Från Swedenborgs verk

 

Arcana Coelestia #2694

Studera detta avsnitt

      |   
/ 10837  
  

2694. 'Do not be afraid, for God has heard the boy's voice where he is' means the hope of help. This is clear from the meaning of 'do not be afraid' as not despairing, for once fear is removed hope is at hand; and from the meaning of 'hearing the boy's voice' as help, dealt with above in 2691, where similar words occur. The subject in previous verses has been the state of desolation which those people experience who are being reformed and becoming spiritual. But now the subject is the restoration of them, and here their comfort and hope of help.

[2] The fact that those who are being reformed are brought into a state of not knowing any truth, that is, into a state of desolation, insomuch that they experience grief and despair, and that at this point for the first time they receive comfort and help from the Lord, is something that is not known at the present day for the reason that few are being reformed. Those who are such that they are able to be reformed are brought into this state, if not during this life then in the next, where that state is very well known and is called vastation or desolation, regarding which something has been said in Volume One, where also see 1109. Those who experience such vastation or desolation are brought to the point of despair, and when in that state they receive comfort and help from the Lord, and at length are taken away out of that state into heaven, where in the presence of angels they are taught so to speak anew the goods and truths of faith. The primary reason why they undergo vastation or desolation is so that the things of which they are firmly persuaded, originating in what is properly their own, may crumble, see 2682, and also that they may receive the perception of good and truth, which perception they are not able to receive until those false persuasions originating in what is their own are so to speak softened. And it is the state of distress and grief even to the point of despair that effects this change. What good is, and indeed what blessedness and happiness are, nobody with even the sharpest mind is able to perceive unless he has experienced the state of being deprived of good, blessedness, and happiness. It is from this experience that he acquires a sphere of perception; and he acquires it to the same degree that he has experienced the contrary state, for the sphere of perception and how far it extends are determined by his experience of the two contrary states. These, in addition to many others, are the reasons for vastation or desolation. Let the following examples illustrate the matter.

[3] Take those people who attribute everything to their own prudence, and little or nothing to Divine Providence. Even if thousands of reasons are produced to prove that Divine Providence is universal, but universal because it exists in every least thing, and that not even a hair falls from the head - that is, nothing however small exists that has not been foreseen and that has not been provided accordingly - their state of thought regarding their own prudence would remain unaltered, except for the brief moment when they feel convinced by such arguments. Indeed if the same matter were proved to them by actual experiences, they would while witnessing or taking part in such experiences acknowledge the truth of it, but after a short while they would revert to their previous outlook. Such experiences have a fleeting effect on people's thought but not on their affection, and unless the affection is broken down the thought remains in its same state as before; for the thought receives its conviction and its life from the affection. But when the feelings of distress and grief enter into them because they have no power at all that is their own to do anything, and those feelings reach the point of despair, their firm persuasion is broken down and their state altered. In this case they can be brought to a conviction that they have no power that is their own to do anything, and that all power, prudence, intelligence and wisdom originate in the Lord. The same is true of people who believe that their faith is self-derived and their good self-derived.

[4] Let a further example illustrate the matter. Take those who have become firmly persuaded that once they have been made righteous no evil resides with them any longer, but has been completely wiped away and destroyed, and thus that they are pure. Thousands of arguments could be used to make it clear to them that nothing is wiped away or destroyed, but that those people are withheld from evil and maintained in good by the Lord who from the life of good which they have led in the world are such that they can be withheld from evil and maintained in good by Him. In addition to these arguments they could be convinced from experiences that they are of themselves nothing but evil, indeed that they are nothing but utterly filthy masses of evil. But in spite of all those arguments and experiences they would still not depart from their opinion and belief. But when they are brought into a particular state in order that they may perceive hell within themselves, and perceiving this so clearly as to despair of the possibility of their own salvation, that firm persuasion is for the first time broken down and with it their pride and their contempt for all others in comparison with themselves, and also their arrogant assumption that they are the only ones who are saved. They can now be brought into a true confession of faith, not merely to the confession that all good comes from the Lord but also that all things exist because of His mercy; and at length they can be brought into humility of heart before the Lord, the existence of which is impossible without acknowledgement of what they are in themselves. From this it is now evident why those who are being reformed or becoming spiritual are brought into the state of vastation or desolation dealt with in the verses previous to this, and how, when experiencing this state even to the point of despair, they for the first time receive comfort and help from the Lord.

