Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/420

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THE CHURCH.

unknown to any one. But that something may be known of it, it may be stated that the whole human race on earth is like the body with its parts, in which the church is as the heart; and unless there were a church, with which as with a kind of heart the Lord might be united, through heaven and the world of spirits, there would be a disjunction; and if there were a disjunction of the human race from the Lord it would instantly perish. This is the reason why from the first creation of man there has always been some church; and that as often as the church began to perish it still remained with some. This also was the reason of the Lord's advent into the world. Unless in His Divine mercy He had come the whole human race on this earth would have perished; for the church was then at the point of destruction, so that there was scarcely any surviving good and truth. The reason why the human race cannot live unless it is conjoined with the Lord, through heaven and the world of spirits, is because in himself regarded man is far viler than the brutes. If he were left to himself he would rush headlong to his own destruction, and that of all others; for he desires nothing but the ruin of them and himself. His order of life should be that one should love another as himself; but now, each loves himself more than others, and consequently hates all others. With the unreasoning animals it is quite different. It is their order, according to which they live. Thus they live entirely in agreement with the order in which they exist; but man altogether contrary to his order. Unless therefore the Lord should have compassion upon him, and conjoin him to Himself by the angels, he would not be able to live a moment. Man does not know this. (A. C. n. 637.)

 

The Church in Heaven could not subsist without a Church on the Earth.

It should be known that there is a church in the heavens as well as on earth; for the Word is there; there are temples, and preachings in them; there are ministerial and priestly offices. For all the angels there were men; and their departure out of the world was only a continuation of their life. They also are therefore perfected in love and wisdom, every one according to the degree of affection for truth and good which he took with him from the world. The church among them is meant here (Rev. xii. 1) by the woman clothed with the sun, who had upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And because the church in the heavens cannot subsist unless there is also a church on earth, which is in concordant love and wisdom, and because this was about to be, therefore the moon was seen under the feet of the woman: by which here in particular a faith is signified,—of such