www.biblemeanings.info/NewTruth within BibleMeanings.info

Jesus Lives! - The Lord God Jesus Christ: Creator, Sustainer and Redeemer of Heaven and Earth

DP, sections 1 ff
DP, sections 27 ff
DP, sections 46 ff
DP, sections 70 ff
DP, sections 71 ff
DP, sections 100 ff
DP, sections 129 ff
DP, sections 135 ff
DP, sections 154 ff
DP, sections 175 ff
DP, sections 191 ff
DP, sections 214 ff
DP, sections 221 ff
DP, sections 234 ff
DP, sections 241 ff
DP, sections 249 ff
DP, sections 254 ff
DP, sections 262 ff
DP, sections 275 ff
DP, sections 279 ff
DP, sections 285 ff
DP, sections 308 ff
DP, sections 322 ff
DP, sections 331 ff
DP, sections 341 ff


Divine Providence  ·  Sections 285 ff previous  ·  next


DP 285. In every man, whether good or evil, there are two faculties, one of which constitutes the understanding, and the other the will. The faculty which constitutes the understanding is the ability to understand and to think, and is therefore called rationality. The faculty which constitutes the will is the ability to do these things freely, namely, to think and consequently to speak and to act, provided only it is not contrary to reason or rationality; for to act freely is to act as often as one wills and according as one wills. Since these two faculties are unceasing, and are continual from first things to last things in all things, in general and in particular, which man thinks and does, and since they are not in man from himself but are present with him from the Lord, it follows that the Lord’s presence in these faculties is also in the individual, indeed in the most individual, things of man’s understanding and thought and also of his will and affection, and consequently in the most individual things of his speech and action. If you remove these faculties from even the most individual thing, you will not be able to think or say it as a man.

[2] It has been abundantly shown above that man is man by virtue of these two faculties, that he is able to think and speak, to perceive what is good and understand truths, not only those that are civil and moral but also those that are spiritual, and also to be reformed and regenerated; in a word, that he can be conjoined to the Lord and thereby live forever; and it was also shown that not only good men but also the wicked possess these two faculties. Now since these faculties are in man from the Lord, and are not appropriated to man as his own, for what is Divine cannot be appropriated to man as his own but can only be adjoined to him and thus appear as his; and as this Divine with man is in the most individual things pertaining to him, it follows that the Lord governs the most individual things in a wicked man as well as in a good man; and the government of the Lord is what is called the Divine Providence.

DP 286. Now as it is a law of the Divine Providence that man should act from freedom according to reason, that is, from the two faculties liberty and rationality; and as it is also a law of the Divine Providence that what he does should appear to him as from himself and consequently as his own; and further as it is a law that evils must be permitted in order that man may be led out of them; it follows that man can abuse these faculties and from freedom according to reason confirm whatever he pleases. For he can make whatever he will to be reasonable whether it is reasonable in itself or not. Therefore some say, What is truth? Can I not make true whatever I will? Does not also the world do so? Whoever does this does it by reasoning. Take the greatest falsity and tell a clever dialectician to prove it, and he will do so. For example, tell him to prove that man is a beast; or that the soul is like a small spider in its web, governing the body as the spider governs by means of its threads; or tell him that religion is nothing but a restraining bond, and he will prove anyone of these propositions until it appears to be true. What is easier? For he does not know what an appearance is, or what a falsity is which from blind faith is assumed as a truth.

[2] Hence it is that a man cannot see this truth, namely, that the Divine Providence is in the most individual things of the understanding and of the will, or what is the same, in the most individual things of the thoughts and of the affections in every man, whether wicked or good. He becomes confused principally by supposing that in this case evils also would be from the Lord; but, nevertheless, it will be seen in what now follows that there is not a particle of evil from the Lord, but that evil is from man, through his confirming in himself the appearance that he thinks, wills, speaks and acts from himself. In order that these things may be clearly seen they will be demonstrated in the following order:

I. -The Divine Providence, not only with the good but also with the wicked, is universal in things most individual; and yet it is not in men’s evils.

II. -The wicked are continually leading themselves into evils, but the Lord is continually leading them away from evils.

III. -The wicked cannot be wholly withdrawn by the Lord from evil and led in good so long as they believe their own intelligence to be everything and the Divine Providence nothing.

IV. -The Lord governs hell by means of opposites; and the wicked who are in the world he governs in hell as to their interiors, but not as to their exteriors.

DP 287. I. THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE, NOT ONLY WITH THE GOOD BUT ALSO WITH THE WICKED, IS UNIVERSAL IN THINGS MOST INDIVIDUAL; AND YET IT IS NOT IN MEN’S EVILS. It was shown above that the Divine Providence is in the most individual things of man’s thoughts and affections; and by this is meant that man can think and will nothing from himself, but that everything he thinks and wills, and consequently says and does, is from influx. If it is good it is from influx out of heaven, and if evil from influx out of hell; or what is the same, that good is from influx from the Lord, and evil from man’s proprium. I know that this is difficult to be comprehended, because a distinction is made between that which flows in from heaven or from the Lord and that which flows in from hell or from man’s proprium; and yet it is said that the Divine Providence is in the most individual things of man’s thoughts and affections, even so far that man can think and will nothing from himself. But because it is said that he can also think and will from hell, and also from his proprium, this appears like a contradiction; and yet it is not. That there is no contradiction will be seen in what follows, after some things have been set forth that will illustrate the matter.

