(HH) - Heaven and Its Wonders and Hell - From Things Heard and Seen

HH 558

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558. [a.] Furthermore, so far as any one is in heavenly love, which consists in loving uses and goods and being moved by delight of heart when doing them for the sake of the church, country, human society, and ones fellow-citizens, he is so far led by the Lord, because that love is the love in which the Lord is, and which is from Him. But so far as any one is in the love of self, which consists in performing uses and goods for the sake of himself, so far he is led by himself; and so far as any one is led by himself he is not led by the Lord. And from this it also follows that so far as any one loves himself he separates himself from the Divine, thus also from heaven. To be led by one's self is to be led by what is one's own; and what is man's own is nothing but evil; for man's inherited evil consists in loving self more than God, and the world more than heaven.# Whenever man looks to himself in the good that he does he is let into what is his own, that is, into his inherited evils for he then looks from good to himself and from himself to good, and therefore he presents an image of himself in his good, and not an image of the Divine. That this is so has also been proved to me by experience. There are evil spirits whose dwelling places are in the middle quarter between the north and the west, beneath the heavens, who are skilled in the art of leading well-disposed spirits into their nature [proprium] and thus into evils of various kinds. This they do by leading them into thoughts about themselves, either openly by praises and honors, or secretly by directing their affections to themselves; and so far as this is done they turn the faces of the well-disposed spirits away from heaven, and to the same extent they obscure their understanding and call forth evils from what is their own.
# Man's own, which he derives by inheritance from his parents, is nothing but dense evil (n. 210, 215, 731, 876, 987, 1047, 2307, 2308, 3518, 3701, 3812, 8480, 8550, 10283, 10284, 10286, 10731).
Man's own is loving self more than God, and the world more than heaven, and making nothing of one's neighbor in comparison with oneself, except for the sake of self, that is one's own self; thus it consists in love of self and of the world (n. 694, 731, 4317, 5660).
All evils flow from the love of self and the love of the world when these predominate (n. 1307, 1308, 1321, 1594, 1691, 3413, 7255, 7376, 7488, 7489, 8318, 9335, 9348, 10038, 10742).
These evils are contempt of others, enmity, hatred, revenge, cruelty, deceit (n. 6667, 7370, 7374, 9348, 10038, 10742).
From these evils all falsity flows (n. 1047, 10283, 10284, 10286).

558. [b.] That the love of self is the opposite of love to the neighbor can be seen from the origin and essence of both. The love of the neighbor of one who is in the love of self begins with oneself, for he claims that everyone is neighbor to himself; and it goes forth from him as its center to all who make one with him, diminishing in accordance with the degree of their conjunction with him by love. All outside of this circle are regarded as of no account; and those who are opposed to those in the circle and to their evils are accounted as enemies, whatever their character may be, however wise, upright, honest, or just. But spiritual love to the neighbor begins with the Lord, and goes forth from Him as its center to all who are conjoined to Him by love and faith, going forth in accordance with the quality of their love and faith.# Evidently, then, the love of the neighbor that has its beginning in man is the opposite of the love to the neighbor that has its beginning in the Lord; and the former proceeds from evil because it proceeds from what is man's own, while the latter proceeds from good because it proceeds from the Lord, who is good itself. Evidently, also, the love of the neighbor that proceeds from man and from what is his own is corporeal, while the love to the neighbor that proceeds from the Lord is heavenly. In a word, in the man in whom love of self prevails that love constitutes the head, and heavenly love constitutes the feet. On that love he stands; and if it does not serve him he tramples it under foot. This is the cause of the appearance that those who are cast down into hell fall with the head downward towards hell, and with the feet upwards towards heaven (see above, n. 548).
# Those who do not know what it is to love the neighbor imagine every man to be a neighbor, and that good is to be done to everyone who is in need of help (n. 6704).
They also believe that everyone is neighbor to himself, and thus that love to the neighbor begins with self (n. 6933).
Those who love themselves above all things, that is, with whom self-love prevails, also make love to the neighbor to begin with themselves (n. 6710).
In what manner everyone is neighbor to himself, explained (n. 6933-6938).
But those who are Christians and who love God above all things make love to the neighbor to begin with the Lord, because He is to be loved above all things (n. 6706, 6711, 6819, 6824).
The distinctions of neighbor are as many as the distinctions of good from the Lord, and there should be distinction in doing good to everyone in accordance with the quality of his state, and this is a matter of Christian prudence (n. 6707, 6709, 6711, 6818).
These distinctions are innumerable, and for this reason the ancients, who knew what is meant by the neighbor, reduced the exercises of charity into classes, which they denoted by suitable names, and from this knew in what respect everyone was a neighbor, and in what manner good was to be done to everyone with prudence (n. 2417, 6628, 6705, 7259-7262).
The doctrine in the ancient churches was the doctrine of charity towards the neighbor, and from this they had wisdom (n. 2417, 2385, 3419, 3420, 4844, 6628).


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