THAT MAKES HEAVEN. The angels taken collectively are called heaven, for they constitute heaven; and yet that which makes heaven in general and in particular is the Divine that goes forth from the Lord and flows into the angels and is received by them. And as the Divine that goes forth from the Lord is the good of love and the truth of faith, the angels are angels and are heaven in the measure in which they receive good and truth from the Lord.
8.

Everyone in the heavens knows and believes and even perceives that he wills and does nothing of good from himself, and that he thinks and believes nothing of truth from himself, but only from the Divine, thus from the Lord; also that good from himself is not good, and truth from himself is not truth, because these have in them no life from the Divine. Moreover, the angels of the inmost heaven clearly perceive and feel the influx, and the more of it they receive the more they seem to themselves to be in heaven, because the more are they in love and faith and in the light of intelligence and wisdom, and in heavenly joy therefrom; and since all these go forth from the Divine of the Lord, and in these the angels have their heaven, it is clear that it is the Divine of the Lord, and not the angels from anything properly their own that makes heaven. 8-1 This is why heaven is called in the Word the “dwelling-place” of the Lord and “His throne,” and those who are there are said to be in the Lord. 8-2 But in what manner the Divine goes forth from the Lord and fills heaven will be told in what follows.
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Angels from their wisdom go still further. They say that not only everything good and true is from the Lord, but everything of life as well. They confirm it by this, that nothing can spring from itself, but only from something prior to itself; therefore all things spring from a First, which they call the very Being [Esse] of the life of all things. And in like manner all things continue to exist, for continuous existence is a ceaseless springing forth, and whatever is not continually held by means of intermediates in connection with the First instantly disperses and is wholly dissipated. They say also that there is but One Fountain of life, and that man’s life is a rivulet therefrom, which if it did not unceasingly continue from its fountain would immediately flow away. [2] Again, they say that from this One Fountain of life, which is the Lord, nothing goes forth except Divine good and Divine truth, and that each one is affected by these in accordance with his reception of them, those who receive them in faith and life find heaven in them while those who reject them or stifle them change them into hell; for they change good into evil and truth into falsity, thus life into death. Again, that everything of life is from the Lord they confirm by this: that all things in the universe have relation to good and truth,-the life of man’s will, which is the life of his love, to good; and the life of his understanding, which is the life of his faith, to truth; and since everything good and true comes from above it follows that everything of life must come from above. [3] This being the belief of the angels they refuse all thanks for the good they do, and are displeased and withdraw if any one attributes good to them. They wonder how any one can believe that he is wise from himself or does anything good from himself. Doing good for one’s own sake they do not call good, because it is done from self. But doing good for the sake of good they call good from the Divine; and this they say is the good that makes heaven, because this good is the Lord. 9-1
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Such spirits as have confirmed themselves during their life in the world in the belief that the good they do and the truth they believe is from themselves, or is appropriated to them as their own (which is the belief of all who place merit in good actions and claim righteousness to themselves) are not received into heaven. Angels avoid them. They look upon them as stupid and as thieves; as stupid because they continually have themselves in view and not the Divine; and as thieves because they steal from the Lord what is His. These are averse to the belief of heaven, that it is the Divine of the Lord in the angels that makes heaven.
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The Lord teaches that those that are in heaven and in the church are in the Lord and the Lord is in them, when He says: Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine, so neither can ye, except ye abide in Me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for apart from Me ye can do nothing (John 15:4, 5).
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From all this it can now be seen that the Lord dwells in the angels of heaven in what is His own, and thus that the Lord is the all in all things of heaven; and this for the reason that good from the Lord is the Lord in angels, for what is from the Lord is the Lord; consequently heaven to the angels is good from the Lord, and not anything of their own.

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