By the Rev. Augustus Clissold, M. A.

Behold! He put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.Job iv. 18.




THE relations between Personal Character and the Apostolic and Prophetic Offices, have been the source of much perplexity both in the estimate of Scripture characters, and the interpretation of Scripture itself. With respect to personal history, some writers having regretted that more details concerning Paul and Peter have not been handed down to us in the Acts of the Apostles, it has been replied, that omissions and defects in this respect serve to remind us that even the greatest men are nothing; that even a Paul is nothing, and Peter is nothing, but only ministers of Christ.

Moreover, in these omissionsWe see, says Dr. Wordsworth,* a divine protest against the morbid curiosity of modern times, which craves to gratify the appetite by graphic and vivid pictures of minute personal details in the history of the Apostles; and in order to provide food for that unwholesome craving, strains its inventive ingenuity, and bedizens the venerable forms of the Apostles with legendary shreds and tinsel embellishments. The Holy Spirit in this divine book condemns such meddling inquisitiveness, and busy familiarity and irreverence as this. He subordinates every thing in the private history of the Holy Apostles to the public dignity of the Apostolic Office. He does not sink the Apostle in the man, but transforms the man into the Apostle. He tells us nothing of their personal appearance, nothing of the day or year of their birth or of their death; nothing of their parents or children. He has not informed us whether St. Paul was ever married, or not. Thus he takes them out of the category of common men, and encircles their heads with a halo of sanctity: they are Christs chosen vessels and instruments, consecrated as such; that is their history. He raises our eyes from them to Him: they by whom He wrought were men, but He who worked by them is God; and the sparkles of their light are drowned in the abyss of His glory.

* Introduction to the Acts of the Apostles, p. 13. See also Note on 2 Cor. Xii. 7.

Doubtless, if some of our modern biographers had lived in the time of Paul and Peter, they might, in their history of the Acts of the Apostles, have such the Apostle in the man; and ministered to a morbid curiosity by giving to details, nay, even to gossip and hearsay, concerning their personal characters, the importance of history, and placing them side by side with the teachings of Divine Wisdom. Such a mode of treating the subject, however, would have indicated not only a low estimate of the truths they taught, but also a low standard of moral principle in the biographer; for mankind is too much opposed to the truth not to avail themselves of any and every excuse to reject it, and too inclined to think more of the earthen vessel than of the Divine treasurer which it contains. On the other hand, a real lover of Truth will rather seek to place in the foremost point of view Truth itself, and cause it to be seen in its own native grandeur; while he is altogether indifferent to the subordinate history of the individual through whom it is conveyed.

These remarks, however, apply only to those cases in which there is little or no relation between the details of personal character and the Prophetic or Apostolic Office. That in Scripture there is, nevertheless, a certain important relation between the two, is evident from the different style of writing in the different prophets; each prophet clothing Divine Truth in forms of expression arising out of the peculiar constitution of his own mind. The Epistles of Paul, Peter, James, and John, all differ from each other in this respect; the differences arising out of the individual character of each respectively.

It was, moreover, this personal character of the Apostles which gave their interpretation to the teaching of our Lord; and caused them frequently to entertain not only inadequate, but even very mistaken, ideas concerning the nature of our Lords kingdom upon earth, and the period of its approach. In this respect, it is of the highest importance to know to what extent their own particular character of mind modified the inspirations of Divine Teaching; thus what were the relations between the two.

The importance of this question is forced upon our minds more especially when our attention is drawn to the personal character of David, which is often so blended with his prophetical character, that the two cease to be distinguished. The consequence is, that many in the present day have availed themselves of his personal history to throw discredit upon the Prophetic Office, and altogether to reject with contumely the doctrine of the Divine inspiration of Scripture. While, on the other hand, Commentators have been too prone to gloss over the evils of personal character, in order to reconcile them with the discharge of the Prophetic Office. Such a mode of proceeding naturally leads to the habit of surrounding the personal character with a halo of sanctity which does not belong to it; and inasmuch as at the Last Judgment, Prophets and Apostles are judged not according to their Apostolic or Prophetic Office, but their personal character, it is obvious that, could we suppose that they were seen by some one admitted into the Spiritual World where all hearts are open, all desires known, and no secrets are hid, the personal character would not always respond to the dignity of the Office; and life in the Spiritual World would be seen under another aspect than life in the Natural World; in fine, the halo of sanctity derived from the discharge of the Apostolic and Prophetic Offices would more or less disappear.

Now, it is of the utmost importance that the principles which lead to this conclusion, should first of all be openly stated; in order that they may be openly seen, and he made the subject of the most serious consideration; for they are no other than the principles by which we ourselves are to be judged hereafter, and which therefore are of the most momentous importance. These principles the reader is at liberty to reject if he will; and doubtless many will do so; for they equally reject what they consider to be the exaggerated language of ScriptureI* was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."--"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" Any person who rejects these first principles will of course reject the preliminary propositions which contain them, and which are laid down in this Tract; as well also as all the consequences which flow from diem in respect to the individual cases of Paul and David. On the other hand, it will be seen to be impossible to admit these principles, and to reject their application to Scripture characters, as well also as to our own individual life and conduct; for they suggest to every reader the most awful considerations concerning the states which he himself may hereafter have to pass through in the process of his Last Judgment, and concerning the wonders of the work of salvation wrought for him in and by the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

* Psalm li. 5; Jeremiah xvii. 9.

Now, it is certain that Swedenborg did profess to have been admitted into the Spiritual World: it is certain that he describes the states of those with whom he there conversed; and among others, the states of Paul and David. These narratives, however, occur in an isolated form, as being records of occasional scenes witnessed at different intervals in the Spiritual World. The consequence is, they are altogether disconnected from the preliminary principles which alone could explain them; while the narratives, for the same reason, are either imperfectly apprehended or altogether misunderstood. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that hasty readers should regard the statements of Swedenborg upon this subject as an evidence of his insanity; whereas the principles from which those narratives flow are themselves the cause of the startling nature of the narrative; and the supposed evidence of obliquity of intellect must be traced to these very principles; for if these are admitted to be true, there is no difficulty in admitting the truth of the narratives; indeed, in this case, it is not only probable that they are true, but it is also morally certain.

Our object, therefore, in the following Tract, is to allow Swedenborg to explain his own statements and accredited Commentators to furnish such illustrations as may be calculated to exhibit still more clearly, and to confirm, the truth; for, in regard to this very subject, the attacks upon the Bible itself by Secularists, and even by some theologians, have come to assume a somewhat desperate character; so that it is not merely the narratives of Swedenborg, but those of the Bible itself, that are seen to be at stake.--But*--"Justificata est sapientia a filiis suis.A scorner seeketh wisdom and findeth it not; but knowledge is easy to him that understandeth."

* Matthew xi. 19; Proverbs xiv. 6.


I. That the Selfhood or Proprium of Man is nothing but Evil              1
II. That the Interior Memory is the Book of Life, and is never Obliterated                     6
III. That Evils are not Exterminated, but made Quiescent              10
IV. That Man is withheld from Hell by a Mighty Force                      33
V. That in the Spiritual World Natural States are reproduced in order to be Explored              40
VI. That the Interior Memory is the Revocation of States              44
VII. That there is an apparent Oblivion of States                     51
VIII. That Men and Angels are Imperfect and Impure.                     52
IX. That Spirits and Angels are ever being Purified                      57
X. That the Fall of Spirits and Angels is part of the Process of their Purification                      61
XI. That False Judgments are formed concerning the Character of Spirits and Angels when remitted into the evils, hereditary and actual, of their Mundane Life                     72
Summary of the Argument                                                        74
XII. The Application of the foregoing Laws of the Spiritual World to the Characters of Paul and David                                                 77
APPENDIX                                                                       178




I. That the Selfhood or Proprium of Man is nothing but evil.

The man of the Most Ancient (or Adamic) Church was of such a nature, that will and understanding with him constituted one mind; or, that with him love was implanted in his will, and thus together with it faith, which filled the other or intellectual part of his mind. Hence the posterity, of this Church were by hereditary constitution of such a frame, that their will and understanding made a one; wherefore, when self-love and the wild lusts therein originating began to possess their will, which before was the habitation of love toward the Lord and charity toward their neighbor, then not only the voluntary part or will became altogether perverse, but at the same time also the intellectual part, or the understanding; and so much the more, as the last posterity immersed truths in their lusts, and thus became giants (nephilim). Hence they acquired such a nature, that it was impossible they could be restored; because each part of their mind, or the whole mind, was destroyed.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 3 But whereas this was foreseen by the Lord, it was also provided that man might be built up again; which was effected by his being rendered capable of being reformed and regenerated as to the other or intellectual part of his mind; whereby might be implanted in him a new will, or conscience, by which the Lord might operate the good of love, or charity, and the truth of faith. Thus man, by the Divine mercy of the Lord, was restored. These are the things signified by the words--'I will not again any more curse the ground for man's sake, because the fashion of the heart of man is evil from his childhood; nor will I again smite every living thing as I have done. (Gen. viii. 21.)

"That the fashion of the heart of man being evil from his childhood signifies, that the will principle of man is altogether evil, appears from what has now been said--'the fashion of the heart' has no other signification. Man supposes that lie has the will of good; but he is altogether deceived: when he does good, it is not by virtue of his own (natural) will, but by virtue of the new will which is of the Lord, consequently from the Lord. When therefore lie thinks and speaks what is true, it is by virtue of the new understanding which is derived from that new will, and thus also from the Lord; for the regenerate man is altogether a new man formed by the Lord, whence also lie is said to be created anew."

"Hence then it appears, that by not again smiling every living thing as I have done, is signified, that man could not any more so destroy himself.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 4 For the case is this: when man is regenerated, then he is withheld from the evil and the false which are with him; and in this case be perceives no other than that he does and thinks what is good and true of himself. This however is only an appearance and fallacy, owing to his being withheld from the evil and the false, which indeed lie is with a strong hand; and, in consequence of his being thus withheld, he cannot destroy himself. In case, however, he was in the least degree let loose, or left to himself, he would rush headlong into all that is evil and false." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 927-929.)

"Nothing evil and false exists which is not proprium, and derived from proprium; for man's proprium is evil itself, in consequence whereof man is nothing but what is evil and false. This was made clear to me from this circumstance; that when the propriums are rendered visible in the World of Spirits, they appear so deformed that it is impossible to paint any thing more so; yet with a diversity according to the nature of the proprium. This deformity is so striking, that he who sees his own proprium is struck with horror at himself, and wishes to flee from himself as from a devil. But, on the other hand, the propriums which are vivified by the Lord, appear fair and beautiful, with a variety according to the life, capable of receiving the celestial influence of the Lord; so that such as have been endowed with and vivified by charity, appear like boys and girls with most beautiful countenances;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 5 and such as have been endowed with and vivified by innocence, appear like naked infants, variously decorated, with garlands of flowers about the breast, and diadems about the head, living and sporting in an adamantine aura, with a perception of felicity springing from its inmost ground." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 154.)

As to what concerns the dominion of the regenerate man over lusts, it is to be observed, that they are in the greatest error, and by no means regenerate, who believe that they can of themselves have dominion over evils. For man is nothing else but evil: he is a mass of evils, and his whole will is mere evilThe fashion of the heart of man is evil from his childhood. (Gen. viii. 21.)       

It has been shown me by lively experience, that a man and a spirit, yea, an ANGEL, considered in himself, that is to say, all his proprium, is the most vile and filthy excrement;* and that when left to himself lie breathes nothing but hatred, revenge, cruelty, and the most filthy adulteries: these things constitute his proprium and will. This may appear to every reflecting person only from this consideration; that man, when first he is born, is more vile than any living thing amongst all wild beasts, and all beasts of the field;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 6 and when be grows up and is left to his own government, unless he was prevented by external restraints (such as the penalties of the law, and those obligations which he lays upon himself in order to grow great and rich), he would rush headlong into all wickedness; and would never rest until he had subdued all in the universe, and had amassed to himself the wealth of all; nor would he spare any but those who submitted to become his slaves. Such is the nature of every man, notwithstanding his ignorance of it by reason of his inability to accomplish his evil purposes, and of the impossibility which prevents their accomplishment: nevertheless, in case he had ability, and possibility, and all restraints were removed, he would rush headlong into the perpetration of such evils, as far as he had power. This is by no means the case with beasts they are born to a certain order of nature: such as are wild and rapacious do indeed commit violence on others, but it is only for the sake of securing themselves; and when they kill and devour others, it is purely to appease the cravings of hunger; for when hunger is appeased, they cease to do harm; but it is altogether otherwise with man. Hence it appears what the proprium of man is, and what is his will.

* This is the literal rendering of the word in the original Hebrew. See Isaiah iv. 4; also Prov. xxx. 12.--"There is a generation pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness." In a spiritual sense the word is used to designate the evils of self-love and love of the world.

"Man, then, being such and so great evil and excrement, it is very evident that he cannot, by any means, of himself have dominion over evil;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 7 for it is altogether a contradiction to suppose that evil can have dominion over evil, and not only over evil but also over hell, by means of evil spirits who themselves excite the evil which is in him. From these considerations every one may know, and he who is of a sound mind may conclude, that it is the Lord alone who has dominion over evil in man, and over hell which is with man. In order that evil may be subdued in man, that is, that hell may be subdued, which is every moment attempting to rush in upon man and to destroy him eternally, man is regenerated by the Lord, and is gifted with a new will, which is conscience, by which the Lord alone operates all that is good. These things are points of faith, viz., that man is nothing else but evil; and that all good is from the Lord. Wherefore man ought not only to know, but also to acknowledge and believe these things: if be does not acknowledge and believe them during his life in the body, in another life he is convinced of their certainty by living evidence." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 987. See also art. 1594.)

II. That the Interior Memory is the Book of Life, and is never Obliterated.

"I have been informed from experience, that whatever good a man has thought and spoken in the life of the body, this can be brought forth to view in the other life. For the man is remitted into that state in which he had been in the life of the body, and then all things and each in particular become opened to view, and at the same time the angels then know whatever the man had thought and spoken.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 8 The memory of particulars, therefore, is never obliterated in the other life; but still, what a man had thought and done is never laid open to view, unless the Lord permits, and grants that this may be effected." (Diary, art. 3230.)

Whatsoever things a man hears and sees and is affected with, these are insinuated, as to ideas and ends, into his interior memory, without his being aware of it; and there they remain, so that not a single impression is lost, although the same things are obliterated in the exterior memory. The interior memory, therefore, is such, that there are inscribed in it all the particular things, yea the most particular, which man hath at any time thought, spoken, and done, yea which appeared to him only as a momentary shadow, with the most minute circumstances, from his earliest infancy to extreme old age. Man hath with him the memory of all these things when he comes into another life, and is successively brought into all recollection of them. This is THE BOOK OF LIFE which is opened to him in the other world, and according to which he is judged. Man can scarcely believe this; but still it is most true. All the ends of his life which were to him hidden in obscurity, all that he had thought, and likewise all that he had spoken;and done, as derived from those ends, are recorded to the most minute circumstance, in that BOOK, i.e., in the interior memory; and are made manifest before the angels, in a light as clear as the day, whenever the Lord sees good to permit it.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 9 This hath at times been shown to me, and evidenced by so much and such various experience, that there does not remain the smallest doubt concerning it."

"It is known to none at this day, what the state of souls after death is in respect to the memory; but it hath been given me to know, by much and daily experience now during several years, that man after death doth not lose the smallest portion of anything which hath ever been either in the exterior or interior memory; so that no circumstance can be conceived so small and trifling, as not to be reserved within him. He leaves, therefore, nothing behind him at death but only bones and flesh, which, during his life in the world, were not animated of themselves, but received animation from the life of his spirit; this being annexed for that end to the corporeal parts." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 2474, 2475.)

"THE BOOKS were opened" (Rev. xx.12). "They are called BOOKS, because, in the interiors of the mind of every one, are written all the things that he thought, intended, spoke, and did in the world, front the will or the love, and thence from the understanding or faith. All these things are written in the life of every one, with so much exactness that not one of them is wanting. What the nature and quality of all these things is, appears to the life, when spiritual light, which is wisdom from the Lord, and spiritual heat, which is love from the Lord, flow in through heaven.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 10 Spiritual light discovers the thoughts which are of the understanding and faith; and spiritual heat discovers the affections which are of the will and love; and spiritual light together with spiritual heat discovers the intentions and endeavors. That this is the case I do not say that the rational man can see from the light of his own understanding; but yet he can see if he will, i.e., if only he be willing to understand, that there is such a thing as spiritual light which illuminates the understanding, and spiritual heat which kindles the will." (Apocalypse Explained, art. 1277.)

"To write denotes to impress upon the life, because writings are for the sake of remembrance to all posterity. Those things which are impressed on the life of man are in like manner remembered to all posterity. Man bath, as it were, Two BOOKS, on which are written all his thoughts and actions. Those BOOKS are his two memories, the exterior and interior. Those things which are written on his interior memory remain to all eternity, nor are they in any case blotted out: they are principally the things which have been done by the will, that is, by the love; for the things which are of the love are of the will. This memory is what is meant by THE BOOK of every one's life." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 9386.)



III. The Evils are not Exterminated, but made Quiescent.

First, in regard to Adults.

"Falses and evils are not driven out from man, but are removed. He who doth not know how the case is with man's liberation from evils and falses, or with the remission of sin, may believe that sins are wiped away when they are said to be remitted. This belief is grounded in the literal sense of the Word, where it is occasionally so expressed; in consequence whereof this error hath gained possession of the minds of very great numbers, viz., that they are just and pure after they have received absolution. But such do not know at all how the case is with the remission of sins, viz., that man is not purified from them, but is withheld from them by the Lord, when he is of such a character that he can be held in good and truth; and that he can then be held in good and truth when he is regenerated, for then he hath gained the life of the good of charity and the truth of faith; for whatsoever a man, from earliest infancy, thinks, wills, speaks, and acts, adds itself to his life and constitutes it. Those things cannot be exterminated, but only removed; and when they are removed, man then appears as without sins, because they are removed; just as it appears that man thinks and acts from himself what is good and true, when yet it is not from himself but from the Lord. This is what is meant when it is said in the Word, that a man is clean from sin, and righteous, as in Isaiah


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 12 'If your sins have been as scarlet, they shall be white as snow: if they have been red as purple, they shall be as wool:' and in several other places."

"That this is the case, it hath been given me to know from the state of souls in the other life. Every one brings along with him thither from the world all things of his life, that is, whatsoever he had thought, had willed, had spoken, and had done; yea, also, whatsoever he had seen and heard, from infancy even to the last moment of his life in the world; inasmuch that there is not even the smallest thing wanting. They who had lived in the world the life of faith and charity, can then be withheld from evils and be held in good, and thereby be elevated into heaven; but they who in the world had not led a life of faith and charity, but a life of self-love and love of the world, inasmuch as they cannot be withheld from evils and held in good, sink down into hell. From these considerations it is evident whence it is that to drive out denotes removal, when it is said of falses and evils." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 9333.)

"The case herein is this. Evil as well hereditary as actual, with the man who is regenerated, is not exterminated so as to become evanescent or be made none, but is only separated; and by arrangement from the Lord, is rejected to the circumferences. Thus it remains with him, and this to eternity; but he is withheld by the Lord from evil, and is kept in good.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 13 When this is the case, it then appears as if evils were rejected and man was thereby purified from them, or, as they say, justified. All the angels of heaven confess, that, so far as they derive anything from themselves, there is nothing but evil and its consequent false principle appertaining to them; but, so far as they derive it from the Lord, there is good and its consequent truth. They who have conceived any other opinion on this subject, and from their doctrinal tenets have confirmed themselves in the persuasion that they are justified, and in such a case are without sins, are (in the other world) remitted into a state of evils derived both from what is actual and what is hereditary; and are kept in it, until by living experience they know, that of themselves they are nothing but evil; and that the good, in which they had seemed to themselves to be, was from the Lord, consequently that it was not their own but the Lord's. So it is with the angels, and so also with the regenerate among men."* (Arcana Coelestia, art. 4564.)

* But with the Lord otherwise: He entirely removed from Himself, expelled, and rejected, all hereditary evil derived from the mother; for He had no evil hereditary from the father, because He was conceived of Jehovah, but only from the mother: this is the difference. This is what is meant by the Lord's being made righteousness, the very Holy itself, and the Divine" (Ibid).

"Sins are believed to be wiped away, and washed away, when they are remitted, as filth is washed away by water; nevertheless they remain with man;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 14 and when they are said to be wiped away, it is from the appearance when man is withheld from them." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 9451.)

"With respect to Justification, it is not to be understood according to the common manner of apprehending it, viz., that all evils and sins are wiped away, and altogether blotted out, when the sinner, as be imagines, receives faith, though at the very point of death, and howsoever he may have lived in evil and wickedness during the whole course of his life. For I have been fully instructed, that not the smallest evil which a man has thought and actually done in the life of the body, is wiped away and altogether blotted out; but that all remains, even to the smallest particular."

"The truth is this. They who have lived in the thought and practice of hatred, revenge, cruelty, and adultery, and thus not in any charity, retain after death the life which they have thereby contracted including all things belonging to such life, even to the minutest particulars, which successively return; hence their torments in hell. They who have lived in love to the Lord, and in charity toward their neighbor, likewise retain all the evils of their lives; but in them these evils are tempered by the good principles which they have received from the Lord, through the life of charity, during their abode in the world; and thus they are elevated into heaven, yea, are withheld from the evils which they still have with them, so that they do not appear.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 15 Such in the other life as doubt concerning this circumstance of their having their evils with them, because they do not appear, are again let into them till they are convinced it is so; and then they are again elevated into heaven. This then is being Justified; for thus they acknowledge that their righteousness is not their own, but the Lord's. The common saying that they are saved who have faith, is true; but by faith nothing else is meant, in the Word, but love to the Lord and love towards one's neighbor, consequently a life agreeable to such love." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 2116.)

.... "The internal man is desirous that what is discordant in the external man should separate itself; since, before it is separated, the good which flows in continually from the internal man, that is, through the internal man from the Lord, cannot appear. But as to what concerns this separation, it is to be observed, that what really takes place is not separation but quiescence. In the case of any man, except of the Lord, the evil which is in the external man is incapable of being separated; for whatever a man has once acquired remains with him: nevertheless, it seems to be separated when it is rendered quiescent; for thus it appears as if it were annihilated. Nor is it thus quiescent so as to appear annihilated, except from the Lord. When it is thus quiescent, then first good things enter by influx from the Lord, and affect the external man. Such is the state of the angels.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 16 They know no other than that evil is actually separated from them; whereas, what they enjoy is only a detention from evil, and thus its quiescence, so that it appears annihilated. Thus the separation is only an appearance, which the angels also know when they reflect upon the subject." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 1581. See also art. 933.)

"The reason why they who are of the Church know so little concerning regeneration, is, because they speak so much concerning the remission of sins, and concerning justification, believing that sins are remitted in an instant, and some that they are wiped away as filth from the body by water, or that man is justified by faith alone, or by the confidence arising in a moment. The reason why the men of the Church believe thus, is, because they do not know what sin or evil is; for had they known this, they would know, that sins cannot be wiped away from any one, but that they are separated, in the sense of being cast aside to prevent their rising. up, when man is kept in good by the Lord. Also, that this cannot be effected unless evil be continually cast out; and this by means which are in number indefinite, and for the most part ineffable. They in the other life who have drawn along, with them the foregoing opinion, that man is justified in an instant by faith, and is washed altogether clean from sins, when they apperceive that regeneration is effected by means indefinite in number and ineffable, are amazed; and laugh at the ignorance (which they even call insanity), concerning the instantaneous remission of sins and concerning justification, which had beset them in the world.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 17 They are occasionally informed, that the Lord remitteth sins to every one who from his heart desires it; nevertheless, they to whom sins are so remitted, are not on that account separated from the diabolical crew, to which they are closely tied by the evils which follow the life of all, and which all retain. They learn afterwards from experience, that to be separated from sins is to be separated from the hells: and that this cannot in any wise be effected, except by a thousand and a thousand means known to the Lord alone; and this by continual succession, if you are willing to believe it, to eternity. For man is so great evil, that he cannot be fully delivered even from one sin to eternity; but can only, by the mercy of the Lord, if he hath received it, be withheld from sin and kept in good." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 5393. See also art. 9937.)

"It is an error of the present age, to suppose that evils are really separated from a man, and even cast out, when they are remitted; and that the state of a man's life can be changed in a moment, even to its opposite; so that from being wicked he can be made good, consequently brought out of hell, and instantly translated into heaven, by the immediate mercy of the Lord. Those, however, who entertain this belief and opinion, do not in the least know what evil and good are, or any thing of the state of a man's life.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 18 They are altogether ignorant that the affections, which are of the will, are mere changes and variations of the state of the purely organic substances of the mind; that the thoughts, which are of the understanding, are mere changes and variations of their form; and that the memory is the permanent state of these changes. From a knowledge of these things it may be clearly seen, that no evil can be removed except successively; and that the remission of evil is not its removal from out of the mind."

.....It is an error of the present age to suppose, that evils are separated so as to be cast out, when they are remitted. That no evil into which a man is born, and which he actually imbibes, is thus separated from him, but that it is only removed so as not to appear, has been made known to me from heaven. Before that, I was in the belief entertained by most people in this world, that when evils are remitted, they are cast out, and are washed off and wiped away, as dirt from the face by water. This however is not the case with evils or sins: they all remain; and when they are remitted after repentance, are removed from the midst to the sides,--that which is in the midst, as it is directly under the inspection, appearing as in the light of day; and that which is at the sides appearing in the shade, and sometimes as it were in the darkness of night. And because evils are not separated, except in the sense of being removed, that is, put away to the sides, and a man may be transferred from the midst to the circumference; it may also happen, that he can return to his evils which he thought rejected; for a man is of such a nature, that he can pass from one affection to another, the affection which predominates constituting the middle or centre while the man is in it, for he is then in the delight and in the light of it."



