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Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg
Chapter III, In Heaven the Divine of the Lord is Love to Him and Charity Towards the Neighbor

III
In Heaven the Divine of the Lord is Love to Him and Charity Towards the Neighbor[edit]

13. The Divine that goes forth from the Lord is called in heaven Divine truth, for a reason that will presently appear. This Divine truth flows into heaven from the Lord from His Divine love. The Divine love and the Divine truth therefrom are related to each other as the fire of the sun and the light therefrom in the world, love resembling the fire of the sun and truth therefrom light from the sun. Moreover, by correspondence fire signifies love, and light truth going forth from love.[1] From this it is clear what the Divine truth that goes forth from the Lord's Divine love is-that in its essence it is Divine good joined to Divine truth, and being so conjoined it vivifies all things of heaven; just as in the world when the sun's heat is joined to light it makes all things of the earth fruitful, which takes place in spring and summer. It is otherwise when the heat is not joined with the light, that is, when the light is cold; then all things become torpid and lie dead. With the angels this Divine good, which is compared to heat, is the good of love; and Divine truth, which is compared to light, is that through which and out of which good of love comes.


14. The Divine in heaven which makes heaven is love, because love is spiritual conjunction. It conjoins angels to the Lord and conjoins them to one another, so conjoining them that in the Lord's sight they are all as one. Moreover, love is the very being [esse] of everyone's life; consequently from love both angels and men have life. Everyone who reflects can know that the inmost vitality of man is from love, since he grows warm from the presence of love and cold from its absence, and when deprived of it he dies.[2] But it is to be remembered that the quality of his love is what determines the quality of each one's life.


15. In heaven there are two distinct loves, love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor, in the inmost or third heaven love to the Lord, in the second or middle heaven love towards the neighbor. They both go forth from the Lord, and they both make heaven. How these two loves are distinct and how they are conjoined is seen in heaven in clear light, but in the world only obscurely. In heaven loving the Lord does not mean loving Him in respect to His person, but it means loving the good that is from Him; and to love good is to will and do good from love; and to love the neighbor does not mean loving a companion in respect to his person, but loving the truth that is from the Word; and to love truth is to will and do it. This makes clear that these two loves are distinct as good and truth are distinct, and that they are conjoined as good is conjoined with truth.[3] But this can scarcely be comprehended by men unless it is known what love is, what good is, and what the neighbor is.[4]


16. I have repeatedly talked with angels about this matter. They were astonished, they said, that men of the church do not know that to love the Lord and to love the neighbor is to love what is good and true, and to do this from the will, when they ought to know that one evinces love by willing and doing what another wishes, and it is this that brings reciprocal love and conjunction, and not loving another without doing what he wishes, which in itself is not loving; also that men should know that the good that goes forth from the Lord is a likeness of Him, since He is in it; and that those who make good and truth to belong to their life by willing them and doing them become likenesses of the Lord and are conjoined to Him. Willing is loving to do. That this is so the Lord teaches in the Word, saying,

He that hath My commandments and doeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and I will love him and will make My abode with him (John 14:21, 23).

And again:

If ye do My commandments ye shall abide in My love (John 15:10).


17. All experience in heaven attests that the Divine that goes forth from the Lord and that affects angels and makes heaven is love; for all who are in heaven are forms of love and charity, and appear in ineffable beauty, with love shining forth from their faces, and from their speech and from every particular of their life.[5] Moreover, there are spiritual spheres of life emanating from and surrounding every angel and every spirit, by which their quality in respect to the affections of their love is known, sometimes at a great distance. For with everyone these spheres flow forth from the life of his affection and consequent thought, or from the life of his love and consequent faith. The spheres that go forth from angels are so full of love as to affect the inmosts of life of those who are with them. They have repeatedly been perceived by me and have thus affected me.[6] That it is love from which angels have their life is further evident from the fact that in the other life everyone turns himself in accordance with his love-those who are in love to the Lord and in love towards the neighbor turning themselves always to the Lord, while those who are in love of self turn themselves always away from the Lord. This is so, however their bodies may turn, since with those in the other life spaces conform to the states of their interiors, likewise quarters, which are not constant as they are in this world, but are determined in accordance with the direction of their faces. And yet it is not the angels that turn themselves to the Lord; but the Lord turns to Himself those that love to do the things that are from Him.[7] But more on this subject hereafter, where the quarters in the other life are treated of.


