Grief on account of deprived truth

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Selection from Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel SwedenborgThe state of desolation of truth, and also of removal from truths
with those who are becoming spiritual

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

How these things are to be understood shall be briefly told:
Those who cannot be reformed do not at all know what it is to grieve on account of being deprived of truths; for they suppose that no one can feel in the least anxious about such a thing. The only anxiety they believe to be possible is on account of being deprived of the goods of the body and the world; such as health, honors, reputation, wealth, and life.

But they who can be reformed believe altogether differently: these are kept by the Lord in the affection of good and in the thought of truth; and therefore they come into anxiety when deprived of this thought and affection.

It is known that all anxiety and grief arise from being deprived of the things with which we are affected, or which we love.

They who are affected only with corporeal and worldly things, or who love such things only, grieve when they are deprived of them; but they who are affected with spiritual goods and truths and love them, grieve when they are deprived of them. Everyone’s life is nothing but affection or love. Hence it is evident what is the state of those who are desolated as to the goods and truths with which they are affected, or which they love, namely, that their state of grief is more severe, because more internal; and in the deprivation of good and truth they do not regard the death of the body, for which they do not care, but eternal death. It is their state which is here described.

That it may be known who those are that can be kept by the Lord in the affection of good and truth, and thus be reformed and become spiritual, and who those are that cannot, we will briefly state that-

During childhood, while being for the first time imbued with goods and truths, everyone is kept by the Lord in the affirmative idea that what he is told and taught by his parents and masters is true. With those who can become spiritual men this affirmative is confirmed by means of knowledges [scientifica et cognitiones]; for whatever they afterwards learn that has an affinity with it, insinuates itself into this affirmative, and corroborates it; and this more and more, even to affection. These are they who become spiritual men in accordance with the essence of the truth in which they have faith, and who conquer in temptations.

But it is otherwise with those who cannot become spiritual men. Although during their childhood these are in the affirmative, yet in the age that follows they admit doubts, and thus trench upon the affirmative of good and truth; and when they come to adult age, they admit negatives, even to the affection of falsity. If these should be brought into temptations, they would wholly yield; and on this account they are exempted from them.

But the real cause of their admitting doubts, and afterwards negatives, is to be found in their life of evil.

They who are in a life of evil cannot possibly do otherwise; for as before said the life of everyone is his affection or love; and such as is the affection or love, such is the thought. The affection of evil and the thought of truth never conjoin themselves together. With those in whom there is an appearance of this conjunction, there is really no such conjunction, but only the thought of truth without the affection of it; and therefore with such persons truth is not truth, but only something of sound, or of the mouth, from which the heart is absent. Such truth even the worst can know, and sometimes better than others. With some also there is found a persuasion of truth, of such a nature that no one can know but that it is genuine; and yet it is not so if there is no life of good: it is an affection of the love of self or of the world, which induces such a persuasion that they defend it even with the vehemence of apparent zeal; nay, they will even go so far as to condemn those who do not receive it, or believe in the same way. But this truth is of such a quality as is the principle with each person from which it starts, being strong in proportion as the love of self or of the world is strong. It indeed attaches itself to evil, but does not conjoin itself with it, and is therefore extirpated in the other life. Very different is it with those who are in the life of good. With these truth itself has its own ground and heart, and has its life from the Lord.(from Arcana Coelestia 2689)

The devil addresses his hellish crew at their annual assembly

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devil-dressed-up

“ . . . and that is why the numbers of humans entering the kingdom of Hell continually increases to this day,” stated the Devil as he finished up his talk and puffing out his chest with great pride.

The crowd of fiends gave a thundering round of applause after the Devil finished his annual oration. Hand-made signs could be seen everywhere with the slogan, “Hell is what’s hot!”

“I will now take some questions from the audience,” stated the Devil, as he cleared his throat with a refreshing glass of Tabasco sauce.

A hand goes up towards the back of the auditorium.

“Yes. What is your question, sir?” asked the Lord of Darkness.

“There is a rumor on earth that the long-awaited Second Coming is commencing on earth,” said the voice at the back of the room. “Should we be concerned?”

“Hell, no!” came the Devil’s quick answer. “Let me explain why.”

The crowd became totally silent.

“Some of you may be familiar with the Lord God’s strategy of returning to earth, not physically, but through the theological writings of His servant, Emanuel Swedenborg,” The Devil continued. “You see, the Second Coming is actually a new heavenly dispensation whereby the Lord’s Second Advent represents an enlightening of the human heart and mind. Whoever wins the hearts and minds of people gets to control the human race—that is where the great battle of Armageddon actually takes place.”

“Why are you so confident that the forces of hell will win this battle?” asked the same voice at the back of the auditorium.

“Because few humans will grasp what stands in their way of entering this great battle. You see, those on earth have dual consciousnesses—an ‘inner’ consciousness and an ‘outer’ (or ‘worldly’) consciousness.” The Devil then smiled wickedly at the assembly showing his nasty, cavity-ridden fangs. “I have personally intervened to make sure that earth-beings become focused only on their outer or corporeal/sensual consciousness. People believe that because they use this habitual level of mind most often during their daily lives that this acquired, artificial consciousness is who they really are. So even when they read Swedenborg’s theology, under this split psychical condition, God’s new and revelatory influences are merely captured and contained within their memory function, which keeps it from going any deeper.”

“How can you be sure that God’s new heavenly input will not penetrate deep enough into the human psyche, where it can uproot us and our hellish practices?” came the same voice from the back of the room.

The Devil confessed, “I have read Swedenborg’s writings which state that the human heart and will is nothing but evil and that God alone is good. People on earth will have lots of serious problems with that anti-intuitive concept—especially when they look at family photos of their cute smiling children and their grandparents. People want acceptance and affirmation from others, whereas God wants to stress the importance of self-examination and the discovering of one’s dirty underwear. Without such examination and causing an inner conflict between what a person knows and how a person really feels, no contact is made between a person’s inner and outer realities. And without such contact, no spiritual growth can be obtained. I honestly want people to seek goodness—as long as their good deeds find a detour around the process of spiritual cleansing and regeneration.”

The Devil then let out a most hideous laugh. “Students of Swedenborg’s writings will mistakenly gravitate towards promoting love, good works, and usefulness in society, believing that their doctrines of charity are superior to the notion that “faith alone” saves. That kind of debate will only take people down a rabbit hole. Here is what is overlooked—neither faith alone nor good works helps anyone if contact is not made between an individual’s two levels of consciousness. This contact and purifying friction is the only way one’s faith and good works can acquire heavenly innocence. And furthermore, I have ingeniously tricked humans into preferring to express ‘hope’ repeatedly, over choosing to take part in the more uncomfortable operation of spiritual regeneration and digging out one’s personal dirt.

The entire crowd then gave the Devil a standing ovation!

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Dail🕊nspiration

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“Even if a person could know from heaven all the things that the angels know, or know all things that are in the Word and that are in all the doctrines of the church, and even everything that wise people have written and councils decreed, and yet their will be evil, they would after death be seen as one who knows nothing, because they do not desire what they know.”

Emanuel Swedenborg, DeVerbo 13