Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you (Matt. 6:33)

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.

Read the full sermon on AC 2327 by T. Pitcairn

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