November 23, 2015

The Quality of Men Within the Church When They Make Prudence to Consist in Cunning

From Arcana Coelestia ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
The evil, who have been alienated from truth and good, as being cunning;
for that which the evil do from cunning, and also from deceit, they call prudence.

Of the cunning which is signified by "prudence," something may here be related. All who are in evil call cunning "prudence," and make intelligence and wisdom to consist in nothing else. They who are of this character in the world become worse in the other life, and there act continually from cunning against things good and true; and those are recognized as intelligent and wise among them who seem to themselves able to invalidate and destroy truths by falsities, no matter by what art or wickedness.
From this it can be seen what is the quality of men within the church when they make prudence to consist in cunning: that they have communication with the hells.
Those who are true men of the church are so far removed from cunning that they absolutely abhor it; and those of them who are as the angels, desire that if it were possible their minds should be open, so that what they think may be manifest to everyone; for they intend nothing but good toward their neighbor, and if they see evil in anyone they excuse it.

It is otherwise with those who are in evil; these are afraid lest anything which they think and will should show itself; for they intend nothing but evil to the neighbor; if good, it is for the sake of self; and if they do what is good, it is only in the outward form, that they may appear good for the sake of gain and honor; for they know that what is good and true, just and fair, and also what is honorable, have a strong hidden power of attracting minds, even of those who are evil.
(Arcana Coelestia 6655)