Monday, January 21, 2008

Misery and Mercy

What is mercy? Arcana Coelestia 587 says that the Lord's mercy “includes everything that is done by the Lord mankind.” It then gives some fascinating examples of things that the Lord does from His mercy, which might not seem merciful to us. At the end it includes an intriguing comment about the miserable state of human beings.
The mercy of Jehovah, or of the Lord, includes everything that is done by the Lord toward mankind, who are in such a state that the Lord pities them, each one according to his state; thus He pities the state of him whom He permits to be punished, and pities him also to whom He grants the enjoyment of good; it is of mercy to be punished, because mercy turns all the evil of punishment into good; and it is of mercy to grant the enjoyment of good, because no one merits anything that is good; for all mankind are evil, and of himself everyone would rush into hell, wherefore it is of mercy that he is delivered thence; nor is it anything but mercy, inasmuch as He has need of no man. Mercy [misericordia] has its name from the fact that it delivers man from miseries [miseriis] and from hell; thus it is called mercy in respect to mankind, because they are in such a state of misery, and it is the effect of love toward them all, because all are so.

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