Secrets of Heaven #1088

Av Emanuel Swedenborg

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1088. Their faces were backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness, means that this is the proper thing to do, and that we should not concentrate on such wrongs, which are blunders and downfalls resulting from misguided thinking. This can be seen from the repetition involved, since these words are almost exactly the same as those directly above. Taken together, they also bring the matter to an end, because in this parental church — or in a person in this church — misdeeds sprang not from depravity but from naiveté. This is indicated in the very next verse, which says that Noah woke up from his wine, or in other words, learned better.

[2] To delve more deeply into the subject: People lacking in charity think nothing but evil and speak nothing but evil of their neighbor. If they have anything good to say, it is only for their own benefit, or else it is an attempt to ingratiate themselves with the person, under the guise of friendship. But people who love their neighbor think nothing but good and speak nothing but good of others. They do so not for their own sake or to curry favor with another but because it is what results when the Lord stirs their sense of charity.

The former are like the evil spirits and the latter like the angels we have with us. Evil spirits always arouse bad impulses and false ideas in us, and they condemn us. Angels, though, arouse only good impulses and true ideas, and whatever is evil or false they excuse. All of this shows that individuals lacking in charity are under the control of evil spirits, who keep us in touch with hell, while individuals endowed with charity are under the control of angels, who keep us in touch with heaven.

  
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Many thanks to the Swedenborg Foundation and its New Century Edition team.