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Evil and Punishment
Quoting from Swedenborg:
 As the expressions in David, "to smite the cheek" and "to
break the teeth" signify the destruction of interior and exterior
falsities, it can be seen what is meant by "smiting on the cheek" in
- "Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and
a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, Resist not evil; but
whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the other
also. And if any man wisheth to sue thee at the law and to take away
thy coat, let him have thy cloak also; and whosoever shall compel thee
to go one mile, go with him two. Give to every one that asketh thee,
and from him that wisheth to borrow of thee turn not thou away"
That these words are not to be understood according to the letter is
evident to every one; for who is bound by Christian love to turn the
left cheek to him who smites the right, or to give the cloak to him
who would take away the coat? In a word, who is there to whom it is
not allowable to resist evil? But as all things that the Divine said
were in themselves Divine celestial, it can be seen that these words,
as well as the others which God spoke, contain a heavenly
All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even
so do ye to them; this is the Law and the Prophets (Matt. vii. 12;
Because this is the law in heaven, and from heaven in religion,
therefore every evil carries with it a corresponding punishment, which
is called the punishment of evil, and is in the evil as if joined with
it; and from this springs the punishment of retaliation which was
prescribed for the sons of Israel, because they were in external
states rather than internal. In internal states, as the angelic
people in heaven are, one does not wish the retaliation of evil for
evil, but from heavenly charity one forgives freely; for people in the
heavens know that the Divine protects from the evil all who are in
good, and that this protection is according to the good with them, and
that the Divine would not protect if on account of the evil done to
them they should burn with enmity, hatred, and revenge, for these
drive away protection.
"Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek turn to him the
other also" signifies if any one wishes to do harm to the perception
and understanding of interior truth, it may be allowed to the extent
of the effort; "the cheek" signifies the perception and understanding
of interior truth, the "right cheek" affection for it and consequent
perception of it, and the "left cheek" understanding of it, and as the
"cheek" is mentioned, so is "smiting," which means doing harm to; for
all things pertaining to the mouth, as the throat, the mouth itself,
the lips, the cheeks, the teeth, signify such things as belong to the
perception and understanding of truth, because they correspond to
them, therefore by these objects in the sense of the letter of the
Word, which consists of pure correspondences, these things are
expressed; "if any man wisheth to sue thee at the law and to take away
thy coat, let him have thy cloak also," signifies if any one wishes to
take away truth interiorly with thee, it may be allowed him to take
away also exterior truth, "coat" signifying interior truth, and
"cloak" exterior truth.
This also is what angelic people do when they are with the evil,
for the evil can take away nothing of good and truth from celestial
inhabitants, but they can from those who on that account burn with
enmity, hatred, and revenge, for these evils avert and repel
protection by the Divine; "whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile,
go with him two," signifies whoever wishes to lead away from truth to
falsity and from good to evil, since he cannot do it, may be left
unopposed; a "mile" having a similar signification as a "way," namely,
that which leads away or leads; "give to every one that asketh thee"
signifies that it is to be permitted; "and from him that wisheth to
borrow of thee turn thou not away" signifies that if any one wishes to
be instructed he may be instructed, for the evil desire this that they
may pervert and take away, and yet they cannot.
This is the spiritual sense of these words, in which are stored up
the hidden things that have now been said, which are especially for
the angel people who perceive the Word only according to its spiritual
sense; they are also for people still in the natural world who are in
good, when the evil are trying to lead them astray.
That the opposition of the evil to those whom the Divine protects
is such, it has been granted me [Swedenborg] to know by much
experience; for they have continually striven in every way and with
all their might to take away from me truths and goods, but in vain.
From what has been presented it can also in some degree be seen that a
"tooth" signifies truth or falsity in the sensual, which is the
ultimate of the intellectual life with human beings on earth.
Arcana Caelestia #9049
AC 9049. Then thou shalt give soul for soul. That this signifies the law of order that thou shalt do to thy neighbor as thou wouldest have another do to thee, consequently that what thou doest to another shall be done to thee, is evident from the fact that "to give soul for soul, eye for eye, tooth for tooth," and so forth, denotes that as thou hast done to another so shall it be done to thee. The reason why this law was given to the sons of Israel, is that such is the law in the spiritual world. He who there does good to another from the heart, receives the like good. Consequently he who does evil to another from the heart, receives the like evil.
For good that is from the heart is conjoined with its reward, and evil that is from the heart is conjoined with its punishment; consequently there is heaven for the good, and hell for the evil. That this is so, it has been given me to know from much experience. The case herein is this. With him who does good from the heart, there inflows from heaven on every side, good into the heart and soul of him who does it, and by inspiring inspires it; and then at the same time the affection of love for the neighbor to whom he does good is increased, and with this affection a delight which is heavenly and unutterable. The cause of this is that in heaven the good of love from the Lord reigns universally, and constantly flows in according to the degree in which it is practised toward another.
The case is similar in respect to evil. With him who from the heart does evil to another, there inflows from hell on every side evil into the heart of him who does it, and by exciting excites it; and then at the same time the affection of the love of self is increased, and with it the delight of hatred and revenge against those who do not submit themselves. The cause of this is that in hell the evil of the love of self reigns universally, and constantly flows in according to the degree in which it is practised toward another. When this occurs, the punishers are at once present, who ill-treat the offender; and thereby the evil with its delight is restrained.
