254. X. HERESIES MAY BE DRAWN FROM THE SENSE OF THE LETTER OF THE WORD BUT TO CONFIRM THEM IS HURTFUL.
It has been shown above, that the Word cannot be understood without doctrine, and that doctrine is like a lamp to make genuine truths visible, and this because the Word is written by pure correspondences; consequently, many things in the Word are appearances of truth, and not naked truths; and many are written according to the understanding of the merely natural man, and yet are so written that the simple may understand them simply, the intelligent intelligently, and the wise wisely. Such being the nature of the Word, these appearances of truth, which are truths clothed, may be taken for naked truths; and when confirmed they become fallacies, which in essence are falsities. From this, that appearances of truth have been taken for genuine truths and confirmed, have sprung all the heresies that have existed and still exist in the Christian world. Heresies themselves do not condemn men. Men are condemned by their confirming from the Word, and by means of reasonings from the natural man, the falsities that are in heresy, and by living wickedly. For everyone is born into the religion of his country or parents and is initiated into that religion from infancy, and afterward he holds to it; and because of worldly business, and the weakness of his understanding in the investigation of truths of that kind, he is unable to withdraw himself from its falsities. But what condemns a man is living wickedly and confirming falsities to such an extent as to destroy genuine truths. For he who holds to his religion, who believes in God (or if within the Christian church believes in the Lord), who regards the Word as holy and from a religious motive lives according to the commandments of the Decalogue, does not commit himself to falsities, and therefore when he hears truths, and in his own way has a perception of them, he is able to embrace them, and thereby be delivered from falsities. But it is not so with one who has confirmed the falsities of his religion; since confirmed falsity is permanent and cannot be rooted out. For falsity after confirmation is as if one had sworn to it, especially when it adheres to his love of self or to the pride of his own intelligence.