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Divine Providence, by Emanuel Swedenborg, [1764], tr. by William Frederic Wunsch [1851] at

Divine Providence


From these considerations it may now be plain that the infinite and eternal, thus the Lord, are to be thought of apart from space and time and can be so thought of; plain, likewise, that they are so thought of by those who think interiorly and rationally; and plain that the infinite and eternal are identical with the Divine. So think angels and spirits. In thought withdrawn from space and time, divine omnipresence is comprehended, and divine omnipotence, also the Divine from eternity, but these are not at all grasped by thought to which an idea of space and time adheres. Plain it is, then, that one can conceive of God from eternity, but never of nature from eternity. So one can think of the creation of the world by God, but never of its creation from nature, for space and time are proper to nature, but the Divine is apart from them. That the Divine is apart from space and time may be seen in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom_ (nn. 7-10, 69-72, 73-76, and other places).


(ii) _What is infinite and eternal in itself cannot but look to what is infinite and eternal from itself in finite things._ By what is infinite and eternal in itself the Divine itself is meant, as was shown in the preceding section. By finite things are meant all things created by the Lord, especially men, spirits, and angels. By looking to the infinite and eternal from itself is meant to look to the Divine, that is to Himself, in these, as a person beholds his image in a mirror. This was shown in several places in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ particularly where it was demonstrated that in the created universe there is an image of the human being and that this is an image of the infinite and eternal (nn. 317, 318), that is, of God the Creator, namely, the Lord from eternity. But be it known that the Divine-in-itself is in the Lord; whereas the divine-from-itself is the divine from the Lord in things created.


But for better comprehension let this be illustrated. The Divine can look only to the divine, and can do so only in what has been created by it. This is evident from the fact that no one can regard another except from what is his own in himself. One who loves another regards him from his own love; a wise man regards another from his own wisdom. He can note whether the other loves him or not, is wise or not; but this he does from the love and wisdom in himself. Therefore he unites himself with the other so far as the other loves him as he loves the other, or so far as the other is wise as he is wise; for thus they make one.

[2] It is the same with the Divine-in-itself. For the Divine cannot look to itself from another, that is, from man, spirit, or angel. For there is nothing in them of the Divine-in-itself from which are all things, and to look to the Divine from another in whom there is nothing of the Divine would be to look to the Divine from what is not divine, which is an impossibility. Hence the Lord is so conjoined to man, spirit, or angel that all which is referable to the Divine is not from them but from the Lord. For it is known that all good and truth which anyone has are not from him but from the Lord; indeed that no one can name the Lord or speak His names Jesus and Christ except from Him.

[3] Consequently the infinite and eternal, which is the same as the Divine, looks to all things in finite beings infinitely and conjoins itself with them in the degree in which they receive love and wisdom. In a word, the Lord can have His abode and dwell with man and angel only in His own, and not in what is solely theirs, for this is evil; if it is good, it is still finite, which in and of itself is incapable of the infinite. Plainly, the finite cannot possibly look to what is infinite, but the infinite can look to the infinite-from-itself in finite beings.


It seems as if the infinite could not be conjoined to the finite because no ratio is possible between them and because the finite cannot compass the infinite. Conjunction is possible, nevertheless, both because the Infinite created all things from Himself (as was shown in the work _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ nn. 282-284), and because the Infinite cannot but look in things finite to what is infinite from Him, and this infinite-from-Him in finite beings can appear as if it were in them. Thereby a ratio is possible between finite and infinite, not from the finite, indeed, but from the infinite in the finite. Thereby, too, the finite is capable of the infinite, not the finite being in himself, but as if in himself from the infinite-from-itself in him. But of this more in what follows.


(iii) _Divine providence looks to the infinite and eternal from itself in all that it does, especially in saving mankind._ The infinite and eternal in itself is the Divine itself, or the Lord in Himself; the infinite and eternal _from_ itself is the proceeding Divine or the Lord in others created by Him, thus in men and angels. This Divine is identical with divine providence, for by the divine from Himself the Lord provides that all things shall be held together in the order in which and into which they were created. This the Divine in the act of proceeding accomplishes and consequently all this is divine providence.


That divine providence in all that it does looks to what is infinite and eternal from itself is evident from the fact that every created thing proceeds from a first, which is the infinite and eternal, to things last, and from things last to the first whence it is (as was shown in the work _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ in the part in which the creation of the world is treated of). But the first whence anything is, is inmostly in all the progression, and therefore the proceeding Divine or divine providence in all that it does has in view some image of the infinite and eternal. It does so in all things, in some obviously so that it is perceptible, in others not. It makes that image evident to perception in the variety, and in the fructification and multiplication, of all things.

[2] _An image of the infinite and eternal is apparent in the variety of all things,_ in that no one thing is the same as another nor can be to eternity. The eye beholds this in the variety of human faces ever since creation; in the variety of minds, of which faces are types; and in the variety of affections, perceptions and thoughts, for of these the mind consists. In all heaven, therefore, no two angels or spirits are the same, nor can be to eternity. The same is true of every object to be seen in either the natural or the spiritual world. Plainly, the variety is infinite and eternal.

[3] _An image of the infinite and eternal is manifest in the fructification and multiplication of all things,_ in the vegetable kingdom in the capacity implanted in seeds, and in the animal kingdom in reproduction, especially in the family of fishes. Were the seeds to bear fruit and the animals to multiply in the measure of ability, they would fill all the world, even the universe, in a generation. Obviously there is latent in that ability an endeavor after self-propagation to infinity. And as fructification and multiplication have not failed from the beginning of creation and never will, plainly there is in that ability an endeavor after self-propagation to eternity also.


The like is true of human beings as to their affections, which are of love, and their perceptions, which are of wisdom. The variety of either is infinite and eternal; so, too, is their fructification and multiplication, which is spiritual. No person enjoys an affection and perception so like another's as to be identical with it, nor ever will. Affections, moreover, may be fructified and perceptions multiplied without end. Knowledge, it is well known, is inexhaustible. This capacity of fructification and multiplication without end or to infinity and eternity exists in natural things with men, in spiritual with the spiritual angels, and in celestial with the celestial angels. Affections, perceptions and knowledges have this endless capacity not only in general, but in every least particular. They have it because they exist from the infinite and eternal in itself through what is infinite and eternal from itself. But as the finite has in it nothing of the Divine, nothing of the kind, not the least, is in the human being as his own. Man or angel is finite and only a receptacle, by itself dead. Whatever is living in him is from the proceeding Divine, joined to him by contact, and appearing in him as if it were his. The truth of this will be seen in what follows.


