Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/377

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REPENTANCE, REFORMATION, AND REGENERATION.

thing; 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