Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/147

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THE DOCTRINE OF THE LORD.

12, 13). And in Isaiah: "Thus said Jehovah, the King of Israel, and His Redeemer, Jehovah of Hosts, I am the First and the Last" (xliv. 6; xlviii. 12). (T. C. R n. 102.)

 

The Lord's whole Life was a continual Temptation and Victory.

That the life of the Lord, from His earliest childhood even to the last hour of His life in the world, was a continual temptation and continual victory, appears from many passages in the Word of the Old Testament. And that it did not cease with the temptation in the wilderness is evident from these words in Luke, "When the Devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from Him for a season" (iv. 13); also from the fact that He was tempted even to the death of the cross, thus to the last hour of His life in the world. Hence it appears that the Lord's whole life in the world, from His earliest childhood, was a continual temptation and continual victory. The last was when on the cross He prayed for His enemies, thus for all on the face of the whole earth. In the Word of the life of the Lord by the Evangelists, there is no mention of any but His temptation in the wilderness, except the last. Others were not disclosed to the disciples. Those which were disclosed appear, according to the literal sense, so light as scarcely to be any temptation; for so to speak and so to answer is no temptation. And yet it was more grievous than any human mind can ever conceive or believe. No one can know what temptation is unless he has been in it. The temptation which is related in Matt. iv. 1-11, Mark i. 12, 13, Luke iv. 1-13, contains the temptations in a summary; namely, that out of love towards the whole human race, the Lord fought against the loves of self and of the world, with which the hells were filled. All temptation is against the love in which a man is; and the degree of temptation is according to that of the love. If not against the love it is no temptation. To destroy one's love is to destroy his very life, for love is life. The Lord's life was love towards the whole human race; and it was so great, and of such a nature, as to be nothing but pure love. Against this, His life, continual temptations were admitted, as was said, from His earliest childhood to His last hour in the world. . . . In brief, from His earliest childhood to the last hour of His life in the world the Lord was assaulted by all the hells, which were continually overcome, subjugated, and conquered by Him; and this solely out of love towards the human race. And because this love was not human, but Divine, and temptation is great in proportion as the love is great, it is evident how grievous were His combats, and how great the ferocity