A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg/15 Repentance, Reformation, and Regeneration
REPENTANCE, REFORMATION, AND REGENERATION.
He who would be saved must confess his sins, and do the work of repentance.
To confess sins is to recognize evils; to see them within himself; to acknowledge them; to make himself guilty and condemn himself on account of them. This when it is done before God is the confession of sins.
To do the work of repentance is, after he has thus confessed his sins, and from an humble heart has made supplication for remission, to desist from them and lead a new life according to the precepts of faith.
He who only acknowledges generally that he is a sinner, and makes himself guilty of all evils, and does not explore himself, that is see his own sins, makes confession, but not the confession of repentance; for he afterwards lives as before.
He who lives the life of faith daily does the work of repentance; for he reflects upon the evils that are within him, and acknowledges them, guards himself against them, and supplicates the Lord for aid. For of himself man is continually lapsing; but is continually raised up by the Lord. Of himself he lapses when he thinks to will evil; and is raised up by the Lord when he resists evil, and therefore does not do it. Such is the state of all who are in good. But they who are in evil lapse continually, and also are continually elevated by the Lord; but it is lest they fall into the hell of all the basest evils, whither of themselves they tend with all their effort, and to restrain them to a milder hell.
The work of repentance which is done in a state of freedom avails, but that which is done in a state of compulsion is of no avail. A state of compulsion is a state of sickness, a state of dejection of mind on account of misfortunes; a state of imminent death; in a word, every state of fear which takes away the use of sound reason. He who is evil, and promises repentance and also does good in a state of compulsion, when he comes into a state of freedom returns into his former life of evil. It is different with a good man; these states to him are states of temptation, in which he conquers.
Repentance of the mouth and not of the life is not repentance; sins are not remitted by repentance of the mouth, but by repentance of the life. Sins are remitted to man continually by the Lord, for He is mercy itself; but the sins adhere to the man howsoever he supposes they are remitted, nor are they removed from him but by a life according to the precepts of faith. So far as he lives according to these precepts his sins are removed, and in so far as they are removed they are remitted. For man is withheld by the Lord from evil, and is held in good; and he can be withheld from evil in the other life in so far as he had resisted evil in the life of the body; and he can then be held in good in so far as he had done good from affection in the life of the body. From this it may be seen what the remission of sins is, and from whence it is. He who believes that sins are remitted in any other way is much deceived.
After a man has examined himself, and acknowledged his sins, and done the work of repentance, he must remain constant in good to the end of life. And if afterwards he relapses to the former life of evil and embraces it, he commits profanation; for then he conjoins evil with good; and therefore his latter state is worse than the first, according to the Lord's words: "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, but doth not find; then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, and findeth it empty, and swept, and garnished for himself, then he goeth away and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first" (Matt. xii. 43-45). (A. C. 8387-8394.)
The Nature of Man before Regeneration, or as to what is properly his own (proprium).
The proprium of man is all the evil and falsity that stream forth from the love of self and the world; whereby men are inclined to believe in themselves and not in the Lord and the Word, and to think that what they cannot comprehend sensually or by knowledge has no existence. Hence they become altogether evil and false, and therefore see all things perversely. Evil appears to them as good, and good as evil; falsity as truth, and truth as falsity; realities as nothing, and nothing as everything; hatred they call love, darkness light, death life, and vice versa. Such in the Word are called the lame and the blind. This then is the proprium of man, which in itself is infernal and accursed. (A. C. n. 210.)
The proprium of man is in itself a thing merely dead, although it appears a reality, yea, everything to him. Whatever lives in him is from the Lord's life; and if this were taken away, he would fall dead like a stone. For man is only an organ of life, and the state of the life is according to the nature of the organ. Only the Lord has [an actual or living] proprium. From His proprium He redeemed mankind, and from His proprium He saves them. The Lord's proprium is life; and from His proprium the proprium of man, which in itself is dead, is vivified. (ib. n. 149.)
The proprium of man is nothing but evil, and the falsity therefrom; the will proprium is evil, and the intellectual proprium is falsity therefrom. And this proprium a man derives principally from his parents, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers, back through a long series; so that finally the hereditary nature which constitutes his proprium is nothing but evil successively accumulated and condensed. For every man is born into two diabolical loves; namely, the love of self and the love of the world. From these loves stream forth all evils and falsities, as from their own fountains; and as man is born into these loves he is born also into evils of every kind. Because as to his proprium man is of such a nature, the Lord in His Divine mercy has provided means by which he can be removed from his proprium. These means are given in the Word; and when man co-operates with the means, that is when he thinks and speaks, wills and acts, from the Divine Word, he is kept by the Lord in things Divine, and thus is withheld from his proprium. And as he perseveres in this a new proprium as it were, both voluntary and intellectual, is formed in him by the Lord, which is entirely separate from his own proprium. Man is thus as it were created anew; and this is what is called his reformation and regeneration by truths from the Word, and by a life according to them. (A. E. n. 585.)
Man's great tendency to Evil.
Few, if any, know that all men, how many soever they are, are withheld from evils by the Lord, and this with greater might than man can by any means conceive. For there is in every man a perpetual active impulse [conatus] to evil, both from the hereditary evil into which he is born, and from actual evil which he has acquired,—so strong, that unless he were withheld by the Lord he would every moment rush headlong towards the lowest hell. But so great is the Lord's mercy that every moment, yea, every least part of a moment, he is lifted up and withheld from rushing thither. This is the case even with the good; but with a difference according to their life of charity and faith. Thus the Lord continually fights with man and for man against hell; although it does not so appear to man. That it is so it has been given me to know by much experience. (A. C. n. 2406.)
Why Man is born in Ignorance.
If man were imbued with no hereditary evil the rational would be born immediately from the marriage of the celestial things of the internal man with its spiritual things; and through the rational the knowing [faculty] would be born, so that man would have within him all the rational, and all the knowing [faculty], at the moment of his coming into the world. For this would be according to the order of influx; as may be concluded from the fact that all animals whatsoever are born into all the knowing faculty which is necessary and conducive to their sustenance, their protection, their habitation, and their procreation; because their nature is in accordance with order. Why not then man, if order had not been destroyed in him? For he alone is born into no knowledge! The cause of his being so born is hereditary evil, derived from father and mother; in consequence of which all his faculties are in a contrary direction relative to what is true and good, and cannot be brought into forms corresponding to them by immediate influx of what is celestial and spiritual from the Lord. This is the reason why the rational of man must be formed in a way or a manner altogether different; namely, by knowledges and cognitions insinuated through the senses, thus flowing in by an external way, and therefore in inverted order. Man is thus miraculously rendered rational by the Lord, (A. C. n. 1902.)
Reformation and Regeneration.
There are two states into and through which a man must pass while from natural he is becoming spiritual. The first state is called Reformation; and the second Regeneration. In the first state man looks from his natural condition to a spiritual, and desires it; in the second state he becomes spiritual-natural. The first state is formed by means of truths,—which must become truths of faith,—through which he looks to charity; the second is formed by means of the goods of charity, and by these he enters into the truths of faith. Or what is the same, the first is a state of thought from the understanding; and the second of love from the will. When this latter state begins, and while it is progressing, a change takes place in the mind. For a reversal is effected; because now the love of the will flows into the understanding, and actuates and leads it to think in harmony and agreement with its love. Wherefore, so far as the good of love now acts the first part, and the truths of faith the second, man is spiritual and is a new creature. And then he acts from charity and speaks from faith, and feels the good of charity and perceives the truth of faith; and he is then in the Lord, and in peace, and thus is regenerate. A man who in the world has entered the first state, after death can be introduced into the second; but he who in the world has not entered into the first state cannot be introduced into the second after death, thus cannot be regenerated. (T. C. R. n. 571.)
