Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/239

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THE SACRED SCRIPTURES.

hell. For when the infernals approach towards the sphere where good and truth are they instantly feel their hell; for they come into that which they hate, consequently into torment. They therefore who have profaned truth dwell continually with that which torments them; and this according to the degree of profanation. Because it is so it is most specially provided by the Lord that Divine good and truth shall not be profaned. And it is provided especially by this, that, the man who is of such a character that he cannot but profane is withheld as far as possible from the acknowledgment and belief of truth and good; for, as was said, no one can profane but who has first acknowledged and believed. This was the reason why internal truths were not made known to the posterity of Jacob, the Israelites and Jews. Not even was it openly declared that there was any internal in man, and thus that there was any internal worship; and scarcely anythiug of a life after death, and of the Lord's heavenly kingdom; or of the Messiah whom they expected. The reason was that they were of such a character that it was foreseen that if such truths had been revealed to them they could not but have profaned them; for they desired only earthly things. And because that generation was and also is of such a character, it is still permitted that they should be in a state of entire unbelief; for if they once acknowledged and afterwards receded, they could not but have induced upon themselves the most grievous of all hells. This also was the reason why the Lord did not come into the world and reveal the internal [truths] of the Word until there was no good at all, not even natural good, remaining with them. (A. C. n. 3398.)

Ideas commingled by profanation remain associated, so that whenever a holy thought comes into the mind the profane idea connected with it also enters. The effect of which is that the man cannot be in any society but that of the damned. The association of ideas in the mind of every one is exquisitely perceived in the other life, even by spirits in the world of spirits, and much more so by angelic spirits; so that from a single idea they know the quality of a man. The separation of profane and holy ideas, when thus conjoined, cannot be effected except by such horrible infernal torment that if a man was aware of it he would guard himself against profanation as against hell itself, (ib. n. 301.)

By the Providence of the Lord care is taken lest man should be admitted into real acknowledgment and belief of heart farther than he can afterwards be kept in it, and this on account of the punishment of profanation, which in hell is most grievous. It is for this reason that so few at this day are permitted to believe from the heart that the good of love and charity