True Christian Religion (Chadwick) n. 8

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God influences man, as is evident from what everyone admits, that God is the source of every good thing which is good in itself and is present in man and done by him. The same is true of the whole of charity and the whole of faith. For we read:

A man cannot take anything unless it is given him from heaven. John 3:27.

and Jesus said:

Without me you can do nothing. John 15:5.

That is to say, nothing of charity and nothing of faith, The reason there is this inflow into the souls of men is that the soul is man's inmost and highest part; the Divine influence enters there and from there descends to the lower parts, giving them life so far as it is accepted. Admittedly the truths destined to create faith are received through the hearing and are thus implanted in the mind, that is, at a lower level than the soul. But these truths only create the conditions which allow a man to be acted upon by God through his soul. The extent to which truths are accepted depends upon this conditioning, and his natural faith is in proportion transformed into a spiritual faith.

[2] The reason why there is a feeling that God is one emanating from God and entering men's souls is that everything Divine, both understood universally and in particular, is God; and because everything Divine holds together as a single unit, it must inevitably inspire a person with the idea of one God. This feeling is strengthened day by day, as a person is lifted by God into the light of heaven. For angels, in the light they enjoy, cannot force themselves to say 'Gods'. For this reason too when they are speaking the end of every sentence finishes on a single note. This is entirely due to this feeling that God is one entering their Souls.

[3] Although all human beings have this idea of God being one entering their souls, still many of them think that His Divinity is divided into several of the same essence. This is because the inflowing idea as it descends slips into forms which do not match it, and the form itself imposes a variation, just as happens in everything which belongs to the three kingdoms of the natural world. It is the same God who gives life to every animal as to man; but it is the receiving form which determines that an animal is an animal, and a man a man. The same thing can happen to a man, when he gives his mind the form of an animal. Every tree receives the same radiation from the sun, but its results vary depending upon the form of each tree. The radiation falling on a vine is the same as that on a thorn-tree; but if the thorn is grafted on to the vine, the radiation is upset and produces effects dictated by the thorn.

[4] The same happens in the mineral kingdom. The light striking a piece of limestone is the same as that striking a diamond; but in one case it shines through, and in the other it is blacked out. Human minds undergo variation depending on their forms, and these are inwardly spiritual in proportion to their faith in God, and at the same time the amount of life they receive from God. Faith in one God makes them transparent and angelic; but instead they become opaque and bestial as the result of faith in several gods, which is hardly to be distinguished from faith in no God.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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