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Words of wisdom

in great number and great depth are contained within the spiritual writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, although he was too humble to claim them as his own - rather he saw them as divine revelation given through him.

The following is a collection of quotations, some of which are scattered through this web site. They are presented simply in the order in which these words of wisdom appear in Swedenborg's major works together with the relevant paragraph number.

Take time to reflect and meditate on these words of wisdom, particularly those you feel especially drawn to and inspired by to help with the development and growth of your spiritual life.

But first here is a useful quotation which helps define wisdom:

Intelligence consists in coming to know and understand God's truths, and afterwards believing in them, while wisdom consists in willing and loving them, and consequently living in accordance with them.   Arcana Caelestia 9943


Apocalypse Explained

True wisdom is seeing what is beneficial to your eternal life, and managing your life according to that. You do this when you not only know these things and grasp them with your understanding, but also will and do them. AE338

To the extent that you detest evil, goodness enters you from heaven. To the extent that you detest promiscuity, what is chaste enters; to the extent that you detest frauds and unlawful gains, sincerity and justice enter; to the extent that you detest hatred and revenge, loving kindness enters; to the extent that you detest lies and blasphemies, truth enters; and to the extent that you detest arrogance, humility before God and love of your neighbour as yourself enter. To shun evil is to do what is good. AE803

Wisdom is perceiving that the things in which you are wise are scarcely anything compared with the things in which you are not. AE828


Apocalypse Revealed

Love and wisdom, apart from usefulness, are only imaginary things. That is, they do not become real unless they are used. AR875


Arcana Caelestia

Anyone can see perfectly well that no hint of life ever exists without some kind of love and that no trace of joy ever exists unless it results from love. The nature of the love determines the nature of the life and of the joy. AC33

The stages and states of the regeneration of a person divide into six and are called the days of his creation. Gradually from not being a person at all, he first becomes something, though only little, then something more, until the sixth day is reached, when he becomes an image of God. AC62

Heaven consists in a heartfelt desire that things shall be better for others than for oneself and a desire to serve others and further their happiness, doing so with no selfish intention but out of love. AC452

A person is truly a Christian when he lives as a Christian, that is, as the Lord teaches. AC1799

It is evident that in the measure anyone loves the neighbour he draws on the life that is God's. AC2253

Prayer is talking to God. AC2535

It is a Divine truth that God is never angry, never punishes anyone, let alone does evil to anyone, and that from God nothing but good ever comes. AC3131 

Those who are to be regenerated are not regenerated in a single space of time, but are being regenerated throughout their entire life, and even in the next life. In fact, the perfecting of a person can never be complete. AC3200

Everyone's love holds the light of his life within it, for love is like a flame which radiates light. The nature of a person's love or flame therefore determines that of the light of truth with him. AC3798

For every smallest fraction of a moment of a person's life entails a chain of consequences extending into eternity. Indeed every one is like a new beginning to those that follow, and so every single moment of the life both of his understanding and of his will is a new beginning. AC3854

Joy is present within every joining together of good and truth, for that joining together is the heavenly marriage, in which the Divine is present. AC4572:2

Teaching what truth is without what good is amounts to walking like someone blind, it being good that is the teacher and leader, truth the one that is taught and led. Between the two kinds of teaching there is a vast difference, as great as that between light and darkness. AC4844 

The Divine Being Itself is Love utterly incomprehensible to a person. AC5042

As regards the soul, which - it is said - goes on living after death, it is nothing else than the actual person living in the body. That is, the soul is the person's inner self acting in the world by means of the body and imparting life to the body. When his inner self is released from the body the person is called a spirit and then appears in a completely human form. AC6054 

There is nothing in the natural world which does not represent something in the spiritual world or which has not something there to which it corresponds. AC7112 

It should be recognized that Divine providence is overall, that is, it is present within the smallest details of all, and that people in the stream of providence are being carried along constantly towards happier things, whatever appearance the means may present. Those in the stream of providence are people who trust in the Divine and ascribe everything to Him. AC8478

Let anyone who wishes to be happy for evermore know and believe that he is going to be alive after death; let him think about it and remember it, for it is the truth. AC8939

Faith without love is dead, and faith with love is living. AC9050

The spiritual growth of a person happens slowly. The seeds of the life of heaven are planted in a person in infancy and begin growing and continue to grow to the very end of life in this world and are perfected to eternity. AC9334

A person receives enlightenment when governed by the love of truth for its own sake and not for any selfish or worldly reason. AC9424


Conjugial Love

Joy is the delight of doing something which is of use to oneself and to others; and the delight of use derives its essence from love, and its existence from wisdom. CL5

A heavenly life comes from a combination of love and wisdom in useful service. CL10

From infancy to the end of life, and afterwards to eternity, a person's state of life is continually changing. CL185


Divine Love and Wisdom

Love is our life. DLW1 

God alone is love itself, because he is life itself. Both we on earth and angels are life-receivers. DLW4 

