A Sermon by Rev.Frank Rose Preached at Sunrise Chapel, Tucson, Arizona Cataloged May 4, 1997

Do you sometimes feel that your life is out of control, or that you wished you had more mastery over yourself and over your world? The Lord was talking to this need in the third of the Beatitudes, but as in the other blessings His words come as something of a surprise. He says “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” The appearance is that the earth belongs to the strong. We see in history examples of men who are powerful who had a clear ability to make decisions, who were ruthless, who were conquerors. The meek, the gentle, would find themselves overrun by stronger forces than themselves. Of course, if you stop and look a little more carefully at these dominant figures in history you come to find another side. Imagine the dictator in one of the new republics in Africa who has risen to power on the basis of murder or imprisoning thousands of people. Yes, he can look out of his palace and say, “I’m lord and master over all that I survey.” But he’s looking through barred windows. He is surrounded by bodyguards and can never move without being protected. He drives through the country in a limousine that has bullet proof windows. In a sense, he is imprisoned by his own position of power. He is in constant fear of being overthrown and eventually the day may come when he is stripped of power, stripped of wealth, cast into prison, and he realizes that his days of glory were very short lived. Or think of the successful executive. He is quick to make decisions. He’s aggressive and knows what he wants in life and goes out to get it. He achieves success. He’s respected and feared and goes home at night and finds that one thing he cannot control is his wife or his children. That boy that is growing up to be a man, that he pictures as one day the manager of the firm, drops out of school and lives a life of drug abuse and is totally ignorant of all responsibility. His daughters hate him and as soon as possible they will get married and leave home. And not only that, he is powerless over his own feelings – his times of depression or his anger or his frustration. So what exactly is he in control of, or is he being ruled by his own success? Some such people come to the point where they acknowledge their powerlessness and they begin to look at their life a little differently. They become softened by bitter experiences. They get in touch with their poverty of spirit. They experience the reality of grief and mourning. They become softened people.

Once a person has reached that stage would you say he is more in control of his life or less so? From external appearances, it seems that the old spirit has gone, but Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” A dear friend of mine was sharing with me her experience with trying to quit smoking. What she realized after years of struggle was that the big problem was that she thought she was in control. So she would say to herself, “I can stop whenever I want to.” And every now and again to prove that to herself, she would quit smoking for a few weeks, but always in the back of her mind was the thought “I can start any time that I want because I can stop anytime that I want. I’m in control of this situation.” Then she would find herself after two or three weeks without a cigarette, waking up at two o’clock in the morning, dressing, going out to an all-night convenience store to get a pack of cigarettes. She realized that she is not in control. That experience broke the illusion that she was in control, and brought her into a completely different attitude toward this addiction. She said she finally knew what it was and what it felt like to hand something in her life over to the Lord, and to say openly, “Lord, I cannot control this without your help.” The marvelous thing was that immediately, the addiction was gone and she no longer classified herself as a smoker who was trying to quit. She just said, “I’m not a smoker anymore because I’ve handed that over to the Lord.” You see, through that surrender, she achieved what she could not achieve through conscious control.

Now this teaching that “The meek will inherit the earth,” is one of the most difficult of all of the teachings of the Lord for people to grasp. It runs so contrary to the appearance. It seems as if we are alone, in the fact that we continually struggle to bring our life into order and make sense out of our life. I knew someone who loved the book – “How to Take Control of Your Time and Your Life.” Such a wonderful promise! You can take control of your time and your life. What an illusion that is! Because if we try to take control merely from our external man, merely from an external point of view, we will find that we are constantly being defeated. In order to take control, we need the quality known here as meekness.

Now this is a very difficult word to translate. We usually think of the word meek as being weak or insipid. But the word meek in both the Hebrew and the Greek languages comes from the root – “To be tamed” or in the case of a field – “To be plowed.” When a farmer goes to prepare a field he knows that the soil is too hard to receive the seeds so he’ll plow the field to loosen the soil, to soften it, to make it receptive. Then it is literally true that the meek, or the plowed field, will inherit the earth more than one that is hardened and tough. With a horse they would use the same word – to tame a horse. The tamed horse still has plenty of energy, plenty of power, but power and energy is now directed by something other than the horse, so its energy is directed or steered.