Reformation is ascribed to the understanding, and regeneration to the will. . . . The evils into which man is born are generated in the will of the natural man; and it has been shown that the will brings the understanding to favour itself by thinking in agreement with it. Therefore, in order that man may be regenerated, it is necessary that it be done by means of the understanding as a mediate cause; and this is done through information which the understanding receives, first from parents and masters, afterwards from the reading of the Word, from preaching, books, and conversation. The things that the understanding receives from these sources are called truths; it is the same therefore whether it be said that reformation is effected by means of the understanding, or that it is effected by means of the truths which the understanding receives. For truths teach man in whom and what he should believe, and what he should do, and therefore what he should purpose; for whatever any one does he does from his will according to his understanding. Since therefore the will itself of man is evil by birth, and since the understanding teaches what evil and good are, and he is able to purpose the one and not purpose the other, it follows that man is to be reformed by the understanding. And so long as any one sees and acknowledges in his mind that evil is evil and good is good, and thinks that good is to be chosen, so long he is in the state that is called reformation; but when he wills to shun evil and do good the state of regeneration begins. (ib. n. 587.)
But yet no one can be said to be reformed by the mere cognition of truths; for a man can apprehend them, and also talk about, teach, and preach them, from the faculty of elevating the understanding above the love of the will. But he is reformed who is in the affection of truth for the sake of truth; for this affection conjoins itself with the will, and if it goes on conjoins the will to the understanding and then regeneration begins. (ib. n. 589.)
A Sign of Reformation and Non-Reformation.
The Lord continually flows into man with good, and into good with truth; and man either receives it or does not receive it. If he receives it, it is well with him; but if he does not receive it, it is ill with him. If when he does not receive he feels something of anxiety, there is hope that he may be reformed; but if he does not feel anything of anxiety, the hope vanishes. For with every man there are two spirits from hell, and two angels from heaven; for, because man is born into sin, he can in nowise live unless on the one hand he communicates with hell, and on the other with heaven; all his life is therefrom. When a man is grown up, and begins to govern himself from himself,—that is, when he appears to himself to will and to act from his own judgment, and to think and form conclusions concerning matters of faith from his own understanding,—if then he betakes himself to evils the two spirits from hell approach, and the two angels from heaven withdraw a little; and if he turns himself to good, the two angels from heaven draw near, and the two spirits from hell are removed. When therefore a man betakes himself to evils, as is the case with most in youth, if any anxiety is felt when he reflects upon the wrong he has done, it is a sign that he will still receive influx through the angels from heaven, and also a sign that he will afterwards suffer himself to be reformed; but if nothing of anxiety is felt when he reflects upon the wrong he has done, it is a sign that he is no longer willing to receive influx through the angels from heaven, and a sign also that he will not afterwards suffer himself to be reformed. (A. C. n. 5470.)
The Course of Regeneration and of Progress to true Wisdom.
Few, if any, know how man is brought to true wisdom. Intelligence is not wisdom, but leads to wisdom; for to understand what is true and good is not to be true and good, but to be wise is to be so. Wisdom is predicated only of the life, meaning that such is the character of the man. He is introduced to wisdom or life by knowing and cognizing [truth] or by knowledges and cognitions. Every man has two parts, the will and the understanding; the will is the primary and the understanding the secondary part. Man's life after death is according to his will-part, not according to his intellectual. The will in man is formed by the Lord from infancy to childhood. It is done by insinuating innocence and love towards parents, nurses, and children of like age, and by many other things which are celestial that man is ignorant of. If these celestial things were not first insinuated into man, while he is an infant and child, he could by no means become a man. Thus the first plane is formed. But as man is not man unless he is also endowed with understanding (for the will alone does not constitute man, but understanding with the will); and as understanding cannot be acquired except by means of knowledges and cognitions, therefore from the period of childhood by degrees he is filled with these. Thus a second plane is formed. When the intellectual part is furnished with knowledges and cognitions, especially with cognitions of truth and good, then the man is first capable of being regenerated. And while he is being regenerated, truths and goods from the Lord are implanted by means of cognitions in the celestial things with which he was gifted by the Lord from infancy, so that his intellectual attainments form one with his celestial. When the Lord has so conjoined them he is gifted with charity, and begins to act from it, which is as a principle of conscience. He thus first receives new life, and this by degrees. The light of this new life is called wisdom, which then takes the first place, and is exalted above intelligence. Thus a third plane is formed. When a man has become such in the life of the body, he is continually perfected in the other life. From this it may be seen what the light of intelligence is, and what the light of wisdom. (A. C. n. 1555.)
The Six States of Regeneration.
(See "The Days of Creation," p. 145.)
Regeneration Progresses through successive Cycles.
The states of the re-birth of everything sensual and of
everything in the natural, and also in the rational, have their progressions from a beginning to an end; and when at the end, they then commence from a kind of new beginning, namely, from that end to which they tended in the former state, to a further end, and so on; and at length the order is inverted, and what was last then becomes first. As, for instance, while man is being regenerated, both as to the rational and as to the natural, then the periods of the first state are from truths, which are of faith, to goods which are of charity; and the truths of faith then apparently act the first part, and the goods of charity the second, for the truths of faith look to the goods of charity as an end; these periods continue until the man is regenerated. Afterwards charity, which was the end, becomes the beginning; and from this new states begin, which proceed both ways, namely, more towards interior things, but also towards exterior things; towards interior things up to love to the Lord, and towards exterior things to the truths of faith, and even to natural truths, and to sensual truths,—which are then successively brought into correspondence with the goods of charity and love in the rational, and so into heavenly order. These are what are meant by progressions and derivations continued even to the last. Such progressions and derivations are perpetual with the man who is being regenerated, from his infancy to the end of his life in the world; and afterwards also to eternity. And yet he can never be so regenerated that it can be said he is in any wise perfect; for there are things innumerable, yea, indefinite in number, which are to be regenerated, both in the rational and in the natural; and every one of them has offshoots indefinite in number, that is, progressions and derivations towards things interior and things exterior. This is entirely unknown to man, but the Lord takes cognizance of each and all things, and provides for every moment. If only for the least moment He were to intermit His providence, all progressions would, be disturbed; for what is prior looks to what follows, in a continual series, and produces successive series of consequences to eternity. Whence it is evident that the Divine foresight and providence is in the most single things; and unless it were so, or if it were only universal, the human race would perish. (A. C. n. 5122.)
With respect to the regeneration of the spiritual man, the case is this: He is first instructed in the truths which belong to faith, and is then kept by the Lord in an affection for truth. The good of faith, which is charity towards the neighbour, is at the same time insinuated into him, but so that he scarcely knows it, for it lies concealed in the affection for truth; and this to the end that the truth which is of faith may be conjoined with the good which is of charity. In process of time his affection for the truth of faith increases, and truth is regarded for the sake of the end; namely, for the sake of good, or what is the same, for the sake of life,—and this more and more. Truth is thus insinuated into good; and when this is so man imbibes the good of life according to the truth which was insinuated, and thus acts or seems to himself to act from good. Before this time the principal thing to him was truth, which is of faith; but afterwards it becomes good, which is of the life. When this comes to pass man is regenerated; but he is regenerated according to the quantity and quality of the truth which is insinuated into good, and when truth and good act as one according to the quality and quantity of good. Thus it is with all regeneration. (ib. n. 2979.)
The Cycles of Regeneration are one with the Cycles op Man's Life.
It is known that the things seen by the eyes and heard by the ears are apperceived by man inwardly, and as it were pass from the world through the eyes or through the ears into the thought, and so into the understanding; for thought is of the understanding. And if they are such things as are loved they pass thence into the will; and afterwards from the will by an intellectual way into the speech of the mouth, and also into the act of the body. Such is the cycle of things from the world through the natural man into his spiritual, and from this again into the world. But it should be known that this cycle is set in operation from the will, which is the inmost of man's life; and that it begins there, and from thence is carried to completion. And the will of the man who is in good is governed from heaven by the Lord, although it appears otherwise. For there is an influx from the spiritual world into the natural, thus through the internal man into his external, but not the reverse; for the internal man is in heaven, and the external in the world. As this cycle is the cycle of man's life, therefore while man is being regenerated he is regenerated along the same cycle; and when he is regenerated, through the same he lives and acts. For this reason, during man's regeneration the truths which will become truths of faith are insinuated through the hearing and sight; and they are implanted in the memory of his natural man. From this memory they are elevated into the thought, which is of the understanding; and those that are loved become of the will. And so far as they become of the will they become of the life; for the will of man is his very life. And so far as they become of the life they become of his affection, thus of charity in the will, and of faith in the understanding. Afterwards the man speaks and acts from that life, which is the life of charity and faith; from charity which is of the will goes forth the speech of the mouth and also the acts of the body, each by an intellectual way, that is by the way of faith. From these things it is evident that the cycle of man's regeneration is like the cycle of his life in general; and that in like manner it is begun in the will, by influx out of heaven from the Lord. (A. C. n. 10,057.)
