Arcana Coelestia II:
The present quality of the men of the Christian Church was exhibited to my view by means of representations. In a dark cloud there appeared spirits so black that I shuddered, and afterwards others not so horrible; and it was signified to me that I was about to see something. First, there appeared children who were being combed by their mothers so cruelly that the blood ran down; by which was represented that such is the bringing up of little children at this day. Afterwards there appeared a tree which seemed as if it were the tree of knowledge, into which there was seen to climb a great viper, such as to strike one with horror; it appeared to extend all along the trunk of the tree. When the tree with the viper vanished, there appeared a dog; and then a door was opened into an apartment where there was a yellow light as from coals, and there were two women there; it was perceived to be a kitchen, but I am not at liberty to mention what I saw therein. I was told that the tree into which the viper climbed represented the state of the men of the church as they are at this day, in that in place of love and charity they have deadly hatreds that are beset with pretenses of what is honorable, and with deceits, together with wicked thoughts concerning all matters that belong to the faith. But what was seen in the kitchen represented the same hatreds and thoughts in their further developments.
It was further represented how opposed are those now within the church to innocence itself. There appeared a beautiful and innocent little child, at the sight of whom the external bonds by which evil genii and spirits are withheld from abominable deeds were slightly relaxed; and they then began to treat the little child in the most shocking manner-to trample on him, and to will the killing of him, one in one way, and another in another; for in the other life innocence is represented by infants. I remarked that during their bodily life such things do not appear in connection with these men, but it was answered that such are their interiors, and that if the civil laws did not hinder, and also other external bonds, such as the fear of the loss of property, of honor, of reputation, and of their life, they would rush insanely in the same way against all who are innocent. When they heard this answer, they made sport of it also. From what has been said we may see what is the quality of the men of the present day, and also that the last times are at hand.
Swedenborg year 1770 – ARCANA CEOLESTIA. HEAVENLY SECRETS contained in THE HOLY SCRIPTURES OR WORD OF GOD UNFOLDED
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