Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment... Psalm CIV

Divine love and wisdom are substance and form in themselves, thus the one and only absolute. E. Swedenborg


The real spiritual life of a person is in having a true conscience. Faith is conjoined to love. A person has internal happiness and peace when acting according to conscience, and is in pain when acting against it. This pain is called the pangs of conscience. Emanuel Swedenborg [NJHD 133]

One of the important things Swedenborg discovered in the spiritual world was that substance and form are always linked. Thus, we can separate and isolate substance and form intellectually in order to understand them but, in reality, they are always linked. The quality of a particular substance determines its particular form. For example, Divine Truth must necessarily be the radiance of Divine Love because Truth is the form of Love. In fact, Divine Love is God’s substance and Divine Truth is God’s form. Divine Love  is the only self-existent substance in the universe from which all other substances were derived by correspondence and influx. Even the densest physical substances, such as gold, are sustained through correspondence and influx from the higher dimensions of Heaven.

Now, our soul or higher-dimensional being also consists of spiritual substance and form. Our substance is what we love the most and our form is what we believe to be true. And what we believe must always correspond to what we love because our substance and our form are linked. Thus, if we are always experiencing negative or morbid thoughts, it could only mean that our loves must be evil or selfish. And, if our loves are selfish, our thoughts are probably irrational or false.

Therefore, like Divine Love and Wisdom, conscience and true rationality must be linked. If we are not living according to conscience, we must probably be lying to ourselves and rationalizing our evil behavior by means of fallacies. Conscience and Rationality are in fact our connection with Heaven. Our will is linked to the Divine Love of Heaven by means of conscience and our understanding is linked to the Divine Truth of Heaven by means of rationality. The remorse, shame and pangs of conscience that we often experience are simply God’s way of telling us that our loves or intentions are not in harmony with Heaven.

The fact that human beings have developed rationality and conscience proves that our real purpose is not to succeed in the world and accumulate wealth, power or glory. In fact, conscience only seems to impede our selfish ambitions. What is the use of conscience then? The real purpose of our life on earth is to develop a soul that has the capacity to reside in the higher-dimensional fields of Heaven. And, we can only do this by maintaining our link with Heaven and obeying our higher conscience.

Thus, we can choose to ignore and silence conscience by fulfilling our selfish passions and living a life of vanity.  But the hellish freedom of satisfying every selfish desire is an illusion. In reality, such behavior only enslaves us in lusts that can never be satisfied and it usually leads to a vicious or hellish spiral of addiction  and suffering.

Real freedom is Heavenly freedom because our will is only free when it subsists in the fields of Heavenly Love. This  choice of obeying or disobeying conscience is a choice that we are compelled to make every day of our life on earth because it is only what we freely choose from the freedom of our will that can become truly our own. We are gradually developing a spiritual body by means of our intentions, beliefs, words and actions. The quality of our spiritual body will ultimately determine in which spiritual atmosphere we will feel most comfortable after we leave the earth. And, if we have chosen to reject conscience, we will not be able to withstand the radiance of Truth nor the fire of Heavenly Love. Thus, we will have to flee into obscure realms of spiritual darkness.

God’s Divine Providence is guiding us to Heaven by influx from Heaven through conscience. But we are always free to accept or reject God’s help. It does not matter how sinful our past has been or what  our present circumstances are, we can change the direction of our life today by repenting and obeying conscience.

The influx from angels takes place primarily into a person's conscience, in which there is a base laid down for them to operate into. This base exists within the interior parts of the person. Conscience is twofold - interior and exterior. Interior conscience is a conscience concerned with what is spiritually good and true, exterior conscience with what is just and fair. The latter kind of conscience exists with many at the present day, but interior conscience with few. Even so, those endowed with exterior conscience are saved in the next life, since they are the kind of people who, if they act contrary to what is good and true or contrary to what is just and fair, feel distressed and tormented within. They feel this way not because of any consequent loss of position, gain, or reputation but because they have acted contrary to what is good and true or just and fair. But where neither kind of conscience exists there is something very inferior to them which on occasions simulates conscience. That is to say, a simulation of conscience exists when people are moved to practise what is true and good, fair and just, not by a love of it but for selfish reasons, for position and personal gain. These people too feel distressed and tormented when things unacceptable to them occur; but this kind of conscience is no conscience at all because it goes with self-love and love of the world and has nothing in it of the love of God and of one's neighbour. Nor is it therefore to be seen in the next life.

People like this are also able to serve in quite high-ranking offices, just as those endowed with genuine conscience do, for to outward appearance they do the same kinds of things; but they do them for the sake of their own position and reputation. Therefore the more they fear the loss of the latter, the better they discharge their public duties in favour of neighbour and country. But people who do not fear their loss are utterly dispensable members of the state. Those with this false conscience do not even know what conscience is, and when they hear from others what it is they laugh at the idea and think it is the product of simplicity or sickness of mind. These matters have been stated so that people may know the nature of this influx, that is to say, that conscience is the base that has been laid down for the angels to flow into - in particular into the affections there for what is good and true, and for what is just and fair - and thereby bind and hold the person, though without taking away his freedom. Emanuel Swedenborg [AC 6207]


Copyright © 2011-2014  A. J. Coriat All rights reserved.