Understanding separate from the Will is given to Man that he may be regenerated.
The faculty of understanding what is good and true although he does not will it, is given to man in order that he may be reformed and regenerated; and therefore this faculty exists with the evil as well as with the good, yea, sometimes more acutely with the evil; but with this difference, that with the evil there is no affection of truth for the sake of life, that is for the good of life from truth, and therefore they cannot be reformed; but with the good there is an affection of truth for the sake of life, that is for the good of life, and they therefore can be reformed. But the first state of their reformation is, that truth of doctrine appears to them to be in the first place, and the good of life in the second; for they do good from truth; and their second state is, that the good of life is in the first place, and the truth of doctrine in the second; for they do good from good, that is from the will of good; and when this is the case, because the will is conjoined to the understanding as in a marriage, man is regenerated. (A. C. n. 3539.)
Correspondence of Natural Birth to Spiritual Birth.
It is known that the soul of man has its beginning in an ovum of the mother, is afterwards perfected in her womb, and is there encompassed with a tender body, of such a nature that the soul may suitably act by means of it in the world into which it is born. The case is similar when man is born again, that is when he is regenerated. The new soul which he then receives is a purpose of good, which has its beginning in the rational, at first as it were in an ovum there, and afterwards is there perfected as in a womb; the tender body with which this soul is encompassed is the natural [degree] and the good therein, which becomes such that it acts obediently to the purposes of the soul; the truths therein are like the fibres in the body, for truths are formed from good. Hence it appears that an image of the reformation of man is presented in his formation in the womb; and if you will believe it, it is celestial good and spiritual truth which come from the Lord that form him, and then give him ability successively to receive each; and this in such manner and in the degree that he as a man regards the ends of heaven, and not, as a brute animal, the ends of the world. (A. C. n. 3570.)
During Regeneration the Lord Governs Man by means of Angels.
While man is being regenerated, which is effected in adult age (because before that he does not think from himself about the truths of faith), he is governed by the Lord through angels by this means; that he is kept in the truths which he has impressed upon himself are truths, and by means of these is kept in the affection with which they are conjoined; and as that affection, namely the affection of truth, is from good, he is thus led by degrees to good. That this is so is evident to me from much experience; for when evil spirits have suggested evils and falsities, I have apperceived that angels from the Lord then kept me in the truths which had been implanted, and so withheld me from evils and falsities. From this it was also clear that the truths of faith, inrooted by means of the affection of truth, are the plane in which angels operate. They therefore who have not this plane cannot be led by the angels, but suffer themselves to be led by hell; for then the operation of the angels can be nowhere fixed, but flows through. And this plane cannot be acquired unless the truths of faith are suffered to go into act, and so are implanted in the will, and through the will in the life. It is also worthy of remark that the operation of angels upon the truths of faith in man rarely becomes manifest, that is, so that thought is excited concerning that truth; but there is produced, with an affection, a general idea of such things as agree with that truth. For this operation is effected by imperceptible influx; which when presented to the sight appears as light flowing in, which light consists of innumerable truths in good. These truths encompass some single thing in man, and keep that, while in truth, in the love also which is of that truth. Thus the angels elevate the mind of man from falsities and defend from evils. But these things are entirely unknown to a man. (A. C. n. 5893.)
Regeneration is foreseen and provided for from Eternity.
With those who are being regenerated interior and exterior things are arranged in order by the Lord for all following states insomuch that things present involve things future, and things future when they become present do the same, and this to eternity; for the Lord foresees all things and provides all things, and His foresight and providence is to eternity, and so eternal. For the Divine which alone is His in itself is infinite, and what is infinite in respect to duration is eternal. Hence it is that whatever the Lord disposes and ordains is eternal. Thus is it done with those whom the Lord regenerates; the regeneration of man begins in the world, and continues to eternity; for man is always being perfected when he becomes an angel. There are in man things external, internal, and inmost; these are all disposed and arranged in order, together and successively, for the reception of things that follow to eternity. (A. C. n. 10,048.)
Regeneration is effected by means op Remains.
Man is called a living soul from a living principle that is within him. No man can live at all, still less live as a man, if he have not something living within him; that is, unless he has something of innocence, charity, and mercy, or something therefrom that is similar to or emulative of them. This [germ] of innocence, charity, and mercy, man receives from the Lord during infancy and childhood; as may be seen from the state of infancy and also from the state of childhood. What man then receives is treasured up within him, and is called in the Word remains; which are of the Lord alone in man, and furnish him with the capacity of becoming truly man on his arrival at adult age. That the states of innocence, charity, and mercy which man has in infancy and during the years of childhood, enable him to become man, is evident from the consideration that, unlike the brutes, he is not born into any exercise of life, but has everything to learn; and what he learns becomes by use habitual, and thus as it were natural to him. He cannot even walk or speak without being taught; and so with all the other actions which habit renders as it were natural to him. So it is also with the states of innocence, charity, and mercy, with which likewise he becomes imbued in infancy; and unless they were present with him he would be much viler than a brute. But these are states which a man does not learn, but receives as a gift from the Lord, and which the Lord preserves in him; and these together with the truths of faith are what are called remains, and are of the Lord alone. In proportion as in adult age a man extinguishes these states he becomes dead; and when he is regenerated these are the beginnings of regeneration. In these he is led; for the Lord, as was said, operates by means of remains. (A. C. n. 1050.)
Remains are all the states of affection for good and truth with which man is gifted by the Lord, from earliest infancy to the end of life; which states are stored for his use in the life after death. For all the states of his life successively return in the other life, and then are tempered by the states of good and of truth with which he had been gifted by the Lord. In proportion therefore as he has received more of remains in the life of the body, or more of good and truth, the more joyous and the more fair do the rest of his states appear when they return. That this is so may be seen by any one if he reflects. At his birth man has not of himself the least of good, but is totally defiled with hereditary evil; and all the good that he has, such as love for parents, nurses, and little companions, enters by influx, and this from innocence. These are goods which flow in from the Lord through the heaven of innocence and peace, which is the inmost heaven; and so man is imbued with them during his infancy. Afterwards, as he grows up, little by little this innocent and peaceful infantile good recedes; and in proportion as he is introduced into the world he enters into the pleasures derived from it, and into lusts and so into evils, and in the same proportion the celestial things or goods of his infantile age begin to disappear. But yet they remain, and by them the states are tempered which the man afterwards puts on and acquires. Without these a man can by no means be a man; for his states of lusts or of evil, if not attempered by states of affection for good, would be fiercer than those of any animal. These states of good are what are called remains; which are given and implanted in his disposition by the Lord, and this while man is unconscious of it. In the subsequent period of life he is also gifted with new states; but these are not so much states of good as of truth; for while he is growing up he is imbued with truths, and these likewise are stored up within him in his interior man. By these remains which are remains of truth, born of influx of things spiritual from the Lord, man has power to think and also to understand what the good and truth of civil and moral life are; and likewise to receive spiritual truth or the truth of faith,—but this he cannot do except through the remains of good which he has received in infancy. Man is not at all aware that there are remains, and that they are stored up in man in his interior rational; for the reason that he does not imagine that anything enters by influx, but that it is all a something natural inborn in him, so that everything is in him when an infant. But the fact is quite otherwise. Remains are spoken of here and there in the Word; and they signify those states by which man, becomes man, and this from the Lord alone. (ib. n. 1906.)