A person who is meek is a person who has gone through some kind of experience in life in which his self-control has been softened and his illusion about dominating his world or himself has been broken. It’s remarkable; you read in the Old Testament and you find that Moses is described as being very meek more than all men who were on the face of the earth. And Moses was the man who went into Pharaoh, the most powerful person in the world, confronted Pharaoh and said to him, “Let my people go!” And went back repeatedly, until finally Pharaoh had to yield. And yet Moses was called meek. In what sense was Moses a meek person?

We find in the story of the battle with the Amalikites a clue to the power that Moses had. The children of Israel went from Egypt into the wilderness and there they became very vulnerable not only to the danger of starvation and thirst but also to the marauding bands of the Amalikites. They attacked the Amalakites at the rear of their camp. The soldiers were at the front line, so they attacked them at their most vulnerable spot. They were in the wilderness and suddenly their whole lives were at stake. In the story you will find that Moses left the battle scene and went up upon a hill. Moses raised his hands and while his hands were raised, the children of Israel were victorious. When his hands fell from fatigue, they began to lose the battle.

Why did Moses raise his hands? What was the gesture here? It was the gesture of prayer. He was praying for all the people on that mountain top and he could not sustain it so he had to be supported by Aaron and Hur. But as long as he could maintain an attitude of prayer and submission to the Lord’s will, then the soldiers in the valley could be victorious. So it might have seemed to them as if the battle depended upon their courage, on their weapons, on their strength. But the real issue was being fought on the hilltop – the issue of submission or meekness. As long as Moses could maintain that attitude of prayer, then they had an inner strength in what they did.

Think about how this may apply to your life. The battles that we fight are mainly internal battles. We fight the enemies of fear, of depression, of anger, and in most lives of people these emotions sweep over them like an invading army. Now if you try to control your emotions just by self will, you will find repeated failure, like the man who tries to control his temper just by will power and will power alone. He’s using Satan to cast out Satan. If a person tries to overcome his depression by telling himself – “Cheer up” – he’ll only get more depressed because he’ll have a sense of failure in not being able to accomplish that simple task. Of ourselves, we cannot govern or control our emotions. Our emotions will, more likely, control us and overwhelm us like a flood.

Just before the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus went into the wilderness and was tempted by the devil and in the third of those temptations the Bible says the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said that Jesus could have all those kingdoms if only He would bow down and worship him, the devil. How can the devil offer all the kingdoms of the world to Jesus who is Lord of all? Well, doesn’t it appear as if the world is run by human ambition, by greed by the love of money, by raw power? Doesn’t it appear as if the only way to influence people is by an appeal to their lower self? Doesn’t it seem as if the only way to be successful in life is to compromise your principles? – To be strong – to be courageous – to be in control.

But once again, the real issue is on the mountaintop. On the mountaintop you must maintain an attitude of prayer – the prayer that the Lord’s will be done. So in our life there will be times in which we feel as if we simply cannot control the things in our life and we’re brought to that position to understand the quality of meekness. On Palm Sunday, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, it was said “Behold your King is coming, meek and sitting on a donkey, a colt the foal of a donkey.” Sometimes you hear the expression, gentle Jesus, meek and mild. Yet what did Jesus do when he entered Jerusalem? He went straight to the temple, saw the people buying and selling, overthrew their tables and said, ” It is written My house shall be a house of prayer and you have made it a den of thieves!” Was that meek behavior? But later when Jesus was arrested and brought before Pilot, was accused and threatened with death, it is written that “He opened not his mouth.” As the lamb before his slaughter is dumb, he opened not his mouth. Why did not Jesus speak at that time – why didn’t he call for legions of angels to come down from heaven and free Him and destroy His enemies? Because the issue here was whether He is going to be led by the internal forces or by external loves and ambitions. He could feel within himself the anger to the mistreatment that he was enduring. He could feel within himself the frustration and the pain of looking at human behavior at its worst. He also realized that you cannot answer evil with evil, and if you want to inherit the earth you have to submit to something higher and in this case He referred to the Father, and by the Father He was talking about the Divine Love. He had to become passive so the Divine Love would operate through Him. And we all, at one time or another in our life, have to learn what that quantity of passivity is; what is it like to be passive and have the Lord be active.

Listen to this teaching from True Christian Religion, “The Lord alone is active in a person and the person, by himself, only passive. But he is moved to activity by the inflow of life from the Lord.” And again, “Those who are governed by the Lord are passive and have no power of themselves. They are powerless to act and feel anything of themselves and they know it. With them there is only a passive force. These are called poor and also needy. And they are so esteemed by those who suppose that they, themselves are strong. These weak ones who can do nothing of themselves are governed by the Lord. He himself takes care of them. “The meek shall inherit the earth!”