Divine providence regards what is infinite and eternal from itself especially in saving mankind because its object is a heaven from mankind (as was shown, nn. 27-45), and therefore it is man's reformation and regeneration or salvation to which it especially looks, since heaven consists of the saved or regenerate. To regenerate man, moreover, is to unite good and truth or love and wisdom in him, as they are united in the Lord's proceeding Divine; to this especially, therefore, providence looks in saving the race. The image of the infinite and eternal is not to be found elsewhere in man than in the marriage of good and truth. This marriage the proceeding Divine effects. Men filled by the proceeding Divine, which is called the Holy Spirit, have prophesied, as we know from the Word; men enlightened by it see divine truths in heaven's light; above all, angels sensibly perceive the presence, influx and conjunction, though they are aware that the conjunction is no more than can be termed adjunction.


It has not been known that divine providence in all its procedure with man looks to his eternal state. It can look to nothing else because the Divine is infinite and eternal, and the infinite and eternal or the Divine is not in time; therefore all future things are present to it. It follows that there is eternity in all that the Divine does. But those who think from time and space perceive this with difficulty, not only because they love temporal things, but also because they think from what is on hand in the world and not from what is at hand in heaven; this is as remote to them as the ends of the earth. Those, however, who are in the Divine, inasmuch as they think from the Lord, think from what is eternal as well as from what is at present, asking themselves, "What is that which is not eternal? Is not the temporal relatively nothing and does it not become nothing when it is past?" The eternal is not so; it alone _is;_ its _esse_ has no end. To think thus is to think both from the present and the eternal, and when a man not only thinks so but lives so, the proceeding Divine with him or divine providence looks in all its procedure to the state of his eternal life in heaven and guides to it. In what follows it will be seen that the Divine looks to the eternal in everybody, in an evil as well as in a good person.


(iv) _An image of the infinite and eternal offers in an angelic heaven._ Among things we need to know about is the angelic heaven. Everyone who has any religion thinks about heaven and wishes to go there. Yet heaven is granted only to those who know the way to it and walk in that way. We can know the way to an extent by knowing the character of those who constitute heaven and by knowing that no one becomes an angel or comes into heaven unless he brings with him from the world what is angelic. In what is angelic there is a knowledge of the way from walking in it, and a walking in the way through a knowledge of it. In the spiritual world, moreover, there are actually ways leading to every society of heaven or of hell. Each sees his own way as if for himself. He does so because a way is there for every love; the love discloses the way and takes a man to his fellows. No one sees other ways than the way of his love. Plain it is from this that angels are nothing but heavenly loves; otherwise they would not have seen the ways tending to heaven. This will be plainer still when heaven is described.


Every man's spirit is affection and thought therefrom. And as all affection is of love, and thought is of the understanding, every spirit is his own love and his own understanding therefrom. When a man is thinking solely from his own spirit, therefore, as he does in private meditation at home, he thinks from the affection belonging to his love. It is clear, then, that when a man becomes a spirit, as he does after death, he is the affection of his own love and has no other thought than that of his affection. If his love has been one of evil, he is an evil affection, which is a lust; if his love has been one of good, he is a good affection. Everyone has a good affection so far as he has shunned evils as sins, and an evil affection so far as he has not shunned evils as sins. As all spirits and angels, then, are affections, the whole angelic heaven is nothing but the love of all the affections of good and the attendant wisdom of all the perceptions of truth. Since all good and truth are from the Lord and He is love itself, the angelic heaven is an image of Him. Furthermore, as divine love and wisdom are human in form, it also follows that the angelic heaven must be in that form. Of this we shall say more in the following section.


The angelic heaven is an image of the infinite and eternal, then, because it is an image of the Lord, who is infinite and eternal. The image of His infinity and eternity is manifest in heaven's being constituted of myriads and myriads of angels, and in its consisting of as many societies as there are general affections of heavenly love; manifest, again, in every angel's being distinctly his own affection; manifest further in that the form of heaven--a unit in the divine sight just as man is a unit--is assembled from so many affections, general and particular; also manifest in that this form is perfected to eternity with the increase in numbers, the greater the number of those entering into the form of the divine love which is the form of forms, the more perfect the resulting unity. It is plain from all this that the angelic heaven presents an image of the infinite and eternal.


From the knowledge of heaven to be had from this brief description it is evident that it is an affection of the love of good that makes heaven in a man. But who knows this today? Who knows even what an affection of the love of good is, or that these affections are innumerable, in fact, infinite? For, as was said, each angel is his own particular affection; and the form of heaven is the form of all the affections of the divine love there. Only one Being can combine all affections into this form--only He who is love and wisdom itself and who is at once infinite and eternal. For throughout that form is what is infinite and eternal; the infinite is in its unity and the eternal in its perpetuity; were they removed the form would instantly collapse. Who else can combine affections into a form? Who else can bring about this unity? The unity can be accomplished only in an idea of the total, and the total realized only in thought for each single part. Myriads on myriads compose that form; annually myriads enter it and will do so to eternity. All infants enter it and all adults who are affections of the love of good. Again from all this the image of the infinite and eternal in the angelic heaven is to be seen.


(v) _The heart of divine providence is to look to what is infinite and eternal by fashioning an angelic heaven for it to be like one human being before the Lord, an image of Him._ See in the work _Heaven and Hell_ (nn. 59-86) that heaven as a whole is like one man in the Lord's sight; that each society of heaven also is; that as a result each angel is a human being in perfect form; and that this is because God the Creator, who is the Lord from eternity, is Man; also (nn. 87-102) that as a result there is a correspondence of all things of heaven with all things in the human being. The entire heaven as one man has not been seen by me, for only the Lord can so behold it; but that an entire society, whether large or small, can appear as one man, I have seen. I was then told that the largest society of all, which is heaven in its entirety, so appears, but to the Lord alone; and that this causes every angel to be in full form a human being.


As all heaven is like one man in the Lord's view, it is divided into as many general societies as there are organs, viscera and members in man, and each general society into as many less general or particular societies as there are larger divisions in each of the viscera and organs. This makes evident what heaven is. Because the Lord is very Man and heaven is His image, to be in heaven is called "being in the Lord." See in the work _Divine Love and Wisdom_ that the Lord is very Man (nn. 11-13, 285-289).


From all this the arcanum, well called angelic, can in a measure be seen, that each affection of good and at the same time of truth is human in form. For whatever proceeds from the Lord gets from His divine love that it is an affection of good and from His divine wisdom that it is an affection of truth. An affection of truth proceeding from the Lord appears in angel and man as perception and consequent thought of truth. For we are aware of perception and thought, but little aware of the affection whence they are, although all come as one from the Lord.


Man, then, is by creation a heaven in least form and hence an image of the Lord; heaven consists of as many affections as there are angels; and each affection in its form is man. It must then be the constant striving of divine providence that a man may become a heaven in form and an image of the Lord, and as this is effected by means of an affection of the good and true, that he may become such an affection. This is therefore the unceasing effort of divine providence. But its inmost aim is that a man may be here or there in heaven or in the divine heavenly man, for so he is in the Lord. But this is accomplished with those whom the Lord can lead to heaven. As He foresees who can be led He also provides continually that a man may become amenable; for thus everyone who suffers himself to be led to heaven is prepared for his own place there.


