Spiritual background for EXODUS 29    previous  -  next  -  text  -  Exodus  -  BM Home  -  Full Page


AC 9974. Those who believe that they merit heaven by the goods which they do, do goods from themselves, and not from the Lord.

AC 9975. None of the goods which men do from themselves are good, because they are done for the sake of self, being done for the sake of reward; thus from these works they have regard in the first place to themselves; but the goods which men do from the Lord are all good, because they are done for the sake of the Lord and for the sake of the neighbor; thus in these goods they have regard in the first place to the Lord and the neighbor.

AC 9976. Therefore those who place merit in works love themselves, and those who love themselves despise the neighbor, and even are angry with God Himself if they do not receive the hoped for reward, for they do the works for the sake of the reward.

AC 9977. From this it is evident that their works are not from heavenly love, thus not from true faith; for the faith which regards good from self, and not from God, is not true faith. Such cannot receive heaven into themselves, for heaven with man is from heavenly love and true faith.

AC 9978. Those who place merit in works cannot fight against the evils which are from the hells, for no one can do this from himself; but the Lord fights and conquers for those who do not place merit in works.

AC 9979. The Lord alone had merit, because He alone, from Himself, has conquered and subdued the hells. Hence the Lord alone is merit and righteousness.

AC 9980. Moreover from himself man is nothing but evil; thus to do good from self is to do it from evil.

AC 9981. That good must not be done for the sake of a reward, the Lord Himself teaches in Luke:--

If ye love those who love you, what thanks have ye? If ye do well to those who do well to you, what thanks have ye? for sinners do the same. Rather love your enemies, and do well, and lend, hoping for nothing; then shall your reward be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High (Luke 6:32-35).

That a man cannot from himself do good that is good; but only from the Lord, the Lord also teaches in John:--

A man can receive nothing unless it be given him from heaven (John 3:27).

Jesus said, I am the vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit; for without Me ye can do nothing (John 15:5).

AC 9982. To believe that they will be rewarded if they do what is good, is not hurtful to those who are in innocence, as is the case with little children and with the simple; but to confirm themselves therein when they are grown up is hurtful: for a man is initiated into good by looking for a reward, and he is deterred from evil by looking for a punishment. But in so far as he comes into the good of love and of faith, he is removed from having regard to merit in the goods which he does.

AC 9983. To do good that is good must be from the love of good, thus for the sake of good. They who are in this love abhor merit, for they love to do, and perceive satisfaction from it; and on the other hand, they are saddened if it is believed that it is done for the sake of something of self. The case herein is almost as it is with those who do what is good to friends for the sake of friendship, to a brother for the sake of brotherhood, to wife and children for their own sake, to their country for their countryís sake; thus from friendship and from love. They who think well also say and insist that they do not do well for the sake of themselves; but for the sake of those to whom they do it.

AC 9984. The delight itself which is in the love of doing what is good without any end of recompense, is the reward which remains to eternity; for every affection of love remains inscribed on the life. Into this there is insinuated by the Lord heaven and eternal happiness.


AC 10159. As I have spoken with the spirits of that earth about the invisible and visible God, I may mention that almost all in the universe worship God under a visible form, and in fact in their idea under the human form, and that this is implanted in them. It is by virtue of influx from heaven that it is implanted in them, for wonderful to say the angels who are raised up in the sphere of the third heaven, come into a plain perception about this subject. The reason is that all in that heaven are in the love of the Lord, and from this are as it were in the Lord, and because all perception, such as belongs to the angels there, is from the order and influx of heaven; for heaven in its whole complex bears relation to a man, as can be seen from what has been shown about heaven as the Grand Man, at the end of many chapters (n. 10030). That heaven in its whole complex bears relation to a man, is from the Divine Human of the Lord; for from this the Lord flows into heaven, makes it, and forms it according to His own likeness. But this secret can with difficulty be comprehended by those who through their own intelligence have extirpated in themselves this implanted idea.

AC 10160. The question was asked, whether in their earth they live under the commands of chiefs or kings; to which they replied that they do not know what commands are, and that they live under themselves, distinguished into nations, families, and households. It was further asked whether in this way they are safe. They said that they are safe, because one family never envies another, nor wishes to take away anything from it. They were indignant at being asked such questions; as though it involved a charge of hostility, and of some need of protection against robbers. "What more do men need," said they, "than to have food and clothing, and thus to dwell content and quiet under themselves?"

[2] It was perceived from the most ancient people who were from our earth that they had so lived in their time, and that they then knew not what it was to exercise command over others from the love of self, and from the love of the world to heap up wealth beyond what is necessary; and that they then had inward peace, and at the same time outward peace, and from this heaven among men. Those times were therefore called by ancient writers the Golden Age, and they were described by saying that the people did what was just and right from the law written on their hearts.

[3] The state of life of those times is described in the Word by "dwelling under themselves safely and alone without gates and bars" (Ezek. 38:11). And as their habitations were tents, therefore in memory of this a tent was erected which was for a house of God, and afterward the feast of tents was instituted, in which they were glad from the heart. And as they who lived in this way were free from the insane love of exercising command for the sake of themselves, and of gaining the world for the sake of the world, therefore heaven then let itself down to them, and the Lord was seen by many in a human form.

AC 10161. Being questioned about their earth, they said that they have meadows, beds of flowers, groves full of fruit trees; lakes in which there are fish; birds of a sky-blue color with golden feathers; and animals larger and smaller. Among the smaller animals they mentioned some which have a humped back, like that of camels on our earth. Nevertheless they do not feed on their flesh, but only on the flesh of fishes, and also on the fruits of trees, and on vegetables. They said further that they do not dwell in built houses, but in groves, in which amid the foliage they make for themselves roofs as a protection against rain and the heat of the sun.

AC 10162. Being asked about their sun, which is seen as a star from our earth, they said that it is of a fiery color, in appearance no larger than a manís head. I was told by angels that the star which is their sun is among the lesser stars, not far from the celestial equator.

AC 10163. Spirits were seen like what they had been when they were men on their earth. Their faces are not unlike the faces of the men of our earth, except that their eyes are small, and also their noses. As this appeared to me somewhat of a deformity, they said that to them small eyes and noses are beautiful. A woman was seen clad in a mantle on which were roses of various colors. When I asked how they procure their garments on that earth, they replied that they gather from plants such things as they can entwine into threads, and that after laying the threads straight they place them together in double and triple rows, and moisten them with a glutinous fluid, and in this way they induce a consistency, and afterward color this fabric with the juices of plants.

AC 10164. It was also shown how they make the threads. The women sit half reclining on a seat, and twist them with their toes, and when they are twisted they draw them toward them, and work them with their hands.

AC 10165. They also said that on that earth a husband has one wife, and no more; and that they procreate children there to the number of from ten to fifteen. They added that harlots are also found there, but that after the life of the body, when they become spirits, these are sorceresses and are cast into hell.

AC 10166. Of the third earth in the starry heaven mention will be made at the end of the following chapter.

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