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Spiritual Life and the Word of God Emanuel Swedenborg

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Spiritual Life and the Word of God

by Emanuel Swedenborg

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Keys to heaven are the keys to a better life.

III. The Second Kind of Profanation

There is another kind of profanation of holy things that those come into who have supremacy as their end, and regard the holy things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, as means. The Divine order is that heaven and the church, and consequently the holy things of these, be the end, and supremacy the means for promoting that end. For when holy things are the end and supremacy the means, the Lord is worshipped and adored; but when supremacy is the end and holy things the means, man instead of the Lord is worshipped and adored. For the means look to the end as servants look to their master, and the end looks to the means as a master looks to his servants; consequently as a master esteems and loves his servants according to the compliance they render to his will, so a man who has supremacy as his end esteems and loves the holy things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, according to the compliance they render to his end, which is supremacy. And on the other hand, as a lord despises and dismisses servants and takes others in their place when they are not subservient to his will, so a man who has supremacy as his end despises and rejects the holy things of the church, and takes other things in their place when they are not subservient to his end, which is supremacy.

From this it is clear that in those who have supremacy as their end, holy things are of no account except so far as they are subservient to the end, and also that they are not holy, but are profane when they are subservient to this end; and for the reason that the end, when it is supremacy, is the man himself, and as this end is love of self it is the man's own (proprium); and man's own when viewed in itself is nothing but evil, and indeed is profane, and the end joins to itself the means that they may be as one. In this kind of profanation are all those who are in sacred ministries, and who are seeking by means of the holy things of the church to gain honor and glory, and these and not use, which is the salvation of souls, are what give them joy of heart. (A.E., n. 1053.)

Those who are in this kind of profanation cannot do otherwise than adulterate the goods of the Word and falsify its truths, and thus pervert the holy things of the church; for these are not in accord with the end, which is the supremacy of man over them, for they are Divine things that cannot be mere servants; therefore from necessity, that the means may be in accord with the end, goods are turned into evils, truths into falsities, and thus holy things into things profane, and this in an increasing degree as the supremacy, which is the end, is increased.

That this is so can be clearly seen from the Babylon of the present day, to which the holy things of the Word, of the church and of worship, are means, and supremacy is the end. So far as they have magnified supremacy they have minimized the holiness of the Word, and have actually exalted above it the holiness of the Pope's decrees; they have claimed to themselves power over heaven, and even over the Lord Himself, and they have instituted the idolatrous worship of men, both living and dead, and this until there is nothing left of Divine good and Divine truth.

That the holy things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, have been so changed is of the Lord's Divine providence; not of His providence that this should be done, but of His providence that when men wish to rule and do rule by means of the holy Divine things, they should choose falsity in place of truth and evil in place of good, for otherwise they would defile holy things, and render them abominable before angels; but when holy things no longer exist this cannot be done. Take as an example what has been done with the Holy Supper instituted by the Lord: they have separated the bread and the wine, giving the bread to the people and drinking the wine themselves. For "bread" signifies good of love to the Lord, and "wine" the truth of faith in Him; and good separated from truth is not good, nor is truth separated from good truth, for truth is truth from good, and good is good in truth. And so in other things. (A.E., n. 1054.)

Those who are in the love of self, and from that in the love of ruling, and who covet, acquire, and afterward exercise supremacy by means of the holy things of the Word, of the church, and of worship, are those who profane. For the delight of the love of ruling for self's sake, that is, for the sake of eminence, and consequent homage and a kind of worship of self, is an infernal delight. Moreover, this prevails in hell, for in hell everyone wills to be the greatest, while in heaven everyone wills to be the least; and to rule over holy things from an infernal delight is to profane them.

But this second kind of profanation of the holy things of the church is not like the former kind of the profanation of them. Those fall into the former kind in whom a communication with heaven has been effected by the opening of their spiritual mind; while this second kind of profanation those fall into in whom the spiritual mind has not been opened, or communication with heaven effected through it. For so long as the delight of the love of ruling resides in man, that mind cannot be opened, and communication with heaven is not possible to him.

Moreover, the lot of these profaners after death differs from the lot of the former. The former, as has been said, are in an unceasing delirium of fantasy; but these hate the Lord, hate heaven, hate the Word, hate the church, and hate all its holy things; and they come into such hatred because their dominion is taken away from them, and thus their state is changed into its opposite. They appear like something fiery, and their hell appears like a conflagration; for infernal fire is nothing else than a lust for ruling from love of self. These are among the worst, and are called devils, while the others are called satans. (A.E., n. 1055.)

The love of ruling by the holy things of the church as means wholly shuts up the interiors of the human mind from the inmosts toward the outmosts, according to the kind and strength of that love. But to make clear that they are shut up, something shall first be said about the interiors belonging to the human mind. Man has a spiritual mind, a rational mind, a natural mind, and a sensual mind. By means of the spiritual mind man is in heaven and is a heaven in its least form. By means of the natural mind he is in the world and is a world in its least form. Heaven in man communicates with the world in him by means of the rational mind, and with the body by means of the sensual mind. The sensual mind is the first to be opened in man after his birth; after that the natural mind, and as he seeks to become intelligent the rational mind, and as he seeks to become wise the spiritual mind. And at length, as man becomes wise the spiritual mind becomes to him as the head, and the natural mind as the body, and the rational mind serves as a neck to join this to the head, and then the sensual mind becomes like the sole of the foot.

In little children the Lord so arranges all these minds by means of the inflow of innocence from heaven that they can be opened. But with those who begin from childhood to be inflamed with the lust of ruling through the holy things of the church as means, the spiritual mind is wholly shut; so, too, is the rational mind, and finally the natural mind, even to the sensual mind, or as it is said in heaven, even to the nose. And thus men become merely sensual, and are the most stupid of all in things spiritual and thus in things rational, and the most crafty of all in worldly and thus in civil matters. That they are so stupid in spiritual things they do not themselves know, because in heart they do not believe these things, and because they believe craft to be prudence and cunning to be wisdom. And yet all of this kind differ according to the kind and strength of their lust for ruling and for exercising rule, also according to the kind and strength of the persuasion that they are holy, and according to the kind of good and truth from the Word that they profane. (A.E., n. 1056.)

Profaners of this kind are stupid and foolish in spiritual things, but are crafty and keen in worldly things, because they make one with the devils in hell, and because, as has been said above, they are merely sensual, and are therefore in what is their own (proprium), which draws its delight of life from the unclean effluvia that exhale from waste matters in the body, and that are emitted from dunghills; and these cause a swelling of their breasts when their pride is active and the titillation of these cause delight. That such is the source of their delight is made evident by their delights after death when they are living as spirits; for then more than the sweetest odors do they love the rank stenches arising from the gases of the belly and from outhouses, which to their smell are more fragrant than thyme. The approach and touch of these close up the interiors of their mind, and open the exteriors pertaining to the body, from which come their quickness in worldly things and their dullness in spiritual things.

In a word, the love of ruling by means of the holy things of the church corresponds to filth, and its delight to a stench indescribable by words, and at which angels shudder. Such is the exhalation from their hells when they are opened; but they are kept closed because of the oppression and occasional swooning which they produce. (A.E., n. 1057.) New Thought Video delights the eyes and warms the heart.

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