Those who have that inner quality surrender to something higher than themselves. What they’re surrendering to is the power of love. As we read, “Rational good never fights no matter how much it is attacked because it is gentle and mild, long suffering and yielding, for it’s nature is that of love and mercy. But although it does not fight, it nevertheless conquers all. It does not ever think of combat nor does it glory in victory. It is of this nature because it is divine and is, of itself, immune from harm for no evil can assail what is good.”

“The meek shall inherit the earth” – The people who are willing to let their lives be ruled by the gentle qualities of love. They don’t get trapped in the illusion that somehow they can control their inner world, they can control other people they can control circumstances. Notice the word inherit,

The strong conquer the earth; the meek inherit the earth. And what does it mean to inherit? A beloved child of a rich father will find that@ one day he suddenly owns things that he did not earn by his own strength. He comes to possess a wealth that doesn’t really belong to him simply because he inherits it. The meek inherit the earth, which means that they come to experience all the wealth that the Lord provides in heaven and on earth. Your life can be rich and full – not by conquering it, not by dominating the world, but by that beautiful quality of inner surrender. Just let the Lord be the God of your heaven and your earth and you become His child, you become like Him and therefore you inherit everything that belongs to Him. You inherit the world; and this gives a person an inner peace and contentment.

This third Beatitude was actually a quotation from the Psalms and all that Jesus did was to add the word blessed or blissfully happy. It says in Psalm 37, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” In contrast to the evil doers “Who will be cut off.” As the Lord said, “Come to me all ye that labor and are heavy ladened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy and my burden light.”


Lessons: Exodus 17, Psalm 37:1, Matthew 4, AC 1802

Arcana Coelestia

1802. Saying, This one shall not be thine heir. That this signifies that what is external shall not be the heir of His kingdom, is evident from the signification of becoming an heir, or inheriting, explained just above. The heir of the Lord’s kingdom is not what is external, but what is internal. What is external is so too, but through What is internal, for they then act as a one. That it may be known how the case herein is, it is to be kept in mind that all who are in the heavens-as well those who are in the first and in the second, as those who are in the third,-that is, as well those who are external and those who are interior, as those who are internal-are heirs of the Lord’s kingdom; for they all make one heaven. In the Lord’s heavens, the internals and the externals are circumstanced exactly as they are in man. The angels in the first heaven are subordinate to those in the second, and these are subordinate to the angels in the third heaven. The subordination however is not that of command, but is, as in a man, the influx of things internal into things more external; that is, the Lord’s life inflows through the third heaven into the second, and through this into the first, in the order of their succession, besides that it inflows immediately into all the heavens. The inferior or subordinate angels do not know that this is so unless reflection is given them by the Lord; thus there is no subordination of command.

[2] In proportion to the existence of what is internal in an angel of the third heaven is he an heir of the Lord’s kingdom; and in proportion to the same in an angel of the second heaven is he an heir; and in like manner, in proportion to the existence of what is internal in an angel of the first heaven, is he too an heir. It is that which is internal that causes any one to be an heir. With the interior angels there is more of what is internal than there is with the more external angels, and therefore the former are nearer to the Lord, and are more fully heirs. That which is internal is love to the Lord and charity toward the neighbor in proportion therefore to the love and the charity which they have, in the same proportion are they sons and heirs, for in the same proportion are they partakers of the Lord’s life.

[3] But no one can possibly be taken up from the first or external heaven into the second or interior heaven until he has been instructed in the goods of love and the truths of faith. So far as he has been instructed, so far he can be taken up, and can come among angelic spirits. It is the same with angelic spirits before they can be taken up or come into the third heaven, or among angels. By instruction the interiors are formed, and thereby the internals, and are adapted to receiving the goods of love and the truths of faith, and thereby the perception of what is good and true. No one can perceive what he does not know and believe, consequently he cannot be gifted with the faculty of perceiving the good of love and the truth of faith except by means of knowledges, so as to know what they are and of what nature. It is so with all, even with infants, who are all instructed in the Lord’s kingdom. But these are easily instructed, because they are imbued with no principles of falsity; they are however instructed in general truths only; and when they receive these they perceive things without number or limit.

