A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg/7 The Holy Spirit

 

THE HOLY SPIRIT.

 

The Holy Spirit is the Divine truth and also the Divine virtue and operation proceeding from the one only God, in whom there is a Divine Trinity, proceeding therefore from the Lord God the Saviour. (T. C. R. n. 138.)

The Divine operation is effected by the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord; and that which proceeds is of one and the same essence with Him from whom it proceeds. Like these three, the soul, the body, and the proceeding [action], which together make one essence,—with man merely human, but with the Lord Divine and at the same time Human; united after the glorification, just as the prior with its posterior, and as the essence with its form. Thus the three essentials which are called the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are one in the Lord. (T. C. R. n. 139.)

That the Comforter or Holy Spirit is Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord is very evident, for it is said the Lord Himself told them the Truth, and declared that when He should go away He would send the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who should guide them into all truth, and that He would not speak from Himself, but from the Lord. . . . And because Divine Truth proceeds from the Human of the Lord glorified, and not immediately from His very Divine,—inasmuch as this in itself was glorified from eternity,—therefore it is said, "The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (John vii. 39). They greatly wonder in heaven that the man of the Church does not know that the Holy Spirit, which is Divine Truth, proceeds from the Human of the Lord and not immediately from His Divine; when yet the doctrine received in the whole Christian world teaches that, "As is the Father, so also is the Son, uncreate, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, God, Lord; neither of them is first or last, nor greatest or least. Christ is God and Man; God from the nature of the Father, and Man from the nature of the mother; but although He is God and Man, yet nevertheless they are not two, but one Christ; He is one, not by changing the divinity into the humanity, but by the divinity receiving to itself the humanity. He is altogether one, not by a commixture of two natures, but one person alone; because as the body and soul are one man, so God and Man is one Christ." This is from the Creed of Athanasius. Now, since the Divine and Human of the Lord are not two, but one only person, and are united as the soul and body, it may be known that the Divine [effluence] which is called the Holy Spirit goes forth and proceeds from His Divine, by the Human, thus from the Divine Human; for nothing whatever can proceed from the body except as from the soul by the body, inasmuch as all the life of the body is from its soul. And because, as is the Father so is the Son, uncreate, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, God and Lord, and neither of them is first or last, nor greatest or least, it follows that the Divine Proceeding which is called the Holy Spirit, goes forth from the very Divine of the Lord by His Human, and not from another Divine which is called the Father; for the Lord teaches that He and the Father are one, and that the Father is in Him, and He in the Father. But that most in the Christian world think otherwise in their hearts, and therefore believe otherwise, the angels have said is from the fact that they think of the Human of the Lord as separate from His Divine; which yet is contrary to the doctrine which teaches that the Divine and Human of the Lord are not two persons, but only one person, and united as soul and body. . . . Since the proceeding Divine which is Divine Truth flows into man both immediately, and mediately through angels and spirits, it is therefore believed that the Holy Spirit is a third person, distinct from the two who are called the Father and the Son; but I am able to assert that no one in heaven knows any other Holy Divine than the Divine Truth proceeding from the Lord. (A. E. n. 183.)

Now, because the Divine Truth is meant by the Holy Spirit, and this was in the Lord, and was the Lord Himself (John xiv. 6), and because it could not therefore proceed from any other source, He said, "The Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified" (vii. 39) ; and after the glorification, "He breathed on the disciples, and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (xx. 22). The reason why the Lord breathed upon the disciples and said this was, that breathing upon was an external representative sign of Divine inspiration. But inspiration is insertion into angelic societies. (T. C. R. n. 140.)

The Holy Spirit is called the proceeding Divine, yet no one knows why it is called proceeding. This is not known, because until now it has been unknown that the Lord appears before the angels as a sun, and that heat, which in its essence is Divine love, and light, which in its essence is Divine wisdom, proceeds from that sun. So long as these truths were unknown it could not be known but that the proceeding Divine was a Divine by itself, and as the Athanasian doctrine of the Trinity declares, that there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit. But when it is known that the Lord appears as a sun, a just idea can be had of the proceeding Divine, which is called the Holy Spirit; that it is one with the Lord, but proceeds from Him, as heat and light from the sun. (D. L. W. n. 146.)

