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

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Divine Providence  ·  Sections 331 ff previous  ·  next

XVIII. THE LORD CANNOT ACT CONTRARY TO THE LAWS OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE, BECAUSE TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEM WOULD BE TO ACT CONTRARY TO HIS DIVINE LOVE AND HIS DIVINE WISDOM, THUS CONTRARY TO HIMSELF

DP 331. It has been shown in THE ANGELIC WISDOM CONCERNING THE DIVINE LOVE AND WISDOM that the Lord is Divine Love and Divine Wisdom, and that these two are Being (Esse) itself and Life itself, from which everything is and lives. It is shown also that there is a like proceeding from Him, and that the Divine proceeding is Himself. bong the things which proceed the Divine Providence is primary, for this is continually in the end for which the universe was created. The operation and the progression of the end through means is what is called the Divine Providence.

[2] Now since the Divine proceeding is Himself and the Divine Providence is the primary thing that proceeds, it follows that to act contrary to the laws of His Divine Providence is to act contrary to Himself. It may also be said that the Lord is Providence, as it is said that God is Order, for the Divine Providence is the Divine Order primarily with regard to the salvation of men; and as there is no order without laws, for laws constitute order and every law derives from order that it also is order, it follows that as God is Order He is also the law of His own Order. Similarly, it may be said of the Divine Providence that as the Lord is His own Providence He is also the law of His own Providence. Hence it is clear that the Lord cannot act contrary to the laws of His Divine Providence, because to act contrary to them would be to act contrary to Himself.

[3] Further, there can be no operation except upon a subject and upon it through means; for operation is impossible except upon a subject and upon it through means. The subject of the Divine Providence is man; the means are Divine truths by which man acquires wisdom, and Divine goods by which he acquires love. The Divine Providence through these means works out its end, which is man’s salvation; for he who wills an end wills also the means; and therefore when he, who thus wills, works out an end he works it out through means. These things, however, will become more evident when they are examined in the following order:

I. -The operation of the Divine Providence for the salvation of man begins at his birth and continues right on to the end of his life, and afterwards to eternity.

II. -The operation of the Divine Providence is effected unceasingly through means out of pure mercy.

III. -Instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy is impossible.

IV. -Instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy is the fiery flying serpent in the Church.

DP 332. I. THE OPERATION OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE FOR THE SALVATION OF MAN BEGINS AT HIS BIRTH AND CONTINUES RIGHT ON TO THE END OF HIS LIFE, AND AFTERWARDS TO ETERNITY. It was shown above that a heaven from the human race is the essential end of the creation of the universe, and that this end in its operation and progress is the Divine Providence for the salvation of men; and also that all things which are external to man and which are serviceable for his use are secondary ends of creation; and these in short have relation to all things that exist in the three kingdoms, the animal, the vegetable and the mineral. When the things in these kingdoms constantly proceed according to the laws of Divine order established at their first creation, how can the primary end, which is the salvation of the human race, fail to proceed constantly according to the laws of its order, which are the laws of the Divine Providence?

[2] Just observe a fruit tree. It first springs from a tiny seed as a slender shoot, and afterwards gradually grows to a stem and spreads forth branches which are then covered with leaves. It later puts forth flowers and bears fruit, depositing therein new seeds by which it provides for its perpetuity; and it is the same with every shrub and herb of the field. Do not all things therein, in general and in particular, proceed constantly and wonderfully from one end in view to another according to the laws of their own order? Why then should not the primary end, which is a heaven from the human race, proceed in a similar manner? Can there be anything in the course of its progress which does not proceed with unfailing constancy according to the laws of the Divine Providence?

[3] As there is a correspondence between the life of man and the growth of a tree, draw a parallel or comparison between them. In the language of comparison man’s infancy is like the tender shoot of a tree springing out of the earth from the seed; and his childhood and youth are like the shoot growing up to a stem with its little branches. Natural truths which everyone first acquires are like the leaves with which the branches are covered, for leaves in the Word signify these truths. Man’s first steps in the marriage of good and truth, that is, the spiritual marriage, are like the flowers which the tree puts forth in the spring-time, and spiritual truths are the petals of these flowers. The earliest results of the spiritual marriage are like the beginnings of the fruit, while spiritual goods, which are the goods of charity, are like the fruit; and these are signified by fruit in the Word. Wisdom’s offspring from love resembles the seed, and by such offspring man becomes as a garden and a paradise. Moreover, man is described in the Word by a tree, and his wisdom from love by a garden. This is what is signified by the Garden of Eden.

