Different Kinds and Degrees of Profanation

Different Kinds and Degrees of Profanation

Since by the profanation of what is holy is meant profanation by those who know the truths of faith and the goods of charity from the Word, and also in some manner acknowledge them, and not those who do not know them, nor those who from impiety entirely reject them, therefore what follows is said not of the latter but of the former. Their profanation is of many kinds, lighter, and more grievous; but they may be reduced to these seven.

The first kind of profanation is by those who jest from the Word and about the Word, or from the Divine things of the church, and about them. This is done by some from a depraved habit of taking names or forms of speech from the Word, and mixing them up with conversation scarcely becoming, and sometimes filthy; which cannot but be connected with some contempt for the Word. And yet in each and all things the Word is Divine and Holy; for every word therein conceals in its bosom some­thing Divine, and thereby it has communication with heaven. But this kind of profanation is lighter or more grievous according to the acknowledgment of the holiness of the Word, and the un­becoming character of the discourse in which it is introduced by the jesters. (DP n. 231)

The second kind of profanation is by those who understand and acknowledge Divine truths, and yet live contrary to them. But they more lightly profane who only understand; and they more grievously who also acknowledge; for the understanding only teaches, scarcely otherwise than as a preacher, and of itself does not conjoin itself with the will; but acknowledgment con­joins itself, for nothing can be acknowledged but with the consent of the will. But this conjunction is various and according to the conjunction is the profanation when the life is contrary to the truths which are acknowledged. For example, if one acknow­ledges that revenge and hatred, adultery and fornication, fraud and deceit, blasphemy and lying, are sins against God, and yet commits them, he is in this more grievous kind of profanation; for the Lord says, “The servant which knoweth his Lord’s will, and doeth not His will, shall be beaten with many stripes” (Luke xii. 47). And again, “If ye were blind, ye would not have sin; but now ye say, We see, therefore your sin remaineth” (John ix. 41). But it is one thing to acknowledge appearances of truth, and another to acknowledge genuine truths. They that acknowledge genuine truths and yet do not live according to them, in the spiritual world appear without the light and heat of life in their voice and speech, as if they were mere inactivities.

The third kind of profanation is by those who apply the literal sense of the Word to confirm evil loves and false principles. The reason [why this is profanation] is, that the confirmation of falsity is the denial of the truth, and the confirmation of evil is the rejection of good; and the Word in its bosom is nothing but Divine truth and Divine good; and this in the ultimate sense which is the sense of the letter does not appear in genuine truths, except where it teaches about the Lord and the very way of salvation, but in truths clothed, which are called appearances of truth. This sense therefore can be wrested to confirm many kinds of heresies. But he who confirms evil loves does violence to Divine goods; and he who confirms false principles does violence to Divine truths. This violence is called the falsification of truth; and that the adulteration of good. Both are meant in the Word by blood; for a holy spiritual [principle] which is indeed the Spirit of Truth proceeding from the Lord, is within the least particulars of the literal sense of the Word. This holy [principle] is injured when the Word is falsified and adulterated that this is profanation is obvious.

The fourth kind of profanation is by those who utter pious and holy things with the mouth, and also simulate the affections of the love of them in tone and gesture, and yet in heart do not believe and love them. The most of these are hypocrites and Pharisees; from whom after death all truth and good is taken away, and then they are sent into outer darkness. Those of this kind who have confirmed themselves against the Divine and against the Word, and therefore also against the spiritual things of the Word, sit in that darkness mute, unable to speak; wishing to babble pious and holy  things as in the world, but they cannot. For in the spiritual world every one is constrained to speak as he thinks; but the hypocrite wishes to speak otherwise than as he thinks. Hence arises an opposition in the mouth, from which it is that he can only mutter. But hypocrisies are lighter or more grievous according to confirmations against God and reasonings outwardly in favour of God.

The fifth kind of profanation is by those who attribute Divine things to themselves. It is they who are meant by Lucifer in Isaiah xiv. Lucifer there means Babylon, as may be seen from the 4th and 22nd verses of that chapter, where the lot of such also is described. The same are meant too by the whore sitting upon the scarlet beast, in the Apocalypse, xvii. Babylon and Chaldea are mentioned in many places in the Word; and by Babylon is there meant the profanation of good, and by Chaldea the profanation of truth; both with those who attribute to themselves things Divine.

The sixth kind of profanation is by those who acknowledge the Word, and yet deny the Divinity of the Lord. They are called in the world Socinians, and some of them Arians. The lot of both is that they invoke the Father and not the Lord, and continually pray the Father,—some indeed for the sake of the Son,—that they may be admitted into heaven, but in vain; even until they become without hope of salvation; and then they are let down into hell among those who deny God. It is they who are meant by those that blaspheme the Holy Spirit, to whom it would not be remitted in this age nor in that which is to come (Matt. xii. 32). The reason is that God is one in Person and in Essence, in whom is a Trinity, and that God is the Lord; and as the Lord is also heaven, and hence those who are in heaven are in the Lord, therefore they who deny the Divinity of the Lord cannot be ad­mitted into heaven and be in the Lord.

The seventh kind of profanation is by those who first acknowledge Divine truths and live according to them, and afterwards recede from and deny them. This is the worst kind of profanation, for the reason that they so commingle holy things with profane that they cannot be separated; and yet they must be separated that they may be either in heaven or in hell; and because with them this cannot be done, all the intellectual and voluntary human is eradicated and they become no longer men, as was said before. Nearly the same takes place with those who in heart acknowledge the Divine things of the Word and of the church, and entirely immerse them in their proprium, which is the love of ruling over all things, of which much has been said before; for after death when they become spirits they will not be led by the Lord, but by themselves; and when the rein is given to their love they would not only rule over heaven, but even over the Lord. And because they cannot do this they deny the Lord, and become devils. (DP n. 231)

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