adapted from Samuel M. Warren, A Compendium of the Theological Writings
of Emanuel Swedenborg
  (Board of Publication of the General Convention of the New Jerusalem, New York 1875)

Table of Contents


A Compendium of the Theological Writings of
Emanuel Swedenborg (Revised)


Who is the Neighbor

It shall first be shown what the neighbour is; for it is the neighbour who is to be loved, and towards whom charity is to be exercised. For unless it be known what the neighbour is charity may be exercised, without distinction, in the same manner towards the evil as towards the good, whereby charity ceases to be charity; for the evil do evil to the neighbour from the benefactions conferred on them, but the good do good.

It is a common opinion at this day that every man is equally the neighbour, and that benefits are to be conferred on every one who needs assistance: but it concerns Christian prudence to look well to the quality of a man's life, and to exercise charity towards him accordingly. The man of the internal church exercises his charity with discrimination, and therefore with intelligence; but the man of the external church, because he cannot so well discern things, does it indiscriminately.
The distinctions of neighbour, which the man of the church ought well to know, depend upon the good that is in every one. And because every good proceeds from the Lord, therefore the neighbour in the highest sense and in a supereminent degree is the Lord, from whom is the origin [of the relationship]. Hence it follows that in so far as any one is receptive of the Lord in that degree he is our neighbour; and since no one receives the Lord, that is good from Him, in the same manner as another, therefore no one is our neighbour in the same manner as another. For all who are in the heavens and all the good that are on earth differ in good; no two ever receive good that is exactly one and the same. It must be different that each may subsist by itself. But all these varieties, —that is all the distinctions of neighbour which depend on the reception of the Lord, or, on the reception of good from Him,— can never be known by any man; nor indeed by any angel except in general, or as to their genera and species. And the Lord does not require more of the man of the church than to live according to what he knows.

Since the good with every one is different, it follows that the quality of his good determines in what degree and in what respect any one is our neighbour. That this is so is plain from the Lord's parable concerning him who fell among thieves, whom half dead the priest passed by, and also the Levite; but the Samaritan, after he had bound up his wounds and poured in oil and wine, took him upon his own beast, and led him to an inn, and ordered that care should be taken of him. Because he exercised the good of charity he is called the neighbour (Luke x. 29-37). It may be known from this that they who are in good are our neighbour. The oil and wine moreover which the Samaritan poured into the wounds signify good and its truth.

It is plain from what has now been said that in the universal sense good is the neighbour; inasmuch as a man is neighbour according to the quality of the good that is in him from the Lord. And as good is the neighbour so is love, for all good is of love; therefore every man is our neighbour according to the quality of the love which he possesses from the Lord. (HD n. 84-88)

Good is the neighbour because good is of the will, and the will is the being of a man's life. The truth of the understanding is also the neighbour, but in so far as it proceeds from the good of the will; for the good of the will forms itself in the understanding, and there makes itself visible in the light of reason. That good is the neighbour is evident from all experience. Who loves a person except for the quality of his will and understanding, that is for what is good and just in him? For example, who loves a king, a prince, a duke, a governor, a consul, or the person of any magistrate, or any judge, but for the discretion from which they act and speak? Who loves a primate, or any minister or canon of the church, but for his learning, uprightness of life, and zeal for the salvation of souls? Who loves the general of an army, or any officer under him, but for his courage, and at the same time prudence? Who loves a  merchant but for his sincerity?. Who loves a workman or a servant but for his fidelity? Nay, who likes a tree but for its fruit? or ground but for its fertility? or a stone but for its preciousness? &c. And what is remarkable, not only does an upright man love what is good and just in another, but a man who is not upright also does; because with him he is in no fear of the loss of fame, honour, or wealth. But with one who is not upright the love of good is not love of the neighbour; for he does not inwardly love the other, except in so far as he is of service to him. But to love the good in another from good in one's self is genuine love towards the neighbour; for then the goods mutually kiss and are united with each other. (TCR n. 418)

The Degrees of the Relationship of Neighbor

Not only is man individually the neighbour, but also man collectively; for indeed a smaller and larger society, our country, the church, the Lord's kingdom, and above all the Lord Himself, is the neighbour. These are the neighbour to which good is to be done from love. These are also the ascending degrees of neighbour. For a society consisting of many is neighbour in a higher degree than an individual man; in a still higher degree our country; in a degree yet higher the church; and in a degree higher still the Lord's kingdom; but in the highest degree the Lord is the neighbour. These ascending degrees are as the steps of a ladder, at the top of which is the &rd.

A society is our neighbour more than an individual man, because it consists of many. Charity is to be exercised towards it as towards man individually, that is, according to the quality of good that is in it; and therefore in an entirely different manner towards a society of well-disposed than towards a society of evil-disposed persons. A society is loved when its good is consulted from the love of good.

Our country is our neighbour more than a society, because it is as a parent; for there a man is born, and it fosters him and protects him from injuries. Good is to be done to our country from love according to its necessities, which have regard especially to its sustenance, and the civil life and spiritual life of those that are therein. He who loves his country and does good to it from good will, in the other life loves the Lord's kingdom; for there the Lord's kingdom is his country. And he who loves the Lord's kingdom loves the Lord, for the Lord is all in all in His kingdom.

The church is the neighbour more than our country; for he who cares for the church cares for the souls and eternal life of the men who dwell in his country. And therefore he who from love cares for the church loves his neighbour in a superior degree; for he desires and wills for others heaven and happiness of life to eternity.

The Lord's kingdom is the neighbour in a still higher degree, because the Lord's kingdom consists of all who are in good, both those who are on earth as those that are in the heavens. Thus the Lord's kingdom is good with its every quality in the complex; when this is loved the individuals who are in good are loved.

These are the degrees of the neighbour, and with those who are in love towards their neighbour the love ascends according to these degrees. But these degrees are degrees in successive order, in which what is prior or superior must be preferred to what is posterior or inferior; and as the Lord is in the supreme degree, and He is to be regarded in each degree as the end to which it looks, therefore He is to be loved above all men and above all things. From all this now it may be seen how love to the Lord conjoins itself with love towards the neighbour. (HD n. 91-96)

What Charity is

It is believed by many that love to the neighbour consists in giving to the poor, in assisting the needy, and in doing good to every one; but charity consists in acting prudently, and to the end that good may result. He who assists a poor or needy villain does evil to his neighbour through him; for through the assistance which he renders he confirms him in evil, and supplies him with the means of doing evil to others. It is otherwise with him who gives support to the good.

But charity extends itself much more widely than to the poor and needy; for charity consists in doing what is right in every work, and our duty in every office. If a judge administers justice for the sake of justice he exercises charity; if he punishes the guilty and absolves the innocent he exercises charity; for thus he consults the welfare of his fellow-citizens and of his country. The priest who teaches truth and leads to good, for the sake of truth and good, exercises charity. But he who does such things for the sake of self and the world does not exercise charity; because he does not love his neighbour, but himself.

It is the same in other things, whether men are in any office or not; as with children toward their parents, and parents toward their children; with servants toward their masters, and with masters toward their servants; with subjects toward their king, and with a king toward his subjects. Whoever of these does his duty from a sense of duty, and what is just from a sense of justice, exercises charity.

That these things are of love to the neighbour or charity is because as was said above every man is a neighbour, but in a different manner. A smaller and a larger society is more the neighbour; our country is still more the neighbour; the Lord's kingdom yet more; and the Lord above all. And in the universal sense good, which proceeds from the Lord, is the neighbour; consequently sincerity and justice too are so. He therefore who does any good for the sake of good, and who acts sincerely and justly for the sake of sincerity and justice, loves his neighbour and exercises charity; for he does so from the love of what is good, sincere, and just, and consequently from the love of those in whom good, sincerity, and justice are.

Charity is therefore an internal affection from which man wills to do good, and this without remuneration. The delight of his life consists in doing it. With those who do good from an internal affection there is charity in everything that they think and say, and that they will and do. It may be said that a man or an angel as to his interiors is charity, when good is his neighbour. So widely does charity extend itself.