[4] The case in this respect is the same as it is with one who has been persuaded respecting any truth in general: the particulars of the general truths, and the singulars of the particulars, which are confirmatory, he easily learns, as it were of himself, or spontaneously; for he is affected by the truth in general, and thence also by the particulars and singulars of the same truth, which confirm for these enter into the general affection with delight and pleasantness, and thus constantly perfect it. These are the internal things on account of which they are called “heirs,” or by means of which they can inherit the Lord’s kingdom. But they first begin to be heirs, or to have a heritage, when they are in the affection of good, that is, in mutual love, into which they are introduced by the knowledges of good and truth, and by the affections of them; and in proportion as they are in the affection of good, or in mutual love, in the same proportion are they “heirs,” or have an inheritance. For mutual love is the veriest life (vitale) which they receive from the Lord’s essence, as from their Father. These things may be seen from what follows in the next verse.

Have You Ever Been In Prison?

Have You Ever Been In Prison

by Rev. Frank Rose Preached in Sunrise Chapel, Tucson, Arizona March, 1996

Fortunately, comparatively few of us have had that degrading and humiliating experience. People who have will be very sensitive to the message in Psalm 142 which ends with the prayer, “Bring my soul out of prison that I may praise your name; the righteous shall surround me for You shall deal bountifully with me.”

Of course, not all people are in prison because of crimes. Many experience being in prison in time of war or perhaps they’re political prisoners of some kind. There are comparatively few stories in the Old Testament about people in prison, partially because of all the regulations and laws given in the Books of Moses which stipulate different crimes and their punishments – none of the punishments ever involved going to prison. In the early days of the Hebrew people, it was not known what prison was; it was not part of their culture. Joseph was cast into a prison. First of all, he was a slave which is a kind of imprisonment, but then when he was in Egypt, be was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife – found himself in prison and later emerged from that prison to become the second ruler in all of Egypt – but that was an Egyptian prison. Samson was put into a prison and that was a Philistine prison. The first time, you hear of anyone of the Children of Israel being put into prison by their own people is in the time of the Kings; especially the story of the Prophet Jeremiah, who was repeatedly cast into prison because his message was so unpopular.

So when the people heard the Old Testament prophecies that the Messiah was going to come, and among other things, was going to release them from prison, you can’t help but wonder as to what meaning that held for them, since so few of them had had the prison experience. There is a prophecy in Isaiah 61: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor: He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” And this prophecy is repeated in different words in other places; that’s one of the reasons why the Messiah was coming was to release people from prison.

The first time Jesus stood up to speak in the synagogue at Nazareth he quoted that part of the 61 chapter of Isaiah, and having read it, He then said: “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears.” Now, do you know of any story in the New Testament, of Jesus releasing someone from prison? John The Baptist, who prepared the way of the Lord and who baptized Him, was cast into prison by the wicked Herod and there is no indication in the Gospels tl-tat Jesus ever did anything to release him. Eventually, he was beheaded in prison, and yet Jesus said: “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your ears.” He was already releasing people from prison. Now what prison was that?