"There are some men who, after death, are taken up by the Lord into heaven, because they have led a good life; but who still carry with them a belief, that they were cleansed and pure from sins, and therefore not in a state of guilt. These are at first clothed in white garments according to such persuasion, white garments signifying a state of purification from evils; but afterwards, they begin to think as they did in the world, that they are washed clean as it were from all evil; and therefore begin to boast that they are no longer sinners like others; which persuasion it is difficult to separate from a, certain exultation of mind, and some degree of contempt for others in comparison with themselves. Therefore, in order that this imaginary belief may be removed, they are then remanded from heaven, and let into the evils which they had contracted in the world; it being shewn them at the same time, that they are in hereditary evils of which they knew nothing before. When they have been thus compelled to acknowledge, that their evils are not separated from them, but only removed from the centre to the circumference, so that of themselves they are impure and indeed nothing but evil; that it is by the Lord that they are detained from evils and kept in goods; and that this appears to them as from themselves; then they are again taken up by the Lord into heaven." (Divine Providence, art. 279.)



"All the good which a man does from liberty according to reason, is appropriated to him as his own; because in thinking, willing, speaking, and acting, it appears to him as his own; nevertheless, good is not of a man, but is of the Lord in him." (Ibid., art. 78.)

... "Whatever a man does from liberty according to reason, remains; for no one thing which a man has appropriated to himself can be eradicated; because it is made an object of his love and at the same time of his reason, or of his will and at the same time of his understanding, and thence of his life. For example: if a man in his childhood and youth has appropriated to himself a certain evil by doing it from the delight of his love,--as, if he has defrauded, blasphemed, revenged, committed whoredom,--then, as be has done these things from liberty according to his thought, he has also appropriated them to himself; but if he afterwards repents, shuns them, and considers them as sins which are to be abhorred, and thus from liberty according to reason desists from them, then there are appropriated to him the good principles to which those evils are opposite. These good principles then constitute the centre, and remove the evils toward the circumference further and further, according to his aversion and abhorrence of them; but still the evils cannot be so cast out as to be said to be extirpated, although by such removal they may appear as if extirpated; which is effected by a man's being detained from evil, and held in good by the Lord.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 21 This is the case with respect to all hereditary evil, and at the same time all actual evil of a man."

"I have also seen it proved by experience, with some in heaven, who, because they were kept in good by the Lord, thought themselves to be without evils. But, to prevent their thinking that the good in which they were, was their own, they were let down from heaven into their evils, till they acknowledged that they were in evils from themselves, but in good from the Lord; after which acknowledgment they were carried back into heaven."

"Let it be known, therefore, that these good principles are no otherwise appropriated to a man, than as they are constantly of the Lord in him; and that in proportion as a man acknowledges this, the Lord grants that good may appear to him as his own; that is, that a man may appear to himself to love his neighbor or to have charity as from himself, to believe or to have faith as from himself, to do good and to understand truth and therefore to be wise, as from himself. From these considerations every enlightened person may see, what and how strong is the appearance in which the Lord wills that a man should be; and the Lord wills this for the sake of his salvation, since no one without that appearance can be saved." (Ibid., art. 79. See also art. 42-45.)



... "The remission of sins does not consist in their extirpation and wiping away, but in their removal and separation (as explained): every evil which a man has actually appropriated to himself, remains. Since, then, the remission of sins consists in this removal and separation, it follows that a man is Withheld from evil and held in good by the Lord, and that this is what is given him by regeneration. I once beard a certain person in the ultimate heaven say, that he was free from sins because they were wiped away; he added, by the blood of Christ; but as he was in heaven and had erred through ignorance, he was let into his own sins, all which lie acknowledged as they returned. In consequence of this discovery he received a new faith, which taught him, that every man, as well as every ANGEL, is withheld from evils and held in goods by the Lord. Hence it is evident, in what the remission of sins consists; that it is not instantaneous, but that it follows regeneration according to the progress of the regenerate life." (True Christian Religion, art. 614.)

Secondly, in regard to Infants.

"As regards infants who are remitted into a life not acquired by actuality, but flowing from their hereditary principle, the case is this. They inherit certain predominating cupidities which are connate; and they are let into the life of these cupidities, in order that the power of them may be as it were diminished, or that a horror of them may be contracted, and that hence they may be, led to abstain from them;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 23 more especially too, in order that they may learn from experience that there is with them nothing but evil; or otherwise, they would think that, because there is with them no actual evil, they were therefore perfect." (Diary, art. 3709.)

"It has before been stated, that man is born into every evil, so that he inclines to every evil by reason of the inheritance of evils from his parents, and this in succession from the first parent; so that there is in him nothing but evil, although by acquisition he inclines to one evil more than to another. This was shewn to me by experience. When certain spirits said to me, that I should think in like manner as they did if I were detained in a like state, this I confessed; but I perceived that, there must be present an actuality of sins in past life, so that a person should be moved to one evil more than to another, although even in this case an hereditary inclination lies concealed at the root; so that if I had acquired to myself an actuality similar to that of the spirits who addressed me, I should have been in a like state with them, and inclined to one particular class of evils more than to another."       

"This may be confirmed by the case of infants, boys, and girls, who die young; and who cannot be held in evils like adults who have acquired to themselves an actuality, although they have nevertheless an inclination to every evil. The same thing may be confirmed also from this, that there are indefinite diversities of evils; that evils are distinguished into genera, species, and individuals, so that one person does not incline like another even to a similar evil." (Diary, art. 2453, 2454.)



"Infants, notwithstanding it is in heaven that they grow up to adolescence, are nevertheless of a vitiated nature, and impure, and are nothing but evil."

"It was the perverse opinion of certain spirits, that infants who had grown up to adolescence in heaven were pure, because no actual evil pertained to them as to adults upon earth. But there was a certain infant who had died, and grown up to adolescence in heaven; and inasmuch as lie thought otherwise, and was possibly ignorant that lie had any evil, he was remitted from heaven into the society of spirits, in like manner as others; and then conversed with them on the following subjects, viz., That they were composed as it were out of hereditary evil, so that they were nothing but evil; but with a diversity according to the evil successively derived by inheritance from parents which is continually springing up from within. That, inasmuch as the evil of cupidities is continually suggesting the corresponding false, those who are in such a case cannot be perfected to all eternity; that is, there never can be given any absolute correspondence, because the root of evil is ever germinating. That from this source arise most of the actual evils in the life of the body; since these are excited by hereditary evils, the diversities of which are evidently according to the actual evils successively committed by the parents.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 25 That it is for this reason, the evils of one family can be distinguished from those of another; that for a like reason, good can never be implanted, even in the case of infants, into an evil nature; because evil and good cannot be together, but all their good is from the Lord."

"When the infant above alluded to, who had died and grown up to adolescence in heaven, had been remitted among spirits that he might learn what he was from the hereditary evils of his nature, I then perceived, that, inasmuch as he had been born a Prince, he still retained the hereditary desire to rule over others, and to esteem adulteries as of no account; as was the case with his fathers and grandfathers. From this it was evident, that hereditary evil still adhered; that it had not receded, but sprouted out anew whenever an occasion was offered. In every other respect, as, for instance, while continuing in heaven, he was imbued with mutual love pre-eminently above others." (Diary, art. 3547, 3548.)

I have discoursed with the angels concerning infants, whether they are pure from evils, inasmuch as they have committed no actual evil like the adult. But it was given me to understand, that they also are alike in evil, yea, that they are nothing but evil; nevertheless that they, like all the angels, are withheld from evil and preserved in good by the Lord; and this in such a sort, that it appears as if they were in good of and from themselves.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 26 Wherefore also infants, after they have become adults in heaves, and in order to prevent their entertaining this false notion concerning themselves, that the good which appertaineth to them is from themselves and not from the Lord, are remitted at times into their own evils which they have received hereditarily; and are left therein, until they know, acknowledge, and believe that the case is so."

A certain one who died an infant, but who became adult in heaven, was of this opinion, viz., that the good appertaining to him was from himself, and not from the Lord; wherefore be was remitted into the life of evils in which he was born; and then it was given me to perceive from his sphere, that he had a desire to rule over others, and that he made light of the abominations of lust and concupiscence, which evils he derived hereditarily from his parents. As soon, however, as he acknowledged this to be the case with himself, he was again received among the angels with whom he was before associated."

"No one ever suffers punishment in another life on account of hereditary evil; because it is not his, consequently he is not blamable for it; but he suffers punishment on account of actual evil, which is his; consequently in proportion as by actual life he hath appropriated to himself hereditary evil. The reason why infants, when grown adult, are remitted into the state of their hereditary evil, is not that they may suffer punishment, but it is in order to convince them, that of themselves they are nothing else but evil;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 27 that it is by the Lord's mercy that they are raised out of hell which appertaineth to them, into heaven; and thus that they are not in heaven in virtue of their own merit, but by that of the Lord; and thus also to prevent their boasting and priding themselves for the good which they possess; for this is contrary to the good of mutual love, as it is contrary to the truth of faith." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 2307, 2308.)

"The spiritual and celestial degrees of man cannot be subject to any injury; but only the natural degree."

"The Lord has hitherto preserved, from the first man, the celestial degree of the human mind, so that it may not be perverted; and the spiritual degree, which is below, cannot be perverted by the celestial. But the things of the natural degree are perverted; as may, by a spiritual idea derived from these forms, be conceived by those who are enabled to conceive what celestial and spiritual forms are. They are, indeed, such as to admit of application to every thing assignable and possible in the world; they may be wrested to all objects; but still, as having an origin which is above them all, they conspire from their several points, as from so many centers, to a state of integrity; for as they may most easily be applied to things which are evil and distorted in the natural degree, so, from the faculty of returning to a state of integrity, which the Lord preserves to them and is continually renewing, they experience no injury."       



"The case is otherwise with the forms of the natural degree: these are distorted by hereditary evil, so that their state is evil, to which all and every thing in them conspires. Now what is distorted from its nativity cannot possibly be restored to integrity; but can only be reduced to a state of nothingness, so as to be made dormant, as in a state of sleep or death. In this way arises the appearance of an aptitude of the perverted forms of the natural degree, to the integral forms of the spiritual. Whereas no such aptitude exists; because from all and every point, as from so many distinct centers, the natural mind conspires to the evil which is its state. In this case, therefore, there is only a mortification, and laying asleep of the evils of the natural mind; in order that the things which are of the Lord may come into operation."

"From these statements it follows, that man cannot of himself do any thing but. evil; that he cannot of himself do the smallest particle of good; because whatever is in his natural mind, conspires to evil; and all that is good comes from the Lord alone." (Diary, art. 2487-2489.)

Now--"The interior natural memory is such, that there are inscribed upon it all things in general and particular which man has ever done, spoken, and thought; there is also a spiritual memory, which is rather to be called his disposition of mind (indoles), where also are inscribed the most minute particulars of his ideas;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 29 so that there is not the least thing which a man has ever thought from his first state of infancy to the close of his life, which is not there inscribed as it were, or retained--a fact which man can scarcely believe, because he has cognizance only of his corporeal memory.... This it is which is understood by every one's BOOK OF LIFE."

"A doubt, however, arose among some of the angels with whom I was conversing upon this subject, from the following consideration--namely, since the spiritual memory, in the case of infants who have died, is not vitiated by evil hereditary or acquired, but only the things which are of the corporeal or natural mind; it would seem at first sight, that inasmuch as their spiritual memory is not vitiated, they would be faultless, or would be pure and holy
doubt upon which some of them reflected. The doubt, however, afterwards vanished; because the case is as follows. The angels cannot possibly be in the ultimate heaven, nor in the spiritual, nor in the celestial, without being also in the natural degree of the mind, which is that of the angels of the ultimate heaven. The natural degree of the mind cannot be put off; for, if it were, that which completes the order of the mind would be wanting, and as such there would be no angels at all. The vitiated qualities, then, derived by inheritance and acquired by actuality, belonging to the natural mind, must be brought into a state in which there can be a harmonic correspondence with the things of the spiritual degree; just as the spiritual degree should be made to correspond with the celestial; for, without this correspondence, there can be no such thing as holiness; and as such it is given by the Lord."



While writing that the proprium of man, spirit, and angel, is nothing but evil, certain spirits came to the conclusion that the case was different in regard to themselves; saying, that they have a proprium which is not evil, namely, a spiritual and celestial mind, the spiritual when enlightened giving the faculty to the celestial to become celestial; so that the mind can become both celestial and -spiritual. Down to this period I was only aware, that man possessed a spiritual mind which does not exist in brutes. But these spirits were desirous to maintain, that both the spiritual and celestial mind belonged to their propriums; and that, inasmuch as these were recipient of spiritual and celestial things from they Lord, and imparted to the mind proper to the man its faculty, they consequently possess within themselves propriums which are not evil but good. It was however replied, that the spiritual and celestial degrees of the mind did not belong to them but to the Lord; and that all that belongs to them is the natural mind, which is altogether perverted. If therefore a spirit or an angel were deprived of his proprium, which belongs to the natural mind both interior and exterior, then he would be deprived of all life, so that no life would remain. This was shewn to a spirit, by making him the subject of a slight experience; and he then confessed, that if he were deprived of any thing more, he should be no one. As to the mind which belongs to man's proprium, that is to say tile natural mind, becoming obedient to the spiritual or celestial mind, the case is this.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 31 The natural mind is not obliterated so as to become none, and in this sense non-existent; for then it would have no perception of anything concerning itself or what belonged to it; but the things proper to it are disposed into a form which is compared to the rainbow (Gen. ix. 13), in which, in like manner as the colors derive their origins from white and black, so the things proper to man, namely, his evils, to which white and. black are compared, are so disposed by the Lord, that the man may live as it were from his own life; and the less there is of the remains of evil, the less there is of life from his own proprium. To claim, therefore, to oneself the spiritual and celestial mind by which the Lord communicates to the natural mind its faculty to become spiritual and celestial, is to claim to one's self what is not one's own; for neither man, spirit, nor angel, knows anything of these minds apart from the natural degree."

Moreover, unless these minds were in a state of perfection, men could never be reformed. As the celestial mind is, at first when man is born, only a faculty, and is opened by the spiritual, in order to give man the faculty of understanding and perceiving what is good and true; so also, when the false and evil are so much increased as to enter into interior thought, in the same proportion the celestial mind is closed; that is to say, in the same proportion there is less of celestial remains.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 32 As to infants, the celestial degree of the mind is opened according as they receive instruction in the heavens. (Diary, art. 3474; 3475.)

Now the correspondence given by the Lord is of such a kind, that those in whom it exists are well nigh ignorant that they still possess any natural degree of the mind; for when the correspondence is given, the natural degree is as if it were nothing, or as if it were absent, as in the case of a substance perfectly transparent; and then it is that the things of the spiritual degree come into view, which is a gift of the Lord alone. The same also is evident from the experience which has occasionally been shewn me in the case of souls recently departed, and who are still in the fantasies arising from things corporeal: nay, even in the case of spirits who are not good, these also may be taken away into heaven, but only when they are in certain states in which a concordance between the natural and the spiritual becomes a possible state granted by the Lord. In fine, it is the correspondence which causes the angels to appear to themselves to be without the natural degree, when nevertheless they are in the natural degree; but, in certain states, this natural degree disappears, as it were, by reason of the correspondence. Nevertheless, of so vitiated a quality are both man, spirit, and angel, that there can be no perfect correspondence to all eternity; but it is ever being perfected by the Lord.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 33 Wherefore, whenever in angels the natural mind differs from the spiritual, then such angels are turned out of heaven into the region of spirits, and there undergo castigations; until a correspondence be effected by the Lord." (Diary, art. 2154. See also art. 3474.)

"After the life of the body man retains his entire nature (indolem), or natural disposition, which he had acquired to himself in the life of the body--this is a truth; as also that after the life of the body, this natural disposition is not changed, but that there are superadded by the Lord such things as make it possible for him to be in a better society, and thus to be among heavenly companions."

" As to what concerns the nature of a man during his life in the body, every thing is retained which has ever been introduced into it from his first infancy; and from hence that nature is formed. But during the time of his bodily life it is varied down to the very last hour, both by the addition of numerous other things which dissociate from each other his general ideas, and by things from other sources, which turn these ideas toward the good and true. For during a man's life, his ideas are continually being replenished either with evils or goods; and thus, like stagnant water, become either more charged with impurities, or else are diluted by purer additions."

"The change of state after death cannot be otherwise conceived than as an addition, extrinsic to the ideas acquired in the body, of such things as ultimately enable the soul to be in the societies of the good.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 34 But while a man is in the life of the body, these things are implanted within the ideas. Hence it may be evident, for what reason the warning is so often given in the Word of the Lord to such as are called to the feast; to repent while time is given them, before the door is closed against them; and to provide themselves with oil in their lamps. We see also the signification of the saying, that, as the tree falls so it lies." (Diary, art. 2804, 2805.)

IV. That Man is withheld from Hell by a Mighty Force.

"The Divine Providence never acts in unity with the love of a man's will, but continually against it; for a man, from his hereditary evil, is always panting for things which would lead him to the lowest hell; whereas the Lord by his Providence continually withholds him, and draws him out thence, first to a milder hell, and lastly to Himself in heaven. This operation of the Divine Providence is perpetual; and therefore, if a man manifestly saw this retraction and abduction, he would be angry, accounting God as his enemy, and from the evil of his proprium would deny him. Lest therefore a man should know this, he is kept in liberty, whereby he knows no other than that lie leads himself." (Divine Providence, art. 182.)

"In states of infestations and temptations there are two forces or powers which act; one which is from the falses injected from the hells into the external man, the other which is from truths insinuated by the Lord into the internal.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 35 These two forces act against each other. The falses injected from the hells derive their force and power from self-love and the love of the world, which are in man. But the truths insinuated by the Lord derive their force and power from love to the neighbor and to the Lord. When man conquers, then the internal force and power always prevail, because these are Divine; nor do they admit the force and power from falses to be increased further, than to allow of their being repelled. When therefore these two forces act, then the internal force which is from the Lord continually draws a man back as it were, and hinders, lest falser should draw him away, and thereby he should yield; for it is a common occurrence, that when two forces opposed to each other are active, one draws in one direction, and the other draws it back. Forces in the Spiritual world are the affections which are of loves; and the instrumentals by which they act are truths; and in the opposite sense, falses." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 8168.)

"Each is heavy, both the false and evil, and hence each sinks down; but still it is evil which makes what is heavy in the spiritual sense, and thus which sinks clown as from heaviness; not indeed the false by itself, but from the evil which is in it; for the false of itself has nothing of weight, but derives from evil its tendency to sink."--"They sank as lead in the mighty waters," Exod. xv. 10. (Arcana Coelestia, art. 8298. See also art. 8279.)



"Weights and measures are frequently mentioned in the Word; but in the internal sense they do not signify weights and measures, but weights signify the states of a thing as to good, and measures the states of a thing as to truth. So also as to gravity and extension, gravity in the Natural world corresponds to good in the Spiritual world, and extension to truth. The reason is, because in heaven, whence correspondences are, there is neither gravity nor extension, because there is no space. There appear indeed things heavy and extended, but they are appearances arising from the states of good and of truth in the superior heaven." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 5658.)

"When man is regenerated, then he is withheld from the evil and the false which are with him; mad in this case he perceives no other, than that he does and thinks what is good and true from himself. This however is an appearance and a fallacy, owing to his being withheld from evil and the false; which indeed he is with a strong hand; and in consequence of being thus withheld from evil and the false, he cannot destroy himself. In case however he was in the least degree let go, or left to himself, he would rush headlong into all that is evil and false." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 929. See also art. 1049.)

"That the intellectual part, with those of the spiritual Church, is regenerated, may be manifest from this on among others;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 37 that the man of that church hath no perception of truth from good, as they had who were of the celestial church; but must first learn the truth which is of faith, and with it imbue the intellectual principle, and thereby from truth know what is good, and after he hath thence known it, be enabled to think it, next to will it, and at length to do it; and, in this case, a new will is formed by the Lord with him in the intellectual part. By this new will the spiritual morn is elevated of the Lord into heaven, evil still remaining in his proper will; which will, on this occasion, is miraculously separated, and this by a superior force, whereby he is withheld from evil and kept in good." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 5113.)

"As concerning spiritual theft, which consists in any one claiming to himself the good and truth which is from the Lord; this is a thing of so great moment, that a man after death cannot be admitted into heaven, until he acknowledges in heart that nothing of good and truth is from himself, but from the Lord; and that whatever is from himself is nothing but evil. That this is the case, is shewn to man after death by abundance of experience. That ail good and truth is from the Lord the angels in heaven perceive manifestly; and, moreover, that by the Lord they are withheld from evil, and kept in good and thence in truth, and this by a mighty force. This has been given me to perceive evidently now for several years; and also, that so far as I have been left to the proprium or to myself, so far I have been inundated with evils;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 38 and so far as I have been withheld thence by the Lord, so far I have been elevated from evil into good. Wherefore, for any one to claim to himself truth and good, is contrary to the universal principle ruling in heaven; and also Contrary to the acknowledgment, that all salvation is of mercy, that is, that man of himself is in hell, but that he is of mercy drawn thence by the Lord. Neither can man be in humiliation, consequently he cannot receive the Lord's mercy (for this flows in only during humiliation, or into a humble heart), unless he acknowledges, that from himself there is nothing but evil, and that all good is from the Lord. Moreover, without this acknowledgment he attributes to himself as merit whatsoever he doeth; and, at last, he attributes it to himself as a matter of justice. For to claim to himself the good and truth which is from the Lord, is to claim to be just. Hence it is that all evils derive their source; for, in such a case, a man respects himself in every single thing that he does in regard to his neighbor; and the consequence o such self-respect is, that he loveth himself above all others, whom he thus despiseth, if not in mouth yet in heart." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 5758.)

....Truths which proceed from the Lord do not condemn any one; for they are from his Divine Good, thus are nothing but mercies. But whereas men do not receive the mercy of the Lord, they expose themselves to damnation; for in such a case they are in evils, and evils condemn.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 39 Neither do the truths which proceed from the Lord save, if man believes that he is saved by virtue of the truths of faith appertaining to him, and not of mercy; for man is in evils, and of himself is in hell; but by the mercy of the Lord he is withheld from evil, and kept in good by a strong force." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 7206.)

"In regard to this subject, only few if any know, that all men whatsoever are withheld from evils by the Lord, and this with a stronger force than man can believe. For there is in every man a perpetual conatus to evil; and this as well in consequence of the hereditary evil in which he is born, as also of the actual evil which he hath brought upon himself; insomuch that, unless he was withheld from evil by the Lord, he would rush headlong every moment toward the lowest hell. But the mercy of the Lord is so great that he is elevated every moment, yea, every smallest part of a moment, and withheld from plunging himself thither. This is even the case with the good, but with a difference according to their life of charity and faith. Thus the Lord continually fights with man, and for man with hell, although it doth not so appear to man. That so it is, hath been given me to know by much experience." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 2406. See also art. 3994.)

"As to the manner in which the spontaneous things of a man, or his hereditary evils, draw him downward towards hell--it was perceived by me--that what is spontaneous in a man, or his hereditary quality, is continually drawing him down towards hell;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 40 and that the Lord, by means of the things belonging to his will, draws him back again and raises him upwards. Spontaneous activities are such as belong to the sensus cominunis, which have their place in the occiput, and there ally themselves to sorcery. I thus perceived by an idea, that the things of man's proprium continually draw him downward; but inasmuch as the involuntary is ever in communion with the voluntary, so by means of the voluntary whosoever is regenerated is raised up, and there detained by a strong force, which also I perceived."

"It was also perceived that the spiritual are of such a nature, that the involuntary is continually every moment drawing them downwards; but the Lord is continually raising them up. In the same direction in which the stronger force acts, the spirit himself moves; if he does not receive the good of charity, or else a conscience, he cannot do otherwise than plunge himself downwards, and this in either a greater or less degree."

"The involuntary was perceived by me as a subtle force, as if it were a something aerial, occupying the whole posterior region of the head."

"The involuntary is no other than the hereditary. In so far as a man acts in compliance with his hereditary tendencies, so far he plunges himself down toward hell; and in so far as he recedes from them, he is raised up again: the force in either direction increases and grows according to the actualities of the proprium.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 41 What is hereditary from infancy appears as a something subtle and aerial, of a continuity causing it to be nothing but evil. But when actuality is added, it becomes crasser and heavier." (Diary, art. 4521-4523.)

V. That Natural States are Reproduced, in order to be Explored.

Souls, as soon as they come into the other life, are for the most part received into the societies of good spirits; unless they have been such as to have led a contrary life, or have been altogether evil. Those in whom are found what is good and just, and the like, are received by the societies of good spirits; and by these are offered all offices of kindness, even such as those of introducing them into heaven, or into the company of angels: but at first, only for the purpose of skewing to them heaven, and its felicity and glory. After this, however, they are remitted into their former state; and are thus examined by these spirits both tacitly and openly, as to their quality. They are then either dissociated or associated, according to the nature they have been proved to possess."