They who have the love of self and of the world for an end can in nowise be in charity. They do not even know what charity is, and cannot at all comprehend that to will and do good to the neighbour without reward, as an end, is heaven in man; and that there is in that affection a happiness as great as that Of the angels. of heaven, which is ineffable. For they believe that if they are deprived of the joy from the glory of honour and riches, there can be nothing of joy any longer; and yet it is then that heavenly joy, which infinitely transcends the other, first begins. (HD n. 100-105)

The Delights of Charity are according to the Greatness and Importance of the Use performed

As regards use, they who are in charity, that is in love towards the neighbour,—which imparts a living delight to their pleasure,—look for the fruition of no pleasure but in the performance of uses; for charity is nothing unless it manifests itself in works of charity, since it consists in exercise or use. He who loves his neighbour as himself never perceives the delight of charity except in its exercise; a life of charity therefore is a life of uses. Such is the life of the universal heaven; for the Lord's kingdom, being a kingdom of mutual love, is a kingdom of uses. Therefore every pleasure derived from charity receives its delight from use, and the more exalted the use the greater the delight; hence the angels receive happiness from the Lord according to the essence and quality of the use which they perform. And so it is with every pleasure; the more distinguished its use the greater is its delight. Thus, for example only, conjugial love, because from thence is the seminary of human society and from this is formed the Lord's kingdom in the heavens, which is the greatest of all uses, is therefore attended with so great delight that, as has been said, it is heavenly happiness. So in respect to other pleasures, but with a difference according to the excellence of uses,—which are so numerous that they can scarcely be divided into genera and species; all of which regard the Lord's kingdom, or the Lord, some more nearly and directly, others more remotely and indirectly. Hence it may be seen that all pleasures are allowed to man for the sake of use only; and that by virtue of their use, with a difference according to its degree, they participate in and live from heavenly felicity. (AC n. 997)

The Delight of doing Good without a Recompense

Very few at this day know that there is heavenly happiness in doing good without a view to recompense. For men do not know that there is any other happiness than to be advanced to honours, to be served by others, to abound in wealth, and to live in pleasures. They are profoundly ignorant of the fact that above these there is a happiness which affects the interiors of a man; that is, that there is a heavenly happiness, and that this happiness is the happiness of genuine charity. Inquire of the wise at this day, whether they know that this is heavenly happiness. It is on this account indeed that many reject good works, believing that they cannot be done by any one without a view to merit by them. For they do not know that those who are led of the Lord desire nothing more than to do good works; and that they think of nothing less than of merit by them. For this is of the new will which is given by the Lord to those who are regenerated. That will is indeed the Lord's in man. (AC n. 6392)

Those who are in genuine mutual love in heaven are in such joy and happiness when they perform uses and do good to others, that they seem to themselves then first to be in heaven. This is given them by the Lord, to each according to the use. But this happiness vanishes as soon as they think of recompense; for the thought of recompense while yet they are in the recompense itself renders that love impure and perverts it. The reason is that then they think of themselves and not of the neighbour; that is, that they may render themselves happy and not others, except so far as themselves. They thus convert love towards the neighbour into love towards themselves; and in so far as they do this joy and happiness from heaven cannot be communicated to them; for they concentrate the influx of what is happy from heaven in themselves, and do not transmit it to others; and are like objects which do not remit the rays of light, but absorb them. Objects which reflect the rays of light appear in light and glow; but those which absorb them are dark and do not glow at all. They therefore who are of this description are separated from angelic society, as those that have nothing in common with heaven. (ibid. n. 6388)

When an angel does good to any one lie also communicates to him his own good, satisfaction, and blessedness; and this with the feeling that he would give to the other everything, and retain nothing. When he is in such communication good flows into him with much greater satisfaction and blessedness than he gives, and this continually with increase. But as soon as a thought enters, that he will communicate his own to the intent that lie may maintain that influx of satisfaction and blessedness into himself, the influx is dissipated; and still more if there comes in any thought of recompense from him to whom he communicates his good. This it has been given to know from much experience. From this too it may be seen that in the least things [of heaven] the Lord is present. For the Lord is such that He wills to give Himself to all; and therefore satisfaction and blessedness are increased with those who are images and likenesses of Him. (ibid. n. 6478)

The Internal Blessedness of Love and Charity perceptible in this Life

The blessedness of heavenly affections, which are affections of love to the Lord and charity towards the neighbour, cannot easily be described, because it is internal and rarely manifests itself with any one in the body,—that is rarely to the sense. For during his life in the body man has a distinct sensation of the things which arise in the body, but a very obscure sensation of those that arise in his spirit, because while he is in the body worldly cares are an impediment. The blessedness of the affections cannot flow down into the sense of the body unless natural and sensual things are reduced to agreement with interior things; and not even then except obscurely, as a certain tranquillity from the fact that he is contented in mind. But after death it manifests itself, and is perceived as blessed and happy; and then it affects both the interiors and exteriors. (AC n. 6408)

The Criterion of Character

All spirits are distinguished in the other life by this: Those who desire evil against others are infernal or diabolical spirits; but they who wish good to others are good and angelic spirits. A man may know which he is among, whether among the infernal spirits or the angelic. If he intends evil to his neighbour, thinks nothing but evil of him, and also actually does evil when he can, and finds delight in it, he is among the infernals, and even becomes an infernal in the other life but if he intends good to his neighbour, and thinks nothing but good of him, and actually does good when he can, he is among the angelic, and becomes an angel too in the other life. This is the criterion. Let every one examine himself by it. It is nothing that a man does not do evil when he either cannot or dare not; nor that he does good from some selfish reason. These are external motives which are removed in the other life. There a man is as he thinks and intends. There are many who, from habit acquired in the world, can speak fairly; but it is instantly perceived whether the mind or intention is in harmony with what is said. If not, the man is cast out among the infernals of his own kind and species. (AC n. 1680)

Every one may see what the quality of his life is, if he will but search out the nature of the end that he regards. Not the nature of the ends, for these are innumerable, being as many as his intentions, and nearly as many as the judgments and conclusions of his thoughts. These are intermediate ends, which are variously derived from the principal end, or tend to promote it. But let him search out the end which he regards in preference to all the rest, arid in respect to which the rest are as nothing; and if he has himself and the world for an end, he may know that he is infernal; but if he has for his end the good of the neighbour, the common good, the Lord's kingdom, and especially the Lord Himself, he may know that his life is heavenly. (AC n. 1909)

Love to the Lord and Love to the Neighbor distinguished

The Divine abiding with those who have faith in the Lord is. love and charity: and by love is meant love to the Lord; and by charity love towards the neighbour. Love to the Lord cannot be separated from love towards the neighbour; for the Lord's love is towards the whole human race, which He desires to save eternally, and to adjoin entirely to Himself, so that none of them may perish. Whoever therefore has love to the Lord has the Lord's love, and so cannot but love his neighbour. But they who are in love towards the neighbour are not all therefore in love to the Lord; as upright Gentiles who are in ignorance concerning the Lord,—with whom yet the Lord is present in charity; and others also within the church. For love to the Lord is love in a higher degree. Those who have love to the Lord are celestial men; and those that have love towards the neighbour or charity are spiritual men. The Most Ancient church, which was before the flood and was celestial, was in love to the Lord; but the Ancient church, which was after the flood and was spiritual, was in love towards the neighbour or in charity. (AC n. 2023)

Love to Enemies

Internal men, such as the angels of heaven are, do not desire retaliation of evil for evil, but from heavenly charity freely forgive; for they know that the Lord defends all who are in good against the evil, and that He defends according to the good in them; and that He would not defend if on account of evil done them they should be inflamed with enmity, hatred, and revenge, for these avert protection. (AC n. 556)

The Presence of the Lord with Man is according to Neighbourly Love or Charity

The presence of the Lord is according to the state of love to the neighbour and of faith in which a man is. The Lord is present in love to the neighbour, because in all good. Not so in faith, as it is called, without love; for faith without love and charity is a thing separate or disjoined. Wherever there is conjunction there must be a conjoining medium, which only is love and charity. This may appear to every one from the consideration that the Lord is merciful to all, and loves every one, and desires to make every one happy to eternity; whoever therefore is not in such love that he is merciful towards others, loves others, and desires to make others happy, cannot be conjoined to the Lord, because of his dissimilitude and his utter destitution of the image of the Lord. For a man to look up to the Lord by faith, as it is said, and hate his neighbour, is not only to stand afar off from Him, but also to have an infernal gulf between himself and the Lord, into which he would fall were he to approach more nearly; for hatred against the neighbour is the infernal gulf which is interposed. The presence of the Lord with man is first vouchsafed when he loves his neighbour; for the Lord is in love, and so far as man is in love the Lord is present; and in the degree in which the Lord is present He speaks with man. (AC n. 904)

Self-Love and Mutual Love contrasted

There is something inflammatory in self-love, and its lusts; and a delight therefrom, which so affects the life, that one scarcely knows but that eternal happiness itself consists in it. And therefore many make eternal happiness to consist in becoming great after the life of the body, and being served by others, even by angels; while they are willing to serve no one except with a secret view to themselves, that they may be served. When they say that they shall then be willing to serve the Lord alone, it is false; for those who cherish self-love would have even the Lord Himself serve them; and so far as He does not, they draw back. Thus the desire of their hearts is that they themselves may be lord, and rule over the universe. Any one may imagine what sort of government this would be, when there are many, nay when all are such. Would it not be an infernal government, where every one loves himself above others? This lies concealed in self-love. From this the nature of self-love may be seen; also from the consideration that there lurks within it hatred against all who do not subject themselves to it as slaves; and because hatred, therefore revenge, cruelty, deceit, and many atrocities. But mutual love, which alone is heavenly, consists in this: that one not only says, but acknowledges and believes, that he is most unworthy, and that [in himself] he is a vile and unclean thing; and that the Lord out of infinite mercy is continually drawing and keeping him out of hell, into which he is continually attempting, nay desiring, to plunge himself. That he acknowledges and believes this is true because it is true. Not that the Lord, nor any angel, desires that he shall acknowledge and believe this for the sake of humbling himself; but lest he should be puffed up, when yet such is his nature. As if refuse should say that it is pure gold! Or a fly of the dunghill that it is a bird of paradise! In so far then as a man acknowledges and believes that his nature is such as it is, he withdraws from self-love and its lusts, and abhors himself; and in the degree that this is done he receives heavenly love, that is mutual love, from the Lord, which is a desire to serve all others. These are they who are understood by the least who become greatest in the kingdom of God (Matt xviii. 1-4, xx. 26-28; Luke ix. 46-48). (AC n. 1594)