DP 288. All the angels of heaven confess that no one can think from himself but only from the Lord; while all the spirits of hell assert that no one can think from any other than himself. Yet it has sometimes been shown to these spirits that not one of them thinks or can think from himself, but that thought flows in. In vain, however, was this shown, for they would not accept it. Now experience will teach first, that all thought and affection, even with the spirits of hell, flow in from heaven; but that the good which flows in is, in hell, turned into evil and the truth into falsity, thus everything into its opposite. This was shown in the following manner. A certain truth from the Word was sent down from heaven, and was received by those who were in the upper region of hell, and by these was sent down to the lower hells, and so on to the lowest. On the successive stages of its way the truth was turned into falsity and finally into that falsity which was its direct opposite. Those with whom this change was made thought that the falsity was from themselves, nor did they know otherwise, although it was truth flowing down from heaven on its way to the lowest hell, which had become thus falsified and perverted. I have heard several times that this happened. The same thing takes place with good, which as it flows down from heaven is changed in its progress into the evil opposite to it. Hence it was evident that truth and good proceeding from the Lord as they are received by those who are in falsity and by those who are in evil are completely changed and pass into another form so different that the first form is not apparent. Thus it is with every wicked man, for such a one as to his spirit is in hell.

DP 289. It has frequently been made manifest to me that in hell no one thinks from himself but he thinks from others around him, nor do these think from themselves, but they also think from others; and thoughts and affections pass in order from one society to another and no one is aware that they do not originate from himself. Some who believed that they thought and willed from themselves were sent into a society and there detained, and communication with the neighbouring societies to which their thoughts were usually extended was cut off. They were then told to think differently from the spirits of this society, and to compel themselves to think contrary to it; but they confessed that they found this impossible.

[2] This was done with many, including Leibnitz, who was also convinced that no one thinks from himself but from others; nor do these from themselves think, but that all think from influx out of heaven and heaven from influx originating from the Lord. When some had given careful consideration to this, they declared it to be amazing, saying that scarcely anyone could be induced to believe it, because it is quite contrary to appearance; but still that they could not deny it because it was fully proved. Nevertheless, while they were astonished they declared,

1. That in this case they are not in fault for thinking evil;

2. also that it thus seems as if evil were from the Lord;

3. and also that they do not understand how the Lord can cause all to think so differently. But these three points must be explained in what follows.

DP 290. To the experience already set forth this also is to be added: When it was granted me by the Lord to speak with spirits and angels this interior truth (arcanum) was immediately disclosed to me. For I was told from heaven that, like others, I believed that I thought and willed from myself when in fact there was nothing from myself but if there was good it originated from the Lord, and if evil it originated from hell. That this was so was demonstrated to me in a realistic manner by various thoughts and affections induced upon me, and I was enabled gradually to perceive it and to feel it. Therefore, as soon as any evil afterwards entered into my will or any falsity into my thought, I inquired into its source. This was disclosed to me, and I was also permitted to speak with those from whom it came, to refute them, and to compel them to withdraw and thus to retract their evil and their falsity and to keep them to themselves, and no longer to infuse any such thing into my thought. This has happened a thousand times; and in this state I have remained now for many years, and I continue in it still; and yet I seem to myself to think and to will from myself like others, with no difference, for it is of the Lord’s Providence that it should so appear to everyone, as was shown above in its own place. Spirits who have newly arrived wonder at this state of mine, only seeing that I do not think and will anything from myself, and therefore that I am like some inane creature. But J revealed the truth to them; adding that I also think even more interiorly and perceive whether what flows into my exterior thought is from heaven or from hell; and that I reject what is from hell and accept what is from heaven; assuring them that still I seem to myself, just as they do, to think and to will from myself.

DP 291. That all good is from heaven and all evil from hell is not unknown in the world: it is known to everyone in the Church. Who in the Church, who has been inaugurated into the priesthood, does not teach that all good originates from God, and that man cannot receive anything from himself which has not been given him from heaven; also that the devil infuses evils into men’s thoughts and leads men astray and incites them to commit evils? Therefore, the priest who believes that he preaches from a holy zeal, prays that the Holy Spirit may teach him and direct his thoughts and his words. There are some who say that they have sensibly perceived that they have been so moved; and when their preaching is commended they piously reply that they have spoken not from themselves but from God. Therefore also when they see anyone speaking and acting well they say that he was led to it by God; and on the other hand, when they see anyone speaking and acting wickedly they say that he was led to it by the devil. It is well known that language of this kind is prevalent in the Church; but who believes that it is true?

DP 292. Everything that a man thinks and wills, and consequently speaks and does, flows in from one sole Fountain of life, and yet that one Fountain of life, which is the Lord, is not the cause of a man’s thinking what is evil and false. This can be illustrated by the following circumstances in the natural world. From the sun of this world proceed heat and light; and these two flow into all subjects and objects that appear before the eyes, not only into subjects that are good and objects that are beautiful, but also into subjects that are evil and objects that are ugly, producing in them various effects. For they flow not only into trees that bear good fruit but also into trees that bear bad fruit, and even into the fruits themselves, imparting to them quickening power. They likewise flow into good seed and also into tares; also into shrubs that have a good use or are wholesome, and also into shrubs that have an evil use or are poisonous. Yet it is the same heat and the same light, and in these there is no cause of evil; but the cause is in the recipient subjects and objects.