Whenever therefore a soul is admitted into heaven, or into other states agreeable to himself, it must not thence be concluded that such souls will in future become angels, and are more acceptable than others, as men commonly think. On the contrary, inasmuch as whatever is done, is done in virtue of permission or leave, therefore souls are remitted as it were to spirits, in order that these may either tacitly or openly find out their quality;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 42 and may in their own way form their own judgment concerning them. Still it is to be observed, that all these things are under the government of the Lord." (Diary, art. 815, 816.)

"The damnation of those who are in evils is not effected in a moment, when they come into the other life; but only after they have been first visited, that is, explored. Explorations are made to the intent that they themselves, if evil, may apperceive that they must needs be damned, because they have not lived a different life; and also that others, viz., spirits and angels, may know that they have been of such a quality. Thus, they can no longer be exculpated either by themselves or others. The order according to which they are explored, is the order of Truth Divine, which is such that in the process there is nothing defective. The order of Truth Divine, which is for the evil who are damned, differs from the order of Truth Divine, which is for the good who are saved: the difference is, that the order which is for the evil who are damned, is of Truth Divine separate from Divine Good, thus separate from mercy, by reason that they have not received Divine Good and thus have rejected mercy. But the latter order, which is for the good who are saved, is of Truth Divine conjoined to Divine Good, thus conjoined to mercy; by reason that they have received the Divine Good, and thus also the mercy of the Lord.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 43 By degrees, as the evil are explored according to order, so also are they by the same degrees judged and damned." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 7273.)

"In the other life are manifested not only the things which a man know concerning himself, but also the things concerning himself which he did not know, viz., those things which by frequent use he hath immersed in the delights of life; for in this case they disappear from his sight and reflection. The very ends themselves of his thought, and of his speech, and of his actions, which from a similar cause had become hidden from himself, are most manifestly perceived in heaven; for heaven is in the sphere and perception of ends." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 4633.)

"Not only the souls of men, but also ANGELS, can be remitted into the state of their natural mind, thus also into their concupiscences; and may in this manner be explored, in order to shew what they are when left to themselves."

"Both on this day and before, it has been shewn to me by living experience, that the human intellect may be taken away, and only the light of nature left to a man; so that only as much and such intellect be left remaining as pertains to the natural mind, and suffices to retain the human nature. Thus from living experience I have learned, that during such a state, the souls of the dead are no other than devils; and perpetrate the same crimes as devils, as has been shewn by lengthened experience.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 44 Nay, further, that ANGELS themselves can be reduced to the same state,--a state from which it may be seen of what quality the man had been as to his will during the life of the body; for in this state the will has free scope, which in the world had been actuated by various cupidities, but restrained by the civil law. God Messiah, however, does not permit a truly holy man to be so free to act, as to see his own infernalities." (Diary, art. 326.)

"The rational and intellectual faculties of a man may be diminished, and may be taken away from him, as also from the soul hereafter, according to the good pleasure of God Messiah."*

* See Appendix.

"From manifest experience I have learned, that from the souls of the departed may be taken away, both in part and almost in entirety, the rational and intellectual faculty; and that in like manner it may be again restored; for the intellectual and rational faculty is only a gift of God Messiah. When the rational and intellectual faculty is taken away, then souls become devils, and act from a certain natural instinct, and indeed as if they were in a state of sleep, until it is restored to them again. In this case they know no other than that they had been asleep. This has been shewn to me by an experience of several days. In this state, while the intellectual faculty is taken away, souls act according to their radical evils; every one according to the quality of the root, after a manner contrary to order, contrary to heaven, and to its truths.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 45 In a word, they are devils of diverse qualities. That which is taken away from them, is conspicuously exhibited to view; as are afterwards also their natural instincts, which are not like the instincts of brutes, but are of a diabolical origin; for they continually act in contrariety to spiritual and celestial things; and, moreover, these souls then think that they have all power, and as such can do all things from themselves alone." (Diary, art. 372.)

VI. That the Interior Memory is the Revocation of States.

"He who is evil experiences a return of all his evils and falses, altogether as he was in them during his life in the body; and they are then turned into infernal fantasies and punishments. But he who is good, experiences a return of all his states of goodness and truth, as of friendship, of charity, and of innocence, with their delights and felicities immensely increased and multiplied." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 868,)

"Whatever a man has done in the life of the body, returns successively in another life, yea, whatever he has thought. When feelings of enmity, hatred, and deceit return, the persons also are presented, and that in an instant, against whom he has indulged them, and whose hurt he has clandestinely purposed.... The thoughts also which he has entertained against the objects of his hatred, appear manifestly: for in another life there is given a perception of all thought.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 46 Hence come the lamentable states of such persons; because hidden feelings of hatred then burst out openly. With the wicked all their evil deeds and thoughts thus return to the life; but with the good it is not so; all their states of goodness, of friendship, and of love, return with the highest delight and happiness." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 823.)

I have seen, have heard, and perceived, that evil spirits may be remitted into the states of their infancy and childhood; and the quality of these states has then been described. Hence it is evident, that every single state of man returns; that it can be brought back again; and that his evil states can be tempered by all the good states which are proper to the man. (Diary, art. 4164.)

"It was observed by me, and also insinuated into my thoughts, that whatsoever a man had clone in the life of the body, this returns to him in another life; for there are perpetual changes of states into which, in after life, men are introduced; "so that there is no state in the life of the body which does not return. Thus hatreds return, and all other things which a man has not only done, but also thought. Nay, all things from the time of a man's infancy to the last period of his life appear present: the very persons against whom he has entertained hatred, whether open or secret, are in a moment presented, and he is then brought into lamentable states. It is, however, to be observed, that, as in regard to those who have been evil, all their evil deeds and thoughts return, to the life;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 47 so, with respect to the good and such as have lived in faith, the case is different, for all their states of good, and friendship, and love return with the highest delight and felicity."

"These states return frequently, and, they are very numerous; as when a man has entertained open. or secret hatreds, or simulated friendships; and these with great variety. So likewise the other evils, such as those of love of self and the world, return, as also the adulteries which have been committed. For these all not only return, but are manifested before spirits and angels with shame and grief. Thus the person undergoes a punishment not of one kind only, but of many; and as often as the sin recurs, and the man is found to be again of the same nature, he is punished with a punishment conformable to the evil and the crime. At length, however, only one kind of punishment, and consequently only one hell, remains to the man, which is that of his own reigning evil or enormity."

"Punishments of this kind continue for a long time, even for many years and many ages .... and bring along with them a state of vastation. Still, however, there ensues a process of vastation which is the last; namely, the person is dissociated from his like; and as he then lives in consort scarcely with any one, he sits in darkness and in torment, with but little life, and this until he is brought into such a state that he can be made to serve for some kind of use. In this manner he is continually pursuing a downward course, till he arrives at the ultimate limit of his punishment."



"With respect however to the virtuous, the good, and those who are in faith, the case is different; for these are in the enjoyments of delights and felicities, from which, as from a lower degree, they are continually ascending into the angelic heaven." (Diary, art. 4109-4112.)

"A spirit passes through all varieties of states possible to him; and when he comes into that which has been familiar to him, he then comes into his own life. It was perceived, that, at the very first approach of this state, a spirit is desirous of precipitating himself into it; for after passing through all other possible states, when he comes into such as are contrary to that of his own life, then he immediately suffers from anguish or amercement of some kind; and whenever he rushes into a greater evil than he acquired by actuality during his. life upon earth, he then punishes himself, or incurs a punishment from others." (Diary, art. 4224.)

"With respect to the manner in which the evil states, even of the virtuous, return in the other life--it is to be observed that--all evil states of mind entertained against enemies return in the other life, and are presented to the view of these enemies. This is the case with the evil states both of the virtuous and good; for there is no state which does not return, but not in like manner in both cases.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 49 With regard to him who has entertained hatred, his hatreds return, together with the disposition to destroy him who is the object of hatred. Moreover there are enmities accompanied with contempt. Even those who are otherwise virtuous, have experienced many states of this hind. They have contemned others; they have had their enemies. These states of enmity and contempt return, with whatsoever is contained within them. In the case of the virtuous, there is in these latter states no hatred, vindictiveness, or deceit; the consequence is, they are easily amended when they perceive what the other person is: but if this other regards his adversary with hatred, then the two are separated, for they do not agree. If in both cases the contempt and enmity be without hatred and vindictiveness, then they are so led by the Lord, as to become enemies no longer; or else, the one who had been inimical to the other, however inimical the other may continue to be to him, nevertheless desires and wishes his good. This I have learned from manifold experience." (Diary, art. 4354.)

"There was a reasoning of certain spirits to the effect, that sins are wiped away in the other life, and thus that sinners are in a moment justified. Inasmuch as this opinion has prevailed, that men, whatever life they have lived, are justified in a moment, even were it at the last hour before death; and this opinion or rather heresy has extended itself throughout the whole Christian world almost wherever any doctrine of faith has been held, so these spirits also reasoned upon the subject; and confirmed themselves in this opinion from the following considerations, viz.,


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 50 That they saw certain spirits suddenly introduced into heaven, and that it then seemed as if they put off their externals, as it were garments. This they did, as not knowing, or not being willing to understand, that these things are done only in certain states when the things of the natural degree are laid asleep; and that the depositions of garments, as it were, are appearances arising from the circumstance, that the societies which are in externals are then taken away from them; from which arises the appearance above mentioned. For when these spirits are raised up into heaven, then the external societies are taken away; otherwise there would be a contrariety between the two states, which would give rise to resistance."

"It was said however to them, that man takes with him into the other life all his states, both good and evil; thus that all things, even to the smallest particle, which he ever did, or thought, or learned, or spoke, he takes with him into the life hereafter; so that not the least of any single thing is lost; that these things, therefore, without any exception successively return, according as they are attempered by the Lord; thus also that all states, thoughts, words, and acts occurring in the other life, equally remain; and this to all eternity, so that not one of them is lost."

"Some there were who thought that those who were raised up into the second, and into the third heaven, were without any of these externals.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 51 Such was the idea they entertained; but it was told them, that all these externals were still retained; that this as the ease even with the angels, and that otherwise they could neither subsist nor life. This was confirmed also by a similitude, as in the case of a musical instrument, such as a clavichord, violin, and the like. Unless these had wood to which the strings or chords were fastened, they could not sound; and the quality of the sound depends upon the quality, form, and extense of the wood. A like correspondence must exist between the externals and internals of the mind, in order for spirits to become angels. Moreover, another illustration was afforded from this; that if the internals of angels were without their corresponding externals, the angels would be like a body without feet; and things spiritual like a head without a body."

"From these circumstances it can now evidently appear, that it is false to believe that a man is justified in a moment, and that all his sins are instantaneously wiped away." (Diary, art. 4480-4482.)

"Man, during his abode in the world, ought not to omit the practice of external worship; for by external worship things internal are excited; and by external worship things external are kept in a state of sanctity, so that internal things can enter by influx. Moreover, man is hereby initiated into knowledges, and prepared to receive things celestial.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 52 He is also gifted with states of sanctity, though he be ignorant thereof; which states are preserved by the Lord for his use in eternal life; for, in the other life, all man's states of life return." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 1618.)

VII. That there is an apparent Oblivion of States.

"Whatever evil has by actuality been acquired or contracted by a man, sometimes appears to him as if it could be put away; as when, for instance, he becomes a better man. But the case is otherwise. What has been once acquired, remains; and though the man seems to grow better, and thus to consign his evil to oblivion, so as no longer to be prone to its commission, yet this comes not from man himself, as if his evil was thereby obliterated; but it is because the Lord works a good within him, or gives him the faculty of receiving good, by means of which the evil is covered over, so that he appears to himself to have become a better man; for whatsoever of good, whatsoever of emendation or regeneration, the man has experienced, is not of man but of the Lord." (Diary, art. 2457.)

"The souls of the dead take with them from the body their entire nature; and this so truly, that they think themselves to be in the body, to be clothed with garments and the like. They take with them also their cupidities, such as the appetite of eating, and so forth; so that there are inscribed upon souls the things which actuated the body. The nature carry with them from the world and the body, they also retain.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 53 But, in course of time, this nature is, as it were, consigned to oblivion; so that they come to think they have entirely put it off, and this for the most part when they become angels. The reason of their so thinking is, because of the faculty of receiving the mercy of the Lord, with which, as a gift, they have been endowed. In virtue of this faculty thus received, their former nature seems obliterated, while nevertheless it is still remaining; for if it pleased God Messiah to take back his gift, and to restore the angel to his former life, then the soul becomes again exactly as it was when it departed from the body. Thus of every soul it may be said, that it loses nothing, and that nothing is ever taken away from it. But then, when souls are abandoned to their evils, they become wild beasts and devils." (Diary, art. 333.)

VIII. That Men and Angels are Imperfect and Impure.

"There is no determinate time of man's regeneration, so that he may say, I am now perfect; for there are indefinite states of evil and the false with every man; not only simple states, but also such as are in a manifold degree compound, all which must be so thrown off as not to appear. In some particular states a man may be said to be more perfected; but in indefinite others not so. They who are regenerated in the life of the body, and who have lived in faith toward the Lord, and in charity toward their neighbor, are continually being perfected in another life." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 804.)



"Howsoever souls are admitted into the celestial and spiritual heavens, still they are not perfect; for there always adheres to them a somewhat natural that has to be amended, which is effected when they are remitted from heaven into the society of spirits; and then it forthwith appears what residuum of evil derived from its natural root they still retain. This it is which is then amended, the amendment continuing throughout many repeated remissions; so that it is a rule, that no angel can ever arrive at perfection, so as to be truly called perfect and holy; nor can he ever be so called to all eternity. The Lord alone is Perfect and Holy, He being Perfection and Sanctity itself." (Diary, art. 630.)

"Angels may pass through states of amelioration without end, that is, to all eternity; but can never be perfected--I spoke to certain spirits around me, saying, that there is no one who is perfect but the Lord alone; even the angels are not perfect, for heaven itself is not holy before the Lord. Still, the angels can progress in improvement more and more, and this to all eternity; yet not in themselves, that is, not so that the things belonging to their proprium can become holy. But inasmuch as this appeared to be strange to these spirits, when represented to them in a spiritual manner, it was elucidated by similar things in the natural world; as in the case of what are called approximations to the infinite, which yet never reach the infinite, as in the case of the asymptotes of the parabola.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 55 Illustrations of this kind, however, may be passed over, as not many would understand them. What is more generally known, would be better understood. Moreover it has been shewn, that angelic minds are only faculties for receiving the things pertaining to faith, by which things they have to be formed. For this reason they comprehend only the most general truths. The particulars belonging to these generals, and which in every object of thought are infinite in number, may indeed in some measure be inscribed upon the mind, but never to perfection, and even these in a most general manner. For as faculties are finite, so those things which are inscribed upon their most general states, when proceeding from the Lord, are things employed in more and more perfecting the angel; and inasmuch as these things can continue to be inscribed ad infinitum, and the angel can thus continue ad infinitum in the process of being formed and perfected, he can never arrive at a state of absolute perfection, and consequently of absolute sanctity. This is the reason for which it is said, that, in the sight of the Lord, heaven itself can never be holy." (Diary, art. 883.)

"With every celestial man, and with every angel, even the most celestial, his proprium is nothing but what is false and evil; for it is a known thing, that the heavens are not pure before the Lord, and that all good and all truth are of the Lord alone.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 56 But in proportion as either man or angel is in a capacity of being perfected, so by the Divine mercy of the Lord he is perfected, and, as it were, receives the understanding and will of goodness; but that he himself possesses them, is only an appearance. Every man is capable of going on to perfection, and consequently of receiving the gift of the Lord's mercy according to the actualities of his life, and their relation to the hereditary evil implanted in him from his parents." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 633.)

"At this day it is universally believed, that evils and falses in men are entirely ejected and abolished during regeneration; so that when a man is regenerate, nothing of the evil and the false remains, but that he is clean and righteous as one that is washed and purified with water. This idea, however, is most false; inasmuch as not a single evil or a single false is so got rid of as to be abolished, but every thing which has been hereditarily imbued from infancy, or acquired by man's own act and deed, still remains; so that man, notwithstanding his being regenerate, is nothing but evil and the false; which is shewn to the life to souls after death. This may appear sufficiently evident from the following consideration--That there is nothing good and nothing true in man but from the Lord; that all evil and the false are from a man's proprium; that every man, every spirit, yea, every angel, if he be in the least left to himself, rushes of himself into hell; wherefore also it is said in the Word, that Heaven is not pure.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 57 This the angels acknowledge; and whosoever does not acknowledge this, cannot dwell amongst angels. It is the sole mercy of the Lord which delivers them, yea, which draws and keeps them out of hell, whither of themselves they are inclined to plunge headlong. That they are thus kept by the Lord, and prevented from falling into hell, the angels perceive manifestly; and this is in some measure perceivable by good spirits; but evil spirits, like evil men, do not believe it, although it has been often proved to them experimentally." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 858.)

"The angels are enlightened and confirmed more and more respecting the union of the Lord's Human essence with the Divine; for all the angels were once men, and in that state they could not but think of the Lord as man, and of the Lord as God, and also of a threefold Divine principle, and thus form to themselves various ideas, though they knew not at that time of what quality they were. For heavenly arcana are of such a nature, that, notwithstanding they exceed all comprehension, yet every one forms to himself some idea thereof; inasmuch as nothing can possibly be retained in the memory, much less enter into thought, unless by some idea howsoever formed. And whereas ideas could not be formed but from the things which are in the world, or things analogous thereto (in which case, by reason of these not being rightly understood, fallacies insinuate themselves, which in another life alienate the ideas of thought from the truth and good of faith);


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 58 therefore, it is with a view to the separation and dispersion of such fallacies, that so much is said in an internal sense concerning the conjunction of the human with the Divine in the Lord, and concerning His perception and thought. And thus, while the Word is read, those subjects are so exhibited to the perception of the angels, that the former ideas which had birth from things of a different nature, and from conjectures thence readily arising, are by degrees dispersed; and new ideas, more conformable to the truth in which the angels dwell, are insinuated."

This is more particularly the case with the spiritual angels than with the celestial. For, according to the purification of ideas, they are perfected for the reception of things celestial. That heaven is not pure before the Lord, is a known truth: it is true also, that the angels are in a continual progress toward perfection." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 2249.)

IX. That Spirits and Angels are ever being Purified.

"It is worthy of relation, and what is altogether unknown in the world, viz., that the states of good spirits and angels are continually changing and perfecting; and that thus they are raised into the interiors of the province in which they are, and so into nobler functions. For there is in heaven a continual purification, and, if it may be so expressed, a new creation. Nevertheless the case is this: that it is impossible, to all eternity, for any angel, by any means, to arrive at absolute perfection.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 59 The Lord alone is Perfect: in Him and from Him is all Perfection." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 4803.)

"It is only by vastations that power can be acquired. I spoke with certain spirits who were in a state of vastation, and moreover who were in despair, because they were unwilling to believe what was told them, viz., that it was by vastations only that the power could be obtained to become angels, and that before they could obtain from the Lord power sufficient to enable them to submit to his guidance like the angels, they cannot be admitted into heaven; and that before their admission there must be an impletion of this power, consequently a state of vastation, and this even after they have been made ANGELS. The reason is, that many impure natural things still adhere to them, which rise up in rebellion, and (when in consort with other angels) produce as it were a state of fermentation, until the impurities are disengaged. It is for this reason, that spirits are remitted from heaven, and are again admitted into it. And, moreover, this power can never experience a perfect impletion; because natural things are ever requiring to be dispersed, in order that it may ever be undergoing improvement. Hence it is, that spirits are endowed by the Lord with nothing but faculties to follow his guidance, and thus to be led onward in truth and goodness. These faculties are superadditions; and when they cause an equilibrium with opposing evils, then, when spirits are led by the Lord in truth and goodness, they seem to themselves as if they were good, and as if their evils and falses were blotted out." (Diary, art. 1218.)



"When speaking with angels concerning states; and concerning variations of states, it was said, that states in general are innumerable, and such as no man can ever comprehend; also, that the series of states are such, that there can never be a recurrence of the same states to all eternity, so that one shall be exactly similar to the other; but that states occur with incredible variety, and this even as to their genera, how much more then as to their species, and their particulars. Hence may be concluded, what felicity it is that is enjoyed by the angels."

"Moreover it was said, that there are certain particular states in which souls and spirits can be in the society of angelic beings; as may be the case even with evil spirits, when soothed into sleep by the sweet song of the angels. But with respect to such as are truly angels, these ought to be in all their states in harmony with angelic society, and this even in the minutest particulars; otherwise, when in those states in which such an harmony cannot exist, such angels require to be removed. But these things can be better understood by a spiritual idea."

"Hence it follows, that an angel can never be perfected to all eternity, and this not even in the most general respects." (Diary, art. 2402-2404.)

"Man after death loses none of the faculties he had during the life of the body, but retains them all; besides which others are still given to him.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 61 Thus when a spirit confesses that he can do nothing but evil, then, by various modes of vastation, lie is so moderated as to be able to desist from them, nay, at length to feel an aversion to them. After this, he is gifted with the faculty of doing somewhat of good; but it is only the faculty which is so given, and this while he still retains his former faculties. The superadded faculties, or those given to him anew, of doing good, are a gift from the Lord: as soon as this gift is taken away, the man returns to his former nature. This indeed sometimes happens even to ANGELS, who, when restored to their former state, are evil spirits as they were before. This is the case with those who had been in heaven for ages, and for some thousands of years. Hence it follows, that whatever a soul does from itself, this is evil; and that from itself it can do nothing good, but only from the Lord who is the fountain of all good. As soon therefore as the gift of the Lord is intermitted, the soul returns to its innate and inrooted wickedness. Whence again it follows, that it is only the faculty of doing good with which man is gifted by the Lord; and that nothing good either has, or ever will have, its root in the man himself, as its origin." (Diary, art. 662.)

"Such indeed is man while in the body, and such a departed soul, that whatsoever proceeds from themselves is nothing but evil: there is nothing so slight, nothing so little, either thought or done from the person himself, which is not evil, even when he thinks to do good from himself, or to will to convert himself.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 62 Sometimes so anxious was I upon this subject, that I knew neither what to do nor what to think from myself, which was not evil, as proceeding from myself. The same is the case with a spirit, as was shewn to me, and also by him acknowledged. On the other hand, the case is different with a man or a spirit, when he thinks and acts from himself in the innocence of ignorance; for then the Lord attempers the state, and whatsoever is of the Lord in man, is good." (Diary, art. 662, 663.)

X. That the Fall of Spirits and of Angels is part of the process of their Purification.

... "On the cessation of the tremor and emotion, caused by certain spirits, which fell upon me, I discoursed with them, asking what was the matter. They said that they had fallen down from a certain angelic society, in which the discourse was concerning thoughts and influx; and that they were in the opinion, that things relating; to thought flow in from without, viz., through the external senses according to appearance; whereas the heavenly society in which they were, was in the opinion that they flow in from within; and that inasmuch as they were in a false principle, therefore they fell down from thence. Not that they were cast down, for the angels cast no one down from them; but that, being in a falsity, they fell down thence of themselves, and that this was the cause." (Arcana Coelestia, art. 3219.)



"It was again shewn to me how the fall of angels from heaven appears to spirits; when, for instance, they deviate into falsities, then, lest the society in which they are should become infected with any falsity, a fall from heaven takes place; and this is occurring very frequently. When, however, the angel becomes instructed in the World of Spirits, and is thus brought into a state of truth upon the subject, and into obedience on the part of his natural mind to things spiritual, thus into a cessation of opposition to the truth, he is again received back into the heavenly society."

"Falls of this kind very frequently occur; for thus it is that heaven becomes liberated from falsities; but when these spirits have received instruction in the World of Spirits, and by these means have arrived at a better state, they are again welcomed back by the angels.... The falls of numerous other angels were also witnessed by me."

There was a conversation in heaven concerning Hell, and the various punishments and vastations which there take place; and there was one who thought it to be certain, that infernal punishments would last for ever, that no end of them could be assigned, and much less any Redemption by the Lord. Nevertheless, it was shewn to the angelic spirit, that there never could be any punishment of a spirit in the other life except with a view to a certain end; and that no punishment could be conceived to take place except for the sake of the end;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 64 hence that, by means of punishment and suffering, his evils might be so tempered as to enable him to be in some society of the good. In the Lord there is no other end but that of good. The very Divine itself and the Divine Wisdom is the end, which is good itself or which leads to good. Wherefore, it would be contrary to the Divine Wisdom, or contrary to the Divine itself, that a soul should experience eternal torment without any end of good; for such a circumstance could be explained only by the well known rule in the world--Summa justitia foret injustitia.* Man indeed merits such a state, and such is the state of man; for which reason the punishment is declared to be eternal. But the Intercession or Redemption of the Lord intervenes, and liberates the soul from hell; for else, were the sufferings of hell eternal, then, since there is no man who is not himself liable to eternal damnation because in himself he is nothing but evil, every one would be damned; from such a state, however, he is rescued by the Lord. The spirit who had fallen from heaven into a dead pool of dark waters is now with me, and I perceive that there is still a falsity adhering to him; from which, however, he is now undergoing liberation by Divine means. For the societies derive from the Lord this ruling principle; that they desire to lose none of their members; for they themselves reject none: it is the spirit who rejects himself, and his fantasy was of the nature above described." (Diary, art. 2827.)

* Or, Summum jus, summa injaria.



