(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 8164

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8164. And they said unto Moses. That this signifies the height of temptation when there is despair, is evident from the words that follow, for they are involved in "they said;" that the following words are words of temptation, when this comes to its height, and when there is despair, is evident. It is said "despair," because for the most part this is the end, or is at the end, of spiritual temptations (see n. 1787, 2694, 5279, 5280, 7147, 7155, 7166). Inasmuch as at this day few undergo spiritual temptations, and consequently it is not known how the case is with temptations, I may say something further on the subject. There are spiritual temptations, and there are natural temptations. Spiritual temptations belong to the internal man, but natural ones to the external man. Spiritual temptations sometimes arise without natural temptations, sometimes with them. Natural temptations exist when a man suffers as to the body, as to honors, as to wealth, in a word, as to the natural life, as is the case in diseases, misfortunes, persecutions, punishments, and the like. The anxieties which then arise, are what are meant by "natural temptations." But these temptations effect nothing whatever toward man's spiritual life, neither can they be called temptations, but griefs; for they arise from the wounding of the natural life, which is that of the love of self and of the world. The wicked are sometimes in these griefs, and they grieve and are tormented in proportion to the extent of their love of self and of the world, and the life they have from this source.
[2] But spiritual temptations belong to the internal man, and assault his spiritual life. In this case the anxieties are not on account of any loss of natural life, but on account of the loss of faith and charity, and consequently of salvation. These temptations are frequently induced by means of natural temptations, for if when a man is in these-that is, in disease, grief, the loss of wealth or honor, and the like-he begins to think about the Lord's aid, His providence, the state of the evil in that they glory and exult when the good suffer and undergo various griefs and various losses, then spiritual temptation is conjoined with natural temptation. Such was the last temptation of the Lord in Gethsemane, and when He suffered the cross, which was the most frightful of all. From all this it is evident what natural temptation is, and what spiritual. There is also a third kind, namely, melancholy anxiety, the cause of which is for the most part to be found in an infirm state of the body or of the lower mind. In this anxiety there may be something of spiritual temptation, or there may be nothing of it.


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