Remains are not only the goods and truths which a man even from his infancy acquires from the Lord's Word, and which are thus impressed upon his memory, but they are also all the states derived therefrom; as states of innocence from infancy; of love towards parents, brothers, teachers, and friends; of charity towards the neighbour; and of compassion also towards the poor and needy; in a word, all states of good and truth. These states, with the goods and truths impressed upon the memory, are called remains; and are preserved in man by the Lord, and entirely unconsciously to him are stored up in his internal man, and carefully separated from those things which belong to his proprium, or from evils and falsities. All these states are so carefully preserved in man by the Lord that not the least of them is lost; which it was given me to know by the fact that every state of man, from infancy even to extreme old age, not only remains in the other life but also returns, and this exactly as they were while he lived in the world. Not only the goods and truths of the memory thus remain and return, but also all states of innocence and charity; and when states of evil and of falsity or of wickedness and phantasy recur,—which also each and all as to every least circumstance remain and return,—then these states are attempered by the Lord, by means of those. It is therefore evident that if man had no remains he could by no means avoid eternal condemnation, (ib. n. 561.)
From earliest infancy up to the first period of childhood man is introduced by the Lord into heaven, and indeed among celestial angels; by whom he is kept in a state of innocence, which it is known is the state of infants until the first period of childhood. When the age of childhood begins he by degrees puts off the state of innocence, but is still kept in a state of charity, by the affection of mutual charity towards his like; which state continues with many until youth. He then is among spiritual angels. Because he then begins to think and accordingly to act by himself, he can no longer be kept as before in charity; for he then calls forth hereditary evils, by which he suffers himself to be led. When this state arrives the goods of charity and innocence which he had before received, in the degree that he meditates evils and confirms them by act, are exterminated; and yet are not exterminated, but are withdrawn by the Lord towards the interiors, and there stored up again. But as he has not yet cognized truths, the goods of innocence and charity which he had received in those two states are therefore not yet qualified; for truths give quality to good, and good gives essence to truths. From that age he is therefore imbued with truths,—by instruction, and especially by his own thoughts, and confirmations thereby. In so far then as he is now in the affection of good, truths are conjoined by the Lord to the good in him, and are stored up for use. This state is what is signified by the seven years of abundance of provision [in Gen. xli. 47-49]. These truths adjoined to good are what in the proper sense are called remains. In the degree therefore that a man suffers himself to be regenerated the remains are devoted to their use; for in that degree the Lord draws out from and lets them into the natural, that a correspondence of the exteriors with the interiors, or of the natural things with the spiritual, may be produced. This is effected in the state which is signified by the seven years of famine, (ib. n. 5342.)
In process of time the church decreases, and at last remains with a few. Those few with whom it remained at the time of the deluge were called Noah. That the true church decreases and remains with a few is evident from the other churches which have thus decreased. Those that are left are called in the Word a remnant, and the left, or residue, and even in the midst or middle of the land. As it is in the universal, so it is in the particular; or as it is in the church, so is it in individuals. Unless the Lord preserved remains in every one, he must perish in eternal death; for spiritual and celestial life is in remains. In like manner in the general or universal; unless there were always some with whom the true church or true faith remained, the human race would perish. For on account of some few, as is well known, a city, nay, a whole kingdom, is preserved. They are like the heart in man: so long as the heart is sound the neighbouring viscera can live; but when this becomes feeble, wasting seizes upon all, and the man dies. The last remains are what are signified by Noah; for otherwise the whole earth was corrupt, as is declared in Gen. vi. 12. These remains in every man, and in the church, are mentioned in different places in the prophets; as in Isaiah: "He that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall he called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof" (iv. 3, 4). Here holiness is predicated of the remnant,—by which the remains of the church are signified, and also of the man of the church; for those that were left in Zion and Jerusalem could not therefore be holy because they were left. Again: "It shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them, but shall stay upon Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, the remnant of Jacob, unto the mighty God" (x. 20, 21). In Jeremiah: "In those days and in that time, saith Jehovah, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall he none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not he found; for I will pardon them whom I shall make a remnant" (1. 20). In Micah: "The remnant of Jacob shall he in the midst of many people as the dew from Jehovah, as the showers upon the grass" (v. 7). The remnant or remains of man, or of the church, were also represented by the tenths (tithes), which were holy. Hence too the number ten is holy; and therefore ten is predicated of remains. As in Isaiah, where the remnant is called "the seed of holiness:" "Jehovah shall remove man, and the many things left in the midst of the land; and yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be for extermination, as an oak and a holm-oak when the stem is cast forth from them: the seed of holiness is the stem thereof" (vi. 12, 13). And in Amos: "Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, The city that went out a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth an hundred shall leave ten to the house of Israel" (v. 3). In these and in many other places, in the internal sense, the remains of which we have been speaking are signified, (ib. n. 468.)
When the way for remains is closed up a man is no longer man, because he can no longer be protected by the angels, but is entirely possessed of evil spirits, who seek and desire nothing else than to extinguish him as a man. (ib. n. 660.)
Regeneration cannot be effected suddenly.
When man is born, as to hereditary evils he is a hell in the least form; and in so far as he takes from his hereditary evils and superadds to them his own he also becomes a hell. Hence it is that from birth and from actual life the order of his life is opposite to the order of heaven; for, of his own, man loves himself more than the Lord, and the world more than heaven; when yet the life of heaven consists in loving the Lord above all things and the neighbour as one's self. It is therefore evident that the former life which is of hell must be entirely destroyed; that is, evils and falsities must be removed, to the intent that a new life which is the life of heaven may be implanted. This can in nowise be done hastily; for every evil enrooted with its falsities has connection with all evils and their falsities; and such evils and falsities are innumerable, and their connection is so manifold that it cannot be comprehended, not even by the angels, but only by the Lord. From this it is plain that the life of hell in man cannot be suddenly destroyed, for if it were suddenly done he would straightway expire; and that the life of heaven cannot be suddenly implanted, for if this were done suddenly he would also expire. There are thousands and thousands of mysteries, of which scarcely one is known to man, whereby man is led of the Lord, when he is led from the life of hell to the life of heaven. It has been given me to know from heaven that this is so; and it has likewise been confirmed by many things which have come to my apperception. Since man knows scarcely anything about these mysteries, many have fallen into errors concerning man's liberation from evils and falsities, or concerning the remission of sins,—believing that, through mercy, in a moment the life of hell in man can be changed into the life of heaven in him; when yet the whole act of regeneration is mercy, and no others are regenerated but those who in the world receive the mercy of the Lord in faith and life. (A. C. n. 9336.)
Every one may be Regenerated, but each differently.
Every one can be regenerated, but each according to his state. For the simple and the learned are regenerated differently; yet differently those who are in different studies, and also in different occupations; those who are inquisitive about the externals of the Word, differently from those who inquire about its internals; those who from parents are in natural good, differently from those who are in evil; those who from early childhood have entered into the vanities of the world, differently from those who earlier or later have withdrawn from them; in a word, those who constitute the external church of the Lord, differently from those who constitute the internal. This variety like that of faces and dispositions is infinite; but yet every one, according to his state, can be regenerated and saved. That it is so may be seen from the heavens into which all the regenerate come, in that they are three, a highest, a middle, and lowest; and they come into the highest who by regeneration receive love to the Lord; they come into the middle who receive love towards the neighbour; they into the last who only practise external charity; and all at the same time acknowledge the Lord as God the Redeemer and Saviour. All these are saved, but in different ways. That all may be regenerated and thus saved is because the Lord with His Divine good and truth is present with every man; from this is the life of every one,and from this is the faculty of understanding and willing; and from this they have free agency in spiritual things. These are wanting to no man. And means are also given; to Christians in the Word; and to Gentiles in the religion of every one, which teaches that there is a God, and teaches precepts concerning good and evil. From all this it follows that every one may be saved; consequently, that if he is not saved the Lord is not in fault but man; and man is in fault in that he does not co-operate. (T. C. R. n. 580.)
In order to Regeneration the Natural must be entirely subdued.