"That angels fall in this manner when they lapse into fantasies confirmed by reasonings, has above been seen. Such falls are very many, and take place almost every moment; otherwise heaven could not subsist; for no one can to all eternity be purified from his fantasies, and not plenarily, even from a single one. When the angels fall, they are urged in the direction of their fantasies, some in one way, some in another, some toward one quarter, some toward another, some right downwards, some differently. Such, for instance, as think that men are punished in hell eternally, without any end in view, fall right downward into a dark and muddy pool; for there is no life pertaining to them, inasmuch as life pertains to the end alone, and it is The Lord who is that End." (Diary, art. 2831.)

"There were heard tumultuous sounds, and confused murmurs arising from conflicting reasonings in the lowest heaven, among angelic spirits.... The subjects of reasoning were principally these.... First, Whether it was to be understood according to the letter, that the Apostles should sit upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel--a sense which many at this day defend. Now there were present, on this occasion of conflicting argument, many who understood the promise in this sense; and who were, from a fear lest otherwise heaven itself should fall into confusion, in a certain state of anxiety lest they should be deprived of their prerogative of exercising judgment.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 66 Many of the Apostles were present upon this occasion, who were the subjects of those who understand the promise in the literal sense, and who defend it accordingly. Besides these, there were others of the Apostles not present, but who understood the words in the same sense. All, these, when remitted into the state of the life of the body, which takes place when they are remitted from the heaven of angels into the heaven of spirits, are of such a character of mind as to defend the literal interpretation. For, in the life of the body, they believed no otherwise than that they should literally judge the twelve tribes of Israel. And inasmuch as such an interpretation is altogether repugnant to the internal sense of the words, they fell into great indignation, demanding their rights to act as judges. There were many others present, fond of similar tumults, who urged them onwards, and desired to excite even the Apostles against the Church, against any internal sense of our Lord's promise, and still more against its inmost sense."

"But it was manifestly shewn to them, both by word and by a spiritual idea, that theirs was mere ratiocination; and thus falsity; since they had no power to judge even a single spirit ... these impossibilities were so manifestly shewn to them, that they afterwards became indignant at themselves, and confessed that they were wrong in their opinion."

"It was moreover shewn, that all heaven itself presented the appearance of exercising judgment;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 67 both the heaven of spirits, and that of angels; some from their very functions, according to their provinces in the body; some from their willing or not willing to admit spirits into companionship, according as they loved their society, or were averse to it; every angel exercising a judgment on such consociation, according as they admitted new comers or rejected them. The case is the same with the heaven of angels, who exercise a judgment on the things pertaining to faith, and which are understood by the twelve tribes, twelve thrones, and the disciples. For the angels of the three heavens love to admit into their societies those who are of the faith; others they do not admit; thus they exercise judgment; and yet it is not they who judge, but the Lord alone, who disposes into order all things in general and in particular, and causes them so to be, that the angels know no otherwise than that it is they themselves who give consent and grant admission; for it is by their consent that this order of things is effected. Such, then, is what is meant by the twelve thrones, twelve tribes, and twelve apostles. Thus it is not the Apostles who judge; for this is altogether false."*       

* See Appendix.

"That it is the Lord alone who judges all, was manifestly shewn to them by a general spiritual idea also; which they unanimously confessed that they then perceived."

"Another subject of the ratiocinations was, whether any one was admitted into heaven, except those who had suffered in the world persecutions and miseries.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 68 That they were not admitted, the Apostles also, when let into the state of their former life, or the life of the body, vehemently maintained; and such was the judgment that was conformable to their desires. When, therefore, for the sake of testing their opinion, it was allowed them to act accordingly; then it was told them, that they were unwilling to let into heaven any but Martyrs, and those who had suffered persecutions and miseries. Thus the words of the Lord, I Blessed are they that suffer persecution for righteousness sake,' they understand only in the sense of the letter. On this account, their wish is to MERIT heaven, or to inherit heaven in virtue of their own MERIT; for which reason also they desire to exclude all others, and to sentence them to punishment. Such is the opinion they form concerning others, and which they had expressed during their former life (passim); supposing that they themselves would be preferred above all others, because above all others they had endured such persecution, and had made known the Gospel throughout the world.... "

... They said, indeed, that when they suffered persecution, it was for the faith and the Gospel; but, inasmuch as they were now in the state in which they had been in the life of the body, it was asked them, whether they suffered for the faith, thus for the Lord; or whether only for themselves, in order that they might sit upon twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 69 thus, whether they suffered for the kingdom of the Lord, or for their own kingdom; thus also, whether it was from faith in the Lord and hence the truth of faith; since it is repugnant to the truth, that they should be saved for the sake of their own glorification; or in virtue of their own MERIT; which yet they could not deny that they had believed. It was, however, shown to them, that to suffer with a view to their own glory, and not for the sake of the truth, is only to be like those who suffer for the sake of their heresies, and for other like causes. As to their believing, when yet their personal faith was unsound, even while they taught what was true; it is a thing very common and well known, that men preach the truth and yet live contrary to it. In their defense, however, they desired to adduce the life of persons who had consigned men to damnation, and arrogated to themselves the power of excommunicating and absolving others, or of shutting and opening heaven. To enter into any details of the lives of such persons was not, however, allowed them. When they said, that they had believed no otherwise than in accordance with the true faith, and thus for the sake of the Lord; it was replied, that every one ought to live in accordance with his belief, so that the quality of his faith might be concluded from his life; that many think they believe, and that they have faith, when they have it not; for it is the life which skews what is the faith. To this, after due consideration, they were unable to make any reply; they only said, that the Lord reserves at least some good for such as think they believe, although they do not.



On the occasion of another subject of ratiocination, it was said: "That there are myriads in heaven who are more worthy than the Apostles, although they have undergone no persecutions, and so forth. This they could not deny; because the heavens are full of angels, and the Apostles are. only in the first heaven."

In order, however, that the Apostles, who had been remitted into the state of the life of the body, might know that interiorly they were nevertheless in heaven (for when an angel is remitted into the bodily life and becomes a spirit, he never knows what he had before done in heaven, whence also he doubts as to his ever having been in heaven, and possessed the heavenly life and joy), an angel spake in me to the Apostles after they were restored to a consciousness of heavenly life; in order that they might apperceive it while remaining as spirits, and hence might know, not only that as to their interiors they were in heaven; but also that the heavenly life was far happier than that of a spirit, or the life in the body. In the mean time, when the angel spake to them, and they became affected with heavenly joy, they then declared that such a life was happier than they could possibly express; so that there was no comparison with any other; as, indeed, I now perceive from their evidence.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 71 For they are not willing that any comparison between them should be instituted, inasmuch as there can be none. In this manner was recalled to their memory while remaining in the state of spirits (a privilege granted only to a few), the truth that interiorly they were still in heavens also the joy which is there experienced, and. which is given them in the place of that life which, as spirits remitted into their former natural state, they so greatly love; for it is the characteristic of spirits that they wish to know all things, and as such what has here been written concerning heavenly joy, and to form an opinion upon it, and this from the habit they had acquired in the world."

"It is a wonderful circumstance with regard to a certain individual, that he was in a middle state as it were, in each by turns, in rapid succession; in heaven as an angel, and out of it as a spirit; so as to be alternating between both. When in heaven, he said he would not be a spirit; when a spirit, that he would not be in heaven; for in either state the former one is immediately forgotten. Hence also may be known, what is the peculiar state of some who are in heaven; namely, that corporeal affections are at war with heavenly, so that they love neither the one nor the other. Wherefore, when from such an equilibration in any one, between the heavenly and the corporeal, there results a state of anxiety and thence a kind of fermentation, such a one is then remitted into the state of his former life, until it becomes irksome to him;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 72 whereupon he is again admitted into heaven, as having been already gifted by the Lord with the faculty of being amongst the angels, whenever corporeal affections do not predominate; for thus the contending faculties balance each other; while the heavenly faculty prevails, he is in the enjoyment of heaven as a gift from the Lord; and this state it is which is the Lord's gift, and is superadded as such to his former life, which life is not taken away." (Diary, art. 1321-1325, 1327, 1330-1332.)

"From considerable experience it has been given me to know, that those who have lived seventeen hundred years ago, or two thousand, or from three to four thousand years, as, for instance, in the time of the Lord, and one or two thousand years before his time--these persons, when restored to the state of their former life in the body, are altogether similar to what they then were; so that nothing is wanting or lost, whether in regard to their natural disposition, their morals, their whole life which they led in the world, and this even to their very gait. For it has been granted me to speak to them for a long time, and very frequently, even for months and years; so that I might ascertain for certain that they were the very same persons. From this it may be known, that man loses nothing of what belonged to him in the life of the body, with the exception of the body itself, and what was proper to the body only.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 73 When, however, these same persons are brought back again into the heavenly state, then the case with regard to them is altogether different, and they no longer know any thing of the life pertaining to the body." (Diary, art. 2584.)

The foregoing extracts from the Arcana Coelestia, and the Spiritual Diary, will now be concluded by the following upon False Judgments:--

XI. That False Judgments are formed concerning the Character of Spirits and Angels when remitted into the evils, hereditary and actual, of their Mundane Life.

It very often and even daily occurs, that some are banished from within the boundaries of heaven, and are reduced to the state of inferior spirits. Some of these spoke to me after they had undergone this exclusion. The reason was, that they were in some falsity; and consequently, when they were among those who were in the truth, they could not but feel a state of anguish; for, in the society in which they are there, truth meets them on every side, both from others individually and from the whole heaven in general. Wherefore, unless they recede from the falsity, they seem to themselves to be excluded beyond the boundaries, and to fall or gravitate downwards. Whence they cannot but experience great suffering.

The reason why they are so frequently excluded from heaven, and remitted to the region of inferior spirits, to whom at that time they are altogether similar, is the following.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 74 When spirits are raised up into heaven (which is taking place daily and in great numbers), then such as have not been led through very many states, and are not susceptible therefore of many spiritual or celestial states, when they come into states of a spiritual or celestial nature into which they have not yet been initiated by the Lord, they are in some falsity; hence they gravitate downward, into a region where they are initiated into those states by the Lord.

"Hence it is evident, that they who thus fall from heaven, do not on that account become bad spirits. They who spake to me were such as were good." (Diary, art. 2597-2600.)

... "When recently-departed souls come among spirits, or among the souls which wander at large in the lowest heaven, or in the World of Spirits, they are explored by them according to the capacity of the explorers. For some there are who explore only the crasser states of the soul, and these are liable to be greatly deceived; for all that they do is to induce the soul to speak the same with that which is proposed to him, and thus presented to his attention. If, in this case, his conversation readily follows in the course of the suggestions thus offered by those who have induced his natural disposition so to speak, they immediately judge that such a one is of the like nature; when nevertheless he is unlike. For they induce upon him a state similar to their own, and in such a state he speaks to them readily as if he was one of their class.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 75 Whence also they think that such is the case, and sometimes condemn him, when they have induced upon him evils arising from their own prejudices or opinions concerning his state; as indeed has taken place in the case of some persons who were known to me in their life time, of whom I myself could form no just opinion, because I knew nothing of their real characters. It is in this way, however, that these spirits are led to form their opinion."

"But this is the opinion of those who explore only the crasser states of the soul, or to whom it is permitted to exercise the office of exploration on account of the crasser states of the man himself. And although such explorers are led away by sinister opinions, and as such are a source of great molestation to the soul thus explored, still it conduces to his good and emendation, for nothing else is permitted by the Lord." (Diary, art. 921, 922.)

Summary of the foregoing Arguments.

We have now supplied the connection between the principles taught by Swedenborg, and his narratives concerning Paul and David in the World of Spirits, as given in his Spiritual Diary. In so doing, we have seen it stated

l. That man is of himself nothing but evil.

2. That in his interior memory he retains all his states both of good and evil during the life of the body, from which nothing is erased; and that this interior memory is no other than the Book of Life.



3. That no evil, whether hereditary or actual, is exterminated; but is only removed, as it were, from the centre to the circumference, where its activity is overpowered and made quiescent.

4. That this state of subjection and quiescence is effected by the exercise of a mighty force from the Lord; and that if this exercise were intermitted, the evils of man would revive, and he would rush headlong into destruction.

5. That the interior memory is a revocation of states--not merely a recollection of the past, but an actual reproduction of the past.

6. That, accordingly, the adult may not only recollect that he was once a child and an infant, but that he may be reduced into the state of childhood and infancy, so as, from being an adult, to become a child and infant; that infancy itself can be remitted into its hereditary evils, so that the innocence of infancy can be made to disappear, and the infant to assume the character of its evils; that angels themselves can be remitted into the evils and falses which belonged to them in the life of the body; because no evil or falsity is ever exterminated to all eternity, but is only made quiescent; that, in like manner, evil spirits may reproduce the states of good and truth they had experienced in the life of the body when suffering under the influence of fear, pain, sorrow, or any other adversity; in which case also, so long as the state lasts, they can be admitted into heaven, and when it ceases, they return to their evils.



7. That angels, when they are remitted into their evils, forget their former states of sanctity; and when remitted into their good states, forget their former states of evil. That evil spirits, when remitted into states of good, forget their former states of evil; and, when remitted into their evils, forget their former states of good.

8. That all the heavens are impure in the sight of God.

9. That therefore a purification of Spirits and Angels, thus of the heavens, is constantly taking place.

10. That this purification is effected by their Fall; so that they may learn from actual experience the nature of their hereditary and actual evils.

11. That when spirits are admitted into heaven, if any one should therefore conclude that they are permanently to remain there, as being good angels, their judgment would be false; and, in like manner, when angels have fallen from heaven, and are remitted into the evils and falsities of their corporeal life, so as for a period to appear even as devils, if any one should conclude that they are therefore evil spirits, and as such destined to remain for ever in a fallen condition, his judgment would be as false in this case as in the former.

12. Lastly, these fundamental principles being assumed to be true, the question now occurs, whether Paul and David form any exceptions to the laws which govern all other spirits and angels.



In order to answer this question, it will he necessary to have recourse to what is said in the New Testament concerning Paul, and in the Old Testament concerning David; as also to what is said by Commentators upon this subject, in the way of illustration.

XII. The Application of the foregoing Laws of the Spiritual World to the Characters of Paul and David as given in the Scriptures.

First with regard to the character of Paul, during his life in the body.

Acts of the Apostles, Chap. vii. 58. "They stoned Stephen, and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul."--Chap. viii. 1, etc. "And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the Apostles.... As for Saul, he made havoc of the Church, entering into every house; and haling men and women committed them to prison."--Chap. ix. 1. "And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the High Priest; and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem."

Let us now hear the remarks of Commentators upon this narrative; and first those of Calmet.



"Saul was in a state of mind very different from the mildness of his master, Gamaliel. He sinned by an excess of zeal. Not only did he not disapprove of this conduct, so violent and irregular, on the part of the enemies of St. Stephen; he approved it, he took pleasure in it, he applauded it, he assisted in it as much as possible. All this is expressly remarked by St. Luke, in order to enable us the better to perceive the greatness of the miracle of the conversion of St. Paul, and the better to understand the character of his mind."

Saul still breathing out slaughter, being still full of menaces. All that Saul had hitherto done against the Church, had not been able to satisfy his hatred against the Christians who were at Jerusalem. After having sought them out everywhere, and persecuted the Jews which were at Jerusalem, he sallied out thence, panting only for blood, and filled with rage and fury. He was in a transport of false zeal for the laws of his fathers.

Commentary of Dr. Adam Clarke.--"Saul was consenting unto his death. So inveterate was the hatred that this man bore to Christ and his followers, that he delighted in their destruction. So blind was his heart with superstitious zeal, that he thought he did God service by offering him the blood of a fellow-creature, whose creed he supposed to be erroneous. The word [scanner unable to insert word] signifies gladly consenting, being pleased with his murderous work."

Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 80 The original text is very emphatic, and points out how determinate Saul was to pursue and accomplish his fell purpose of totally destroying the infant Church of Christ. The mode of speech introduced above is very frequent in the Greek writers, who often express any vehement and hostile affection of the mind by the verb [scanner unable to insert word], to breathe, to pant. So Theocritus, Idyll 22,--They came into the assembly breathing mutual slaughter. And Aristophanes, more fully, referring to all the preparations for warThey breathed spears, and pikes, and helmets, and crests, and greaves, and the fury of redoubted heroes. The figure is a favorite one with Homer.... St. Luke, who was master of the Greek tongue, chose such terms as best expressed a heart desperately and incessantly bent on accomplishing the destruction of the objects of its resentment. Such at this time was the heart of Saul of Tarsus; and it had already given full proof of its malignity, not only in the martyrdom of Stephen, but also in making havoc of the Church, and in forcibly entering every house, and dragging men and women whom he suspected of Christianity, and committing them to prison."

2. Scott's Annotations.--"Saul having distinguished himself at Stephen's martyrdom, was judged a suitable agent in the service of the persecutors; and he furiously engaged in it, like a savage tiger or wolf, making havoc among the defenseless sheep. The circumstance of Saul's entering every house of the disciples, and dragging away not only men but women also, and casting them into prison, should be carefully noted.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 81 He was exceedingly mad against them. Doubtless many were cut off at this time; yet Pilate seems to have connived at it."

"Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter. He persisted in persecuting the disciples for a considerable time with increasing violence, and he menaced the whole multitude with slaughter and extirpation; as if he could not breathe without uttering threatenings against them, or would, if able, have slain them with the breath of his lips. Probably the diligence and success of those whom he had driven from Jerusalem, increased his rage and animosity. Being a zealous volunteer in the service, he devised plans for fully exterminating the religion of Jesus, and was ready to carry them into execution to the utmost of his ability; and, with this view, he proposed to the High Priest (probably Caiaphas) that he should give him letters from the council and chief priests to the rulers of the synagogue in Damascus, authorizing them to apprehend those who believed in Jesus, and to send them bound to Jerusalem to be punished."

3. Dr. Doddridge's Exposition.--"And Saul, at whose feet the witnesses laid down their clothes, was so far from being shocked at this cruel scene (of the stoning of Stephen) that, on the contrary, he was well pleased with his slaughter; being so full of rage and--malice against. the Christian name, that he thought no severities could be too great for those who thus zealously endeavored to propagate it."



"Saul, like some furious beast of prey, made havoc of the Church without mercy; not only breaking in upon public assemblies, but entering into houses, and dragging from them, without any respect either to age or sex, men and women whom he committed to prison, for no pretended crime but that of having embraced the Gospel."

... "All the principal members of the Church were driven away from Jerusalem, except the Apostles. But Saul was so exceedingly outrageous in his zeal against the Gospel, that he could not be satisfied with this: his very heart was set upon extirpating the followers of Jesus, and, like some ravenous and savage beast, he was still breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. In every word he spoke, he menaced their destruction; and, as if all the hardships of exile and imprisonment were too little, with a most cruel eagerness he thirsted for their blood. With this intent he came to the High Priest, whom he knew to be much exasperated against them, and petitioned for letters from him in the name of the whole Sanhedrim, directed to the rulers of the Jewish synagogues at Damascus, whither, as he had been informed, some of those distressed refugees had fled; that if he found any of that way there, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem, to be proceeded against in the severest manner by the Sanhedrim."

Dr. Gill's Exposition.And Saul was consenting unto his death.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 83 That Saul consented to the death of Stephen, and approved of that barbarous action, is evident from his taking care of the clothes of the witnesses that stoned him; but the word here used signifies not a bare consent only, but a consent with pleasure and delight; he was well pleased with it; it rejoiced his very heart; he joined with the others in it with the utmost pleasure and satisfaction. This, and what is before said concerning his having the clothes of the witnesses laid at his feet, as well as what follows about his persecuting the saints, are the rather mentioned, because this violent persecutor was afterwards converted and became an eminent preacher of the Gospel: and these accounts serve to illustrate and set off the grace of God, which was abundant toward him. And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem; it began on that day, as the words may be rendered, in which Stephen was stoned. As soon as they had put him to death, these bloodthirsty wretches were the more greedy after the blood of others; and being now in great numbers, and filled with rage and fury, fell upon the members of the Church wherever they met them, and killed them; for that more besides Stephen were put to death, seems plain from Acts xxvi. 10; and, according to some accounts, though they cannot be depended on, two thousand persons suffered at this time; and if this was the case, it might be called a great persecution.

And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 84 Not satisfied with the murder of Stephen and with the havoc he made of the Church at Jerusalem, haling them out of their houses to prison, continued not only to threaten them with confiscation of goods and imprisonment, but with death itself. The phrase here used is a Hebraism; so in Psalm xxvii. 12, one that breathes out violence or cruelty; and this skews the inward disposition of his mind, the rage, wrath; malice, envy, and bloodthirstiness he was full of, and is observed to illustrate the riches of Divine grace in his conversion. And wonderful it is, that that same mouth which breathed out destruction and death to the followers, of Christ, should afterwards publish and proclaim the Gospel of the grace of God; that he whose mouth was full of cursing and bitterness, should hereafter and so very quickly come forth in the fullness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. And this rage of his who now ravined as a wolf, as was foretold of Benjamin, of which tribe he was, was against the lambs of Christ, and the sheep of his fold: against the disciples of the Lord; not against wicked men, murderers, and thieves, and other evil doers, but against the harmless and innocent followers of Jesus, and which was an aggravation of his cruelty: and being thus heated and full of wrath, he went unto the High Priest, Annas or Caiaphas, who, notwithstanding the Jews were under the Roman government, had great authority to punish persons with stripes and death itself."



Matthew Henry's Commentary.--"It should seem that, in this persecution, many were put to death; for Paul owns that at this time he persecuted this way unto the death; that, when they were put to death, he gave his voice against them."

He was an active man in it: none so zealous, so busy as Saul, a young Pharisee. As for Saul, he made havoc of the Church: he did all he could to lay it waste and ruin it: he cared not what mischief he did to the disciples of Christ, nor knew when to take up. He aimed at no less than the cutting off of the Gospel Israel, that the name of it should be no more in remembrance. He was the fittest tool the chief priests could find out to serve their purposes: he was informer-general against the disciples, a messenger of the great Council to be employed in searching for meetings, and seizing all that were suspected of favoring that way. Saul was a bred scholar, a gentleman, and yet did not think it below him to be employed in the vilest work of that kind. (1) He entered into every house, making no difficulty of breaking open doors, night or (lay, and having a force attending him for that purpose. He entered into every house where they used to keep their meetings, or every house that had any Christians in it, or was thought to have. No man could be secure in his own house, though it is his castle. (2) He haled, with the utmost contempt and cruelty, both men and women, dragged them along the streets, without any regard to the tenderness of the weaker sex:


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 86 he stooped so low as to take cognizance of the meanest that were leavened with the Gospel, so extremely bigoted was he. (3) He committed them to prison, in order to their being tried and put to death, unless they would renounce Christ; and some, we find, were compelled by him to blaspheme." Chap. xxvi. 11.

Here we have his general enmity and rage against the Christian religion. He yet breathed out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. The persons persecuted were the disciples of the Lord; because they were so, under that character, he hated and persecuted them: the matter of the persecutions was threatenings and slaughter. There is persecution in threatenings: they terrify and break the spirit; and though we say, Threatened folks live long--yet those whom Saul threatened, if he prevailed not thereby to frighten them from Christ, he slew them, he persecuted them to death. His breathing out threatenings and slaughter intimates that it was natural to him, and his constant business he even breathed in this as in his element: he breathed it out with heat and vehemence: his very breath, like that of some venomous creature, was pestilential: he breathed death to the Christians, wheresoever he came: he puffed at them in his pride: spit his venom at them in his rage. Saul yet breathing thus, it intimates--(1) That he still persisted in it not satisfied with the blood of those he had slain, he still cries, Give, give. (2) That he shall shortly be of another mind; as yet he breathes out threatenings and slaughter; but he has not long to live such a life as this: that breath will be stopped shortly.



"I compelled them to blaspheme Christ, and to say he was a deceiver, and they were deceived in him. His rage swelled so against Christians and Christianity, that Jerusalem itself was too narrow a stage for it to act upon; but, being exceedingly mad against them, he persecuted them even to strange cities. He was mad at them, to see how much they had to say for themselves, notwithstanding all he did against them; mad, to see them multiply the more for their being afflicted: he was exceedingly mad: the stream of his fury would admit no banks, no bounds, but he was as much a terror to himself as he was to them: so great was his vexation within himself that he could not prevail, as well as his indignation against them. Persecutors are mad men, and some of them exceedingly mad. Paul was mad to see that those in other cities were not so outrageous (as he was) against the Christians; and therefore made himself busy there where he had no business; and persecuted the Christians even in strange cities. There is not a more restless principle than malice, especially that which pretends to conscience."

Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide.--" Saul breathing out threatenings and slaughter, uttered his voice like a raging lion, and vomited out the most atrocious and deadly menaces."

Thus, far, then, we have presented to view the unanimous opinion of Commentators concerning the life and conduct of Paul considered only in relation to the unconverted natural man.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 88 Were these evils suddenly acquired, or were they natural to him? All agree that he was only acting out his own hereditary evils. Our next enquiry, therefore, must be into the distinctive characteristics of Paul's hereditary nature.

Cornelius a Lapide, and others, derive the name of Saul from the Hebrew word Scheol, which, he says, means Hell, "because it is always asking and never satisfied, according to the sayingInfernum insatiabiliter cava guttural pandit; for Saul was as it were a Hell, always panting before his conversion for the blood and slaughter of the faithful."--It may easily be seen, how this rapacity and cruelty had its origin in his hereditary nature; for he himself gives us his lineage. He was, he says, of the tribe of Benjamin; a tribe remarkable for the display of the very evils which Paul had inherited. But further:

--When our Lord said a wicked and adulterous generation seeketh a sign, to no class among the Jews would the words be more applicable than to the remnants of the tribe of Benjamin. Even with regard to the Jews in general, it is observed by Dr. Adam Clarke upon this subjectThere is the utmost proof from their own writings, that, in the time of our Lord, they were most literally an adulterous race of people; for at this very time H. Jochanan ben Zacchai abrogated the trial by the bitter 'waters of jealousy, because so many were found to be thus criminal." See on John viii. 3.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 89 "It is allowed that adultery was exceedingly common at this time, so common that they had ceased to put the law in force against it."