They who are in the loves of self and of the world can by no means believe that they are in such filthiness and impurity as they actually are; for there is a certain pleasurableness and delight which soothes, favours, and flatters them, and makes them love that life and prefer it to every other; and so they think there is no evil in it. For whatever favours the love and therefore the life of any one is believed to be good. Hence also the rational consents and suggests falsities which confirm; and which causes such blindness that they see nothing of the nature of heavenly love, or if they see they say in their heart that it is something miserable, or a thing of nought, or something like fantasy, which keeps the mind in a state of disease. But every one may see that the life of the love of self and the world with its pleasures and delights is filthy and impure, if he will but think according to the rational faculty with which he is endowed. It is the love of self from which all evils come that destroy civil society. From this, as from a foul pit, stream forth all kinds of hatred, all kinds of revenge, all cruelties, yea all adulteries. For whoever loves himself either contemns, or disparages, or hates, all others who are not subservient to him, or do not show respect to, or favour him; and as he entertains hatred he breathes out revenge and cruelty, and this in proportion as he loves himself. Thus that love is destructive of society and of the human race. (ibid. n. 2045)

Mutual love in heaven consists in this, that they love the neighbour more than themselves. Hence the whole heaven presents as it were a single man; for they are all thus consociated by mutual love from the Lord. Hence it is that the happinesses of all are communicated to each, and those of each to all. The heavenly form itself is therefore such that every one is as it were a kind of centre; thus a centre of communication and therefore of happiness from all; and this according to all the diversities of that love, which are innumerable. And as they who are in that love perceive the highest happiness in the fact that they can communicate to others what flows into themselves, and this from the heart, the communication is thereby made perpetual and eternal. From this cause, as the Lord's kingdom increases the happiness of every individual increases. As the angels dwell in distinct societies and mansions, they do not think of this; but the Lord so disposes each and all things. Such is the kingdom of the Lord in the heavens. (ibid. n. 2057)


General Doctrine

Man cannot be reformed unless he has freedom, because he is born into evils of every kind, which yet must be removed in order that he may be saved; and they cannot be removed unless he sees them in himself, and acknowledges them, and afterwards ceases to purpose them, and at length holds them in aversion. Then first they are. removed. This cannot be effected unless a man be in good as well as in evil; for from good he can see evils, but cannot from evil see goods. The spiritual goods which a man is able to think of, he learns from childhood by reading the Word, and from preaching; and the moral and civil goods he learns. from a life in the world. This is the primary reason why man ought to be in freedom. Another reason is that nothing is appropriated to man but what is done from an affection, which is of the love. Other things indeed may enter, but no farther than into the thought, and not into the will; and what does not enter even into the will of a man does not become his; for the thought derives all that it has from the memory, but the will from the very life. No action is ever free which is not from the will, or what is the same from an affection which is of the love; for whatever a man wills or loves this he freely does. Hence it is that the freedom of man and the affection which is of his love or will are one. Man therefore has freedom in order that he may be affected by truth and good, or love them, and that thus they may become as his own. In a word, whatever does not enter in freedom into man does not remain; because it is not of his love or will, and the things which are not of a man's love or will are not of his spirit; for the being [esse] of man's spirit is the love or will. It is said the love or will because what a man loves that he wills. This then is the reason why a man cannot be reformed except in freedom. (HH n. 598)

He who does not know that no conjunction of good and truth, that is no appropriation of them, and therefore no regeneration can be effected except in man's freedom, only casts himself into darkness and into grievous errors when he reasons about the Lord's providence, about the salvation of man, and about the damnation of many. For he thinks that if the Lord will He can save every one, and this by innumerable means; as by miracles, by the dead who shall rise again, by immediate revelations, by angels who shall withhold from evils and impel by strong manifest power to good, and by many states into which when man is led he will repent; and by-many other means. But he does not consider that all these means are compulsory, and that by them a man cannot be reformed. For whatever compels a man does not impart to him any affection; and if it be of a nature to impart it binds itself to an affection of evil. For it appears as if it infused and indeed does infuse a holy [feeling]; but yet when' the state is changed the man returns to his former affections, that is to evils and falsities; and then that holy [feeling] conjoins itself with evils and falsities and becomes profane, and such that it leads into the most grievous hell of all. For he first acknowledges and believes, and is also affected by what is holy, and afterwards denies, yea turns away from it. Hence at this day manifest miracles are not wrought, but miracles that are not obvious or manifest, which are of such a nature that they do not inspire a holy [feeling] nor take away man's freedom; and therefore the dead do not rise again, and man is not withheld from evils by immediate revelations and by angels, and forced on to good by strong manifest power. It is man's freedom upon which the Lord operates and by which He bends him; for all freedom is of the love or its affection, and therefore of his will. If he does not receive good and truth in freedom it cannot be appropriated to him, or become his. For that to which he is compelled is not his, but is of him who compels; since he does not do it of himself, although it is done by himself. (AC n. 4031)

If men had not free will in spiritual things, all the inhabitants of the world might within a day be brought to believe in the Lord; but this cannot be done, for the reason that what is not received by man from a free will does not remain. (TCR n. 500)

What Free Will is

That it may be known what free will is, and the nature of it, it is necessary that it should be known whence it is; from the recognition of its origin especially it is known not only that it is, but also what it is. Its origin is from the spiritual world, where the mind of man is kept by the Lord. The mind of man is his spirit, which lives after death. And his spirit is continually in company with its like in that world; and through the material body with which it is encompassed, his spirit is with men in the natural world. The reason why a man does not know that as to his mind he is in the midst of spirits is, that the spirits with whom he is consociated in the spiritual world think and speak spiritually, but the spirit of the man, while he is the material body, thinks and speaks naturally and spiritual thought and speech cannot be understood or perceived by the natural man, nor the reverse; nor therefore can they be seen. But when the spirit of a man is in association with spirits in their world, then he is also, with them in spiritual thought and speech, because his mind is inwardly spiritual but outwardly natural; and therefore by its interiors it communicates with them and by its exteriors with men. Through this communication man has a perception of things, and thinks about them analytically. If man had not this. he would think no more nor otherwise than a beast. So also if all intercourse with spirits should be taken away from him he would instantly, die. But that it may be comprehended how man can be kept in a middle state between heaven and hell, and thereby in the spiritual equilibrium whence he has free will, it shall be briefly explained:—The spiritual world consists of heaven and hell. Heaven is over head, and hell is beneath the feet there; not however in the centre of the earth inhabited by men, but beneath the earth of that world,—which is also of spiritual origin, and therefore has not extension, but the appearance of extension. Between heaven and hell there is a great interval, which to those who are there appears as an entire world. Into this interval evil from hell is exhaled in all abundance; and on the other hand, from heaven good also flows in there in all abundance. It was this interval of which Abraham said to the rich man in hell—" Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed; so that those who would pass over from hence to you cannot; neither can they who are there pass over to us" (Luke xvi. 26). Every man as to his spirit is in the midst of this interval, in order, solely, that he may be in free will. (TCR n. 475)

The spiritual equilibrium which is free will may be compared to a balance, in each scale of which equal weights are placed; if then a little be added to the scale of one side the tongue of the balance above vibrates. It is also similar to a carrying pole, or a large beam balanced upon its support. All and each of the things that are within man, as the heart, the lungs, the stomach, the liver, the pancreas, the spleen, the intestines, and the other organs, are in such an equilibrium. Hence it is that each one in the greatest quietness can perform its functions. So with all the muscles; without such an equilibrium of the muscles all action and reaction would cease, and man would no longer act as a man. Since then all things in the body are in such an equilibrium, all things in the brain also are in the same condition; consequently all things that are in the mind therein, which relate to the will and the understanding. (ibid. n. 478)

A something analogous to Free Will in all Created Things

Unless there had been a certain free will in all created things, both animate and inanimate, there could have been no creation. For as regards beasts, without free will in natural things there would be no choice of food conducive to their nourishment, nor any procreation and preservation of offspring, thus no beast. If there were not such freedom with the fishes of the sea, and the shellfish at the bottom of the sea, there would be no fish and shellfish. So unless it were in every little insect there would be no silkworm producing silk, no bee furnishing wax and honey, nor any butterfly sporting with its consort in the air and nourishing itself with the juices of the flowers, and representing the happy state of man in the heavenly aura after he has cast off his exuviae like the worm. Unless there were something analogous to free will in the soil of the earth, in the seed cast into it, in all parts of the tree springing from it, and in its fruits, and again in new seeds, there would be no vegetation. If there were not something analogous to free will in every metal and in every stone, common and precious, there would be neither metal nor stone, yea, nor even a grain of sand for this freely absorbs the ether, emits its natural exhalation, rejects its disused elements, and restores itself with new. Hence is the magnetic sphere about the magnet, a sphere of iron about iron, of copper about copper, of silver about silver, of gold about gold, of stone about stone, of nitre about nitre, of sulphur about sulphur, and a different sphere about all the dust of earth, from which sphere the inmost of every seed is impregnated, and its prolific principle vegetates for without such an exhalation from every particle of the dust of the earth there would be no beginning, and hence no continuance of germination. How otherwise than by what is exhaled from it could the earth penetrate with its dust and water into the inmost centre of a seed sown, as into "a grain of mustard seed, which is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a great tree"? (Matt. xiii. 32; Mark iv. 30-32). Since then freedom has been granted to all created subjects, to each according to its nature, why not free will to man according to his nature, which is that he may be spiritual? It is for this that free will in spiritual things has been given to man from the womb to the end of his life in the world, and afterwards to eternity. (TCR a 499)