We have said that heaven is divided into as many societies as there are organs, viscera and members in man; and in these no part can be in any place but its own. As angels are the parts in the divine heavenly man, and none become angels who were not men in the world, the man who suffers himself to be led to heaven is continually prepared by the Lord for his own place there. This is done by the affection of good and truth which corresponds with that place. To this place every angel-man is also assigned on his departure from the world. This is the inmost of divine providence touching heaven.


On the other hand, a man who does not permit himself to be led to heaven and allotted a place there is prepared for his own place in hell. Of himself a man tends constantly to the depths of hell but is continually withheld by the Lord. He who cannot be withheld is prepared for a given place in hell, to which he is assigned on departure from the world. This place is opposite one in heaven; for hell is the opposite of heaven. So, as the angel-man according to his affection of good and truth is allotted his place in heaven, the devil-man according to his affection of evil and falsity is allotted his in hell. The two opposites, set exactly over against each other, are kept in connection. This is the inmost of divine providence touching hell.



Men know there is divine providence, but not what its nature is. This is not known because its laws are arcana, hitherto hidden in the wisdom of angels. These laws are to be revealed now in order that what belongs to the Lord may be ascribed to Him, and nothing ascribed to man that is not man's. For very many in the world attribute everything to themselves and their prudence, and what they cannot so attribute they call fortuitous and accidental, not knowing that human prudence is nothing and that "fortuitous" and "accidental" are idle words.

[2] We say that the laws of divine providence are arcana "hidden until now in the wisdom of the angels." They have been hidden because the understanding has been closed in Christendom in religion's name on divine things, and has been rendered so dull and averse in these matters that man has not been able because he has not been willing, or has not been willing because he has not been able, to understand anything about providence beyond the mere fact that it exists, or to do more than argue whether it exists or not, also whether it is only general or also detailed. Closed up on divine things in the name of religion, understanding could advance no further.

[3] But it is acknowledged in the church that man cannot of himself do good which is in itself good or of himself think truth which is in itself truth. This acknowledgment is at one with divine providence; these are interdependent beliefs. Lest therefore one be affirmed and the other denied and both fail, what divine providence is must by all means be revealed. It cannot be revealed unless the laws by which the Lord oversees and governs the volitions and thoughts of the human being are disclosed. The laws enable one to know the nature of providence, and only one who knows its nature can acknowledge providence, for then he beholds it. The laws of divine providence, hitherto hidden with angels in their wisdom, are therefore to be revealed now.



As is known, man is free to think and will as he wishes, but not to speak whatever he thinks or to do whatever he wills. The freedom meant here, therefore, is spiritual freedom and natural freedom only as they make one; for thinking and willing are spiritual, and speaking and acting are natural. The two are readily distinguishable in man, for he can think what he does not utter and will what he does not do; plainly, spiritual and natural are discriminated in him. He can pass from the former to the latter therefore only on a decision to do so--a decision which can be likened to a door that must first be unfastened and opened. This door, it is true, stands open, as it were, in those who think and will from reason in accord with the civil laws of the land and the moral laws of society, for they speak what they think and do what they will to do. But in those who think and will contrary to those laws, the door stands shut, as it were. One who watches his volitions and subsequent deeds knows that such a decision intervenes, sometimes more than once in a single utterance or action. This we have premised for it to be understood that by acting from freedom according to reason is meant to think and will freely _and_ thence to speak and do freely what is according to reason.


Since few know, however, that the law above can be a law of divine providence, principally because a man is also free then to think evil and falsity (still divine providence is continually leading him to think and will what is good and true), for clearer perception we must proceed step by step and shall do so in this order:

i. The human being has reason and freedom or rationality and liberty, and has these two faculties from the Lord. ii. Whatever a man does in freedom, whether with reason or not, provided it is according to his reason, seems to him to be his. iii. Whatever a man does in freedom according to his thought, is appropriated to him as his and remains. iv. A man is reformed and regenerated by the Lord by means of the two faculties and cannot be reformed and regenerated without them. v. A man can be reformed and regenerated by means of the two faculties so far as he can be led by them to acknowledge that all truth and good which he thinks and does are from the Lord and not from himself. vi. The conjunction of the Lord with man, and man's reciprocal conjunction with the Lord, is effected by means of these two faculties. vii. In all the procedure of His divine providence the Lord safeguards the two faculties in man unimpaired and as sacred. viii. It is therefore of the divine providence that man shall act in freedom according to reason.


(i) _The human being has reason and freedom or rationality and liberty, and has these two faculties from the Lord._ Man has a faculty of understanding, which is rationality, and a faculty of thinking, willing, speaking and doing what he understands, which is liberty; and he has these two faculties from the Lord (see the work _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ nn. 264-270, 425, and above, nn. 43, 44). But many doubts may arise about either of the two faculties when thought is given to them; therefore I want to say something at this point just about man's freedom to act according to reason.

[2] First, it should be known that all freedom is of love, so much so that love and freedom are one. As love is man's life, freedom is of his life, too. For man's every enjoyment is from some love of his and has no other source, and to act from the enjoyment of one's love is to act in freedom. Enjoyment leads a man as the current bears an object along on a stream. But loves are many, some harmonious, others not; therefore freedoms are many. In general there are three: natural, rational, and spiritual freedom.

[3] _Natural freedom_ is man's by heredity. In it he loves only himself and the world: his first life is nothing else. From these two loves, moreover, all evils arise and thus attach to love. Hence to think and will evil is man's natural freedom, and when he has also confirmed evils in himself by reasonings, he does them in freedom according to his reason. Doing them is from his faculty called liberty, and confirming them from his faculty called rationality.

[4] For example, it is from the love into which he is born that he desires to commit adultery, to defraud, to blaspheme, to take revenge. Confirming these evils in himself and by this making them allowable, he then, from his love's enjoyment in them, thinks and wills them freely and as if according to reason, and so far as civil laws do not hinder, speaks and does them. It is of the Lord's divine providence that man is allowed to do so, for freedom or liberty is his. This natural freedom is man's by nature because by heredity, and those are in this freedom who have confirmed it in themselves by reasonings from enjoyment in self-love and love of the world.

[5] _Rational freedom_ is from the love of good repute for the sake of standing or gain. The delight of this love is to seem outwardly a moral person. Loving this reputation, the man does not defraud, commit adultery, take revenge, or blaspheme; and making this his reasoned course, he also does in freedom according to reason what is sincere, just, chaste, and friendly; indeed from reason can advocate such conduct. But if his rational is only natural and not spiritual, his freedom is only external and not internal. He does not love these goods inwardly at all, but only outwardly for reputation's sake, as we said. The good deeds he does are therefore not in themselves good. He can also say that they should be done for the sake of the general welfare, but he speaks out of no love for that welfare, but from love of his own standing or gain. His freedom therefore derives nothing from love of the public good, nor does his reason, which complies with his love. This rational freedom, therefore, is inwardly natural freedom. The Lord's divine providence leaves everyone this freedom too.

