Arcana Coelestia #6213

Par Emanuel Swedenborg

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6213. By means of its own spirits hell is constantly instilling evil and falsity as well as perverting and wiping out truths and forms of good, whereas the Lord by means of angels is constantly warding off, taking away, lessening, and moderating those influences. Many years of almost unceasing experience have made this so familiar to me that I cannot even think about doubting it. But if the angels are to be able to ward off influences coming from hell, the truths of faith, joined to the good of life, into which they can flow must exist with the person. Those truths must serve as a base laid down for angels to operate into. But if the person does not possess truths joined to good he is brought away from hell, and then by means of angels the Lord governs him externally through what are called external restraints. These restraints involve the person's own prudence, which he exercises so that he may be seen, so far as outward appearances go, to be one who loves his neighbour and country, even though he is motivated by thoughts of his own position, his own gain, reputation on account of these, and by fear of legal penalties, including death. These are the external restraints that are used to govern a person when internal ones, which are those of conscience, do not exist. But those external restraints do nothing in the next life, for they are taken away from a person; and once they have been taken away, what he has been like internally is seen.

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