Clearly, it was not some external prison. What was the prison in which people found themselves, in which the Messiah had come to deliver them from? You know how you can be imprisoned by your body, Think of a person who is suffering from Alzhiemers Disease – how their body becomes like a prison to them – and even their minds can’t operate properly, simply because of a physical condition. Any kind of physical limitation is the nature of an imprisonment and if we listen too much to the bodily senses and base our whole life on our sense experience, our mind becomes very limited by people who say” “Well, I don’t believe in a life after death; I’ve never seen the Spiritual World. I’ve never met anyone who has come back from the Spiritual World.” So they are unable to accept the concept of Life After Death because they are imprisoned by their bodies, Their thoughts are overly dominated by sensual things. Remember in the early days of space travel; one of the space ships went out and an atheist jubilantly reported that God must not exist, because here Mankind bad traveled to the moon and no one had seen God on the journey! Notice the sensual thinking that God, if He is real, must be visible to the physical eyes! So we all tend to be limited because we have a body in the Natural World and sometimes it’s very difficult to rise above the appearances of that body – to sec beyond the surface – to see the, reality. If you saw a person physically in prison you might not realize that their spirit was free and perhaps the jailer was more imprisoned that the prisoner, because of a mental attitude. Being in prison is much more a state of mind. Think of people who suffer with addictions, and in that sense they are prisoners of their own bodies. They cannot stop themselves from eating or drinking or taking in certain substances. They have lost control; as much as their mind might say: “I won’t do this anymore,” yet the body keeps on doing it. They are prisoners in a very tragic sense. But having a body itself is a kind of imprisonment; because the spirit is beyond the body, it has its own level of reality and there are many times in which we have to arise above the appearance that we exist only within the limits of our physical frame – to realize that we are Spiritual Beings and the body is only a very small part of our life. When the body grows old, our spirit does not grow old and when the body dies, we do not die – but to think like that, we have to be released from the domination of physical appearances. When Jesus taught, He confronted the people with their thinking – their thought patterns, You may remember the phrase: “You have heard it was said to them of old times, that I say unto you.” One of them we read was a recitation “You heard that it was said to them of old times – you shall not murder!” People who had that concept of the Fifth Commandment, that it was concerned with the murder of the physical body, had no awareness that their inner hatred and bitterness was a form of murder and therefore their thinking was very limited and it made them such that they wouldn’t even take responsibility for the inner attitudes or thoughts, They thought so long as they obeyed the letter of the Law, they were: “Right with God.” Now that thinking was a kind of prison bar which limits the way in which they approached life. Every time the Lord spoke He confronted their “traditional” thinking. He told them to cleanse the inside of the cup and platter, saying that ritual wasn’t going to get them to Heaven, but an inner spirit of Love and Charity would. He told them they should love their enemies – that they should forgive – they should let go of the pattern of wrong doing and revenge because that pattern, which we still see in the world today, is a kind of spiritual prison. People get caught in that and they’re locked into a way of thinking that makes it almost impossible for them to see anything else, That’s why it says in the Psalm: “Bring my soul out of prison.” Having the body in prison is one thing – having the soul in prison is even worse and your soul is in prison when your thoughts are false or when your emotions are totally negative.

During the Second World War, there was a Christian Thinker, Clergyman, Philosopher named Deiter VonHoffer. He spent many years in prison and eventually died in prison. He wrote a book entitled “Letters From Prison.” The early letters were written after he had been in jail for only a short while and one of the first things he observed was that while the body is in prison, the mind does not have to be. And then he says this: “The important thing is to make the best use of one’s possessions and capabilities -there are still plenty left and to accept the limits of the situation, by which I mean, not giving way to feelings of resentment and discontent,” You see, he realized that thing that would truly imprison him was not the bars – was not the walls, but that spirit of resentment and discontent. “I’ve never realized so clearly what the Bible and Luther meant by Spiritual Trial. Quite suddenly, for no apparent reason, whether physical or psychological, the peace and placidity which have been a mainstay hitherto began to waver; and the fear, in Jeremiah’s Expressive Phase, becomes that defiant and despondent thing one cannot fathom. It is like an invasion from the outside, as though evil powers were trying to deprive one of life’s dearest treasures.” And then he adds: “But it is a wholesome and necessary experience which helps one to better understand human life.”

