Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 661

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661. 'To destroy all flesh in which there is the spirit of lifea [from] under the heavens' means that all the descendants of the Most Ancient Church would destroy themselves. This is clear from what has just been stated and also from the description of them given already to the effect that step by step they obtained by heredity from their forefathers a mental constitution that resulted in their being steeped more than anybody else in most dreadful persuasions. This came about chiefly because they plunged into their desires the doctrinal matters concerning faith which they had in their possession; and in so doing became such. The situation has been utterly different with people who have no doctrinal matters concerning faith in their possession and who live altogether in ignorance. They are incapable of doing the same, and so are incapable of profaning holy things, and in so doing of closing off the road for remnants. Consequently they are not capable of driving the Lord's angels away from themselves.

[2] As has been stated, remnants are all things of innocence, all those of charity, all those of mercy, and all those of the truth of faith, which a person has acquired from the Lord and learned since early childhood. Every single one of them lies stored away. And if a person did not acquire them, no innocence, charity, or mercy could possibly be present in his thinking and actions, and so no good and truth at all could be present. He would then be worse than any fierce monster, as he would also be if he did possess remnants of such things and yet so blocked their path with filthy desires and dreadful false persuasions that they could not do their work. Such was the nature of the people before the Flood who destroyed themselves and who are meant by 'all flesh in which there is the spirit of lifea [from] under the heavens'. As shown already, 'flesh' means the whole of mankind in general and the bodily-minded man in particular. 'The spirit of lifea' means all life in general, but in a strict sense it was the life in people who had been regenerated Here therefore the final descendants of the Most Ancient Church are meant. They are here called 'the spirit of lifea' or, as in Chapter 7:22 below, 'in whose nostrils is the breath of the spirit of lifea' because although no life of faith remained with them they nevertheless derived from their forefathers something of that Church's seed, which they stifled. 'Flesh under the heavens' means that which is merely bodily, 'the heavens' being things constituting man's understanding of truth and his will for good. When these have been separated from what is bodily, a person can stay alive no longer. That which sustains him is his conjunction with heaven, that is, with the Lord by way of heaven.


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