(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 5608

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5608. And also our little ones. That this signifies the things still more interior, is evident from the signification of "little ones," as being the things which are interior (see n. 5604). That more interior things are signified by "little children" and by "boys," is because innocence is signified by both, and innocence is what is inmost. In the heavens the inmost or third heaven consists of those who are in innocence, for they are in love to the Lord; and because the Lord is innocence itself, therefore they who are there, being in love to Him, are in innocence. These, although they are the wisest of all in the heavens, yet appear to others like little children. It is for this reason, and also because little children are in innocence, that by "little children" in the Word is signified innocence.
[2] As the inmost of the heavens is innocence, therefore that which is interior with all in the heavens must be innocence. This is like successive things in relation to those which exist together, or like the things which are distinct from one another by degrees in relation to those which exist from them; for all that which exists simultaneously, springs from that which is successive. When the former exists from the latter, the parts place themselves in the same order as that in which they had before been distinguished by degrees; as, by way of illustration, end, cause, and effect are in succession and distinct from one another; and when they exist together they place themselves in the same order, the end as inmost, the cause next, and the effect last. The effect is coexisting, and is such that unless there is in it a cause, and in the cause an end, there is no effect, because if from the effect you remove the cause you destroy the effect, and still more if from the cause you remove the end; for from the end the cause has what makes it a cause, and from the cause the effect has what makes it an effect.
[3] So also it is in the spiritual world: just as the end, cause, and effect are distinct from one another, so in the spiritual world are love to the Lord, charity toward the neighbor, and the works of charity. When these three become one or exist together, the first must be in the second, and the second in the third. And also as in the works of charity: unless charity from affection or the heart is within them, they are not works of charity; and unless love to God is within charity, it is not charity. Therefore if you take away that which is interior, the exterior falls; for the exterior comes into existence and subsists from its interiors in order. So is it with innocence. This makes one with love to the Lord, and unless it is within charity it is not charity; consequently unless charity in which there is innocence is within the works of charity they are not works of charity. Hence it is that innocence must be within all who are in the heavens.
[4] That this is so, and that innocence is signified by "little children," is evident in Mark:
Jesus said to the disciples, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And taking them up in His arms, he put His hand upon them, and blessed them (Mark 10:14-16; Luke 18:15-17; Matt. 18:3).
It is evident that by "little children" is here signified innocence, because with little children there is innocence, and because those who are innocent appear in heaven as little children.
[5] No one can enter heaven unless he has somewhat of innocence (see n. 4797); and moreover little children suffer themselves to be governed by angels who are forms of innocence, and not as yet by what is their own, as is the case with adults who govern themselves by their own judgment and will. That little children suffer themselves to be governed by angels is evident from the Lord's words in Matthew:
See that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say to you, that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of My Father (Matt. 18:10);
no one can "see the face" of God except from innocence.
[6] In the following passages also innocence is signified by "infants" or "little children." In Matthew:
Out of the mouth of babes and suckling, Thou hast perfected praise (Matt. 21:16; Ps. 8:2).
Thou hast hid these things from the wise and the intelligent, and hast revealed them unto babes (Matt. 11:25; Luke 10:21);
for innocence, which is signified by "babes," is wisdom itself, because genuine innocence dwells in wisdom (n. 2305-2306, 4797). For this reason it is said, "out of the mouth of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise," and also that such things have been "revealed unto babes."
[7] In Isaiah:
The cow and the bear shall feed, their young ones shall lie down together, and the suckling shall play on the hole of the viper (Isa. 11:7-8);
speaking of the Lord's kingdom, and specifically of the state of peace or innocence therein. A "suckling" denotes innocence; that nothing of evil can befall those who are in innocence is signified by a "suckling playing on the hole of a viper"; "vipers" are they who are most crafty. This chapter plainly relates to the Lord. In Joel:
Sound the trumpet in Zion, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the babes and those that suck the breasts (Joel 2:15-16);
"elders" denotes the wise; "babes and those that suck the breasts," the innocent.
[8] In the following passages also by "infants" is meant innocence, but in these that it was destroyed. In Jeremiah:
Wherefore commit ye great evil against your souls, to cut off from you man and woman, infant and suckling, out of the midst of Judah, so that I shall leave you no remains? (Jer. 44:7).
Lift up thy hands to Him upon the soul of thy little children, that faint for hunger in the head of all the streets (Lam. 2:19).
In Ezekiel:
Pass through Jerusalem, and smite, let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity, the old man, the young man, and the maiden, and the little child (Ezek. 9:5-6).
In Micah:
The women of My people ye drive out of everyone's house of delights, from the babes thereof they take away Mine honor forever (Micah 2:9).
[9] As regards the innocence of little children however, it is only external and not internal; and because it is not internal it cannot be conjoined with any wisdom. But the innocence of the angels, especially those of the third heaven, is internal innocence, and thus conjoined with wisdom (n. 2305, 2306, 3494, 4563, 4797). Man is so created that when he grows old and becomes like a little child, the innocence of wisdom conjoins itself with the innocence of ignorance which he had in infancy, and so he passes into the other life as a true infant.


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