We have already seen how Saul has been compared to a wild beast; the reason is, that being of the tribe of Benjamin, Jacob had prophesied "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf. In the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil." Gen. xlix. 27.

It is on this character of Saul as being of the tribe of Benjamin, and consequently "a ravening wolf" both before and after his conversion, that Cornelius a Lapide thus comments:--

"Jerome, Ambrose, Rupert, Eucherius, Bede, and St. Augustin, by the wolf in this prophecy understand the holy Paul, whose origin was from Benjamin, and who was called in Hebrew Saul, in Latin Saulus. In the morning, that is, in his youth, he raged against Christ and Christians as a wolf, dragging away to prison men and women, stoning Stephen by the hands of others, breathing out against all threatenings and slaughter; but after he was converted by Christ, and was changed from Saul into Paul, then, from being a wolf in the service of the devil he became a wolf in the service of God--'And at night,' that is, when he had become older, the spoils of the Gentiles which he had snatched from the devil, he divided unto Christ and the Church.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 90 Thus, in like manner as the wolfish nature (indoles lupina) belonged to Benjamin, so also it belonged to Paul; who always preserved a likeness to himself, and as such was rapacious, warlike, and accustomed to spoils and plunder. Hence both in the morning and evening, that is to say before his conversion and after his conversion, he did nothing else than go about after prey. But, before his conversion, he was a wicked and impious spoiler; after his conversion, however, he was a righteous and holy spoiler; who not only snatched back again the spoils he had before assigned to the devil, but likewise wrested nearly all the Gentiles from his mouth and his claws, despoiled him of these possessions, and restored them to Christ and the Church. As therefore the lion is taken at one time in a good sense, at another in a bad sense, so likewise the wolf may be taken in a good sense as well as a bad one."

In its bad sense, Bishop Patrick observes, on the prophecy Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf:

This sets forth the warlike temper of this tribe; a wolf being both strong, and undaunted, and also a very rapacious creature, and thence in aftertimes dedicated to Mars. From whence wolves are called martii, and martiales in Virgil and Horace; and warlike men are called by the Greeks [Greek Lukophrones], of a wolf-like temper. And the history justifies this character; the tribe of Benjamin alone maintaining a war with all the other tribes, in which they overcame them in two battles, though they had sixteen to one against them.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 91 And they killed then more men of Israel, than they themselves had in their whole army.

Let it be remembered that these battles were fought by this tribe in defense of one of the most terrible instances of lust any where recorded--and for which the tribe was afterwards visited with great slaughter.

Now it is to be observed, that marriages among the Jews were generally contracted within the limits of the tribe; and the effect of this was more and more to intensify the peculiar characteristics of the tribe. The prophecy of Jacob concerning Benjamin was delivered more than two thousand years before the time of Paul; and, therefore there was at least this period for the accumulation, more or less, of the qualities proper to this tribe, and constituting in the mind of Paul his hereditary nature. Saul, the first king of Israel, was of this tribe; to which also Paul the Apostle claims to have belonged. What now was the character of Saul? It is thus described by Dr. Wordsworth:--*

* Introduction to the Books of Samuel, p. 11.

"The fair beginnings of Saul, his modesty, prudence, clemency, and success; his subsequent degeneracy when he was elated by victory, and puffed up by his royal dignity; his vain-glory, self-confidence, and disobedience to God speaking to him by Samuel, and next in a direct command from himself; his hypocrisy and formalism; his rejection and desertion by God; his visitation from an Evil Spirit;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 92 his envy, hatred, and malignant persecution of David, his deliverer and benefactor, and even of his own son; his desolation, distress, distraction, despondency, and despair; his resort to the witch of Endor for counsel from Samuel when dead, whom he had disobeyed when living; his shameful defeat by the Philistines, and his wretched death on Mount Gilboa by his own hand; and the succession of David in his room--all these events are full of deep moral interest, and fraught with warning, admonition, and instruction, both in faith and practice."

Such is the character of Saul, the son of Cis the Beniamite, from whose tribe Paul the Apostle claimed hereditary descent. With respect to the tribe itself Dean Stanley gives the following account:*--

* Lectures on the Jewish Church, by Dean Stanley, p. 266.

The tribe of Benjamin retained a character of its own, eminently indomitable and insubordinate. The wolf which nursed the founders of Rome, was not more evidently repeated in the martial qualities of the people of Romulus, than the wolf, to which Benjamin is compared in his father's blessing, appears in the eager, restless character of his descendants. After thee, O Benjamin, was its well-known war-cry. It furnished the artillery, so to speak, of the Israelite army, by its archers and slingers." "In his mountain passes, the ancient haunts of beasts of prey, Benjamin ravined as a wolf in the morning, descended into the rich plains of Philistia on the one side, and of Jordan on the other, and returned in the evening to divide the spoil.

Siani and Palestine, by Dean Stanley, p. 200.



Accordingly it is observed in Smith's Biblical Dictionary, under the article Benjamin:--

"Saul, who also is called Paul, has left on record under his own hand, that he was of the stock of Israel of the tribe of Benjamin. It is perhaps more than a mere fancy to note, how remarkably the chief characteristics of the tribe are gathered up in his one person. There was the fierceness in his persecution of the Christians, and there were the obstinacy and persistence which made him proof against the prayers and tears of his converts, and ready not to be bound only but also to die, for the name of the Lord Jesus. There were the force and vigor to which natural difficulties and confined circumstances formed no impediment; and lastly, there was the keen sense of the greatness of his house, in his proud reference to his forefather Saul, the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin."

Thus far we have treated of the personal character of Paul: we now proceed to his writings, and consequently to his state of mind after conversion.

Did the Apostle, or did he not, claim to himself MERIT on any ground whatever? The Church of Rome affirms that he did; and on some of his expressions, has founded the entire doctrine of MERIT de condigno.

In his Second Epistle to Timothy, Chap. iv. 8, he observes:--



"I have fought a good fight--I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that day."--At what day? The day of the Last Judgment; consequently the day does not refer to Paul in his intermediate state: it is only after the process of Judgment that he receives the crown. But does he await the crown as a GIFT? or does he claim it as a right on the ground of MERIT? On this subject Augustin observes:*--"To him who fights a good fight, who finishes his course, who keeps the faith, He grants the reward of good things. But what good things? Those which the Lord Himself grants. Did He not grant that thou shouldest fight a good fight? If not (O Paul!) what is it that thou sayest in another place? I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I but the grace of God which was in me. Then thou sayest againI have finished my course. Was it not the Lord who granted to thee that thou shouldest finish thy course? If not, what is it that thou sayest in another placeSo then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. I have kept the faith. Thou hast kept it, I acknowledge, I grant, I confess; thou halt kept it. But unless the Lord keep the city the watchman waketh but in vain. It is therefore by his assistance, by his gift, that thou hast fought a good fight, finished thy course, and kept the faith. Pardon me, O Apostle, I know nothing of what is thine own (propria) except what is evil.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 95 Pardon me, O Apostle, I say only what thou thyself hast taught. I hear thee as one confessing: I do not find thee to be one ungratefully forgetting the Giver. We know nothing whatever of what is thine own and furnished by thyself, but what is evil. When, therefore, God crowns thy merits, he crowns nothing but his own gifts."

* Sermon 344--In Natali Martyrum; Tom. 8, p. 1296.

Now it is certain, that, notwithstanding the distinction here made between gifts and merits, between what was proper to the selfhood of Paul and what was conferred upon him as gifts from God, the Roman Catholics have founded upon this passage a certain doctrine of self-merit; as if Paul meant to say, that the crown of righteousness was a crown of justice, which he had justly merited, which the just sentence of the Judge would adjudicate to him as his right, and his due, or that otherwise God would be unjust; according to which account, gifts are converted into merits, the gifts of God being merited by man; and as the Apostle had not yet arrived at the day of final Judgment, this persuasion of his own personal merit is accordingly regarded as still entertained by the Apostle in the Spiritual World. The confession of the Apostle at this moment, therefore, would be this:--"I merit a crown of righteousness, to which I am entitled as my just due, in consequence of having fought a good fight, and having kept the faith.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 96 For although the crown of righteousness is a gift, yet I have merited that gift, and therefore claim the gift as a right." Corona* certaminis praemium laboris, id est, vita eternal, quam juste, MERUI, et quae justa judicis sentential mihi adjudicabitu. Et dicil JUSTITLAE, quonian sibi DEBITAM significant.

* Menoclaius in loc.

Cajetan in loc.

"If any one," says the Council of Trent, "shall say that the good works of a justified man are the gifts of God in such a sense as not to be also the (merits) meritorious goods of the justified man himself; or that the man himself (as justified by good works which are done by him through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, of whom he is a living member), does not really merit an increase of grace, eternal life, or an attainment to eternal life in case he dies in a state of grace, and likewise an increase of glory;-let him be anathema."

See Praelectiones Theologicae, art. De Merito. By Perrone.

It is evident that, in this case, what were before regarded as the gifts of God, are now become the merits of man; and, in this sense it is said, that just men really do merit the gifts of God, according to the saying of the Apostle--"I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day." Thus a reward, a crown, is given only to real merit.

Thus gifts have become merits, and ceased to be gifts.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 97 Reward has become a right, just as wages are a debt from the Debtor: the crown of righteousness is independent personal property.

According to this account, the Apostle Paul, toward the close of his life, had a confident trust in personal merits; and doubtless they who maintain this doctrine of personal merit, would be shocked by the statement of Swedenborg, that any spirit (whether he had been in this world prophet, apostle, or martyr), who should uphold any such doctrine before the angels, would immediately fall from heaven into the World of Spirits, if not even into Hell itself. Can there be any difficulty among Protestants in believing such a statement, if they themselves call it an impious and arrogant doctrine?

The consequences of such a doctrine are thus further represented.

Those* who believe good to be from the Lord, says Swedenborg, "turn their faces to Him, and receive the delight and blessedness of good; but those who believe good to be from themselves, look to themselves, and think that they have merited it; and as they look to themselves, they cannot but perceive the delight of their own good, which is not the delight of good, but the delight of evil; for a man's self hood is evil, and the delight of evil perceived as good is hell. Those who have done good, and thought it was from themselves, if they do not after death receive the truth, that all good is from the Lord, mix with infernal genii, and at length act as one with them; whereas those who receive that truth are reformed."

* Divine Providence, art. 93.



Man receives life from the Lord, but he appears to live ex se from himself. That he receives life from the Lord, is a real truth; that he lives ex se from himself, is an apparent truth. The Lord wills that man should appear to live as from himself-thus that what is the Lord's, should appear to be man's; but it is only an appearance; for good and truth can proceed from the Lord alone. As then the good and truth which are in man are his own only in appearance; and as this good and truth in man are no other than his merits; so these merits are not from the man himself really, but only apparently; they are not ex se, but only quasi ex se, just as man lives not ex se but quasi ex se. And to say that man merits ex se, is to appropriate to man what belongs to the Lord. Now Swedenborg represents this notion of personal merit, as still inherent in the mind of the Apostle Paul; and this is no more than what, as we have seen, the Church of Rome affirms, while it even justifies the Apostle on this account.

Now, nothing can merit good but good. To merit is to impute good to one's self: it therefore implies that the selfhood or proprium of the doer is good. But, says Swedenborg,*--They who believe that by the goods which they do they merit heaven, do goods from themselves, and not from the Lord." ...


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 99 "Moreover man of himself is nothing but evil; thus to do good from himself, is to do it from evil."

* Arcana Coelestia, art. 9974, 9980.

Hence--"They* who in any way," says Swedenborg, desire to merit heaven, only remove themselves--the farther from heaven."

* Diary, art. 2652.

"When I was in conversation with spirits concerning those who wish to merit heavenly joy or heaven, by piety; namely, by prayers, by alms to the poor, by humiliation ex semet, by abnegation of the world ex semet, and the like means (by which a person, sometimes in simplicity, thinks that he may merit heaven); as also by this, that during his life in the body he had in a measure contributed to the increase of the Church of the Lord, which he attributed to himself as a merit (of which characters there are many genera and species); when, I say, I was in conversation with spirits upon this subject, I likewise perceived, by a spiritual idea, that the more any one thinks that by these means he merits heaven, and thus approaches the nearer to heaven, the farther away he removes himself from heaven; because he attributes merit to himself, and thus derogates from the Lord. In attributing faith, charity, and the good of works to himself, he so far denies them to the Lord; and therefore the more he does this, the farther from heaven he removes himself."

It is this notion of personal merit from which arises the claim to reward, recompense, wages, or remuneration.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 100 When the Pharisee said, "God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are;" on what ground did he give thanks to God? Evidently on the ground that his own Pharisaic qualities were the gifts of God; otherwise there would have been no reason for his returning thanks. But these gifts he had converted in himself into personal merits; so that, after all, he was only returning thanks to God for his own personal merits. It is of no use to say that the cases of the two are different; that the Christian is a justified man, and the Pharisee unjustified; for if the justified man acts upon the same principle as the unjustified, it only annuls his justification, and both are unjustified together. The Christian has no privilege, in this case, above the Jew; the only language of both must be, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." Whenever, then, we are told, that to do good to others without seeking recompense, is in itself the very state which merits recompense; in this case to do good to others, is only to do good ex se.

So much then for the saying of Pope Coelestinus, which has been too generally received even among Protestants

"Dei tanta est erga omnes homines bonitas, ut eorum velit esse MERITA, quae sunt ipsius DONA."--True only, if by merits are understood apparent merits and not real; for God has no more wish for a man to believe in his own real merits, than He has that he should believe that be lives ex se, and that to live ex se is the gift of God.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 101 The Church of Rome, however, has, in this respect, confounded the apparent with the real; and hence their whole doctrine concerning MERITS.

In the case of young children it is, indeed, necessary to teach them by external or apparent truths; and to speak to them of recompense, remuneration, or reward in heaven. But as they advance in age and become capable o receiving internal or real truths, the apparent truths must be renounced; or else they will lead to the persuasion of personal merit. If children should die in early life, that persuasion must be equally put off before entering into heaven; or the consequences would be a fall from heaven, as already described, and thus further confirmed by Swedenborg;--

The angels* are recipients of Divine wisdom or Divine truth from the Lord, but it is to be observed that they are continually receiving them; for Divine good and Divine truth cannot be appropriated to any angel or man so as to be his own, but only so as to appear as if they were his, for they are Divine. Wherefore no angel or man can produce from himself any thing good or true which is really good and true in itself; whence it is plain, that they are kept in what is good and true by the Lord, and that they are so kept continually. For which reason, if any one comes into heaven, and thinks that good and truth are appropriated to him as his own, he is immediately cast down from heaven and instructed."

* Apocalypse Explained, art. 1265, and Apocalypse Revealed, art. 854.



Now Paul says, that "lest be should be exalted above measure by the abundance of revelations given to him, there was given to him a thorn in the flesh." What was this thorn in the flesh? All the most ancient doctors of the Church, says Bishop Bull,* with one consent, understand the words as we do, of St. Paul's being in danger to be too much lifted up in his own conceit. ... "The best of men, those that excel in the gifts and graces of God, are liable to the worst of vices, viz., pride. Mr. Calvin's note on my text is very apposite. Let us diligently consider who it is that here speaks. A man that had conquered infinite dangers, torments, and other evils; that bad triumphed over all the enemies of Christ; that bad shook off the fear of death; and lastly, had renounced the world; and yet this man bad not as yet wholly subdued his inclinations to pride; nay, he was still engaged in so doubtful a combat with it, that he could not conquer without being himself beaten and buffeted."Pride, as it was the first sin of man, so it is his last too; and therefore is not unfitly called by one indusium animae, the vice that sticks most closely to us, and the last we shall put off and be rid of."--"It was the sin of pride, as divines generally believe, that ruined a multitude of the angelic host."--"St. Paul in his infirmity was buffeted by Satan, as it is very probable, to the end of his life."

* See Sermon on St. Paul's Thorn in the Flesh Explained.



Here, then, is a case in which the temptation to pride pursues the Apostle to the end of his life. If this be true, then, since "as the tree falls so it lies," he would carry with him the same evil into the Spiritual World, and consequently together with it the doctrine of merit.

Some, indeed, consider the thorn in the flesh to be some bodily infirmity; others, that it has relation to those fleshly lusts which war against the soul; but all agree, that the trial was sent in order to counteract the tendency in his mind to self-exaltation. He had received an independent revelation which distinguished him from the other Apostles: he had received, independently of the other Apostles, a call to preach to the Gentiles: he wanted no advice from the other Apostles, but considered himself to be in a position rather to give advice to them. His own education was greatly superior to theirs; he was better instructed in the Law, and had always held a position in society superior to theirs as fishermen. The Apostles knew Christ after the flesh, but Paul after the Spirit. In accordance with this view of the subject, it is remarkable that this Apostle never once refers to any of the parables spoken by our Lord to the other Apostles while He was in the flesh upon earth: he is altogether silent as to all the teaching which they had received from our Lord while upon earth: he did not want their instruction: he had revelations of his own.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 104 Hence a consciousness of superiority, of a title to pre-eminence and precedence; and that tendency to self-exaltation above measure which naturally arose in the mind of one who had been a Pharisee of the strictest sect, and who was of the same tribe with Saul, the first king of Israel, and son of Cis the Benjamite.

It was under a consciousness of these privileges that he labored more abundantly than they all; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Here was his character as "a ravening wolf;" and if to these labors he attached the idea of merit in any such sense as that which we have already described, and as it is affirmed that he did; especially if he carried with him into the other world this consciousness of merit; it is certain that, upon the principles already stated, this whole state of mind would return to him, or would be reproduced in the Spiritual World; that it would be there revealed to its full extent before angels and spirits, as well as to the Apostle himself; the consequence of which would be a fall from the higher into the lower regions, and an oblivion of his former life in heaven; until his good states again returned, and the Apostle was received back into the company of angels.

There is, however, another state of mind--nominally opposed to this of meritorious works, but really not at variance with it--and which leads a person to esteem himself as sinless and perfect.

The law is holy and good, says Toplady,* but we are not able to keep it;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 105 and therefore we must seek our righteousness not in the law, but in Christ, who hath fulfilled the same and given us freely his fulfilling." The consequence is, says the same author--"Washed in His propitiatory blood, and clothed with His imputed righteousness, I trust to stand perfect, and sinless, and complete; and do verily believe that I certainly shall so stand in the hour of death, and in the kingdom of heaven, and at the Last Judgment, and in the ultimate state of endless glory.

* The Rev. A. Toplady: see his works, especially his last Wall.

Now, it is of no use to palliate this doctrine by saying, as in the case of merits, that this perfection, sinlessness, and completeness, are, after all, only the gifts of God. If, according to Swedenborg, a good man, secretly holding this doctrine, should gain admission into heaven, he would, if he persisted in maintaining before the angels his own sinlessness and perfection, fall down from heaven; not necessarily to be damned, but to be instructed.

Take another instance. It is written--"Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."--If, then, a good man, obtaining admission into heaven, should thus insist before the angels;--"If,* then, God loved Jacob and hated Esau (or chewed him less favor than Jacob) without any reference to their works as comparatively good or bad, then the grand principle is established, that God does spew more favor to one man than to another, independently of their righteousness or unrighteousness."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 106 We say that, according to Swedenborg, if any spirit admitted into heaven were to maintain this doctrine of personal arbitrary election to eternal life, he too would fall down from heaven; not necessarily to be damned, but to be instructed.

* Scott's Annotations.

For all reasonings of this kind proceed only from the fallacies of the natural man; and therefore spirits who so reason, only follow the downward course of their own thoughts, when they fall from the spiritual into the natural degree. An illustration of this truth was afforded in the person of Swedenborg himself. The angels, he says,* are in a sphere above that of the World of Spirits, and therefore when they look thence into the World of Spirits, they look downwards. Hence, when in a state of wakefulness, he heard the voices of angels glorifying the Lord; and when, says he, "I fell from this sphere of general s glorification into some idea which was directed by some grosser affection, such as is of a worldly nature; then it was said to me, that my state appeared to them as no other than a fall; and thus that I fell down from their society; and again, when I descended into ideas concerning corporeal things, those ideas appeared to them as clouds."

* Diary, art. 607.

A similar fate happened to him on a previous occasion, as is evident from art. 304 in the Diary:--

"When the human mind is engaged in things of the, world, then it is cast down, and falls from heaven. I have been instructed by experience, when I was being led about from one place to another in the heavens, which was effected while I was in a state of wakefulness, that when I fell into thoughts concerning worldly things, then immediately what I perceived in any heavenly mansion disappeared; so that they who let their thoughts down into a worldly sphere fall from the heavens."



We have now seen how far the doctrine of MERIT, as also other mistaken doctrines, are compatible with an undisturbed abode in heaven; and we next proceed to the doctrine of JUDICIARY POWER, as a prerogative of the Apostles.

In 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3, the Apostle Paul says--"Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world?"... "Know ye not that we shall judge angels?"--On which Dean Alford observes--"The Apostle here appeals to an axiomatic truth, that the saints shall judge the world, i. e., as assessors of Christ at his coming... All attempts to allude this plain meaning of the words are futile." ... "The saints are to be judges sitting in judgment." Hence also Dr. Wordsworth explains the meaning of the Apostle as follows--"These words of St. Paul are referred to by Polycarp, where the learned editor quotes a passage from Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria, in which the Martyrs are described as witnesses, assisting and taking part as assessors in the great judicial transactions in the Last Day."

The Saints shall also stand up in the Judgment, and condemn Satan and his Angels.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 108 Hi sunt Angeli quos judicaturi sumus, says Tertullian; and so Chrysostom and other ancient Expositors here. The Saints will judge them, by proving that since they, men on earth, compassed with weakness, stood firm in their allegiance to God: therefore the fall of celestial beings who enjoyed God's presence, was due to their own sin."--"Thus they will judge Angels."

"The Saints of God, after that they themselves have been judged and admitted to glory, will, it appears from Scripture, be allowed to sit near to Christ, as assessors of his dread Tribunal. See Matt. xix. 28, and Luke xxii. 30, where the sitting on Thrones is mentioned after the sitting at the Table; and they will hear the sentence pronounced by Christ against evil Angels. The Saints, being themselves first approved, shall become assessors there."

It is admitted that the interpretation here given to the words of the Apostle Paul, is founded upon the literal interpretation of the promise of our Lord to the twelve Apostles. In answer to the question of Peter, "We have left all and followed thee; what shall w6-have therefore?"--Jesus said unto them, "Verily, I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."--"To sit upon thrones,* is to enjoy the highest degree of honor, pre-eminent authority, and felicity."--According to Augustin, the regeneration means the resurrection: hence he thus interprets the promise:*--

* See Schleusner's Lexicon.

* See Aquinas in loc.



"Verily, I say unto you, in the regeneration, that is, in the resurrection, when mankind shall be summoned both as to body and soul, ye shall sit, namely, on a seat of majesty; that is, ye shall possess a judiciary power, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; because, in like manner as God hath committed judgment to the Son, so also it is committed to those who have followed him."

"Chrysostom asks what there was so mighty in the prerogative bestowed upon the Apostles. Was not the same granted to the Queen of the South, who was to rise up in the judgment with that generation, and condemn it? Chrysostom answers, that the very mode of expression points out the kind of authority to judge which was committed to the Apostles; because, as judging by authority, they judge sitting; whereas advocates and accusers condemn, standing. Therefore our Lord says, Ye shall sit, in order to designate that the Apostles shall judge by authority."

See the Comment of Alexander of Ales.

This is further illustrated by the comments--of some in the Roman Catholic Church, on the process of the Last Judgment, as described in the Apocalypse. Thus, the Son of Man is represented in Apoc. xiv. 17, as having a sharp sickle, or, judiciary power; and another angel, as coming out of the Temple, he also having a sharp sickle.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 110 This second Angel is said to represent the Apostles--"Not only did I see that the Angel of mighty counsel had a sharp sickle, that is, judiciary power; but I saw likewise another angel, that is, the assembly of the Apostles, having a sharp sickle; which is said to be another, as being different from Christ, and from other Saints in general. For the Apostles are first in order from Christ, the other Saints being of a minor and lower degree in rank; just as in the case of other Saints, some of them are higher and superior in rank to others."

Hence it is said that--"To the Apostles it especially belongs to exercise judgment, and to sit, nest to the Supreme Judge, and together with Him to judge others; as being themselves the principal founders of the Church militant according to the words of the Lord in Matt. xix. 28: Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit on the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. For Christ has committed to the assembly of the Apostles, as assessors with him in Judgment, the office of thrusting in their judiciary sickle, and by this means separating the evil from the good." ... Hence the assembly of the Apostles, as sitting upon thrones nest to our Lord, is said to "approve" and "confirm" his sentence at the Last Judgment.