[6] _Spiritual freedom_ is from love of eternal life. Into this love and its enjoyment only he comes who regards evils as sins and therefore does not will them, and who also looks to the Lord. Once a man does this he is in this freedom. One can refuse to will and do evils for the reason that they are sins, only from an interior or higher freedom, belonging to his interior or higher love. This freedom does not seem at first to be freedom, yet it is. Later it does seem freedom, and the man acts in real freedom according to true reason, thinking, willing, speaking and doing the good and the true. This freedom grows as natural freedom decreases and serves it; and it unites with rational freedom and purifies it.

[7] Anyone can come into this freedom if he is willing to think that there is a life eternal, and that the joy and bliss of life in time and for a time is like a passing shadow to the joy and bliss of life in eternity and for eternity. A man can think so if he will, for he has rationality and liberty, and the Lord, from whom he has the two faculties, constantly enables him to do so.


(ii) _Whatever a man does in freedom, whether with reason or not, provided it is according to his reason, seems to him to be his._ Nothing makes so clear what rationality and liberty are, which are proper to the human being, as to compare man and beast. Beasts do not have any rationality or faculty of understanding, or any liberty or faculty of willing freely. They do not have understanding or will, therefore, but instead of understanding they have knowledge and instead of will affection, both of these natural. Not having the two faculties, animals do not have thought, but instead an internal sight which makes one with their external sight by correspondence.

[2] Every affection has its mate, its consort, so to speak. An affection of natural love has knowledge, one of spiritual love has intelligence, and one of celestial love, wisdom. Without its mate or consort an affection is nothing, but is like esse apart from existere or substance without form, of which nothing can be predicated. Hence there is in every created thing something referable to the marriage of good and truth, as we have shown several times. In beasts it is a marriage of affection and knowledge; the affection is one of natural good, and the knowledge is knowledge of natural truth.

[3] Affection and knowledge in beasts act altogether as one. Their affection cannot be raised above their knowledge, nor the knowledge above the affection; if they are raised, they are raised together. Nor have animals a spiritual mind into which, or into the heat and light of which, they can be raised. Thus they have no faculty of understanding or rationality, or faculty of freely willing or liberty, and nothing more than natural affection with its knowledge. Their natural affection is that of finding food and shelter, of propagating, of avoiding and guarding against injury, together with the knowledge needed for this. As this is their kind of existence, they cannot think, "I will this but not that," or "I know this but not that," still less, "I understand this" or "I love that." They are borne along by affection and its knowledge without rationality and liberty. It is not from the natural world that they are borne along so, but from the spiritual world. Nothing can exist in the natural world that does not have its connection with the spiritual world: thence is every cause that accomplishes an effect. On this see also some things below (n. 96).


It is otherwise with man, who has affections not only of natural love, but also of spiritual and celestial loves. For man's mind is of three degrees, as was shown in Part III of the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom._ Man can be raised therefore from natural knowledge into spiritual intelligence and on into celestial wisdom. From the two, intelligence and wisdom, he can look to the Lord, be conjoined with Him, and thereby live to eternity. This elevation as to affection would not be possible did he not from rationality have the power to raise the understanding, and from liberty the power to will this.

[2] By means of the two faculties man can think in himself about what he perceives outside him through the senses, and can also think on high about what he thinks below. Anyone can say, "I have thought and I think so and so," "I have willed and I will so and so," "I understand that this is a fact," "I love this for what it is," and so on. Obviously, man thinks above his thought, and sees it, as it were, below him. This comes to him from rationality and liberty; from rationality he can think on high, and from liberty he can will so to think. Unless he had liberty to think so, he would not have the will, nor the thought from it.

[3] Those, therefore, who will to understand only what is of the world and nature and not what moral and spiritual good and truth are, cannot be raised from knowledge into intelligence, still less into wisdom, for they have stifled those faculties. They render themselves no longer men except that they can understand if they wish, and can also will, by virtue of the implanted rationality and liberty; from the two capacities it is that one can think and from thought speak. In other respects, they are not men but beasts, and some, in their abuse of those faculties, are worse than beasts.


From an unclouded rationality anyone can see or grasp that without the appearance that it is his own a man cannot be in any affection to know or to understand. Every joy and pleasure, thus everything of the will, is from an affection of some love. Who can wish to know or to understand anything except that an affection of his takes pleasure in it? Who can feel this pleasure unless what he is affected by seems to be his? Were it not his, but another's altogether, that is, if another from his affection should infuse something into his mind when he himself felt no affection for knowing or grasping it, would he receive it? Indeed, could he receive it? Would he not be like one called a dullard or a clod?

[2] It should be manifest then that although everything that a man perceives, thinks, knows and, according to perception, wills and does, flows into him, nevertheless it is of the Lord's divine providence that it seems to be the man's. Otherwise, as we said, a man would not receive anything and so could be given no intelligence or wisdom. It is known that all good and truth are the Lord's and not man's, and yet appear to be man's. As good and truth so appear, so do all things of the church and of heaven, and all things of love and wisdom, and all things of charity and faith; yet none of them is man's. No one can receive them from the Lord unless it seems to him that he perceives them for himself. Plainly, the truth of the matter is that whatever a man does in freedom, whether with reason or not, provided only that it accords with his reason, seems to him to be his.


Who cannot from his faculty called rationality understand that a given good is serviceable to society, and a given evil harmful to society? That, for example, justice, sincerity, the chastity of marriage are serviceable to it, and injustice, insincerity, and misconduct with the wives of others, harmful? Consequently that these evils are in themselves injuries, and those goods in themselves benefits? Who then cannot make this a matter of his reason if only he will? He has rationality and he has liberty; the two faculties are bared, show, take charge and enable him to perceive and do in the measure that he avoids those evils because they are evils. So far as a man does this he looks on those goods as a friend looks on friends.

[2] By his faculty called rationality a man can conclude from this what goods are useful to society in the spiritual world and what evils are hurtful there, if instead of evils he sees sins and instead of goods works of charity. This he can also make a matter of his reason if he will, since he has liberty and rationality. His rationality and liberty emerge, become manifest, take charge and give him perception and power so far as he shuns evils as sins. So far as he does this he regards the goods of charity as neighbor regards neighbor in mutual love.

[3] For the sake of reception and union the Lord wills that whatever a man does freely according to reason shall seem to him to be his; this agrees with reason itself. It follows that a man can from his reason will something on the ground that it means his eternal happiness and can perform it by the Lord's divine power, implored by him.


(iii) _Whatever a man does in freedom according to his thought is appropriated to him as his and remains._ The reason is that a man's own and his freedom make one. His proprium is of his life, and what he does from his life he does in freedom. His proprium is also of his love, for love is one's life, and what he does from his life's love he does in freedom. We speak of his acting in freedom "according to his thought" because what is of his life or love he also thinks and confirms by thought, and what is so confirmed he does in freedom then according to thought. What a man does, he does from the will by the understanding; freedom is of the will and thought is of the understanding.