[2] The heat which hatches eggs in which lie the bird of night, the screech-owl and the viper acts in the same way as when it hatches eggs in which lie the dove, the bird of paradise and the swan. Set eggs of both kinds under a hen and they will be hatched by her heat, which in itself is free from harm. What then has the heat in common with those evil and noxious things? The heat that flows into the marsh and the dung-hill, and into dead and putrefying matter acts in the same way as when it flows into the vine sapling and the fragrant herb, and into luxuriant vegetation and bodies pulsing with life. Who does not see that the cause is not in the heat but in the recipient subject? On the other hand, the same light brings out in one object colours that are pleasing, and in another colours that are not pleasing; it even brightens itself up and sends out brilliant rays in white objects, but in objects that verge towards black it dims and darkens itself.

[3] It is the same in the spiritual world; for there also are heat and light from its Sun, which is the Lord, and these flow from that Sun into their subjects and objects. The subjects and objects there are angels and spirits, in particular, what pertains to their will and understanding, the heat there being the Divine Love going forth, and the light there the Divine Wisdom going forth. These are not the cause of their being received differently by one and by another; for the Lord says,

He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).

By the Sun in the highest spiritual sense is meant the Divine Love, and by the rain the Divine Wisdom.

DP 293. To this I will add the opinion of angels regarding will and intelligence in man. It is this: There cannot be in any man a grain of will and prudence that is his own. They say that if there were such a grain in any man neither heaven nor hell would continue to exist, and the whole human race would perish. The reason, they say, is that myriads of myriads of men, as many as have been born since the creation of the world, constitute heaven and hell, which are arranged in such an order, the one under the other, that on either side they make a one, heaven forming one beautiful man, and hell one monstrous man. If any individual had a grain of will and intelligence of his own that "one" could not possibly exist, but would be rent asunder; and with it would perish that Divine Form which can only manifest itself and continue in being when the Lord is the All in all men and they are absolutely nothing. Another reason, they say, is that to think and to will from self is the essential Divine principle, while to think and to will from God is the essential human principle; and what is essentially Divine cannot be appropriated to any man, for in that case man would be God. Keep this in mind; and if you wish, you will have it confirmed by angels when after death you enter into the spiritual world.

DP 294. It was stated above (n. 289) that when some were convinced that no one thinks from himself but only from others, and that all those others think not from themselves but from influx through heaven from the Lord, they said in their astonishment that in this case they are not in fault for doing evil; also that it thus seems that evil originates from the Lord; and also that they do not understand that the Lord alone can cause all to think so differently. Now since these three ideas cannot but flow into the thoughts of those who think only of effects from effects, and not of effects from causes, it is necessary that they be taken up and explained from causes.

[2] First: In this case they are not in fault for doing evil. For if every thing that a man thinks flows into him from others the fault seems to rest with those from whom it comes. Nevertheless, the fault is in him who receives, because he receives it as his own; and he neither knows nor desires to know otherwise. For everyone desires to be his own, and to be led by himself, and especially to think and to will from himself; this is freedom itself and it appears as his proprium in which every man is. Therefore, if he knew that what he thinks and wills flows in from another he would seem to himself to be bound and captive and no longer master of himself; and thus all the delight of his life, and at length his human itself, would perish.

[3] That this is so I have often seen proved. It was granted to some spirits to perceive and to feel that they were being led by others. Thereupon they were so enraged that they became as it were demented; and they said they would rather be kept bound in hell than not be allowed to think in accordance with their will and to will in accordance with their thought. Not to be allowed to do so they called being bound as to life itself, which was harder and more intolerable than being bound as to their body. Not to be allowed to speak and act in accordance with their thought and will they did not call being bound; because the delight of civil and moral life, which consists in speaking and doing, acts as the restraining influence and, at the same time, mitigates the restraint.

[4] Now since man is not willing to know that he is led to think by others, but desires to think from himself and also believes that he does so, it follows that he himself is at fault, nor can he free himself of blame so long as he loves to think what he is thinking; But if he does not love it he breaks his connection with those from whom his thought flows. This happens when he knows that it is evil, and therefore desires to shun it and to desist from it. Then also he is taken away by the Lord from the society which is in that evil and is transferred to a society where it does not exist. If, however, he knows the evil and does not shun it the fault is imputed to him, and he becomes answerable for that evil. Therefore, whatever a man believes that he does from himself is said to be done from the man and not from the Lord.

[5] Second: It thus seems that evil originates from the Lord. This may be thought to be the conclusion from what was shown above (n. 288), namely, that good flowing in from the Lord is turned in hell into evil and truth into falsity. Anyone can see that evil and falsity do not originate from good and truth, and consequently not from the Lord, but from the recipient subject and object which is in evil and falsity and which perverts and inverts that which flows in, as was fully shown above (n. 292). However, the source of evil and falsity in man has been frequently shown in the preceding pages. Moreover, an experiment was made in the spiritual world with those who believed that the Lord could remove evils in the wicked and introduce good in their place, and in this way could transfer all hell into heaven and save all. But that this is impossible will be seen towards the end of this treatise, where instantaneous salvation and immediate mercy are to be considered.

