Page:A Compendium of the Theological Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.djvu/404

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REPENTANCE, REFORMATION, AND REGENERATION.

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.}