[2] A man can also act freely contrary to reason, likewise not freely in accord with reason: then nothing is appropriated to him--what he does is only of the mouth and body, not of the spirit or heart; only what is of the spirit and heart, when it is also of the mouth and body, is appropriated. The truth of this can be illustrated by many things, but this is not the place.

[3] By being appropriated to man is meant entering his life and becoming part of it, consequently becoming his own. It will be seen in what follows that there is nothing, however, which is man's very own; it only seems to him as if it were. Only this now: all the good a man does in freedom according to reason is appropriated to him as if it were his because it seems to be his in that he thinks, wills, speaks and does it. Good is not man's, however, but the Lord's with man (above, n. 76). How evil is appropriated to man will appear in a section of its own.


We said that what a man does in freedom in accord with his thought also remains. For nothing that a man has appropriated to himself can be eradicated; it has been made part of his love and at the same time of his reason, or of his will and at the same time of his understanding, and so of his life. It can be put aside indeed, but not cast out; put aside, it is borne from center to periphery, where it stays; this is what we mean by its remaining.

[2] If, for example, in boyhood or youth, a man appropriated an evil to himself by doing it with enjoyment from love of it--a fraud, blasphemy, revenge, or fornication--having done it freely with the assent of thought, he made it his; but if later he repents, shuns it and considers it a sin to be averse from, and so desists from it freely according to reason, then the opposite good is appropriated to him. Good then takes the center and removes evil to the periphery, farther according to his aversion and abhorrence for it. Still the evil cannot be so thrust out that one can say it is extirpated; it may indeed in that removal seem extirpated. What occurs is that the man is withheld from the evil by the Lord and held in good. This can happen with all inherited evil and all a man's actual evil.

[3] I have seen this verified by the experience of some in heaven who thought they were without evil, being held in good as they were by the Lord. Lest they should believe that the good in which they were was their own, they were let down from heaven and let into their evils until they acknowledged that of themselves they were in evil, and in good only from the Lord. Upon this acknowledgment they were returned to heaven.

[4] Be it known, therefore, that goods are appropriated to man only in that they are constantly with him from the Lord, and that as a man acknowledges this the Lord grants that good shall seem to be the man's, that is, that it shall seem to him that he loves the neighbor or has charity, believes or has faith, does good and understands truth, thus is wise, of himself. From this an enlightened person may see the nature and the strength of the appearance in which the Lord wills man to be. The Lord wills it for salvation's sake, for without that appearance no one can be saved. Also see what was shown above on the subject (nn. 42-45).


Nothing that a person only thinks, not even what he thinks to will, is appropriated to him unless he also wills it so that he does it when opportunity offers. For when a man then does it, he does it from the will by the understanding or from affection of the will by thought of the understanding. If it is something thought only, it cannot be appropriated, for the understanding does not conjoin itself to the will, or the thought of the understanding to the affection of the will, but the latter with the former, as we have shown many times in the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ Part V. This is meant by the Lord's words,

Not that which enters the mouth renders a man unclean, but that which goes forth from the heart by the mouth renders a man unclean ( Mt 15:11, 17, 18, 19).

In the spiritual sense thought is meant by "mouth," for thought is spoken by it; affection which is of love is meant by "heart"; if the man thinks and speaks from this he makes himself unclean. In Luke 6:45 also by "heart" an affection of love or of the will is meant, and by "mouth" the thought of the understanding.


Evils which a man believes are allowable, though he does not do them, are also appropriated to him, for the licitness in thought is from the will, as there is assent. When a man deems an evil allowable he loosens the internal bond on it and is kept from doing it only by external bonds, which are fears. As his spirit favors the evil, he commits it when external bonds are removed as allowable, and meanwhile is committing it in spirit. But on this see _Doctrine of Life for the New Jerusalem,_ nn. 108-113.


(iv) _A man is reformed and regenerated by the Lord by means of the two faculties and cannot be reformed or regenerated without them._ The Lord teaches that,

Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God (Jn 3:3,5,7).

Few know what it is to be born anew or regenerated. For most do not know what love and charity are, therefore what faith is, either. One who does not know what love and charity are cannot know what faith is because charity and faith make one as good and truth do, and as affection which is of the will, and thought which is of the understanding, do. On this union see the treatise _Divine Love and Wisdom,_ nn. 427-431; also _Doctrine for the New Jerusalem,_ nn. 13-24; and above, nn. 3-20.


No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he has been born anew for the reason that by heredity from his parents he is born into evils of every kind, with the capacity of becoming spiritual through removal of the evils; unless he becomes spiritual, then, he cannot enter heaven. To become spiritual from being natural is to be born again or regenerated. Three things need to be considered if one is to know how man is regenerated: the nature of his first state, which is one of damnation; the nature of his second state, which is one of reformation; and the nature of his third state, which is one of regeneration.

[2] Man's first state, which is one of damnation, is every one's state by heredity from his parents. For man is born thereby into self-love and love of the world, and from these as fountains into evils of every kind. By the enjoyments of those loves he is led, and they keep him from knowing that he is in evil, for the enjoyment of any love is felt to be good. Unless he is regenerated, therefore, a man knows no otherwise than that to love himself and the world above all things is good itself, and to rule over others and possess their riches is the supreme good. So comes all evil. For only oneself is regarded with love. If another is regarded with love it is as devil loves devil or thief thief when they are in league.

[3] Those who confirm these loves with themselves and the evils flowing from them, from enjoyment in them, remain natural and become sensuous-corporeal, and in their own thinking, which is that of their spirit, are insane. And yet, as long as they are in the world they can speak and act rationally and wisely, for they are human beings and so have rationality and liberty, though they still do this from self-love and love of the world. After death and on becoming spirits, they can enjoy nothing that they did not enjoy in the world. Their enjoyment is that of an infernal love and is turned into the unpleasant, sorrowful and dreadful, meant in the Word by torment and hell-fire. Plain it is, then, that man's first state is one of damnation and that they are in it who do not suffer themselves to be regenerated.

[4] Man's second state--of reformation--is his state when he begins to think of heaven for the joy there, thus of God from whom he has heaven's joy. But at first the thought comes from the enjoyment of self-love; to him heaven's joy is that enjoyment. While the enjoyments of that love and of the evils flowing from it rule, moreover, he cannot but think that to gain heaven is to pour out prayers, hear sermons, observe the Supper, give to the poor, help the needy, make offerings to churches, contribute to hospitals, and the like. In this state a man is persuaded that merely to think about what religion teaches, whether this is called faith or called faith and charity, is to be saved. He is so minded because he gives no thought to the evils in the enjoyments of which he is. While those enjoyments remain, the evils do. The enjoyments of the evils are from the lust for them which continually inspires them and, when no fear restrains, brings them to pass.