[4] Man, indeed, is a corrupt tree from the seed; but, nevertheless, there is possible a grafting or budding with shoots taken from the Tree of Life, by which the sap drawn up from the old root is turned into sap forming good fruit. This comparison is made in order that it may be known that when there is so constant a progression of the Divine Providence in the development and regeneration of trees there must be a constant progression in the reformation and regeneration of men, who are of much more value than trees, as we read in these words of the Lord:

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings? and not one of them is forgotten before God: But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows. Which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to-day in the field, and to-morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will He clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Luke 12:6, 7, 25-28).

DP 333. The operation of the Divine Providence for the salvation of man is said to begin at his birth and to continue right on to the end of his life. In order to understand this it should be known that the Lord sees what the nature of a man is, and foresees what he desires to be, and thus what he will be; and in order that he may be a man and therefore immortal, the freedom of his will cannot be taken away, as has been shown above in many places. Therefore the Lord foresees man’s state after death and provides for it from his birth right on to the end of his life. With the wicked the Lord provides by permitting and continually withdrawing them from evils; while with the good He provides by leading them to good. Thus the Divine Providence is unceasing in the work of saving man. However, no more can be saved than desire to be saved, and only those desire to be saved who acknowledge God and are led by Him; but those do not desire to be saved who do not acknowledge God and who lead themselves; for these give no thought to eternal life and salvation, while the others do. This the Lord sees and still He leads them, leading them according to the laws of His Divine Providence, contrary to which He cannot act, since so to act would be to act contrary to His Divine Love and contrary to His Divine Wisdom, that is, contrary to Himself.

[2] Now since the Lord foresees the state of all after death and also foresees the places in hell of those who do not desire to be saved, and the places in heaven of those who desire to be saved, it follows, as has been said, that He provides their places for the wicked by permitting and withdrawing, and their places for the good by leading; and unless this were done continually from the birth of everyone to the end of his life neither heaven nor hell would continue to exist, for without this foresight and Providence at the same time neither heaven nor hell would be anything but confusion. It may be seen above (n. 202, 203) that everyone has his place provided for him by the Lord from this foresight.

[3] This may be illustrated by the following comparison. If a javelin thrower or a musketeer were to aim at a target and a straight line were drawn from the target a thousand feet beyond it; and if he should err in his aim by only a nail’s breadth, his weapon or bullet, at a distance of a thousand feet, would diverge very far from the line drawn beyond the mark. So would it be if the Lord did not every moment, even every least fraction of a moment, regard eternity in foreseeing and providing everyone’s place after death. This, however, is done by the Lord because all the future is present to Him and all the present is to Him eternal. It may be seen above (n. 46-69, 214, and following numbers) that the Divine Providence in everything it does has regard to the infinite and the eternal.

DP 334. The operation of the Divine Providence is also said to continue to eternity because every angel is being perfected in wisdom to eternity, but each according to that degree of affection for good and truth in which he was when he departed from the world. It is this degree which is being perfected to eternity. What is beyond this degree is external to the angel and not within him; and what is external to the angel cannot be perfected within him. This is meant by the

Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, which shall be given into the bosom of those who forgive and give to others (Luke 6:37, 38);

that is, who are in the goad of charity.

DP 335. II. THE OPERATION OF THE DIVINE PROVIDENCE IS EFFECTED UNCEASINGLY THROUGH MEANS OUT OF PURE MERCY. There are means and methods of the Divine Providence. Its means are the things from the exercise of which a man becomes a man and is perfected as to his understanding and his will; and its methods are the measures through which such things are effected. The means from the exercise of which a man becomes a man and is perfected as to his understanding are commonly termed truths. These become ideas in the thought, and in the memory they are said to be matters of memory; but in themselves they are rational conceptions from which the sciences are derived. All these means regarded in themselves are spiritual, but as they exist in natural things, from their covering or clothing they appear to be natural, and some of them to be material. These means are infinite in number and variety, and are more or less simple and compound, and also more or less imperfect and perfect. There are means for forming and perfecting natural civil life, also for forming and perfecting rational moral life, and also for forming and perfecting heaven!y spiritual life.

