10409. Who made thee to come up out of the land of Egypt. That this signifies which had led them, is evident from the signification of "making to come up out of the land of Egypt," when said of those who are in external things without what is internal, as being to lead one's self; for by "the land of Egypt," when such are treated of, is signified servitude; and by "making to come up" is signified to lead one's self by it. For by these words is here signified the opposite to that which is signified by them when they are said of those who are in what is internal and at the same time in external things. When said of the latter, by these words is signified to be led by the Lord, thus to be raised out of the natural man to the spiritual, or out of the world into heaven, consequently out of servitude into freedom; but when they are said of those who are in external things without what is internal, the words signify to be led by self, which is not to be raised to heaven, but to cast one's self down to hell, consequently from freedom into servitude. (That it is servitude to be led by self, and freedom to be led by the Lord, see n. 2892, 9096, 9586, 9589-9591.)
 But as the latter believe that the Divine works nothing with man, and that man leads himself, and also that this is freedom, a few words shall here be said about this. All those are of this opinion, and also in this persuasion, who love themselves and the world above all things, for that which men love above all things they worship as a god. At the present day there are very many such persons in the Christian world; but of what quality they are it has been given me to know chiefly from such in the other life. For after his life in the world, when a man becomes a spirit, he is then exactly like himself, such as he had been when he lived in the body, in respect to the affections of his love, and in respect to his thoughts and persuasions. They said that they had confirmed themselves in this belief from the fact that a man does not arrive at dignities and wealth by any Divine aid and providence, but by his own intelligence and prudence, and sometimes by fortune, and even then from such causes as they see to proceed from men, saying that common experience testifies this, because the evil, the cunning, and the impious are often raised to dignities and become rich in preference to the good, which would not be the case if the Divine ruled.
 But it was given me to say to them that confirmation from such things is reasoning from man's own intelligence and from his own love, and this reasoning is from mere fallacies, and is reasoning about causes in thick darkness. For they believe that to be exalted to dignities and to gain wealth above others is the very good which the Divine gives to man, and thus that the Divine blessing (as they call these things) consists in these alone; when yet such things are rather a curse to those who love themselves and the world above all things, for insofar as they are exalted to honors and gain wealth by their own effort and their own skill, so far are they uplifted in the love of self and of the world, so that at last they place their whole hearts in these things, and regard them as the only goods, thus as the only satisfactions and happinesses of man; although these things come to an end together with the life of man in the world; whereas the goods, the satisfactions, and the happiness that are given and provided for man by the Divine are eternal and have no end; and consequently these are true blessings. What is temporary bears no ratio to what is eternal; as what is finite in time bears no ratio to the infinite of time. What endures to eternity, this is; but what has an end, this relatively is not. That which is, the Divine provides; but not that which is not, except insofar as it conduces to that which is; for Jehovah, which is the Divine Itself, is, and that which is from Him also is. From this it is evident what is the quality of that which is given and provided for man by the Divine, and what is the quality of that which a man himself procures for himself.
 Moreover, every man is led by the Divine by means of his understanding; if he were not led thereby, no man could be saved; and from this it is that the Divine leaves this with man in its freedom, and does not check it. From this cause it comes to pass that the machinations and cunning devices of the evil (which are from their understanding) succeed; but the favorable results thus obtained come to an end together with their life in the world, and become unfavorable; whereas those things which are provided by the Divine for the good have no end, and become favorable and happy to eternity.
 I have spoken in this way with those who had been such in the world, who replied that they had then thought nothing about what is good, favorable, and happy to eternity, and that when they were in their loves they had utterly denied the life of man after death; and that insofar as they had attained to honors and to riches, so far they had believed that there are no other goods; nor indeed any heaven, or Divine; consequently that they had not known what it is to be led by the Divine.
 They who in the world have confirmed themselves in these ideas in doctrine and in life, remain such in the other life also. Their interiors are closed, so that they have no communication with heaven, and their exteriors alone are open, by which they then have communication solely with the hells. Such of them as by machinations, arts, and cunning devices have attained to honors or to riches, there become magicians. They appear beneath the buttocks, sitting at a table with a cap pressed down to the eyebrows, and thus as it were earnestly meditating they gather together such things as are serviceable for magic art, supposing that they can lead themselves by means of them. Their speech falls between the teeth with a kind of hissing, and afterward when they are being vastated they are cast into a pit with a broad bottom where there is thick darkness. The light of their understanding is there obscured even to foolishness. I have seen some cast in there who in the world had been accounted very superior in intellect.