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Online works based on the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg


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From the Writings:


Things that seem real to the natural eye or natural mind, but are actually illusions. For example it is an appearance that the sun rises and sets. The reality is that it is constant. It is an appearance that God sometimes forsakes us. The reality is that He is always with us.


To take credit or blame for something; to make it your own. For example all good flows in from God and all evil from hell. If we believe that we are the source of good or evil we wrongly appropriate it to ourselves ("make it our own") and take on those unhappy states called "pride" and "guilt."

As of self:

The ability given to man by God to act entirely as if by his own power, while acknowledging that all power to do is from God alone. The "as of self" principle also acknowledges the Work principle that man cannot do, but he must do what he can.


Literally this word means to be "with knowledge." Knowledge received from Revelation is taken into the understanding and becomes a perception of what is and what is not to be done. Conscience is to act in accordance with the teachings of one's religion, but these teachings must first be acquired. A conscience therefore is something that is "built up" in a person.

Exterior man:

The part of a person's mind that is relatively exterior or external, concerned primarily with the outer, material world, the self, worldly ambition and so forth. It is contrasted to the interior man which is concerned with higher, finer, more spiritual things. The exterior man reasons from appearances in the world, while the interior man reasons from the truth of Revelation.


That which flows in from heaven or hell. Higher or lower influences; heavenly or hellish influences.

Love of self:

Selfishness; loving self alone and not others except for selfish advantage. (Note: there is a good love of self which is self care and self-preservation so as to be more useful to others. The interior of this love is really love to the neighbor and love to the Lord.)

Love of the world:

Pre-occupation with success in worldly ambitions, good fortune, fame and wealth. While material pleasures are not wrong, the proper order is for man to love heaven and spiritual things more than earth and material things. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

Love of the Lord:

Believing in and doing what the Lord teaches. "If you love Me, keep My commandments."

Love of the neighbor:

Striving to see the good in all people; putting the best interpretation on their actions; excusing with all our might. This does not eliminate the need for civil discipline, but it does mean giving people the benefit of the doubt and imputing the best motives to them. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."


Receptive; able to be acted upon. Man is so created that he might be a passive recipient of the Lord's love, but in order to do this he must actively resist evil.


Man's own will apart from any higher influence. Selfish desires, pre-occupation with self and the world rather than the neighbor and heaven. (Note: there is a "heavenly proprium" which is gradually built up in man as he freely chooses to withdraw from

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