[5] While evils remain in the lusts of love for them and so in one's enjoyments, there is no faith, piety, charity or worship except in externals, which seem real in the world's sight, but are not. They may be likened to waters flowing from an impure fountain, which one cannot drink. While a man is such that he thinks about heaven and God from religion but gives no thought to evils as sins, he is still in the first state. He comes into the second state, which is one of reformation, when he begins to think that there is such a thing as sin and still more when he thinks that a given evil is a sin, explores it somewhat in himself, and does not will it.

[6] Man's third state, which is one of regeneration, sets in and continues from the former. It begins when a man desists from evils as sins, progresses as he shuns them, and is perfected as he battles against them. Then as he conquers from the Lord he is regenerated. The order of his life is changed; from natural he becomes spiritual; the natural separated from the spiritual is in disorder and the spiritual is in order. The regenerated man acts from charity and makes what is of his faith a part of his charity. But he becomes spiritual only in the measure in which he is in truths. Everyone is regenerated by means of truths and of a life in accord with them; by truths he knows life and by his life he does the truths. So he unites good and truth, which is the spiritual marriage in which heaven is.


Man is reformed and regenerated by means of the two faculties called rationality and liberty, and cannot be reformed or regenerated without them, because it is by means of rationality that he can understand and know what is evil and what is good, and hence what is false and true, and by means of liberty that he can will what he understands and knows. But while the enjoyment of an evil love rules him he cannot will good and truth freely or make them a matter of his reason, and therefore cannot appropriate them to him. For, as was shown above, what a man does in freedom from reason is appropriated to him as his, and unless it is so appropriated, he is not reformed and regenerated. He acts from the enjoyment of a love of good and truth for the first time when the enjoyment of love for the evil and false has been removed. Two opposite kinds of enjoyments of love at one and the same time are impossible. To act from the enjoyment of love is to act freely and is also to act according to reason, inasmuch as the reason favors the love.


Because an evil man as well as a good man has rationality and liberty, the evil man as well as the good can understand truth and do good. The evil man cannot do this in freedom according to reason, while a good man can; for the evil man is in the enjoyment of a love of evil, the good man in the enjoyment of a love of good. The truth which an evil man understands and the good he does are therefore not appropriated to him, as they are to the good man, and aside from appropriation there is no reformation or regeneration. With the evil man evils with their falsities occupy the center, as it were, and goods with their truths the circumference, but goods with their truths the center with the good man and evils with their falsities the periphery. In each case what is at the center is diffused to the circumference, as heat is from a fiery center and cold from an icy one. Thus with the wicked the good at the circumference is defiled by evils at the center, and with the good evils at the circumference grow mild from the good at the center. For this reason evils do not condemn a regenerating man, nor do goods save the unregenerate.


(v) _A man can be reformed and regenerated by means of the two faculties so far as he can be led by them to acknowledge that all truth and good which he thinks and does are from the Lord and not from himself._ What reformation and regeneration are has been told just above, likewise that man is reformed and regenerated by means of the two faculties of rationality and liberty. Because it is done by those faculties, something more is to be said of them. From rationality a man can understand and from liberty he can will, doing each as of himself. Yet he does not have the ability to will good in freedom and to do it in accord with reason unless he is regenerated. An evil man can will only evil in freedom and do it according to his thinking, which by confirmations he has made to be his reasoning. For evil can be confirmed as well as good, but is confirmed by fallacies and appearances which then become falsities; evil so confirmed seems to accord with reason.


Anyone thinking from interior understanding can see that the power to will and the power to understand are not from man, but from Him who has power itself, that is, power in its essence. Only think whence power is. Is it not from Him who has it in its full might, that is, who possesses it in and from Himself? Power in itself, therefore, is divine. All power must have a supply on which to draw and direction from an interior or higher self. Of itself the eye cannot see, nor the ear hear, nor the mouth speak, nor the hand do; there must be supply and direction from the mind. Nor can the mind of itself think or will this or that unless something more interior or higher determines the mind to it. The same is true of the power to understand and the power to will. These are possible only from Him who has in Himself the power of willing and understanding.

[2] It is plain, then, that the two faculties called rationality and liberty are from the Lord and not from man. Man can therefore will or understand something only as if of himself, and not of himself. Anyone can confirm the truth of this for himself who knows and believes that the will to good and the understanding of truth are wholly from the Lord, and not from man. The Word teaches that man can take nothing of himself and do nothing of himself (Jn 3:27; 15:5).


As all willing is from love and all understanding is from wisdom, the ability to will is from divine love, and the ability to understand is from divine wisdom; thus both are from the Lord who is divine love itself and divine wisdom itself. Hence to act in freedom according to reason has no other source. Everyone acts in freedom because, like love, freedom cannot be separated from willing. But there is interior and exterior willing, and a man can act upon the exterior without acting at the same time on the interior willing; so hypocrite and flatterer act. Exterior willing, however, is still from freedom, being from a love of appearing other than one is, or from love of an evil which the person intends in the love of his inner will. An evil man, however, as has been said, cannot in freedom according to reason do anything but evil; he cannot do good in freedom according to reason; he can do good, to be sure, but not in the inner freedom which is his own, from which the outer freedom has its character of not being good.


A person can be reformed and regenerated, we have said, in the measure in which he is led by the two faculties to acknowledge that all good and truth which he thinks and does are from the Lord and not from himself. A man can make this acknowledgment only by means of the two faculties, because they are from the Lord and are the Lord's in him, as is plain from what has been said. Man can make this acknowledgment, therefore, only from the Lord and not from himself; he can make it as if of himself; this the Lord gives everyone to do. He may believe that it is of himself, but when wiser acknowledge that it is not of himself. Otherwise the truth he thinks and the good he does are not in themselves truth and good, for the man and not the Lord is in them. Good in which the man is and which is done by him for salvation's sake is self-righteous, but not that in which the Lord is.


Few can grasp with understanding that acknowledgment of the Lord, and acknowledgment that all good and truth are from Him, cause one to be reformed and regenerated. For a person may think, "What does the acknowledgment effect when the Lord is omnipotent and wills the salvation of all? This He wills and can accomplish if only He is moved to mercy." One is not thinking then from the Lord, nor from the interior sight of the understanding, that is, from enlightenment. Let me say briefly what the acknowledgment accomplishes.

[2] In the spiritual world where space is appearance only, wisdom brings about presence and love union, or the contrary happens. One can acknowledge the Lord from wisdom, and one can acknowledge Him from love. The acknowledgment of Him from wisdom (viewed in itself this is only knowledge) is made by doctrine; acknowledgment from love is made in a life according to doctrine. This effects union, the other, presence. Those, therefore, who reject instruction about the Lord remove themselves from Him, and as they also refuse life they part from Him. Those who do not reject instruction, but do refuse life, are present but still separated--like friends who converse but do not love each other, or like two one of whom speaks as a friend with the other, although as his enemy he hates him.