[6] Third: They do not understand that the Lord alone can cause all to think so differently. The Lord’s Divine Love is infinite and infinite also is His Divine Wisdom; and infinite things of love and wisdom proceed from the Lord, and these flow into all in heaven, and thence into all in hell, and from both of these into all in the world; therefore, thinking and willing cannot fail in anyone, for infinite things are all things without limit. Those infinite things which proceed from the Lord flow in not only universally but also most individually; for the Divine is universal from the most individual things, and these Divine individual things constitute what is called the Universal, as was shown above; and the most individual Divine thing is also infinite. Hence it may be evident that the Lord alone causes everyone to think and to will in accordance with his own peculiar quality and in accordance with the laws of His Providence. That all things which are in the Lord and which proceed from Him are infinite has been shown above (n. 46-69); and also in the treatise THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM (DLW 17-22).

DP 295. II. THE WICKED ARE CONTINUALLY LEADING THEMSELVES INTO EVILS, BUT THE LORD IS CONTINUALLY LEADING THEM AWAY FROM EVILS. The nature of the Divine Providence with the good is more easily comprehended than its nature with the wicked, and as the latter is now under consideration it will be set forth in the following order:

1. There are innumerable things in every evil.

2. A wicked man from himself continually leads himself more and more deeply into his evils.

3. The Divine Providence with the wicked is a continual permission of evil, to the end that there may be a continual withdrawal from it.

4. The withdrawal from evil is effected by the Lord in a thousand ways that are most secret.

DP 296. In order, therefore, that the Divine Providence with the wicked may be clearly seen and thus understood, the propositions stated above now fall to be explained in the order in which they were presented. First: There are innumerable things in every evil. In man’s sight every evil appears as one single thing. This is the case with hatred and revenge, theft and fraud, adultery and whoredom, arrogance and high-mindedness, and with every other evil; and it is not known that in every evil there are innumerable things, exceeding in number the fibres and vessels in a man’s body. For a wicked man is a hell in its least form; and hell consists of myriads of myriads of spirits, and everyone there is in form like a man, although a monstrous one, in which all the fibres and vessels are inverted. The spirit himself is an evil which appears to himself as a "one"; but there are innumerable things in it as many as the lusts of that evil, for every man is his own evil, or his own good, from the head to the sole of his foot. Since then a wicked man is such, it is evident that he is one evil composed of innumerable different evils each of which is a distinct evil, and they are called lusts of evil. Hence it follows that all these in their order must be restored and changed by the Lord in order that the man may be reformed; and this cannot be effected unless by the Divine Providence of the Lord, step by step from the earliest period of man’s life to the last.

[2] In hell every lust of evil when visually represented appears like a noxious creature, as a dragon, or a cockatrice, or a viper, or a bird of night, or an owl, and so on; and similarly do the lusts of evil appear in a wicked man when he is viewed by angels. All these forms of lusts must be changed one by one; and the man himself, who with respect to his spirit appears as a human monster or devil, must be changed to become like a beautiful angel; and every lust of evil must be changed to appear like a lamb, or a sheep, or a pigeon, or a turtle dove, as the affections of good in the angels appear in heaven when visually represented; and to change a dragon into a lamb, a cockatrice into a sheep, and an owl into a dove can only be effected step by step, by rooting out evil from its very seed and implanting good seed in its stead. This, however, can only be done as is done, for example, in the grafting of trees. When their roots with some of the trunk remain, the engrafted branch draws sap through the old root and turns it into sap that makes good fruit. The branch that is to be engrafted can only be taken from the Lord, who is the Tree of Life. This, moreover, is in accordance with the words of the Lord (John 15:1-7).

[3] Second: A wicked man from himself continually leads himself more and more deeply into his evils. It is said, from himself, because all evil is from man, for man turns good that originates from the Lord into evil, as was said above. The real reason why the wicked man immerses himself more deeply in evil is that as he wills and commits evil he advances into infernal societies more and more interiorly and also more and more deeply. Hence also the delight of evil increases, and so occupies his thoughts that at last he feels nothing more pleasant. He who has advanced more interiorly and deeply into infernal societies becomes as if he were bound with chains. So long as he lives in the world, however, he does not feel his chains, for they are as if made from soft wool or from fine threads of silk, and he loves them as they give him pleasure; but after death, instead of being soft they become hard, and instead of being pleasant they become galling.

[4] That the delight of evil mounts up from strength to strength is well known from thefts, robberies, plunderings, acts of revenge, tyranny, unlawful acquisition of wealth and other evils. Who does not feel the exaltation of delight as he succeeds in them and as he practises them without restraint? It is well known that a thief feels such delight in thefts that he cannot desist from them, and what is wonderful, that he finds more pleasure in one stolen coin than in ten that are given him as a gift. It would be the same with adultery if it had not been provided that the power of committing this evil decreases with its indulgence; but yet with many there remains the delight of thinking and talking about it; and if nothing more, there is still the lust of touch.

[5] It is not known, however, that this increase of delight comes from a man’s penetrating into infernal societies more and more interiorly and more and more deeply as he commits the evils from will and at the same time from thought. If the evils are only in thought and not in the will, the man is not yet in an infernal society with the evil, but he enters it when the evils are also in the will. If he then also thinks that the evil is contrary to the precepts of the Decalogue, and considers these precepts as Divine, he commits the evil of set purpose, and thereby plunges to a depth from which he can be led out only by actual repentance.

[6] It should be known that every man as to his spirit is in the spiritual world in some society there, a wicked man in an infernal society and a good man in a heavenly society; and sometimes he also appears there when in deep meditation. Moreover, as the sound of the voice with the spoken words diffuses itself in the air in the natural world, so affection with its thought diffuses itself among societies in the spiritual world; and there is a correspondence between them, for affection corresponds to sound and thought to speech.