 

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said, "All sin and blasphemy shall he remitted unto men; but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not he remitted unto men: yea, whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be remitted unto him; but whosoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not he remitted unto him, neither in this age nor in that which is to come" (Matt. xii. 31, 32). "I say unto you, that all sins shall he remitted unto the sons of man, , . . but whosoever shall have blasphemed against the Spirit, shall not have remission for ever, but shall be liahle to eternal judgment" (Mark iii. 29). "Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man it shall be remitted unto him; but unto him that shall have hlasphemed against the Holy Spirit it shall not be remitted" (Luke xii. 10). What is signified by sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and by a word against the Son of Man, has not as yet been known in the church, and this for the reason that it has not been known what is properly meant by the Holy Spirit and by the Son of Man. By the Holy Spirit the Lord is meant as to Divine truth as it is in the heavens, thus the Word as it is in the spiritual sense, for this is the Divine truth in heaven; and by the Son of Man is meant Divine truth as it is on earth, therefore the Word as it is in the natural sense, for this is the Divine truth on earth. When it is known what is meant by the Holy Spirit, and by the Son of Man, it may also be known what is signified by sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, and by a word against the Son of Man; and likewise why a word against the Son of Man can be remitted, but not sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. To deny the Word, or to adulterate the real goods and falsify the real truths of the Word, is sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit; and to interpret the natural sense of the Word, which is the sense of the letter, according to appearances is a word against the Son of Man. The reason why to deny the Word is a sin which cannot be remitted, in this age nor in that which is to come, or to eternity, and why he who does it is liable to eternal judgment, is that they who deny the Word deny God, deny the Lord, deny heaven and hell, and deny the church and all things that belong to it; and they who are in such denial are atheists, who though with their lips they attribute the creation of the universe to some supreme Being, or Deity, or God, yet in their hearts ascribe it to nature. Such persons, inasmuch as by denial they have dissolved all bond of conjunction with the Lord, cannot be otherwise than separated from heaven, and conjoined to hell. The reason why to adulterate the real goods and to falsify the real truths of the Word is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which cannot be remitted, is because by the Holy Spirit the Lord is meant as to Divine truth as it is in the heavens, thus the Word as it is in the spiritual sense, as was said above. In the spiritual sense are genuine goods and genuine truths; but in the natural sense the same are as it were clothed, and only here and there are naked. They are therefore called goods and truths in appearance, and these are what are adulterated and falsified. And they are said to be adulterated and falsified when they are interpreted contrary to genuine goods and truths, for then heaven removes itself and man is severed from it; because, as was said, genuine goods and truths constitute the spiritual sense of the Word, in which the angels of heaven are:—For example, if the Lord and His Divinity be denied, as was done by the Pharisees, who said that the Lord performed miracles from Beelzebub, and had an unclean spirit; in consequence of which denial they were said to commit sin and blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, because against the Word, as may be seen in the preceding verses of that chapter. Hence also it is that Socinians and Arians, who although they do not deny the Lord yet deny His Divinity, are out of heaven, and cannot be received by any angelic society. Take also for example those who exclude the goods of love and the works of charity from the means of salvation, and assume faith exclusive of them as the one only means, and confirm this not only in doctrine but also in life, saying in their heart,—Good works do not save me, nor evil condemn, because I have faith. These also blaspheme the Holy Spirit, for they falsify the genuine good and truth of the Word, and this in a thousand places where love and charity and deeds and works are mentioned. (A. E. n. 778.)

 

The Holy Spirit not mentioned in the Old Testament.

In the Word of the Old Testament the Holy Spirit is nowhere mentioned, but the Spirit of holiness,—and only in three places; once in David (Ps. li. 13), and twice in Isaiah (lxiii. 10, 11). But in the Word of the New Testament it is frequently mentioned,—in the Evangelists, as well as in the Acts of the Apostles, and in their Epistles. The reason is, that then—when the Lord came into the world,—there first was the Holy Spirit; for it goes forth out of Him from the Father. (T. C. R. n. 158.)