[3] The truth of this is commonly recognized in the idea that one who teaches and lives well is saved but not one who teaches well but lives wickedly, and in the idea that one who does not acknowledge God cannot be saved. This makes plain what kind of religion it is only to think about the Lord from faith, so called, and not to do something from charity. Therefore the Lord says,

Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears my words and does them .. . is like a house-builder who has placed the foundation on a rock, but the man who hears and does not do, is like a man building a house on the ground without a foundation (Lu 6:46-49).


(vi) _The conjunction of the Lord with man and man's reciprocal conjunction with the Lord is effected by these two faculties._ Conjunction with the Lord and regeneration are one and the same thing, for a man is regenerated in the measure that he is conjoined with the Lord. All that we have said above about regeneration can be said therefore of the conjunction, and all we said about conjunction can be said about regeneration. The Lord Himself teaches in John that there is a conjunction of the Lord with man and a reciprocal conjunction of man with the Lord.

Abide in Me, and I in you. . . . He that abides in Me and I in him, brings forth much fruit (15:4, 5).

In that day you will know that you are in Me and I in you (14:20).

[2] From reason alone anyone can see that there is no conjunction of minds unless it is reciprocal, and that what is reciprocal conjoins. If one loves another without being loved in return, then as he approaches, the other withdraws; but if he is loved in return, as he approaches, the other does also, and there is conjunction. Love also wills to be loved; this is implanted in it; and so far as it is loved in return it is in itself and in its delight. Thence it is plain that if the Lord loves man and is not in turn loved by man, the Lord advances but man withdraws; thus the Lord would be constantly willing to meet with man and enter him, but man would be turning back and departing. So it is with those in hell, but with those in heaven there is mutual conjunction.

[3] Since the Lord wills conjunction with man for salvation's sake, He also provides something reciprocal with man. This consists in the fact that the good a man wills and does in freedom and the truth he thinks and speaks from the will according to reason seem to be from himself, and that the good in his will and the truth in his understanding seem to be his--indeed they seem to the man to be from himself and to be as completely his as though they really were; there is no difference; does anyone perceive otherwise by any sense? See above (nn. 74-77) on the appearance as of self, and (nn. 78-81) on appropriation as of oneself. The only difference is the acknowledgment which a man ought to make, that he does good and thinks truth not of himself but from the Lord, and hence that the good he does and the truth he thinks are not his. So to think from some love of the will because it is the truth makes conjunction; for then a man looks to the Lord and the Lord looks on the man.


I have been granted both to hear and see in the spiritual world what the difference is between those who believe that all good is from the Lord and those who believe that good is from themselves. Those who believe that good is from the Lord turn their faces to Him and receive the enjoyment and blessedness of good. Those who think that good is from themselves look to themselves and think they have merit. Looking to themselves, they perceive only the enjoyment of their own good which is the enjoyment not of good but of evil, for man's own is evil, and enjoyment of evil perceived as good is hell. Those who have done good but believed it was of themselves, and who after death do not receive the truth that all good is from the Lord, mingle with infernal spirits and finally join them. Those who receive that truth, however, are reformed, though no others receive it than those who have looked to God in their life. To look to God in one's life is nothing else than to shun evils as sins.


The Lord's conjunction with man and man's reciprocal conjunction with the Lord is effected by loving the neighbor as one's self and the Lord above all. To love the neighbor as one's self consists simply in not acting insincerely or unjustly with him, not hating him or avenging one's self on him, not cursing and defaming him, not committing adultery with his wife, and not doing other like things to him. Who cannot see that those who do such things do not love the neighbor as themselves? Those, however, who do not do such things because they are evils to the neighbor and at the same time sins against the Lord, deal sincerely, justly, amicably and faithfully by the neighbor; as the Lord does likewise, reciprocal conjunction takes place. And when conjunction is reciprocal, whatever a man does to the neighbor he does from the Lord, and what he does from the Lord is good. The neighbor to him then is not the person, but the good in the person. To love the Lord above all is to do no evil to the Word, for the Lord is in the Word, or to the holy things of the church, for He is in these, too, and to do no evil to the soul of another, for everyone's soul is in the Lord's hand. Those who shun these evils as monstrous sins against the Lord love Him above all else. None can do this except those who love the neighbor as themselves, for the two loves are conjoined.


In view of the fact that there is a conjunction of the Lord with man and of man with the Lord, there are two tables of the Law, one for the Lord and the other for man. So far as man as of himself keeps the laws of his table, the Lord enables him to observe the laws of the Lord's table. A man, however, who does not keep the laws of his table, which are all referable to love for the neighbor, cannot do the laws of the Lord's table, which are all referable to love for the Lord. How can a murderer, thief, adulterer, or false witness love God? Does reason not insist that to be any of these and to love God is a contradiction? Is not the devil such? Must he not hate God? But a man can love God when he abhors murder, adultery, theft and false witness, for then he turns his face away from the devil to the Lord; turning his face to the Lord he is given love and wisdom--these enter him by the face, and not by the back of the neck. As conjunction is accomplished only so, the two tables are called a covenant, and a covenant exists between two.


(vii) _In all the procedure of His divine providence the Lord safeguards the two faculties in man unimpaired and as sacred._ The reasons are that without those two faculties man would not have understanding and will and thus would not be human; likewise that without them he could not be conjoined to the Lord and so be reformed and regenerated; and because without them he would not have immortality and eternal life. The truth of this can be seen from what has been said about the two faculties, liberty and rationality, but not clearly seen unless the reasons just given are brought forward as conclusions. They are, therefore to be clarified.

[2] _Without those two faculties man would not have understanding and will and thus would not be human._ Man has will only in that he can will freely as of himself, and to will freely as of oneself is from the faculty called liberty, steadily imparted by the Lord. Man has understanding only in that he can understand as of himself whether a thing is of reason or not, and so to understand is from the other faculty, called rationality, steadily imparted to him by the Lord. These faculties unite in man as will and understanding do, for because a man can will, he can also understand; willing is impossible without understanding; understanding is its partner and mate apart from which it cannot exist. With the faculty called liberty there is therefore given the faculty called rationality. If, too, you take willing away from understanding, you understand nothing.

[3] In the measure that you will, you can understand provided the helps, called knowledges, are present or available, for these are like tools to a workman. We say, in the measure you will you can understand, meaning, so far as you love to understand, for will and love act as one. This seems like a paradox, but it appears so to those who do not love or hence will to understand. They say they cannot understand, but in the following section we shall tell who cannot understand, and who can hardly understand.

[4] It is plain without confirmation that unless man had will from the faculty called liberty, and understanding from the faculty called rationality, he would not be human. Beasts do not have these faculties. Beasts seem to be able to will and to understand, but cannot do so. They are led and moved to do what they do solely by a natural affection, in itself desire, which has knowledge for its mate. Something civil and moral there is in their knowledge, but it does not transcend the knowledge, for they have nothing spiritual enabling them to perceive or to think analytically of what is moral. They can indeed be taught to do something, but this is natural only, is assimilated to their knowledge and at the same time to their affection, and reproduced through sight or hearing, but never becomes with them anything of thought, still less of reason. On this see some things above, n. 74.

