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

Small and Big

Editor’s note: This week’s post was originally published as a Marriage Moat. Lori writes these messages and sends them as weekday emails as well as posting them on social media. Throughout the year we’ll be sharing a few of our favorites.


Last month I delivered a meal to a family with a new baby. Their house is on the one block road I lived on in 1964. We were in the colonial on the left, which has had a series of upgrades since then. I gazed at the nine homes, reeling in recollections of whom each belonged to. If the family had no kids, the yard was inconsequential. The older couples only came into focus when we played Truth or Dare, and I accepted a challenge to ring the doorbell of the scary lady and run away. 

One of my inflated memories is that the seven children in our gang would perch on a red bicycle, go barreling down the hill, and crash in the field. I was little and got the back fender. My brother was older and sometimes got to pedal, though that did not also include the chance to sit. The journey felt enormous to me at six, but now I realize it was half a football field. In my Personal History, we did this all the time, but then again it is possible we only pulled it off once.

What struck me as I beheld it now in my mid sixties, was how compact the street was. This was the arena for four gripping years of my childhood, and it felt spacious then. I was not allowed to venture past the corner, but who needed to? I could explore all summer and not bump up against the edges. Now the trees seemed short, the road barely wide enough for two cars to eek past. The yard where we played kick the can and fifty scatter was the size of some people’s living rooms. Well, rich people’s living rooms. 

The ensuing afternoon entailed a series of annoyances. The package I expected was not ready when I went to pick it up and I had to go back a second time.

I had sprung for organic tomatoes, and found evidence of nibbling on their bright red skins.  The clothes someone had kindly brought up from the dryer, so that they could rotate in their own laundry, was damp. 

Yet by evening the composite of irritations seemed insignificant. Smaller than small. Unable to tip the balance on a dieter’s scale for serving sizes. 

My mind scrolled through some of the looming emergencies that plagued our family in the sixties. My father had gone back to graduate school and providing for four children weighed heavily. My mother began to act strangely, though it was another ten years before we understood the name of her demons. 

But now, fifty years later, those dire circumstances feel no heavier than a baby’s hand in the palm of One whose care spans yesterday, today and long into tomorrow.


Being Truly Clothed

While I was doing my devotional reading a few weeks ago, my thoughts snagged on this particular passage:

“Within truth however no life is present, only within good. Truth is merely the recipient of life, that is, of good. Truth is like the clothing or a garment worn by good. In the Word too therefore truths are called clothes, and also garments. But when good composes the rational, truth passes out of sight and becomes as though it was good; for good is now shining through the truth, in the same way as when angels are seen clothed they appear in brightness that looks like a garment, as also was the case when angels appeared before the prophets.” Arcana Coelestia 2189.3

It might be quite worldly, but reading this brought to mind all of the clothes in my closet that I don’t wear. What might they represent when looked at through a more spiritual lens?

If we think of garments as truths, then what does it mean to invest in clothing items that we wind up rarely or never wearing? For me, there is an appeal in having things “just in case” I need it. There is a refreshing sense of possibility in buying something that could serve a purpose. But that possibility stagnates quickly when I fail to give the garment said purpose by never putting it on. It doesn’t matter how much I insist that I like the color or the style or how it looked in a dressing room. It doesn’t matter if the clothes are especially pretty or comfortable. Clothes left hanging in my closet or taking up space in my admittedly stuffed dresser drawers are utterly useless. 

Continue reading Being Truly Clothed

Languages of Love

An appraisal of ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman

Does your beloved really love you? How do you know?  Because he says so?  But do his actions match his ardent avowal, or does he merely provide the financial wherewithal and dispense knowledge like the household oracle? Nothing more?

As good New Church women we value the wisdom of our husbands, but sometimes despair when our unaided Martha chores overwhelm us.  If our menfolk persist in remaining oblivious they should learn ‘the five languages of love’ advocated by Gary Chapman. And what is more, all of them are endorsed by the Marriage Love teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

Chapman explains that after thirty years of marital counselling he has come to the conclusion that each one of us has one or more love languages which delight us when we encounter them. He identified them as:

Words of Affirmation:  complimentary words of appreciation.

Quality Time: giving undivided time and attention, and doing things together.

Continue reading Languages of Love