How Man is in Freedom from the Lord alone

The case with man as to his affections and as to his thoughts is this: No one, whatever he be, whether man, or spirit, or angel, can will or think from himself, but does so .from others; nor can these others from themselves, but all from others again, and so on; and so each wills and thinks from the First of life, which is the Lord. What is unconnected does not exist. Evils and falsities have connection with the hells, whence comes the power of those who are in them to will and think; whence also comes their love, affection, and delight, and therefore their freedom. But goods and truths have connection with heaven, whence comes the power of those who are in them to will and think; and also their love, affection, and delight, and therefore their freedom. Hence it may appear whence is the one freedom and the other freedom. That such is the case is perfectly well known in the other life, but at this day is quite unknown in the world. (AC n. 2886)

In regard to the life of every one, whether man, spirit, or angel, the truth is that it flows in from the Lord alone, who is Life itself; and this diffuses itself through the universal heaven, also through hell, and thus into every individual therein; and in an order and through series that are incomprehensible. But the life which flows in is received by every one according to his character; good and truth are received as good and truth by the good; while by the evil good and truth are received as evil and falsity, and are even changed into evil and falsity in them. It is comparatively as the light of the sun; which diffuses itself into all objects on the earth, but is received according to the quality of each object, and becomes of a beautiful colour in beautiful forms, and of an ugly colour in ugly forms. This is an arcanum in the world, but in the other life nothing is better known. That I might know that there is such influx, it was granted me to converse with the spirits and angels who were with me, and even to feel and perceive the influx; and this so often that I am not able to determine the number of times. But I know the fallacy will prevail with many that they will of themselves, and think of themselves, and so of themselves have life, when yet nothing is less true. (ibid. n. 2888)

Why in Freedom Man feels and wills as of himself, when it is not of himself

Man is an organ of life, and God alone is life; and God infuses his life into the organ and all its parts, as the sun infuses its heat into a tree and all its parts. And God grants man to feel that life in himself as his own; and God wills that he should so feel it, to the intent that man may live as of himself according to the laws of order,---which are as many as the precepts in the Word,—and dispose himself for the reception of God's love. But still God continually holds with His finger the perpendicular over the balance, and moderates but never violates free will by compulsion. A tree cannot receive anything which the heat of the sun brings through the root unless it is warmed and heated in its single fibres; nor can the elements rise up through its root unless its single fibres from the heat received also give out heat, and thus contribute to their passage. So man, from the heat of life received from God. But he, unlike a tree, feels it as his own, although it is not his; and in so far as he believes that it is his and not God's he receives the light of life from God and not the heat of love, but the heat of love from hell; which being gross obstructs and closes the purer branchlets of the organism, as impure blood closes the capillary vessels of the body; and so from spiritual man makes himself merely natural. Man's free will arises from the fact that he feels the life in himself as his own, and that God leaves him so to feel in order that conjunction may be effected,—which is not possible unless it be reciprocal, and it becomes reciprocal when man acts from freedom altogether as from himself. If God had not left this to man he would not be man, neither would he have eternal life; for reciprocal conjunction with God causes man to be man and not a beast, and also causes him to live after death to eternity. Free will in spiritual things effects this. (TCR n. 504)

Man ought to compel himself, and in this Compulsion is the highest

That man ought to compel himself to do good, to obey the things which the Lord has commanded, and to speak truths,—which is to humble himself beneath the Lord's hands, or to submit himself under the power of Divine good and truth,—implies and involves more arcana than it is possible to unfold in a few words. There are certain spirits who held as a principle while they lived in the world,—because they heard that all good was from the Lord, and that man could do no good of himself,— that they were not to compel themselves to anything, but to resign themselves; believing that because it is so all effort would be vain. They therefore waited for immediate influx into their will's endeavour, and did not compel themselves to do any good; yea to such a degree that when any evil crept in, because they felt no resistance from within, they gave themselves up to it, thinking it to have been so permitted. But such is their character that they are as it were without any mind of their own [absque proprio], and thus have no resolution. They are therefore among the more useless; for they suffer themselves to be led alike by the wicked and by the good, and endure much from the wicked. But they that have compelled themselves to act against evil and falsity, although at first they thought that this was done from themselves, or of their own power, yet,—being afterwards enlightened to see that their effort was from the Lord, yea even the least of all things pertaining to the effort,—they cannot be led by evil spirits in the other life, but are among the happy. It is evident then that a man ought to force himself to do good, and to speak truth. The arcanum herein concealed is this: That man is hereby gifted of the Lord with a heavenly proprium. [Proprium,—for which we have no equivalent word in our language,—is literally that which is man's own, or which constitutes his distinctive individuality.] Man's heavenly proprium is formed in the thought's endeavour; and if he does not obtain it by compelling himself, as the appearance is, he never does by not compelling himself. To make it plain how this is; in all self-compulsion to good there is a certain freedom, which is not so much apperceived while in the act of compulsion, yet still it is within. Just as when one determines to subject himself to the hazard of losing life with a view to some end, or determines to undergo a painful operation for the recovery of his health; there is a certain willingness, and therefore liberty, from which he acts in those determinations, although the hazards and the pains while he is in them take away the perception of such willingness or freedom. So it is with those who compel themselves to good. There is within a willingness and therefore freedom, from which and for the sake of that to which they compel themselves; namely, for the sake of obedience to those things which the Lord has commanded, and for the sake of the salvation of their souls after death. And within these is a still interior motive which a man is not cognizant of, that of regard for the Lord's kingdom, yea for the Lord Himself. This occurs especially in temptations, in which, when man compels himself in opposition to the evil and falsity which are infused and suggested by evil spirits, there is more of freedom than ever in any state out of temptations, although man cannot then conceive of it. It is an interior freedom, from which he determines to subdue the evil; and so strongly as to be equal in force and resoluteness to the evil which assaults him; otherwise he would never engage in the contest. This freedom is of the Lord, who insinuates it into man's conscience, and thereby causes him to conquer the evil as if by his own [power]. Through this freedom man receives a proprium, in which good can be wrought by the Lord. Without a something of his own [absque proprio] acquired, that is given through freedom, no man can be reformed, because he cannot receive the new will which is conscience. Freedom thus bestowed is the very plane into which the influx of good and truth from the Lord descends. Hence it is that they that do not resist in temptations from this willingness or freedom are overcome. In all freedom there is the life of man, because this is his love; whatever a man does from love appears free to him. And in that freedom in which a man compels himself in opposition to evil and falsity, and to do good, there is heavenly love; which the Lord then insinuates, and by which he creates his proprium. Therefore the Lord wills that this should appear to man as his, -although it is not his. This proprium which he thus receives, by apparent compulsion in the life of the body, is filled by the Lord in the other life with indefinite delights and happinesses. They who receive this are by degrees enlightened, yea confirmed, in the truth that they have compelled themselves not in the least from themselves, but that every slightest effort of their will was from the Lord; and that the purpose of its appearing to be from themselves was, that a new will might be given them by the Lord as theirs, and that thus the life of heavenly love might be appropriated to them. For the Lord desires to communicate to every one what is His, that is what is heavenly, so that it may appear as his own, and in him, although it is not his. The angels are in such a proprium; and so far as they are in the truth that all good and truth is from the Lord, they are in the delight and happiness of that proprium. But they who despise and reject all that is good and true, and are unwilling to believe anything which is repugnant to their lusts and reasonings, cannot compel themselves, and therefore cannot receive this proprium of conscience, or new will. From what has been said above it is also plain that to compel one's self is not to be compelled; for no good ever comes of being compelled, as when a man is compelled by another man to do good. But that in this matter to compel himself is to act from a certain freedom unrecognised by him; for there is never anything compulsory from the Lord. Hence it is a universal law, that all good and truth is implanted in freedom; otherwise the ground is not at all recipient and nutritive of good, nay, there is no ground in which the seed can grow. (AC n 1937)

Freedom Heavenly Freedom and Infernal Freedom

Heavenly freedom is that which is from the Lord, and all the angels in the heavens are in this freedom. It is, as was said, the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love, that is of the affection of good and truth. The quality of this freedom may appear from the fact that from an inmost affection every one who is in it communicates his own blessedness and happiness to others, and that it is a blessedness and happiness to him to be able to communicate. And as such is the universal heaven, therefore every one is a centre of the blessednesses and happinesses of all, and all are at the same time the centre of that of the individuals. This communication is effected by the Lord, by marvellous influxes, in the incomprehensible form which is the form of heaven. From this it may be seen what heavenly freedom is, and that it is from the Lord alone.

