The Sin of Profaning the Word and the Holy Things of the Church

The Sin of Profaning the Word and the Holy Things of the Church

Profanation is the conjunction of Divine truth with falsities from evil; and that conjunction which is profanation does not exist with any but those who have first acknowledged those things which are of the church,—and especially who have acknowledged the Lord,—and afterwards deny them. For by the acknowledgment of the truths of the church, and of the Lord, communi­cation with the heavens is effected, and at the same time the opening of the interiors of man towards heaven; and by denial afterwards a conjunction of the same with falsities from evil takes place. For all things which man acknowledges remain implanted, since nothing with man which has entered by acknow­ledgment perishes. The state of the man in whom there is pro­fanation is, that he has communication with the heavens, and at the same time with the hells; by truths with the heavens, and by the falsities of evil with the hells. (AC n. 10,287)

Those who are within the church can form principles of falsity in opposition to the very truths of faith, and be imbued with them; but those who are without the church cannot do this, because they do not know the truths of faith. Thus the former can profane holy truths, while the latter cannot. (ibid. 2051)

The Lord by His Divine Providence continually watches and so disposes that evil may be by itself, and good by itself, and thus that they may be separated; but this cannot be effected if a man first acknowledges the truths of faith and lives according to them, and afterwards recedes from and denies them…Whatever a man thinks, speaks, and does from the will, is appropriated to him and remains…. Such things are each and all inscribed on his internal memory; and nothing is wanting. This memory is his book of life, which is opened after death, and according to which he is judged…. Good and evil moreover are separated by the Lord after death with those who are inwardly evil and outwardly good the good is taken away, and they are thus left to their evil. The reverse takes place with those who inwardly are good and outwardly like other men have sought after wealth, have striven for dignities, have found delight in various worldly things, and favoured some concupiscences. With these however good and evil were not mixed, but were separated as the internal and the external; thus in the external form they were like the evil in many things, yet not in the internal. On the other hand, the evil too, who in the.external form, in piety, in worship, in speech and actions, have appeared as if good, and yet in the internal form were evil,—with them also evil is sepa­rated from good. But with those who have first acknowledged the truths of faith and lived according to them, and have after­wards turned away from and rejected them, and especially if they have denied them, goods and evils are no longer separated, but mingled. For such a man has appropriated good to himself, and has also appropriated evil to himself, and so has conjoined and commingled them. He has so far commingled good and evil that they cannot be separated; and if evil cannot be separated from good and good from evil he can neither be in heaven nor in hell. Every man must be either in the one or in the other; he cannot be in both, for thus he would be sometimes in heaven, and sometimes in hell; and while in heaven he would act in favour of hell, and while in hell he would act in favour of heaven. He would thus destroy the life of all around him, heavenly life among the angels, and infernal life among the devils; whereby the life of every one would perish. For the life of every one must be his own; no one lives in another’s life, still less in an opposite one. Hence it is that with every man after death when he becomes a spirit or a spiritual man, the Lord separates good from evil, and evil from good; good from evil with those who inwardly are in evil, and evil, from good with those who inwardly are in good; which is according to His words, “To every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance, and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that he hath” (Matt. xiii. 12; xxv. 29; Mark iv. 25; Luke viii. 18; xix. 26). As good and evil must be separated in every man, and in such a man cannot be separated, therefore as to everything truly human he is de­stroyed. The truly human in every one exists from rationality; in that he can see and know, if he will, what is true and what is good; and also in that from liberty he can will, think, speak and do it. But this liberty with its rationality is destroyed with those who have commingled good and evil in themselves; for they cannot from good see evil, nor from evil recognize good, be­cause [in them] they make one. They therefore have no longer rationality in capability or in power, nor consequently any liberty. For this reason they are like mere forms of fantastic delirium; and no more appear like men, but as bones with some covering of skin; and therefore when mentioned they are not called he or she, but it. Such a lot have they who in this manner commingle things holy with profane. But there are many kinds of profanation which are yet not of this character.

No man so profanes holy things who does not know them; for he who does not know them cannot acknowledge and then deny them. They therefore who are outside of the Christian world, and do not know anything about the Lord, and about redemption and salvation by Him, do not profane this holy truth when they do not receive it, nor even when they speak against it. Neither do the Jews themselves profane this holy truth, because from infancy they are not willing to receive and acknow­ledge it. It would be otherwise if they received and acknow­ledged and afterwards denied, which however is rarely done; although many of them outwardly acknowledge it and inwardly deny it, and are like hypocrites. But they profane holy things by commingling them with things profane who first receive and acknowledge, and afterwards turn away from and deny them. That they received and acknowledged in infancy and childhood is of no [such] effect,—every Christian does this,—because they do not then receive and acknowledge the things of faith and charity from any rationality and liberty, that is in the under­standing from the will, but only from memory and from confidence in a superior; and if they live according to them it is from blind obedience. But when a man comes into the use of his rationality and liberty, which by degrees he does as he grows up and advances to maturity, if then he acknowledges truths and lives according to them and afterwards denies them, he mingles holy things with profane, and from a man becomes a monster, as described above. But if a man is in evil from the time when he comes into the exercise of his own rationality and liberty, that is until he comes to act of his own right in early manhood, and afterwards acknowledges the truths of faith and lives according to them, if only he then remains in them to the end of life he does not mingle them; for the Lord then separates the evils of his former life from the goods of his after life. This takes place with all who repent.

In the most general sense by profanation is meant all impiety; and therefore by profaners all the impious are meant who in heart deny God, the holiness of the Word, and therefore the spiritual things of the church which are the holy things themselves, of which they even speak impiously. But it is not these that are here treated of…. In the impious who deny the Divine and Divine things there is nothing holy which they can profane; they are profaners indeed, but yet not the profane.

The profanation of what is holy is meant in the second commandment of the decalogue by, Thou shalt not profane the name of thy God; and that there should not be profanation is meant in the Lord’s prayer by, Hallowed be Thy Name…. The name of God signifies God, with all the Divine that is in Him, and that proceeds from Him; and as the Word is the proceeding Divine that is the name of God; and as all the Divine things which are called the spiritual things of the church are from the Word, they also are the name of God. (DP n. 226.230)

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