It would be easy to multiply interpretations of this kind; and Matthew Henry therefore was only following the usual course, when he observes:--

"When Christ is ascended to the right hand of the Father, and sits on the throne of his glory, there the Apes shall receive power by the Holy Ghost (Acts i. 8); shall be so much advanced above themselves as they are now, that they shall think themselves upon thrones in promoting the Gospel; they shall deliver it with authority, as a judge from the bench; they shall then have their commission enlarged, and shall publish the laws of Christ, by which the Church, God's spiritual Israel, shall be governed; and Israel according to the flesh, that continues in infidelity, with all others that do likewise, shall be condemned."

It is certainly to have its full accomplishment at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, when the Saints in general shall judge the world, and the twelve Apostles especially, as assessors with Christ in the Judgment of the Great Day, when all the world shall receive their final doom, and they (the Apostles) shall ratify and applaud the sentence.

"There are higher degrees of glory for those that have done and suffered most. The Apostles in this world were hurried and tossed, there they shall sit down at rest and ease; here bonds, and afflictions, and deaths did abide them, but there they shall sit on thrones of glory; here they were dragged to the bar, there they shall be advanced to the bench; here the twelve tribes of Israel trampled upon them, there they shall tremble before them.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 112 And will not this be recompense enough to make up all their losses and expenses for Christ?" Luke xxii. 29.

Such is the general interpretation of the promise made by our Lord in answer to the question, And what shall we have therefore. Hence Dean Alford observes--"The disciples, or Peter rather speaking for them, recur to the wordsThou shalt have reward in heaven--said to the young man; and enquire what their reward shall be who have done all that was required of them. He does not ask respecting salvation, but some pre-eminent reward, as is manifest by the answer."

According to the interpretations above given, it is evident that the Apostle Paul interpreted the reward in the same sense as the other Apostles, viz., promotion to the highest honor, authority, and hence the highest felicity. If this be the case, and if also this be the right interpretation, it is evident that the Apostles, one and all, must have carried with them the same expectation of pre-eminent honor, authority, or judiciary power and dignity as assessors with Christ, into the Spiritual World; and this is no other than what we have seen Swedenborg, in common with others, ascribing to them; for as the tree falls so it lies; and accordingly, if in any way Paul conceived himself to be above the other Apostles, or of a higher order of merit, as laboring more abundantly than they all, he would consequently conceive himself to be entitled to a correspondingly higher reward--a more distinguished crown of glory.



It is true that Dr. A. Clarke says--"The place before us (viz., 1 Cor. vi. 2) is generally understood to imply, that the redeemed of the Lord shall be on the Great Day assessors with him in judgment; and shall give heir award In-the determinations of his justice. On reviewing this subject, I am fully of opinion that this cannot be the meaning of the words, ,and that no such assessorship, as is contended for, ever will take place; and that the interpretation is clogged with a multitude of absurdities."--"It would be absurd to suppose that the thrones should be erected for the purpose of Saints sitting on them to give their approbation in the condemnation of the wicked. Of what use can such an approbation be? Is it necessary to the validity of Christ's decision? And will not even the damned themselves, without this, acknowledge the justice of their doom?"

Now the question at issue at present is, not what is the true meaning of the words of our Lord, but what was the meaning assigned by the Apostles. Our Lord used them in one sense, the Apostles understood them in another: our Lord used them in the spiritual sense, the Apostles understood them in the merely literal sense. To understand the words in the merely literal sense involves, we are told, "a multitude of absurdities."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 114 If so, and if all attempts to elude the plain, i. e., the literal, meaning of the words, are futile; those absurdities must have followed the Apostles into the Spiritual World, and have given rise in their minds to expectations founded on fantasies concerning their preeminence and judiciary power; so that whenever our Lord's promise was recalled in their interior memory, and when together with it their expectations while in the life of the body became reproduced, the harmony and peace of angels would be disturbed by the claims to pre-eminence; the consequence of which would be, that, in order to purify their minds from evils and errors of this kind, the Apostles would be remitted from the region of angels down into the region of spirits; to the end that they might be there instructed in the manner already described; and then afterwards restored to their mansions in heaven.

But why is it that the instruction takes place in the region of spirits? First, because the society in that region is in the same evils and errors with those who are sent there: like are associated with like, and, as such, the natural mind more freely develops itself, and the evils to be corrected are more fully brought out into view. This is absolutely necessary in the process of purification: evils and errors must be fully known, before they can be removed; and when fully developed, then follows, in the next place, instruction, both as to the nature of the evil and of the error. In the present case, those who advance claims to pre-eminence and judiciary power are sent among those who do the same; and where all, therefore, under various pretests, are laying claim to dominion; all desiring authority of some kind or other, and the exercise of judiciary power.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 115 Hence, as in this case there are the same principles at stake in the Spiritual World as there had previously been in the Natural the claims to dominion and authority as assessors wit-Christ are shewn to be of the same kind with the strife upon earth as to which should be accounted the greatest. Those who suffer themselves to be taught, and renounce their love of pre-eminence, are received up into heaven; and those in whom the love of pre-eminence, under whatever pretext, could not be extinguished, go down into the Babylonian regions of hell.

Thus end the claims to judiciary power and authority in the Spiritual World; and together with them, all expectations of literally sitting upon thrones, and being assessors with Christ.

For some days, says Swedenborg, "I have been taught by experience, that they who in the world are in the lust of eminence over others, and thus are in a state of envy against others who are in a better condition than themselves, after death become devils, and then devise similar machinations to those they had exercised in the life of the body; namely, they wish to learn spiritual things for no other end than that by their means, and by the aid of their own proper powers, they may mount over others who are the objects of their envy;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 116 when, notwithstanding, the affection which is of heaven is the desire to raise others into heaven, while at the same time he who does so is content to be the least." (Diary, art. 371. See also Arcana Coelestia, art. 1506, etc., 1594.)

Even in the case of angels, we have seen how, when tempted to pride and love of pre-eminence, God can suffer their intellect to be taken away altogether, and themselves to be at the mercy of their own hereditary instincts; insomuch that they shall even forget that they have ever been angels, or ever had been in heaven, or ever had been anything else than what they are in their fallen state.*

* See above, p. 43.

We have seen, nevertheless, how that state is only transitory--a stage in the process of purification--how such angels are capable of being restored, and received back again into ineffable felicity.

We have now spoken of the Apostolic writings in reference to the doctrines of merit, sinlessness, arbitrary election, and judiciary power, as entertained in the Spiritual World. With respect to the extent in which these doctrines were held by the Apostle Paul, there will of course be differences of opinion according to the variety of interpreters. But still it is very generally maintained, that the doctrines of merit, and of the exercise of judiciary power, are certainly Apostolic doctrines.

With respect to the really Christian aspect of the personal character of Paul, our remarks are reserved for the sequel.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 117 In the mean time, we now proceed, in the Second place, to the case of David; and first with regard to Achish, king of the Philistines.

1. In order to escape from Saul, David takes refuge in the land of the Philistines who were the enemies of Israel, and seeks to be on amicable terms with Achish, king of Gath, their principal city. Achish offers him Ziklag for a place of residence, which David accepts. And then we read-that "David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive; and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels; and returned and came to Achish." And Achish said, "Whither have ye made an excursion today?" And David said, "Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites."--Both of the two latter lived in Judah: so that from David's answer, Achish was led to believe that David had been slaughtering not the subjects of Achish, but his own countrymen. 1 Sam. xxvii. 3, etc.

Hence the Paraphrase of Dr. Wells.--"David words his answer cunningly, viz., in such an ambiguous manner, as that Achish might understand him, as if he had assaulted the fore-mentioned south parts of Judah itself; whereas he meant, he had assaulted such parts as lay south of Judah, which sense the words will also bear. Achish understood the first sense; as David, by the equivocation, meant he should. David, moreover, had saved neither man nor woman alive, lest they should come to Achish and undeceive him."



Family Bible: "He (David) answers Achish artfully, in these ambiguous words, that he might understand him to have assaulted the land of Judah itself; whereas he had in reality assaulted the people who bordered on the parts he mentions. It is hard to reconcile this management with justice, truth, or gratitude; neither are we bound to justify or approve all the actions even of good men recorded in Scripture."

Commentary of Dr. Gill: "David expressed himself so that Achish might think he meant the southern parts of Judah within the country; which, though not a downright lie, was an equivocation, and made with a design to deceive; and was by no means agreeably to the character of David, nor to be defended nor imitated."

Commentary of Dr. Adam Clarke: "There is not one circumstance in this transaction that is not blameable. David joins the enemies of his God and of his country; acts a most inhuman part against the Geshurites and Amalekites, without even the pretence of a Divine authority; tells a most deliberate falsehood to Achish, his protector, relative to the people against whom he had perpetrated this cruel act; giving him to understand that he had been destroying the Israelites, his enemies. I undertake no defense of this conduct of David: it is all bad; all defenseless; God vindicates him not.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 119 The inspired penman tells what he did, but passes no eulogium upon his conduct; and it is false to say, that, because these things are recorded, therefore they are approved. In all these transactions, David was in no sense a man after God's own heart. Chandler attempts to vindicate all this conduct: those who can receive his saying let them receive it"

Achish, having thus been deceived by David, was under the impression that David having slaughtered only his own countrymen, the people of Israel, they would utterly abhor him: therefore, says Achisb, He shall be my servant for ever.

"This deception," says Dr. Clarke--"which Dr. Delaney says did harm to nobody, and to the account of which he is at an utter loss what degree of guilt to charge,--imposed upon Achish, had the most direct tendency to make him imagine himself secure, while in the utmost danger; and to have a faithful friend and able ally in David, while he was the veriest enemy he could possibly have. Shame on him who becomes the apologist of such conduct As to Dr. Chandler, he should know that no lie is of the truth, and that all falsity is an abomination to the Lord."

"David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive."--"Here was a complete extirpation of all these people, not one being left alive, lest he should carry tidings of the disasters of his country. The spoil which David took consisted of sheep, oxen, asses, camels, and apparel."



Bayle, in his Dictionary, referring to the way in which Achish had been duped, especially in his being induced to say to David, "Thou art as an angel of God," makes this observation with regard to David seeking the friendship of Achish, who was the enemy of the Israelites--"If it be allowed that he followed the maxims of human policy in this case, yet we shall be at a loss to account for his conduct, as he was a man after God's own heart."

2. We next proceed to the moral character of the marital relations of David.

It is written in 2 Sam. v. 13--"And David tools him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron; and there were yet sons and daughters born to David." On which, in his Commentary, Dr. A. Clarke observes:--"He had in all conscience enough before; be had, in the whole, eight wives and ten concubines. That dispensation permitted polygamy; but from the beginning it was not so; and as upon an average there are about fourteen males born to thirteen females, polygamy is unnatural, and could never have entered into the original design of God."

Other Commentators make similar observations; and Dr. Wordsworth, speaking of this multiplication of wives and concubines, adds this remark:--"A sin in David, as forbidden by God's law, Deut. xvii. 17. But the stain and blemish of the type vanish in the Divine Antitype, Jesus Christ."



"The Divine David, after his ascension into the heavenly Jerusalem, espoused to Himself Churches in spiritual wedlock from all nations, as the Apostle speaks, 2 Cor. xi. 2, and He is ever raising up to Himself a holy seed of sons and daughters from Churches throughout the world. Christ Himself, by spiritual generation and propagation, is ever being-born, according to David's language, Psalm lxxxviii. 4, and that of St. Paul, Gal. iv. l9, in the hearts of believers in all lands."

From these remarks it is evident, that sin in the personal character of the literal David is prophetical of a spiritual property in the spiritual David, and that is, Divine propagation. Concubines, says Swedenborg, represent those who are in good, but yet are out of the Church; as also those who are of a lower degree within the Church. But it does not follow that the personal character which represents, is one with the spiritual character which is represented. To suppose, therefore, that David was personally a holy man, because personally he represented holy things, is to confound the distinction between the representative and the thing represented. It is true that polygamy was allowed under the Jewish dispensation, but that does not make it the less opposed to the law of God; and therefore to palliate the personal character of David on the ground that polygamy and concubinage were then allowable, and were prophetic of the future fertility of the Christian Church, is only to mislead us in regard to his personal character, and it is this personal character which we are now considering;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 122 for it is not his prophetic but his personal character according to which he is judged in the Spiritual World; and it is in relation to the principles already laid down in reference to this Judgment that we are now speaking.

There is, moreover, another event in the life of David immediately connected with the present subject which one would willingly omit to notice, but which is forced upon the attention of the readers of the Bible; we mean, the history of David's relations with Bathsheba, and the attendant circumstances.

It is impossible to state the Scripture narrative fully; for the immorality is so great, that we can only refer to certain prominent features; the case being one of treachery, adultery, and murder.

David conceives a passion for Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, and becomes guilty of adultery. Fearing that the crime might become known to Uriah, David sends for him. "And when David had called him, he did eat and drink before him, and he (that is, David) made him drunk" (2 Sam. xi. 13). Behold, says Estius upon this passage, "another grievous sin of David. As far as in him lay, he endeavored to make Uriah so drunk as to lose his reason, ut faceret eum dormire cum uxore, quo lateret adulterium. "Such," says the Family Bible, "are the low and scandalous shifts to which the consciousness of guilt reduces men. David hoped that Uriah, when inflamed with liquor, would return to his house and cohabit with his wife, which he had refused to do when sober."



Failing in this device to conceal his guilt, David writes a letter to Joab, sends it to him by the hands of Uriah himself, who is unaware of its contents, though it contains an order for his own death. "Many," says Matthew Henry, "were the aggravations of this murder. It was deliberate; he took time to consider of it; and though he had time to consider of it, for he wrote a letter about it; and though he had time to have countermanded the order afterward, before it could be put into execution; yet he did not do it. He sent the letter by Uriah himself: than which nothing could be more base and barbarous, to make him accessory to his own death. And, what a paradox was it, that he could bear such malice against him, in whom yet he could repose such a confidence, as that he would carry letters which he must not know the purport of."

Scott's Annotations: "David would not kill Uriah with his own bands, nor order his servants to assassinate him, nor put him to death under color of law; for his own reputation must have been injured by such measures: nay, perhaps, the direct injustice and murder would have disquieted his conscience, insensible as it was become. But he devised a more plausible and secret method of getting rid of him; which seemed at the time less atrocious, though in reality it was unspeakably more complicated and heinous.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 124 The known valor, fidelity, and zeal for his country, of this gallant officer, suggested the method of murdering him! David had such confidence in this much injured man, that he did not hesitate to entrust him with the letter which decreed his death; and, whatever else Uriah suspected, he did not betray his trust. Joab and those who retired from Uriah were thus made accomplices in the murder; and the soldiers who were slain with Uriah were no less murdered by David than he was. Whatever casuistry David might use with his conscience, this was deliberate murder of many persons with malice prepense; aggravated exceedingly by the circumstance that these men were slain in the very act of fighting for him and his kingdom. Perhaps Joab imagined that the king had some political reasons for taking off Uriah; but probably he was rejoiced to see him involved in the guilt of murder, as- well as himself."

The secret contents of the letter sent by David to Joab, and carried by the unsuspecting Uriah, were as follow:--"Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and die." Joab accordingly carries out the plot; and having fulfilled David's commands, hypocritically pretends by a messenger that he was afraid the king would be angry when he hears of the death of Uriah; and David, continuing the hypocrisy, equally pretends, when he receives the message of Joab that, however deplorable the event, it was an unforeseen calamity; for--when armies meet together in battle, it was, alas! impossible to say who would fall, "the sword devoureth one as well as the other" (2 Sam. xi. 25).


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 125 On which Dr. Adam Clarke observes-"what abominable hypocrisy was here! He well knew that Uriah's death was no chance medley: he was by his own order thrust on the edge of the sword."

The terrible difficulty of reconciling these sins of hypocrisy, cunning, adultery, and murder, with David's character as a prophet of God and a man after God's own heart, has induced the Jews and various modern Commentators to endeavor to extenuate these crimes; but Dr. Adam Clarke observes:--Drs. Delaney, Chandler, and others, have taken great pains to excuse and varnish this conduct of David; and while I admire their ingenuity, I abhor the tendency of their doctrine; being fully convinced, that he who writes on this subject should write like the inspired penman, who tells the TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH, AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH."--Less than this he could not have said, after his remark upon David's letter to Joab--"This was the sum of treachery and villainy. He made this most noble man (Uriah) the carrier of letters which prescribed the mode in which he was to be murdered."

3. But there is another circumstance in David's life which has sorely perplexed the Commentators.

The conscience of David being for a time awakened by the prophet Nathan--"David said unto Nathan, have sinned against the Lord."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 126 Accordingly this is supposed to be referred to in the penitential Psalm.*--"I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." Yet only a few verses after the penitence of David is mentioned, occurs the following narrative:--

* The Psalm is entitled--"A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet came unto him after he had gone into Bethsheba. " Both Bishop Horsley and Dr. Kennicott think the title not to be genuine: that the Psalm has no reference to such an occasion, but was written by some other person during the captivity and the cessation of the temple worship.

And David gathered all the people together, and went to Rabbah, and fought against it and took it. And he took their king's crown from off his head, the weight whereof was a talent of gold with the precious stones; and it was set on David's head. And he brought forth the spoils of the city in great abundance. And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brick-kiln; and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem.

On this subject Bishop Patrick observes: "Some of the inhabitants he caused to be sawn in sunder; over others, horses drew harrows with great iron teeth; others were drawn over sharp sickles, or sharp stones, which perhaps he means by brick-kilns; for so some interpreters understand it, that he dragged them through the place where bricks are made; and were grated their flesh upon the ragged pieces of broken bricks.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 127 Though some will have this word malken to signify the place where the Ammonites offered their sacrifices to their god Moloch or Malcolm (as he is oft called), and made the people there to pass through the fire. So the Vulgate translates it fornacem Moloch. This dreadful punishment was to terrify other countries from violating the right of nations by abusing public ambassadors. Though many have thought it too severe, and looked upon it as an argument, that David did this in the state of his impenitence, when the mild and gentle spirit of God was departed from him, and he was become cruel and furious as well as lustful."

The Paraphrase of Dr. Wells is as follows: And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them some under saws, i. e., sawed them in sunder; and some under harrows of iron, which were drawn over them by horses, or the like; and some under axes of iron, i. e., cut them to pieces, and made others of them to pass through the brick-kiln, and so to be burnt sadly, if not to death. And thus he did unto all the cities of the children of Ammon; these dreadful punishments being made use of to terrify other countries from violating the right of nations by abusing ambassadors. Though, after all, it may reasonably be thought that David used too great severity; at least to such as had no hand in the abuse offered his ambassadors, nor could help it.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 128 Hence it is not improbable that David did this in the state of his impenitence, when the mild and gentle spirit of Gad being withdrawn from him, he was become as furious and cruel as lustful."

The Commentary of Matthew Henry is as follows: "David was both too haughty and too severe upon this occasion, and neither so humble nor so tender as he should have been. He seems to have been too fond of the crown of the king of Ammon; because it was of extraordinary value. By reason of the precious stones with which it was set, David would have it upon his head, though it would have been better to cast it at God's feet, and at this time to have put his own mouth in the dust under guilt. The heart that is truly humbled for sin is dead to worldly glory, and looks upon it with a holy contempt. He seems to have been too harsh with his prisoners of war, taking the city by storm after it had obstinately held out against a long and expensive siege. If he had put all to the sword in the heat of battle whom he found in arms, it had been severe enough; but to kill them afterwards in cold blood, and by cruel tortures, with saws and harrows, tearing them to pieces, did not become him, who, when he entered upon the government, promised to sing of mercy as well as judgment (Psalm ci. 1). Had he made examples of those only who had abused his ambassadors, advised or assisted in it, that being a violation of the law of nations, it might be looked upon as a piece of necessary justice for terror to other nations; but to be thus severe with all the cities of the children of Ammon (that is, the garrison or soldiers of the cities) was extremely rigorous, and a sign that David's heart was not yet made soft by repentance;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 129 else the bowels of his compassion would not have been thus shut up; a sign that he had not yet found mercy, else he would have been more ready to shew mercy."

Arcana Coelestia, art. 4903: "That the Jewish nation was in an external principle without an internal, and therefore believed truth to be false, and vice versa, is evident from this doctrinal tenet, in that it was allowable to hate an adversary; and also from their life, in that they hated all who were not of their religion; yea, that they believed they were doing what was well pleasing to Jehovah, and were serving Him when they treated the nations with barbarity and cruelty, by exposing their bodies when they were slain, to be devoured by wild beasts and birds; by cutting them alive with saws, piercing them with spikes and axes of iron, and making them pass through the brick-kiln. Yea, it was also. agreeable to their doctrinals to treat a companion nearly in a like manner, who for any cause was a declared enemy. Hence it may appear plainly that there was nothing of an internal principle in their personal religion. If any one in this case had said to them that such things were against the internal of the Church, they would have replied that this was false. That they were merely in externals, and were altogether ignorant what an internal principle is, and led a life contrary to an internal principle, is also evident from what the Lord teaches in Matthew, chap. v., verses 21-28."



Family Bible on 2 Samuel xi. 15:--"It has appeared a difficulty to some, that persons raised up, aided, inspired, directed, or assisted by God, should have been guilty of such crimes as David, such idolatries as Solomon, such weaknesses as Samson, such apostasies and cruelties as the Jewish nation in general. To this it may be answered, that it is perfectly credible that they should be raised up for particular purposes, aided in effecting a particular object; inspired with a certain degree of knowledge; assisted at particular periods, and in a special manner; and yet that, beyond this, their natural character, their external temptations, may have produced all the irregularities and crimes which gave so much offence."--Dr. Graves.

The various estimates which have been formed by Commentators of the conduct of David and the Israelites upon this occasion are remarkable.

Some think that David did not manifest any excess of cruelty upon this occasion; that he was only retaliating--"because it is God's will," says Mayer, that this severity should sometime be exercised against the wicked, as a praeludium of the torments to come for ever upon them at the last day without all mercy,--which- is an interpretation intensifying, if possible, the severities inflicted by David. Others admit that David acted upon this occasion by the command of God (of which, however, nothing is said in the Bible); and therefore that David was himself blameless.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 131 Others admit the act to have been one of savage barbarity; in which David was acting not by the commands of God, but by the impulses of his own hereditary lusts and passions. Others, utterly unable to reconcile the transaction in any way whatever with the character of David as a prophet of God, suggest a different reading.--"This action of David's," says Dr. Gill, shewing so much severity, is thought by most to be done when under the power of his lust with Bathsheba; in a hardened and impenitent state, when he had no sense of mercy himself, and so shewed none; which is too injurious to his character; for this was a righteous retaliation to this cruel people (1 Sam. xi. 2; Amos i. 13), which may be observed in other instances (Judges viii. 6, 7; 1 Sam. xv. 33)."

In order, however, to remove all ground for the charge of cruelty, he suggests another translation, viz., "he put them* to the saw to cut stones, to the iron mines to dig there; and to the axes of iron to cut wood with."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 132 It is however evident that, if the transaction be regarded as one of righteous retaliation, there is no use in altering the received translation; and if that translation be received as expressing the genuine meaning of the original, which is the general opinion of Commentators, it is evident that, even if the act be regarded as a righteous retaliation, it may also be regarded in the retaliator as one of diabolic cruelty; inasmuch as, in the course of Divine Providence, wickedness in one is punished by wickedness in another, pride in one by pride in another, cruelty by cruelty, barbarism by barbarism.

* Dr. A. Clarke says in his Commentary, From this representation a great cry has been raised against David's unparalleled, if not diabolic, cruelty.... Sawing asunder, hacking, chopping, and hewing human beings, have no place in this test, no more than they had in David's conduct toward the Ammonites." ... "In the time in which our translation was made, Biblical criticism was in its infancy, if indeed it existed."

On the other hand, Dr. Davidson, a modern Hebrew scholar, and reputedly a higher critical authority than Dr. Clarke, maintains that the rendering in the English Authorized Version is correct.The Chronicle reading is original and right."--Introduction to the Old Testament, vol. i., p. 535.

We see, then, that the prophetic inspirations of David did not efface or even alter his personal natural character; and this is the ground of the mechanical theory of inspiration entertained by theologians; according to which, the hands of the prophets often wrote what their hearts did not feel, or their heads understand. The natural character of David was to the end of his life held in subjugation, not by Divine inspiration, but by Divine judgments. "For," says the Family Bible (2 Sam. xii. 13), "though his life was spared, yet God inflicted those temporal judgments which the prophet (Nathan) denounced, that his soul might be saved in the day of the Lord; and that others, admonished by his example, might be the more afraid to offend. The remainder of his days was as disastrous as the beginning had been prosperous.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 133 Rape, incest, murder, and rebellion, raged among his children: he was deserted by his friends, reviled by his enemies, banished from his capital, plunged into the deepest affliction by the ingratitude and death of his favorite son Absalom; and, to fill up the measure of his calamities, had a dreadful plague brought upon his subjects by his last offence; so that he died, exhausted, at seventy years of age, still older in constitution than in years."--Dr. Hales.

In answer to all this it has been said, that, nevertheless David is called* "a man after God's own heart." But Bishop Warburton replies, "It is of importance to the cause of truth to know that this character was not given for his PRIVATE MORALS, but his PUBLIC; his zeal for the advancement of the glory of the Theocracy."--"No other virtue was here in question."

* 1 Sam. xiii. 14. Acts of the Apostles, chap. xiii. 22.

Divine Legation, vol. iv., p. 311.

