70. There were many reasons why such societies, or such heavens were tolerated; the principal reason was, that by external holiness, and by external sincerity and justice, they were conjoined with the simple good, who were either in the lowest heaven, or were still in the world of spirits and not yet introduced into heaven. For in the spiritual world, there is a communication, and thence a conjunction, of all with their like; and the simple good, in the lowest heaven, and in the world of spirits, look principally to externals, yet are not interiorly evil; wherefore if these spirits had been forcibly removed from them before the appointed time, heaven would have suffered in its ultimates; and yet it is the ultimate, upon which the superior heaven subsists, as upon its own basis. That they were tolerated until the last time on this account, the Lord teaches in the following words:
The servants of the householder came and said unto him, Didst thou not sow good seed in thy field, whence then are the tares? And they said, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay, lest, whilst ye gather up the tares, ye root up at the same time the wheat with them; let both therefore grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn; but gather the wheat into barns. He that hath sowed the good seed, is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the sons of the kingdom, the tares are the sons of evil; the harvest is the consummation of the age: as therefore the tares are gathered together, and burnt with fire, so shall it be in the consummation of the age (Matt, 13:27-30, 37-40).
"The consummation of this age," is the last time of the church; "the tares" are those who are interiorly evil; "the wheat" are those who are interiorly good; "the gathering the tares together, and binding them in bundles to burn," is the Last Judgment.# The like is meant in the same chapter by the Lord's parable of the fishes of every kind, which were gathered together, and the good placed in vessels, but the bad cast away; concerning which it is also said:
So shall it be in the consummation of the age; the angels shall go forth, and separate the evil from the midst of the just (vers. 47-49).
They are compared to fishes, because "fishes" in the spiritual sense of the Word, signify natural and external men, both good and evil; what "the just" signify may be seen below.##
# "Bundles" in the Word signify the arrangement of the truths and falsities with man into series, thus also the arrangement of men in whom truths and falsities are (n. 4686, 4687, 5339, 5530, 7408, 10303). "The Son of man" is the Lord as to Divine truths (n. 1729, 1733, 2159, 2628, 2803, 2813, 3373, 3704, 7499, 8897, 9807). "Sons" are the affections of truth from good (n. 489, 491, 533, 2623, 3373, 4257, 8649, 9807); therefore "the sons of the kingdom" are those who are in the affections of truth from good; and "the sons of evil," those who are in the affections of falsity from evil; whence the latter are called tares," and the former "good seed," for "tares" signify falsity from evil, and "good seed," truth from good; "the seed of the field" is truth from good, in man, from the Lord (n. 1940, 3038, 3310, 3373, 10248, 10249). "Seed" in the opposite sense is falsity from evil (n. 10249). "The seed of the field" is also the nutrition of the mind by Divine truth from the Word and "sowing" is instruction (n. 6158, 9272). "The consummation of the age" is the last time of the church (n. 4535, 10622).
## "Fishes," in the spiritual sense of the Word, signify scientifics, which belong to the natural or external man, and hence also natural or external men, both evil and good (n. 40, 991). Animals of all kinds correspond with such things as are with man (n. 45, 46, 246, 714, 716, 719, 2179, 2180, 3519, 9280, 10609). In the Word, they to whom the Lord's justice and merit are attributed, are called "just"; they to whom their own justice and merit are attributed, are called "unjust" (n. 3686, 5069, 9263).