[7] Third: The Divine Providence with the wicked is a continual permission of evil, to the end that there may be a continual withdrawal from it. The Divine Providence with wicked men is a continual permission because nothing but evil can proceed from their life; for man, whether he is in good or in evil, cannot be in both at the same time, nor in each alternately unless he is lukewarm; and evil of life is not introduced into the will and through it into the thought by the Lord but by man; and this is called permission.

[8] Now since everything that a wicked man wills and thinks is of permission the question arises, What then is the Divine Providence here, which is said to be in the most individual things with every man, both wicked and good? It consists in this, that it continually grants permission for the sake of the end, and permits such things as pertain to the end and no others; and the evils that proceed by permission it continually keeps under view, separates and purifies, sending away and removing by unknown ways whatever is not consistent with the end. These things are effected principally in man’s interior will, and from this in his interior thought. The Divine Providence is also unceasing in providing that what must be sent away and removed is not received again by the will, since all things that are received by the will are appropriated to the man; but those which are received by the thought and not by the will are separated and removed. This is the Lord’s continual Providence with the wicked and is, as has been stated, a continual permission of evil to the end that there may be an unceasing withdrawal from it.

[9] Man knows scarcely anything of these operations because he does not perceive them. The chief reason why he does not perceive them is that the evils pertain to the lusts of his life’s love, and these evils are not felt as evils but as delights to which no one pays attention. Who pays any attention to the delights of his love? His thought floats on in them like a boat which is borne along on the current of a river, and there is perceived as it were a fragrant-smelling atmosphere, which is inhaled with a full breath. Only in his external thought can he feel something of them, but even there he pays no attention to them unless he knows well that they are evils. But more will be said concerning this in what follows.

[10] Fourth: The withdrawal from evil is effected by the Lord in a thousand ways that are most secret. Of these only some have been disclosed to me, and none but the most general, as, that the delights of lusts of which man knows nothing are admitted by companies and groups into the interior thoughts of man’s spirit and from these into his exterior thoughts in which they make their appearance under a certain sense of satisfaction, pleasure, or longing; and there they mingle with his natural and sensual delights. Here are the means of separation and purification, and also the ways of withdrawal and removal. The means are chiefly the delights of meditation, thought and reflection for the attainment of certain ends which are uses; and ends that are uses are as many in number as the particular and individual matters of one’s business and office. They are also as many as the delights of reflection for the attainment of certain ends, as that he may appear to be a civil and a moral man and also a spiritual man, besides the undelightful things which interpose. These delights, because they belong to his love in the external man, are the means of separation, purification, rejection and withdrawal of the delights pertaining to the lusts of evil that belong to the internal man.

[11] Take, for example, an unjust judge who regards gains or friendship as the ends or uses of his office. Inwardly he is continually engrossed in these, but outwardly his object is to act as a skilled lawyer and a just man. He continually delights in meditating, thinking, reflecting and framing intentions that he may bend, turn, adapt and adjust the right so that it may still appear to conform to the laws and bear a semblance to justice. He does not know that his internal delight consists of cunning, fraud, deceit, clandestine theft and many other evils; and that this delight, composed of so many delights of the lusts of evil, rules in every detail of his external thought, where he harbours the delights of appearing to be a just and sincere man. Internal delights are let down into these external delights and they are mingled like food in the stomach; and there they are separated, purified and drawn away. This, however, is done only with the more grievous delights of the lusts of evil.

[12] With a wicked man no separation, purification and removal is possible other than of the more grievous from the less grievous evils. With a good man, however, there can be the separation, purification and removal not only of the more grievous but also of the less grievous evils. This is effected by the delights of the affections of the good and the true, of the just and of the sincere, into which he comes so far as he regards evils as sins, and so shuns and turns away from them, and still more if he fights against them. These are the means by which the Lord cleanses all who are saved. He cleanses them also by external means which pertain to fame and honour, and sometimes to wealth; yet into these the Lord introduces the delights of the affections of good and truth, by which they are so directed and adapted as to become delights of the love of the neighbour.

[13] If anyone were to see the delights of the lusts of evil together in some form, or were to perceive them distinctly by any sense, he would see and perceive them to be so numerous that they could not be defined; for the whole of hell is only a form of all the lusts of evil, and there no lust of evil is exactly like another or the same as another, nor can there be such likeness to eternity. Of these innumerable lusts man knows scarcely anything, much less how they are linked together. Yet the Lord by His Divine Providence continually permits them to come forth, to the end that they may be withdrawn; and this is effected in their every order and series; for a wicked man is a hell in its least form, as a good man is a heaven in its least form.

[14] That the withdrawal from evils is effected by the Lord in numerable and hidden ways cannot be better seen and thus acknowledged than from the hidden operations of the soul in the body. Those of which man has some knowledge are the following: The food which he is about to eat he looks at, learns its nature from its odour, has an appetite for it, tastes it, chews it with his teeth, rolls it with his tongue down to the gullet, and thus to the stomach. But the hidden operations of the soul, of which man knows nothing because he does not perceive them, are the following: The stomach rolls about the food it receives, opens and separates it by means of solvents, that is, digests it, and distributes appropriate portions to the little mouths opening there of the veins which drink them in. It also sends some to the blood, some to the lymphatic vessels, some to the lacteal vessels of the mesentery and some down to the intestines. Then the chyle, conveyed through the thoracic duct from its cistern in the mesentery, is carried into the vena cava, and so into the heart. From this it is carried into the lungs, from them through the left ventricle of the heart into the aorta, and from this by its branches into the viscera of the whole body and also to the kidneys. In each of these organs is effected a separation of the blood, a purification, and a removal of heterogeneous substances, not to mention how the heart sends up its blood to the brain, after it has been purified in the lungs, which is done by the arteries called carotids, and how the brain returns the blood, now vivified, to the vena cava mentioned above, where the thoracic duct brings in the chyle, and so back again to the heart.

