Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 2406

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2406. 'The angels pressed Lot to hurry' means that the Lord withheld them from evil and maintained them in good. This is clear from the meaning of 'hurrying and pressing' as urging. That these words mean being withheld from evil is clear both from the internal sense of the words themselves and from what follows. The internal sense is that when the Church starts to fall away from good that flows from charity the Lord withholds its members from evil more forcefully than when the good of charity is present with them. What follows here makes the same point, which is that although the angels were pressing Lot to leave the city he still lingered, and so, grasping him, his wife, and his daughters by the hand, they led them away and placed them outside the city. This means and describes the character of a person whose state is such; for the subject now is the second state of that Church. The first state was described in verses 1-3 of this chapter, a state when the good of charity exists with them and they acknowledge the Lord, and when they are being confirmed by Him in good. The present verse describes the second state, a state when among members of the Church themselves evils start to act against goods and when people are powerfully withheld from evils and maintained in goods by the Lord. This state is dealt with in the present verse and in verses 16, 17, which follow.

[2] On this particular matter few if any know that all men, no matter how many, are withheld from evils by the Lord, and that this is done with a mightier power than man can possibly believe. For everybody is perpetually bent on evil on account both of the heredity which he is born with and of what he has acquired through his own actions, so much so that if he were not being withheld by the Lord he would at any moment rush headlong into the lowest hell. So great is the Lord's mercy however that he is being raised up every moment, even every fraction of a moment, to withhold him from rushing into that place. This applies to the good as well, but each one differs according to the life of charity and faith with him. Thus the Lord battles with man constantly, and on man's behalf with hell, though this does not seem so to man. That it is so I have been given to know from much experience, which in the Lord's Divine mercy will be presented elsewhere. See also 929, 1581.

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