[2] These means follow in succession, one after another, from infancy to the last age of man, and after that to eternity; and as they follow in their growth, so the former become the means of the later, since they enter into everything that is formed as mediate causes; for from such causes every effect or every conclusion becomes effective, and thus becomes a cause. Thus in succession the later become means; and as this process goes on to eternity, there is no last or ultimate which closes it. For as the eternal is without end so wisdom which increases to eternity is without end. If there were any end to wisdom in a wise man the delight of his wisdom, which consists in its perpetual multiplication and fructification, would perish; and so also would the delight of his life, and in its place would succeed the delight of glory, in which by itself there is no heavenly life. Then the wise man no longer becomes like a youth but like a man, old and at length decrepit.

[3] Although the wisdom of a wise man in heaven increases to eternity, yet there is no such approximation of angelic wisdom to the Divine Wisdom that it can reach it. It may be illustrated by what is said of a straight line drawn about a hyperbola, continually approaching but never touching it and by what is said about squaring the circle. Hence it may be evident what is meant by the means whereby the Divine Providence operates in order that a man may be a man and be perfected as to his understanding, these means being commonly termed truths. There is also an equal number of means by which man is formed and perfected as to his will, and these are commonly termed goods. From these man derives love, while from the former he derives wisdom. Their conjunction makes the man, for the nature of the man is according to the nature of their conjunction. This conjunction is what is called the marriage of good and truth.

DP 336. Moreover, the methods by which the Divine Providence operates upon the means and through these to form man and to perfect him are also infinite in number and variety. They are as numerous as the operations of the Divine Wisdom from the Divine Love to save man, and thus as numerous as the operations of the Divine Providence in accordance with its laws which have been previously treated of. That these methods are of a very hidden nature was illustrated above by the operations of the soul upon the body, about which man knows so little that it scarcely amounts to anything; as how the eye, the ear, the nose, the tongue and the skin function; how the stomach digests, the mesentery prepares the chyle and the liver the blood; how the pancreas and the spleen purify the blood, the kidneys separate it from impure humours, the heart collects and distributes it and the lungs purify it and pass it on; and how the brain refines the blood and vivifies it anew; besides innumerable other things which are all hidden into which scarcely any knowledge can enter. From this it is clear that still less can the hidden operations of the Divine Providence be entered into; it is enough that its laws are known.

DP 337. The Divine Providence does all things out of pure Mercy, because the Divine Essence itself is pure Love; and it is this which operates through the Divine Wisdom, and this operation is called the Divine Providence. This pure Love is pure Mercy because:

1. It operates with all men throughout the whole world, who are such that they can do nothing from themselves.

2. It operates equally with the wicked and unjust, and with the good and just.

3. It leads the former in hell and rescues them from it.

4. It perpetually strives with them there and fights for them against the devil, that is, against the evils of hell.

5. For that cause it came into the world, and endured temptations even to the last of them, which was the passion of the cross.

6. It acts continually with the unclean to make them clean and with the unsound in mind to restore them to sanity; thus it labours continually out of pure Mercy.

DP 338. III. INSTANTANEOUS SALVATION FROM IMMEDIATE MERCY IS IMPOSSIBLE. In what has gone before it was shown that the operation of the Divine Providence for the salvation of man begins at his birth and continues right on to the end of his life, and afterwards to eternity; also that this operation is continually effected through means out of pure mercy. Hence it follows that neither instantaneous salvation nor immediate mercy is possible. However, as many who give no thought from the understanding to matters pertaining to the Church or to religion believe that they are saved from immediate mercy and consequently that salvation is instantaneous, and yet this is contrary to the truth and is moreover a pernicious belief, it is important that it should be considered in its proper order:

1. The belief in instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy has been assumed from the natural state of man.

2. This belief comes from ignorance of the spiritual state, which is totally different from the natural state.

3. The doctrines of all the Churches in the Christian world, regarded interiorly, are against instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy, but still it is maintained by external men in the Church.