What then is prison? For much of his time in prison, VonHoffer was able to maintain an attitude of freedom and peace and he could see that there were times when his heart was invaded by these destructive forces which were all on a mental level; negative feelings of bitterness – despondency, despair, resentment – that was the prison he had to fear. And don’t we know the same kind of prison? Think of what prejudice does to imprison the mind. Imagine if you have a view that a certain race of people, a certain culture of people, are all bad, how that limits your life. How you put yourself in prison due to your own prejudices. Suppose you were negative to all black people, then you would never be able to meet a black person and see them as a real human being and benefit from that relationship. You’re imprisoned because of your own way of thinking, We all need to be liberated from this kind of spiritual limitation and spiritual blindness. That’s why it’s interesting in one of the prophesies of the Lords Coming, “The opening of the blind eyes” is put right alongside “Delivering people from prison,” This is Isaiah 42: “I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, as a light unto the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house,” Jesus never physically delivered anyone from prison but every time He spoke, He was opening their eyes and delivering them from their prison of darkness – from negative thinking – from prejudice – from an attitude of mind that judges all things on the basis of appearances and is not willing to be lifted up to a higher level. Whenever we are in a destructive frame of mind, self-pitying, resentful of others, we find ourselves in prison. And maybe you have known that kind of state in which you felt the limitations and you desperately wanted to get out. How do you break down those walls; how do you liberate yourself from that confined way of thinking and being? The Lord invites us to escape from prison by lifting our minds to a higher level. Just take for example, the prison of the body and the prison of our own personality. Ever stop to think that ones personality is a kind of prison – that you think of yourself in a certain way – others think of you in that way and your true spirit may be very different than your personality. So how do you break out of that prison of yours; those physical limitations or what people think of you or what you think of yourself? One way is to simply observe yourself and raise your mind to a higher level and realize that your body and your personality are a very small part of your total essence; that you are truly a Spiritual Being, created to live forever and that many of the things that are important to you in your life right now are just temporary; things that are active for awhile, but they’re not part of your true essence or your true personality. That’s why in the Psalms the person prays to escape from the prison by flying: “Oh that I had wings of a dove, for then I would fly away and be at rest.” You can imagine a person sitting in a physical prison and using the wings of thought to raise their minds above the limitations in which they find themselves, and suddenly they’re free, Whether we’re in physical prison or not, we can liberate ourselves by meditation and by elevating the mind. If you think of the problems that you face in your life, the things you find so discouraging and difficult to deal with just lift your mind to a higher level and let them come into a better perspective and you will be freed. And the most wonderful thing is as you release yourself from prison, you also release other people, for we tend to put other people in a box: by our attitudes toward them, by our judgments about them. Maybe you’ve had the experience of other people having thoughts about you that you say to yourself, “I’m not like that – I’m not the kind of person that other people think I am!” So if we become more liberated in our own thinking, able to think on a higher spiritual level, we will liberate other people and we will never say as we approach a person: “I know you!” For how much do we really know of one another – where I’m willing to judge you or I’m willing to interpret your life? But rather, I might say: ” I am more than my body, I am more than my personality, I am more than my roles in life and therefore the person I am talking to is much greater than what I see – and the limited thoughts I have about him.” In this process we need, most of all, to be liberated from the tyranny of having to be right all the time.

Let us accept with joy, in the fact that, in a certain sense, we are nothing – we’re just created out of the dust of the Earth and our loving Creator sees in us an infinite potential on the Spiritual level. So we let go of our pride, we let go of our self image and we lift our thought upwards and then we find that we are liberated, we are set free, we are given a kind of internal peace, surrounded by that spirit of love and acceptance.

Have you ever been in prison? Of course you have! We all have! There are many times in life when, mentally, we are in prison. The Lord has promised that He will come and deliver us from prison; to rescue us from that prison, if we but turn to Him, lift our thoughts to a higher level, want to rise above the limitations of time – of space – of personality, and see things more as He sees them, from an eternal and loving point of view.


1st Lesson Psalm 142
Luke 4-16
2nd lesson AC 5096

Arcana Coelestia

5096. Who were bound in the prison house. That this signifies which were among falsities, is evident from the signification of “being bound in a prison house,” as being to be among falsities (see n. 4958, 5037, 5038, 5085). They who are in falsities, and still more they who are in evils, are said to be “bound,” and in “prison”-not that they are in any bond, but for the reason that they are not in freedom, for those who are not in freedom are interiorly bound. For they who have confirmed themselves in falsity are no longer in any freedom to choose and receive truth; and they who have much confirmed themselves therein are not even in freedom to see truth, still less to acknowledge and believe it; for they are in the persuasion that falsity is truth, and truth falsity. This persuasion is such that it takes away all freedom to think anything else, and consequently holds the very thought in bonds and as it were in prison. This has become evident to me from much experience with those in the other life who have been in persuasion of falsity through confirmations in themselves. [2] They are such as not at all to admit truths, but to reflect or strike them back again, and this with hardness according to the degree of the persuasion, especially when the falsity is from evil, or when evil has persuaded them. These are they who are meant in the Lord’s parable in Matthew:–

Some seeds fell upon the hard way, and the birds came and devoured them (13:4);

the “seeds” are Divine truths; the “hard rock” is persuasion; the “birds” are principles of falsity. They who are such do not even know that they are in bonds or in prison, for they are affected with their own falsity, and love it for the sake of the evil from which it springs; hence they suppose that they are in freedom, for whatever is of the affection or love appears free. But they who are not in confirmed falsity–that is, in the persuasion of falsity–easily admit truths, and see and choose them, and are affected with them, and afterward see falsities as it were beneath themselves, and also see how they who are in the persuasion of falsity are bound. These are in so much freedom that in view and thought they can as it were range through the whole heaven to innumerable truths; but no one can be in this freedom unless he is in good; for from good man is in heaven, and in heaven truths appear from good.