That man may become spiritual it is necessary that his natural should become as nothing, that is, should have no power at all of itself; for in so far as the natural has power of itself the spiritual has not power; for from infancy the natural is imbued with nothing but things which are of the lusts of self and the world and therefore contrary to charity. These evils effect that good cannot flow in through the internal man from the Lord; for whatever flows in is turned in the natural into evil. The natural is the plane in which influx terminates; wherefore unless the natural, that is the evil and the false which had formed the natural, become as nothing, good can by no means flow in from the Lord through heaven. It has no abiding-place, but is dissipated; for it cannot dwell in the evil and false. Hence it is that in so far as the natural does not become as nothing the internal is closed. This is known too in the church, from the doctrinal truth that the old man must be put off, that the new man may be put on. Regeneration is for nothing else than that the natural may be subjugated, and the spiritual obtain dominion; and the natural is subjugated when it is brought into correspondence. And when the natural is brought into correspondence it no longer resists but acts as it is commanded, and follows the behest of the spiritual,—scarcely otherwise than as the acts of the body obey the dictates of the will, and as the speech with the countenance is in accordance with the influx of thought. It is therefore plain that in order that man may become spiritual, the natural, in respect to willing, ought to become entirely as nothing. But it should be known that it is the old natural which must become as nothing, because this is formed of evils and falsities; and when it has become as nothing man is gifted with a new natural, which is called spiritual natural. It is called spiritual from the fact that it is the spiritual which acts by it, and manifests itself by it, just as the cause by the effect. It is known that the cause is all of the effect; the new natural therefore as to thinking, willing, and producing effect, is nothing but the representative of the spiritual. When this comes to pass man receives good from the Lord; and when he receives good he is gifted with truths; and when he is gifted with truths he is perfected in intelligence and wisdom; and when he is perfected in intelligence and wisdom he is blessed with happiness to eternity. (A. C. n. 5651.)
Even the Sensual in Man must be Regenerated.
The things in man which flow in through heaven from the Lord flow into his interior, and pass on to the ultimates or extremes, and are there sensibly presented to man. They consequently flow even into the sensual [degree], and through this into the things that pertain to the body. If the sensual is surcharged with fantasies arising from fallacies and appearances, and especially if from falsities, the truths that flow in are there turned into likeness to them; for they are received there according to the form induced. And besides, in so far as truths are turned into falsities, the interiors through which the passage is are closed; and at length are only so far open that there passes through merely so much as may afford a faculty of reasoning, and of confirming evils by falsities. This being the case with man, it is necessary when he is regenerated that his natural [degree] should be regenerated even to the sensual; for if it be not regenerated there is no reception of truth and good,—since, as was said above, the inflowing truth is there perverted, and then the interiors are closed. Therefore when the exteriors are regenerated the whole man is regenerated. This was signified by the Lord's words to Peter when He washed his feet: "Simon Peter saith unto Him, Lord, thou shalt wash not my feet only, but also my hands and my head: Jesus saith unto him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, and is clean every whit" (John xiii. 9, 10). By the feet things natural are signified; by washing is signified to purify; by the hands are signified the interiors of the natural; and by the head spiritual things. From this it is plain what is meant by "He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, and is clean every whit;" namely, that man is regenerated, when he is regenerated even as to the exteriors which are of the natural. When therefore a man is regenerated as to the natural, all things therein are subordinated to the interiors; and then, when interior things flow into the natural, they flow as into their general [receptacles], by which they sensibly present themselves to man. When this is the case with man, there is felt by him an affection for the truth which is of faith, and an affection for the good which is of charity. But the very sensual, which is the ultimate of the natural, can with difliculty be regenerated; for the reason that it is entirely filled with material ideas arising from things terrestrial, corporeal, and worldly. Therefore the man who is regenerated, at the present day especially, is not regenerated as to the sensual, but as to the natural which is next above the sensual; to which he is elevated from the sensual by the Lord when he meditates upon the truths and goods of faith. The capability of being elevated out of the sensual is what the man is gifted with who is regenerated by the Lord. (A. C. n. 7442.)
All Things in Nature represent Regeneration.
Regeneration is represented by various things in the world; as by the blossoming of all things on the earth in the time of spring, and by their successive growth to the production of fruit, by the growth likewise of every tree, shrub, and flower, from the first month of heat to the last. It is represented also by the progressive ripening of all fruits, from the first setting to their full maturity. It is represented again by morning and evening showers, and by dews, at the coming of which the flowers open, while at the darkness of night they close; by the fragrance from gardens and fields; and by the rainbow in the cloud (Gen. ix. 14-1 7). So also by the resplendent colours of the dawn; and in general by the continual renovation of all things in the body, by the chyle, and the animal spirit, and hence by the blood,—whose purification from disused substances and renovation, and as it were regeneration, is perpetual. If the attention is directed to the commonest things on earth, an image of regeneration is presented; in the wonderful transformation of silkworms and many worms into nymphs and butterflies; and of other insects which in time are furnished with wings. To which yet more trifling things may be added; it is represented by the desire of certain birds to plunge into the water to wash and cleanse themselves,—after which, like the nightingales, they return to their songs. In a word, the whole world, from its first things to its last, is full of representations and types of regeneration. (T. C. R. n, 687.)
Regeneration is effected by Combats in Temptation.
They who have not been instructed concerning the regeneration of man think that man can be regenerated without temptation; and some that he is regenerated when he has undergone one temptation. But it is to be known that no one is regenerated without temptation; and that many temptations succeed, one after another. The reason is that regeneration is effected for an end: in order that the life of the old man may die, and the new life which is heavenly be insinuated. It is evident therefore that there must certainly be a conflict; for the life of the old man resists and determines not to be extinguished; and the life of the new man can only enter where the life of the old is extinct. It is plain then that there is a conflict on both sides; and an ardent conflict, because it is for life. Whoever thinks from an enlightened rational, may see and perceive from this that a man cannot be regenerated without combat, that is without spiritual temptations; and further, that he is not regenerated by one temptation, but by many. For there are very many kinds of evil which formed the delight of his former life, that is of the old life. These evils cannot all be subdued at once and together; for they cleave tenaciously, since they have been inrooted in the parents for many ages back, and are therefore innate in man, and are confirmed by actual evils from himself from infancy. All these evils are diametrically opposite to the celestial good that is to be insinuated, and which is to constitute the new life. (A. C. n. 8403.)
Combat may be waged even from Truth not genuine.
While man is being regenerated he is let into contests against falsities, and is then kept by the Lord in truth,—but in that truth which he had persuaded himself was truth; and from that truth he fights against falsity. He can fight even from truth not genuine if only it be such that it can be conjoined by any means with good; and it is conjoined with good by innocence, for innocence is the medium of conjunction. Hence it is that men can be regenerated within the church from any doctrine whatever; but they before others who are in genuine truths. (A. C. n. 6765.)
The Use of Temptations.
It should be known that with those who are regenerated a turning is effected; namely, that by truth they are led to good, and afterwards from good they are led to truth. When this turning takes place, or when the state is changed and becomes inverse to the prior state, there is mourning; for then they are let into temptation, by which those things that are their own are weakened and enfeebled, and good is insinuated, and with the good a new will, and with this a new freedom, thus a new proprium. (A C. n. 5773.)
They are evil spirits which excite evils and falsities; and unless they are excited, man scarcely cognizes that there are evils and falsities; but they are then made manifest. And the longer the temptation combats continue, the more manifest do they become, until at length evils and falsities are regarded with horror, (ib. n. 1740.)
He who is in the combats of temptation, and conquers, acquires to himself more and more power over evil spirits, or over the diabolical crew, till at length they dare not assail him; but as often as he obtains a victory so often the Lord reduces to order the goods and truths by which he combated, and so often purifies them; and in proportion as they are purified the celestial things of love are insinuated into the exterior man, and it becomes correspondent, (ib. n. 1717.)
The Lord permits the infernals in the other life to lead the good into temptation, consequently to infuse evils and falsities; which they also do with all their might; for when they are doing this they are in their life, and in the delight of life. But then the Lord Himself immediately, and mediately through the angels, is present with those who are in temptation, and resists, by refuting the falsities of the infernal spirits, and by dissipating their evil; thence come refreshment, hope, and victory. Thus the truths of faith and the goods of charity, with those who are in the truths of good, are more inwardly implanted and more strongly confirmed; this is the means whereby spiritual life is bestowed.