[2] First: The belief in instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy has been assumed from the natural state of man. The natural man from his own state does not know otherwise than that heavenly joy is like worldly joy, and that it flows in and is received in the same way; that it is, for example, like the joy of a poor man who becomes rich and who thus from a sad state of poverty comes into a happy state of opulence; or like that of a lowly person who becomes honoured and so passes from a state of contempt to glory; or like that of one who goes from a house of mourning to the joy of a wedding. As these states may be changed in a day, and a similar idea is entertained of the state of man after death, it is clear how the belief has arisen that salvation is instantaneous from immediate mercy.

[3] Moreover, in the world many may be gathered in one company or in one civil community and may be merry together, and yet all may differ in their mind (animis). This happens in man’s natural state, and the reason is that the external of one may be accommodated to the external of another, however unlike their internals may be. From this natural state it is also concluded that salvation is merely admission into the company of angels in heaven, and that this admission is from immediate mercy. It is, therefore, also believed that heaven can be granted to the wicked as well as to the good, and that their association is then similar to that in the world, with this difference only that it is full of joy.

[4] Second: This belief comes from ignorance of the spiritual state, which is totally different from the natural state. The spiritual state, which is the state of man after death, has been treated of above in many places, where it is shown that everyone is his own love, and that no one can live with any except with those who are in a like love; and that if he enters the company of others he cannot breathe his own life. It is for this reason that everyone after death comes into a society of his own people, that is, of those who are in a similar love, and that he recognises them as relatives and friends, and what is wonderful, when he meets them and sees them it is as if he had known them from infancy. This is the result of spiritual relationship and friendship; and what is more, no one in a society can live in any other house than his own, each one in a society having his own house which he finds ready for him as soon as he enters the society. He may take part with others in meetings outside his own house, but still he cannot dwell anywhere but in it. Moreover, in another’s apartment no one can sit anywhere but in his own place. If he sits anywhere else he becomes mentally inert and dumb; and what is wonderful, everyone when he enters a room knows his own place. It is the same in places of worship and in assemblies, when people meet together.

[5] From these circumstances it is clear that the spiritual state is totally different from the natural state, and is such that no one can be anywhere but where his ruling love prevails; for there is the delight of his life, and everyone desires to be in the delight of his life. A man’s spirit cannot be anywhere else because that delight constitutes his life, even his very breathing and the beating of his heart. It is different in the natural world, where the external of man is taught from infancy to simulate in countenance, speech and gesture other delights than those of his internal. Therefore, from the state of a man in the natural world no conclusion can be formed regarding his state after death; for the state of everyone after death is spiritual, and is such that he cannot be anywhere but in the delight of his love; and this delight he acquires for himself by his life in the natural world.

[6] Hence it may be plainly evident that no one who is in the delight of hell can be admitted into the delight of heaven, which is commonly called heavenly joy; or what is the same thing, that no one who is in the delight of evil can be admitted into the delight of good. This conclusion may be still more evident from the circumstance that after death no one is denied entrance into heaven. The way is pointed out to him, opportunity is afforded him and he is even introduced; but as soon as he enters and inhales with his breath its delight, he begins to feel pain in his breast, to suffer torture in his heart, and he falls into a swoon in which he writhes like a serpent brought close to a fire. Then with his face turned away from heaven and turned towards hell he flees headlong down nor does he rest till he is in a society of his own love. Hence it may be evident that it is not possible for anyone to go to heaven from immediate mercy. Consequently, mere admission is not the only thing needful, as many in the world suppose; nor is there such a thing as instantaneous salvation, for this implies immediate mercy.

[7] There were some who while in the world believed in instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy; and when they became spirits they desired that their infernal delight, or their delight in evil, should be changed by the Divine Omnipotence and at the same time by the Divine Mercy into heavenly delight, or the delight in good. As they ardently desired this, permission was given for it to be done by angels, who then removed their infernal delight. Thereupon, as that was the delight of their life’s love and consequently their life, they lay as if dead, deprived of all feeling and motion; nor was it possible to breathe into them any other life than their own, because all the things both of mind and body which had been reversed could not be turned back again. They were therefore revived by sending into them the delight of their own life’s love; and they afterwards said that while in that state they had experienced something dreadful and horrible which they did not care to make known. For this reason it is said in heaven that it is easier to change an owl into a turtle dove or a serpent into a lamb than an infernal spirit into an angel of heaven.

