Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/253

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AND SUBJECTS IN THE WORD.

Church. So long as the evil genii and spirits were there, they were under the continual view of the angels of the higher heaven; hence they were restrained from doing evils openly. At this day also some who are more deceitful than others,—since they deceive by simulating innocence and charity,—are under the view of the celestials, and for so long are withheld from their wicked deceits. From these circumstances it has been granted me to know what was the state of the evil genii and spirits who before the coming of the Lord occupied the lower region of heaven; namely, that at that time they were withheld by the angels of the higher heaven from the open commission of evils. And it has also been granted me to know how they were withheld from the open commission of evils. They were kept under external restraints; namely, in fear of the loss of honour and reputation, and in fear lest they should be deprived of possessions in that region of heaven, and be thrust down to hell. And then there were adjoined to them simple good spirits; as is the case with men in the world who, although inwardly devils, are yet kept by these external restraints in honesty and justice and well-doing; and that they may be so kept there are adjoined to them spirits who are in simple good. Thus it was with the evil who were in the lower region of heaven before the Lord's coming. And then too they could be constrained to speak the truth and do good by their own loves. Just as evil priests, yea even the worst who inwardly are devils, can preach the doctrinals of their church with such ardour and simulated zeal as to move the hearts of their hearers to piety, yet at the same time are in the love of self and of the world. For the thought of honour and gain universally rules in them, and from that fire they are excited thus to preach. There are evil spirits with them who are in similar love and therefore in similar thought, who lead them; and to these simple good spirits are adjoined. From these statements it may be seen what was the state of heaven before the Lord's coming. But after His coming the states of heaven and hell were entirely changed; for then the evil genii and spirits who occupied the lower region of heaven were cast down, and in their place those who were of the spiritual church were elevated thither. The evil who were cast down were then deprived of external restraints; which, as was said above, were fear of the loss of honour and reputation, and of the deprivation of possessions in that region. They were thus left to their interiors, which were merely diabolical and infernal, and so were consigned to the hells. The deprivation of external restraints is effected in the other life by the removal of the good spirits who were adjoined to them. When these are removed they can no longer be in any simulation of what is good, just, and honest, but