Category — Despisal of others in comparison with oneself
“And he stayed yet other seven days, and sent forth the dove, and she returned not again unto him any more.” (Gen. 8:12)
He stayed yet other seven days, signifies a second holy state in which the Lord is still more manifestly present with man. And sent forth the dove signifies a new receiving of the goods and truths of faith. And she returned not again unto him any more, signifies a free state.
Concerning the free state signified by the dove not returning we read in the Third Lesson as follows:
“So long as he was in the ark, he was in a state of slavery… When man has been regenerated, he for the first time comes into a state of freedom, having before been in a state of slavery. It is slavery when cupidities and falsities rule, and freedom when the affections of the good and the true do so… When he is in a state of slavery, that is when cupidities and falsities rule, the man, who is under subjugation to them, supposes that he is in a state of freedom; but this is a gross falsity, for he is then carried away by the delight of cupidities and their pleasures, that is by the delights of his love, and because this is done by delights, it appears to him as freedom… It is quite unknown to very many what a life of freedom is… A life of freedom, or freedom, is simply and solely being led by the Lord.” (A.C. 891, 2)
“The more present the Lord, the more free the man; that is, the more man is in the love of the good and the true, the more freely he acts. Such is the influx of the Lord through the angels. But on the other hand, the influx of hell through evil spirits is forcible and impetuous, striving to dominate, so that he may be nothing, and that they may be everything.” (A.C. 905)
The above is a well known teaching in the New Church, and also known in the first Christian Church; for the Lord, when in the world taught as follows:
“If ye continue in My word ye shall be My disciples and the truth shall make you free… Amen, amen, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin… If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (John 8:30-36)
But while this truth is known, still it is not known, for it is not understood.
In general, those in the New Church think that they are in the truth and that they are therefore free, while others who do not have the truth, given by the Lord in His Second Coming, do not have the truth and are therefore not free. That this is a false idea is evident from this, that the freedom spoken of in our text, is one of the last states of regeneration; many states of reformation, temptation and regeneration have to be passed through before a man comes to this state of freedom. Few come to this state of freedom in this world, although, all who are being reformed or regenerated, come into this state of freedom in heaven.
When the Lord said, “The truth shall make you free”, it is not meant that the knowledges of truth will make you free; for there are many who have an abundance of the knowledges of truth in their memory, who can speak about them intelligently, and can explain them maybe better than others, and yet who are by no means free, but are under the dominion of cupidities and falsities.
The truth, which makes you free, is not the truth in the memory, but the truth in the life. All truth continually flows into man from the Lord, and is received in the knowledges of truth which man has acquired from without.
“From the love of self springs contempt of others, in comparison with self, then the derision and abuse of them, afterwards enmity if they do not favor, and finally the delight of hatred, the delight of revenge, thus the delight of violence, nay of cruelty” (A.C. 9348).
Everyone is born into the love of self; but this love does not, at first, appear to man, and often not to others, in its ugliness. It often hides under the appearance of love towards others and even under the appearance of love into the Lord.
This love can only be discovered in its .affects. The first of these effects if the contempt of others in comparison with ourselves, but even this evil, which is the most prevalent, seeks to hide itself; it hides itself behind the love of things which are one’s own. Observe how men of all nations despise other nations in comparison with their own; how members of churches despise other churches in comparison with their own; how one despises other families in comparison with one’s own family; how one despises other professions in comparison with one’s own profession. If one is scientific, acute or learned how one despises those who are not scientific, acute or learned. If one is artistic or sensitive how one despises those who are not artistic or sensitive. If one is sociable, and affable, how such a one despises those who are not sociable or affable. If one is generous and kindly how such a one despises those who are less generous and kindly. If one is subtle in understanding, influencing or persuading others, how one despises those who have not such talents. If one is quick at grasping the things of the Word and doctrinals thence, one despises those who do this with difficulty. Everyone finds things by means of which he despises others in comparison with himself, and from which he holds others, particularly those who do not agree with himself, in contempt. The evil despise the good, either thinking or calling them hypocrites.
The contempt of others in comparison with self is more in evidence, and is of a mere interior quality with those who cling ardently to their church than with others.
One who knows many truths of faith can more clearly see the evils and falsities of others, than those who have not such truths, but unless he is in humility he does not see his own evils and falsities. Seeing the evils and falsities of others he is in greater contempt of others in comparison with himself than are those who do not have truths of faith. The more truths of faith one has, if the love of self is not shunned, the more the contempt of others in comparison with self grows, until it despises all in the universe in comparison with oneself.
From the contempt of others there arises derision and abuse of them. Observe how much so-called humor has in it contempt of others, – derision, ridicule, and mockery; observe the great delight felt in such derision and ridicule. Observe also the delight in the abuse of others, in criticizing, and in speaking of their faults, especially in regard to those who do not favor ourselves. Finally such an attitude breaks forth in an attitude of enmity towards those who do not favor ourselves, or our own.
Let anyone observe his attitude towards those who are critical of him, or are critical of his family, his country, or his church, and do not favor him, and see if a feeling of enmity is not present towards them. How few there are who are not delighted when misfortune overtakes those who have been critical of them, or their own and have manifested disfavor towards them.
Self-humiliation; despisal of others in comparison with oneself, – a sermon on Arcana Coelestia 2327
“That the state of humiliation is the essential state of worship itself, comes from the fact that so far as the heart is humbled, so far the love of self and all the evil therefrom ceases; and so far as this ceases, so far the good and the true, that is, charity and faith, flow in from the Lord; for that which stands in the way of the reception of these is principally the love of self, in which there is contempt for others in comparison with oneself; hatred and revenge if self is not treated with honor; and also unmercifulness and cruelty; thus the worst evils of all, and unto these goods and trues cannot be introduced, for they are opposites.” (Arcana Coelestia, 2327.)
In our last sermon we treated of the worst evils which are hatred, and revenge, cunning and deceit, which include unmercifulness and cruelty.
But in the present sermon we will especially treat of the fifth interior evil that is often included in such a series as in our text, namely, “despising others in comparison with oneself.”
We are told that the higher angels regard themselves as least worthy of all and are therefore the farthest removed from despising others in comparison with themselves.
One of the most common and worst forms of despising others in com¬parison with oneself is on the basis of religion. There is the story of the Sunday school teacher who told the children the story of the Pharisee, “who stood and prayed within himself, God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. While the publican, standing afar off, would not lift so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” The Sunday school teacher after speaking about this parable closed her class with the words, “Let us thank the Lord that we are not like the Pharisee.”
The Jews in their despisal thanked God that they were not like other peoples, and the Christians in their despisal of the Jews and Gentiles, thanked God as in the above story, that they were not like the Jewish Pharisee. Not that they necessarily do this openly but, as is said of the Pharisee, in prayer with himself.
In the New Church generally many tend to despise those in the Christian Church. In the Academy from its beginning there were those who despised those in Convention, and 3ome in the Lord’s New Church, who despise especially those in the General Church, and there are those in the General Church who despise those in the Lord’s New Church. It may be noted that the despisal is most strongly directed against those who are most closely spiritually related.