[8] Third: The doctrines of the Churches in the Christian world, regarded interiorly, are against instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy, but still it is maintained by external men in the Church. The doctrines of all Churches, regarded interiorly, teach life. What Church is there whose doctrine does not teach that a man ought to examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins, confess them, repent and then live a new life? Without this warning instruction is anyone admitted to the Holy Communion? Make inquiry and you will be convinced. What Church is there whose doctrine is not founded on the commandments of the Decalogue? and the commandments of the Decalogue are commandments of life. What man of the Church is there in whom there is anything of the Church, who does not acknowledge when he hears it that he who lives well is saved and he who lives wickedly is condemned? Therefore in the Athanasian Creed, which is also the doctrine received in the whole Christian world, it is said That the Lord will come to judge the quick and the dead; and then those that have done good will enter into life eternal, and those that have done evil into eternal fire.

[9] From this it is clear that the doctrines of all Churches when regarded interiorly teach life; and because they teach life they teach that salvation is according to the life. Now a man’s life is not breathed into him in a moment, but is formed gradually, and is reformed as the man shuns evils as sins; consequently, as he knows what sin is, and recognising it acknowledges it, and as he does not will it and therefore desists from it, and as he learns also the means which relate to the knowledge of God. By all these the life of man is formed and reformed, and these cannot be imparted in a moment; for hereditary evil which in itself is infernal must be removed, and in its place good which in itself is heavenly must be implanted. From his hereditary evil man may be compared to an owl as to the understanding and to a serpent as to the will; but when he has been reformed he may be compared to a dove as to the understanding and to a sheep as to the will. Therefore, instantaneous reformation and consequent salvation would be like the instantaneous change of an owl into a dove and of a serpent into a sheep. Who that knows anything about the life of man does not see that this is not possible unless the owl and serpent nature is removed and there is implanted the nature of the dove and the sheep?

[10] Moreover, it is well known that every intelligent man may become more intelligent and every wise man more wise; and that intelligence and wisdom may increase in a man, and that they do increase in some men from infancy to the end of life, and that man is thus continually perfected. Why should spiritual intelligence and wisdom not show greater development? This ascends by two degrees above natural intelligence and wisdom, and as this ascends it becomes angelic wisdom which is ineffable. It has been stated above that this increases with the angels to eternity. Who may not comprehend if he will that it is impossible for that which is being perfected to eternity to be made perfect in an instant?

DP 339. Hence it is now evident that all who from the point of view of life think of salvation do not think at all of instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy; but they think of the means of salvation on which and through which the Lord operates in accordance with the laws of His Divine Providence, and by which therefore man is led by the Lord from pure mercy. Those, however, who do not think of salvation from the point of view of life suppose an instantaneousness in salvation and an immediateness in mercy; as also do those who, separating faith from charity, when yet charity is life, suppose an instantaneousness in faith, and at the last hour, the hour of death, if not before. Those also do the same who believe remission of sins without repentance to be absolution from sins and thus salvation, and who attend the Holy Supper; likewise those who have faith in the indulgences of monks, in their prayers for the dead and in the dispensations they grant from the power they claim over the souls of men.

DP 340. IV. INSTANTANEOUS SALVATION FROM IMMEDIATE MERCY IS THE FIERY FLYING SERPENT IN THE CHURCH. By this fiery flying serpent is meant evil glowing from infernal fire, the same as is meant by the fiery flying serpent in Isaiah:

Rejoice not thou, whole Philistia (A.V. Palestina) because the rod (A.V. of him) that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. (Isa. 14:29).

Such evil is flying in the Church when there is belief in instantaneous salvation from immediate mercy; for by it

1. Religion is abolished;

2. Security is induced;

3. And condemnation is ascribed to the Lord.

[2] Concerning the First: By it religion is abolished. There are two things that are the essentials and at the same time the universals of religion, namely, the acknowledgment of God and repentance. These two are void of meaning to those who believe they are saved from mercy alone, no matter how they live; for what need is there of anything more than to exclaim, Have mercy on me, O God? With regard to everything else pertaining to religion they are in darkness, and they even love the darkness. With regard to the first essential of the Church, namely, the acknowledgment of God, they only think, What is God? Who ever saw Him? If it is said that there is a God, and that He is one, they say that He is one; if it is said that there are three, they also say that there are three, but that the three must be called one. This is their acknowledgment of God.