How far distant the heavenly freedom which comes from an affection of good and truth is, from the infernal freedom which is from an affection of evil and falsity, may appear from the fact that the angels in the heavens, if only they think of such freedom as is from an affection of evil and falsity,—or what is the same, from the lusts of the love of self and of the world,—are instantly seized with internal pain and on the other hand, when evil spirits only think of the freedom which is from the affection of good and truth,—or what is the same, from the desires of mutual love,—they instantly fall into agonies. And what is wonderful, so opposite is the one freedom to the other, that to good spirits the freedom of the love of self and of the world is hell and on the other hand, to evil spirits the freedom of love to the Lord and mutual love is hell. Hence all are distinguished in the other life according to their freedom, or what is the same, according to their loves and affections and consequently according to the delights of their life, which is the same as according to their lives. For lives are nothing else than delights, and these are nothing else than the affections of loves. (AC n. 2872, 2873)

To do evil from the delight of love appears like freedom but it is servitude, because it is from hell. To do good from the delight of love appears like freedom, and also is freedom, because it is from the Lord. Servitude consists therefore in being led of hell, and freedom in being led of the Lord. This the Lord thus teaches in John: "Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. The servant abideth not in the house for ever; the Son abideth for ever. If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed"(viii. 34-36).

The Lord keeps man in freedom of thought, and in so far as external restraints do not hinder,—which are the fear of the law and of life, and the fear of the loss of reputation, of honour, and of gain,—He keeps him in freedom of action. But by freedom He turns him away from evil, and by freedom inclines him to good, —so gently and so tacitly leading, that the man does not know but that all proceeds from himself. Thus in freedom the Lord implants and inroots good into the very life of man; and it remains to eternity. The Lord thus teaches this in Mark: "The kingdom of God is as a man who casteth seed into the earth, .. . and the seed springeth, and groweth up while he knoweth not. The earth bringeth forth fruit of herself" (iv. 26-28). (ibid. n. 9586, 9587)

The evil spirits that are with man, whereby he communicates with hell, regard him but as a vile slave; for they infuse into him their own lusts and persuasions, and thus lead him whithersoever they desire. But the angels, by whom man communicates with heaven, regard him as a brother, and insinuate into him affections of good, and of truth; and they thus lead him by freedom, not whither they desire, but whither the Lord pleases. From this it may be seen what the quality is of the one and of the other; and that to be led of the devil is slavery, but to be led of the Lord is freedom.

Spirits newly arrived are much perplexed to conceive how no one can do good from himself, nor think truth from himself, but from the Lord; believing that they should thus be like machines without any self-determination; and if so, that they must hold down their hands and suffer themselves to be acted upon. But they are told that they ought entirely of themselves to think, will, and do good, and that otherwise they cannot receive a heavenly proprium, and heavenly freedom; but that still they ought to acknowledge that good and truth are not from them, but from the Lord. And they are taught that all the angels are in such acknowledgment, yea, in the perception that it is so; and the more exquisitely they perceive themselves to be led of the Lord, and thereby to be in the Lord, the more they are in freedom.

Whoever lives in good, and believes that the Lord governs the universe, and that from Him alone comes all the good of love and charity and all the truth of faith, yea, that life comes from Him, and therefore that from Him we live, move, and have our being, is in such a state that he can be gifted with heavenly freedom, and with this also peace; for then he trusts only in the Lord, and counts other things of no concern, and is certain that then all things tend to his good, blessedness, and happiness to eternity. But he who believes that he governs himself, is in continual disquietude, being borne away into passionate desires, into solicitude about things to come, and thus into manifold anxieties. And because he so believes, the lusts of evil and the persuasions of falsity also adhere to him. (ibid. n. 2890-2892 )

The presence of the Lord implies liberty, the one follows the other; for the more intimately present the Lord is, the more free is man; that is, in proportion as he is in the love of good and truth he acts freely. Such is the nature of the Lord's influx by means of angels. But on the other hand the influx of hell is effected by evil spirits, and is attended with the violence and impetuosity of domination,—their ruling desire being to subdue man to such a degree that he may be as nothing and they everything; and then he becomes one of them,—and scarcely one, being as nobody in their eyes. Hence, when the Lord delivers man from their yoke and dominion there arises a conflict. But when he is liberated, or in other words regenerated, he is so gently led of the Lord by angels that there is not the least appearance of bondage or authority; he is led by what is delightful and happy, and is loved and esteemed,—as the Lord teaches in Matthew: "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light" (xi. 30). It has been given me to know by much experience that it is exactly the contrary with evil spirits; by whom, as was said, man is regarded as nothing, and who, were it in their power, would torment him every moment. (ibid. n. 905)



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). (AC 8387-8394)

The Nature of Man before Regeneration, or as to what is properly his own (Proprium)

The proprium1 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. (AC 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. (ibid. n. 149)

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. (AC 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 barn 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. (AC 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 will 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. (TCR 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. (ibid. 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. (ibid. 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 lie 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. (AC 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 so. Wisdom is predicated only of the life, and means 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.[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.] Every man has two parts, the will and the under  standing; 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 lie 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. (AC n. 1555)

The Six States of Regeneration

 [See "The Days of Creation,"]

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. (AC 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 conies 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. (ibid. n. 2979)

The Cycles of Regeneration are one with the Cycles of 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. (AC 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. (AC 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. (AC 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. (AC 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. (AC n. 10,048)

Regeneration is effected by means of 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; [see note p. 145] 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. (AC 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 of 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 when 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. (ibid. 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. (ibid. 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 [see note p. 284] 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. (ibid. 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 indeed 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 be 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 be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I shall make a remnant" (1. 20). In Micah: "The remnant of Jacob shall be 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. (ibid. 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 man. (ibid. n. 660)

Regeneration cannot be effected suddenly

When man is born, as to hereditary evils he is a hell in the least form; 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. (AC 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 lie is not saved the Lord is not in fault but man; and man is in fault in that he does not co-operate. (TCR n. 580)

In order to have Regeneration the Natural Man 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. (AC n. 5651)

Even the Sensual 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 hint, 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 difficulty 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 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. (AC 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 again; by the fragrance from gardens and fields; and by the rainbow in the cloud (Gen. ix. 14-17). 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. (TCR 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. (AC 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. (AC 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. (AC 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. (ibid. 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. (ibid. 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. (ibid. 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. (ibid. 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 (AC 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. (ibid. 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. (AC 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. (DP 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. (AC 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. (AC 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 the 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. (AC 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. (ibid. 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. (EU 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 he 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. (AC n. 892)

Ignorance of the Church at the Present Day concerning Regeneration

They who are of the church at this day know so little of any thing relating to regeneration that it is almost nothing. They do not even know this; 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 so innumerable 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 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. (AC 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. (HH 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 oft—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. (HH 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. (HH 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. (AC n. 1317)


The common Doctrine of Imputation

THE imputation which is a part of the faith of the present day is twofold, one of the merit of Christ, and the other of salvation thereby. It is taught in the whole Christian church that justification, and therefore salvation, is effected by God the Father through the imputation of the merit of Christ His Son; and that imputation is of grace, when and where He will, thus arbitrary; and that they to whom the merit of Christ is imputed are adopted into the number of the children of God. And because the leaders of the church have not moved a step beyond that imputation, or elevated their minds above it,—owing to their having decreed that God's election is merely arbitrary,—they have fallen into enormous and fanatical errors, and at length into the detestable error of predestination; and also into this abominable error,--that God does not heed the doings of a man's life, but only the faith inscribed on the interiors of his mind. Wherefore unless the error concerning imputation were abolished atheism would invade all Christendom, and then the king of the abyss would reign over them, "whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek hath the name Apollyon" (Rev. ix. 11). By Abaddon and Apollyon is signified a destroyer of the church by falsities; and by the abyss is signified the abode of those falsities. See The Apocalypse Revealed, n. 421, 440, 442, where it is made manifest that this falsity, and the falsities following from this, in an extended series, are the things over which that destroyer reigns; for, as was said above, the whole theological system of the present day depends on this imputation, as a long chain on a fixed hook, and as man with all his members on the head. And because that imputation everywhere reigns it is, as says Isaiah: "Jehovah will cut of from Israel head and tail; ... the honourable he is the head, and the teacher of lies is the tail" (ix. 14, 15). (TCR n. 628)

