August 11, 2016

Evils Cannot Be Removed Except They Appear

Excerpt from Divine Providence ~ Emanuel Swedenborg
Evils cannot be removed unless they appear. This does not mean that man must do evils in order that they may appear, but that he must examine himself, - not his deeds alone but also his thoughts, and what he would do if he did not fear the laws and disrepute, especially what evils he regards in his spirit as allowable and does not account as sins; for these he still does.

It is to enable man to examine himself that an understanding has been given him, and this is separated from the will to the end that he may know, understand, and acknowledge what is good and what is evil, also that he may see what his will is, that is, what he loves and what he longs for.  In order that man may see this, there has been given to his understanding higher and lower thought, or interior and exterior thought, to enable him to see from the higher or interior thought what the will is doing in the lower and exterior thought; this he sees as a man sees his face in a mirror; and when he sees it and knows what sin is, he is able, if he implores the Lord's help, to cease willing it, to shun it, and afterwards to act against it, if not freely, still to coerce it by combat, and finally to turn away from it and hate it; and then, and not before, he perceives and also feels that evil is evil and that good is good. This, then, is examining one's self, seeing one's evils, acknowledging them, and afterwards refraining from them.

... there are few who know that this is the Christian religion itself (because such only have charity and faith, and they alone are led by the Lord and do good from Him)....

(Divine Providence 278a)