[3] With regard to the other essential of the Church, namely, repentance, they give it no thought; and consequently they give no thought to any sin, and at length they do not know that there is such a thing as sin. Then they hear, and drink it in with pleasure, that the law does not condemn, because the Christian is not under its yoke. If only you say, Have mercy on me, O God, for the sake of the Son, you will be saved. This with them is the repentance of life. If, however, you take away repentance, or what is the same thing, separate life from religion, what remains but the words, Have mercy on me? Hence it is that they could not do otherwise than maintain that salvation is instantaneous, effected by uttering these words, even at the hour of death, if not before. What, then, is the Word to them but a voice obscure and enigmatic, issuing from a tripod in a cave, or like an unintelligible response from the oracle of an idol? In a word, if you take away repentance, that is, if you separate life from religion, what then is man but evil glowing from infernal fire, or a fiery flying serpent in the Church? For without repentance man is in evil, and evil is hell.

[4] Second: By a belief in instantaneous salvation from pure mercy alone security of life is induced. Security of life arises either from the belief of the impious man that there is no life after death, or from the belief of the man who separates life from salvation. Although the latter might believe in eternal life he still thinks, Whether I live well or wickedly I can be saved, because salvation is pure mercy, and the mercy of God is universal for He does not desire the death of anyone. If perchance the thought occurs to him that mercy must be implored in the words of the accepted faith, he may think that this can be done, if not done before, still just at the point of death. Everyone in such a state of security makes light of adultery, fraud, injustice, deeds of violence, blasphemy and revenge, and gives a free rein to his body and spirit for the commission of all these evils; nor does he know what spiritual evil is, and its lust. Should anything from the Word reach his ears concerning this, it is like something that falls on ebony and rebounds, or like something that falls into a ditch and is swallowed up.

[5] Third: By that belief condemnation is ascribed to the Lord.Who can help concluding that if he is not saved it is not the man but the Lord who is in fault, when the Lord is able to save everyone from pure mercy? If it is said that faith is the medium of salvation, It will be urged, But what man is there to whom this faith cannot be given? For it is only thought, and this may be imparted with all confidence in every state of the spirit when it is withdrawn from worldly things. The man may also say, I cannot acquire that faith of myself. Accordingly, if it is not bestowed on him and he is condemned, what else can the condemned one think but that the Lord is in fault who could have given him faith but would not? Would this not be to call the Lord unmerciful? Moreover, in the glowing ardour of his faith he may say, How can He see so many condemned in hell when He is able to save them all in a moment from pure mercy? And much more in a similar strain, which can only be termed wicked impeachment of the Divine. From these things it may now be evident that belief in instantaneous salvation from pure mercy is the fiery flying serpent in the Church.

SUPPLEMENT

[6] Excuse the addition of what follows to fill up the paper that is left. Certain spirits by permission ascended from hell and said to me, You have written many things from the Lord; write something from us, too. I replied, What shall I write? They said, Write that every spirit, whether good or wicked, is in his own delight; the good spirit is in the delight of his good and the wicked spirit is in the delight of his evil. I then asked, What is your delight? And they replied that it was the delight of committing adultery, stealing, defrauding and telling lies. Again I asked, What are these delights like? They replied, They are perceived by others as offensive odours from excrement, and as the putrid smell from dead bodies, and as the reeking stench from stagnant urine pools. I then said, Are they delightful to you? And they replied, They are most delightful. I said, Then you are like unclean beasts that live in such filth. To this they replied, If we are, we are; nevertheless, such things are a delight to our nostrils.

[7] I asked, What more shall I write from you? They said, Write this, that everyone is permitted to gratify his own delight, even that which is most unclean, as it is called, provided he does not. molest good spirits and angels; but as we could not do otherwise than molest them we were driven away and cast into hell, where we suffer dreadfully. I asked, Why did you molest the good? And they replied that they could not do otherwise. It was as if a certain fury seized hold of them when they caught sight of any angel and felt the Divine sphere around him. Thereupon I said, You are indeed like wild beasts. When they heard this a fury came over them which appeared like the fire of hate; and to prevent them doing any harm they were withdrawn to hell. Concerning delights perceived as odours and offensive smells in the spiritual world see above (n. 303-305, 324).

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