Category Archives: Quotes and Reflections

Path to Happiness

Did you know that the first word in the book of Psalms is “happy?”

I did not.

But this Sunday I learned that little gem.

I also learned that Psalm one is quite the happiness guide. It lays out exactly what actions to avoid and what actions to pursue on our paths to find true happiness.

Which seems a useful resource as I resolve to make New Year resolutions…

Happy is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

psalm 1

Hoping you all have a blessed 2024!

On Judging– Worthy is the Lamb

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain… Blessing, and honor, and glory, and might be to Him who sits on the throne, and the Lamb, for ages of ages.”

Revelation 5:12, 13

I just finished reading through “Conjugial Love” with a group of friends. Wow, is it a powerful book! And Wow, is western culture far afield from where Our Lord designed us to be!

It was pretty painful to read, given the disparity between our adulterous world and the “marital union of one man with one wife.. the precious jewel of human life and the repository of the Christian religion” CL 456. I frequently caught myself wondering “How do I deal with the people my family and I come into contact with who are living lives so contrary to these beautiful Truths?”

Well a few weeks ago I found (and then had emphasized) that the Lord has given us in the New Church very clear boundaries around judgment. First, I came to the end of the book of CL which deals specifically with the topic. Then a few days later in family worship, we read the story of the scroll and the Lamb and its explanation in Apocalypse Revealed.

Below I share my “findings”:

The Lord says, “Judge not, that you be not condemned.” 1 (Matthew 7:1) This cannot in the least mean judging of someone’s moral and civil life in the world, but judging of someone’s spiritual and heavenly life. Who does not see that were it not lawful for a man to judge as to the moral life of those dwelling with him in the world, society would fall! What would society be if there were no public judgments? or if one did not form his own judgment concerning another?

What is not lawful, is judgment as to the quality of the interior mind or soul within man, thus as to what his spiritual state is and hence his lot after death. This is known to the Lord only; nor does the Lord reveal it until after death, and this in order that what a man does he may do from freedom, and that thereby good or evil may be from him and so in him, and he thus live for himself and be himself forever.

That the interiors of the mind, hidden in the world, are revealed after death is because this is a matter of importance and use to the societies into which the man then comes; for there all are spiritual. That they are revealed then is plain from these words of the Lord:

“There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light, and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets, shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.” Luke 12:2, 3.

A general judgment is allowed, such as: “If in internals you are what you appear to be in externals you will be saved or condemned;” but a particular judgment such as, “You are such in internals and therefore will be saved or condemned,” is not allowed.

Conjugial Love 523

“And I wept much because no one was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look at it.”

Revelation 5:4

“Neither to look thereon,” signifies not in the least. Since by “opening the book,” is signified to know the states of life of all, by “looking on it” is signified to see what the state of life of this or that person is, therefore by “no one being able to open the book nor to look thereon,” is signified that they were not able in the least. For the Lord alone sees the state of everyone from inmosts to outmosts, as also what a man has been from infancy to old age, and what he will be to eternity, and likewise what place will be allotted to him either in heaven or in hell; and this the Lord sees in an instant, and from Himself, because He is the Divine truth itself or the Word; but angels and man do not see this in the least, because they are finite, and the finite see only a few things, and those only external, and not these indeed from themselves, but from the Lord.

Apocalypse Revealed 262

Doing Our Part

The New Christianity is not a passive religion–we do not get to sit back and live our lives however we desire and still achieve salvation. We have to work for it. So much of Easter for me is remembering all Our Savior went through and accomplished: His crucifixion, glorification, redemption, establishment of Christianity… This Easter, I’ve found myself contemplating “but what is MY part in all of this?” How do I make use of the opportunity the Lord has created for me through His first coming? How do I best make use of the Truths He has given me through His second coming? How can I find the resolve to take up my cross and follow Him today? And tomorrow? And the next day…

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew 16: 24-26
Continue reading Doing Our Part

The Prerequisite to Doing Good, Thinking Piously, and Being Wise

From Doctrine of Life:

18. Who does not know, or who cannot know, that evils impede the Lord’s being able to enter a person? For evil embodies hell, and the Lord embodies heaven, and hell and heaven are opposed to each other. Insofar as a person is engaged in one, therefore, so far he cannot be engaged in the other. For one acts in opposition to the other and destroys it.

19. During the time a person is in the world, he is between heaven and hell, having hell below and heaven above; and he is kept free then to turn either in the direction of hell or in the direction of heaven. If he turns in the direction of hell, he turns away from heaven. But if he turns in the direction of heaven, he turns away from hell.

In other words, during the time a person is in the world, he stands between the Lord and the devil, and he is kept free to turn either to the one or to the other. If he turns to the devil, he turns away from the Lord. But if he turns to the Lord, he turns away from the devil.

Or to put it another way, during the time a person is in the world, he is between evil and good, and he is kept free to turn either to the one or to the other. If he turns to evil, he turns away from good. But if he turns to good, he turns away from evil…

…21. It is clearly apparent from this that insofar as a person refrains from evils, so far he is in the Lord’s presence and in the Lord, and that insofar as he is in the Lord, so far he does good, not of himself, but from the Lord.

This results, then, in the general law, that insofar as someone refrains from evils, so far he does good.

22. There are, however, two requisites:

One, that the person must refrain from evils because they are sins, that is to say, because they are infernal and works of the devil, being thus against the Lord and against His Divine laws.

Second, that the person must refrain from evils as being sins as though of himself, but know and believe that he does so from the Lord…

23. From all this, three conclusions follow:

1. That if a person wills and does good before he refrains from evils as being sins, the good that he does is not good.

2. That if a person thinks and speaks piously, and does not refrain from evils as being sins, his pious thoughts and words are not pious.

3. That if a person gains much knowledge and wisdom, and does not refrain from evils as being sins, he is still not wise.