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

SS 61

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61. I have been permitted to converse with many after death who had believed that they would shine in heaven like the stars, because, as they said, they had regarded the Word as holy, had often read it through, had collected from it many things by which they had confirmed the tenets of their faith, and had thereby been celebrated in the world as learned men. On this account they believed they would be Michaels and Raphaels.
[2] Many of them however have been examined in respect to what was the love from which they had studied the Word, and some of them were found to have done so from the love of self, that they might appear great in the world, and be revered as dignitaries of the church; and others of them had done so from the love of the world, that they might get rich. When examined as to what they knew from the Word, it was found that they knew nothing of genuine truth from it, but only such as is called truth falsified, which in itself is falsity. And they were told that this was because their ends (or what is the same their loves) had been themselves and the world, and not the Lord and heaven. When men read the Word while themselves and the world are the ends in view, their minds cleave to themselves and the world, and this causes them to be constantly thinking from their own,* which is in thick darkness in respect to all things of heaven, in which state the man cannot be withdrawn by the Lord from his own, and thus be raised into the light of heaven, and consequently cannot receive through heaven any influx from the Lord.
[3] I have even seen them admitted into heaven, but when they were found to be devoid of truths, they were cast down; yet the conceit remained that they deserved heaven. Very different has it been with those who had studied the Word from the affection of knowing truth because it is truth, and because it is of service to the uses of life, not only to their own uses but also to those of the neighbor. I have seen these raised up into heaven, and thus into the light in which is Divine truth there, and at the same time exalted into angelic wisdom and its happiness, which is eternal life.
* The Latin word proprium is the term used in the original text that in this and other places has been rendered by the expression "own." The dictionary meaning of proprius, as an adjective, is "one's own," "proper," "belonging to one's self alone," "special," "particular," "peculiar." The neuter of this, which is the word proprium, when used as a noun means "possession," "property"; also "a peculiarity," "characteristic mark," "distinguishing sign," "characteristic." The English adjective "own" is defined by Webster to mean "belonging to," "belonging exclusively or especially to," "peculiar"; so that our word "own" is a very exact equivalent of proprius, and if we make it a noun by writing it "own," in order to answer to the Latin proprium, we effect a very close translation. [Translator]


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