All this shows how sensually people are thinking when they say that nature exists in its own right, how reliant they are on their physical senses and their darkness in matters of the spirit. They are thinking from the eye and are unable to think from the understanding. Thinking from the eye closes understanding, but thinking from understanding opens the eye. DLW46 

The essence of love is that what is ours should belong to someone else. Feeling the joy of someone else as joy within ourselves—that is loving. Feeling our joy in others, though, and not theirs in ourselves is not loving. That is loving ourselves, while the former is loving our neighbour. DLW47

The useful functions of everything created tend upward, step by step, from the lowest to us, and through us to God the Creator, their source. DL 65

When it is state that determines time, time is only an appearance. A pleasant state makes time seem brief, and an unpleasant one makes it seem long. We can therefore see that time in the spiritual world is simply an attribute of state. DLW73

That every person after the life in the world lives to eternity, is evident from this, that a person is then spiritual, and no longer natural, and that the spiritual person, separated from the natural, remains such as he is to eternity, for a person’s state cannot be changed after death. DLW52 

It is obvious from actual experience that love generates warmth and wisdom generates light. When we feel love, we become warmer, and when we think from wisdom, it is like seeing things in the light. We can see from this that the first thing that emanates from love is warmth and that the first thing that emanates from wisdom is light. DLW95

God is supremely human; and every person is therefore human in the measure of his reception of love and wisdom. DLW289


Divine Providence

(Angels) picture wisdom as a wonderfully elegant palace with twelve steps leading up to it. No one gets to the first step except with God’s help and by union with him, and for all of us, the ascent depends on that union. The higher we climb, the more clearly we realise that no one is wise on her or his own, but only from God. We also realise that relative to what we do not know, what we do know is like a droplet compared to a vast lake. The twelve steps to the palace of wisdom mean whatever is good united to what is true and whatever is true united to what is good. DP36

We are because God is. DP46

By its very nature, spiritual love wants to share what it has with others, and to the extent that it can do so, it is totally present, experiencing its peace and bliss. Spiritual love gets this quality from God’s divine love, which is like this in infinite measure. DP27

We can know the path to heaven to some extent simply by considering what the people who make up heaven are like, realising that no one can become an angel or get to heaven unless he or she arrives bringing along some angelic quality from the world. Inherent in that angelic quality is a knowing of the path from having walked it and a walking in the path from the knowing of it. DP60

Saying that God allows something to happen does not mean that he wants it to happen but that he cannot prevent it because of his goal, which is our salvation. DP 234 


Doctrine of Life

All religion has relation to life, and the life of religion is to do good. DL1


Doctrine of Charity

Doing good from obedience is one thing, and doing good to the neighbour from an affection of love towards him is another. The difference is like that between the heat and light by night from the moon and stars, and the heat and light by day from the sun. DC210


Heaven and Hell

First and foremost, we need to know who the God of heaven is, since everything else depends on this.  HH2

In heaven there are two distinct loves, love to God and love towards the neighbour, in the inmost or third heaven love to God, in the second or middle heaven love towards the neighbour. HH15 

We become likenesses of God and are united to him when we make what is good and what is true matters of our lives by doing them intentionally, since intending something is loving to do it. HH16

It can never be said that heaven is outside anyone. It is within; because every angel accepts the heaven that is outside in keeping with the heaven that is within. HH54

In a word, absolutely everything in nature, from the smallest to the greatest, is a correspondence. The reason correspondences occur is that the natural world, including everything in it, arises and is sustained from the spiritual world, and both worlds come from the Divine. HH106

Everything in the whole world and in the world of nature that is in the Divine design goes back to what is good and what is true. HH107

The living creatures of the earth, in general, correspond to affections, gentle and useful creatures to good affections, fierce and useless ones to evil affections. In particular, cattle and their young correspond to the affections of the natural mind and sheep and lambs to the affections of the spiritual mind. HH110

Heaven is within us, and people who have heaven within them come into heaven. HH319

Whatever spiritual qualities a person acquires in the world remain with him or her after death. HH349

People were created so as to be at the same time in the spiritual world and in the natural world. HH401

People in heaven are continually progressing toward the springtime of life. The more thousands of years they live, the more pleasant and happy is their springtime. This continues forever, increasing according to the growth and level of their love, thoughtfulness, and faith. HH414

When someone’s body can no longer perform its functions in the natural world in response to the thoughts and affections of its spirit (which it derives from the spiritual world), then we say that the individual has died. The person, though, has not died at all. We are only separated from the physical nature that was useful to us in the world. The essential person is actually still alive. I say that the essential person is still alive because we are not people because of our bodies but because of our spirits. HH445

Heavenly love is loving what is good, honest, and fair because it is good, honest, and fair, and doing it because of that love. HH481

Thus is one life continued into the other, and death is merely a transition. HH493