The infernal spirits to whom it is permitted thus to tease the good intend nothing but evil; for they desire with all their power to draw them down from heaven, and plunge them into hell. For to destroy any one as to his soul, thus to eternity, is the very delight of their life. But not the least is permitted them by the Lord but for the end that good may come out of it, namely, that truth and good may be formed and strengthened with those who are in temptation. In the whole spiritual world the end that proceeds from the Lord reigns, which is, that nothing at all, not even the least thing, shall exist except that good may come from it. Therefore the Lord's kingdom is called a kingdom of ends and uses. (ib. n. 6574.)
I have talked with spirits about the changes in the state of man's life, in that it is inconstant, and is borne upwards and downwards, namely, towards heaven and towards hell. But they who suffer themselves to be regenerated are carried continually upwards, and thus always into more interior heavenly societies. An extension of sphere into those societies is given by the Lord to those who are regenerated,—principally by temptations, in which there is resistance to evils and falsities; for then the Lord by means of the angels fights against evils and falsities. And so man is introduced into the societies of those angels who are more interior. And into whatever societies he has once been introduced, there he remains; and thence also he receives a more extended and more elevated faculty of perception, (ib. n. 6611.)
How Temptations are excited by Evil Spirits.
Scarcely any one in the Christian world at this day knows whence temptations arise. He who undergoes them believes no otherwise than that they are torments arising from the evils which are interiorly within man, and which render him first unquiet, then anxious, and finally torment him; and he is not at all aware that they are effected by evil spirits who are with him. He is unaware of this fact because he does not believe that he is in fellowship with spirits while he lives in the world, and scarcely that there is any spirit with him; when yet as to his interiors man is continually in the society of spirits and angels. As regards temptations, they take place when a man is in the process of regeneration; for no one can be regenerated unless he also undergoes temptations. And they then arise through evil spirits who are about him; for man is then let into the state of evil in which he is,—that is, in which that which constitutes his very proprium is,—and when he comes into this state evil or infernal spirits encompass him; and when they apperceive that he is interiorly protected by angels the evil spirits excite the falsities which he had thought, and the evils that he had done; but the angels from within defend him. It is this combat which is perceived in man as temptation; but so obscurely that he scarcely knows but that it is merely an anxiety. For man, especially one who believes nothing about influx, is in a state entirely unenlightened, and scarcely apperceives a thousandth part of the things concerning which the evil spirits and angels contend; and yet at that time a contest is being waged concerning the man, and concerning his eternal salvation; and it is waged from the man, that is, from the things and concerning the things that are in the man. That this is the case it has been given me most certainly to know. I have heard the combat; I have perceived the influx; I have seen the spirits and the angels; and then and afterwards have talked with them even on that subject. Temptations, as was said, arise chiefly when a man is becoming spiritual; for then he spiritually apprehends the truths of doctrine. The man is often ignorant of this, and yet the angels with him see the spiritual things in his natural; for his interiors are then open towards heaven. And hence it is that the man who is regenerated, after his life in the world is among the angels, and there both sees and perceives the spiritual things which before appeared to him as natural. When therefore a man is such he can be defended by angels in temptation, when assaulted by evil spirits; for the angels have then a plane in which they may operate, for they flow in into the spiritual in him, and through the spiritual into the natural. (A. C. n. 5036.)
As few know the nature of temptations, it may here; be briefly explained: Evil spirits never make assault against anything but what a man loves; and they assail it the more violently in proportion as he loves it more ardently. Evil genii are those who assail what has relation to the affection for good, and evil spirits are those who assail what has relation to the affection for truth. As soon as they observe the least thing that a man loves, or perceive as it were by the smell what is delightful and dear to him, they assail and endeavour to destroy it. They thus endeavour to destroy the whole man; for his life consists in his loves. Nothing is more delightful to them than thus to destroy man; nor do they ever desist, were it even to eternity, unless repelled by the Lord. Those that are malignant and cunning insinuate themselves into the very loves, by flattering them; and so they lead man into them, and presently when they have thus drawn him in they try to destroy the loves, and so to kill the man; and this in a thousand ways which are incomprehensible. Nor do they combat merely by reasoning against goods and truths. Such combats are nothing. For if defeated a thousand times they still persist; since such subtle reasonings against goods and truths can never be wanting. But they pervert goods and truths, and enkindle a sort of fire of lust and persuasion, so that the man does not know but that he is in such lust and persuasion; and these at the same time they inflame with a delight which they snatch from the man's delight from another source, and thus most deceitfully they infect and infest; and this so artfully, by hasting from one thing to another, that if the Lord did not bring help, the man could by no means know but that it is so. In, like manner they act against the affections for truth which form man's conscience. As soon as they perceive anything whatever of conscience, they form to themselves an affection out of the falsities and infirmities in man, and by this affection they overshadow the light of truth, and so pervert it, or induce anxiety and torment him. Besides which, they tenaciously keep the thought on one thing, and so fill it with fantasies, and then at the same time clandestinely involve lusts into the fantasies. Together with innumerable other artifices, which can by no means be described to the apprehension, (ib. n. 1820.)
Evil is not exterminated by Regeneration, but only separated to the Circumferences, and remains to Eternity.
The evil in the man who is regenerated, either actual or hereditary, is not exterminated, so that it passes away or becomes none, but is only separated, and through disposition by the Lord is cast out into the circumferences. It thus remains with him, and this to eternity; but he is withheld by the Lord from the evil, and is kept in good. When this is the case it appears as if the evils were rejected and the man purified from them, or as they say, justified. The angels of heaven all confess that what is in them so far as it is from themselves is nothing but evil and the falsity therefrom, but so far as it is from the Lord it is good and truth from good. They who have conceived another opinion on this subject, and when they lived in the world confirmed in themselves, from their doctrinal, [a belief], that they are justified and are then without sins, and thus that they are holy, are remitted into the state of evils from the actual and the hereditary [in them], and are kept in it until they know by living experience that of themselves they are nothing but evil; and that the good in which they had seemed to themselves to be was from the Lord, and therefore was not theirs but the Lord's. So it is with the angels, and so with the regenerate among men. (A. C. n. 4564)
There are some men who after death are elevated by the Lord into heaven, because they have lived well, but who yet have carried with them the belief that they are clean and pure from sins, and that therefore they are not chargeable with any guilt. They are at first clothed in white raiment according to their belief; for white garments signify a state purified from evils. But afterwards they begin to think as in the world that they are as it were washed from all evil, and to glory therefore in the idea that they are no longer sinners like others,—which can hardly be separated from some elation of mind, and some contempt of others in comparison with themselves. In order therefore that they may be withdrawn from their imaginary belief, they are then sent away from heaven, and remitted into their evils which they had contracted in the world; and at the same time it is shown them that they are also in hereditary evils, of which they had before known nothing. And after they have thus been compelled to acknowledge that their evils are not separated from them, but only removed; that therefore of themselves they are impure, yea nothing but evil; that they are withheld from evils and kept in goods by the Lord; and that this [only] appears to them as if it were of themselves; they are again elevated by the Lord into heaven. (D. P. n. 279.)
Temporary Quiescence of Evils.
There are two loves, so called, and their desires which obstruct the influx of heavenly love from the Lord; for while they reign in the inner and outer man, and hold possession of him, they either cast back or suffocate, and also pervert and defile, the inflowing heavenly love; because they are utterly opposed to it. But in proportion as they are removed, the heavenly love flowing in from the Lord begins to appear, aye, to dawn upon his inner man; and he begins to see that he is in evil and falsity; and then indeed that he is in uncleanness and defilement; and at last, that this is his very proprium. These are they who are regenerated with whom those loves are removed. This may also be apperceived by the unregenerate; while the desires of those loves in them are quiescent,— as they are sometimes when they are in pious meditation, or while those loves are asleep, as is the case when men are in misfortunes, in sorrows and in sickness, and especially at the moment of death,—then, because corporeal and worldly things are asleep, and as it were dead, they apperceive somewhat of heavenly light and comfort from this influx. But with them there is no removal, but only a torpidity of those desires; for when they return to their former state they instantly relapse into them. (A. C. n. 2041.)
