Category — Catholic disposition in the New Church
To understand this commandment, not to commit adultery, we must understand the origin of adultery, and in order to understand the origin of adultery we must understand the nature of the marriage between husband and wife.
We read: “There is the truth of good and good from truth from that or truth from good and good from truth; and that in those two there is inherent from creation an inclination to conjoin themselves into one. The truth of good or truth from good is masculine, or the good of truth or good from that truth is the feminine. But this can be more distinctly comprehended if for good we say love, and for truth wisdom. Wisdom cannot exist with men except by the love of growing wise. Wisdom from this love is meant by truth from good.” (C.L. 88).
“With the male the inmost is love and the clothing is wisdom, or he is love veiled over with wisdom, in the female the inmost is that wisdom of the male, and its clothing is love therefrom. But this is feminine love and is given to the wife through the wisdom of the husband. That the feminine is from the masculine, or the woman was taken from the man appears in Genesis. Jehovah took one of the ribs of the man.” etc. (C.L. 30). In diagram I we see the order of Conjugial Love. In diagram II the disorder leading to adultery.
When the man does not come into A – the love of growing wise, he still comes into a kind of understanding of the true, but an understanding, which not having in it substance and life turns into the conceit of his own intelligence. Such a man looks to truth or doctrine alone for his salvation, and he looks to his wife for the flattery of his understanding. But the wife perceiving that there is nothing substantial in his understanding does not flatter it, wherefore his love instead of going forth to his wife returns to himself and then he seeks love elsewhere, where he can find the flattery he seeks.
Observe that if the man skips over the love of growing wise for the sake of life, in the first state of marriage there is still apparent love, but it is a love of his wife for the sake of himself and for the sake of the flattery he receives in the first states of marriage.
In the woman her A is formed by the essence of her husband’s wisdom. If the husband is not in the love of growing wise his understanding lacks this essence of wisdom and the inmost of a woman cannot be formed from it. But whether the husband has such wisdom or not, the wife may still skip over her inmost which is wisdom, and seek conjugial love in B but in this case there is no internal in her love of her husband, she then seeks to bind her husband to the things of her love; she loves her husband for the sake of her self and the love and admiration which he shows towards her; and, because the husband feels the lack of the life of truth which is the soul of a woman in her love, he cannot give her the love and admiration which she demands, wherefore her love returns to herself, and then goes elsewhere, where she receives the love and admiration which she craves.
When this internal disjunction takes place, then the woman accuses the man of only caring for intellectual and doctrinal matters and of neglecting the things of life and of love, and of over looking the natural. While the husband accuses the wife of being in merely natural good, natural loves, and of not seeing the importance of the true, and both are often right.
“‘That the devil may not seduce them and put evils into their hearts; knowing that while they are not led by the Lord, he leads and breathes in evils of every kind, such as hatreds, revenges, cunnings, deceits as a serpent breathes in poisons.” [AE 1148]
As is generally known in the Church the devil in the most general sense stands for hell. In a less general sense as when compared to Satan, the devil stands for the hell opposed to the celestial kingdom, while Satan stands for the hell opposed to the spiritual kingdom. In the abstract sense the devil stands for the love of self; for it is the love of self which forms the hell opposed to the celestial kingdom while it is the love of the world which makes the hell opposed to the spiritual kingdom. To seduce, as to its roots, means to lead aside, or lead astray, that is, to lead off the way. The Lord said: “I am the way.” The Lord Himself is the strait and narrow path which leads to heaven. The moment the man does not live in the presence of the Lord, he is off the path of life, he has been seduced, or led astray.
Inmostly seen it is nothing but the love of self inflowing from the hells, which seduces man, or leads him astray, takes him away from the way which is the Lord. The Lord with a mighty force works to keep man on this holy way, the hells work with all their power to seduce him or lead him out of the way. It is said that the devil seduces them and puts evils into their heart; or what is the same, it is the love of self that seduces men and puts evils into their hearts. Let us therefore consider the nature of the love of self further in order that we may see why this is so.
In order to consider this matter more deeply we will quote again a number from the Journal of Dreams which was quoted in the sermon last week.
“I perceived that I was unworthy above others and the greatest of sinners for the Lord has granted me to go more deeply with my thoughts in certain matters than many others have done; and I perceived that here lies the very fountain of sin viz. in thoughts which are brought to the work; so that in this manner my sins come from a deeper source than in the case of many other persons. Herein I perceived my unworthiness and my sins to be greater than those of others; for it is not enough to call oneself unworthy, for this may be done while the heart is far away from it, and it may be a pretense, but to perceive that one is such this is the grace of the spirit. I thought and strove by means of my thoughts to gain a knowledge of how to avoid all that is impure, but I noticed nevertheless that on all occasions something from the love of self intruded itself and was turned about in the thought; as for instance, when any one did not show the proper regard for me, according to ray own imagination, I always thought ‘If you only knew what grace I am enjoying you would act otherwise’ which at once was something impure having its source in the love of self. After a while I perceived this and prayed God to forgive it… Thus I observed clearly there was still with me that pernicious apple which has not yet been converted which is the root of Adam and hereditary sin, yea, and an infinite number of other roots of sin are with me.” (74, 75)
From the above we can see that the very root of evil called the devil, resides in feeling and thinking oneself superior to others.. This is the first state. In the case of Swedenborg, he recognized and from the Lord he combated against this so that it did not proceed further.