Charity #2

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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2. 1. In so far as anyone does not look to the Lord and shun evils because they are sins, he remains in them.

Man is born into evils of every kind. His will, which is his proprium, 1 is nothing but evil. Unless, therefore, a man is reformed and regenerated, he not only remains just as he was born, but becomes even worse, because he adds actual evils himself to those hereditarily acquired. A man remains such if he does not shun evils as sins. Shunning them as sins is shunning them as diabolical and hellish, and thus deadly, and because accordingly there is eternal damnation in them. If a man so regards them, then he believes that there is a hell and a heaven; he also believes that the Lord can remove evils, if he, too, as from himself, makes an effort to remove them. But the things which are shown on this subject in THE DOCTRINE OF LIFE FOR THE NEW JERUSALEM 108-113, may be seen, to which I will add this: All evils are innately delightful, because man is born into the love of self, and that love delights in all the things that are of his proprium, that is, the things that he wills and thinks. Unless these inbred delights are subdued, everyone remains in them until death; and they are not subdued unless they are regarded as sweet poisons which kill, or as flowers beautiful in appearance but inwardly toxic, that is, unless the delights of the evils are regarded as being fatal, and this until they become undelightful.

Footnotes:

1. The Latin word proprium means "what is one's own." Swedenborg uses it in a special sense involving what is of the self.

  
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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.