[15] These and innumerable others are the secret operations of the soul in the body. They are not felt by man, and he who is not versed in the science of anatomy knows nothing of them. Yet similar operations take place in the interiors of man’s mind; for nothing can take place in the body except from the mind, since a man’s mind is his spirit, and his spirit is equally a man, with this difference only that whatever is done in the body is done naturally, and whatever is done in the mind is done spiritually: there is a perfect similitude. Hence it is evident that the Divine Providence operates with every man in a thousand hidden ways; and that its unceasing care is to cleanse him because its end is to save him; and that nothing more is incumbent on man than to remove evils in the external man. The rest the Lord provides, if His aid is earnestly implored.

DP 297. III. THE WICKED CANNOT BE WHOLLY WITHDRAWN BY THE LORD FROM EVIL AND LED IN GOOD SO LONG AS THEY BELIEVE THEIR OWN INTELLIGENCE TO BE EVERYTHING, AND THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE NOTHING. It would appear to be the case that man can withdraw himself from evil, provided he thinks that this or that is contrary to the common good, contrary to what is useful and contrary to national and international law. This a wicked man can do as well as a good man, provided that, by birth or by practice, he is able analytically and rationally to exercise thought in a clear manner inwardly within himself. However, man is not able to withdraw himself from evil; because the faculty of understanding and perceiving things, even abstractly, is given by the Lord to everyone, the wicked as well as the good, as has been shown above in many places, and yet man cannot by means of this faculty deliver himself from evil; for evil pertains to the will, and the understanding flows into the will with light only, enlightening and teaching. If then the heat of the will, that is, man’s love, is glowing from the lust of evil it is cold as to the affection of good, and therefore does not receive the light, but either reflects it or extinguishes it, or by some falsity devised for the purpose turns it into evil. In this it resembles the light of winter, which is as clear as the light of summer and continues so even when flowing into the frozen trees. However, this can be seen more fully in the following order:

1. One’s own intelligence, when the will is in evil, sees falsity only, and has neither the desire nor the ability to see anything else.

2. If one’s own intelligence then sees the truth, it either turns itself away or falsifies it.

3. The Divine Providence continually causes man to see truth, and also gives him the affection of perceiving it and of receiving it.

4. By this means man is withdrawn from evil, not of himself but by the Lord.

DP 298. In order that these things may be made apparent to the rational man, whether he be a wicked man or a good man, thus whether he be in the light of winter or in the light of summer, for colours appear alike in both, they must be explained in their order. First: One’s own intelligence, when the will is in evil, sees nothing but falsity, and has neither the desire nor the ability to see anything else. This has often been shown in the spiritual world. Every man when he becomes a spirit, which takes place after death, for he then puts off the material body and puts on the spiritual, is introduced alternately into the two states of his life, the external and the internal. While he is in the external state he speaks and acts rationally, just as a rational and wise man does in the world; and he can also teach others many things that pertain to moral and civil life; and if he has been a preacher he can also teach things pertaining to spiritual life. But when from this external state he is introduced into his internal state, and the external is put to sleep and the internal awakes, if he is wicked the scene is changed. From being rational he becomes sensual, and from being wise he becomes spiritually insane; for he then thinks from the evil of his will and its delights, thus from his own intelligence, and he sees falsity only and does nothing but evil, believing that wickedness is wisdom and that cunning is prudence; and from his own intelligence he believes himself to be a deity and with his whole mind revels in wicked practices.

[2] I have frequently seen instances of such insanity; and I have also seen spirits introduced into these alternate states two or three times within an hour, and then it was granted them to see their insanities and also to acknowledge them. Nevertheless, they were unwilling to remain in a rational and moral state, but of their own accord they returned to their internal sensual and insane state; for they loved this more than the other because in it was the delight of their life’s love. Who can believe that a wicked man is such beneath his outward appearance and that he undergoes such a transformation when he comes into his internal state? From this one experience may be evident what the nature of one’s own intelligence is when he thinks and acts from the evil of his will. It is otherwise with the good; for when these are admitted into their internal state from their external they become still more wise and moral.

[3] Second: If one’s own intelligence then sees the truth, it either turns itself away or falsifies it. Man has a voluntary proprium and an intellectual proprium; the voluntary proprium is evil and the intellectual proprium is falsity derived from it; the latter is meant by the will of man (vir) and the former by the will of the flesh (John 1:13). The voluntary proprium is in its essence the love of self, and the intellectual proprium is pride from that love. These are like two married partners, and their union is called the marriage of evil and falsity. Into this union every wicked spirit is admitted before he enters into hell; and when he is there he does not know what good is, for he calls his evil good because he feels it as a delight. He then also turns away from the truth and has no desire to see it, because he sees the falsity that accords with his evil as the eye sees what is beautiful, and he hears it as the ear hears what is harmonious.

