Behold! He put no trust in his servants, and his angels he charged with folly.Job iv. 18.
JAMES SPEIRS, 36 BLOOMSBURY STREET.
MITCHELL AND HUGHES, PRINTERS,
WARDOUR STREET, W.
TO THE READER.
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
PAUL AND DAVID.
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.
"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.
"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;
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;
* 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;
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.
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.
"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.
"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
"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.
* 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;
"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.
.... "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.
"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.
"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.
.....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.
"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;
"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.
"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.
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;
"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."