The Family Bible also observes on the subject "David is here called a man after God's own heart, not on account of his private virtues, but of his public conduct; not for a spotless purity of manners, but for his abhorrence of idolatry, and his strict adherence to the civil and religious laws of his country. Whoever exerted himself vigorously and effectually in upholding true religion, which was the great end and main design of the Divine government established over the Jews, might, with the strictest propriety, be called a man after God's own heart.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 134 Now this was the distinguishing excellence of David's life: he was a sincere and hearty lover of his country, a zealous observer of its laws in opposition to all idolatry, from which he kept himself and his people at the utmost distance. If any Christian writers have supposed that this title was the mark of moral perfection, and in consequence of that have exalted David's character into a standard of virtue, they have, with a very good meaning perhaps, done a very injudicious thing.''--Bishop Porteus.

Family Bible, on 1 Sam. Xiii. 14.

Dr. Adam Clarke, also, in his Commentary observes: "But in what sense was David a man after God's own heart? 1. In his strict attention to the law and worship of God. 2. In his admitting in the whole of his conduct that God was King in Israel, and that he himself was but his vicegerent. 3. In never attempting to alter any of those laws, or in the least changing the Israelitish constitution. 4. In all his public official conduct he acted according to the Divine mind, and fulfilled the will of his Maker; thus was he a man after God's own heart. In reference to his private or personal moral conduct the word is never used. This is the sense alone in which the word is used here and elsewhere; and it is unfair and wicked to put another meaning on it, in order to ridicule the revelation of God, as certain infidels have done."

It is certain, then, that all such titles as David, "my servant"--David, "the man of God"--"the anointed of God"


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 135 "the man after God's own heart"--are no designation of his private or personal virtues, but only of his public and official conduct. As to his love of supremacy, dominion, and despotism, this, we are told, is shewn in his numbering the people of Israel only two years before his death; on which Dr. Ditto observes, in his Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature

4. "The reign of David began as that of a constitutional monarch, with a league between him and his people: it ends as a pure despotism, in which the monarch gives his kingdom away to whomsoever he pleases, and his nominee steps at once into power without entering into any public engagements. The intensity of the despotism is strikingly shewn in the indirect and cautious device by which alone Joab dared to hint to the king the suitableness of recalling Absalom from banishment, though he believed the king himself to desire it (2 Sam. xiv.). All rose necessarily out of the standing army which David kept up, by the side of which constitutional liberty could not stand."

"The truth is, probably, that at this time David coveted an extension of empire, contrary to the Lord's plans for the house of Israel. Having permitted himself to cherish this evil design, he could not well look to the Lord for help, and therefore sought to know whether the thousands of Israel and Judah were equal to the conquests he meditated. His design, doubtless, was to force all the Israelites into which his ambition had in view;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 136 and as the people might resist this census, the soldiery were employed to make it, that they might not only put down all resistance, but suppress any disturbances which the general dislike to this proceeding might occasion."

Accordingly, the interpretation of Tirinus is generally followed.--"What on this occasion was the grievous sin of David? I answer the sin of David was, that, without any command from God and without any necessity, he instituted a census of this kind only with a view to make an ostentation of his power; whence Ambrose and Severus Sulpitius accuse David of ambition, because he arrogated to himself the institution of a census of this kind, carrying it out in his own name, and making a parade of his dominion over all--a census which God had reserved to Himself to be carried out only in his own name, and by his own sovereignty."

Hence also in his Literal Commentary, Calmet observes:

It ought then to be acknowledged, that the crime of David was altogether interior. It was pride, ambition, inflation of heart, foolish curiosity to know the number of his subjects, the greatness of his forces, the extent of his empire; as if all this greatly contributed to his glory, his majesty, his reputation. And as if by secret dependence upon himself, he had wished to attribute these things all to himself, and to place his confidence in them rather than in the assistance of God.



What, however, in David's mind was the fertile source of this lust for universal domination? It is well known, that, when promises were made to the Jewish nation, and they were called a chosen people, and such like, they appropriated these promises exclusively to themselves.--"The* Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure."--"Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth."--As the Jews understood these words only in the natural sense, they for that reason restricted them to their own particular nation. Can we be surprised, then, that David should upon the same principle appropriate to himself exclusively, as David, the promises made to David?--"The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David: he will not turn from it: of the fruit of thy body will I set upon the throne."--"Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David: his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me: it shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness is in heaven,"--a Divine promise thus paraphrased by Bishop Lowth:

* Psalm cxxxv. 4.

Deut. vii. 6.

Psalm cxxxii. 11.

Psalm lxxxix. 35.

"I will not violate the covenant I have made with David, nor retract the promise which I have solemnly passed to his family.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 138 For I have unalterably sworn by my own incommunicable excellencies that I will as soon cease to be what I am, as to deceive him. His family shall never be quite extinct; but always remain in my favor, and hold the regal dignity as long as the sun shineth. The moon may as well fall from her orb, as his authority fall to the ground and rise no more. Let that be a witness of my fidelity when you look upon it (Jer. xxxiii. 20); and conclude that, after all the changes and eclipses his kingdom may suffer, it shall stand as fast as that and all the rest of the heavenly bodies."

Can we wonder, then, that David should understand the Psalm in the same sense in which, even by Christian, it is here interpreted? that he it is that should be the chosen head on whom the future Messiah was to be dependent for his existence? that if he was the type of the victorious Messiah, the Messiah was only the antitype of the victorious David? that as David he should have dominion* from sea to sea? that his enemies should lick the dust? that all kings should fall down before him, and all nations should serve him? Here, then, is the key to his warlike ambition, his love of military conquest, of which we read that Satan took advantage. Then "Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel."

* Psalm lxxii. 5, 8, 9.

Chron. xxi. 1.

Now all this is simply an illustration and confirmation of what Swedenborg has stated in the Arcana concerning David. "The Lord hath sworn to David the truth."-- David believed this to be a confirmation of an oath made to himself and his posterity."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 139 "For David was principled in the love of himself and of his posterity, and hence he believed that the oath had respect thereto, viz., that his seed should be established forever, and his throne from generation to generation; when nevertheless this was spoken of the Lord."

Art. 2842.

It is said, indeed, that David repented: but in so far as it was a repentance induced tinder the apprehension of punishment, it indicated no real change in the moral constitution of his mind. The census took place only two years before his death, and there is nothing recorded concerning his last hours calculated to exalt our ideas of his personal character. When the animal heat of his frame was at last declining, a youthful concubine is sent for to lie by his side,* and foster his waning life while the last words upon his lips conveyed an order first to be avenged upon Joab--"Let not his hoar head go clown to the grave in peace;" and then to put to death Shimei, one of his enemies.--"Hold him not guiltless, for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 140 So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David."

* On which Matthew Henry observes: "They foolishly prescribed nuptials to one that should rather have been preparing for his funeral; but they knew what would gratify their own corruptions, and perhaps were too willing to gratify his, under color of consulting his health. His prophets should have been consulted as well as his physicians, in an affair of this nature. However, this might be excused then when even good men ignorantly allowed themselves to have many wives."

1 Kings i. 2.

1 Kings 1 6, 9.

On this subject Dean Stanley* observes:--

* Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church. Second Series, p. 135.

Three versions of his latest words appear in the sacred record. One, which no admirer of his heroic character can read without a pang, breathes the union of tender gratitude for past services with the fierce and profound vindictiveness which belongs to the worse nature of his age, his family, and his own character. Chimham and his children were specially recommended to Solomon's care; but a dark legacy of long cherished vengeance, like that which was found in the hands of the dead Constantine, was bequeathed to his successor against the aged Joab and the aged Shimei.

We shall now proceed to consider the language of Scripture which has been pleaded in vindication of David's personal character; as, First, That David's only sin was in the matter of Uriah; and Secondly, That there is a true sense in which David was a man after God's own heart.

With regard to the first, there is a passage apparently of a very serious nature in 1 Kings xv. 5, in vindication of the character of David, viz., "Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside to any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."



On this subject Calmet observes, 2 Kings xii. 21, on the passage relating to the atrocities at Rabbah "We may presume that David in this respect followed only the laws of war common to that period; or that the Ammonites drew this chastisement upon themselves by preceding acts of which we have no knowledge. One thing is certain, viz., That Scripture does not reproach David with any thing upon this occasion, and that it even offers to him an express testimony, that, with the exception of the case of Uriah, his conduct had been irreproachable. Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. We ought not then lightly to condemn a proceeding of which we have not a sufficient knowledge to enable us to form a sure and exact judgment."

David's conduct irreproachable except only in the matter of Uriah! Is this the meaning of Scripture? The explanations of this subject given by other Commentators are significant and instructive.

"The common explanation given by interpreters," says Menochius, "is this, that the other sins which, were committed by David were, as to rank and degree, of such a nature, that, compared with this sin of the murder of Uriah, they ought in a manner to be considered as no sins."



So Bishop Patrick: "He was not without other sins, but none so enormous as this; and therefore not remembered, as this about Uriah is very often, to his dishonor."

On this subject A Lapide also observes: You will say that David committed many other sins beside this, as when through pride he numbered the people, a sin which God punished by a plague and by the death of seventy thousand men; again when he put Nabal to death and all his domestics; again when by his command Mephibosheth took away from an innocent person half of his rights. These sins, however, were not so grievous as the adultery and homicide of Uriah, nor were they so publicly known and called to account by people in general--nay, they had a certain outside veil and pretest of creditable character (honestatis), and of justice (justitiae), at least in the estimation of men, who therefore either excused the conduct or took no notice of it. The sin, however, against Uriah was held by all to be unjust, enormous, and infamous; and therefore God did not permit sins so great and scandalous to go unpunished."

So the Commentary of Tirinus: "Did not then David sin when he devoted to death the whole family of Nabal? Did he not sin when, with such great cruelty, he raged against the Ammonites without distinction; and over their prostrate bodies dragged vehicles armed with scythes, and knives, and saws; and tortured the poor wretches in other unaccustomed ways?


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 143 Did he not sin in numbering the people in opposition to the Divine command, by which he caused the destruction of so many thousand men? Did not he himself openly confess that he had sinned, and say, I have sinned greatly in that I have done? How then is it here said that he has committed no sin except in the case of Uriah? I answer, God here speaks and judges after the manner of men; according to which, sins are not esteemed to be such which are covered over with some fair pretext or by some veil of at least apparent virtue; for that is supposed to be done well which is not evident to be manifestly evil. Since therefore the intended cruelty of David toward the Nabalites, and his expeditions against the Ammonites actually carried on, were veiled under the covering of a just revenge; and the numbering of the people under the pretext of a religious tribute for building the temple; therefore such things were not every where esteemed by men to be sins, at least not heinous sins. Wherefore God was not willing to make them every where publicly known as such; being content that such things should be esteemed as sins both in his own judgment and in the conscience of the sinner; and be punished as such. On the other hand, the adultery with Bathsheba, the infamous murder of the innocent Uriah, inasmuch as they could not be veiled over or excused by any appearance of virtue, or by any fair pretence; were therefore by all men objected against David, and openly so by God in this passage, as being enormous iniquities;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 144 and therefore these are the only ones now objected against him; because, on all other occasions on which he either publicly or privately sinned, he could by some fair pretext be excused before men from partaking of a more heinous sinfulness and guilt."

Family Bible: "David without doubt was guilty of many other sins besides the murder of Uriah, many of which are recorded in Scripture; as in the matter of Nabal and Meshibosheth, and the numbering of the people; for which God was so angry with him that He punished him with a severe plague among the people he had numbered. But for these and other such sins he had brought his trespass offerings; and so they were atoned for and expiated, and therefore imputed to him no longer; as it is particularly recorded in that of his numbering the people; for he no sooner offered his burnt offerings and peace offerings, but the Lord was intreated for the land (2 Sam. xxiv. 25). And therefore notwithstanding his other sins, he was looked upon in the eye of the law as not having turned aside, save only in the matter of Uriah. This latter sin indeed was so heinous, that the law had provided for it no propitiatory sacrifice; as he himself confesses in the exercise of his repentance for it."--Bishop Beveridge.

Now, whatever may be thought of these interpretations, not one of them regards the original passage in Scripture as intending any vindication of David's moral character in the sight of God, but only in the sight of man.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 145 When it is said that David did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of his life, we are told that all that ismeant is that this was the opinion of his people in that day, as formed according to the manners and customs then prevailing, or according to the rules of morality proper to that period. A more terrible condemnation of the morality of those times could scarcely be suggested. Cruelty and treachery were the order of the day, and therefore nothing was thought of them in the case of David. Nay, so long as any plausible excuse for them could be found, it might be said by the Israelites of that day, that "he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside from any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life!" God commanded certain burnt offerings and peace offerings to be presented to Him; and if David observed this outward service, and presented them according to God's command, it was sufficient in public estimation to acquit him of his sins, and make him stand guiltless and righteous before God!

Such are the explanations given by Commentators, differing in toto from that of Calmet; for it is no excuse for David's cruelties at Rabbah to say, that he was only following the laws of war proper to that period; nor is it any excuse to say, that circumstances may have taken place which are not recorded, and which may have justified the proceeding.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 146 Our judgment must be formed on the ground of what is recorded, not on what is unrecorded; and to have recourse to something or other unrecorded, no one knows what, in order to justify David, is only to admit that that which is recorded leaves him unjustified.

Secondly.--We have seen what Bayle has said concerning David as a man after God's own heart. Dean Milman, in his History of the Jews,* vindicates the character of David from the remarks of Bayle, in the following manner:

* Vol. i., p. 306.

"If the rapidity with which a kingdom rises to unexampled prosperity, and the permanence, as far as human wisdom can provide, of that prosperity, be a fair criterion of the abilities and character of a sovereign, few kings in history can compete with David. His personal character has been often discussed; but both by his enemies and even by some of his learned defenders, with an ignorance of, or inattention to, his age and country, in writers of such acuteness as Bayle, not less melancholy than surprising. Both parties have been content to take the expression of the man after God's own heart, in a strict and literal sense. Both have judged, by modern, European, and Christian notions, the chieftain of an Eastern and comparatively barbarous people.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 147 If David in his exile became a freebooter, he assumed a profession, like the pirate in ancient Greece, by no means dishonorable. If he employed craft, or even falsehood, in some of his enterprises, chivalrous or conscientious attachment to truth was probably not one of the virtues of his day. He had his harem, like other Eastern kings. He waged war, and revenged himself on his foreign enemies with merciless cruelty, like other warriors of his age and country. His one great crime violated the immutable and universal laws of morality, and therefore admits of no excuse. On the other hand, his consummate personal bravery and military talent--his generosity to his enemies--his fidelity to his friends--his knowledge of, and steadfast attention to, the true interests of his country--his exalted piety and gratitude toward his God, justify the zealous and fervent attachment of the Jewish people to the memory of their great monarch."

1 Sam. viii. 14... "But now thy kingdom shall not continue; the Lord hath sought him a man after His own heart," etc.

This vindication of David's personal character as a man after God's own heart is based upon the principles adopted by previous Commentators in their explanation of the words--"David did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not aside to any thing that He commanded him all the days of his life; save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 148 We are told that we are to judge of the personal character of David according to the standard of morality of that day, which, it is admitted, was of the very lowest description; and which could reconcile "craft," "falsehood," and "merciless cruelty" with the reputation of exalted piety and gratitude towards God-in fine, with being a man after God's own heart. Accordingly it is added, that the Jews were justified in their zealous and fervent attachment to the memory of their great monarch. On the other hand, the solution of the difficulty, as given by Swedenborg in his Diary, is the following:--

"Nor does any mischief or difficulty arise from the circumstance that they called him a man of God, a holy man, and venerated him as such, since they knew no better; although they might have known it from his life (had they also known a higher standard of morality). For, in this case, there arises no more harm than if any one should give alms to a pauper who yet is a robber, and be ignorant that he is a robber; for he exercises the same pity, and has the same end in view, as if he had given alms to an honest man. As to their calling David by the titles above mentioned, this was allowed on account of the representation of the Lord by him, as also by the kings who succeeded him." (Diary, art. 2657.)

Interpreters, when interpreting the Psalms, fall into the same confusion with regard to the prophetic and personal character of David, as when interpreting the historical events of his life; some attributing his maledictions solely to prophetic inspiration; others, to personally vindictive feelings; that is to say, some attributing them solely to his prophetic, others solely to his personal character.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 149 Thus:--

Let death seize upon them and let them go down quick into hell; for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them.

On these words it is said:* David here speaks not as a private man, but as a prophet inspired by the Holy Ghost; and more than this, he is raised above himself, and borne along by the breath of prophetic inspiration; and Christ who was in his loins speaks in him, and by His divine authority pronounces a judicial sentence on all who rebel against God."

* Dr. Wordsworth on The Book of Psalms. Psalm lv. 15.

Again: Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord persecute them....

In these words it is said: "These, it is true, are imprecations, but in whose mouth? Even regarded as proceeding from the mouth of David, they are not from David as a common man, but from David as a prophet speaking in the Spirit of God, and saying his Amen to God's decrees: God who is good is also just, and will not act with passion but in equity. And David, the inspired prophet, speaks in the same spirit as that in which God acts--David prophets in Spiritu Dei sic dicit quomodo illa Deus facit, certo judicio, bono, justo, sancto, tranquillo, non perturbatus ira, non amaro zelo, non animo inimicitiarum exercendarum, sed vitiorum puniendorum studioso."

Ibid. Psalm xxxv. 6.



Again: "Let their table become a snare to them, and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened that they see not: and make their loins continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them," etc.

On these words it is said:* "David was a prophet, and as such was lifted up out of himself by the Holy Ghost: and he was the progenitor and type of Christ. The Spirit of Christ spake in him and by him; and the very fact to which the objection is made, that these things are not applicable to David personally, is the natural and necessary consequence of David's prophetic office and typical character. This is distinctly stated by St. Peter (Acts ii. 25-31), who teaches us that David speaks of things as appertaining to himself, which are not applicable to himself personally, but are true of Christ in him.... But further: St. Paul teaches us that these words are spoken prophetically concerning the reprobation of the Jews for their sin. See Rom. xi. 7, 10."

* Dr. Wordsworth on The Book of Psalms. Psalm lxix. 21.

Now it is evident, that by transferring from the personal to the prophetic character of David all those imprecations which appear to breathe a terribly vindictive spirit, and then by imputing to his personal character all those devotional passages which breathe such a deeply religious spirit, David, when regarded as to his personal character apart from the historical facts of his life, may be made to appear a most holy man, a man of God, a man after God's own heart;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 151 and to say any thing on the other side of the question in which the personal character of David might be viewed in an unfavorable, not to say a revolting aspect, might be interpreted as nothing less than speaking against the Lord's Anointed. Nevertheless, this has been done. Thus, in regard to the Psalter:--

"The* sentiments which it contains are of the most various and unequal kind. It can plead no exemption from the defects of the Jewish system. Not even in the wars of Joshua, or the song of Deborah, does the vindictive spirit of the ancient dispensation burn more fiercely than in the imprecations of the 69th, 109th, and 137th Psalms. When Clovis fed his savage spirit from the 18th Psalm, it was, we must confess, because he found there the sparks of a kindred soul."

* Lectures on the Jewish Church. Second Series, p. 153. By Dean Stanley.

"The mind of Clovis was susceptible of transient fervor: he was exasperated by the pathetic tale of the passion and death of Christ and, instead of weighing the salutary consequences of that mysterious sacrifice, he exclaimed, with indiscreet fury, Had I been present at the head of my valiant Franks, I would have revenged his injuries.... His ambitious reign was a perpetual violation of moral and Christian duties: his hands were stained with blood, in peace as well as in war; and as soon as Clovis had dismissed a Synod of the Gallican Church, he calmly assassinated all the princes of the Merovingian race."--Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. vi., chap. 31.



Again: in regard to the crown captured from the idol at Rabbah, and the savage cruelties already described: Thou hast set a crown of pure gold upon his head."--"So* in all probability sang the Psalmist who celebrated this proud victory. He celebrated also its darker side. Thine hand shall find out all Thine enemies: Thy right hand shall find out those that hate Thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thy wrath. The expressions agree well with the cruel extermination of the conquered inhabitants by fire and by strange and savage tortures--a vengeance to be accounted for, not excused, by the formidable resistance of the besieged."

* Lectures on the Jewish Church. Second Series, p. 104. By Dean Stanley. Psalm xxi.

Hence in a Note it is added: The burning alive of the captives, which seems indicated in Psalm xxi. 9, and 2 Sam. xii. 31, appears to have been a customs usual in Trans-Jordanic wars (Jer. xlviii. 45; xlix. 2; Amos ii. 1). A similar custom existed among the Philistines."

Accordingly, by applying to the personal character of David expressions which others impute only to his prophetic office, we view the character of David in that double aspect in which it is described in Scripture, and according to which he is called "a man of God," and "a man of war who had shed blood abundantly," and for this reason was not allowed to build the Temple.

2 Chron. viii, 14; Nehemiah xii.24, 36; 1 Chron. xxviii. 3.



How are we to reconcile these different designations? We answer, only by observing the distinction between his prophetic and his personal character; and not allowing the one to nullify the other. When he took to himself concubines, it was not the less an evil because it was prophetic of the future fertility of the Church. When he smote the Amalekites, the Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites, he was not the less a sanguinary warrior because he smote the enemies of God; nor was he less a man of blood in his destruction of Rabbah, because the Ammonites had insulted his ambassadors and were profane idolaters. We may therefore, without interfering with his typical and prophetic character, adopt the statements made by Dean Stanley with regard to his personal character:--

"Its* was as Conqueror, even more than as Ruler, that he especially appears as the Messiah, the Anointed One. It is in his order of battle, even more than in his religious processions, that the Ruler of Israel--whether David or David's descendant--appears as the Priestly King. When he is addressed as a Priest, though not of Levitical descent--a Priest bursting through all the common regulations of the Priesthood--an immortal Priest like the ancient Melchizedek


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 154 it is as the mighty Leader who is to trample, like Joshua, on the necks of his enemies, who is to be surrounded by his armies, numerous and fresh and brilliant as the drops of the morning dew, striking through kings in the day of his wrath, filling his pathway with the corpses of the dead; wounding the heads of many countries, refreshed as he passes by the watercourse which divides country from country, and going on with his head aloft, conquering and to conquer. This was the foundation of that resplendent image of the Messiah, which it required the greatest of all religious changes to move from the mind of the Jewish nation, in order to raise up instead of it the still more exalted idea which was to take its place--an Anointed Sovereign conquering by other arts than those of war, and in other dominions than those of earthly empire."

* Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church. By Dean Stanley. Second Series, p.97. Psalm cx.

The question, however, is one which concerns not only the Jews, but Christians even more than the Jews. For David's personal character found its way into his writings; so that the same anomalies exist in his writings which existed in his personal character; and side by side with what is called the most exalted piety, we find the most merciless and vindictive feelings. These writings have been adopted into the public worship of Christian Churches. "The motives of the speakers," says Dr. Davidson,* "can only be discovered from their language.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 155 And that language certainly leads to the conclusion, that the feelings were more vindictive than religious. Thus in the 137th PsalmHappy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones,--we may ask, was this prompted by a regard to religion? Surely not. Be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Was such a prayer inspired by religion? We think not. Man is not justified in desiring the Almighty to vindicate His glory, by inflicting deserved chastisements, especially such chastisements as the eternal destruction of His enemies. Consume them in wrath, consume them that they may not be, has no warrant in the New Testament."

* Introduction to the Old Testament, vol. ii., p. 295, etc.

So again the same author on Psalm cix. 9:--

Some one is here singled out as the subject of imprecation. And not only is the prayer against him, but also against his children, his posterity also generally. The very iniquity of the fathers of the individuals is introduced, with the view of its being remembered against the descendants; and it is requested that his mother's sin should not be blotted out. Have the children, mother, ancestors of the person, any thing to do with his own deeds? The sufferer prays directly and plainly for the punishment of an enemy. He launches forth dire imprecations against him, wishing that the innocent children, and even the parents, might be visited and not forgiven. If this be not. evidence of vindictive feelings, we know not what vindictiveness is. The man himself may have been the Psalmist's persevering, malignant enemy; but how could the children, the posterity, the ancestors be so? The thing is impossible."       



From these remarks it must be inferred, that the exalted piety of David must have been of such a kind as to be reconcilable with these vindictive feelings and merciless cruelties; if so, it must therefore have been of a totally different nature from the piety of the Christian: each uses the same words, but each understands them in a different sense;. David, after the standard proper to Jewish morality; the Christian, after the standard proper to Christian morality. Down to the last clay of his life, therefore, David, as a Jew and actuated by Jewish feelings, must, like the rest of the Jews, have been an utter stranger to the spirit of Christianity.

"Some apologetic authors," says Dr. Davidson,* speak of vengeful expressions as being sometimes the expressions of enlightened zeal for God's glory when they come from an inspired man! But there is no distinction in their essence or morality, whether they proceed from a private individual or an inspired David. Inspiration does not alter their character; because right and wrong are unchangeable. All reasoning to excuse these imprecations on the ground of God's justice and righteous indignation against sin is radically unsound, as long as God and man are so separate that the latter cannot arrogate to himself the true attributes of the Former.

* Introduction to the Old Testament, vol. ii., p. 297.



Undoubtedly, David wrote under a dispensation when retaliation was considered as lawful--"an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But, in the spiritual sense, this law signified only that, sooner or later, evil retaliates upon itself by bringing with it its own punishment. David, as living under an external dispensation, understood the' law in an external sense; but Christians, as living under an internal or spiritual dispensation, understand it in its internal or spiritual sense. To impute vengeful feelings to God, or to regard them as allowable to a Christian, is only to nullify the difference between the two dispensations; and to place the Lord, in His Divine humanity, upon the same level with the Jew.

