(DP) - Angelic Wisdom about Divine Providence

DP 231

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231. Since by profanation of what is holy is meant profanation by those who have a knowledge of the truths of faith and the goods of charity from the Word, and who, moreover, in some measure acknowledge them, and not by those who are ignorant of them, nor by those who impiously reject them utterly, therefore what follows is not said of the latter but of the former. There are many kinds of profanation by the former class of profaners, some lighter and some more grievous; but they may be referred to the following seven.
First, the kind of profanation committed by those who make jests from the Word and about the Word, or from the Divine things of the Church and about them. This is done by some from a bad habit, by taking names or forms of expression from the Word and mingling them with remarks that are unseemly and sometimes filthy. It is inevitable that this should be accompanied by some measure of contempt for the Word; for the Word in all things, in general and in particular, is Divine and holy, every expression there having stored within it something Divine, by means of which it has communication with heaven. This kind of profanation, however, is lighter or more grievous according to the acknowledgment of the holiness of the Word and the unbecoming character of the talk into which it is introduced by those who jest about it.
[2] Second, the kind of profanation committed by those who understand and acknowledge Divine truths, and yet live contrary to them. Those who only understand profane more lightly, while those who also acknowledge profane more grievously. For the understanding only teaches, much in the same manner as a preacher, and does not from itself conjoin itself with the will; but acknowledgment does make conjunction; for nothing can be acknowledged without the consent of the will. Still this conjunction varies, and the profanation is according to the measure of the conjunction, when the life is lived contrary to the truths that are acknowledged. Thus if one acknowledges that revenge and hatred, adultery and fornication, fraud and deceit, blasphemy and lying, are sins against God, and yet commits them, he is in the more grievous form of this kind of profanation; for the Lord says,
The servant which knew his lord's will ... and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. Luke xii. 48 (A.V. 47);
and elsewhere,
If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. John ix. 41.
But it is one thing to acknowledge appearances of truth, and another to acknowledge genuine truths. Those who acknowledge genuine truths and yet do not live according to them appear in the spiritual world without the light and heat of vitality in the tone of their voice and speech, as if they were mere inert beings.
[3] Third, the kind of profanation committed by those who apply the sense of the Letter of the Word to confirm evil loves and false principles. This is because the confirmation of falsity is a denial of truth, and the confirmation of evil is a rejection of good. The Word in its inmost is nothing but Divine Truth and Divine Good; and this in the ultimate sense which is the sense of the Letter is not expressed in genuine truths, except where it teaches concerning the Lord and the essential way of salvation, but in truths veiled, which are called appearances of truth. Therefore this sense may be wrested to confirm heresies of many kinds; and he who confirms evil loves does violence to Divine Good, while he who confirms false principles does violence to Divine Truth. This latter violence is called the falsification of truth, the former the adulteration of good. Both are meant by bloods* in the Word; for a spiritual holiness, which is also the spirit of truth proceeding from the Lord, is interiorly within every particular of the sense of the Letter. This holiness is violated when the Word is falsified and adulterated; and it is clear that this is profanation.
[4] Fourth, the kind of profanation committed by those who speak with the lips pious and holy things, and who also by their tone of voice and gesture counterfeit the affections of the love of such things, and yet in their heart do not believe and love them. Most of these are hypocrites and Pharisees from whom after death are taken away all truth and good; and they are then sent into outer darkness. Those who from profanation of this kind have confirmed themselves against the Divine and against the Word, and consequently against the spiritual things of the Word, sit in that darkness dumb, unable to speak, desiring to babble pious and holy things as they did in the world, but unable to do so. For in the spiritual world everyone is compelled to speak as he thinks; but a hypocrite desires to speak otherwise than as he thinks, and consequently there arises an opposition in the mouth owing to which he can only mumble. Hypocrisy, however, is lighter or more grievous according to the degree of the confirmation against God and the outward reasoning in favour of God.
[5] Fifth, the kind of profanation committed by those who attribute to themselves what is Divine. Such are meant by Lucifer in Isaiah xiv. Lucifer there means Babylon, as may be evident from the fourth and twenty-second verses of that chapter, where, too, the lot of such is described. The same are meant and described also in Revelation xvii by the harlot sitting on the scarlet beast. Babylon and Chaldea are mentioned in many places in the Word, where by Babylon is meant the profanation of good, and by Chaldea the profanation of truth. In both cases the profanation is committed by those who attribute to themselves what is Divine.
[6] Sixth, the kind of profanation committed by those who acknowledge the Lord and yet deny the Divinity of the Lord. In the world these are called Socinians, and some Arians. The condition of all such is that they call upon the Father, and not upon the Lord, and continually pray to the Father, some indeed for the sake of the Son, to be admitted into heaven, but in vain, even till they become without hope of salvation. They are then sent down to hell among those who deny God. Such are meant by those
Who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, who will not be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come. Matt. xii. 32.
This is because God is one in Person and in Essence, in whom is the Trinity, and this God is the Lord; and since the Lord is heaven, and consequently those who are in heaven are in the Lord, therefore those who deny the Divinity of the Lord cannot be admitted into heaven and be in the Lord. It has been shown above that the Lord is heaven, and consequently that those who are in heaven are in the Lord.
[7] Seventh, the kind of profanation committed by those who first acknowledge Divine truths and live according to them, but afterwards depart from them and deny them. This is the worst kind of profanation because such persons mingle things holy and profane to such a degree that they cannot be separated; and yet these things must be separated in order that men may find their place either in heaven or in hell. As this cannot be effected, however, in the case of such persons, all that is human, both intellectual and voluntary, is rooted out and, as was said before, they come to be no longer men. Almost the same thing happens with those who in their heart acknowledge the Divine things of the Word and of the Church, but who immerse them completely in their proprium, which is the love of ruling over all things, and about this much has already been said. For after death when they become spirits, they are wholly unwilling to be led by the Lord, but desire to be led by themselves. When loose rein is given to their love they desire to rule not only over heaven but also over the Lord; and as they cannot do this, they deny the Lord and become devils. It should be understood that the life's love, which is also the ruling love, remains with everyone after death, and cannot be taken away.
[8] The profane of this kind are meant by the lukewarm, of whom it is thus written in the Revelation:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Rev. iii. 14, 15 (A.V. 15, 16).
This kind of profanation is thus described by the Lord in Matthew:
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Matt. xii. 43-45.
The conversion of a man is here described by the unclean spirit's going out of him; and his turning back to his former evils, after things good and true have been cast out, is described by the return of the unclean spirit with seven others worse than himself into the house garnished for him; and the profanation of what is holy by what is profane is described by the last state of that man being worse than the first. The same is meant by this passage in John:
Jesus said to the man who had been healed at the pool of Bethesda: Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. John v. 14.
[9] The Lord provides that a man should not interiorly acknowledge truths and afterwards depart from them and become profane. This is meant by these words:
He hath blinded their eyes** and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. John xii. 4 (A.V. 40).
Lest they should be converted and I should heal them, signifies lest they should acknowledge truths and then depart from them, and thus become profane. For the same reason the Lord spoke in parables, as He Himself says, Matt. xiii. 13. That the Jews were forbidden to eat fat and blood, Lev. iii. 17, vii. 23, 25, signified that they were not to profane holy things, for fat signified Divine Good and blood Divine Truth. That a man who is once converted ought to continue in good and truth to the end of his life, the Lord teaches in Matthew:
Jesus said: He that endureth to the end, shall be saved. Matt. x. 22; also Mark xiii. 13.
* Plural, as in Isa. i. 15. See Apocalypse Explained, 329:27.


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