 These things are so for the reason that the laws of order in the other life are not learned from books, and stored up therefrom in the memory, as with men in the world, but are written on hearts, the laws of evil on the heart of the evil, and the laws of good on the heart of the good. For every man carries with him into the other life that which by his life in the world he had set in his heart; namely, evil with the evil; and good with the good.
 The law of order from which these things flow is that which the Lord taught in Matthew:-
All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; this is the law and the prophets (vii. 12; Luke vi. 31).
Order is from the Divine truth which proceeds from the Lord. The laws of order in heaven arc truths from good, and in hell are truths separated from good. They are said to be separated, not by reason of the Lord, but by reason of man. Good is separated by the non-reception of it.
 The law which is called "the law of retaliation," is thus described in Leviticus:-
He that smiteth the soul of a beast shall restore it, soul for soul; if a man shall cause a blemish in his neighbor; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he shall cause a blemish in a man, so shall it he rendered unto him. He that smiteth a beast shall restore it; and he that smiteth a man shall be killed (xxiv. 18-21).
As evil carries with it its penalty, it is therefore said by the Lord that "evil must not be resisted," and at the same time in the following words in Matthew it is explained how the case is with this law in the spiritual world, with those who are in good, relatively to those who are in evil:-
Ye have beard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, Resist not evil; but whosoever shall strike thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man would drag thee to law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go one mile, go with him twain. Give to every one that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away (v. 38-42).
 Who cannot see that these words are not to be understood according to the sense of the letter? For who will turn the left cheek to him who deals a blow on the right cheek? And who will give his cloak to him who would take away his coat? And who will give his property to all who ask? And who will not resist evil? But no one can understand these words who does not know what is signified by "the right cheek" and "the left cheek," what by "a coat" and "a cloak," also what by "a mile," and likewise by "borrowing," and so on.
The subject there treated of is spiritual life, or the life of faith; not natural life, which is the life of the world. The Lord there opens, and also in this chapter, and the following, the interior things that belong to heaven, but by means of such things as are in the world. The reason why He did so by such things, was that not worldly men, but only heavenly men, should understand. The reason why worldly men were not to understand, was lest they should profane the interior things of the Word, for by so doing they would cast themselves into the most frightful hell of all, which is the hell of the profaners of the Word. Therefore it is said by the Lord in Luke:-
Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God; but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not hear (viii. 10).
And in John:-
Isaiah said, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they may not see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and should convert themselves, and I should heal them (xii. 39, 40);
it is said "lest I should heal them," because they who are healed and return again to falsities and evils, commit profanation. These are they who are meant in Matthew xii. 43-45.
 But it shall now be told what is meant in the internal sense by the words of the Lord above quoted. In this sense it there treats of those who wish to destroy by means of falsities the truths of faith, thus the spiritual life with a man when he is in temptations, and in persecutions; and in good spirits when they are in infestations by evil spirits. By "the cheek" is signified the affection of interior truth, by "the right cheek" the affection of truth from good; by "dealing a blow" is signified the act of injuring this affection; by "coat" and "cloak" is signified truth in the external form (n. 4677, 4741, 4742); by "dragging to law" is signified the endeavor to destroy; by "a mile" is signified that which leads to truth, for the like is signified by "a mile" as by "a way" (that "a way" denotes that which leads to truth, see n. 627, 2333, 3477); by "lending" is signified to instruct. From this it is plain what is signified by "giving to all who ask," namely, to confess all things of one's faith in the Lord. The reason therefore shy evil ought not to be resisted, is that evil does no harm to those who are in truth and good, for they are protected by the Lord.
 These are the things which have been hidden under the above words of the Lord; and this being the case, the Lord only says,"Ye have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," but says no more; because by "an eye" is signified the interior truth of faith; and by "a tooth," the exterior truth of faith, as will be seen in what follows. From all this it is evident in what manner the Lord spake when He was in the world, namely, that He spake, as everywhere in the Word of the Old Testament, at the same time for the angels in heaven, and for men in the world; for His speech was in itself Divine and heavenly, because it was from the Divine, and through heaven. But the things which He spake were presented by means of such things as corresponded in the world. What they correspond to, the internal sense teaches.
 That "to deal a blow" or "to smite the cheek" denotes to destroy truths, is plain from passages in the Word where mention is made of "smiting the cheek." And because in the genuine sense this signifies the destruction of truth, therefore in the opposite sense it signifies clue destruction of falsity, in which sense it occurs in these passages:-
Thou wilt smite all mine enemies on the cheek; Thou wilt break the teeth of the wicked (Ps. iii. 7).
They shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek (Micah v. 1).
The bridle of him that leadeth astray shall be on the cheeks of the peoples (Isa. xxx. 28).
For "the face" signifies the affections (n. 4796, 4797, 4799, 5102, 5695, 6604), consequently those things which belong to the face signify such things as belong to the affections, and correspond to their functions and uses; as the "eye" signifies the understanding of truth, the "nostrils" the perception of truth, those things which belong to the mouth, as the "jaws," the "lips," the "tongue," signify such thing as relate to the utterance of truth (n. 4796-4805).
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