Heaven and Hell #546

By Emanuel Swedenborg

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546. Enlightened minds also see from this that the literal meaning of the Word where things like this are said has a spiritual meaning concealed within it, a meaning needed to explain expressions that in the letter are adapted to human comprehension, things said in accord with our primary and general conceptions.

Enlightened people also see that good and evil are two opposite things, as opposite as heaven and hell, and that everything good is from heaven and everything evil from hell. Further, since the Lord's divine nature constitutes heaven (see 7-12), nothing flows into us from the Lord but what is good, and nothing from hell but what is evil. So the Lord is constantly leading us out of evil and toward good, while hell is constantly leading us into evil. Unless we were in between, we would have neither thought nor intention, much less any freedom or choice. We have all these gifts because of the balance between good and evil. So if the Lord were to turn away and we were left to our own evil, we would no longer be human.

We can see from this that the Lord is constantly flowing into every individual with good, just as much into the evil person as into the good. The difference is that he is constantly leading evil people away from evil, while he is constantly leading good people toward the good. The reason for this difference lies in us, since we are the ones who accept.

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