Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/126

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THE FALL OF MAN.

structed through the internal man, possessed by the most ancient people, ceased, and the external became the inlet to knowledge. Then, therefore, doctrinals succeeded to the revelations of the Most Ancient Church; which being first apprehended by the external senses were afterwards formed into the material ideas of the memory, and thence into the ideas of thought, by which and according to which they were instructed. Hence it was that this church, which succeeded to the Most Ancient, was of an entirely different genius; and unless the Lord had brought the human race to this genius or state, no man could ever have been saved. (A. C. n. 608.)

The Most Ancient Church, above all churches in the whole world, was from the Divine; for it was in the good of love to the Lord. Their voluntary and intellectual faculties made one, thus one mind. They therefore had a perception of truth from good; for the Lord flowed in, through an internal way, into the good of their will, and through this into the good of the understanding or truth. Hence it is that that church in preference to the others was called Man. But when that generation expired, another succeeded of a totally different character. Instead of discerning truth by good, or estimating the relations of faith by love, they acquired a knowledge of what is good by means of truth, and of love by the knowledges of faith; and with many among them mere knowledge was the desideratum. Such was the change made after the flood, to prevent the destruction of the world, (ib. n. 4454, 200.)

 

The Fall was Gradual and Successive.

From what is here stated respecting the first man, it is manifest that all the hereditary evil existing at the present day was not derived from him, as is commonly but erroneously supposed. . . . With respect to hereditary evil the case is this; Every one who commits actual sin acquires a nature conformable to it, whence evil is implanted in his children, and becomes hereditary. Consequently it is derived from each particular parent, from his father, his grandfather, his great- grandfather, and their ancestors; and is thus multiplied and augmented in each descending generation. And it remains with each, and is increased in each by actual sin; nor does it ever become dissipated or lose its baneful influence except in those who are regenerated by the Lord. Every attentive observer may see evidence of this truth in the fact that the evil inclinations of parents visibly remain in their children; so that a family, yea, an entire race, may be thereby distinguished from every other. (A. C. n. 313.)