18. The Divine of the Lord in heaven is love, for the reason that love is receptive of all things of heaven, such as peace, intelligence, wisdom and happiness. For love is receptive of each and all things that are in harmony with it; it longs for them, seeks them, and drinks them in as it were spontaneously, for it desires unceasingly to be enriched and perfected by them.[8] This, too, man well knows, for with him love searches as it were the stores of his memory and draws forth all things that are in accord with itself, collecting and arranging them in and under itself-in itself that they may be its own, and under itself that they may be its servants; but other things not in accord with it it discards and expels. That there is present in love every capacity for receiving truths in harmony with itself, and a longing to conjoin them to itself, has been made clear also by the fact that some who were simple-minded in the world were taken up into heaven, and yet when they were with the angels they came into angelic wisdom and heavenly blessedness, and for the reason that they had loved what is good and true for its own sake, and had implanted it in their life, and had thereby become capacities for receiving heaven with all that is ineffable there. But those who are in love of self and of the world have no capacity for receiving what is good and true; they loathe and reject it, and at its first touch and entrance they flee and associate themselves with those in hell who are in loves like their own. There were spirits who had doubts about there being such capacities in heavenly love, and who wished to know whether it were true; whereupon they were let into a state of heavenly love, whatever opposed being for the time removed, and were brought forward some distance, where there was an angelic heaven, and from it they talked with me, saying that they perceived a more interior happiness than they could possibly express in words, and they lamented greatly that they must return into their former state. Others also were taken up into heaven; and the higher or more interiorly they were exalted the more of intelligence and wisdom were they admitted into, such as enabled them to perceive what had before been incomprehensible to them. From this it is clear that the love that goes forth from the Lord is receptive of heaven and all things therein.


19. That love to the Lord and love towards the neighbor include in themselves all Divine truths is made evident by what the Lord Himself said of these two loves:

Thou shalt love thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second, like unto it, is, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang the law and the prophets (Matt. 22:37-40).

"The law and the prophets" are the whole Word, thus all Divine truth.



  1. In the Word "fire" signifies heavenly love and infernal love (n. 934, 4906, 5215). "Holy and heavenly fire" signifies Divine love, and every affection that belongs to that love (n. 934, 6314, 6832). "Light" from fire signifies truth going forth from good of love; and light in heaven signifies Divine truth (n. 3195, 3485, 3636, 3643, 3993, 4302, 4413, 4415, 9548, 9684).
  2. Love is the fire of life, and life itself is actually therefrom (n. 4906, 5071, 6032, 6314).
  3. To love the Lord and the neighbor is to live according to the Lord's commandments (n. 10143, 10153, 10310, 10578, 10648).
  4. To love the neighbor is not to love the person, but to love that in him from which he is what he is, that is, his truth and good (n. 5028. 10336). Those who love the person, and not that in him from which he is what he is, love evil and good alike (n. 3820). Charity is willing truths and being affected by truths for the sake of truths (n. 3876, 3877). Charity towards the neighbor is doing what is good, just, and right, in every work and in every function (n. 8120-8122).
  5. Angels are forms of love and charity (n. 3804, 4735, 4797, 4985, 5199, 5530, 9879, 10177).
  6. A spiritual sphere, which is a sphere of the life, overflows and pours forth from every man, spirit, and angel, and encompasses them (n. 4464, 5179, 7454, 8630). It flows from the life of their affection and consequent thought (n. 2489, 4464, 6206).
  7. Spirits and angels turn themselves constantly to their loves, and those in the heavens turn themselves constantly to the Lord (n. 10130, 10189, 10420, 10702). Quarters in the other life are to each one in accordance with the direction of his face, and are thereby determined, otherwise than in the world (n. 10130, 10189, 10420, 10702).
  8. Innumerable things are contained in love, and love gathers to itself all things that are in harmony with it (n. 2500, 2572, 3078, 3189, 6323, 7490, 7750).