[4] Third: The Divine Providence continually causes man to see truth and also gives him the affection of perceiving it and of receiving it. This is done because the Divine Providence acts from the interior, and through this it flows into the exteriors, that is, from the spiritual into the things that are in the natural man; and by the light of heaven enlightens his understanding and by the heat of heaven vivifies his will. The light of heaven in its essence is Divine Wisdom, and the heat of heaven in its essence is Divine Love; and from the Divine Wisdom nothing can flow in but truth, and from the Divine Love nothing can flow in but good, from which the Lord bestows in the understanding an affection for seeing truth and also for perceiving and receiving it. Thus a man becomes a man not only in external but also in internal aspect. Everyone wishes to appear a rational and a spiritual man, and everyone knows that he desires to appear so, in order that others may believe him to be a true man. If, therefore, he is rational and spiritual in his external form only, and not at the same time in his internal, is he a man? Is he other than as a player upon the stage or as an ape with a face almost human? May it not be known from this that he only is a man who is interiorly such as he desires others to suppose him to be? He who acknowledges the one must acknowledge the other. One’s own intelligence can induce the human form on the externals only, but the Divine Providence induces that form on the internals and through these on the externals; and when it has been so induced a man does not only appear as a man but he is one.

[5] Fourth: By this means man is withdrawn from evil, not of himself but by the Lord. When the Divine Providence grants the perception of truth and at the same time the affection of it, man can be withdrawn from evil because truth points out and dictates; and when the will performs what truth dictates it unites itself with the truth and within itself it converts the truth into good; and the truth becomes the truth of its love, and what belongs to the love is good. All reformation is effected by means of truth, and not without it; for without truth the will is continually in its evil, and if it consults the understanding it is not instructed, but the evil is confirmed by falsities. With regard to intelligence, it appears both to the good man and

[6] to the wicked man to be his own and peculiar to him. Moreover, a good man just as much as a wicked man is bound to act from intelligence as if it were his own; but he who believes in the Divine Providence is withdrawn from evil, while he who does not believe is not withdrawn: and he believes who acknowledges evil to be sin and desires to be withdrawn from it, while he does not believe who does not acknowledge and desire this. The difference between these two kinds of intelligence is like the difference between that which is believed to exist in itself and that which is believed not to exist in itself but yet as in itself. It is also like the difference between an external without an internal which is similar in every respect and an external with a similar internal. Thus it is like the difference between mimics and actors who by speech and gesture personate kings, princes and generals, and the kings, princes and generals themselves. The latter are such interiorly and at the same time exteriorly, but the former are such only exteriorly; and when this exterior is put off they are only comedians, actors and players.

DP 299. IV. THE LORD GOVERNS HELL BY MEANS OF OPPOSITES AND THE WICKED WHILE IN THE WORLD HE GOVERNS IN HELL AS TO THEIR INTERIORS BUT NOT AS TO THEIR EXTERIORS. He who does not know the nature of heaven and hell cannot at all know the nature of man’s mind. His mind is his spirit which lives after death. The reason of this is that the mind or spirit of man is in, every detail in the same form as heaven or hell. There is no difference except that one is very great and the other very small, or that one is the type and the other an effigy; therefore, man with respect to his mind or spirit is either a heaven or a hell in its least form. He that is led by the Lord is a heaven, and he that is led by his proprium is a hell. Now as it has been granted me to know the nature of heaven and of hell, and as it is important to know the nature of man with respect to his mind or spirit, I will briefly describe both.

DP 300. All who are in heaven are nothing but affections of good and thoughts of truth arising from these, and all who are in hell are nothing but lusts of evil and imaginations of falsity thence derived. In both cases these are so arranged that the lusts of evil and their imaginations of falsity in hell are directly opposite to the affections of good and their thoughts of truth in heaven. Therefore, hell is under heaven and diametrically opposite to it; diametrically, that is, opposite like two men lying in opposite ways or standing like those living on opposite sides of the globe, thus inverted to each other, with the soles of the feet meeting and the heels touching. Sometimes, also, hell appears to be so situated or turned in this way with respect to heaven; because those who are in hell make lusts of evil the head and affections of good the feet, while those who are in heaven make affections of good the head and lusts of evil the soles of the feet; hence the mutual opposition. When it is said that in heaven there are affections of good and thoughts of truth arising from these, and that in hell there are lusts of evil and imaginations of falsity thence derived, it is meant that there are spirits and angels who are such; for everyone is his own affection or his own lust, the angel of heaven being his own affection and the spirit of hell his own lust.

DP 301. The angels of heaven are affections of good and thoughts of truth arising from these because they are recipients of the Divine Love and Divine Wisdom from the Lord; for all affections of good are from the Divine Love, and all thoughts of truth are from the Divine Wisdom. On the other hand, the spirits of hell are lusts of evil and imaginations of falsity thence derived because they are in the love of self and in their own intelligence, and all lusts of evil are from the love of self, and the imaginations of falsity are from one’s own intelligence.

DP 302. The arrangement of affections in heaven and of lusts in hell is wonderful, and is known to the Lord alone. In each case they are distinguished into genera and species, and are so conjoined as to act as one. Because they are distinguished into genera and species they are distinguished into greater and lesser societies; and because they are so conjoined as to act as one they are conjoined like all the things that are in man. Hence heaven in its form is like a beautiful man, whose soul is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, thus the Lord; and hell in its form is like a monstrous man, whose soul is self-love and his own intelligence, thus the devil; for there is no devil who is sole lord there, but the love of self is called the devil.

