Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/274

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desire and ask the same is done; for the Lord says, "Without Me ye can do nothing; . . . abide in Me and I in you." The angels in heaven have such power that if they only desire a thing they obtain it; but they do not desire anything but what is of use, and they desire it as if of themselves but yet from the Lord. (A. R. n. 951.)

Prayer in itself considered is discourse with God; and there is then a certain internal intuition of those things which are objects of prayer, corresponding to which there is a something like influx into the perception or thought of the mind of him who prays; so that there is a kind of opening of man's interiors towards God. But this with a difference according to the man's state, and according to the essence of the thing which is the object of prayer. If it be from love and faith, and only for celestial and spiritual things that he prays, then there exists a something resembling revelation in the prayer, which is manifested in the affection of him who prays, in respect to hope, consolation, or some internal joy. Hence it is that prayer in the internal sense signifies revelation. (A. C. n. 2535.)

By alms [in the Word], in the universal sense, all the good is meant that a man wills and does; and by prayer, in the same sense, is meant all the truth that a man speaks and utters. . . . They that do good and speak truth not for the sake of themselves and the world, but for the sake of good itself and of truth itself, are meant by those that do alms in secret and pray in secret; for such act and pray from love or affection, and so from the Lord. This then is to love good and truth for the sake of good and truth. It is therefore said of them that their Father in the heavens will reward them openly (Matt. vi. 4-6). (A. E. n. 695.)

Worship does not consist in prayers and in outward devotion, but in a life of charity. Prayers are only its externals, for they proceed out of the man by his mouth, and are therefore such as the character of the man is in respect to his life. It matters not that he assumes a humble deportment, and kneels and sighs when he prays; these are outward things, and unless outward things proceed from inward they are but gestures and sounds without life. In all that a man utters there is an affection, and every man spirit and angel is his own affection, for their affection is their life. It is the affection itself that speaks, and not the man without it. Wherefore, according to the quality of the affection, such is the prayer. Spiritual affection is what is called charity towards the neighbour. True worship is to be in this affection; prayer is its going forth. It is plain then that the essential of worship is a life of charity, and that its instrumental is gesture and prayer; or that the primary part of worship is a