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II. The First Kind of Profanation
Profanations are of many kinds. The most grievous kind is when one
acknowledges and lives according to the truths and goods of the Word, of
the church, and of worship, and afterward denies them and lives contrary
to them, or even lives contrary to them and does not deny them. Such
profanation effects a conjunction and coherence of good with falsity,
and of truth with evil, and from this it comes to pass that man is at
the same time in heaven and in hell; consequently, when heaven wills to
have its own, and hell wills to have its own, and yet they cohere, they
are both swept away, and thus the proper human life perishes, and the
man becomes like a brute animal, continually delirious, and carried
hither and thither by fantasy like a dragon in the air, and in his
fantasy shreds and specks appear like giants and crowds, and a little
platter like the universe; and so on.
As such have no longer any human life they are not called spirits, but
something profane, nor are they called he or she, but it; and when they
are seen in the light of heaven they appear like dried skeletons. But
this kind of profanation is rare, since the Lord provides against a
man's entering into a belief in truth and a life of good unless he can
be kept in them continually even to the end of his life. (A.E., n.
It has been said that the most grievous kind of profanation is when the
truths of the Word are acknowledged in faith and confirmed in the life,
and man afterward recedes from faith and lives wickedly, or if he does
not recede from faith he nevertheless lives wickedly. But one who is in
faith and in a life according to it from childhood to youth, and
afterward in adult age recedes from faith and from a life of faith, does
not profane, for the reason that the faith of childhood is a faith of
the memory, and is the master's faith in the child; while the faith of
adult age is a faith of the understanding, and thus a man's own faith.
This faith a man can profane if he recedes from it and lives contrary to
it, but not the former. For nothing enters the life of a man and
affects it except what comes into the understanding and from that into
the will; and a man does not think from his own understanding and act
from his own will until he arrives at adult age. Before that he has
thought merely from knowledge and acted merely from obedience; and this
does not make a part of his life, and therefore cannot be profaned.
In a word, whatever a man thinks, speaks, and does, from the
understanding with the will favoring it, this belongs to his life or
comes to be of his life; and if this is holy it is profaned by his
receding. But the profanations of this kind are more or less grievous
according to the quality of the truth and the consequent faith, and
according to the quality of the good and the consequent life, and
according to the quality of the withdrawal from these; and therefore
there are many specific differences in this profanation. (A.E., n.
Why the state of profaners after death is so horrible shall be
disclosed. Man has two minds, a natural and a spiritual. The natural
mind is opened to him by knowledges (scientiae et cognitiones) of truth
and good, and the spiritual mind is opened by a life according to these;
and this is effected in those who know, acknowledge, and believe the
truths of the Word and live according to them. In others that mind is
not opened. When the spiritual mind has been opened, the light of
heaven, which is Divine truth, flows through it into the natural mind,
and there arranges truths in a corresponding order. Therefore when a
man passes over into a contrary state, and either in faith or life
denies the truths of the Word that he has previously acknowledged, the
things that are in the natural mind no longer correspond with those that
are in the spiritual mind; consequently heaven with its light flows in
through the spiritual mind into non-corresponding things, or into things
opposite to those that correspond in the natural man; and from this a
fantasy arises that is so direful that they seem to themselves to fly in
the air like dragons, while shreds and specks appear to them like giants
and crowds, and a little ball like the whole globe, and other like
things. The reason of this is that they have heaven in the spiritual
mind and hell in the natural mind, and when heaven, which is in the
spiritual mind, acts into hell, which is in the natural mind, such
things appear. And as this destroys all things pertaining to the
understanding, and the will with the understanding, the man comes to be
no longer a man. And this is why a profaner is no longer called a man,
nor he or she, but it, for he is a brute. (A.E., n. 1050.)
This kind of profanation exists especially in those who acknowledge the
Lord and His Divine, and the Word and its holiness; and for the reason
that the Lord alone by means of truths from the Word opens heaven to the
man who lives according to those truths; and unless heaven is opened
such profanation is not possible. And this shows why the Gentiles, who
are ignorant of the Lord and know nothing about the Word, cannot bring
upon themselves such profanation; neither can the Jews, for they deny
the Lord from their infancy, and heaven is not opened to them by means
of the Word; neither can the impious who have been such from childhood;
for, as has been said, those only profane who believe rightly and live
rightly, and afterward believe wrongly and live wrongly. Besides this
kind of profanation there are other kinds that shall be treated of.
(A.E., n. 1051.)
Links to Additional Media for Spiritual Life and the Word of God by Emanuel Swedenborg such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.