[5] _Without those two faculties man could not be con-joined to the Lord or reformed and regenerated._ This has been shown above. The Lord resides with men, whether evil or good, in these two faculties and conjoins Himself by them to every man. Hence an evil man as well as a good man can understand and has the will of good and the understanding of truth potentially--that he does not possess them actually is owing to abuse of those faculties. The Lord resides in those faculties in everyone by the influx of His will, namely, to be received by man and to have an abode with him, and to give him the felicities of eternal life; all this is of the Lord's will, being of His divine love. It is this will of the Lord which causes what a man thinks, speaks, wills and does, to seem to be his own.

[6] That the influx of the Lord's will effects this can be confirmed by much in the spiritual world. Sometimes the Lord fills an angel with His divine so that the angel does not know but that he is the Lord. Thus inspired were the angels who appeared to Abraham, Hagar, and Gideon, and who therefore spoke of themselves as Jehovah; of whom the Word tells. So also one spirit may be filled by another so that he does not know but that he is the other; I have seen this often. In heaven it is general knowledge that the Lord operates all things by willing, and that what He wills takes place.

From all this it is plain that it is by those two faculties that the Lord conjoins Himself to man and causes the man to be reciprocally conjoined. We told above and shall say more below about how man is reciprocally conjoined by the two faculties and how, consequently, he is reformed and regenerated by means of them.

[7] _Without those two faculties man would not have immortality or eternal life._ This follows from what has been said: that by the two faculties there is conjunction with the Lord and also reformation and regeneration. By conjunction man has immortality, and through reformation and regeneration he has eternal life. As every man, evil as well as good, is conjoined to the Lord by the two faculties every man has immortality. Eternal life, or the life of heaven, however, only that man has with whom there is reciprocal conjunction from inmosts to outmosts.

The reasons may now be clear why the Lord, in all the procedure of His divine providence, safeguards the two faculties in man unimpaired and as sacred.


( viii) _It is therefore [a law] of divine providence that man shall act in freedom from reason._ To act in freedom according to reason, to act from liberty and rationality, and to act from will and understanding, are the same. But it is one thing to act in freedom according to reason, or from liberty and rationality, and another thing to act from freedom itself according to reason itself or from liberty and rationality themselves. The man who does evil from love of evil and confirms it in himself acts indeed from freedom according to reason, but his freedom is not in itself freedom or very freedom, but an infernal freedom which in itself is bondage, and his reason is not in itself reason, but is either spurious or false or plausible through confirmations. Still, either is of divine providence. For if freedom to will evil and do it as of the reason through confirmation of it were taken from the natural man, liberty and rationality and at the same time will and understanding would perish, and he could not be withdrawn any longer from evils, be reformed or united with the Lord, and live to eternity. The Lord therefore guards man's freedom as a man does the apple of his eye. Through that freedom the Lord steadily withdraws man from evils and so far as He can do this implants goods, thus gradually putting heavenly freedom in place of infernal freedom.


We said above that every man has the faculty of volition called liberty and the faculty of understanding called rationality. Those faculties, moreover, it should be known, are as it were inherent in man, for humanness itself is in them. But as was just said, it is one thing to act from freedom in accord with reason, and another thing to act from freedom itself and according to reason itself. Only those do the latter who have suffered themselves to be regenerated by the Lord; others act in freedom according to thought which they make seem like reason. Unless he was born foolish or supremely stupid, every person can attain to reason itself and by it to liberty itself. Many reasons why all do not do so will be disclosed in what follows. Here we shall only tell to whom freedom itself or liberty itself, and at the same time reason itself or rationality itself cannot be given and to whom they can hardly be given.

[2] True liberty and rationality cannot be given to those foolish from birth or to those who become foolish later, while they remain so. Nor can they be given to those born stupid and dull or to any made so by the torpor of idleness, or by a disease which perverts or entirely closes the interiors of the mind, or by love of a bestial life.

[3] Genuine liberty and rationality cannot be given to those in Christendom who utterly deny the Divine of the Lord and the holiness of the Word, and have kept that denial confirmed to life's close. For this is meant by the sin against the Holy Spirit which is not forgiven in this world or in the world to come (Mt 12:31, 32).

[4] Liberty itself and rationality itself cannot be given to those who ascribe all things to nature and nothing to the Divine, and have made this a conviction by reasonings from visible things; for these are atheists.

[5] True liberty and rationality can hardly be given to those who have confirmed themselves much in falsities of religion; for a confirmer of falsity is a denier of truth. But they can be given to those, in whatever religion, who have not so confirmed themselves. On this see what is adduced in _Doctrine for the New Jerusalem about Sacred Scripture,_ nn. 91-97.

[6] Infants and children cannot attain to essential liberty and rationality before they grow up. For the interiors of the mind of man are opened gradually, and meanwhile are like seeds in unripe fruit, without ground in which to sprout.


We have said that true liberty and rationality cannot be given to those who have denied the Divine of the Lord and the holiness of the Word; to those who have confirmed themselves in favor of nature and against the Divine; and hardly to those who have strongly confirmed themselves in falsities of religion; still none of these have destroyed the faculties themselves. I have heard atheists, who had become devils and satans, understand arcana of wisdom quite as well as angels, but only while they heard them from others; on returning into their own thought, they did not understand them, for the reason that they did not will to do so. They were shown that they could also will this, did not the love and enjoyment of evil turn them away. This they understood, too, when they heard it. Indeed they asserted that they could but did not will to be able to do so, for then they could not will what they did will, namely, evil from enjoyment in the lust of it. I have often heard such astonishing things in the spiritual world. I am fully persuaded therefore that every man has liberty and rationality, and that every man can attain true liberty and rationality if he shuns evils as sins. But the adult who has not come into true liberty and rationality in the world can never do so after death, for the state of his life remains to eternity what it was in the world.



Anyone can see from reason alone that the Lord who is good itself and truth itself cannot enter man unless the evils and falsities in him are removed. For evil is opposed to good, and falsity to truth, and two opposites cannot mingle, but as one approaches the other, combat arises which lasts until one gives way to the other; what gives way departs and the other takes its place. Heaven and hell, or the Lord and the devil, are in such opposition. Can anyone reasonably think that the Lord can enter where the devil reigns, or heaven be where hell is? By the rationality with which every sane person is endowed, who cannot see that for the Lord to enter, the devil must be cast out, or for heaven to enter, hell must be removed?

[2] This opposition is meant by Abraham's words from heaven to the rich man in hell:

Between us and you a great gulf is fixed, so that those who would cross from us to you cannot, nor those over there cross to us (Lu 16:26).

Evil is itself hell, and good is itself heaven, or what is the same, evil is itself the devil, and good itself the Lord. A person in whom evil reigns is a hell in least form, and one in whom good reigns is a heaven in least form. How, then, can heaven enter hell when a gulf is fixed between them so great that there is no crossing from one to the other? It follows that hell must by all means be removed for the Lord to enter with heaven.

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