  
/ 10837  
  

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

Från Swedenborgs verk

 

Arcana Coelestia #2682

Studera detta avsnitt

      
/ 10837  
  

2682. 'And she put the boy under one of the shrubs' means despair that no truth or good at all was perceived. This is clear from the meaning of 'the boy' as spiritual truth, dealt with in 2669, 2677, and from the meaning of 'a shrub' or a bush as perception, yet so small as to be scarcely anything at all - that smallness being the reason for the use of the expression, 'under one of the shrubs' (for by 'shrubs' the same is meant, though in a minor degree, as by trees, which mean perceptions, see 103, 2163) - and also from the feeling expressed in the action, which is the feeling of despair. From this it is evident that 'she put the boy under one of the shrubs' means despair that no truth or good at all was perceived. That being put under one of the shrubs means being left desolate so far as truth and good are concerned, to the point of despair, is evident in Job,

In poverty and in hunger, one all alone. They were fleeing to the drought, to the previous night's desolation and devastation, picking mallows on the shrub; in the cleft of the valleys to dwell, in holes of the dust and rocks; among the shrubs they were groaning, under the wild thistle they were joined together. Job 30:3-4, 6-7.

This is a reference to the desolation of truth, which is described by means of expressions used commonly in the Ancient Church - for the Book of Job is a book of the Ancient Church - such as 'in poverty and in hunger, one all alone', 'fleeing to the drought, the previous night's desolation and devastation', 'in the clefts of valleys and rocks to dwell', as well as 'picking mallows on the shrubs', and 'groaning among the shrubs'. So also in Isaiah,

They will come and all of them will rest in rivers of desolations, in the clefts of rocks, and on all bushes, and in all water-courses. Isaiah 7:19.

This also is a reference to desolation, which is described by means of similar forms of expression, namely 'resting in rivers of desolations, in the clefts of rocks, and on bushes'.

[2] In this present verse the subject is the second state of those who are being reformed, which is a state when they are reduced to ignorance, so that they do not know any truth at all, even to the point of despair. The reason they are reduced to such ignorance is so that the persuasive light which shines from the proprium may be extinguished. This light is such that it illuminates falsities as much as it does truths and so leads to a belief in what is false by means of truths and a belief in what is true by means of falsities, and at the same time to trust in themselves. They are also reduced to such ignorance in order that they may be led through actual experience into a recognition of the fact that no good or truth at all originates in themselves or what is properly their own but in the Lord. Those who are being reformed are reduced to ignorance, even to the state of despair, at which point they receive comfort and enlightenment, as is clear from what follows. For the light of truth from the Lord cannot flow into the persuasive thinking that originates in the proprium; indeed its nature is such as to extinguish that light. In the next life that persuasive thinking presents itself as the light in winter, but with the approach of the light of heaven a kind of darkness consisting in ignorance of all truth takes the place of that wintry light. This state with those who are being reformed is called a state of desolation of truth, and is also frequently the subject in the internal sense of the Word.

[3] But few are able to know about that state because few at the present day are being regenerated. To people who are not being regenerated, it is all the same whether they know the truth or whether they do not, and also whether what they do know is the truth or whether it is not, provided that they can pass a thing off as the truth. But people who are being regenerated give much thought to doctrine and to life since they give much thought to eternal salvation. Consequently if truth deserts them, they grieve at heart because truth is the object of all their thought and affection. The nature of the state of those who are being regenerated and the nature of those who are not may become clear from the following consideration: While in the body a person lives as to his spirit in heaven and as to his body in the world. He is born into both and has been so created that he is in effect able as to his spirit to be with angels, and at the same time to be with men through the things which belong to the body. But since those who believe that they have a spirit which will continue to live after death are few in number those who are being regenerated are few. To those who do believe that they have a spirit the next life forms the whole of their thought and affection, and the world in comparison none at all. But to those who do not believe that they have a spirit the world forms the whole of their thought and affection and the next life in comparison none at all. The former are those who can be regenerated, but the latter those who cannot.

  
/ 10837  
  

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