Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 2057

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2057. 'Who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin' means one in whom self-love reigns. This is clear from what has been stated above about the meaning of 'being circumcised' and of 'the foreskin', 2039, 2049 (end), and also about the meaning of 'the flesh', 2041. Here 'the flesh of the foreskin' means self-love. Those inside the Church who are subject to falsity and at the same time to self-love are the main ones to profane holy things, more so than those in whom some other love reigns, for self- love is the filthiest of all since it is destructive of society and so of the human race, as shown above in 2045. That it is also diametrically opposed to mutual love which constitutes heaven, and so is destructive of heavenly order itself, becomes clear from evil spirits and genii in the next life, and also from the hells where nothing but self-love reigns. And because self-love reigns there, so do all types of hatred, revenge, and cruelty, since these are the product of self-love.

[2] Mutual love in heaven consists in those there loving their neighbour more than themselves, and as a result the whole of heaven represents so to speak one human being; for by means of mutual love from the Lord all are associated together in that way. Consequently every manifestation of happiness possessed by all is communicated to each individual, and that possessed by each individual to all. The heavenly form produced by this is such that everyone is so to speak a kind of centre point, thus the centre point of communications and therefore of manifestations of happiness from all. And this takes place in accordance with all the variant forms of that love, which are countless. And because those in whom that love reigns experience supreme happiness in being able to communicate to others that which flows into them, and to do so from the heart, the communication consequently becomes perpetual and eternal. And as the Lord's kingdom increases from the communication so does the happiness of each individual. Because angels are distinguished into separate communities and habitations they give no thought to this matter; it is the Lord who so arranges in order every single thing. Such is the Lord's kingdom in the heavens.

[3] Nothing else apart from self-love endeavours to destroy this form and this order. For this reason all in the next life in whom self-love reigns are more thoroughly hellish than others; for self-love does not communicate anything to others, but stifles and smothers all their delight and happiness. Whatever delight flows into them from others, they take to themselves, focus on themselves, and transform into some filthy thing of their own, and prevent it spreading any further. In so doing they destroy all unanimity and concord, and so bring about disunity and consequently destruction. And since each one of them wishes to be served, respected, and adored by others, and loves none but himself, division is the outcome which is directed towards and manifests itself in wretched states. As a result they never feel happier than when, out of hatred, revenge, and cruelty, they are tormenting others by shocking methods and delusions. When such as these come to any community where mutual love reigns, then because every inflowing delight is terminated in themselves, they fall to the ground of their own accord, like unclean and dead, weighty objects in clean and fresh air. And because they exude the foul idea of self, the delight they have is converted there into the stench of a corpse from which they scent the hell of selfishness, in addition to being seized with severe pain.

[4] This makes clear the nature of self-love - not only is it destructive of the human race, as shown above in 2045, but it is also destructive of heavenly order. It accordingly contains nothing but impurity, filth, profanity, and hell itself, though this does not appear so to those who are under its influence. Those in whom self-love reigns are such as despise others in comparison with themselves; they hate whoever shows them no favour, fails to serve them, and does not in a way worship them; and they take a cruel delight in revenge and in depriving others of position, reputation, wealth, and life. Being governed by self-love their delights are such; so let those whose delights are such recognize that they are governed by self-love.

This page is part of the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg

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