The State of Innocence of Angels in Heaven (Continued)

The innocence of wisdom is real innocence because it is internal, being a property of the mind itself and therefore of our volition itself and our consequent understanding. When there is innocence in these, then there is wisdom as well, because wisdom is a property of volition and understanding. That is why they say in heaven that innocence dwells in wisdom and why angels have as much wisdom as they do innocence. They support the truth of this by observing that people in a state of innocence do not take credit for anything good, but ascribe and attribute everything to the Lord. They want to be led by him and not by themselves, they love everything that is good and delight in everything that is true because they know and perceive that loving what is good—that is, intending and doing good—is loving the Lord, and loving what is true is loving their neighbor. They live content with what they have, whether it is little or much, because they know that they receive as much as is useful—little if little is good for them and much if much is good for them. They do not know what is best for themselves—only the Lord knows; and in his sight everything he supplies is eternal.

So they have no anxiety about the future, but refer to anxiety about the future as “care for the morrow,” which they say is pain at losing or not getting things that are not needed for their life’s useful activities. They never collaborate with friends from evil intent, but only from good, fair, and honest intent. To act from evil intent, they say, is guile, which they avoid like the poison of a snake because it is diametrically opposed to innocence. Since their greatest love is to be led by the Lord, and since they ascribe everything to him, they are kept away from their self-centeredness, and to the extent that they are kept away from their self-centeredness, the Lord flows in. This is why they do not store in their memory what they hear from him, whether through the Word or through preaching, but immediately heed it, that is, intend and do it. Their intention itself is their memory. They appear extraordinarily simple in outward form, but they are wise and provident inwardly. They are the ones the Lord was referring to when he said, “Be wise as serpents and simple as doves” (Matthew 10:16). This is the nature of the innocence called the innocence of wisdom.

Since innocence does not take credit for anything good but ascribes it all to the Lord, and since innocence loves to be led by the Lord, giving rise to that acceptance of everything good and true that leads to wisdom, we have been so created as to be in an outward innocence when we are little, but in an inward innocence in old age, to come to the latter through the former. So when we do get old, our bodies deteriorate and we become like little children again—but like wise little children or angels, for in the highest sense, a wise infant is an angel. This is why “infant” in the Word means one who is innocent, and “elderly one” means a wise person full of innocence.

from Heaven and Hell, Section 278


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