DP 303. In order, however, that the nature of heaven and hell may be more clearly understood, let the delights of good be substituted for the affections of good, and the delights of evil for the lusts of evil; for there are no affections and no lusts without their delights, because delights constitute the life of everyone. These delights are what are distinguished and conjoined in the manner described above respecting the affections of good and the lusts of evil. The delight of his affections fills and surrounds every angel of heaven, and a common delight fills and surrounds every society in heaven, whilst a delight shared by all, that is, a most commonly shared delight, fills and surrounds the universal heaven. In like manner the delight of his lust fills and surrounds every spirit of hell, and a common delight every society in hell, whilst a delight shared by all, that is, a most commonly shared delight, fills and surrounds the whole of hell. Since the affections of heaven and the lusts of hell are, as was stated above, diametrically opposite to each other, it is clear that a delight of heaven is so unpleasant in hell that it is intolerable; and on the other hand, that a delight of hell is so unpleasant in heaven that it also is intolerable. Hence arise antipathy, aversion, and separation.

DP 304. As these delights constitute the life of everyone in particular and of all in general, they are not felt by those in them, but their opposites are felt when they approach, especially when these are turned into odours; for every delight corresponds to an odour, and in the spiritual world may be converted into it. Then the common delight in heaven is perceived as the odour of a garden varied according to the fragrance there from flowers and fruits; while the common delight in hell is perceived as the odour of stagnant water, into which filth of various kinds has been thrown, varied according to the foul odour there from reeking, putrid matter. Moreover, it has been granted me to know how the delight of any particular affection of good is felt in heaven, and how the delight of any lust of evil in hell, but it would be tedious to explain it here.

DP 305. I have heard many newcomers from this world complain that they had not known that their life’s destiny would be according to the affections of their love. They said that while in the world they had not given any thought to them, much less to their delights, because they had loved whatever was delightful to them, and had merely believed that everyone’s lot would be according to his thoughts from his intelligence, especially according to thoughts arising from piety and also from faith. However, the answer given them was, that they could have known, had they wished, that evil of life is disagreeable to heaven and displeasing to God, but agreeable to hell and pleasing to the devil; and on the other hand, that good of life is agreeable to heaven and pleasing to God, but disagreeable to hell and displeasing to the devil; consequently that evil in itself is offensive and good in itself is fragrant. As they might have known this if they would, why did they not shun evils as infernal and diabolical, and why did they indulge in evils merely because they were delightful? As they now were aware that the delights of evil smell so offensively they might also know that those who are so full of them cannot enter heaven. After this answer they betook themselves to those who were in like delights, for there and nowhere else were they able to breathe.

DP 306. From the idea of heaven now given it may be evident what is the nature of the mind of man; for, as has been said, man’s mind or spirit is either a heaven or a hell in its least form, that is, his interiors are nothing but affections and thoughts arising from these, distinguished into genera and species as into greater and lesser societies, and so connected as to act as one; and that the Lord governs them as He governs heaven or hell. That a man is either a heaven or a hell in its least form may be seen in the work HEAVEN AND HELL, published in London in the year 1758 (HH 51-87).

DP 307. We return now to the subject set forth, namely, that the Lord governs hell by means of opposites; and the wicked, while still in the world, He governs in hell as to their interiors but not as to their exteriors. As regards the First part, The Lord governs hell by means of opposites, it was shown above (n. 288, 289) that the angels of heaven are not in love and wisdom, or in the affection of good and in the thought of truth thence derived, from themselves but from the Lord; also that good and truth flow out of heaven into hell, where good is turned into evil, and truth into falsity, because the interiors of the minds of those in heaven and in hell are turned in opposite directions. Since then all things in hell are opposite to all things in heaven, it follows that the Lord governs hell by means of opposites.

[2] Second: The wicked, while still in the world, the Lord governs in hell. This is because man as to his spirit is in the spiritual world and in some society there, in an infernal society if he is wicked, and in a heavenly society if he is good; for man’s mind, which in itself is spiritual, cannot be anywhere but among the spiritual, into whose company he also comes after death. That this is so has also been said and shown above. But a man is not there in the same way as a spirit who has been assigned to the society, for man is continually in a state of being reformed; and therefore according to his life and its changes he is transferred by the Lord from one society in hell to another, if he is wicked. But if he suffers himself to undergo reformation he is led out of hell and raised up into heaven; and there also he is transferred from one society to another. This is continued till his death, after which he is no longer transferred from society to society there, because he is then no longer in a state of being reformed, but he remains in that state in which he is in accordance with his life. Therefore, when a man dies he is assigned to his own place.

[3] Third: In this way the Lord governs the wicked, while still in the world, as to their interiors but by other means as to their exteriors. The Lord governs the interiors of man’s mind in the manner just stated; but the exteriors He governs in the world of spirits, which is intermediate between heaven and hell. The reason is that man is for the most part different in externals from what he is in internals; for in externals he can feign to be an angel of light and yet in internals he may be a spirit of darkness. Therefore, his external is governed in one way and his internal in another; for so long as he is in the world his external is governed in the world of spirits but his internal either in heaven or in hell. Therefore also when he dies he first enters the world of spirits, where he comes into his external, and this is there put off; and when he is freed from this he is conducted to his own place to which he has been assigned. What the world of spirits is and its nature may be seen in the work HEAVEN AND HELL, published in London in the year 1758 (HH 421-535).

Divine Providence previous · next Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). www.biblemeanings.info