It seems, then, impossible to deny these vindictive feelings to David. The prophetic office, under the Jewish dispensation, did not nullify the dispensation itself; and hence Divine Truth, in descending into the minds of the Jewish prophets, assumed the form of the Jewish dispensation; in other words, the spiritual sense clothed itself in. forms proper to the mind of the merely natural man. In this case, the vindictive feelings of David may be made to express laws of reaction or retaliation in the Spiritual World; and this without David being aware of the circumstance, or having any understanding of the subject. When he said, "Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of Thine anger: the Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them," it only shows that what in the Lord was only Divine Love appeared to him as it did to the people of old, when "the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel."



So in regard to Psalm cix., containing such terrible imprecations; David may there have been yielding to his own vindictive feelings against some personal enemy, without knowing that it was a description of the spiritual state of the Jewish Church in the time of our Savior; and that a like passage would be so applied by one of the tribe of Benjamin, namely, the Apostle Paul, in the 11th chapter of Romans.

So in regard to Psalm cx., which David is said to have applied to himself as the Lord's Anointed; the typical Messiah going forth as Conqueror in the day of his wrath, and "filling his pathway with the corpses of the dead," did but picture David's notion of the triumphs of the Messiah; whereas the dead bodies, in a spiritual sense, signify only the doctrines of idolatrous religions which are shewn to have no life; just as in the Apocalypse, in the case of the Two Witnesses; where the "dead bodies" signify the Divine Testimonies deprived by their enemies of spiritual life.

So again, when it is said in Psalm cxxxix., "Happy shall he be who taketh thy little ones and dasheth them against the stones,"--doubtless a person might say this in a terribly vindictive spirit; without being aware, that by Babylon is signified the love of domination; and by the little ones, the first offsprings of false doctrine arising from that love; the stones of Babylon signifying her ruling falsities.



So finally, we may admit that David's last words betrayed "a dark spirit of long cherished vengeance" against Joab, on the principle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth; without his knowing that, when he cursed Joab, and afterwards advised that he should not go down to the grave in peace,* Joab represented those who were in a state of spiritual profanation. And when, moreover, David gave directions that Shimei should be put to death, we may admit that David personally cherished a spirit of vengeance, without his being aware, that Shimei represented those who blasphemed the true Messiah.--On the other hand

* Arcana Coelestia, art. 9014, 9828.

No doubt we find in the Psalms expressions of ardent affection and profound. humiliation; but even these could not have been uttered in the same state of mind in which they are spiritually understood by the Christian; for of the Jews in general it is remarked by Swedenborg:--

... "After they had been punished, they could be in such external humiliation as no other nation could be in; for they could lie prostrate on the ground for whole days, and roll themselves in the dust, not raising themselves up till the third day they could also mourn for several days together, go in sackcloth, in tattered garments, with ashes or dust sprinkled on their heads:


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 160 they could fast without intermission for several days, and the meanwhile burst forth into bitter weeping; this, however, was but the effect of bodily and earthly love, and of the fear of losing pre-eminence and worldly wealth, since it was not anything internal which affected them; inasmuch as they knew not, neither were they willing to know, what was internal, as that there is a life after death, and that there is eternal salvation. Hence it may be evident, that, such being their quality, they must of necessity be in the privation of every holy internal principle; inasmuch as this in nowise agrees with a holy external principle of such a nature; for they are altogether contrary to each other. Hence also it may be evident, that above all other nations they could act as representative of a Church: viz., represent holy things in an external form without any internal holy principle; and thus that by this nation might be given (by means of representation) somewhat of communication with the heavens."

Ibid., art. 4293.

On this ground* we are not bound to palliate the personal character of David, in order to make it harmonize with Divine inspirations; nor are we bound to deny the Divine inspirations, because of the degeneracy of the personal character.

* See Prof. Jowett on Romans xi. 9.

We read, indeed, in the Authorized Version--Now these be the last words of David


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 161 The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue,"--i.e., says A Lapide--"God spake by me, and by my tongue, as the organ and instrument by which he dictated the Psalms, according to what is said, 'My tongue is the pen of a ready writer'--I have learned, and I have taught, not from myself, or my own mind and meaning; but by a Divine afflatus, to sing praises to God, and to laud Him with Psalms and with Hymns."

2 Samuel xxiii. 2.

The spirit of the Lord spake in him, because it was by an internal locution over which he had no control; which was therefore involuntary, and independent of David's personal character; although, in descending into his mind, it clothed itself informs proper to David's mental constitution, and to the Jewish Dispensation.

We have now seen what were the personal characters of Paul and David during their life in the body and in the natural world, as described in the Scriptures; and there is no difficulty in further shewing that the account given in Swedenborg's Spiritual Diary is not at variance with that which we have seen to be given in the Scriptures.

Let us now apply to David those laws of the Spiritual World which have been already laid down and applied to the case of Paul.

We see in David the sins of treachery, cruelty, lust, murder, and that thirst of power and dominion which appropriates to himself and his people pre-eminently all the prophecies concerning the Messiah.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 162 If the interior memory be a revocation of states, shall we say that, in the Spiritual World, the exploring spirits and angels would come with Chrysostom to this conclusion*--"David is called a man after God's own heart, because, as to his general character, he conformed his own will to God's will: he loved what God loved and abhorred what God hated?"--Does not such a conclusion confound the typical character with the personal; the prophetic office with the moral qualities of the private individual? Some one may ask, says an ancient writer--"If David was a type of Christ, bow is it that he is related to have had many wives and concubines, a thing which Christ abhors and condemns?" To which it is replied--"But this too was figurative. The wives of David foreshadowed the many nations who would be united to Christ in spiritual wedlock."

* Dr. Wordsworth's Commentary, 1 Sam. xiii. 14.

Ibid., 2 Sam. iii. 2.

Here, then, is a case in which the immoralities of the private individual are regarded as being also of a prophetic character. In such a case, we must beware lest we make the prophetic office the pretext for sanctioning or even extenuating the immorality. The only true method of interpretation, in cases of this kind, is that which recoils from confounding virtue with vice, the pure with the impure, the holy with the unholy; and the result of such a method of interpretation will be that, in the Spiritual World, after the prophetic office comes to an end, the personal character will be seen to remain; and pride, lust, and cruelty unrepented of, to resume their former predominance.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 163 For, as already observed, it is the private character of the individual, apart from the eminence of the public office; that is the subject of the Last Judgment. We know from the Book of Revelation how direfully the forms of evil are represented in the Spiritual World; that locusts, scorpions, serpents, dragons, monstrous beasts, are but its corresponding forms made visible to the eyes of the spirit; and what would be the corresponding forms of the evils besetting the character of David, it is not difficult to derive from the same laws of Correspondence.

The case of David is, in this respect, only the same with that of all other prophets: the prophetic character was by no means dependent upon personal holiness: for as Swedenborg observes:--

"Because* a man is permitted to speak with celestial beings, with angels, and with those who have departed from the body, it does not therefore follow that he is a holy man. Thus in the case of Jacob, Aaron, and others, they were not therefore holy because Jehovah spoke to them. For we read that Jehovah spoke with Adam after the Fall, with Cain, nay, even with the Serpent; but we are not hence to conclude that these were therefore holy above all others.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 164 So with regard to myself, because it is granted to me to speak with angels both good and bad, nothing of holiness accrues to me on this account; for of this I cannot on this account claim to myself one iota."

* Adversaria, vol. iii., art. 3103.

So again:--

"That* to speak with Jehovah does not therefore make a man righteous, and consequently holy; or, that Moses could not claim precedence over others on this account, can be made evident from numerous cases; as for instance: Jehovah spoke to Aaron and Miriam, as they themselves said; and hence they wanted to call themselves also righteous and holy. God Messiah spoke in like manner also to the people; as He did also to Adam after the Fall while he was in his state of guilt; as also to Cain after the murder of his brother; to Lot in Sodom," etc.

* Adversaria, vol. iii., art. 3778.

In the case of Miriam and Aaron we read that they said: 'Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us?' "The same was the language of the Jewish Church; for they say that God spoke to them by the prophets, by Elijah and others; and yet it was this very reason which they pleaded when they denied the true Messiah."

Ibid., vol. iv., art. 7228.

The case was similar in regard to Balaam. Hence Swedenborg observes--"Nor let any one glory that he has seen angels as did Abraham and others, who could not therefore glory on this account;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 165 for many wicked persons also have seen an angel, nay, even the worst of men, such as the inhabitants of Sodom; indeed, we read that even Balaam's ass saw an angel. When the ass saw the angel she thrust herself unto the wall."--"The prophets* when they prophesied were as it were extra se, and knew not what they said: they only heard certain words, as it were; for an angel spoke by their mouth; moreover, whenever they prophesy, they are reduced into such a state that they speak only what God Messiah desires they should speak."

Ibid., vol. iv., art. 7571.

* Adversaria, vol. iv., art. 7695.

"The locution to Moses and the people was external, so that it came to their ears by an external way; as did also the clangor of the trumpet. In no other way could it reach the external man, or one who observes the Law only in its externals; for, in this case, there is no internal man, and much less can he remove interior things from exterior, for he is always looking downwards extra se, not inwards or intra se. In those who are internal men, and to whom it is given to look inwardly, the angels converse in a different manner, namely, internally; and some of them as truly viva voce as with those to whom a voice comes by an external way."

Ibid., vol. iii., art. 3779.

In the Most Ancient Church, when men were in open communion with angels, they had an internal perception of the truths communicated by them.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 166 In the Ancient Church the internal perception disappeared, and they learned the truth from the doctrine of correspondence. In the Jewish Church the internal perception and the knowledge of correspondence had both disappeared; and the prophets were taught by angels viva voce, and by dreams, and visions, after an external manner. Under the Christian Dispensation the Church is taught from The Word alone.

The Apostle Paul, therefore, when he saw the vision and heard the voice on. his road to Damascus, saw and heard only as any prophet of the Jewish Church would have seen and heard, that is to say, he saw and heard only externally. It was to him as a persecuting Jew that the voice and vision were manifested. His penitence was not to be that of a penitent Jew under the Jewish dispensation; but a penitence which should bring him out of one dispensation into another. From a ravening wolf in a bad sense he bad to become a ravening wolf in a good sense; and the conflict in his mind would be between these two wolves or wolfish natures. The old nature derived from the tribe of Benjamin presented itself as warlike and indomitable; the new nature had to be initiated into the same characteristics, and to become warlike and indomitable, "mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God."


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 167 Hence the tremendous contest in his own mind.* "For that which I do, I allow not; for what I would, that do I not; but what I bate, that do I.O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?--In such a fermentation and tumult of thought and feelings, the Apostles themselves would seem to him to have been of too tame and unenterprising a character--"they who seemed to be somewhat, in conference added nothing to him." He was more ardent and impetuous in natural temperament, hence in favor of being more aggressive; as such he would naturally become leader, and assume the precedence. He would labor more abundantly than they all, conscious that he was not a whit behind the chiefest of the Apostles. And when to this we add, that he was singled out by Divine revelation to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, and thus to open to them the door to the kingdom of heaven; when, moreover, an abundance of revelations were made to himself and not to the other Apostles; it is certain that, if he preached that salvation is of grace and not of works, and yet believed himself to merit a crown of righteousness for so doing, as Roman Catholics and some others affirm; if, moreover, the Apostle manifested this consciousness of merit in the Spiritual World, and had been seen enjoying the reward of this merit among the society of the Blessed; the whole of what Swedenborg has said upon the doctrine of merit would fall to the ground; and the consciousness of personal merit reign triumphant among the angels.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 168 Indeed, the greatest proof of the truth of the doctrine of Roman Catholics would be, that the Apostle teaching it was actually seen in heaven;* for, say they, "in like manner as the laborers laboring in the vineyard, properly and truly merit their penny a day; so do those who are laboring in the Church of God truly merit eternal life, as it is said: 'Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right that will I give you.' Non potuit profecto apertius MERITI et MERCEDIS justitiam declarare."

* Romans vii. 15, 24.

* Maldonatus on Matthew, chap. xx.

Was such an interpretation to be sanctioned by the Diary of Swedenborg? Or ought he to have written what would have been used to confute himself?

If, then, we see how, with a view to the full development of his states, the progress of instruction, and consequent purification, even an angel may fall from heaven, and for a while, become the associate of infernal genii; there is no difficulty in understanding how even an Apostle, who had become an angel, might be subject to the same ordeal. The series of the states of individuals, as we have seen, are indefinite; but there is no state which is not transitional; and thus, as in the interiorly good, the revocation of evil states may, for a period, sink even an Apostle into the regions of evil; so, in the interiorly bad, the revocation of good states may for a period, with a view to their full development, elevate them into* the societies of heaven.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 169 But it does not follow that they are therefore to remain there for ever, or that their presence in heaven finally determines them to be of a heavenly character; for, as we have already seen, when souls are admitted into heaven, it must not thence be concluded, that all these will in future become permanently angels; or are therefore more acceptable than others, because they happen to have been seen in heaven. And therefore, if, in the course of the indefinite series of states, an Apostle such as Paul should have been seen in the lower regions; and kings such as George the Second, and Louis the Fourteenth, should have been seen in the higher; such a sight would determine neither the character nor the final destiny of one or the other; it would only skew, with regard to an Apostle, that he had his bad qualities as well as his good; and with regard to certain kings, that they had their good qualities as well as their bad; and that in one case the bad qualities were, for Divine purposes, kept apart from the good; and in the other, the good kept apart from the bad. Both parties are but passing through their appointed series of states constituting the process of their last Judgment; and until that series, or until the process of that Judgment is completed, nothing is determined with respect to their final character.

* See above, pp. 40, 31, 53.

Indeed, as we have seen, Swedenborg expressly says, that spirits who are not good may for a period be taken away into heaven;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 170 but only while they are in certain states, namely, states which admit of a concordance with those of angelic beings: but that it must not therefore be concluded, that spirits of this class are on that account destined to become permanently angels; for such a transmission into heaven is the result only of exceptional and isolated states, in order that such spirits may learn from their own experience, whether they can remain in heaven or whether they cannot. Upon these principles it is simply puerile to object, that Swedenborg saw George the Second and Louis the Fourteenth angels in heaven; and David and Paul in a pit below; it might as well be objected, that St. John once saw the dragon and his angels in heaven, while the good* were in the lower earth under the World of Spirits, next above hell. Swedenborg does not profess to have seen the entire series 'of states through which the persons mentioned severally passed.

See above, p. 40.

* Apocalypse Revealed, vol. ii., art. 552, 845.

The case is similar in regard to Luther. There are two different states recorded-of this Reformer; one, while he was in the World of Spirits maintaining mischievous doctrine with respect to faith; the other, when he had seen his error and was received among the Blessed.

Thus in the True Christian Religion we read--"Luther, from his first coming into the Spiritual World, was a most bitter assertor of his own tenets, and his zeal for them increased in proportion as the numbers from earth increased who agreed with them, and favored them."

Art. 796, 137.



This is the first state of Luther; but his final state is thus described--"Do you not know that Luther has now renounced his errors respecting Justification by a faith in Three Divine Persons from eternity; and is in consequence translated into the societies of the blessed in the new heaven, and that he sees and pities those who follow his insane opinions?"

Swedenborg saw Luther in both of these states, the good and the bad; but be does not profess to have seen the Apostle Paul in his good states, nor George the Second and Louis the Fourteenth in their bad states: he saw them only in those states through which they were passing at the particular time that he saw them; but, after what has been said, to 'suppose that these were the only states through which, according to Swedenborg, either of them passed, is only to exhibit that obliquity of mind which is imputed to Swedenborg.

We must now speak of the relation of the Prophetical to the Apostolical Office in the person of the Apostle.

It is observed by Professor Jowett* that when in 1 Cor. vii. 10, the Apostle uses the expression, "Not I, but the Lord," he is speaking of matters of discipline, not of doctrine and he then adds:--

* Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, etc., vol. i., p. 82.



"What did St. Paul know of the life of Christ Two passages only throw any considerable light upon this subject. First, 1 Cor. xv. 3-10, in which the Apostle describes himself not only as preaching to the Corinthians the doctrine of the resurrection of Christ, but as dwelling on the minute circumstances which attested it. Had he told them in like manner of other events in the life of Christ? Had the parables and discourses of Christ interwoven themselves in his teaching? Were the miracles of Christ a witness to which he appealed?"

"It is instructive to put these questions, even though they remain without an answer. St. Paul must have known numberless persons who bad followed the footsteps of the Lord on earth; and yet the only memorial which he has preserved is the short fragment, It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts xx. 35)."

"Had all the things that were known of Christ in the days of the Apostles been written down, the world itself, it might be said, would hardly have contained the books that should be written; and yet, as far as we can trace, it was not the sayings or events of the life of Christ, but the witness of the Old Testament prophets, that formed the larger part of St. Paul's teaching, the external evidence by which he supported in himself and others the inward and living sense of union with Christ, the medium through which he preached Christ crucified."



The only ground upon which the Apostle's silence concerning the events and teaching of our Lord can be explained, is the one already assigned, viz., that independent revelations were made to the Apostle, who therefore considered himself, in this respect, independent of the other Apostles, and also to be a Prophet as well as an Apostle. The foregoing observations of Professor Jowett are a complete confirmation of Swedenborg's statements in art. 4824 of the Spiritual Diary.

But another most important question in connection with art. 6062 of the Spiritual Diary remains, viz., How far was the Apostle qualified to be a Prophet?

There is an expression which he uses, closely connected with this question; and which will give us a clue to the answer.

"Now this we say unto you by the word of the Lord" (I Thess. iv. 15).This expression, The word of the Lord, says Dr. Wordsworth, "is a link which connects the writings of the Apostle with those of Moses and the Prophets of old, to whom the Word of the Lord came, and who are said to speak in the word of the Lord."--But it is well known, that often the Prophets of old did not themselves understand the words which they uttered; nor were capable of interpreting them in their spiritual sense. There is no reason to suppose that St. John himself understood the Apocalypse which he was commanded to write; or that if he had attempted to interpret it, the interpretations would not have partaken of the same character as that of the Twelve Thrones.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 174 Were there any revelations made to the Apostle Paul after the manner of the Prophets of old, which he also did not understand, or else understood and interpreted but obscurely? Dean Alford and others are of opinion that this was partly the case in regard to the Second Advent; thus fulfilling the words of the Lord--"It is not for you to know the times and the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power."

It is however replied, that our Lord's answer relates only to the time of the Advent, not to its nature; and that the Apostle might have had a clear and definite idea of the nature of the Advent, although not of the time.

Now, whether the Apostle had or had not this idea, it is certain that he has not succeeded in conveying it to Commentators, except after a most literal fashion. What is meant by "the trump of God?" What by "the last trump?" What by "meeting the Lord in the air?" What by the living and the "dead" at the final resurrection? What by the Son being "subject" to the Father; nay, as most Commentators think, resigning the office of Mediator, and transferring His kingdom to the Father? If the Apostle understood the words of our Lord concerning the Twelve Thrones in the same literal sense in which the other Apostles understood them, we may well ask, whether, if he had received independent revelations concerning Anti-Christ and the Second Advent, he might not have been liable to interpret them after the same literal manner.



Professor Jowett, in his critical notes upon this subject,* observes:--

* 1 Thess. iv. 16.

"Where the things of which we are speaking are such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, which can only be expressed in figures of speech and types of the Old Testament, it is vain to attempt to define exactly the meaning of particular words, or to fill up the figures by which the general meaning is conveyed. Such an attempt is like painting a picture of the scenes in the Apocalypse, which, the moment they are brought together, are seen to have a prophetic and symbolical meaning, not an artistic unity."

On the other band, Dean Alford, in opposition to a prophetic and symbolical meaning, observes:--

The Apostle's declarations here (viz., 1 Thess. iv. 18) are made in the practical tone of strict matter of fact, and are given as literal details, to console men's minds under an existing difficulty. Never was a place where the analogy of symbolical apocalyptic language was less applicable. Either these details must be received by us as matter of practical expectation, or we must set aside the Apostle as one divinely inspired to teach the Church. It is a fair opportunity, for an experimentum crucis; and such test cannot be evaded by the intermediate expedient of figurative language."



If, now, we agree with Professor Jowett, that the revelation made to the Apostle Paul was made in symbolic and apocalyptic language; and if we further agree with Dean Alford, that the Apostle understood this language in the merely literal sense; we must come to the conclusion of Dean Alford, that the Apostle was one who was not divinely inspired to teach the Church upon this subject.* When the Apostle says we are to meet the Lord in the air, Interpreters go on to ask, if he supposed the air to be the abiding seat of Christ's kingdom--so speaks Professor Jowett. According to this account, the Apostle Paul ignored the principle of Correspondence, and interpreted symbolic language precisely upon the same principle as the other Apostles interpreted the Twelve Thrones; which accounts for all the popular ideas which prevail concerning the circumstances attending the Judgment Day.

* See Spiritual Diary, art. 4412, 4413, 4561, 4631.

In Conclusion:

We now proceed to furnish a few extracts On the Character of St. Paul as described by Professor Jowett,

Vol. i., p. 353.

There are questions which it is interesting to suggest, even when they can never receive a perfect and satisfactory answer. One of these questions may be asked respecting St. Paul:--"What was the relation in which his former life stood to the great fact of his conversion?"



... For men seem to carry about with them the elements of their former lives: the character or nature which they once were, the circumstance which became a part of them; is not wholly abolished or done away; it remains even in the regenerate, as a sort of insoluble mass or encumbrance which prevents their freedom of action: in very few, or rather in none, can the old habit have perfect flexure to its new use. Everywhere, in the case of our acquaintance, who may have passed through great changes of opinion or conduct, we see from time to time the old nature which is underneath occasionally coming to the surface. Nor is it irreverent to attribute such remembrances of a former self even to inspired persons. If there were any among the contemporaries of St. Paul who had known him in youth and in age, they would have seen similarities which escape us in the character of the Apostle at different periods of his life. The zealot against the Gospel might have seemed to them transfigured into the opponent of the Law: they would have found something in common in the Pharisee of the Pharisees, and the man who had a vow on his last journey to Jerusalem; they would perhaps have observed arguments, or quotations, or modes of speech in his writings, which had been familiar to them and him in the school of Gamaliel. And when they heard of his conversion, they might have remarked that to one of his temperament only could such an event have happened;


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 178 and would have noted many superficial resemblances which shewed him to be the same man, while the great inward change which had overspread the world was hid from their eyes."


"The gifts of God to man have ever some reference to natural disposition. He who becomes the servant of God, does not thereby cease to be himself. Often the transition is greater in appearance than in reality, from the suddenness of its manifestation."


Finally:*--He who wrought miracles, who had handkerchiefs carried to him from the sick, who spake with tongues more than they all, who lived amid visions and revelations from the Lord, who did not appeal to the Gospel as a thing long settled, but himself saw the process of revelation actually going on before his eyes, and communicated it to his fellow men, could never have been such an one as ourselves. Nor can we pretend to estimate whether, in the modern sense of the term, he was capable of weighing evidence, or how far he would have attempted to sever between the workings of his own mind and the Spirit which was imparted to him."

* Vol. i., p. 363.




Page 43.

AFTER speaking of the temporary influence of disease, in impairing or suspending the powers of attention and memory in regard to recent impressions, Dr. Abereromby observes (Inquiries concerning the Intellectual Powers, p. 146):

"But there is a part of the subject quite distinct from this, namely, the effect of certain diseases in obliterating impressions formerly received and long retained. The higher degrees of this condition amount to that state which we call idiotism, and this we find supervening both upon affections of the brain and protracted febrile diseases. The condition so produced is sometimes permanent, but frequently is recovered from; and. recovery takes place in some cases gradually, in others very suddenly. A man mentioned by Willis, on recovering from a putrid fever, was found to have so entirely lost his mental faculties that he knew nobody, remembered nothing, and understood nothing: vix supra brutum saperet. He continued in this state for two months, and then gradually recovered."



Idiotism is a derivative from [Greek Idios], proprium is [scanner unable to insert word]: idiotism therefore is a state of the proprium, superinduced in the World of Spirits by the burning fever of pride and the love of rule. The case mentioned by Dr. Abercromby is only a reflection upon earth, as it were, of the frequent obliteration of the faculties taking place in the Spiritual World, mentioned by Swedenborg; so that the spirit vix supra brutum soperet. It is the only way in which, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, some spirits are taught humiliation.

Page 66.

Arcana Coelestia, art. 2129.

A QUESTION arose in the Spiritual World among a multitude of Spirits--"Whether it is to be under stood literally, that the twelve Apostles should sit upon twelve Thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; and whether any are to be admitted into heaven but such as have suffered persecutions and miseries. Every one reasoned according to the fantasy which he had in the life of the body. But some of them who were reduced into communion and order were afterwards instructed, that, after the first subject of debate it is not to be understood according to the letter; for that by the Apostles are not meant the Apostles, nor by thrones thrones, nor by tribes tribes, nor by twelve twelve, but that by all these expressions are signified the primary things of faith; and that by these and according to these, judgment is passed upon everyone.


PAUL AND DAVID; p. 181 It was further shewn that the Apostles cannot possibly judge a single man; but that all judgment belongs to the Lord alone. With respect to the other subject of debate, they were informed that this is not to be understood as if those only were to be admitted into heaven who have suffered persecutions and miseries; but that the rich as well as the poor, they who are in high stations as well as those who are in low, will be received there; for the Lord has pity on all, especially on such as have been in spiritual miseries and temptations, which are persecutions arising from the wicked; and who thus acknowledge, that of themselves they are miserable, and believe it to be of the Lord's mercy alone that they are saved." (See also art. 2553, 2129, 5313.)

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