The life of any one can by no means be changed after death; an evil life can in no wise be converted into a good life, or an infernal into an angelic life: because every spirit, from head to foot, is of the character of his love, and therefore, of his life; and to convert this life into its opposite, would be to destroy the spirit utterly. HH527

I have mentioned all this to let it be known that the life that leads to heaven is not one of withdrawal from the world but a life in the world, and that a life of piety apart from a life of thoughtfulness (which is possible only in the world) does not lead to heaven at all. HH535


The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine

Kindness is an inner desire that makes us want to do good things even if we do not get anything in return. It is the joy of our life to do them. When we do good things from this inner desire, there is kindness in everything we think, say, want, and do. NJHD104

Faith is an affection for truth resulting from willing truth because it is true; and willing truth because it is true is the essence of a person's spirituality. NJHD112

Real joy, which comes from loving to do good things without wanting to be repaid, is the reward that lasts forever. NJHD156


True Christian Religion

We must do things that are good - they belong to God and come from God. TCR3

For all those who have formed the state of their mind from God, Sacred Scripture is like a mirror in which they see God, although each in a different way. The mirror is made of truths that they learn from the Word and become steeped in through living a life according to them. TCR6

The recognition that God exists and that there is one God flows universally from God into human souls. TCR8

The universe is like a theatre, upon the stage of which demonstrations of the existence of God and His oneness are continually being presented. TCR12

The underlying reality of God, the underlying divine reality, cannot be described. It is beyond the reach of any idea in human thought. Everything human thought can conceive of is created and finite; it cannot conceive of what was not created and is infinite. Therefore it cannot conceive of the underlying divine. TCR18

From the fact that God is the intrinsic underlying reality, it follows that God is love in itself, wisdom in itself, and life in itself. TCR21

Two things—love and wisdom—constitute the essence of God; but three things constitute the essence of God’s love: his loving others who are outside of himself, his wanting to be one with them, and his blessing them from himself. The same three constitute the essence of his wisdom because in God love and wisdom are united, as was just explained. It is love that wants those three things, however, and wisdom that brings them about. TCR43

It is a law of the divine design that the closer and closer we come to God, which is something we have to do as if we were completely on our own, the closer and closer God comes to us. TCR89

Being able to provide arguments to support whatever you want is not intelligence; intelligence is being able to see that what is true is true. TCR334

The more spiritual our faith and our goodwill become, the more we are drawn away from our self-centeredness. We do not focus on ourselves, on payment, or on reward; we focus only on the pleasure of perceiving truths that relate to faith and doing good actions that relate to love. The more our spirituality increases, the more blissful that pleasure becomes. This process is the source of our salvation, which is called eternal life. TCR361

All things are full of God. We each take our own portion from that fullness.  TCR364

God’s life is present in all its fullness not only in people who are good and religious but also in people who are evil and ungodly. That life is the same in angels of heaven as it is in spirits of hell. The difference is that evil people block the road and shut the door to prevent God from coming down into the lower areas of their mind. Good people, on the other hand, smooth the road and open the door. They invite God to enter the lower areas of their mind since he already inhabits the highest areas of it. They change the state of their will so that love and goodwill may flow in, and change the state of their intellect so that wisdom and faith may flow in—they open themselves to God. TCR366

The Lord our Saviour is Jehovah the Father himself in human form. Jehovah came down and became human so that he could come close to us and we could come close to him, and a partnership could be forged, through which we could have salvation and eternal life. When God became human and then a human became God, he became able to draw near us in this adapted form and, as a human God and a divine Human, forge a partnership with us. TCR370

Love and wisdom without good, useful action are nothing. They are only conceptual entities. They do not become real until they exist in usefulness. Love, wisdom, and usefulness are three things that cannot be separated. If they are separated, none of them is anything. Love is nothing without wisdom, but in wisdom it is formed for something; the something that love is formed for is usefulness. TCR387

Everyone knows that what makes a human being human is not having a human face and a human body, but the wisdom in his understanding and the goodness in his will. The higher the levels these reach, the more human he is.  TCR417

God loves each and every human being, and because he cannot do good to them directly but only indirectly by means of other people, he therefore breathes into people his love.  TCR457

Anyone can see, if he is able in his thinking to raise his reason above the level of the senses, that life cannot be created. For what is life but the activity of love and wisdom in the inmost? And these are in God, and are God. This life too can be called the life force itself. TCR471

A human being is an instrument for life; and God alone is life. God pours His life into the instrument and all its parts, just as the sun pours its heat into a tree and all its parts. TCR504

The fact that a person can only be regenerated by stages can be illustrated by every single thing which comes into existence in the natural world. A tree cannot grow into a tree in a single day, but grows first from a seed, then a root, then a shoot which becomes a stem, from which branches develop with leaves, and finally flowers and fruits. TCR586

The purpose of the actual creation of the universe was none other than the formation of a heaven of angels from human beings. TCR773



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