Difference between the Regenerate and the Unregenerate.
With the regenerate man there is a conscience of what is good and true, and from conscience he does good and thinks truth; the good that he does is the good of charity, and the truth that he thinks is the truth of faith. The unregenerate man has no conscience; or if any it is not a conscience of doing good from charity and of thinking truth from faith, but from some love regarding himself or the world. It is therefore a spurious or false conscience. With the regenerate man there is joy when he acts according to conscience, and anxiety when he is constrained to do anything or to think against conscience. But with the unregenerate it is not so; very many do not know what conscience is, much less what it is to do anything according to conscience or against conscience; but they act according to what favours their loves, while to act against them gives them anxiety. With the regenerate man there is a new will and a new understanding; and the new will and new understanding are his conscience, that is, they are in his conscience, by which the Lord operates the good of charity and the truth of faith. With the unregenerate man there is no will, but in place of will there is lust, and therefore a proneness to every evil; and there is no understanding, but subtle reasoning, and accordingly an easy gliding into every falsity. With the regenerate man there is celestial and spiritual life; but with the unregenerate man there is only corporeal and worldly life. That he can think and understand what is good and true is from the Lord's life, through the remains mentioned above, from which he has the capability of reflecting. With the regenerate the internal man has dominion, and the external is compliant; but with the unregenerate the external man has dominion, and the internal is dormant,—as if it were none. The regenerate man cognizes, or if he reflects can cognize what the internal man is, and what the external; but the unregenerate man knows nothing at all of them, and cannot know although he reflects, for he does not know what the good and truth of faith from charity are. From these considerations it may be seen what the quality of the regenerate man is, and of the unregenerate; and that the difference is as between summer and winter, and between light and darkness. The regenerate is therefore a living man; and the unregenerate is a dead man. (A. C. n. 977.)
What the Heavenly Proprium is.
As regards the heavenly proprium, it arises out of the new will which is given by the Lord, and differs from proprium of man in this; that men no longer regard themselves in all and every thing that they do, and in all and every thing that they learn and teach; but they then regard the neighbour, the public, the church, the kingdom of the Lord, and so the Lord Himself. The ends of life are what are changed; the ends regarding lower things, namely, the world, and self, are removed, and ends regarding higher things are substituted in their place. The ends of life are nothing else than the very life of man; for his ends are the very will of a man, and his very loves; for what a man loves that he wills and has for an end. He who is gifted with a heavenly proprium is also in tranquillity, and in peace; for he trusts in the Lord, and believes that nothing of evil befalls him, and is conscious that concupiscences do not infest him. And moreover they who are in a heavenly proprium are in very freedom; for to be led of the Lord is freedom, because it is to be led in good, from good to good. It is therefore evident that they are in blessedness and happiness, for there is nothing that disturbs,—nothing of self-love, consequently nothing of enmity, of hatred, of revenge; nor anything of the love of the world, and therefore nothing of fraud, of fear, of restlessness. (A. C. n. 5660.)
All that is good which comes of genuine charity towards the neighbour. But no one of himself can be in this good; for it is the very celestial which flows in from the Lord. This celestial continually flows in, but evils and falsities oppose its reception; that it may be received therefore it is necessary that man should remove evils, and as far as he is able falsities also, and so dispose himself to receive the influx. When, evils being removed, man receives the influx, he then receives a new voluntary and a new intellectual [faculty]; and from the new voluntary he feels delight in doing good to his neighbour for no selfish end, and from the new intellectual he apperceives delight in learning what is good and true for the sake of good and truth, and for the sake of life. Since this new intellectual and new voluntary exists by influx from the Lord, therefore he who is regenerated acknowledges and believes that the good and the truth with which he is affected are not from himself, but from the Lord; and that whatever is from himself, or from his proprium, is nothing but evil. From this it is evident what it is to be born again; and what the new voluntary and the new intellectual are. (ib. n. 5354)
Goodness of disposition manifests itself by gentleness and sweetness; by gentleness, in that it is afraid to do harm, and by sweetness, in that it loves to do good. (E. U. n. 50.)
Man is first in True Freedom when he becomes Regenerate.
When a man becomes regenerate he then first enters upon a state of freedom; before he was in a state of bondage. It is bondage when lusts and falsities have dominion; it is freedom when affections of good and truth bear sway. A man never perceives in any degree how the case is so long as he remains in the state of bondage; but first does so when he enters into the state of freedom. While he is in the state of bondage, that is while lusts and falsities rule, the man who is subjugated by them supposes that he is in a state of freedom; but it is a gross falsity, for at the very time he is carried along by the delight of his lusts and of the pleasures derived from them,—that is, by the delight of his loves; and because it is by a delight it appears to him as free. Every one thinks himself free while he is being led by some love,—so long as he follows whithersoever it leads; but there are diabolical spirits, in whose society and as it were torrent he is, who bear him onward. This the man imagines to be most free; and to such a degree that he even believes if be should be deprived of this state he would come into a miserable life, yea, that he would be in no life. And this he believes, not only because he does not know that there is any other life, but also from the fact that he has received the impression that no one can come into heaven but through miseries, poverty, and deprivation of pleasures. But it has been given me to know by much experience that this is false; of which experience, by the Lord's Divine mercy, hereafter. A man never comes into a state of freedom until he is regenerated, and is led of the Lord by the love of good and truth. When he is in this state he is for the first time able to know what freedom is; for he then knows what life is, and what the true delight of life is, and what happiness is. Before he did not even know what good is; he sometimes called that the highest good which is the deepest evil. They who from the Lord are in this state of freedom, when they see, and still more when they feel, the life of lusts and falsities, abhor it as those who see hell open before their eyes. But since to very many it is profoundly unknown what the life of freedom is, it is permitted in these few words to say what it is; namely, that the life of freedom is to be led only of the Lord. (A. C. n. 892.)
Ignorance of the Church at the Present Day concerning Regeneration.
So little do they who are of the church at this day know about any thing relating to regeneration that it is almost nothing. They do not even know that regeneration goes on through the whole course of life of him who is regenerated, and that it is continued in the other life; and that the mysteries of regeneration are innumerable, so that they can scarcely be known as to a ten thousandth part by the angels, and that those which the angels know are what constitute their intelligence and wisdom. The reason why those who are of the church at the present day know so little concerning regeneration is, that they talk so much about the remission of sins, and about justification; and because they believe that sins are remitted in a moment, and some that they are wiped away, as filth from the body by water; and that by faith alone, or by the confidence of a single moment, a man is justified. The men of the church so believe because they do not know what sin or evil is; if they knew this they would know that sins cannot be wiped away from any one, but that they are separated or cast aside, that they may not rise up when man is kept in good by the Lord; and that this cannot be effected unless evil be continually cast out, and this by means which are indefinite in number, and for the most part ineffable. They who have brought this opinion with them into the other life,—that by faith man is justified in a moment, and washed altogether from his sins,—are amazed when they apperceive that regeneration is effected by means indefinite in number, and ineffable; and smile at their own ignorance which they cherished in the world,—which they even call insanity,—concerning the instantaneous remission of sins, and concerning justification. They are sometimes told that the Lord remits sins to every one who from his heart desires it; but yet that they are not therefore separated from the diabolical crew to which they are fast bound by the evils that follow the life which all have with them. They afterwards learn from experience that to be separated from the hells is to be separated from sins; and that this can in no wise be effected but by the thousand and thousand means known to the Lord only,—and this, if you will believe it, in continual succession to eternity. For so great is evil that a man cannot be entirely delivered even from one sin to eternity; and only by the Lord's mercy, if he shall have received it, can he be withheld from sin and kept in good. How therefore man receives new life and is regenerated is contained in the sanctuary of the Word; that is in its internal sense,—to the intent especially, that from the Word when it is read by man the angels may be in their happiness of wisdom, and at the same time also in the delight of serving as mediums. (A. C. n. 5398.)
