(SS) - Teachings for the New Jerusalem on Sacred Scripture

SS 116

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116. I have been permitted to see peoples who had been born in [remote] islands, who were rational in respect to civil matters, but had known nothing whatever about God. In the spiritual world such appear like apes, and their life is very similar to that of apes. But having been born men, and consequently being endowed with a capacity to receive spiritual life, they are instructed by angels and are made spiritually alive by means of knowledges about God as a man. What man is, of himself, is very evident from the character of those who are in hell, among whom are to be found leading and learned men who are unwilling even to hear of God, and therefore cannot utter His name. I have seen such and have conversed with them. I have conversed also with some who burned with angry passion when they heard anyone speak of God. Such being the character of some who have heard about God, who have written about God, and have preached about God (and there are many such from among the Jesuits), consider what a man would be who had never even heard of Him. It is from the will, which is evil, that these are of such a character; for, as before said, the will leads the understanding, and takes away from it the truth that is in it from the Word. If man had been able of himself to know that there is a God and a life after death, why has he not known that after death a man is still a man? Why does he believe that his soul or spirit is like a breath of air, or like the ether, and that it has no eyes with which to see, nor ears with which to hear, nor mouth with which to speak, until it shall have been conjoined and combined with its carcass and with its skeleton? Assume then the existence of a doctrine of worship that has been hatched solely from rational light, and will not that doctrine be that a man's own self is to be worshiped? For ages this is what has been done, and is done at the present day by some who know from the Word that God alone ought to be worshiped. From what is man's own, any other kind of worship, even that of the sun and moon, is impossible.


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