As regards the first part of this twofold imputation concerning the salvation of man, which is the arbitrary imputation of Christ's merit and the imputation of salvation thereby, the dogmatists differ; some teach that this imputation is absolute, of free power, and is offered to those whose external or internal form is well-pleasing; others that the imputation is from foreknowledge to those into whom grace is infused, and to whom this faith can be applied. But yet these two opinions aim at one point, and are like two eyes which have for their object one stone, or two ears which have for their object one song. At first sight it appears as if they went away from each other, but in the end they unite and play together. For since on both sides entire impotence in spiritual things is taught, and everything of man is excluded from faith, it follows that this grace receptive of faith, being infused arbitrarily or of foreknowledge, is a similar election; for if that grace which is called preventive grace were universal, man's application of it from some power of his own would occur, which however is rejected as a leprosy. Hence it is that no one knows any more than a stock or a stone,—such as he was when it was infused,—whether that faith of grace has been given to him or not; for there is no sign testifying it, when charity, piety, the desire of a new life, and the free faculty of doing good as well as evil, are denied to man. The signs which are said to testify to that faith in man are -all ludicrous, and are not different from the auguries of the ancients by the flight of birds, or the prognostications of astrologers by the stars, or of players by dice. Things of this kind, and still more ludicrous, follow from the dogma of the imputed righteousness of the Lord, which,—together with the faith which is called that righteousness,—is communicated to the man who is elect. (ibid. n. 631)

The Origin of the Doctrine of Imputation

The faith which is imputative of the merit and righteousness of Christ the Redeemer first arose from the decrees of the council of Nice concerning three Divine persons from eternity; which faith, from that time to the present, has been received by the whole Christian world. As regards the Nicene council itself, it was held by the Emperor Constantine the Great in his palace at Nice, a city of Bithynia, by the advice of Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria; all the bishops in Asia, Africa, and Europe being convoked, in order that the heresy of Arius, a presbyter of Alexandria, might be refuted from the Sacred Scriptures and condemned. This was done in the year of our Lord 325. Those who were called together decided that there were from eternity three Divine persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,—as may be seen especially from the two creeds called the Nicene and Athanasian. In the Nicene Creed it is said, "I believe in, one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the S022, of God, the Only-begotten of the Father, born before all ages, God of God, of the same substance with the Father, who came down from heaven, and became incarnate by the Holy Ghost from the Virgin Mary; and in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who, together with the Father and the Son, is worshipped and glorified." In the Athanasian Creed are these words: " The Catholic faith is this:— That we worship one God in trinity, and the trinity in unity; neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.... But whereas we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge each person by himself to be God and Lord, so we are forbidden by the Catholic religion to say there be three Gods or three Lords." That is, it is lawful to acknowledge but not to say three Gods and three Lords; and the one is not lawful because religion forbids it, but the other is because the truth dictates it. This Athanasian Creed was written soon after the council of Nice was held, by one or more who had been present at the council; and it also was accepted as ecumenical or catholic. From these it is manifest that it was then decreed that three Divine Persons from eternity ought to be acknowledged; and, that although each person singly, by Himself, is God, yet that they are not to be called three Gods and Lords, but One. (TCR  n. 632)

Imputation not known in the Apostolic Church

The faith imputative of the merit of Christ was not known in the Apostolic church, which preceded; and is nowhere meant in the Word. The church which preceded the Nicene council is called the Apostolic church. That it was a great church, and extended into the three parts of the globe, Asia, Africa, and Europe, is evident from the fact that the Emperor Constantine the Great was a Christian, and a zealot for religion; and from his dominion over not only the region afterwards divided into the many kingdoms of Europe, but also over the neighbouring regions out of Europe. Wherefore, as was said before, he convoked the bishops of Asia, Africa, and Europe at his palace at Nice, a city of Bithynia, that he might banish from his empire the scandalous dogma of Arius. This was done of the Lord's Divine Providence; since if the Divinity of the Lord is denied. the Christian church dies, and becomes as a sepulchre inscribed with the epitaph—"Here lies." The church that existed before that time is called Apostolic; and the eminent writers of that church are called the Fathers, and the true Christians at their side, brethren. That this church did not acknowledge three Divine Persons, nor therefore a Son of God from eternity, but only the Son of God born in time, is evident from the creed which from their church is called Apostolic, where we read these words: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary... believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy Catholic church; the communion of saints." From which it is plain, that they acknowledged no, other Son of God than the one conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, and by no means any Son of God' born from eternity. This creed, like the two others, has been acknowledged as genuinely Catholic, by the whole Christian church to this day.... That in that primeval time all in the then Christian world acknowledged that the. Lord Jesus Christ was God, to whom was given all power in heaven and on earth, and power over all flesh, according to His very words (Matt. xxviii. 18; John xvii. 2), and that they believed in Him, according to His command from God the Father (John iii. 15, 16, 36; vi. 40; xi. 25, 26), is also very manifest from the convocation of all the bishops by the Emperor Constantine the Great, for the purpose of convicting and condemning, from the sacred Scriptures, Arius and his followers, who denied the Divinity of the Lord the Saviour born of the virgin Mary. This indeed was done; but in avoiding the wolf they fell upon a lion; or, as it is said in the proverb, eager to avoid Charybdis, they fell upon Scylla,—by inventing a Son of God from eternity, who descended and assumed the Human; believing that they should thus vindicate and restore Divinity to the Lord. Not knowing that God Himself the Creator of the universe descended, that He might become the Redeemer, and thus the Creator anew,—according to these plain declarations in the Old Testament; Isaiah xxv. 9; xl. 3, 5, 10, 11; 14; xliv. 6, 24; xlvii. 4; xlviii. 17; xlix. 7, 26; lx. 16; lxiii. 16; Jer. 1. 34; Hos. xiii. 4; Psa. xix. 14. To these add John i. 14. (TCR n. 636, 637)

That no faith imputative of the merit of Christ is meant in the Word, clearly appears from the fact that that faith was not known in the church until after the Nicene council introduced the three Divine Persons from eternity; and when this faith had been introduced and pervaded the whole Christian world, every other faith was cast into the shade. (ibid. n. 639)

Imputation of the Merits and Righteousness of Christ Impossible

That it may be known that the imputation of the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ is impossible, it is necessary to understand what His merit and righteousness are. The merit of the Lord our Saviour is redemption, and what this was may be seen above in its appropriate chapter. It is there described that it was the subjugation of the hells, the establishment of order in the heavens, and afterwards the institution of a church; and thus that redemption was a work purely Divine. It was also there shown that by redemption the Lord put Himself in power to regenerate and save the men who believe in Him and do His commandments; and that without that redemption no flesh could have been saved. Since then redemption was a work purely Divine, and of the Lord alone, and this is His merit, it follows that this cannot be applied, ascribed, and imputed to any man, —any more than the creation and preservation of the universe. (TCR n. 640)

As the merit and righteousness of the Lord are therefore purely Divine, and things purely Divine are such that if they were applied and ascribed to man he would instantly die, and, like a stock cast into the naked sun, would be consumed, so that scarce an ember of him would remain; for this reason the Lord with His Divine draws near to angels and men by light attempered and accommodated to the capacity and quality of every one, thus by light that is adequate and adapted; and in like manner by heat. In the spiritual world there is a sun, in the midst of which the Lord is; from that sun He flows in by means of light and heat into the whole spiritual world, and into all who are there; all the light and all the heat there are from this source. From that sun the Lord also flows in with the same light and the same heat into the souls and minds of men. That heat in its essence is His Divine love, and that light in its essence is His Divine wisdom. This light and this heat the Lord adapts to the capacity and quality of the recipient angel and man; which is done by means of spiritual auras or atmospheres which convey and transfer them. The Divine itself immediately encompassing the Lord constitutes that sun. This sun is distant from the angels,—as the sun of the natural world is from men,—in order that it may not come into naked and therefore immediate contact with them; for thus they would be consumed, as was said, like a stock cast into the naked sun. From these considerations it must be evident that the merit and righteousness of the Lord, since they are purely Divine, cannot possibly be induced by imputation upon any angel or man; nay, if any the least thereof should touch them, not being thus modified as was said, they would instantly writhe as if struggling with death, and with feet cramped and eyes distended would expire. This was made known in the Israelitish church, by the declaration that no one can see God and live. The sun of the spiritual world, as it is since Jehovah God assumed the Human, and to this added redemption and new righteousness, is indeed described by these words in Isaiah: "The light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that Jehovah shall bind up the breach of His people" (xxx. 26). This chapter, from beginning to end, relates to the Lord's advent. It is also described what would be if the Lord should descend and draw near to any wicked man, by these words in the Revelation: "They hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, Hide us from the face of Him that sittetli, on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb" (vi. 15). It is said the wrath of the Lamb, because the terror and torment when the Lord draws near so appear to them. This may, moreover, be manifestly concluded from the fact that if any wicked person is introduced into heaven, where charity and faith in the Lord reign, darkness comes over his eyes, giddiness and insanity over his mind, pain and torment into his body, and he becomes like one dead. What then if the Lord Himself with His Divine merit, which is redemption, and His Divine righteousness, should enter into man? The apostle John himself could not endure the presence of the Lord; for we read that when he saw the Son of Man in the midst of the seven candlesticks, he fell at his feet as dead" (Rev. i. 17). (ibid. n. 641)

It is said in the decrees of the councils, and in the articles of the confessions to which the Reformed swear, that by the merit of Christ infused God justifies the wicked; when yet not the good of any angel can even be communicated to a wicked man, still less conjoined with him, but it is rejected and rebounds like an elastic ball thrown against the wall. (ibid. n. 642)

