(AC) - A Disclosure of the Hidden Treasures of Heaven Contained in the Holy Scripture or Word of the Lord, Together with Amazing Things Seen in the World of Spirits and in the Heaven of Angels

AC 2219

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2219. They looked toward the faces of Sodom. That this signifies the state of the human race, is evident from the signification of "looking to the faces," here, to the faces of Sodom. By "faces" are signified all man's interiors, both good and evil, for the reason that they shine forth from the face (as shown in volume 1, n. 358). Here therefore "faces," because predicated of Sodom, signify interior evils, which are those of the love of self, and which evils in general are meant by "Sodom," as will be evident from what now follows. That the worst evils of all originate from the love of self, is because the love of self is destructive of human society (as shown above, n. 2045), and of heavenly society (n. 2057); and since the perversity of the human race is thence known, by the "faces of Sodom" is here signified the state of the human race.
[2] Moreover it has been shown in volume 1, in various places, what the nature of the love of self is, namely, that it is diametrically contrary to the order into which man was created. Man is distinguished above beasts by having a rational given him, to the end that everyone may will well and do well to others, as in general so in particular. This is the order into which man has been created; consequently it is love to God and love toward the neighbor that should be man's life, and by which he should be distinguished from brute animals. This is also the order of heaven, in which it was intended man should be while he lives in the world; thus in the Lord's kingdom; and into this kingdom he would pass when he had put off the body that had been of service to him upon the earth, and there he would rise into a state continually advancing in heavenly perfection.
[3] But the love of self is the primary and indeed the only thing that destroys all this; and not so much so the love of the world, for this is indeed opposite to the spiritual things of faith, but the love of self is diametrically opposite to the celestial things of love; for he who loves himself loves no others, but endeavors to destroy all persons whatever that do not pay reverence to him; nor does he will well and do well to anyone, except to him who is a part of himself, or can be captivated so as to be a part of himself, like something inoculated as it were with his cupidities and phantasies. Hence it is evident that from the love of self there gush forth all hatreds, all revenges and cruelties, as also all infamous simulations and deceits, and thus all heinous things against the order of human society and against the order of heavenly society.
[4] Nay, so heinous is the love of self, that when its bonds are relaxed, that is, when opportunity of free range is given it, even with those who are in the lowest condition, it so rushes on, that it not only wills to exercise dominion over neighbors and those near at hand, but also over the universe, and even over the Supreme Divine Itself. Of this the man is indeed ignorant, because he is kept in bonds not well known to him, but insofar as these bonds are slackened (as before said), so far he rushes on; and this it has been given me to know from much experience in the other life. As these things lie hidden in the love of self, they who are in the love of self, and are not endowed with the bonds of conscience, above all others hold the Lord in hatred, consequently all the truths of faith, for these are the very laws of order in the Lord's kingdom, and these they reject so as to abominate them, which also shows itself openly in the other life. This love is also the "serpent's head," which the "Seed of the woman" (that is, the Lord) "treads down" (concerning which see volume 1, n. 257).
[5] But the love of self is not always that which appears in the outward form as pride and haughtiness, for sometimes such persons are able to hold the neighbor in charity, for with some such an external is born, and with some it is contracted in early life, but is afterwards subjugated, the external still remaining. But those are in the love of self who despise others and make them of no account in comparison with themselves, and who care nothing for the common good, unless it is for them, and they themselves, as it were, are it, especially those who hate all by whom they are not favored and served, persecuting them, and so far as they are able depriving them of their possessions, honor, reputation, and even life. Let those who breathe such things in intention know that they are preeminently in the love of self.


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