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That innocence is signified by little children, is evident in Mark:--

Jesus said to the disciples, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And taking them up in His arms, he put His hand upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16; Luke 18:15-17; Matt. 18:3).

It is evident that by little children is here signified innocence, because with little children there is innocence, and because those who are innocent appear in heaven as little children.

[5] No one can enter heaven unless he has some what of innocence (AC 4797); and moreover little children suffer themselves to be governed by angels who are forms of innocence, and not as yet by what is their own, as is the case with and who govern themselves by their own judgment and will. That little children suffer themselves to be governed by angels is evident from the Lord's words in Matthew,

See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of My Father (Matthew 18:10);

no one can see the face of God except from innocence.

[6] In the following passages also innocence is signified by infants or little children. In Matthew:--

Out of the mouth of babes and suckling, Thou hast perfected praise (Matthew 21:16; Ps. 8:2).


Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the intelligent, and hast revealed them unto babes (Matthew 11:25; Luke 10:21);

for innocence, which is signified by babes, is wisdom itself, because genuine innocence dwells in wisdom (AC 2305, 2306, 4797). For this reason it is said, out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise, and also that such things have been revealed unto babes.

[7]. In Isaiah:--

The cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the suckling shall play on the hole of the viper (Isa. 11:7, 8);

speaking of the Lord's kingdom, and specifically of the state of peace or innocence therein. A suckling denotes innocence; that nothing of evil can befall those who are in innocence is signified by a suckling playing on the hole of a viper; vipers are they who are most crafty. This chapter plainly relates to the Lord. In Joel:--

Sound the trumpet in Lion, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the babes and those that suck the breasts (Joel 2:15, 16);

elders denotes the wise; babes and those that such the breasts, the innocent.

[8] In the following passages also by infants is meant innocence, but in these that it was destroyed. In Jeremiah:--

Wherefore commit ye great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and suckling, out of the midst of Judah, so that I shall leave you no remains? (Jer. 44:7).


Lift up thy hands to Him upon the soul of thy little children, that faint for hunger in the head of all the streets (Lam. 2:10).

In Ezekiel:--

Pass through Jerusalem, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity, the old man, the young man, and the maiden, and the little child (Ezek. 9:5, 6).

In Micah:--

The women of My people ye drive out of everyone's house of delights, from the babes thereof they take away Mine honor forever (Micah 2:9).

[9] As regards the innocence of little children however, it is only external and not internal; and because it is not internal it cannot be conjoined with any wisdom. But the innocence of the angels, especially those of the third heaven, is internal innocence, and thus conjoined with wisdom (AC 2305, 2306, 3494, 4563, 4797). Man is so created that when he grows old and becomes like a little child, the innocence of wisdom conjoins itself with the innocence of ignorance which he had in infancy, and so he passes into the other life as a true infant.

from AC 5608

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Author:  E. Swedenborg (1688-1772). Design:  I.J. Thompson, Feb 2002. www.BibleMeanings.info