It is not Difficult to Live a Good Life.
Some believe that it is difficult to live a life that leads to heaven, which is called a spiritual life; because they have heard that a man must renounce the world, and deprive himself of what are called the lusts of the body and the flesh, and that he must live spiritually. Which they understand no otherwise than that they must reject worldly things, which are chiefly riches and honours; that they must walk continually in pious meditation about God, salvation, and eternal life; and must spend their life in prayers, and in reading the Word and pious books. This they conceive to be renouncing the world, and living after the spirit and not after the flesh. But it has been given me to know by much experience, and from conversation with the angels, that the fact is quite otherwise; nay, that they who renounce the world and live after the spirit in this manner acquire a sorrowful life, which is not receptive of heavenly joy; for with every one his own life remains. But in order that a man may receive the life of heaven it is altogether necessary that he live in the world, and engage in its duties and occupations; and then by moral and civil life he may receive spiritual life. And in no other way can spiritual life be formed in a man, or his spirit be prepared for heaven; for to live an internal life and not at the same time an external is like dwelling in a house that has no foundation, which gradually sinks, or cracks and yawns with crevices, or totters till it falls. (H. H. n. 528.}
That it is not so difficult to live the life of heaven as is believed is evident from this: that when anything presents itself that one knows to be insincere and unjust, to which his mind is disposed, he need only think that it ought not to be done because it is contrary to the Divine commands. If a man accustoms himself so to think, and from custom derives the habit, he is then by degrees conjoined to heaven; and in so far as he is conjoined to heaven, the higher degrees of his mind are opened; and in so far as these are opened he sees what is insincere and unjust; and in so far as he sees these evils they can be shaken off,—for it is impossible that any evil can be shaken off until it is seen. This is a state into which a man may enter from freedom; for who is not capable from freedom of thinking in this manner? But when he has made a beginning all goods are wrought in him by the Lord, and He causes him not only to see evils, but also not to will them, and finally to become averse to them. This is meant by the Lord's words, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. xi. 30). But it should be known that the difficulty of so thinking, and likewise of resisting evils, increases in proportion as a man from the will commits evils; for in so far he becomes accustomed to them, until at length he does not see them, and afterwards loves them, and from the delight of love excuses them, and by all kinds of fallacies confirms them, and declares that they are allowable and good. But this occurs with those who in the age of adolescence plunge into evils as if without restraint, and at the same time reject Divine things from the heart.
There was once represented to me the way which leads to heaven, and that which leads to hell. There was a broad way tending to the left, or towards the north; and many spirits appeared walking in it. But at a distance a stone was seen of considerable magnitude, where the broad way terminated. From that stone there went afterwards two ways, one to the left, and one in a contrary direction, to the right. The way which tended to the left was narrow or strait, leading by the west to the south, and thus into the light of heaven; the way which tended to the right was broad and spacious, leading obliquely downwards towards hell. At first all seemed to go the same way, until they came to the great stone at the head of the two ways; but when they arrived there they separated. The good turned to the left, and entered the strait way which led to heaven; but the evil did not see the stone at the head of the two ways, and fell upon it and were hurt; and when they rose up they ran on in the broad way to the right, which tended towards hell. It was afterwards explained to me what all these things signified. By the first way, which was broad, in which many both good and evil walked together, and talked with each other as friends,—because no difference between them was apparent to the sight,—they were represented who in externals alike live sincerely and justly, and are not visibly distinguished. The stone at the head of the two ways, or at the corner, upon which the evil stumbled, and from which afterwards they ran into the way leading to hell, represented Divine truth, which is denied by those who look towards hell; in the highest sense the same stone signified the Divine Human of the Lord. But they who acknowledged Divine truth, and at the same time the Divine of the Lord, were conveyed by the way which led to heaven. By these representations it was again made evident that in externals the wicked lead the same kind of life or walk in the same way as the good, thus one as easily as the other; and yet that they who from the heart acknowledge the Divine, especially those within the church who acknowledge the Divine of the Lord, are led to heaven, and those that do not acknowledge are borne onwards to hell. The thoughts of a man which proceed from the intention or will are represented in the other life by ways. The ways there presented to appearance are indeed exactly in accordance with the thoughts from intention; and every one also walks according to his thoughts which proceed from his intention. Hence it is that the character of spirits, and of their thoughts, is known from their ways. It was likewise evident from these things what is meant by the Lord's words, "Enter ye in through the strait gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matt, vii. 13, 14). That the way is narrow which leads to life is not because it is difficult, but because, as it is said, there are few that find it. From that stone seen at the corner where the broad and common way terminated, and from which two ways were seen to tend in opposite directions, it was made evident what is signified by these words of the Lord; "Have ye not read what is written, The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken" (Luke xx. 17, 18). A stone signifies Divine truth; and the Stone (Rock) of Israel, the Lord as to the Divine Human; the builders are they who are of the church; the head of the corner is where the two ways meet; to fall and be broken is to deny and perish. (H. H. n. 533, 534.)
A Monkish Life is not consistent with Regeneration.
It has been granted me to converse with some in the other life who had separated themselves from worldly affairs, that they might live a pious and holy life; and also with some who had afflicted themselves in various ways, because they believed that this was to renounce the world and subdue the concupiscences of the flesh. But most of them—inasmuch as they had thereby contracted a sorrowful life, and removed themselves from the life of charity, which life can only be lived in the world—cannot be consociated with angels; for the life of angels is a life of gladness from bliss, and consists in doing the goods which are works of charity. . . . These things are related that it may be known that the life which leads to heaven is not a life of retirement from the world, but a life in the world; and that a life of piety without the life of charity, which can only be lived in the world, does not lead to heaven. But a life of charity does,—which consists in acting sincerely and justly in every occupation, in every transaction, and in every work, from an interior, that is from a heavenly origin; and this origin is in that life when a man acts sincerely and justly because it is according to the Divine laws. Such a life is not difficult; but a life of piety separate from a life of charity is difficult; which yet leads as much away from heaven as it is believed to lead to heaven. (H. H. n. 535.)
A Man's Life and Actions are Governed by the End proposed.
Whatever has supreme rule in the mind conforms to itself all the thoughts, yea, the minutest particulars of the thoughts.
However man's thoughts and actions may be varied, which they are in innumerable ways, if only the end proposed be good they are all good; but if the end be evil they are all evil. The end proposed is what governs in every particular thing that a man thinks and does. The angels attendant on man, because they are angels of the Lord, govern only his ends; when they govern these they govern also his thoughts and actions, since these all belong to the end. The end proposed by a man is his very life, and all that he thinks and does derives life from it; because, as was said, they belong to the end. Therefore such as is the character of the end proposed, such is the life of a man. The end is nothing but the love; for it is not possible that man should regard anything as an end but what he loves. He whose thoughts and actions are at variance yet has for his end that which he loves; and even in his hypocrisy and deceit there is an end proposed,—which is self-love, or the love of the world, and the delight of life therefrom. Hence every one may conclude that such as a man's love is such is his life. (A. C, n. 1317.)
- See note, p. 274.
- By the terms scire and noscere (or nosse) and cognoscere, the author throughout his writings expresses an important distinction in the process of the acquisition of truth, which it is difficult to convey by words in common use in our language, without circumlocution. By scire (to know), and the corresponding scientia (knowledge), he refers to the mere outward acquisition of knowledge, or knowledge as facts or truths in the outer memory, acquired by means of the senses,—whether from the Word, or from the world and nature. By noscere and cognoscere (to become acquainted with), and the corresponding cognitio, he designates the higher and more interior and real knowledge that is attained when these facts or truths are taken up and actually seen in the light of reason. For the expression of this idea the words cognize and cognition are warranted,—if any warrant is needed for a necessary term,—by the usage of some of the recent speculative philosophers. Knowledges may be considered as the means or materials of cognitions.
- See note, p. 145.
- See note, p. 284.
- See note, p. 145.