The True Doctrine of Imputation

Since the fulfilling of the law, and the passion of the cross, have hitherto been understood by many in no other sense than that the Lord did by these two make satisfaction for the human race, and remove from them a foreseen or appointed damnation; from the connection [between them], and at the same time from the principle that man is saved by a mere belief that it is so, has followed the dogma of the imputation of the Lord's merit,—these two, which were of the Lord's merit, being accepted as a satisfaction. But this falls to the ground after what has been said of the fulfilling of the law by the Lord, and of His passion of the cross. And then at the same time it may be seen that imputation of merit is an expression without meaning, unless the remission of sins after repentance is meant by it. For nothing of the Lord can be imputed to man; but salvation may be awarded by the Lord, after a man has repented,—that is, after he has seen and acknowledged his sins, and then desists from them, and this from the Lord. Then salvation is awarded him, in this way; that the man is saved, not by his own merit and his own righteousness, but by the Lord,—who alone has fought and conquered the hells, and who alone afterwards fights also for man, and conquers the hells for him. These are the merit and righteousness of the Lord; and these can never be imputed to man; for if they were imputed the merit and righteousness of the Lord would be appropriated to man as his, and this never is and never can be done. If imputation were possible an impenitent and wicked man might impute to himself the merit of the Lord, and think himself justified by it; which yet would be to defile what is holy with things that are profane, and to profane the name of the Lord. For it would be to keep the thought fixed on the Lord, and the will in hell and yet the will is the all of man. There is a faith which is of God, and a faith which is of man. They that repent have the faith of God; and they that do not repent, but think continually of imputation, have the faith of man. (L n. 18)

To every one after death the evil in which he is is imputed,: and likewise the good. That this subject may be presented with some clearness, it shall be considered in the following order: 1. That every one has a life of his own. 2. That with every one his life remains after death. 3. That the evil of his life is then imputed to the evil, and the good of his life is imputed to the good. FIRST:—Every one has a life of his own, thus a life distinct from that of another. This is well known; for there is perpetual variety, and no one thing is the same as another; hence there is to each one what is peculiarly his own. This plainly appears from the faces of men; in that there is not one face exactly like another, nor ever can be to eternity,—because there are not two minds alike, and the face is from the mind. For the face, as it is said, is the type of the mind; and the mind derives its origin and form from the life. If man had not a life of his own, as he has a mind and a face of his own, he would have no life after death distinct from that of another; nay, heaven could not exist, for this consists of those who are perpetually different. Its form is solely from the variety of souls and minds, disposed in such order that they make one; and they make one from the One whose Life is in all and in every individual there, as the soul is in man. If this were not so heaven would be dispersed, because its form would be dissolved. The One from whom the life of all and every one is derived, and by virtue of whom that form coheres, is the Lord. SECOND:—With every one his life remains after death. This is known in the church from the Word, and in particular from these passages there: "The Son of Man shall come, ... and then He shall render unto every one according to his deeds" (Matt. xvi. 27). "I saw, ... and the books were opened, ... and all were judged,.. according to their works" (Apoc. xxi. 12, 13). "In the day of judgment God will render unto every one according to his deeds" (Rom. ii. 5, 6; 2 Corinth. v. 10). The works according to which it shall be rendered unto every one are the life; for the life does them, and they are according to the life. Since it has been granted me during many years to be in company with the angels, and to converse with those who have come from the world, I can certainly testify that every one there is explored as to what the quality of his life has been; and that the life which he had contracted in the world abides with him to eternity. I have talked with those who lived ages ago, whose life was known to me from history, and have recognized their likeness to the description. And I have heard from the angels that the life of any one cannot be changed after death, because it is organized according to his love and faith, and his works therefrom; and that if it were changed the organization would be destroyed, which never can take place; moreover, that a change of organization can only take place in the material body, and by no means in the spiritual body after the former is rejected. THIRD:—The evil of his life is then imputed to the evil, and the good of his life is imputed to the good. The imputation of evil after death does not consist, in accusation, blame, censure, and judgment, as in the world; but the evil itself effects this. For the wicked of their own accord separate themselves from the good, because they cannot be together. The delights of the love of evil are averse to the delights of the love of good,—and their delights exhale from every one, as the odours from every plant on the earth; for they are not absorbed and concealed by the material body, as before, but freely flow forth from their loves into the spiritual air. And as evil is there perceived as it were in respect to its odour, it is this which accuses, blames, and judges,—not before any judge, but before every one who is in good; and this is what is meant by imputation. The imputation of good is effected in a similar manner. This takes place with those who in the world acknowledged that every good in them was and is from the Lord, and nothing of it from themselves. After being prepared they are let into the interior delights of their good; and then a way is opened for them to a society in heaven whose delights are homogeneous. This is done by the Lord. (BE n. 110)


The Church Universal

The church of the Lord is scattered over the whole terrestrial globe, and thus is universal. All they are in it who have lived in the good of charity according to their religious belief. (HH n. 328)

As regards the Lord's spiritual church, it should be known that it is throughout the whole terrestrial globe. For it is not limited to those that have the Word, and from this have obtained a knowledge of the Lord, and some truths of faith; but it is also with those who have not the Word, and are therefore entirely ignorant of the Lord, and consequently do not know any truths of faith (for all truths of faith refer to the Lord); that is, with the Gentiles remote from the church. For there are many among them who from rational light have come to know that there is one God; that He created all things, and that He preserves all things; as well as that all good, consequently all truth is from Him, and that similitude with Him makes man blessed; and who live, moreover, according to their religious belief, in love to God and in charity towards the neighbour; who from the affection of good do the works of charity, and from the affection of truth worship the Supreme. It is those that are of such a character among the Gentiles who are in the Lord's spiritual church. And although ignorant of the Lord while they are in the world, yet they have within them the worship and tacit acknowledgment of Him, when they are in good; for in all good the Lord is present. (AC n. 3263)

The Specific Church, and its relation to the Church Universal

It is called the ohurch where the Lord is acknowledged and where the Word is. For the essentials of the church are love and faith in the Lord from the Lord; and the Word teaches how a man must live in order that he may receive love and faith from the Lord. (HD n. 242)

They that are without the church, and acknowledge one God, and live in a certain charity towards the neighbour according to their religious belief, are in communion with those that are of the church; for no one who believes in God and lives well is condemned. It is therefore clear that the church of the Lord is everywhere in the whole world, although specifically it is where the Lord is acknowledged, and where the Word is. (ibid. n. 244)

By means of the Word there is conjunction of heaven with those also who are out of the church, where the Word is not; for the Lord's church is universal, and with all who acknowledge a Divine [Being] and live in charity. And furthermore, after death they are instructed by the angels and receive Divine truths. The church universal on earth is in the sight of the Lord as one man, just as heaven is; and the church where the Word is, and where by means of this the Lord is known, is as the heart and lungs in that man. (HH n. 308)

By means of the church they are saved who are out of the church. None but those that are within the church are in the faith of charity; for the faith of charity is truth of doctrine adjoined to the good of life. For the case is this: The Lord's kingdom on earth consists of all that are in good; who although scattered over the whole earth are yet one, and as members constitute one body.... The church on the earth is like the heart and lungs; and they that are without the church are as the parts of the body which are sustained and kept alive by the heart and lungs. It is clear from this that without a church somewhere on earth the human race could not subsist; just as the body cannot without the heart and lungs within it. (AC n. 2853)

Unless there exists somewhere on earth a church where the Word is, and where by means of it the Lord is known, there cannot be conjunction with heaven; for the Lord is God of heaven and earth, and without the Lord there is no salvation. It suffices that there be a church where the Word is, although it consist of a few comparatively; through this the Lord is yet present everywhere throughout the whole earth, for through this heaven is conjoined with the human race. (SS n. 104)

It is known that [the character of] a church is according to its doctrine; and that doctrine is from the Word. But yet doctrine does not establish a church; but the integrity and purity of the doctrine, consequently the understanding of the Word. (TCR n. 245)

The Lord is present with man through the reading of the Word; but He is conjoined to him by means of and according to his understanding of truth from the Word. And in proportion as the Lord is conjoined to man, the church is in him (SS n. 78)

Where the Specific Church is

The church is nowhere else than where the Word is rightly understood; and such as is the understanding of the Word among those who are in the church, such is the church. (SS n. 79)

That there may be a church there must be doctrine from the Word; because without doctrine the Word is not understood. Yet doctrine alone does not constitute the church with man, but a life according to doctrine. From this it follows that faith alone does not constitute the church, but the life of faith, which is charity. Genuine doctrine is the doctrine of charity and of faith together, and not the doctrine of faith without the other; for the doctrine of charity and of faith together is the doctrine of life, but not the doctrine of faith without the doctrine of charity. (HD n. 243)

Who constitute the Specific Church

It is one thing for the church to be with a nation, and another for the church to be in a nation. As for example, the Christian church is with those who have the Word, and from doctrine preach the Lord; but yet there is nothing of the church in them unless they are in the marriage of good and truth; that is unless they are in charity towards the neighbour, and thence in faith; or unless the internals of the church are within the externals. (AC n. 4899)

He who is not in spiritual good, that is in the good of charity, and in spiritual truths, that is in truths of faith, is not of the church although he was born within the church.... They that do not live according to the Word, or according to doctrine from the Word, so that it is the rule of life, are not of the church, but are out of it; and those who live in evil, thus who live contrary to doctrine, are farther out of the church than the Gentiles who know nothing at all of the Word, of the Lord, and of the Sacraments. For, since they know the goods and truths of the church they extinguish the church within them; which the Gentiles cannot do because they do no not know them. (AC n. 6637)

The Church is one thing and Religion another

The church is one thing and religion another. The church is called a church from doctrine; and religion is called religion from life according to doctrine. All doctrine is called truth; and its good also is truth, because it only teaches it. But everything of life according to those things which doctrine teaches is called good; doing the truths of doctrine likewise is good. Thus is the church distinguished from religion. But where there is doctrine and not life it cannot be said that there is either a church or religion; because doctrine looks to life, as one with itself, just as do truth and good, faith and charity, wisdom and love, understanding and will. There is therefore no church where there is doctrine and not life. (AR n. 923)

Who are meant by Gentiles?

