« ПредишнаНапред »
streets; or with the savageness of some hostile troops, who cast the dead bodies of the slain into woods to be devoured by wild beasts. It may also be compared with the cruelty of a tyrant, who divideth his subjects into companies, and delivereth some to be put to death by the executioner, some to be cast into the sea, and some to be thrown into the fire. It may also be compared with the furious rage of certain wild beasts which devour their own cubs, or with the madness of dogs, that attack their own images when seen in a looking-glass.
VII. THAT WITHOUT FREE-WILL IN SPIRITUAL THINGS, GOD WOULD BE CHARGEABLE AS THE CAUSE OF EVIL, AND CONSEQUENTLY THERE WOULD BE NO IMPUTATION.
489. That God is the cause of evil, follows as a consequence from the faith which now prevails, which faith was first devised by those who composed the council of Nice. In that council the heresy still extant was conceived and brought forth, that three divine persons have existed from eternity, each of whom is by himself separately God; the favourers of which device must needs approach and address each person as a God. They therefore compiled a faith imputative of the merit and righteousness of the Lord God the Saviour; and in order to prevent man's entering into a participation of merit with the Lord, they took away from him all free-will in spiritual things, and insisted on his utter impotence as to the attainment of that faith; and as they deduced from that faith alone all that was spiritual in the church, they maintained the like impotence as to every point that the church teaches concerning salvation. Hence have sprung many dreadful heresies, one after another, grounded on that faith, and on man's impotence in spiritual things, among which was that most horrible one on predestination, discussed in the foregoing article: all these heresies imply that God is the cause of evil, or that He
created both good and evil. But do not you, my friend, depend on any council of men, but on the Word of the Lord, which is above all councils; for what opinions have not the Roman-Catholic councils espoused and taught? What did not the council of Dort espouse and teach, which reared and let loose into the world that horrid viper, predestination? It may possibly be imagined that the free-will, with which man is gifted in spiritual things, was the mediate cause of evil; consequently that if it had not been given him, he could not have trangressed: but, my friend, pause here awhile, and consider with yourself, whether any man could possibly have been created without free-will in spiritual things, and still be a man: if you take from him that freedom, he is no longer a man but a statue only. For what is man's free-will, but a power of willing and acting, of thinking and speaking, to all appearance as from himself? And as he was gifted with this power, that he might become a living man, therefore two trees were placed in the garden of Eden, the tree of life, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; by which is signified, that man, in consequence of the freedom with which he was endowed, had ability to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, and of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
490. That every thing was good which God created, is plain from the first chapter of Genesis, where it is said, verses 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, "God saw that it was good;" and verse 31, "God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good:" the same truth is evident also from the primeval state of man in Paradise. But that evil had its birth from man, appears from the state of Adam which succeeded his fall, in that he was driven out of paradise. Hence it is manifest, that had he not been endowed with free-will in spiritual things, God himself, and not man, would have been the cause of evil, and consequently, God must have created both good and evil, and to imagine that He created evil
is a wicked and blasphemous supposition. God cannot be supposed to be the author of evil, notwithstanding His having endowed man with free-will in spiritual things; neither can He be supposed to inspire him with any evil, because He is good itself, and in this He is omnipresent, perpetually striving and urging to be received; and though He be not received, still He doth not remove Himself away, for should He do so, man would die instantly, nay, would be reduced to a state of non-entity, since the life of man, and the subsistence of whatever entereth into his composition, is from God. Evil then was not created by God, but was introduced by man after creation, the cause of which is, that he turneth the good which proceeds continually by influx from God, into evil, in consequence of averting himself from God, and turning himself towards himself, in which case the delight of good remains and becomes then the delight of evil; for unless a delight apparently similar to the former remained, it would be impossible for man to live, since delight constitutes the life of his love. These two delights are nevertheless diametrically opposed to each other, with which circumstance, however, man is unacquainted during his life on earth, but after death he comes to the knowledge and even clear perception of it, the delight of the love of good being then changed into celestial blessedness, but the delight of the love of evil into infernal horrors. From what hath been said it is evident that every man is predestinated to heaven and none to hell, but that he consigneth himself to hell from the abuse of his free-will in spiritual things, by choosing and embracing such things as exhale from hell; for, as was said above, every man is held in the midst between heaven and hell, in order that he may be in equilibrium between good and evil, and hence in the enjoyment of free-will in spiritual things.
491. That God hath given freedom not only to man, but also to every beast, and something analogous to it even
to inanimate subjects, imparting to every thing a faculty to receive it, according to its nature; and that He likewise provides and offers good to all creatures and things, but that the recipient objects turn it into evil, may be illustrated by the following comparisons: The atmosphere giveth to every man the power of respiration, in like manner to every tame and wild beast, and also to every bird, both to the owl and to the dove, affording to these, in addition, the means of flying; and yet the atmosphere is not the cause of the different modes in which that power is received by creatures of different natures and dispositions. The ocean too affords in itself a habitation, and also provides food and nourishment, for all kinds of fish; but it is not on this account the cause of one fish devouring another, and of the crocodile's turning its food into poison, and thereby becoming fatal to man. The sun again dispenses his light and heat to all recipient objects, but those objects, which are the various vegetables of the earth, receive them in different manners; a useful tree and shrub differently from a thorn or a bramble, and an innocent herb differently from a poisonous one. The rain in like manner descendeth from the higher regions of the atmosphere upon all parts of the earth, and the earth presents the water thus received to all kinds of shrubs, herbs and grass, each of which applieth it to itself according to its necessities; and this may be considered as something analogous to free-will, since all vegetables imbibe it freely by their little mouths, pores and ducts, which stand open when the weather is warm, the earth only offering its moisture and elemental particles, whilst the plants draw them in, according as they are influenced by a certain want, answering to hunger and thirst. The case is similar with men, with each of whom the Lord entereth by influx with spiritual heat, which in its essence is the good of love, and with spiritual light, which in its essence is the truth of wisdom; but then he receiveth
such influx according to the direction in which he is turned, whether it be towards God, or towards himself; wherefore the Lord saith, when He is teaching the duty of loving our neighbour, "that ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust," Matt. v. 45; and in another place, "That he wisheth all to be saved."
492. To the above I shall subjoin this memorable circumstance: 1 have at particular times heard expressions relating to the good of charity sent down out of heaven, which passed through the world of spirits, and penetrated even to the depths of hell; and I have observed that those expressions were changed, in the course of their descent, into such expressions as were wholly opposite to the good of charity, and at length into such as breathed hatred against the neighbour; a proof this, that whatever proceeds from the Lord is good, and that it is turned into evil by spirits in hell. The same case happened in regard to certain truths of faith, which in the course of their descent were changed into the opposite falses; for the recipient form converteth whatever it receiveth into somewhat agreeable to its own nature and quality.
VIII. THAT EVERY SPIRITUAL PRINCIPLE
CHURCH, WHEN IT
ADMITTED AND 1S RECEIVED
WITH FREEDOM, REMAINS, BUT NOT OTHERWISE. 493. The reason why those things remain with man which are received by him in a principle of freedom, is, because freedom bath relation to the will, and consequently to the love, for that the will is the receptacle of love, hath been shewn elsewhere: that whatever is of the love is free, and belongs also to the will, must be obvious, for every one comprehends the force of this reasoning, “ I will a thing because I love it," and vice versa," because I love a thing I also will it." But the will of man is twofold, interior and exte