In many places the Word refers to those that are in darkness, in the shadow of death, and in thick darkness, whose eyes the Lord will open; and by them the Gentiles are meant, who have been in good works but not in any truths, because they have not known the Lord, neither were in possession of the Word. Precisely similar to these are they in the Christian world who are in works alone, and in no truths of doctrine. They know of the Lord it is true, but yet do not approach Him; and they possess the Word, but do not search after the truths therein. (AR n. 110)

The Good and Truth among the Gentiles is not constituent of the Church

That the good of life may be [constituent] of the church there must be doctrinals from the Word which are implanted in that good. Without doctrinals it is indeed the good of life, but not yet good [constituent] of the church; thus not yet truly spiritual, save only as to its capacity to become so. Such is the good of life among the Gentiles who have not the Word, and therefore do not know of the Lord. (AC n. 3310)

The Gentiles who are out of the church can be in truths, but not in truths of faith.... Truths of faith are all doctrinals concerning the life eternal, concerning the Lord's kingdom, and concerning the Lord. These cannot be known to them, because they have not the Word. (ibid. n. 2049)

The Necessity that there should always be a Church

The human race, even those who are out of the church, derive life from the church of the Lord on earth. The reason is entirely unknown to any one. But that something may be known of it, it may be stated that the whole human race on earth is like the body with its parts, in which the church is as the heart; and unless there were a church, with which as with a kind of heart the Lord might be united, through heaven and the world of spirits, there would be a disjunction; and if there were a disjunction of the human race from the Lord it would instantly perish. This is the reason why from the first creation of man there has always been some church; and that as often as the church began to perish it still remained with some. This also was the reason of the Lord's advent into the world. Unless in His Divine mercy He had come the whole human race on this earth would have perished; for the church was then at the point of destruction, so that there was scarcely any surviving good and truth. The reason why the human race cannot live unless it is conjoined with the Lord, through heaven and the world of spirits, is because in himself regarded man is far viler than the brutes. If he were left to himself he would rush headlong to his own destruction, and that of all others; for he desires nothing but the ruin of them and himself. His order of life should be that one should love another as himself; but now, each loves himself more than others, and consequently hates all others. With the unreasoning animals it is quite different. It is their order, according to which they live. Thus they live entirely in agreement with the order in which they exist; but man altogether contrary to his order. Unless therefore the Lord should have compassion upon him, and conjoin him to Himself by the angels, he would not be able to live a moment. Man does not know this. (AC n. 637)

The Church in Heaven could not subsist without a Church on the Earth

It should be known that there is a church in the heavens as well as on earth; for the Word is there; there are temples, and preachings in them; there are ministerial and priestly offices. For all the angels there were men; and their departure out of the world was only a continuation of their life. They also are therefore perfected in love and wisdom, every one according to the degree of affection for truth and good which he took with him from the world. The church among them is meant here (Rev. xii. 1) by the woman clothed with the sun, who had upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And because the church in the heavens cannot subsist unless there is also a church on earth, which is in concordant love and wisdom, and because this was about to be, therefore the moon was seen under the feet of the woman; by which here in particular a faith is signified,—of such quality as it is at the present day,—by which there is no conjunction. The reason why the church in the heavens cannot subsist unless there is a church on earth, in conjunction with it, is that heaven where the angels are and the church where men are act as one, like the internal and external in man. And the internal in man cannot subsist in its state unless an external is conjoined with it; for the internal without the external is as a house without a foundation; or as seed upon the ground and not in the ground; and so like anything without a foothold; in a word as a cause without an effect in which it may exist. From these considerations it may appear how absolutely necessary it is that there should be a church somewhere in the world, where the Word is, and by means of it the Lord is known. (AR n. 533)

There have been in general four Churches on the Earth

That there have been four churches in general on this earth since its creation, one succeeding another, can be seen both from the historical and prophetical Word; especially in Daniel, where these four churches are described by the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in a dream (chap. ii), and afterwards by the four beasts coming up out of the sea (chap. vii). The first church, which is to be called the Most Ancient, existed before the flood; the consummation or end of this is described by the flood. The second church, which is to be called the Ancient, was in Asia, and in part in Africa; this was consummated and destroyed by idolatries. The third church was the Israelitish, which began with the promulgation of the decalogue upon Mount Sinai, and continued through the Word written by Moses and the prophets, and was consummated or ended by the profanation of the Word; the fullness of which profanation was at the time when the Lord came into the world,—and therefore Him who was the Word they crucified. The fourth church is the Christian, established by the Lord through the evangelists and apostles. Of this there have been two epochs; one from the time of the Lord to the council of Nice, and the other from that council to the present day. But in its progress this church was divided into three parts, the Greek, the Roman Catholic, and the Reformed. They are all however called Christian. Besides, within each general church there have been several particular churches, which, although they have withdrawn have yet retained the name of the general; as the heresies in the Christian church. (TCR n. 760)

General Character of these four Churches

In the most ancient times men were informed concerning heavenly things, or the things which relate to eternal life, by immediate intercourse with the angels of heaven. For heaven then acted as one with the man of the church, for it flowed in through the internal man into their external; whence they had not only enlightenment and perception, but also converse with the angels. This time was called the golden age, from the fact that men were then in the good of love to the Lord; for gold signifies that good. These things are also described by the Garden of Eden in the Word. Afterwards information concerning heavenly things, and concerning the things that relate to eternal life, was given by such things as are called correspondences and representations; the knowledge of which was derived from the most ancient men, who had immediate intercourse with the angels of heaven. Heaven then flowed into these things with them and enlightened them; for correspondences and representations are external forms of heavenly things. And men were then enlightened in proportion as they were in the good of love and charity; for all Divine influx out of heaven is into the good in man, and through the good into truths. And because the .man of the church at that time was in spiritual good, which good in its essence is truth, those times were called the silver age; for silver signifies such good. But when the knowledge of correspondences and representations was turned into magic, that church perished; and a third succeeded, in which all worship was indeed performed by things almost similar, but yet it was unknown what they signified. This church was established among the Israelitish and Jewish nation. But as information concerning heavenly things, or the things which relate to eternal life, could not be communicated to them by influx into their interiors, and thus by enlightenment, therefore angels from heaven spoke by the living voice with some of them, and instructed them concerning external things; and little concerning internal things, because they could not comprehend them. Those who were in natural good received these things devoutly; and those times were therefore called the brazen age, for brass signifies such good. But when not even natural good remained with the man of the church, the Lord came into the world and reduced all things in the heavens and in the hells to order; to the end that man may receive influx from Him out of heaven, and be enlightened, and that the hells should not prevent and let in thick darkness. Then a fourth church began which is called Christian. In this church information concerning heavenly things, or concerning the things that relate to eternal life, is communicated solely by means of the Word; through this man has influx and enlightenment. For the Word was written by pure correspondences and pure representatives, which signify heavenly things,—into which the angels of heaven come when man reads the' Word. Hence by means of the Word a conjunction of heaven with the church is effected, or of the angels of heaven with the men of the church; but only with those therein who are in the good of love and of charity. But because the man of this church has even extinguished this good, he cannot therefore be informed by any influx, and by enlightenment from the Word,—except concerning some truths which are not connected with good. Hence these times are what are called the iron age; for iron denotes truth in the ultimate of order. But when truth is such it is of the quality described in Daniel: "Thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay; they shall mingle themselves by the seed of man, but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay" (ii. 43). From these facts it may be seen how revelations have succeeded, from the most ancient times down to the present; and that at this day revelation is only given through the Word. But genuine revelation is with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of truth, and not with those who are in the love of truth for the sake of honour and gain as ends. For, if you will believe it, the Lord is the Word itself, since the Word is Divine truth, and Divine truth, because from the Lord, is the Lord in heaven. They therefore who love Divine truth for the sake of Divine truth love the Lord; and heaven flows in with those who love the Lord, and enlightens them. But they that love Divine truth for the sake of honour and gain as ends, turn themselves away from the Lord to themselves and to the world; and therefore with them there can be no influx and enlightenment. They also, because in the sense of the letter they keep their minds fixed upon themselves and upon their own fame and glory, interpret that sense in conformity with such things as favour their loves. (AC n. 10,355)

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